Narrator: This is Science Today. There's new hope for men who were once told they could not father children because they had non-moving, or "dead" sperm. Dr. Paul Turek a male fertility specialist at the University of California, San Francisco has developed a test to determine whether or not non-moving sperm are actually alive.
Turek: The basis for the test is basically high school biology, which is osmosis, which is how water goes from one space to another through cell membranes and every cell acts the same way when you put into special solutions of fluid.
Narrator: Turek bathes the sperm in a sugar water solution, which causes the living sperm to absorb water and swell.
Turek: So, this test just identifies a living sperm and a living sperm is our minimum requirement to use it in couples with the high technology to achieve a pregnancy, which involves a test tube baby, basically, so it's not for everybody.
Narrator: The recent birth of a baby boy to a San Francisco couple marked the first nationwide success using the sperm swelling test. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.