Tag Archives: Infertility treatments

Cell phone risk to sperm supported

An in vitro comparison study has strengthened concerns that electromagnetic radiation from cell phones impairs male fertility.

 Ashok Agarwal (Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, USA) and colleagues set out to validate the implications of recent epidemiologic studies, which reported reductions in sperm motility, morphology, and viability associated with cell phone exposure.

 They studied neat semen samples from 23 normal healthy donors and nine infertility patients. They divided the samples into two aliquots and exposed one of each sample to radiation from cell phones in talk mode, leaving the second aliquot unexposed to serve as controls.

 Analysis revealed significantly lower sperm motility and sperm viability in aliquots of exposed compared with unexposed sperm (49 vs 52 percent and 52 vs 59 percent, respectively).

 Levels of reactive oxygen species were also significantly higher in samples of exposed compared with unexposed sperm (0.11 vs 0.06 x106 cpm/20 million sperm), Agarwal et al report.

 Total antioxidant capacity and levels of DNA damage did not differ significantly between the two groups.

 “We speculate that keeping the cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may negatively affect spermatozoa and impair male fertility,” the researchers conclude.

 Source: Fertility and Sterility 2008; Advance online publication  


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Understanding embryo implantation offers insight

Scientists at the University of Oxford, UK, believe they have identified the way in which embryos implant in the uterus, providing essential information which may be used in the future for infertility treatments and offering hope to thousands of infertile couples. Implantation of an embryo to the lining of the mother’s uterus is an essential process that takes place at an early stage of development. The embryo initially attaches and forms a contact with the uterus lining, which triggers a cascade of signals in both the embryo and the uterus. This allows cells from the embryo to start moving across into the uterus, finding blood vessels in the mother and eventually forming the placenta. Problems in the implantation process can lead to loss of potential pregnancies, even in couples trying to conceive without infertility problems. Current estimates suggest that infertility affects one in seven couples in the UK, with around 32,000 couples seeking infertility treatment each year. It is thought that a significant number of these patients could be infertile as a result of implantation problems.

The team of scientists, led by Professor Helen Mardon from the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Oxford, along with Professor Anne J Ridley at King’s College, London, added embryos to a layer of cells from uterus lining in a culture dish to mimic events in the womb. They were then able to video embryos implanting themselves in the cell layer, allowing the scientists to dissect the molecular processes involved. Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Their investigation led them identify two proteins that are essential players in the implantation process. They are from the Rho GTPase family of proteins, and ensure that cells in a particular part of the uterus lining move out of the way of the ‘invading’ embryonic cells. Professor Mardon said: ‘We have shown that two proteins, called Rac1 and RhoA, control the invasion. The first stimulates cells in the womb lining to move and allow the embryo to invade and implant properly while the second inhibits this. We believe this controlled balance of the two proteins is critical for successful implantation of the embryo. If the balance of RhoGTPases is altered, the cells of the womb lining don’t migrate and the embryo doesn’t implant’.

The findings bring new hope to people with infertility issues. The new information will help the understanding of how this process works, and therefore aid ‘the development of drugs to help embryos implant properly’, said Prof Mardon.

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France: Woman, 59, is oldest mother of triplets

A 59-year-old Frenchwoman has given birth by Caesarian section to two boys and a girl, who are in good health, the Paris hospital treating her said on Monday last.

“Everything went smoothly,” said a spokesman at Cochin hospital where the triplets were born overnight Saturday.

The woman, of Vietnamese origin, is thought to have resorted to a private Vietnamese clinic willing to overlook the age limit for egg donation and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), set at 45 in Vietnam, according to press reports.

Egg donations are authorised in France but most fertility clinics here set a maximum age limit of 42 for would-be mothers.

But nothing prevents couples from seeking fertility treatment abroad and in 2001 a 62-year-old Frenchwoman gave birth to a child conceived through IVF, in the Riviera town of Frejus.

Earlier this year, an Indian woman said to be 70 years old gave birth to twins after receiving IVF treatment.

The baby girl weighed in at 2.42 kilograms (5.34 pounds) as did one brother, while the second boy weighed 2.32 kilograms.

The birth of triplets by a mother in her late 50s was unprecedented in France and possibly a world first.

But the news raised eyebrows among French health professionals concerned that science was pushing the limits of motherhood too far.

“Having children at that age is dangerous in terms of child development,” said child psychiatrist Nicole Garret-Gloanec.

Women of child-bearing age are able to “draw the link between their own childhood and their baby,” she said.

This case raises questions as to “how you can help a child grow, in educational terms and development,” said Dominique Ratia-Armangol, president of the national association of early childhood psychologists.

She said a child born to an older woman can become confused about the role of grandmother and mother.

Garret-Gloanec suggested that the mother’s late-in-life desire to have children was “a denial of ageing and of death.”

“It’s unhealthy, to project onto children your own anxieties about death,” she said.


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Pain relievers and pregnancy : what is safe and what is not

If you’re running a fever or suffering from nasty body aches or headaches, it’s generally considered safe to take products containing paracetamol or acetaminophen. Products containing aspirin or ibuprofen  or naproxen are not recommended to take while pregnant; they can interfere with your baby’s development in the early months and create problems during labor later on.

 When a pregnant woman takes medicine, some types are able to cross the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream. The medicine may then either harm the baby or interfere with its normal development. Different drugs have different effects at particular stages of pregnancy.

Get headaches checked

Headaches happen during pregnancy, just like during the rest of life, and in most cases there’s no worrying cause.

But there are one or two conditions specific to pregnancy which can cause headaches. In particular, an increase in blood pressure linked to pre-eclampsia and eclampsia may cause severe headaches – and this can be a dangerous development. This usually occurs later in the pregnancy than 12 weeks, but if the headaches persist, ensure you get your blood pressure checked.

A few simple rules:

– Always assume all medicine is potentially harmful, and avoid it in pregnancy until you’ve checked it out with a doctor or pharmacist.

– Tell your doctor if you might be pregnant before they give or prescribe any treatment to you.

-If you take regular medicine, tell your doctor as soon as you start to try for a baby.

– Always check with your practitioner before you take medication (prescription, over the counter, or homeopathic), or consult the instruction sheet he or she gave you on your first visit.

Posted by : Goral Gandhi, MSc,

                   Laboratory Director,

                   Rotunda – Center for Human Reproduction (Pvt) Ltd

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