A research at Ulm University has revealed that diamond slides help sperm to live longer. Discovery could help many couples who resort to in vitro fertilization or IVF. Diamond slides and the use of red light make spermatozoa more active and increase the chances of success.
One of the most critical stages of IVF occurs in polystyrene slides of laboratories. Doctors combine sperm and oocytes. If fertilization succeeds, implant the zygote obtained in the uterus. The problem is that spermatozoa exudes harmful cell molecules, known as free radicals. In the human body free radicals survive very little, but polystyrene creates a film that allows them to survive. Consequently, the sperm suffers the damage of their own free radicals.
Many spermatozoa exposed to polystyrene lose mobility and are unable to fertilize the oocyte. If the sample contains many moving sperm, the damage is contained. If that is not the case, the chances that IVF will drop significantly.
The diamond creates a layer that does not hold free radicals, protecting spermatozoa. The researchers used a thin sheet to cover the inside of the slides. They put human sperm inside and measured mobility, comparing it to that of sperm placed on normal slides. After an hour, diamond slides contained 300% more active spermatozoa than polystyrene ones.
The researchers combined diamond slides with the use of a red light. Previous studies have shown that a particular light increases the energy produced by mitochondria. With the combination, the likelihood of success has further increased.
Additional tests will be required. For the time being, one of the biggest obstacles is the price of diamond slides. It will also be necessary to explore any side effects.