Sperm Tracking Breakthrough
New Sperm Tracking Method Means More Streamlined Fertility Treatment
By Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, Ph.D.
At Ovation Fertility, we’re excited about new sperm tracking research that uses military-grade precision to identify motility in sperm used in fertility treatment. For prospective parents, it means higher accuracy in semen analysis and the prospect of using more natural egg fertilization, such as IUI, rather than traditional IVF. For clinicians, it means less reliance on manual tracking and assessment, fewer steps in the egg fertilization procedure, and more-precise sperm tracking and measurement.
Sperm Tracking Research Approved for Publication
As co-authors of the sperm tracking paper, “Automatic Tracking and Motility Analysis of Human Sperm in Time-Lapse Images,” my fellow researchers and I were thrilled to learn that our work has been accepted for publication by IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Imaging. We’ve obtained a patent on the procedure, which uses military-grade radar for sperm tracking, allowing clinicians to apply a specific algorithm – or step-by-step operation – to give a better analysis of the true characteristics of a semen sample.
Precision Radar in Sperm Tracking
When we work with sperm collected for fertility treatment, we hope for the sperm to be “good swimmers.” The more motile the sperm is, the better chance it has to reach the egg for fertilization. And that’s where our sperm tracking research pays off.
When sperm collide in the collection Petri dish, we basically lose the ability to track that sperm when using the prevailing method of today’s technology. Much as when two planes collide, this occurrence “throws off the radar.” But by using the precise steps outlined in our sperm tracking research, we can basically put a radar dot on every single sperm and track it through its entire motility stage, regardless of collision events. Just imagine – we’re applying the same robust tracking methods used by the military in radar applications and video processing!
Fertility Treatment: Less Can Be More
One other note to mention is that the new technology allows us to use raw semen, avoiding some of the handling and prep process required for IVF.
Once we know the specific parameters of the sperm, we can adjust a patient’s treatment accordingly. For example, if a man has a low sperm count, we may normally default to the use of intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, an additional process of injecting sperm into the egg with a needle. But if we can identify his more-motile sperm, we can possibly use conventional insemination, letting the sperm naturally fertilize the egg in the collection dish.
Research Impact on Fertility Treatment
Not only does this new research speed up the fertilization process, but it also gives clinicians and medical practitioners more information than they previously had. We’ll keep you posted on future developments!
If you would like to read more about fertility research and advanced treatment options, please visit www.ovationfertility.com.