How Do Sperm Swim?
For conception to occur without medical intervention, sperm cells must be able to swim to the egg. Healthy sperm motility is therefore crucial for couples who are hoping to start a family. In this article we will look at the surprising way that sperm swim, and explore how you can learn more about the motility of your little swimmers at home.
What is Sperm Motility?
Sperm motility refers to the movement of sperm cells. The swimming pattern of a sperm cell should be effective enough to propel it in a forward direction. This is because if sperm cells swim ineffectively, or only swim in small circles, they are unlikely to reach the egg. Although you might picture the tail of the sperm acting in a similar way to the propelling tail of a tadpole, scientists have recently made an incredible discovery about the way that sperm cells swim.
Discovering a Sperm’s Swimming Style
In 2020, scientists in Nevada and Nova Scotia made a remarkable breakthrough regarding the swimming style of the sperm cell. Previously, it had always been assumed that the wafting movement of the sperm tail was symmetrical, therefore propelling the sperm forward. However, the team’s microscopic evidence refuted this. Instead, microscopic laboratory investigations found that sperm tail movement was, in fact, uneven. The movement was likened to paddling a boat with one oar, raising the question of how sperm cells can swim forwards rather than going round in circles. Incredibly, the scientists noted that each sperm cell has a second method of movement. As well as the asymmetrical stroke of the tail, sperm cells also continuously roll through a full 360o to swim. It is thought that the combination of tail beating and 360o rolling prevents sperm from swimming around in a circle. Further research is now underway to better understand sperm motility.
Measure Sperm Motility Automatically
The SQA-Vision from Medical Electronic Systems automatically tests and reports Total Sperm Motility, Progressive Motility, Rapid Progressive Motility, Slow Progressive Motility, and Non Progressive Motility in 75 Seconds. Recommended by Hospitals, Free Standing Labs and Reproductive Centers of Excellence for over 20 years, the entire line of MES products helps customers around the world standardize their procedures, maintain regulatory compliance, and improve patient quality of care affordably and quickly.