One of the main causes of infertility is low sperm motility, meaning that the sperms are healthy but can’t swim. Researchers from the institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden in Germany have developed micro-motors that are able to deliver poorly swimming sperms to the egg for fertilisation.
The so called “Spermbots” were 3D printed using Nanoscribes’s Two-Photon-Polymerisation technology and consist of tiny metal helices, that are rolled around the sperms’ tails and controlled by a rotating magnetic field. Check out the video below:
While there still remain some challenges ahead for the scientists in order to achieve a successful fertilisation using the Spermbots, they believe that “the potential of this novel approach toward assisted reproduction can be already put into perspective with the present work.” The Spermbots could be an alternative strategy to enable couples to conceive without in vitro fertilisation, where eggs have to be removed and fertilised in a dish.
The study with the title “Cellular Cargo Delivery: Toward Assisted Fertilisation by Sperm-Carrying Micromotors” was published in ACS Publications Nano Letters.