The Majority of us Know that a sperm Must race against millions of rivals to Reach the egg, penetrate it, fertilise it and then conceive a baby.
The sperm’s journey is fraught with obstacles, meaning the weaklings fall by The wayside and only the fittest survive to claim the prize of the ovum.
But I had no idea just how fraught that journey was to get a sperm until I read About an intriguing experiment done by researchers from Cornell University in New York.
The obstacle course that sperm face as they rush to fertilise an egg has Been recreated by scientists in a breakthrough that will improve IVF treatments later on.
The research gives us the most detailed image yet of how a woman’s Reproductive system tests the endurance and speed .
It’s just like a salmon which must leap a cascade of waterfalls to reach a spawning ground.
Think Lewis Hamilton in an F1 race staying before Sebastian Vettel.
To succeed, a sperm has to reach a critical velocity to navigate upstream and Avoid being captured in one of a series of bottleneck traps.
Those that fail to achieve speeds of approximately 80 micrometres per second will just Fall by the wayside and die.
The aim of the researchers is to utilize their new knowledge to build a “microfluidic instrument” that would improve the practice of selection of the fittest sperm for IVF treatments.
Between 60 million and 100 million sperm will typically enter the female Reproductive tract in one go, all to fertilise one sole egg.
Given the odds a sperm faces we have assumed the fastest sperm will outswim The rest.
But the research has given us a clearer picture of how the female Reproductive system sorts the men from the boys.
We know some parts of the reproductive tract are just 40 micrometres Wide and also the forces that a three micrometre-long semen must travel against are not constant.
At points it has to navigate those narrow bottlenecks where the forces Against it quickly ramp up.
The walls of the reproductive tract are angled in such a way that when a Sperm approaches these bottlenecks, it’s bounced from side to side and forced back.
A bunch of semen will collect below the barrier and struggle for place.
Only those capable of attaining the greatest rates will push through. The Lazy sperm just can not cut it