Overcoming Infertility Using Spermbots
Fertility is the ability of the male and female to reproduce and the failure to reproduce is referred as infertility. According to World Health Organization (WHO) there are 2 types of infertilities named as primary infertility and the secondary infertility. Primary infertility is the complete loss of either sperm or egg and as a result there is fertility, it ranges from 2 to 5%. Secondary infertility on the other hand, is the indication of bringing an end to further fertility or embryo production and its prevalence is 20% all around the world. Globally it is difficult to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary infertility. The rate of infertility varies among men and women and countries as well. For example, infertility in men is >10% and 15%, 15% and >21% in Switzerland, and among women in Norway, Romania, Ukraine infertility has been between 5 to 8%, 10% in Sweden and Canada. Pakistan has a population growth rate of 25% each year and has the high infertility rate, that is 21.9%, 3.5% primary and 18.4% secondary.
Normally the success of fertilization depends on:
- Intercourse during fertile period and
- The good quality of semen.
These 2 factor increases the chances of pregnancy up to 20%.
Causes of Infertility:
Unknown or unexplained causes of infertility are 28%. Antibodies against sperms (Coital factor) constitute 5%.
- Male factors (23%):
- Low quality sperms: it includes sperm count, sperm motility and morphology.
- Hormonal abnormalities due to drugs and diseases.
- Chromosomal abnormalities.
- Failure of testicular descent during fetal development.
- Prostate cancer.
- Veins dilation in scrotum.
- Defect in hormone receptors.
- Smoking, infection, toxins and environmental hazards.
- Female factor (44%):
- Decreased ovulation.
- Pelvic adhesion due to disease or infection.
- Blockage of fallopian tubes.
- Cervical infection.
Some of the preventive measures for both types of infertility causes are available which are as follows:
- Have regular intercourse during fertile period.
- Improve body weight.
- Start having children before 35.
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid caffeine intake.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Limit the number sexual partners.
Nanotechnology being an emerging field of science has played a major role in providing many different measures for cancer eradication. Now with the effort of researchers, this field of nanotechnology can be helpful in the future to overcome infertility problems.
In the Newsletter published on 21 December 2015 the work on nanotechnology of sperms has been presented which was done by researchers of German institute. Researchers have provided a strategy to overcome the problem of low quality sperms. Most important male factor of infertility is low quality sperm production; these low quality sperms generally cannot swim properly through the uterus and thus degenerate or die before reaching the egg. By using nanotechnology, researchers of the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences, Dresden in Germany have created micromotors for improving sperm motility. Normally a sperm has shape consisting of head, head cap (acrosome), a tail and an end piece.
The researchers of Germany used metal-coated polymer microhelices wrapped around sperm tail to enhance the motility of sperm and they got satisfying results regarding enhanced sperm motion by microhelices and fertilization of egg by spermbot in the laboratory. But a major limitation of spermbots is their replication and sustainability in the human body. This idea of spermbots could be more helpful for infertile couples in the future.
Jazib Ali, Saad Ullah, Ali Raza, Umer Nadeem, Ahtasham-ul-Hassan.
Students of Biotechnology,
Department of Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology,
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad