Male students at one of the UK’s top universities are being offered £75 worth of Amazon voucher for their sperm.
Fliers are being handed out around a campus asking for cash strapped male volunteers to make their self-made donations as part of a trial run by the University of Sheffield – and are being rewarded with vouchers for the popular online retailer.
The study needs male volunteers aged between 18-30 who are available for 12 weeks between April and July to consume lycopene, the red pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits, whilst donating semen samples.
Trial researchers hope to discover whether lycopene has a positive effect on participants’ sperm.
Scientists say a nutrient found in the “tomato pill” could supercharge sperm by up to 70 per cent and offer new hope to childless couples.
In other studies, lycopene has been suggested as a possible treatment for male infertility.
This is because the antioxidant properties of lycopene counteract the damage inflicted on sperm caused by oxidative stress.
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Professor Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield, one of Britain’s leading experts on male factor infertility, is recruiting 60 healthy male students and university staff to take part in the three-month study.
“There is enough evidence out there to indicate this study is worth doing and I am cautiously optimistic. If it works in the volunteers we would then consider testing it in infertile patients.
“Production of sperm takes three months. This study will tell us if lycopene improves the quality of sperm already in development by reducing DNA damage, and whether it produces an overall increase in the number of mature sperm produced overall.”