Research

Unveiled Sperm Research May Lead To A Zero Infertility Rate

November 1
5:55 AM 2016

Today sees the start of National Fertility Awareness Week (31 October - 6 November 2016) and with infertility affecting about one in six people, a team of mathematicians, bioengineers, computer engineers and clinicians are working on a system that could identify which sperm are able to successfully deliver their cargo of DNA to the egg.

The University of Birmingham research, funded through an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Healthcare Technologies Challenge Award, could then lead to better treatment decisions that would save distress and expense and lead to more healthy births. Infertility treatments such as IVF are currently hampered by imprecise diagnostics, with the monitoring of sperm not utilizing cutting edge technology.

Project Lead Dr Dave Smith, from the University of Birmingham, says he hopes the work could lead to new equipment that could be used in andrology clinics to identify the condition of sperm and what treatment or lifestyle changes are required. He said: "Unfortunately infertility is a common problem, with male infertility accounting for about half of all cases. The problem is that the diagnostic methods used at the moment are quite coarse and there aren't good enough tools to deal with it either.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC): As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate. By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world's top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers, and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.

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