June 6, 2018
At fertilisation (when a sperm and egg fuse) factors from the sperm cause the egg to begin dividing and developing. This is called egg activation. If there are problems with this process then the sperm is unable to activate an egg or to fertilise the egg in an appropriate way (and thus fertilisation is unsuccessful). We believe that cases of fertilisation failure may be as a result of egg activation problems. We also believe that abnormal sperm size or shape can cause problems with this process.
We want to investigate the particular protein factor, phospholipase C zeta (PLCzeta), found in sperm that is responsible for egg activation and how this protein interacts with other sperm proteins. Some types of male infertility may be due to defects in the structure or function of these. If we know more about these proteins then we may be able to contribute to improvements in treatments for infertile patients in the future.
We ask men who have experienced fertilisation failure to consider donating sperm samples to this project. We also welcome donated samples from men who have fathered a child in the past as we would like their samples for a comparison (control).
This is an ongoing study in collaboration with a team at the University of Oxford.