Researchers in Alabama are taking a closer look at sperm as they continue to strive towards more effective infertility treatments.
As it currently stands, most reproductive endocrinologists are only able to look at sperm for core factors- things like the amount of sperm present and the speed at which they swim. But this research would allow doctors to learn more about sperm. Things like genetic makeup, shape, and size of the sperm would be able to be observed and then mathematically considered through the use of phase-contrast imaging.
The hope is that, once the imaging has been completed, doctors will be able to make a more precise diagnosis as to what is going wrong, what lifestyle changes could help to correct the problem, and ultimately, which infertility treatments are most likely to end in a successful pregnancy.
“The long-term impact could lead to a better use of resources for treatments such as IVF and hopefully improved success rates. We would be able to give people the right kind of advice on lifestyle choices, so for example if smoking is damaging sperm quality we can identify that and advise the patient accordingly,” said project lead Dr. Dave Smith.
The study was conducted in 2017 by The University of Birmingham. As of publication there was no word on when this new phase contrast imaging may be available as treatment option.