Since September is PCOS Awareness Month, we thought we’d help out by making everyone aware of the common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.
Check out the graphic below. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, please see your family doctor or gynecologist for an evaluation.
According to a new survey which aims to shed light on local residents’ understanding and knowledge of their fertility health, approximately 71% of New England adults admit to feeling “uninformed,” “clueless” or only “somewhat knowledgeable” about their fertility health.
The inaugural State of Fertility survey of 1,000 residents in New England, ages 25-44, also revealed that a majority (88%) of New Englanders mistakenly believe stress has a negative effect on fertility and 57% of respondents are under the impression that taking birth control pills can cause infertility.
If this is true in New England, it is likely also true in New Jersey. And because knowledge is power, we have a wealth of factual, science-based information on our website. Where to begin? Try here. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call one of our offices. We are happy to educate everyone about fertility.
Investigators have found that the absence of autoimmune regulator (Aire) in mice results in fertility problems similar to those affecting men with autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type I (APS-1). Aire-dependent central tolerance plays a critical role in maintaining male fertility by preventing autoimmune attack against multiple reproductive targets, they report in The American Journal of Pathology.
“Male factors account for a large portion of infertility in couples, and the mechanisms underlying male infertility are poorly understood,” explained lead investigator Margaret G. Petroff, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University. “This study is important because it represents a previously underexplored mechanism by which fertility can be impacted through autoimmune disease.”
The correlation between impaired central immune tolerance and fertility has potential implications not only for male APS-1 patients but may also provide important insights into both male autoimmune and unexplained cases of infertility.
“By knowing more detail about what causes infertility in men, we can develop treatments and prophylactics to curb degenerative processes that affect fertility,” commented Dr. Petroff. “It may be possible to use general immunosuppressive treatments. Even better, it might be possible to design highly specific therapies that target particular immune cells, preventing these cells from causing damage to reproductive organs.”
A new gene that controls the completion of meiosis in spermatogenesis has been discovered by researchers from Kumamoto University in Japan. The researchers believe that this may lead to an advancement in reproductive medicine, like identifying causes for infertility from azoospermia or spermatogenic defects.
Meiosis is the special type of cell division that takes place in the ovaries and testes to produce eggs and sperm by reducing the number chromosomes to half the original. After meiosis is complete, DNA continues to be highly condensed and undergoes major morphological changes that are characteristic of spermiogenesis. This process inactivates the expression of many genes that were previously active in carrying out meiosis in spermiogenesis. However, the details of the mechanism that completes the meiotic program at the appropriate time are unknown, and although this is an important issue that is directly related to reproductive medicine, such as male infertility, it has remained an unresolved issue many years.
Professor Ishiguro’s group at Kumamoto University’s Institute of Molecular Embryology and Genetics (IMEG) previously discovered MEIOSIN, a gene that switches on meiosis and causes hundreds of genes involved in sperm and egg formation to activate simultaneously.
Although these results were verified in mice, this gene also exists in humans. The researchers believe that their research can be applied to the development of infertility treatment technology. By elucidating the functions of other genes in the process of egg and sperm formation, they hope to make a significant contribution to reproductive medicine.
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A team from Osaka University has used protein sequence data analysis and genome editing technology to find a gene, SPATA33, that plays an important role in sperm motility regulation.
Targeting the mechanism by which SPATA33 controls sperm motility adds a new perspective to the investigation and diagnosis of the cause of male infertility.
“We expect our findings will lead to … the investigation of the cause of male infertility due to decreased sperm motility,” the researchers say.
The knowledge may also help develop a fast-acting, reversible male contraceptive, they add.
Why do women over 35 have more difficulty getting pregnant? After discovering one of the causes of age-related female infertility, researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) suggest that it will be possible in the future to improve the quality of the eggs of older patients by intervening on the cell cycle level.
In a study published in the journal Developmental Cell, CRCHUM researcher Greg FitzHarris and Aleksandar Mihajlovic, a postdoctoral fellow in his lab and first author of the study, reveal in aged mouse eggs (oocytes) that some chromosomes are slower to move during meiosis, a crucial phase of cell division.
These laggards contribute to an uneven chromosomal distribution and therefore to the formation of cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes. This abnormality, called aneuploidy, is one of the major causes of infertility and explains, in part, why older women have difficulty becoming pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term.
This discovery, which is still in the basic research stage and conducted in the laboratory on mice, could be used in the clinic to increase the performance of eggs used during in vitro fertilization.
Researchers have found a way to better pinpoint the “golden window” when a womb is ready for pregnancy, in a discovery that could help boost IVF success rates.
It’s long been known that correctly timing an embryo transfer is critical to the chance of achieving pregnancy. Identifying the right moment in a woman’s cycle with absolute precision remains a challenge however, contributing to low IVF success rates, which remain on average under 50%.
But now RMIT University (Australia) researchers may have found a way forward, by identifying a Teflon-like molecule that makes the surface of the womb slippery and prevents embryos from implanting. The team discovered that the levels of this molecule on the womb’s surface decrease at a certain point in the menstrual cycle. This allows the womb to become stickier, opening the “golden window” for pregnancy success.
Lead researcher Professor Guiying Nie said the team’s discovery changed long-held scientific thinking about embryo implantation. “We’ve been looking for something that helps embryos stick when the vital part of the puzzle turned out to be a slippery molecule that has the opposite effect — it prevents them from sticking,” she said.
“We hope with further development our discovery could help clinicians identify precisely when each patient has the greatest chance of achieving pregnancy, delivering fully personalized IVF treatment.” The findings, published in the journals Fertility and Sterility and Human Reproduction, could have significant implications for IVF treatment and success rates.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that prevents the eggs in the ovaries from maturing properly, often creating numerous fluid-filled sacs known as ovarian follicles. This often causes irregular menstrual cycles and infertility.
PCOS is characterized by excess levels of androgens (the hormone testosterone) and higher than average insulin levels. Though androgens naturally occur in women, women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens than those typically found in females. Elevated levels of testosterone contribute to the changes seen in how the ovaries function.
There is no cure for PCOS, but medical treatments and lifestyle changes can reduce testosterone levels and help patients effectively manage symptoms.
Learn more about the causes, symptoms and treatments for PCOS at our web page.
Increasing paternal age reduced the chance of achieving live birth following assisted reproductive technology (ART), according to a retrospective study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
After adjusting for maternal age, the probability of a successful live birth through in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) decreased with paternal age over 50 versus age 35 or younger, reported Guy Morris, of the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health in London, and colleagues.
“There should be a public health message for men not to delay fatherhood,” the authors suggested.
In better news for older fathers-to-be, paternal age over 50 was not an independent predictor of miscarriage.
William Ziegler, DO, FACOG
Alan Martinez, MD, FACOG