New sperm sorting device could help improve IVF success

A new device that sorts and selects healthier sperm in a miniature obstacle course could help increase pregnancy rates in IVF treatment

The device, called the SPARTAN, short for Simple Periodic ARray for Trapping And IsolatioN – is an improvement on traditional sperm-sorting techniques that only select the fastest swimmers.

Created by a partnership of scientists at US Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Stanford University, it uses a 16 mm long obstacle field, the sperm are injected into this and it sorts the stronger from the weaker sperm.

The research could mean that couples going through IVF treatment spend less money as less cycles may be required for a successful outcome.

According to The European Pharmaceutical Review, the sperm-sorting device uses three dimensional posts that create an obstacle course for the sperm to swim through.

The fastest are then collected at the end and used to fertilise the woman’s egg.

Professor Erkan Turzel, the leading scientist on the device invention, said: “With SPARTAN, we not only get sperm with excellent motility, but also with normal morphology and better DNA integrity. This can help families worldwide by reducing the stress of multiple IVF procedures, while potentially increasing pregnancy rates.”

“This could increase patients’ chances of getting pregnant.”


According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 per cent of women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 deal with infertility issues.

In that same age group, 7.3 million American women have used infertility services.

The US National Institute of Health reports that a third of infertility cases are caused by male reproductive issues, while another third are caused by a combination of male and female reproductive issues or unknown causes.


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