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Our Science

sperm and egg fertilization

The science behind PS Fertility’s testing focuses on limitations of current male sperm analysis which narrowly focuses only on the number and motility of sperm, with no information about the likelihood of fertilization with the egg.

Of course, it’s well known that sexual reproduction requires a productive fusion between the male sperm and female egg. What isn’t as recognized to the general public is that prior to the fusion, a critical step is the proper recognition between specific ligans (molecules) on the sperm and appropriate binding partners on the egg. This step in the fertilization process is the basis of PS Fertility’s testing.

PS Stained sperm illustration

pink dye indicates phosphatidylserine (PS) present on sperm

A breakthrough discovery by researchers at the University of Virginia focused on the phospholipid phosphatidylserine (PS) on viable sperm and PS recognition receptors on eggs, both of which are key players in the fusion of sperm and egg. They found that when PS is flipped to the outside of the sperm, it allows the fusion of sperm and egg. Further research showed that when PS is masked in the interaction between the sperm and egg, fertilization does not occur. This means that by testing for the presence of PS, we can determine the likelihood of the sperm to promote fusion with the egg, resulting in fertilization.

PS Fertility applied this knowledge to a novel male fertility diagnostic tool that tests for the presence of exposed PS, making it possible to gain valuable information about male fertility beyond sperm count and viability. This test gives couples another vital piece of data concerning fertility.

PS Fertility is using this science to provide this testing to couples through convenient and discreet at-home sample collection. These tests have the potential to significantly change the landscape of fertility, providing new treatment options for couples facing fertility issues, leading to increased conceptions and ultimately more births.