Midjourey AI's representation of fertilization
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Male infertility, affecting seven percent of the global male populace, may soon be a treatable condition with the advent of AI. SpermSearch, a groundbreaking AI system, has the potential to identify healthy sperm in samples from severely infertile men 1,000 times faster than a human expert.

  • AI can help tackle male infertility.
  • SpermSearch can find healthy healthy sperm in a matter of seconds.
  • Other technologies are providing insights into the quality of sperm.

Developed by Dr. Steven Vasilescu and his team, the AI software is designed to assist men with non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA), a condition without sperm in the ejaculate. This technology analyses photos of tissue samples, locating viable sperm in seconds instead of the hours it takes for manual searches. SpermSearch aims to assist rather than replace embryologists, enhancing efficiency and accuracy within the fertility field. The technology is in its proof-of-concept stage, with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) team planning clinical trials to verify its efficacy.

Speed is of the essence

The speed of finding sperm is critical in fertility treatments, with a small window of opportunity for fertilization after egg collection. SpermSearch’s ability to find viable sperm in a fraction of the time it takes a highly trained human is, therefore, highly beneficial. During tests, SpermSearch was found to be 1,000 times faster than an experienced embryologist, providing a significant advantage in the crucial race against time.

Addressing a growing issue

Male infertility is becoming increasingly prevalent, with sperm counts declining by half over the past four decades. Factors contributing to this decline include pollution, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress. Developing AI tools like SpermSearch is therefore not only innovative but also necessary in tackling this growing issue.

Other fertility tech developments

Alongside SpermSearch, other technologies are being developed to combat male infertility. One such technology is imaging software that tracks the speed and health of sperm tails, providing valuable insights into the quality of the sperm sample. Another technique, single cell gel electrophoresis, helps identify DNA damage in individual sperm.

The future of fertility treatment

While the application of AI in fertility treatment is promising, it is still in the initial stages. The proof-of-concept for SpermSearch may take several years to become commercially available. However, the aim of this AI technology is to improve the efficiency and accuracy of embryologists, thereby increasing the chances of men fathering their own biological children.

Despite the groundbreaking potential of SpermSearch, it is essential to note that the application of AI in fertility treatment may not be suitable for all cases of male infertility. However, with the UTS team planning to conduct clinical trials, there is hope for an actual live pregnancy with the assistance of their AI system in the near future.

Overcoming infertility: a step forward

AI’s potential to revolutionize fertility treatment is vast. From speeding up the process of identifying healthy sperm to providing insights into sperm health, AI tools like SpermSearch are giving hope for men struggling with infertility. As we move forward, the continued development and application of such technologies will undoubtedly play a crucial role in overcoming fertility challenges and helping more couples achieve their dreams of parenthood.