At a time when more than half of male infertility cannot be explained by current methods, a new test is able to measure male fertility, according to researchers at Cornell University. The proprietary Cap-Score Male Fertility Assay is based on research patented by the Travis lab at the Baker Institute for Animal Health and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and was recently the subject of a study that appeared 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, director of Cornell’s new Master of Public Health program, as well as co-founder and chief scientific officer of the company that developed the test.
This marks a major improvement over semen analysis, the standard diagnostic tool for male infertility for more than five decades, Travis says. Its descriptive nature fails to explain the causes of infertility or predict whether sperm will actually fertilize an egg.
The Cap-Score, on the other hand, quantifies “capacitation,” the changes that take place within a sperm cell that enable it to fertilize.
“This new ability to diagnose a man’s fertility status and ability to generate a pregnancy will let doctors counsel their patients toward a personalized journey to parenthood, using the approaches most appropriate for them,” Travis said. He hopes such targeted treatments will save couples time, emotional distress and money. This is especially important for patients who are attempting to get pregnant later in life, when conception rates are reduced.