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Sperm test could improve success of infertility treatment

Sperm fertilising egg

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have developed a new technique for testing the quality of a sperm prior to its use in infertility treatment.


The technique 'chemically fingerprints' individual sperm to determine their quality. Only those deemed to be of good enough quality will then be used to fertilise an egg prior to implantation in the woman's womb.

This should help to increase conception rates, which are currently around one in four in IVF treatment.

Lead scientist Dr Alistair Elfick revealed: "In natural conception the fittest and healthiest sperm are positively selected by the arduous journey they make to the egg.

"What our technology does is to replace natural selection with a DNA based 'quality score'."

However, the expert noted that the technique is "not about designer babies" as it can only be used to tell whether a sperm is strong and healthy, and not the physical characteristics of any resulting baby.

Around one in seven couples has difficulty conceiving, according to NHS figures.

© Adfero Ltd


Infertility treatment news : 21/01/2009