Researchers at Cardiff University's School of Medicine have found a way of increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy even though the male partner is suffering from infertility.
The researchers said that adding an active protein to human sperm could improve male fertility and thus increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. The protein, known as PLC-zeta (PLCz), is transferred to the egg during fertilization, researchers led by Professors Tony Lai and Karl Swann found.
This protein then appears to activate the egg, leading to fertilization and initiation of the development of an embryo.
"We know that some men are infertile because their sperm fail to activate eggs. Even though their sperm fuses with the egg, nothing happens," said Professor Lai. "These sperm may lack a proper functioning version of PLCz, which is essential to trigger the next stage in becoming pregnant."