IN A NUTSHELL
We aim at increasing success rates of in vitro fertilization by providing new technologies for sperm visualization, analysis and selection.
Many couples have to go through various Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) procedures to pregnant.
Many ART procedures are still manual and subjective.
There is a need for an objective technology that could provide the embryologist with greater ability to characterize the morphology and DNA integrity of sperm cells for ART.
The first goal of QART is to significantly improve the Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedure, where a single sperm is selected and carefully injected into a woman’s egg using a micro-needle.
About one dozen sperm cells per fertilization cycle is required to be selected prior to ICSI.
Due to the fact that sperm cells cannot be stained to detect their quality, as stains are toxic, the embryologist is forced to engage in the intense and laborious task of subjectively and manually selecting sperm cells from a large cell pool.
The embryologist is unable to quantitatively characterize 2D and 3D morphology of the sperm cells and is limited to observing only very coarse abnormalities, such as lack of sperm movement, severely deformed cell head, or tail, resulting in less than 65% fertilization rates and only about a 30% rate of clinical pregnancies .
As such, numerous fertility cycle trials are required until a full term pregnancy is achieved.
This involves very high costs, great emotional distress and further medical attention.
The QART solution is based upon a first-in-class, stain-free, real-time 3D imaging system that provides a quantitative topographic map of the sperm morphology and its inner contents.
The system is a compact, stand-alone bench-top clinical workstation.
It is based upon a built-in quantitative phase interferometric microscopy (IPM) imaging microscopy platform, and has a microfluidics sorting stage, all controlled via a simple personal computer.
Per ICSI cycle, a disposable cartridge, containing the semen specimen, is inserted into the workstation.
A quantitative, objective “grade” per stain-free sperm cell, in real time.
Measuring of sperm cell morphological and physiological parameters, verified with consensus criteria, such as World Health Organization (WHO2010) for stained cells, even though staining is not used.
A possibility for automated analysis and sorting of sperm cells based on the quantitative imaging capabilities provided by the system.
Unique sperm 3D Imaging enables measuring individual sperm cell organelles mass and volume.
Enables gaining insight into DNA fragmentation levels.
A disposable element (micro-fluidics) for cell automatic handling and management.