Making immotile sperm motile using high-frequency ultrasound

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Sperm motility is a natural selection with a crucial role in both natural and assisted reproduction. Common methods for increasing sperm motility are by using chemicals that cause embryotoxicity, and the multistep washing requirements of these methods lead to sperm DNA damage. We propose a rapid and noninvasive mechanotherapy approach for increasing the motility of human sperm cells by using ultrasound operating at 800 mW and 40 MHz. Single-cell analysis of sperm cells, facilitated by droplet microfluidics, shows that exposure to ultrasound leads to up to 266% boost to motility parameters of relatively immotile sperm, and as a result, 72% of these immotile sperm are graded as progressive after exposure, with a swimming velocity greater than 5 micrometer per second. These promising results offer a rapid and noninvasive clinical method for improving the motility of sperm cells in the most challenging assisted reproduction cases to replace intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with less invasive treatments and to improve assisted reproduction outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalScience Advances
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2024

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