A new test developed by Androvia LifeSciences, called a Cap-Score, may help predict whether or not a man’s sperm is able to fertilize an egg. The Cap-Score was developed by the Travis lab at the Baker Institute for Animal Health and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, who recently published their Cap-Score data in the journal Molecular Reproduction and Development.
“Out of all the tests commonly used to measure sperm, the Cap-Score is the only one that prospectively has been shown to indicate the probability of a man to generate a pregnancy,” said Dr. Alexander Travis, professor of reproductive biology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Androvia’s co-founder and chief scientific officer.
The Cap-Score uses fluorescent microscopy to distinguish fertile from infertile sperm cells. It quantifies capacitation, which are the changes that take place within a sperm cell that enable it to fertilize an egg.
The recent study that was published in the journal Molecular Reproduction and Development, looked at the semen samples of 208 men who were having medical evaluations due to questions regarding their fertility. Both a standard semen analysis and a Cap-Score was run on all samples. Clinical outcomes were later available for 91 of those men.
Men with normal Cap-Scores had a 2.78-fold higher chance of pregnancy than men with low Cap-Scores. Men with normal Cap-Scores also had a 4.23-fold higher success rate at conceiving a pregnancy in their first attempt with intrauterine insemination.
Cap-Score testing is not yet available clinically. Once the test is available to more centers though, it will be interesting to see what the larger pool of data shows. Based on the results of only 91 men, it’s hard to know if the test would really be helpful for the general population. We can certainly be hopeful though.
For couples who are struggling to conceive, male infertility has been found to be the sole cause 20-30 percent of the time and contributes to 50% of cases overall. Having an additional test besides a semen analysis may help physicians better tailor fertility treatment to give couples the best chance of success at achieving a pregnancy.