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Friends share closer genetics than strangers

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in hba, ICSI, picsi | 0 comments

Friends share closer genetics than strangers

22 January 2018 By Elizabeth Oliver Appeared in BioNews 934 We are more likely to share genetic similarities with our friends than with strangers because of our social structure, a new study has found. Not only do friends tend to be genetically closer than strangers, they are on average two-thirds as similar to each other as the average married couple, according to a study published in PNAS. Past research has suggested a likeness between the genome of spouses and adult friends but why or how this happens has been unclear. One explanation underlying these genetic similarities may be social homophily, whereby individuals are drawn to one another based on shared characteristics such as social background or physical traits, for example height or weight, which themselves can be shaped by genetics. Another cause may be social structuring the authors write, the idea that people form friendships due to a shared social environment, which again can be traced back to genetics. To examine this further, scientists from Stanford, Duke and the University of Wisconsin studied social and genomic data from 5500 American adolescents collected during the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. When analysing the genome of schoolmates, the scientists demonstrated that classmates were half as genetically similar as friends and significantly more similar than unaffiliated individuals. The researchers further revealed that socially affected traits, such as body mass index and educational attainment, were more similar than traits that weren’t influenced so much by social enviroment, such as height. So people weren’t necessarily subconsiously seeking out friends who are genetically like them, but rather they tend to be surrounded by people of similar genetics because of where they live and the circles they move in, and that’s where they make friends. Speaking to Time, lead author Dr Benjamin Domingue at Stanford University concluded that a shared environment and background is likely to be the main factor underlying the genetic likeness observed. ‘Are individuals actively selecting to be around people who are like them, or it is due to impersonal forces, such as social structures, that we all are affected by? Our evidence, with respect to friends, suggests that it’s largely the effect of social structures,’ he said. The authors add that social homophily and social structuring are not mutually exclusive and may complement one another. Professor Kathleen Mullen Harris, fellow author and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, suggests careful consideration of this ‘social genome’ in future social science research. ‘Geneticists need to pay attention to the social context when they’re estimating genetic influences on [traits] like education attainment,’ she said. ‘It’s important to pay attention to these shared genetic effects that we speculate are really due to social...

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Forget Pot-The Legal Issue Out of CO Is Babies!

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in ICSI, Male Factor, picsi | 0 comments

Forget Pot-The Legal Issue Out of CO Is Babies!

By ELLEN TRACHMAN Jan 10, 2018 at 2:42 PM https://abovethelaw.com/   In this case, the Colorado Supreme Court will decide what to do with the ‘leftover’ frozen embryos of two feuding exes.   It’s like a nerd Christmas! Yesterday, the Colorado Supreme Court heard oral argument in the hotly contested Rooks matter. That case involves what to do with “leftover” frozen embryos, and pits two feuding exes against one another. The ex-wife wants to use the couple’s remaining cryopreserved embryos to conceive another child, despite the marriage being over. As you can guess, her ex-husband wants no part of that. Adding to the nerd excitement, this was the first case argued before the newly appointed Colorado Supreme Court Justice Melissa Hart, an acclaimed constitutional scholar. Hart took the seat of the previous Justice, Allison Eid, who herself had recently taken Justice Neil Gorsuch’s old spot on the Tenth Circuit. Hart is known for her previous liberal political activities, but also throws significant love to the Colorado Federalist Society chapter. So her debut yesterday was eagerly anticipated by nerdy court watchers. Recap.  If this case feels like deja vu, it’s because I’ve written about it before. As a reminder, the facts involve Mandy and Drake Rooks, a once-married couple who underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to have children. With the help of modern technology, the couple grew their family by three kiddos. First a singleton boy, and then twins. However, Mrs. Rooks argues that Mr. Rooks promised her unequivocally that they would have a big family, and that meant more than a mere three children. The couple divorced, and a divorce court was left with the job of deciding who would receive rights to their remaining six cryopreserved embryos. While medical consent forms between the parties are generally helpful in these situations, in this case, the Rooks’s medical consent form specifically noted that in a case of divorce … the court would decide. Take note, lawyers. That kind of clause isn’t helpful. The trial court found that Mr. Rooks’s interest in not having more genetic children with Mrs. Rooks was persuasive, and awarded the embryos to him for the purposes of destruction.  On appeal, the Colorado Court of Appeals, following a balancing of interests approach, again ruled in favor of Mr. Rooks. So now it’s the Colorado Supreme Court’s turn. For Procreation. Katayoun Donnelly is the attorney for Mrs. Rooks, and she’s like, really smart, but in an actual way. She understands that the legal rights to genetic material are becoming increasingly complex in our technologically evolving world of genetic donors, surrogates, and cryopreservation. Is IVF Like Having Sex? However, Donnelly reaches a conclusion that I still don’t find compelling.  She contends that once someone agrees to IVF, and for his or her genetic material to be used to form embryos, then whoever (among the genetic contributors) wants to use those embryos has an overriding interest that outweighs the objections of a genetic contributor who wants to not procreate. Finders, keepers, judgment entered, mic drop. In support of the argument, she analogizes agreeing to IVF to choosing to have sexual intercourse. She argues that once someone is pregnant, the genetic contributor (the dude who accidentally impregnated a woman) can’t object to the child being born. And here, because Mr. Rooks agreed to have his genetic material used...

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How does sperm motility affect fertility?

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in hba, HBA-PICSI, ICSI, picsi | 0 comments

How does sperm motility affect fertility?

Last reviewed Mon 27 November 2017 By Amanda Barrell Reviewed by Daniel Murrell, MD www.medicalnewstoday.com/ Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move efficiently. This is important in fertility because sperm need to move through the woman’s reproductive tract to reach and fertilize her egg. Poor sperm motility can be a cause of male factor infertility. What is sperm motility? There are two kinds of sperm motility, referring to the way the individual sperm swim. Progressive motility refers to sperm that are swimming in a mostly straight line or large circles. Non-progressive motility refers to sperm that do not travel in straight lines or that swim in very tight circles. For the sperm to get through the cervical mucus to fertilize a woman’s egg, they need to have progressive motility of at least 25 micrometers a second. Poor sperm motility or asthenozoospermia is diagnosed when less than 32 percent of the sperm are able to move efficiently. How does it affect fertility? Worldwide, around 60 to 80 million couples are affected by infertility, and the rates vary from country to country. In the United States, the rate is thought to be around 10 percent of couples. The figure is based on the definition of infertility as the inability to conceive after 12 months of trying. Male factor infertility is when an issue with the man’s biology makes him unable to impregnate a woman. It accounts for between 40 to 50 percent of infertility cases and affects around 7 percent of men. Male infertility is usually the result of deficiencies in the semen, the most common of which are: low sperm count or oligospermia poor sperm motility abnormal sperm shape or teratospermia Around 90 percent of male infertility issues are caused by low sperm count, but poor sperm motility is an important factor also. Causes of low motility The causes of low sperm motility vary, and many cases are unexplained. Damage to the testicles, which make and store sperm, can impact on the quality of sperm. Common causes of testicle damage include: testicular cancer infection testicular surgery an issue a man is born with undescended testicles injury The long-term use of anabolic steroids can reduce sperm count and motility. Drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine, as well as some herbal remedies, can also affect semen quality. Varicocele, a condition of enlarged veins in the scrotum, has also been associated with low sperm motility. Diagnosis Semen analysis is the most basic and useful test, and it can detect 9 out of 10 men with a fertility problem. The test assesses the formation of the sperm, as well as how they interact in the seminal fluid. The sample is usually collected by masturbation. The man will be asked to abstain from sex for between 2 and 7 days before collecting the sample to increase the volume of semen. It is necessary for the whole ejaculation is be collected in a sterile container to ensure the test results are complete. The sample is usually collected in a private room at the doctor’s office or collection facility, though in some circumstances it can be produced at home. If this is the case, the sample will need to be delivered for analysis within an hour. The sample should not be stored in the fridge, and doctors recommend holding it close to the body during transportation to keep...

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Fertility: Vitamin D may influence success rate

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Fertility Doctor, HBA-PICSI, ICSI, picsi | 0 comments

Fertility: Vitamin D may influence success rate

Published Saturday 18 November 2017 By Tim Newman Fact checked by Jasmin Collier www.medicalnewstoday.com A new meta-analysis has concluded that there is a relationship between a woman’s vitamin D status and the success rate of assisted reproduction therapy. Infertility is a common and distressing issue, and it affects an estimated 6.1 million couples in the United States. That’s around 10 percent of all couples of childbearing age. Over the years, assisted reproduction therapy (ART) — including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and fertility medication — has become much more widespread and its success rates have increased. As an example, depending on the woman’s age and the clinic involved, success rates of IVF in the U.S. range from 13–43 percent. An initial uptick in ART success rates was thanks to improved methods of picking out embryos with the highest chances of survival. But more recently, success rates have started to stagnate. Vitamin D and reproduction Researchers believe that there is room for improvement in ART success rates. A range of potential factors are being explored, and some scientists have turned their attention to the potential role of vitamin D. The vast majority of our vitamin D supply is generated in our skin after exposure to sunlight. This means that individuals who live in colder or darker environments are more susceptible to lower vitamin D levels, as are people with darker skin, those who regularly wear clothes covering the majority of their skin, and those who rarely go outside. A link between vitamin D and fertility has been theorized based on a number of observations. For instance, vitamin D receptors and enzymes have been found in the endometrium. Also, in animal studies, vitamin D deficiency causes poorer fertility and reduced function of the reproductive organs. In humans, vitamin D deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension, gestational diabetes, and lower birth weight. Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, both in the United Kingdom, decided to take a look at existing data to probe the links further. They carried out a meta-analysis, reopening 11 studies including 2,700 women undergoing ART. Their findings are published this week in the journal Human Reproduction. Vitamin D deficiency and lower success rates The featured studies involved women undergoing IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, frozen embryo transfer, or both. All the participants’ vitamin D levels were checked by blood test. Vitamin D concentrations of more than 75 nanomoles per liter of blood were considered as sufficient, under 75 nanomoles per liter of blood as insufficient, and under 50 nanomoles per liter of blood as deficient. The analysis showed that procedures in women with adequate vitamin D levels were one third more likely to lead to live births than in women who were deficient. When the researchers looked at positive pregnancy tests and clinical pregnancies — that is, where a heartbeat can be detected — rather than live births, the results were similar. When compared with women who had insufficient vitamin D concentrations, those with sufficient amounts were 46 percent more likely to have a clinical pregnancy, and 34 percent more likely to have a positive pregnancy test result. The analysis showed no associations between miscarriage and vitamin D concentrations. “One startling finding was the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among these women. We found that only 26 percent of women in...

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What are the best ways to increase sperm count?

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in Fertility Doctor, hba, HBA-PICSI | 0 comments

What are the best ways to increase sperm count?

Last reviewed Tue 14 November 2017 By Jennifer Huizen Reviewed by Daniel Murrell, MD www.medicalnewstoday.com   Sperm count or total sperm count refers to the average total number of sperm present in one sample of semen. Sperm count is one of the several qualities that are assessed during routine semen analysis and is considered an important factor for fertility. Based on the most current World Health Organization guidelines, a healthy sperm count is 15 million per milliliter (ml) or at least 39 million per sample. A sperm count lower than 10 million per ml is considered abnormal and commonly associated with male infertility. Anything that impacts the hormones that control the production of sperm or acts as an anti-oxidant may aid the healthy development of sperm and help improve sperm count. Overall, factors that influence testosterone levels are thought to have the most significant impact on sperm number and quality. Contents of this article: Ways to increase sperm count naturally Foods to improve sperm count Medications to increase sperm count Fast facts on how to increase sperm count: Exercise and sleep have been shown to improve sperm count. The first recommended line of treatment is to try non-pharmacologic remedies. Smoking has long been known to reduce overall health, sperm production, and quality. Men with very low sperm counts may be prescribed medication. Ways to increase sperm count naturally For several decades, researchers have known that sperm quality and fertility rates have been in decline in most Western nations. According to a 2017 study, between 1973 and 2011 the average sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand dropped by 59.3 percent. Despite studies identifying the problem, the reasons for this decline and ways to reliably reverse it are still unknown Several non-pharmacologic remedies have been used by ancient, herbal, and traditional medicines to increase sperm count and overall sperm health for thousands of years. Researchers have shown that most of these remedies influence sperm count in some way. Natural ways to increase sperm count include: 1. Exercise and sleep Several studies have shown that weight loss and exercise in obese and overweight individuals can lead to improved or increased sperm counts. However, the science linking a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) to a healthy sperm count is still weak. A 2017 study found that performing a 16-week aerobic exercise program of at least 50 minutes of moderate exercise at 50 to 65 percent peak heart rate 3 times weekly, increased sperm volume and concentration in 45 sedentary, obese men. 2. Reduce stress Any form of stress can cause the body to take defensive actions and conserve energy. In times of distress, it makes biological sense for the body to become less concerned with reproduction and more focused on surviving. Reducing stress requires addressing the cause, though factors such as exercise and a healthful diet are thought to lessen the effects of stress. For men who are experiencing severe stress, a doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. 3. Stop smoking A 2016 study reviewing the results of over 20 different studies with a total of nearly 6,000 participants found smoking consistently reduced sperm count. 4. Avoid excessive alcohol use and drugs The number of studies exploring the link between sperm health and drugs is limited given ethical considerations. However, some researchers have linked the worldwide use of drugs such as alcohol, marijuana,...

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Male infertility care ‘insensitive’ says survey

Posted by on Nov 10, 2017 in Fertility Doctor, hba, Male Factor, picsi | 0 comments

Male infertility care ‘insensitive’ says survey

06 November 2017 By Lea Goetz Appeared in BioNews 925 http://www.bionews.org.uk/   Men with infertility experience stigmatization and a lack of support, a first survey on the subject found. In spite of male infertility being the cause in 40 percent of cases of couples who can’t conceive, fertility care is often ‘female-focused’ according to the charity Fertility Network UK, which carried out the study with researchers at Leeds Beckett University. ‘Men are half of the fertility equation; when they cannot create the family they long for without medical help they suffer and struggle physically and mentally just as women do,’ said Susan Seenan, chief executive of the charity. Of the 41 men completing the survey, about half had a diagnosis of male infertility. However, only 39 percent had sought support, feeling unable to talk to their partners, family and friends. On average, they had been trying to conceive for five years, and 93 percent reported that this had affected their well being. Men said they felt worthless or ‘less of a man’. ‘Fertility and fatherhood are really important traditionally for men and masculinity, so men’s identity and self-esteem is deeply affected by the process of infertility,’ said study author Professor Brendan Gough at Leeds Beckett. With infertility treatments based around women, men felt marginalised. ‘The whole experience has been focused towards my wife… even consultants’ letters about my genitalia are addressed to my wife,’ said one man. Furthermore, men reported that their infertility was not being treated like other medical conditions, and that they had encountered ‘rude’ and ‘insensitive’ healthcare professionals. ‘It’s still quite a taboo subject – made even worse when you’re made to feel like you’re wasting NHS time and resources,’ Gareth Down, a patient who started a support group, told the BBC. The men said they want to see a change in how society views fertility issues. ‘In light of the findings from the study, we really need to think more about how men might be supported better when they’re going through infertility so that they’re able to access the advice and information they might need,’ said Dr Esmée Hanna, one of the team at Leeds...

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Sleep Duration Linked to Sperm Structure

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in Fertility Doctor, hba, HBA-PICSI, picsi | 0 comments

Sleep Duration Linked to Sperm Structure

23 October 2017 By Taqdeer Sidhu Appeared in BioNews 923   Sleep duration is associated with sperm integrity, according to a recent study in China. Researchers analysed sperm and sleep duration in 796 male volunteers from local colleges between 2013 to 2015. ‘This is new information after our previous finding that sleep duration has an inverse U-shaped association with semen volume and total sperm count,’ said Dr Jia Cao of Third Military Medical University (TMMU) in Chongqing, China, and co-author of the study. Previous research in 2016 had shown a relationship between sleep duration and sperm count and semen volume, which were highest in volunteers that had between 7 – 7.5 hours of sleep per day. Participants who had longer or shorter sleep showed lower count and semen volume. The latest study from TMMU used the same population of volunteers to observe the relationship between high DNA stainability (HDS) in sperm and sleep duration. HDS is used as an indicator for the maturity of sperm chromatin; a high HDS index indicates immature chromatin in sperm, which has previously been linked to low motility. Volunteers answered a questionnaire on sleep duration of volunteers and provided semen samples. HDS was highest in volunteers that had between 7 – 7.5 hours of sleep per day, meaning they had the highest proportion of chromatin-immature sperm. But volunteers who had over 9 hours of sleep, or 6.5 hours or less, showed a decrease in HDS of nearly 41 percent and 30.3 percent, respectively. The researchers say their findings highlight the complex relationship between sleep duration and male reproductive health, and further research is needed to explore this relationship. The study was published in the Journal of Sleep...

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Human sperm maturation study may hold insights

Posted by on Oct 20, 2017 in Fertility Doctor, ICSI, picsi | 0 comments

Human sperm maturation study may hold insights

09 October 2017 By Shaoni Bhattacharya Appeared in BioNews 921 http://www.bionews.org.uk/   Researchers hope that a study detailing the four stages of human sperm stem cell development may shed light on infertility and certain cancers. The study is the first to look at sperm stem cell maturation specifically in humans, says the study team. ‘This information yields new insights into how sperm stem cells function and develop under normal circumstances,’ said Dr Bradley Cairns, lead study author at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. ‘We have built a very important framework we can now use to help us understand what happens when things go wrong, resulting in issues like infertility and cancer in men.’ The team examined the gene expression profile of sperm stem cells during development. They identified four distinct phases: starting with a ‘quiescent’ state, to a ‘proliferation’ state when stem cells divide, to a ‘differentiation’ state when they mature to become sperm. Most notably the study found distinct transitions in factors that influenced the different cellular states including cell cycle regulators, transcription factors, and signalling factors. The researchers suggest their findings may also help in the understanding of certain cancers. For example, men with infertility are at higher risk of testicular and prostate cancers. ‘Our study sheds new light on how genes normally function in sperm stem cells,’ said Dr Cairns. ‘The next steps will be to use this knowledge to better understand what changes happen when sperm stem cells don’t develop normally and instead convert into cancer cells.’ The findings were published in Cell Stem...

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Facts about sperm health and lifespan

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in hba, HBA-PICSI, ICSI, picsi | 0 comments

Facts about sperm health and lifespan

By Nicole Galan Reviewed by Judith Marcin, MD www.medicalnewstoday.com Sperm cells cannot survive for long once they are exposed to the air outside of the body. Precisely how long they can survive depends on the environment that they are released into and how quickly the fluid surrounding the sperm cells dries up. Read on for the answers to some common questions about sperm and sperm survival. Sperm lifespan inside the female body After ejaculation, sperm can live inside the female body for around 5 days. The fluid in a woman’s reproductive tract has all of the nutrients that sperm need for their survival during that time. Once inside the female reproductive tract, the sperm cells must swim through the cervix and into the uterus to reach the fallopian tubes and female egg. It is a very long journey for sperm cells to make and very few survive. Does the withdrawal method work? The withdrawal method, or when the male “pulls out” of the female before ejaculation, is notoriously unreliable. Before ejaculation occurs, a small amount of semen, also known as “pre-cum,” leaves the penis. There is some debate as to whether this fluid contains sperm cells. Until researchers are sure, it is best to assume that pregnancy is possible if this fluid comes into contact with a woman’s vagina. According to Planned Parenthood, if the withdrawal method is performed correctly 100 percent of the time, it is about 96 percent effective. However, most people are not able to perform it correctly every time, making the actual effectiveness somewhere around 78 percent. This means that each year, 22 out of 100 women using this method will get pregnant, or around 1 in 5. Withdrawal is more effective when combined with other methods of contraception, such as male or female condoms or spermicide. When using this method, it is also essential to make sure that ejaculation occurs away from the vaginal opening. It is still possible for pregnancy to happen if the sperm spills onto the vagina or vulva. How long do sperm live in a hot tub? In the hot tub, sperm cells do not live for very long at all. The sperm cannot survive for longer than a few seconds after being exposed to the chemicals and hot water. Pregnancy from someone ejaculating into a hot tub would be very rare and likely not even possible. In a warm bath that was not too hot, sperm cells could likely survive for a few minutes. However, it is very unlikely that sperm would be able to find their way through the tub water and into the vagina of a female. Pregnancy occurring in this manner would also be very difficult, if not impossible. However, if a couple were having intercourse in the water, pregnancy would be just as likely because the sperm would enter directly into the female reproductive tract. The outside temperature and physical environment would not have any impact on sperm survival. How long can sperm survive if frozen? Scientists believe that sperm cells can survive indefinitely once they are frozen, as long as the temperature remains stable. At such a low temperature (-196°C), the sperm cells are in a type of suspended animation, which means that all of their essential functions have completely stopped. Men freeze sperm for a variety of reasons. Many do...

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How To Get Your Fertility Specialist Involved!

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in biocoat | 0 comments

How To Get Your Fertility Specialist Involved!

Download the PDF, email it to your Fertility Specialist, or print it and hand deliver it. You may request they use HBA® and PICSI® for your semen analysis and or ICSI procedure right away!...

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