Ultrasound increases the motility of sperm cells

Ultrasound increases the motility of sperm cells

Research conducted by researchers from Monash University in Australia shows that the movement of sperm cells can be significantly accelerated by irradiation with high-frequency ultrasound. The less motile sperm cells began to move faster, but the completely immobile sperm cells were also able to move again thanks to the new technology.

“The researchers looked at the single-cell level, that is, one sperm cell at a time, at how these ultrasonic pulses ensure that the sperm cells move more actively,” explains Frauke Vanden Meerschaut, a gynecologist at the Department of Reproductive Medicine at Ghent University Hospital. . “The movement of the sperm cell is very important for the fertilization of the egg cell. If a sperm cell can move faster, it will more easily pass through the layer of supporting cells and the fixed area around the egg cell to reach the egg cell membrane. The fact that this technique significantly accelerates the movement provides Some possibilities for increasing fertility.

“These ultrasound pulses also allow you to know whether the non-motile sperm cell is still alive,” Vanden Meershout continues. “This gives the embryologist a better idea of ​​which sperm cells can be injected and which cannot, because only a living sperm cell can fertilize an egg.”

Specific target group

The study describes this technology as an alternative to methods currently used to accelerate the movement of sperm cells. “Currently, as a diagnosis, one can find out if the sperm cells are still alive using the staining method using chemical products. However, it is no longer possible to use these sperm cells for treatment afterwards. To speed up the movement of the sperm cells we use for the patient, we use A kind of wash to distinguish motile sperm cells from non-motile ones,” says the gynecologist.

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According to the researchers, their technology is less invasive, but above all it will significantly increase the chance of fertilization without the need for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) during in vitro fertilization (IVF). “If you can enhance the motility of sperm cells using this technique, you can perform classical IVF and allow the sperm cells to spontaneously fertilize the egg, albeit in a laboratory dish. With ICSI, a single sperm cell is injected directly into the egg cell, but Here it is also a good idea to inject a motile, and therefore living, sperm cell into the egg cell.

“This new technology could certainly be useful in the future, but mainly for one specific target group; men have very few motile sperm cells or only non-motile sperm cells,” Vanden Meerschaut concludes.

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