Texas scientists have managed to capture the moment when life begins. It turns out that it is marked with a spark. During the first contact of the oocyte with the sperm cell, zinc ions are released that makes this glow. Scientists managed to record this event using fluorescent labels.
Until recently, experts conducted similar experiments on animals. Now, for the first time, it was possible to fix the luminescence of a human oocyte during contact with a sperm cell. Scientists suggest that by the intensity of the glow, and, accordingly, the release of zinc, we can learn to determine which of the oocyte is the most suitable for fertilization. The new technology is designed to help doctors involved in assisted reproductive technologies.
The discovery was commented by Teresa Woodruff, a professor at Northwestern University (Chicago, USA), one of the authors of this study, a leading specialist in the field of ovarian physiology. “A little less than ten years ago, for the first time, it was possible to detect the luminescence of oocytes in mice,” says Teresa Woodruff, “It was very exciting to observe it. It is so symbolic that a new life begins with a spark! We hope that in the future our method will be used for the most suitable egg for fertilization. "This method has never been used in practical and reproductive medicine for sorting of biological material before."
Nowadays, only a few clinics in the course of artificial fertilization procedures manage to achieve a success rate of more than 50%. According to experts, the reason for this percentage of success is the poor quality of the eggs and deviations of their genotype.
Until recently, not a single ovum selection technique has produced the desirable result. Most embryologists select oocytes only by morphological characteristics. The doctor evaluates the external characteristics, determines whether the structure of the zygote is not altered, and if he finds it visually healthy, the cell is used for subsequent in vitro fertilization. However, this selection method does not always lead to success. Using a new method for evaluating the quality of an oocyte, reproductive specialists have the opportunity to select the highest quality germ cells, which can significantly increase the percentage of effective implantations.
The global medical community highly assessed the possibilities of this discovery. Enthusiastic reviews were obtained due to the fact that doctors received a simple, cheap and extremely effective method of selecting a female reproductive cell for fertilization and implantation. Until recently, specialists lacked tools for oocyte quality evaluation. It was possible to determine its effectiveness only by the results of fertilization, if the pregnancy started, the oocyte was healthy. Reproductive specialists have the opportunity to presuppose the success of the procedure. The method will increase the effectiveness of artificial fertilization that will make it possible for most procedures to end in pregnancy and will save patients from numbers of attempts and all the undesirable conditions connected with them.