The University of Adelaide, in partnership with medical technology company Fertilis, has delivered a new micro-device to streamline the only fertility treatment procedure available for men with low sperm counts.
IVF clinics to allow Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) treatment, while several IVF procedures, such as embryo culture, embryo cryopreservation and in vitro maturation, will also be improved by using the device.
ICSI is a slow and difficult procedure that involves the injection of a single sperm into an egg for fertilization, and can only be carried out by experienced embryologists.
This new technology – smaller than a pinhead in size – holds up to 10 eggs in segregated positions, making it easier for embryologists to track and avoid the risk of errors.
Lead researcher Dr Kylie Dunning, from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Research Institute, said the device will cut time in half, require less training for embryologists than current ICSI treatment and improve access to the procedure for more patients.
“The development of this new, innovative approach is an important breakthrough for people who want to start a family who have been capable of due to male infertility,” Dr Dunning said.
“By removing the need for the pipette that normally holds the unfertilised egg at ICSI, this device simplifies the injection process, reduces dependency on a high level of technical experience and will dramatically improve embryo production.
“This discovery removes significant barriers to treatment for people with infertility and will improve IVF success.”
Device inventor and Fertilis co-founder, Professor Jeremy Thompson, said his company is excited to bring the breakthrough device to market.
“Where IVF science has excelled, technology has tended to stagnate – until now,” Professor Thompson said.
“ICSI hasn’t changed since its discovery 30 years ago.
The device will undergo global clinical trials in 2022.
This cutting-edge development would not have been possible without the support of the Australian Research Council and The Hospital Research Foundation Group.
Paul Flynn, Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital Research Foundation Group, said the organization has been proud to support Dr Dunning’s research over the past three years to improve IVF success rates.
“This device is set to be a game changer for thousands of hopeful parents who need to rely on ICSI,” Mr Flynn said.
Primary author, Suliman Yagoub, is a PhD candidate in the School of Biomedicine at The University of Adelaide.
Materials provided by University of Adelaide. Original written by Lee Gaskin. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.