British scientists have found out more about the way sperm move as they try to reach the uterus and then the egg. According to their study, it seems more like they’re ‘crawling’!
Scientists, involved in the joint study by the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham, found that sperm avoid the ‘middle lane’ of the our reproductive tract, ‘crawling’ along the walls instead. It seems they’re not great at turing sharp corners and crash into other sperm and the walls too, reports The Daily Mail.
To study how the sperm behaved in confined spaces the researchers injected the sperm into hair-thin microchannels. They discovered the sharp turns in the channel caused ‘frequent collisions’ as the many of the sperm didn’t turn in time, reports The Daily Mail.
“I couldn’t resist a laugh the first time I saw sperm cells persistently swerving on tight turns and crashing head-on into the opposite wall,” said Dr Peter Denissenko, from Warwick University.
“In basic terms – how do we find the ‘Usain Bolt’ among the millions of sperms in an ejaculate,” said Dr Jackson Kirman-Brown, from Birmingham University. “Through research like this we are learning how the good sperm navigate by sending them through mini-mazes,” he said.
“Previous research from the group indicates that the shape of the sperm head can subtly affect how sperm swim,” said Dr Jackson, “Combined with this data we believe new methods of selecting sperm… may become possible.”
The findings could help pave the way for more effective fertility treatments.