A tiny robot which gives slow sperm a speed boost could help more couples to conceive. Slow-moving sperm is one of the most common problems men have when a couple is trying to conceive. But a tiny corkscrew-like metal helix, which wraps around the tail-end of the sperm, can act like a taxi service. It motors the sperm to the egg, navigating using a magnetic field.
After the sperm is dropped off at the egg, the device – known as a spermbot – leaves. The fertilisation method has been successfully performed in the laboratory at the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Germany. However, while the sperm can be transported to the egg, they have yet to fertilise an egg with it. It could be years before the technique is ready for a full human trial.