British scientists have gained fresh insight into the causes of male infertility that promise to provide new treatments for couples struggling to have children.
Male fertility has been largely overlooked until recently with most treatments requiring women to take medication or undergo expensive and invasive procedures.
Up to half of the problems suffered by couples trying to conceive, however, are due to the man's fertility.
Now research into a key aspect of male fertility - how sperm cells swim - has enabled scientists at the University of Birmingham to identify potential new treatments that can "supercharge" men's reproductive cells.
The scientists have discovered chemical compounds that increase the swimming ability of sperm cells and they believe this can help to boost the number of cells capable of reaching a woman's egg.
They are now using the compounds to develop a new gel they hope will increase the chance of couples conceiving naturally without the need for expensive treatments such as IVF.