For parents-to-be undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) -- the process of joining an egg and a sperm in a petri dish -- using the best sperm of the batch is key to increasing the odds of fertilizing the egg, not to mention getting the job done more efficiently and less expensively. And while today's top tech, called computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA), provides pretty good imagery, the tracking and imaging system is in 2D.
Now, report researchers from Italy and Belgium in the journal Biomedical Optics Express, a new technique for analyzing sperm does so in 3D and over time, allowing for a far clearer view of sperm concentration and motility (i.e. movement).
To accomplish this, the researchers combined microscopy with holography (for creating the images in 3D) to visualize sperm not just in the x and y positions, but also according to their depth (z position). And, because they're able to capture video of sperm movement in 3D, "we add a fourth dimension -- time," lead author Giuseppe Di Caprio, who works at the National Research Council in Italy and Harvard University, said in The Optical Society news release.… Read more