Raman spectroscopy enables assessment of individual sperm candidates for IVF

Jan. 20, 2009
JANUARY 20, 2009--Scientists at University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland) have developed a new method of testing sperm viability to improve success rates for in-vitro fertilization (IVF). "What our technology does is to replace natural selection with a DNA based 'quality score,'" said lead scientist Dr. Alistair Elfick. The genetics test could complement another spectroscopic approach to improving fertility through metabolomics.

JANUARY 20, 2009--Scientists at the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland) say they have developed a new method of testing sperm viability to improve in-vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates. "In natural conception the fittest and healthiest sperm are positively selected by the arduous journey they make to the egg," said Dr. Alistair Elfick, lead scientist on the project. "What our technology does is to replace natural selection with a DNA based 'quality score.'"

The process involves capturing an individual sperm cell between two highly focused beams of laser light and using Raman spectroscopy to assess its DNA properties based on vibrational patterns. The method measures the DNA quality of sperm but, unlike previous tests, it does not kill the cell--so a cell that scores high can be used for IVF treatment.

The discovery could complement another test now being commercialized to assess the viability of embryos for IVF. (See the BioOptics World article NIR spectroscopy enables embryo assessment.) That technology was developed to address a similar goal: to increase IVF pregnancy rates while reducing incidents of multiple gestation.

The Edinburgh technique could help childless couples in the next five to 10 years, according to the university. But Elfick stressed that, "This is not about designer babies. We can only tell if the sperm is strong and healthy--not if it will produce a baby with blue eyes."

Infertility affects at least one in six couples, and success rates for IVF treatment are about one in four currently. But selecting the best quality sperm could increase the chances of pregnancy. The scientists' work was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

More information:
More on the work of Dr. Alistair Elfick

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, [email protected].

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Motion Scan and Data Collection Methods for Electro-Optic System Testing

April 10, 2024
Learn how different scanning patterns and approaches can be used in measuring an electro-optic sensor performance, by reading our whitepaper here!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!