Four studies presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Andrology look to change the face of our understanding of male infertility and how it is diagnosed. All four studied capacitation and a new diagnostic to evaluate it. This is the biological process which allows a sperm to pass through the protective layer and fertilize the egg. Without this process, fertilization cannot take place. Researchers focused on this phenomenon as perhaps the reason why semen analysis many times does not isolate the reason for male infertility. Due to this, researchers developed a diagnostic product called The Cap-ScoreTM Sperm Function Test.
This device, created by Androvia LifeSciences, ranks a man’s semen sample against metrics found in the general population among fertile men. In this way, it can isolate differences and help physicians manage male infertility better. The test may be able to tell which couples are best suited for more invasive methods such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Alexander J. Travis, PhD, is an associate professor at Cornell University. He was involved in all four studies.
Dr. Travis said those whose Cap-Scores are normal may be better suited for less invasive procedures. Men with higher Cap-Scores will find that they can save time and stress on unnecessary options, and go for options more likely to work. 122 participants were tested and given their Cap-Scores. A large section of those who were questioning their fertility were found to be infertile or subfertile, and were identified through this diagnostic, meaning that physicians should pay close attention to those men who believe the problem may lie with them. Researchers believe this test can help produce personalized approaches to fertility medicine.
Dr. Travis and colleagues said more accurate testing is the first step toward successful treatment. Since Cap-Score does not track the normal metrics done in traditional semen analysis, this diagnostic is the perfect accompaniment to that test. Though a significant breakthrough, men need to have an inkling that they may have a fertility problem. One way to do so is to look at how long you and your partner have been trying to conceive. If it has been between six months to a year, each person should have their fertility checked out. For the man, a visit to the urologist will help discover whether or not he is the issue.