Artificial insemination and IVF are among the most popular fertility treatments, despite the fact that IVF can be prohibitively expensive and the success rates for artificial insemination hover below 30%. Slow, inefficient sperm swimmers can be part of the fertility problem. With this in mind, a group of scientists from the Institute of Integrative Nanosciences have formulated a way for otherwise healthy sperm to more efficiently reach the egg by motorizing them with micro-motors and creating a directable Spermbot. Read on for how these super tiny motors can help speed sperm toward an egg.
The motor fits snugly around the sperm’s tail and can drive and direct the sperm into an egg using a rotating magnetic field. Mariana Medina-Sanchez, Lukas Schwartz, and their colleagues hope that this technology will aid in even severe cases of infertility. The scientists have only conducted experiments with this technology in a petri dish at the moment, so it may be quite some time before the Spermbot becomes an acceptable option for fertility treatments. Although the technology is not ready for mainstream use in humans at the moment, the scientists hope that their idea will also inspire other scientific problem-solvers to come up with innovative ways to improve fertility treatments, including those that don’t require a woman’s eggs to be removed from her body for fertilization. As most fertility treatments focus on fertility issues within the female body, the Spermbot is a potentially groundbreaking way to correct things from the male’s side by giving ineffective swimmers a boost and some direction.
via Fit Pregnancy