Understanding male fertility can be tricky compared to women’s fertility. Researchers are now coming up with different tests on how to test male fertility and are now working on a microfluidic chip to measure chemotactic response of spermatozoa. With this study, understanding a male’s fertility could be a lot easier, and also help couple’s that are trying to become pregnant.
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Infertility is a growing problem in both males and females, but it is estimated that one in every three cases is due to fertility issues within the male. This could be because of issues such as a low libido, erectile dysfunction, sperm count, sperm motility, and even testosterone levels. Infertility could also depend on genetics, overall health of the male, and even diseases.
The only three ways to access male fertility is just to have a general physical examination, check the medical history of the individual, and to take a semen analysis. Doctors can study the male’s sexual development when the male was in puberty, and ask about other sexual habits, along with studying genetic history of the male. Semen analysis is also good to check the motility of sperm and to look for abnormalities in the shape of the male’s sperm.
Spermatozoa, in simplest terms are male haploid gamete cells that form specifically for the reproduction process in the male body. They are formed through the process of mitosis and meiosis consisting of cell division and reproduction. In a healthy adult male, it takes about 48 days for a spermatozoa to fully and maturely form in the body.
Microfluidic chips are the newest and improved way of accessing and understanding male fertility. They are plastic or hydrogel chips with small channels where liquids can flow through and they study sperm chemotaxis. It is about the size of a postage stamp and upon researching its ability to test a male’s fertility, researchers found that it can also investigate other substances that could help with the male’s sperm guidance, and show the direction that sperm is flowing in to be able to understand the mechanism behind it.
The microfluidic chip helps to measure sperm motility, morphology, and even measure sperm count. It has been proven in multiple studies with its high accuracy, and it is fast and easy to use. It also helps to identify small differences in chemotactic behavior of sperm, meaning that it measures the guidance of sperm and how fast it gets to the oocyte. With the overall research of using the microfluidic chip, it can help understand and be able to access male fertility better than ever before.