Most cases of infertility in men are caused by sperm that can’t swim fast enough to reach the egg, and while there are some alternative methods of fertilization that can get around this problem, they have a high rate of failure. Alternatives aren’t the same as solutions, however, which is why it’s such a big deal that a group of German researchers may have found an actual solution to the problem of male infertility, one that involves wrapping minuscule spermbots around the slow-moving sperm in order to propel them towards the egg.
In almost half of couples who are struggling to have a baby, the male partner plays a role in the infertility — and one of the main causes of infertility in men includes sperm that might not swim well enough to make their way to an egg. Now, researchers in Germany have found a way to use tiny robots to help sperm swim more quickly and efficiently. A video (above) released by the American Chemical Society describes how “spermbots” could someday lead to a novel treatment for male infertility. The “spermbots” are actually micro metal motors that can wrap around a sperm cell and help propel it to an egg, according to a new study published in the journal Nano Letters on Wednesday. The researchers found that the movements of bot, which were tested in a petri dish, can be remote-controlled from outside the body with the help of a magnetic field. As Dr. Eric Diller, a mechanical engineer at the University of Toronto in Canada who was not involved in the study, told New Scientist, “This type of hybrid approach could lead the way in making efficient robotic micro-systems.”
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