Here's how to make your sperm better swimmers


About 30% of infertility comes down to sperm being too weak and sluggish, but a breakthrough with ultrasound could provide hope for those struggling to conceive. — dpa

New research has discovered ultrasound waves can be used to improve the motility of sperm, with the breakthrough offering new hope for families around the world struggling to conceive.

According to the study out of Australia’s Monash University, using high-frequency ultrasound waves on sperm can boost their ability to swim by up to 266%.

The university says about 30% of infertility comes down to low sperm motility.

This means that the sperm are not strong enough swimmers to make it through to the woman’s reproductive tract.

Engineering researchers at the university based in the city of Melbourne have shown that 20 seconds of ultrasound at 800 milliwatts (mW) and 40 megahertz (MHz) increased measures of sperm motility by up to 266% and reduced the proportion of inactive or “non-progressive” sperm from 36% to just 10%.

Monash PhD candidate and study lead author Ali Vafaie said: “Ultrasound not only increased the swimming velocity of sperm, but also promoted almost two-thirds of lower grade sperm to a higher motility grade.

“Sperm with low motility before we applied ultrasound showed the greatest increase in motility after ultrasound exposure, and we know from clinical data that even a 10% increase in sperm motility leads to an increase of 8% in pregnancy rate.”

Monash Clayton AMB Lab director Dr Reza Nosrati said: “The ultrasound technique has tremendous potential to boost success rates in even the most challenging cases.”

He added that higher sperm motility means that men may one day take advantage of assisted reproduction options that are less invasive, with higher success rates, and with lower risks to the health of a future child.

“By making immotile sperm motile and motile sperm more motile, we can help more patients meet the minimum requirements to have conventional IVF (in vitro fertilisation), rather than more invasive and costly options like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which involves injecting a single sperm into each egg using a very fine needle,” he said.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, could herald a new treatment for asthenozoospermia, a condition where sperm have reduced ability to move.

Asthenozoospermia is a major cause of reduced fertility in men.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that approximately one in every six people of reproductive age worldwide experience infertility in their lifetime. – PA Media/dpa

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Sperm , ultrasound , fertility , infertility


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