Robot Sperm? Yes, This Could Be A Thing

Babies of the future could be created using remotely controlled cyborg sperm robots. Yes, you read that correctly.

Researchers from Germany's Institute for Integrative Nanosciences at IFW Dresden have successfully developed and tested magnetically powered robotic suits that strap onto individual sperm. Researchers can then guide the spermbot to its intended destination (an egg, of course).

These robosperm solve a very important, and common, infertility issue: sperm with poor mobility. Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are techniques used now to treat the issue, but they're both expensive, and have a high failure rate — in the U.K., 30% of such procedures end up succeeding. So instead of using the spray-and-pray approach that evolution has gifted us, scientists vastly increase the chances of one single sperm reaching its target egg by steering it straight there themselves.
Advertisement
The process can take place inside a woman (in an MRI machine), or in a Petri dish (as seen above). How it works is that researchers coat the sperm in microscopic metal polymers shaped into a helix, which are then controlled using a rotating magnetic field. By adjusting the direction of this field, they can control the sperm's movement. We assume that once the sperm is firmly implanted, the researchers can then drive its motor back out the way it came, or the materials get broken up and absorbed by the body.

The whole process sounds so simple — we use robots to navigate in all sorts of other "difficult" environments (disaster recovery, Mars), why not the most mysterious and troublesome of them all, the human female uterus?
Advertisement