Who knew that male fertility depends on sperm-cell architecture? A University of Illinois study reports that a certain omega-3 fatty acid is necessary to construct the arch that turns a round, immature sperm cell into a pointy-headed super swimmer with an extra long tail. "Normal sperm cells contain an arc-like structure called the acrosome that is critical in fertilization because it houses, organizes, and concentrates a variety of enzymes that sperm use to penetrate an egg, " said Manabu Nakamura, a U of I associate professor of biochemical and molecular nutrition. The study shows for the first time that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential in fusing the building blocks of the acrosome together. "Without DHA, this vital structure doesn't form and sperm cells don't work, " said Timothy Abbott, a doctoral student who co-authored the study.
Young Female Cancer Survivors Express Their Concerns And Frustrations About The Impact Of Their Disease, Treatment, Future Fertility
Young female cancer survivors are concerned about their future fertility and parenthood options and want better information and guidance early on, according to a new study by Jessica Gorman and her team from the University of California in the US. Their paper, which presents in-depth information on young survivors' experiences navigating decisions about fertility and parenthood, is published online in Springer's Journal of Cancer Survivorship. Many more adolescents and young adults are surviving their disease, resulting in a substantial and growing number of female cancer survivors of reproductive age. Young cancer survivors are less likely to have biological children than non-cancer survivors, mainly due to the effects of cancer treatments on future fertility. However, many are unaware of the impact of their treatment on their fertility, and understanding these young ladies' concerns is a first step towards developing effective, targeted interventions that will meet the needs of those who want to become parents.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released a report showing that the rate of twin births has risen quite substantially since the 1980s, especially amongst older women. In 1980, one in every 53 births was a twin birth, while by 2009 the number had risen to one in every 30, or three percent. The rise constitutes a 76 percent increase in twin births, from nearly 19 per thousand in 1980 to more than 33 per thousand by 2009. The rise can be seen across every state including DC, coming in at least fifty percent higher. Older women are seeing higher rates still, with a two hundred percent increase in those over forty, while the rate of those 35-39 rose 100 percent. The older age of women giving birth by 2009 accounts for about one third of the rise in twinning. What the report doesn't make clear is the difference between genetically identical twins and fraternal twins.
A new technique successfully used in mice to identify embryos likely to result in a successful pregnancy could be used in humans, potentially boosting IVF success rates and helping to reduce the number of multiple births (1), according to Cardiff University scientists. The findings, published in the international journal, Fertility and Sterility and funded by the Wellcome Trust, used an advanced imaging technique to track the discrete movements inside an egg that occur during stimulation at fertilization. The Cardiff scientists worked with a team in Oxford University to analyse the internal contents of the human egg or cytoplasm to observe distinct rhythmic patterns. "Current IVF treatment involves fertilising eggs in the laboratory and then choosing those embryos considered to be the healthiest for implantation into the mother's womb, using selection criteria such as the number and appearance of cells produced during the division process, " according to Professor Karl Swann from Cardiff University's School of Medicine, who led the research.
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services today announced the publication of an article in the December issue of Reproductive BioMedicine Online about miscarriage rates following IVF treatment with frozen thawed embryos which may revolutionize clinical and laboratory practice. As the practice of freezing and transferring 'surplus' embryos widens rapidly, concerns about whether the freezing process may interfere with the viability of the embryos are often raised by patients. The study highlights that miscarriage is less likely to occur after the transfer of fresh embryos compared with frozen-thawed embryos, but also that the age of the embryos at the time of freezing could influence the miscarriage rate. Y.A. Wang and colleagues undertook a retrospective analysis of 52, 874 clinical pregnancies recorded on the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD) between 2004 and 2008 that showed that the woman's age and obstetric history are closely related to the risk of miscarriage, and that the transfer of fresh embryos is associated with fewer miscarriages than transfer of frozen-thawed embryos.