Crocodiles provide useful info about human sperm motility
Crocodile sperm behaviour is providing useful information about human sperm motility and maturation. According to studies, the sperm of the Australian saltwater crocodile continues to mature outside the testicles similarly to human sperm.
“Human sperm only becomes fully mature and capable of fertilizing an egg during its journey through and interaction with the female genital tract, so its ability to make that journey or ‘swim’ is crucial.” Therefore learning ways to improve a sperm’s ability to swim to fertilise an egg is hoped to be of help in human assisted reproduction methods.
One in 20 human males are thought to have fertility issues. However, only 1 in 100 are not able to produce any sperm at all. Most people are aware of the importance of having an adequate sperm count. Generally the higher the sperm count the better. With the clients I work with, improving sperm count significantly is associated with increased chance of conception even when the percentage of sperm with good morphology (shape) is low.
Sperm morphology, or shape, is more stubborn to change than sperm count and motility. Sometimes I see semen analysis’ that don’t report sperm morphology, yet this is significant information to have. The morphology of a sperm has significant impact on its ability to move forward towards an egg. Once it meets an egg, sperm also need good morphology in order to be able to penetrate it.
Usually when I work with clients I expect to see significant improvement in both sperm count and motility within about a 3 month period. Even if a morphology report shows only 2% good morphology, if the sperm count and motility improve significantly, that 2% still represents availability of a greater number of actual viable sperm.
Now, from studying the crocodile sperm, researchers have identified that activation of specific proteins has a critical influence on human sperm motility. Researchers now hope the findings associated with saltwater crocodile sperm, will help them study the activation of key proteins related to the motility of the human sperm more comprehensively. In particular, they are interested in how they can manipulate these proteins to increase a sperms ability to swim and fertilise an egg.