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Technique able to sort for faster sperm

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Saturday, August 25, 2007 | 0 comments

IRVINE, Calif., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The Universities of California, Irvine and San Diego have developed a rapid new sorting technique to screen for faster sperm.

The laser trap can separate stronger, faster sperm from slower sperm -- faster sperm are more likely to successfully fertilize an egg during in vitro fertilization.

Bing Shao of The University of California, Irvine and colleagues used special cone-shaped lenses called "axicons," which, when combined with a standard lens and a laser, form a ring-shaped focus. The trap acts as a kind of "speed bump" for swimming sperm, depending on the power of the laser used, Shao said.

The technique can also serve to assist in gender selection. Because X sperm are generally heavier and swim slower and Y sperm are lighter and swim faster, it is also possible to use this new technique to separate sperm carrying the gene for a female child from sperm carrying the gene for a male child, the researchers said.

The findings are to be presented at the 91st annual meeting of the Optical Society of America Sept. 16-20 in San Jose, Calif., alongside Laser Science XXIII, the annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Laser Science.


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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