Researchers from the University of Adelaide and medical technology company Fertilis have developed a new micro-device (main image) to streamline the only fertility treatment procedure available for men with low sperm count.
The first-of-its-kind device will allow more IVF clinics to offer intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which involves injecting a single sperm into an egg for fertilization, as a treatment.
In addition to streamlining the slow and difficult procedure of ICSI, other IVF procedures, such as embryo culture, embryo cryopreservation and in vitro maturation, will also be enhanced through the use of the device. .
The new technology – smaller than a pinhead – can hold up to 10 eggs in separate positions for faster injection, making it easier for embryologists to keep track and avoiding the risk of errors.
Dr Kylie Dunning (pictured below) of the university’s Robinson Research Institute said the device will cut treatment time in half, require less training for embryologists with less expensive equipment than current ICSI treatment and will improve access to the procedure for more patients.
Dr Dunning said: “The development of this innovative new approach is an important breakthrough for people wishing to start a family who have been unable to do so due to male factor infertility.
“This discovery removes significant barriers to treating infertile people and will improve the success of IVF.”
The new device removes the need for the pipette that normally holds the unfertilized egg in position during ICSI, simplifies the injection process, reduces reliance on a high level of technical experience and will dramatically improve embryo production .
The device’s inventor and co-founder of Fertilis, Professor Jeremy Thompson, said his company was delighted to bring the revolutionary device to market.
Prof Thompson said: ‘Where the science of IVF has excelled, the technology has tended to stagnate – until now.
“ICSI has not changed since its discovery 30 years ago.
“Continued innovation in the IVF lab like this is the only way to increase success and reduce the financial and emotional burden on patients.”
The device will undergo global clinical trials in 2022.
Photo: Adekaide University: device and Dr Kylie Dunning
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