Experts are zooming in on super sperm in the hope of boosting the chances of pregnancy for some couples.
Fertility Associates in Auckland launched new microscope technology this month to make it easier for scientists to select the most virile sperm to fertilize a woman's egg. The technology could offer hope where other treatments have failed, Fertility Associates scientific director Bert Stewart said, comparing picking the best sperm to buying a used car. "You wouldn't go to a dealer and buy a dinged car."
Intra-cytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection, IMSI, allows Stewart to get a closer look at the sperm, including the nucleus head, because it can magnify up to 6000 times, while a traditional microscope magnifies 200 times.
Stewart avoids sperm with "dents in their heads", scientifically known as vacuoles, because there is only enough room in the sperm head for DNA. "So if there's gaps, then something has gone awry when it's being made." Under the microscope, dents in poor performing sperm appear as small, dark shadows.
Stewart has been working in the field for about 30 years and said when he first started experts would take a bunch of sperm and introduce it to the egg. "It was a little like seeing that used car from far away in the rain. You couldn't make out the dents."
But these days they could be a lot more selective.
Medical director Mary Birdsall said there were always scientific advances in fertility, but the company had to be careful to select technology worth investing in.
IMSI was introduced after trials resulted in a 50 per cent boost in pregnancy rates.
"This is a way of super- magnifying sperm so we can choose the most likely to result in a baby."
She said the technology had the potential to benefit 12 couples a month, because about 40 per cent of IVF cases involved men with poor sperm.
Photo credit: © (CC by-nc-nd) Maurizio De Angelis/Wellcome Images
Some rights reserved
TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
3 Steps to Fertility
by Marina Nicholas
-- The world of infertility can be complex and daunting.
This book helps couples navigate the world of infertility treatment and tells them how they can maximize their chances of conceiving by following the three essential steps—gaining a full understanding of what conception entails, completing the necessary fertility tests at the appropriate time, and choosing the treatment that will improve their chances of having a baby.
Each infertile couple is unique, and what suits one couple may not suit another.
Some may be more comfortable first looking into complementary therapies while others will opt for immediate in-vitro fertilization.
With detailed information on assisted conception techniques, all possible tests, and how diet, ovulation tracking, hypnotherapy, reflexology, acupuncture, and herbal medicine can improve one's chances of having a baby, this book will help all couples find the right approach for them.
It also will ensure they are both better informed and more open to all forms of treatment as they embark on their journeys to parenthood.
Paperback: 160 pages
Click to order/for more info: 3 Steps to Fertility
Find it on Amazon: 3 Steps to Fertility - US | Canada | UK
• Follow us on Twitter, join the conversation on our Facebook page, circle us on Google+, follow our pins on Pinterest.
More "Pregnancy Over 40" blogs to visit:
• Life Begins... - Pregnancy stories of loss, hope and help
• Pregnancy Stories by Age - Daily blog of hope and inspiration!
• You Can Get Pregnant in Your 40's - Sharing articles, discussing options and suggestions
• Stories of Pregnancy and Birth over 44 - sharing news stories I find online, for inspiration!