‘Assault Course’ for Sperm Developed to Increase Fertility Treatment Success

fertility treatment success

IVF treatment could soon become much more effective thanks to a group of scientists from the Stanford University in the US. Professor Erkan Tüzel and his team developed a device which they cleverly dubbed SPARTAN in order to improve the sperm selection process.

The ‘assault course’ puts the sperm through its paces, seeing which ones reach the end in the fastest time. The fastest sperm can then be used in fertility treatments to improve success rates.

How does the SPARTAN device work?

SPARTAN is just 14 millimetres long and it consists of many posts that the sperm need to swim through. This means, not only do the sperm need to be fast, but they also need to be healthy too. It works to filter out sperm with poor mobility, choosing only the healthiest and fastest sperm for IVF treatment.

The sperm are inserted into the device via injection. Once the healthiest and fastest sperm have made it to the opposite end, they’re collected and used immediately in an IVF cycle.

Sperm with slight deformities such as bent heads, will struggle to make it through the course first. So, the sperm which is chosen will have much better DNA integrity. The device is the latest sperm-sorting technique and it’s greatly improved the selection process. Not only does it better identify the healthiest and fastest sperm, but it also avoids potentially damaging the sperm, like some sorting processes can. Most impressively, the device works within just half an hour and it’s really easy to use.

Lowering the stress and cost of IVF

The new SPARTAN device provides hope for couples who are struggling to conceive. It’s no secret that IVF can be expensive. Most couples will need to undergo a number of rounds of IVF before they achieve success. When you consider that the cost of each cycle can cost up to £5,000, it’s easy to see just how unaffordable the treatment can be; especially with the new restrictions placed upon the NHS who in some cases, no longer provide a free IVF cycle.

Using the SPARTAN device, couples could see the number of IVF cycles needed, reduced significantly. This can really reduce the stress associated with the treatment, as well as increase the chances of achieving pregnancy.

It’s estimated every 1 in 6 couples experiences fertility issues, with approximately half of cases caused partially by poor sperm mobility. Sperm needs to be fast in order to fertilise an egg, so those with poor mobility have a much lower chance of conception. Therefore, sperm sorting devices such as this one, can prove invaluable in helping men with poor sperm mobility to conceive.

The company behind the development of SPARTAN are now seeking FDA approval for the device, which they plan to release onto the commercial market in July 2018. It is an exciting time for the physicians behind the device, as well as for couples considering IVF treatment.