Latest Posts

Sperm Tail Discovery Could Improve Fertility Treatments

April 3, 2018 10:09 am

Despite all of the research into fertility and reproduction, surprisingly little is known about the individual cell structures involved. The latest research into this area could lead to improvements in fertility treatments and their success rates. The latest discovery relates to sperm cells and their structure. A new imaging technique called cryogenic electric tomography (cryo-ET for short) allows researchers to see cells in 3D – this gives them unprecedented insight into how cells move and interact with each other. This additional dimension allowed researchers to see a new helix structure at the tip of the sperm cell’s tail, which had never been seen before. The study has been published in Scientific Reports, and could provide insights into why some sperm... View Article

stressed man

Paternal Stress Alters Sperm and Children’s Behaviour

March 26, 2018 10:09 am

The effect of stress on fertility and overall health has been well documented, but new studies have begun to unveil the extent of its impact. Stressed fathers may end up with changes to their sperm, which in turn affects the behaviour of offspring who were conceived during that stressful period. Studies on mice have shown that sperm produced by stressed males is richer in microRNAs – this type of molecule has an impact on everything from heart and kidney disease through to obesity and propensity towards alcoholism. Scientists working on this study are particularly concerned about the impact on healthy stress responses in children – an inability to respond properly to stress can lead to disorders such as PTSD and... View Article

Human Eggs Have Been Grown to Maturity in a Lab

March 8, 2018 10:33 am

In a potential breakthrough for fertility treatment, scientists have successfully grown early-stage human egg cells to full maturity in a lab. The results of the research suggest that one day it might be possible to grow viable eggs from thawed frozen ovarian tissue and also gives more information to researchers working on producing eggs and sperm from other cells, which could eventually offer new solutions for patients unable to conceive a child. The experiment was carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the Center for Human Reproduction, who obtained ovarian tissue and matured the proto eggs within it until they were ready to be fertilised. This has previously been achieved with mouse egg cells and human egg... View Article

Increase Your Chances of Successful IVF with a Mediterranean Diet

February 19, 2018 5:01 pm

Along with a team of researchers from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the Harokopio University of Athens, Dr Nikos Yiannakouris has completed a study suggesting a link between the Mediterranean Diet and a woman’s chance of a successfully conceiving and delivering a healthy baby with IVF treatment. The study involved nearly 250 women between the ages of 22 and 41. Questionnaires were completed which asked the women how often they had eaten particular groups of food over the last six months. Based on the results of the questionnaires, each woman was given a Mediterranean diet ‘score’. The results of the study suggested that those in the group which had high Mediterranean diet scores were over 65% more likely... View Article

paracetamol and fertility

Fertility of Daughters Could Be Affected by Gestational Use of Paracetamol

February 1, 2018 9:48 am

Exposure to paracetamol during pregnancy could reduce female fertility. Studies on rats and mice have shown that the drug can disrupt the reproductive development of females, which has an impact on egg reserves and fertility in adulthood. As one of the most used and prescribed painkillers in the world, this study could have a huge impact on recommendations for pregnant women if the same effects are observed in humans. While the effect may not be severe (and may not result in complete infertility), three different studies all independently found that paracetamol does have an effect. Currently, doctors recommend that women use paracetamol for the shortest duration necessary to relieve pain – this recommendation still stands until further evidence is available.... View Article

standardised sperm image

Miniature Obstacle Courses Can Be Used to Sort Sperm

January 25, 2018 9:46 am

Scientists in the United States have created obstacle courses to help sort the fastest and best-formed sperm for use in IVF procedures. The obstacle course is called SPARTAN (or the Simple Periodic ARray for Trapping And isolatioN) and is 14mm long – sperm have to swim through three-dimensional pillars to emerge at the other end. Any sperm that make it within a specified time frame are judged to be the best candidates for IVF. Professor Erkan Tuzel states that, “with SPARTAN, we not only get sperm with excellent motility, but also with normal morphology and better DNA integrity, helping families worldwide by reducing the stress of multiple IVF procedures, while potentially increasing pregnancy rates.” Only normal sperm should make it... View Article

man taking ibuprofen

Ibuprofen may Increase Infertility Risks for Men

January 18, 2018 9:46 am

Men who regularly take high doses of ibuprofen may be risking their fertility, according to new research. Scientists studied healthy men between the ages of 18-35 to test the impact of taking ibuprofen over a longer period – subjects took 600mg, twice a day, for six weeks. Over a short period of time, the effects were mild and temporary but doctors fear that it could become permanent in more long-term users. Subjects in the study began to suffer from ‘compensated hypogonadism’ within two weeks – this is a condition where the body has to boost levels of testosterone because normal production in the testes has fallen. The drug is also associated with muscle wastage, erectile dysfunction, and fatigue. There should... View Article

vitamin d for fertility

Vitamin D Could Improve IVF Outcomes

December 27, 2017 9:56 am

A recent study is the largest to date that examines how vitamin D affects fertility in women who are undergoing fertility treatment, namely IVF. For decades scientists have known that vitamin D is essential for mammalian reproduction, but its role in human fertility specifically has not been as well studied. The study evaluated pregnancy outcomes for 335 women who attended a fertility clinic in Milan in 2012. Researchers measured serum vitamin D levels up to 90 days before their embryo transfer. Out of the 335 women, 154 had vitamin D deficiency – the embryo implantation rate for this group was just 13% compared to 21% for women who have sufficient or higher levels of vitamin D in their serum. The... View Article

fertility at christmas

Dealing with Infertility Over Christmas

December 21, 2017 9:53 am

While Christmas and the surrounding holidays are a wonderful time to relax and see family and friends, it can be particularly difficult or stressful for people experiencing infertility or going through fertility treatments. You may need to make some adjustments to your standard Christmas activities to enjoy yourself or even to improve the efficacy of your fertility treatment. Be Careful About Food and Drink Christmas is definitely a time of over-indulgence, but this may not be an option if you are undergoing IVF or any other fertility treatment. You should still be able to enjoy the standard Christmas favourites, such as Christmas dinner and plenty of chocolate, but the advice to avoid alcohol still stands around the holidays. You may... View Article

air pollution and fertility

Air Pollution May Affect Sperm Quality

December 14, 2017 9:52 am

High levels of air pollution have recently been associated with poor sperm quality, and could be partially responsible for the drop in male fertility uncovered by a study earlier this year. This latest study checked the sperm levels and quality of nearly 6,500 men aged between 15 and 49 in Taiwan between 2001 and 2014. Researchers assessed quality and measured the level of fine particulate pollution, and found a correlation between high levels of pollution and low percentage of normal sperm morphology resulting in a higher chance of being in the bottom 10% of normal sperm size and shape. This information took into account other potential factors such as smoking, drinking, age, and weight. However, some clinicians disagree about the... View Article