New test measures male fertility more accurately, researchers claim

At a time when more than half of male infertility cannot be explained by current methods, a new test is able to measure male fertility, according to researchers at Cornell University. The proprietary Cap-Score Male Fertility Assay is based on research patented by the Travis lab at the Baker Institute for Animal Health and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and was recently the subject of a study that appeared in the journal Molecular Reproduction and Development.

“Out of all the tests commonly used to measure sperm, the Cap-Score is the only one that prospectively has been shown to indicate the probability of a man to generate a pregnancy,” said Dr. Alexander Travis, professor of reproductive biology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, director of Cornell’s new Master of Public Health program, as well as co-founder and chief scientific officer of the company that developed the test.

This marks a major improvement over semen analysis, the standard diagnostic tool for male infertility for more than five decades, Travis says. Its descriptive nature fails to explain the causes of infertility or predict whether sperm will actually fertilize an egg.

The Cap-Score, on the other hand, quantifies “capacitation,” the changes that take place within a sperm cell that enable it to fertilize.

“This new ability to diagnose a man’s fertility status and ability to generate a pregnancy will let doctors counsel their patients toward a personalized journey to parenthood, using the approaches most appropriate for them,” Travis said. He hopes such targeted treatments will save couples time, emotional distress and money. This is especially important for patients who are attempting to get pregnant later in life, when conception rates are reduced.

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States act to safeguard young cancer patients’ fertility

A growing number of states now require health insurance plans to cover fertility services when medically necessary treatment jeopardizes fertility, according to an article in Kaiser Health News.

“New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill, and advocates in New York plan to make another attempt after both legislative chambers passed fertility preservation bills in the last session but failed to reconcile them,” the article reports.

You can read more about this important topic at the KHN web site.

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Trusted with a ‘priceless task’

A patient of ours recently posted this nice recommendation:

“Very welcoming, passionate, and guided us through every step closely. They were encouraging, and I felt like we could trust them with the priceless task we gave to them. So thankful to have worked with RSC and we would highly recommend them to any couple.”

We thank everyone who took the time to post reviews like this one. You can read more of them on our web site.

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New podcast discusses intrauterine insemination with Clomid

Ovulation disorders are one of the most common causes of female infertility. Drug therapies are often used with intrauterine insemination (IUI) to treat infertility caused by ovulatory disorders.

In our latest podcast, Dr. Virginia Mensah discusses the pros and cons of the drug Clomid and superovulation to help increase a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. You can listen to the podcast on our web site.

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New research called ‘a remarkable improvement’ in fertility treatment

European scientists have discovered a simple way to improve infertility treatment in the future. The results of the study, published in Human Reproduction, can be used in precision medicine to account for the variability in each female patient’s menstrual cycle. This personalized approach will first and foremost benefit those couples who have experienced repeated IVF failure, the researchers claim.

The paper has been highlighted by the editor-in-chief of Human Reproduction, meaning that it is considered to be a remarkable improvement in this field.

Female infertility can be caused by problems with endometrial (the inner uterine lining) receptivity. In natural conception the developing embryo can “sit and wait” until the endometrium matures to peak receptivity. But in IVF treatment it is critically important to transfer the embryo on the correct day to increase the chances of pregnancy. Different methods are used to assess endometrial receptivity, the most accurate of which is a test measuring the expression patterns of different genes in an endometrial biopsy.

This study is based on the well-known fact that the inner uterine lining consists of several different cell types. Previous studies have not considered the effect of cell type proportions on endometrial gene expression profiles. This novel approach makes gene expression profile analysis more specific, thus also improving the performance of tests based on gene expression patterns.

The researchers say these results have immediate practical value, and the research team is currently working on how to integrate these findings into a genetic test that is used in infertility treatment clinics to select the best day for embryo transfer.

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A heartfelt story of infertility: ‘I see you, I have been you, I support you’

A patient of ours named Alisha Lasko shared her fertility story on Facebook a few weeks ago. She has allowed us to share it as well on our blog. Please leave your comments below.

I wrote this a long time ago and have edited it over the last two years a few times. I never found the appropriate time to share it (wasn’t sure if I ever would) but today is October 15. It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, so what better time. Here goes nothing.

It’s no secret that we struggled for years to have our daughters. We shared our IVF story publicly. We were so blessed to finally after so much heartache, emotional, and physical pain to have our first miracle, and after several more rounds of IVF our second miracle. What most people will never understand is the raw gut wrenching pain that comes with infertility.

The many different procedures, surgeries, countless treatments, hormone injections, blood work, and ultrasounds are just a small part of the struggle. The biggest monster in the room no one wants to talk about is the emotional impact. Well I am 1 in 8 and I’m tired of suffering in silence.

Infertility, the real battle is feeling like you’re less of a person. Your body has betrayed you, the constant let down not only for you but for your spouse and it’s all your fault. Month after month you struggle to achieve something that is supposed to happen naturally and month after month you fail. The countless negative pregnancy tests. The positive ovulation tests that lead nowhere. The tracking apps and calendars. The pregnancies that finally happen but lead to miscarriage and only more heartbreak.

Those were your babies, the ones you prayed so hard for and you never got to meet, hug, or kiss them. All you will ever know of them was two pink lines and that joy was quickly stolen from you and replaced with only more heartbreak. Which then poses the question what do you do with the video of when you told your parents and the pure excitement and joy they had for you? What do you do with the photographs from your photo shoot to announce your pregnancy that you’ll never get to share?

You can only fail at something for so long before you feel like a failure. It’s bad enough that the treatments lead to weight gain, migraines, nausea, vomiting, bloating, emotional instability, and a total change in your quality of life but on top of all of that you now add failure.

Infertility takes your self-confidence, chews it up, spits it out and then laughs in your face. It is not something that is easy to describe or explain to those who have never dealt with it. It takes the core of who you are as a person and changes you.

It changes your relationships. You become a version of yourself you didn’t know was possible. Don’t get me wrong, you’re happy for the countless people around you having kids, but with each pregnancy announcement, baby shower, gender reveal party, and birth announcement you die a little more inside.

Infertility makes you bitter because you can’t help but wonder why them and not us. Why is it always so hard for us? Slowly you push people away because it’s just easier to not have to explain why you don’t want to attend another baby shower or gender reveal party where you know you’re just going to weep in your car afterwards. You pick yourself up and you dust yourself off over and over each time, losing a part of who you are.

Over the last five years pregnancy loss and infertility has taught me that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. It has shown me that my marriage is a solid one that I am grateful for. It makes me appreciate my 3 year old and my newborn more than ever.

Our outcome was eventually a positive one. We were blessed with the family that many may never get to have. I pray that all of those still in the fight will be blessed. I pray God gives you strength for the losses you’ve suffered and perseverance to keep trying.

For those still fighting, you are not alone. I SEE YOU, I HAVE BEEN YOU, I SUPPORT YOU.

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Study links stress to infertility in women

A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health researchers finds higher levels of stress are associated with lower odds of conception for women, but not for men.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“Although this study does not definitely prove that stress causes infertility, it does provide evidence supporting the integration of mental health care in preconception guidance and care,” says BUSPH doctoral student Amelia Wesselink, the study’s lead author.

The researchers used data from the Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), an ongoing preconception cohort of North American pregnancy planners that follows couples for 12 months or until pregnancy, whichever comes first. For the new study, the researchers followed 4,769 women and 1,272 men who did not have a history of infertility and had not been trying to conceive for more than six menstrual cycles.

The researchers measured perceived stress using the perceived stress scale (PSS), which is designed to assess how unpredictable, uncontrollable, and overwhelming an individual finds their life circumstances. The test scored up to a total of 40, with a higher total score indicating a higher level of perceived stress.

The researchers found women with PSS scores of at least 25 were 13 percent less likely to conceive than women with PSS scores under 10. This association was stronger among women who had been trying to conceive for no more than two menstrual cycles before joining PRESTO than among women who had been trying for three or more cycles before enrolling. The association was also stronger among women under 35 years old.

The researchers did not find an association between men’s PSS score and the likelihood of conceiving. However, couples in the study were about 25 percent less likely to conceive when the man’s PSS score was under 10 and the women’s was 20 or higher. The authors wrote that this is the first study to suggest that “partner stress discordance” may affect the likelihood of conception, although the finding was imprecise and speculative.

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High-fat diet impairs male fertility, study finds

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, has found that male mice who were fed a high-fat diet experienced neuroinflammation, or activation of the immune system’s response in the brain. They also showed low testosterone and reduced sperm count. Female mice were unaffected, according to a study in the Frontiers in Immunology journal.

Researchers believe females are protected against weight gain when they are young because of ovarian estrogen. It is thought that women gain weight after menopause because of a drop in estrogen, resulting in a decline in health parameters, including obesity. “We addressed this assumption by removing ovaries in young mice,” said Djurdjica Coss, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the UCR School of Medicine, who led the study. “We found that the mice proceed to gain weight when fed a high-fat diet, suggesting that ovarian hormones are indeed protective against weight gain. But we found, too, that these female mice exhibit neither neuroinflammation, nor changes in reproductive hormones, suggesting that they are protected by factors other than ovarian estrogen. This is a novel finding.”

The findings, derived from the mouse study, are likely to have applications in humans, Coss added. “Mice on high-fat diet develop metabolic syndrome — a constellation of pathologies that includes Type 2 diabetes and insulin insensitivity — similarly to obese humans,” she said. “Obese men have lower testosterone levels, contributing to low libido, low energy, and reduced muscle strength. We see this in mice, too; obese male mice showed nearly 50 percent decreases in testosterone and sperm number. Interestingly, 18 percent of couples in the United States now need medical interventions — hormonal treatments, in vitro fertilization — to conceive a child. Obesity is a likely factor.”

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One couple, two pregnancies!

A patient of ours reports some happy news:

“Dr. Martinez is the absolute best! He gave us our baby girl who is 2 years old and now he has also successfully given us our twins! His demeanor is so calm and friendly, open and compassionate. We are so happy that we came here and all our dreams have come true. I would recommend his practice to anyone who is looking to have babies.”

Thanks to everyone who has taken time to post kind reviews of our services. You can read more of them at our web site.

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‘Want a designer baby?’ Dr. Ziegler weighs in

In a recent article in the “Asbury Park Press”, RSCNJ’s Dr. William spoke about pre-implementation genetic testing.

In case you missed it, you can read the article here.

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