Northern Ireland

QUB breakthrough in male infertility treatment

Sperm
Image caption The breakthrough in male infertility studies came after 10 years of research by QUB's reproductive medicine research group

A new test for male infertility which will save time, money and heartache for couples, has been developed at Queen's University Belfast.

The breakthrough is the result of 10 years research by Professor Sheena Lewis who leads the reproductive medicine research group.

It provides unique data by measuring damaged DNA in individual sperm.

This is used to predict the success of infertility treatments and highlight the treatment most likely to succeed.

Professor Lewis said the SpermComet test would also significantly reduce waiting times and improve chances of conception.

"One in six couples has difficulty in having a family. In 40% of cases, the problems are related to the man," she said.

"Until now, there have been few accurate ways of measuring a man's fertility.

"Good quality sperm DNA is closely associated with getting pregnant and having a healthy baby, and the SpermComet test is the most sensitive test available for sperm DNA testing."

Professor Lewis, in partnership with Queen's venture spin out company, QUBIS, has now set up a new company to market the test, which is already available through fertility clinics in Glasgow, Dublin and Galway.