The ability to reproduce is important for human survival. In order for reproduction to occur, the sperm must fertilize the egg. The problem is that not every man has enough active sperm to swim to the egg. Infertility is not uncommon in men; on the contrary, it affects more and more men. Often, infertility is caused by low sperm motility, called asthenozoospermia. So far, there has been no cure for this problem.
Spermbots help sperm to swim to the egg
A team of researchers from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden in Germany found an effective solution for low sperm motility. The team developed small robots that have a spring shape and become a driving engine for sperm. These little robots are called “spermbots”. Their task is to wrap around the tail of the sperm. Through a magnetic field, the robot helps the sperm to swim to the egg. As soon as the sperm reaches the egg, the robot leaves the sperm to prevent damage to the egg. Many laboratory experiments have been performed to prove that this technology works successfully. The robots were able to transport the sperm to the egg without further damaging the sperm.
Cheaper than assisted reproduction
The use of spermbots is cheaper than other forms of assisted reproduction. Although laboratory experiments have been performed, no human experiments have been performed. So far, scientists have no idea how the female immune system would react to spermbots applied to a woman’s body. Sometimes the robot’s engines jammed and the sperm did not come loose. However, if technology improves, it may be an easy way to fertilize an egg in the future, even with the help of lazy sperm. A study of this experiment was published in the journal Nano Letters.
Credit: American Chemical Society