We live in amazing times. Case in point, sperm now have their own motorboats. Scientists are now working with a radical new technology to combat fertility issues that allows them to help sperm find the egg by hooking them up with a motor. Yes, we now have “motorized spermbots” to help with conception.
The incredible technology was developed by scientists from the Integrative Nanosciences at the Leibniz Institut für Festkörper und Werkstoffforschung in Germany – or IFW if trying to pronounce it causes you to sprain your tongue – and uses tiny micro-motor helices that fit around the sperm’s tail and then help propel it to the egg. Magnetic fields help allow the motors to be attached to the sperm and then guided towards an egg. After the sperm reaches the egg, scientists are able to reverse the motor to back it off of the sperm.
The technology was first conceived in 2014 and involved sperm inside microscopic tubes made from titanium that were then guided to their destination. The new technology takes the sperm out of the tubes and uses the corkscrew-shaped motor to propel them to their intended destination.
A baby hasn’t yet been conceived via this method, as it’s still very early in its development, but the researchers are positive about their progress. “Despite the fact that there still remain some challenges on the way to achieve successful fertilization with artificially motorized sperms, we believe that the potential of this novel approach toward assisted reproduction can be already put into perspective with the present work,” the researchers explained.
In addition to using the tiny motors with sperm, this also opens up the possibility in the future of using such technology to help other vitamins and medicine reach their desired points of destination in the body.