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How do sperm swim?

20 March, 2017

How do sperm swim?

Researchers have published a paper on how individual sperm swim to reach the fallopian tubes.

They found that the head and tail movements of sperm made patterns similar to the fields that form around magnets.

The researchers from the UK and Japan say this helps to propel sperm towards the female egg.

It is hoped that this knowledge could be used to help in treating male infertility in the future.

Dr Hermes Gadelha, one of the researchers, said: ‘You would assume that the jerky movements of the sperm would have a very random impact on the fluid flow around it, making it even more difficult for competing sperm cells to navigate through it, but in fact you see well defined patterns forming in the fluid around the sperm.

‘This suggests that sperm stirs the fluid around in a very coordinated way to achieve locomotion, not too dissimilar to the way in which magnetic fields are formed around magnets. 

‘So, although the fluid drag makes it very difficult for the sperm to make forward motion, it does coordinate with its rhythmic movements to ensure that only a few selected ones achieve forward propulsion.’

The research has been published in Physical Review Letters. For more information, click here.

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