Monday, May 17, 2010

Sperm motility improved by light waves

In the past, I received a boatload of spam comments indicating that due to the light that embryos are exposed to during the process of IVF, they are significantly harmed. I must say that I didn't read these thoroughly (and assume most were from the same person or organization, since they seemed to originate from India) and wasn't really worried about it since my three IVF children appear to be perfectly normal... What brought back this memory was an article I read in this morning's Haaretz about the ability of visible light waves to significantly improve sperm motility. Researchers from Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba and Bar Ilan University examined sperm motility using a CASA (computer aided semen analysis) device. They exposed the semen to lightwave radiation for three minutes and found that at specific wavelengths (400-700 nanometers) sperm motility improved.

Prof. Adrian Shulman said that if these findings are confirmed in additional studies, it has the ability to improve the results of couples with male factor infertility. The article implies that in fact, in borderline cases, it may eliminate the need to perform ICSI, a more expensive and delicate procedure (which does have very high success rates). They mention current success rates at around 90% - and my guess is that some of the non-successful treatments involve azoospermia (no sperm found), so it would be interesting to hear for exactly what cases this holds promise...

The full article appears here. (The 2nd half of the article looks like random information about IVF in Israel and male factor infertility in general, and is not part of the results they're presenting.)

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