London: Have you ever been curious about your sperm count? If so, a home fertility test could be just the right course, say scientists.
An international team, led by University of Twente in
Enschede, the Netherlands, has developed a home test kit -- a
10-centimetre-long "lab-on-a-chip" -- which can well determine
male fertility in just seconds, the `New Scientist` reported.
At present, the male fertility test in a laboratory is
a lengthy process in which ejaculation is submitted within an
hour - which generally precludes men from producing the sample
at home - and once submitted, a manual count is done for the
spermatozoa concentration analysis.
"(But) With our system we overcome these problems,"
Loes Segerink, who led the team, was quoted as saying.
In the kit, the microfluidic chip contains a tiny
channel through which spermatozoa are drawn by pressure flow.
The sample is first doped with a concentration of polystyrene
beads, and as beads and cells are drawn along the channel they
pass between two electrodes, altering electrical impedance.
The chip tallies the electrical perturbations due to
the beads and cells, and comparing bead concentration to that
of the spermatozoa provides the sperm count, the team says.