Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reliable home male fertility test? Accurate sperm counts now possible

Date:
February 17, 2010
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
A new 'fertility chip' can accurately count spermatozoa in sperm. This is an important step towards the development of a compact device for reliable 'pre-scanning' of male fertility.

Artist's impression of the fertility analyzer to be developed.
Credit: Jeroen Huljben, Nymus3D

A new 'fertility chip', developed by researchers at the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, can accurately count spermatozoa in sperm. This is an important step towards the development of a compact device for reliable 'pre-scanning' of male fertility.

The researchers are publishing the invention of the chip in the scientific journal Lab on a Chip.

Every year more than 10,000 couples in the Netherlands apply for help because of involuntary childlessness. A sperm analysis is typically the first step of fertility research. Testing sperm quality requires stringent pre-test preparations and a specialized laboratory. Tests often have to be repeated two to five times for sufficient reliability. If men can carry out the tests in the privacy of their own home this makes the procedure much less awkward for them. Moreover, the probability of a reliable diagnosis is increased as well. Finally, the researchers think that the costs for health insurers can be decreased too.

Sperm counts

The chip developed by researcher Loes Segerink can accurately count spermatozoa. Concentration is an important indication of the sperm count: the norm for fertility is 20 million spermatozoa per millilitre of ejaculate. Simple home tests are available, but these can only indicate that the sperm count is 'above or below the norm'. These tests are too limited because they do not actually measure the concentration of spermatozoa.

On the new chip, the spermatozoa flow through a fluid channel, above which electrodes are fitted. When a cell flows under this 'bridge', its electrical resistance changes momentarily, and this event is counted. It is important that the count distinguishes between spermatozoa and other particles or cells in the fluid: if other particles are included the count will be unreliable. Segerink added minuscule balls to the fluid to test its selectivity. The method proved to be selective enough to distinguish between the balls and the spermatozoa. White blood cells were also distinguished by the chip. The number of white blood cells tells us something about sperm quality and so this is important additional information for the gynaecologist.

Activity and shape

Concentration is not the only indicator of sperm quality. Spontaneous activity -- also known as motility -- and the shape of the spermatozoa are also important factors. Further research will need to establish whether these two quality characteristics can be measured in a similar manner, so that a compact device can be developed in which a chip can be inserted for single use. The user will only be able to see that the test has been completed successfully; the gynaecologist will inform him of the actual results personally.

Loes Segerink developed the 'fertility chip' in Prof. Albert van den Berg's BIOS Lab-on-a-Chip research group. This group is part of the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology. The research is financed by Technology Foundation STW.

The publication 'On-chip determination of spermatozoa concentration using electrical impedance measurements' by Loes Segerink, Ad Sprenkels, Paul ter Braak, Istvan Vermes and Albert van den Berg, has been published online in the form of an Advance Publication, and will appear in the scientific journal Lab on a Chip in the near future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Loes Segerink, Ad Sprenkels, Paul ter Braak, Istvan Vermes and Albert van den Berg. On-chip determination of spermatozoa concentration using electrical impedance measurements. Lab on a Chip, 2010; DOI: 10.1039/b923970g

Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "Reliable home male fertility test? Accurate sperm counts now possible." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216221151.htm>.
University of Twente. (2010, February 17). Reliable home male fertility test? Accurate sperm counts now possible. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216221151.htm
University of Twente. "Reliable home male fertility test? Accurate sperm counts now possible." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100216221151.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins