Moon news: Sperm remain viable in outer space

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and humankind’s first steps on the moon, we present this interesting—if still impractical—bit of news, from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE):

Those who see the colonization of space as an answer to the Earth’s ever threatened resources will be reassured to learn that human sperm retains its complete viability within the different gravitational conditions found in outer space. In a study reported at the 35th Annual Meeting of ESHRE, investigators said that the lack of difference in a range of sperm characteristics observed in frozen sperm samples exposed to microgravity and those maintained in ground conditions “open the possibility of safely transporting male gametes to space and considering the possibility of creating a human sperm bank outside Earth.”

Intrigued? You can read more about this study at the ESHRE website.

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How to get pregnant on your own: part 4

Before exploring fertility care and services, couples should first try everything they can to increase their chances for natural conception. In the fourth part of our series on how to get pregnant on your own, we offer this tip.

Step 4: Understand ovulation and conception

Understanding the woman’s menstrual cycle and her ovulation can be critical in attaining pregnancy.

In order to become pregnant, the woman’s ovaries must release an egg that must travel to one of the two fallopian tubes where it can be fertilized by the man’s sperm. The sperm must be presented to the female’s fallopian tubes by entering through the vagina during intercourse at the proper time. The fertilized egg, or embryo, then travels to the uterus where it implants into the uterine lining and develops into a fetus.

Menstrual cycle lengths vary for a number of reasons but generally range from 21-35 days. The average cycle is 28 days. Ovulation, or the release of the egg from the ovaries, typically occurs about two weeks before the start of a menstrual period. For a woman with the typical 28-day cycle, ovulation would be expected on days 13 through 15.

The egg is only viable for 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary, and male sperm is typically viable for up to five days after ejaculation. In theory, having unprotected intercourse the day of, or up to two days prior to, ovulation increases the likelihood of pregnancy. Pregnancies can occur if intercourse occurred up to five days prior to ovulation.

This is why increasing the frequency of sexual intercourse to every other day or every third day prior to and during the “fertile window” (the six-day time period ending on the day the egg is believed to have been released) can help improve the likelihood of conception.

For more tips on how to get pregnant on your own, go to our web page.

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Marijuana impairs male fertility, study finds

“Marijuana is the most consumed illicit drug in the world, with approximately 200 million users, considered by many as an inoffensive and relaxing habit,” the authors of a recent study in the Journal of Urology write. They wanted to study the effects of marijuana and tobacco use in sperm and testicular function and its relationship with hypogonadism and male infertility.

The researchers, from the University of São Paulo in Brazil, looked into the effects of marijuana and tobacco use on sperm and testicular function among more than 600 men ages 18 to 59, divided into groups of pot and tobacco users and those who were fertile and infertile.

They found that the marijuana group had higher seminal reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, which are related to poor semen quality, than the tobacco group and the fertile groups. The marijuana group had worse overall semen parameters compared with the tobacco group.

They suggest that the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol in marijuana induced oxidative stress through generation of intracellular ROS. “Both marijuana and tobacco are deleterious for testicular function but marijuana caused more sperm functional defects than tobacco, mediated by excess intracellular ROS generation,” they conclude.

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Check out all our RadioMD Fertility Talk podcasts

You can listen to the latest podcasts from RSC New Jersey, or go back and listen to any of our past podcasts, on our website or through your favorite podcast app.

Our 40 podcasts cover everything from acupuncture to zika virus. From our website, you can search by provider or topic, or browse all Fertility Talk podcasts. Check them out!

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How to get pregnant on your own: part 3

Couples can maximize their chances of getting pregnant without infertility treatments by knowing how to get pregnant and making sure they are having intercourse in the most productive way or making changes to their lifestyle habits that can impede their fertility.

We suggest that couples should first try everything they can to enhance their prospects of natural conception through their normal fertility, defined as achieving pregnancy within 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. In this, the third part of our series, we continue to discuss how to get pregnant on your own.

Step 3. Research best sexual practices and disregard myths

There is little evidence that certain sexual positions, having intercourse at a certain time during the day or maintaining certain positions after intercourse will improve the likelihood of becoming pregnant. Research does not support the belief that having intercourse more than every two to three days helps improve the chances of pregnancy (but it doesn’t hurt either). Additionally, a woman’s climax may help transport sperm, but there is little evidence to show that sexual climax improves the chances of pregnancy.

Despite the rumor that lubricants can help sperm reach the egg, some lubricants such as K-Y Jelly and some types of Astroglide can affect sperm survival and motility. In fact, some lubricants are spermicidal or are intended to kill sperm. For couples that prefer to use a lubricant, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends using mineral or canola oils or hydroxyethylcellulose-based lubricants, as they do not have the same effect on sperm.

For more tips on how to get pregnant on your own, visit our web site.

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Are low fertility rates tied to loss of manufacturing jobs?

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 wiped out nearly nine million jobs and 19 trillion dollars in wealth from U.S. households. According to research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it also led to a steep decline in the number of children born.

And even though employment eventually climbed and wages rose, fertility rates for American women did not. In fact, they have continued to decline in the years since the recession ended and reached an all-time low of 1.7 children per woman in 2018. While previous research showed that economic recoveries tend to restore fertility rates, scientists wondered why the Great Recession did not.

The new research, led by sociologist Nathan Seltzer, found a link between the long-term decline in manufacturing jobs during the Great Recession and lower fertility. This link was strongest among Hispanic women, because a larger number of them work in goods-producing industries than do women from other racial or ethnic groups. Manufacturing business activity was a stronger predictor of fertility than the unemployment rate was for all racial groups.

“These structural trends are driving this increased financial precarity and influencing women and couple’s decisions to have children,” says Seltzer, who published his findings in the journal Demography. “Metro areas that experienced steeper declines in goods-producing businesses were more likely to experience steeper declines in fertility rates.”

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‘Beyond friendly!’

A patient recently posted this review of our services.

“Highly recommend RSC! The staff is beyond friendly and super accommodating. From the first phone call to exiting your appointment the entire office makes you feel comfortable and sets your mind at ease. The doctor is extremely thorough and will go over everything from A to Z in an understanding way. Great experience in a potential intimidating circumstance!”

Thanks to her, and to all our patients who post reviews, which you can read here.

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How to get pregnant on your own: part 2

In this second part in a series of blog posts on this topic, we address how couples can increase their chance of getting pregnant. Couples can improve their odds of getting pregnant without infertility treatments by ensuring that they are having intercourse in the most productive way or making changes to their lifestyle habits that can impede their fertility. Before seeking fertility treatment, couples should first try everything they can do to enhance their prospects of natural conception through their normal fertility.

Step 2: Stop using birth control ­­well in advance

A preconception visit with an OB/GYN is also an opportunity to discuss the timeline for discontinuing birth control. Certain hormonal birth control methods, like Depo-Provera shots or oral contraceptive pills, can affect hormone levels and make pregnancy harder to achieve for some time after use has been discontinued.

It’s estimated that it can take up to 18 months for the average couple to attain pregnancy after Depo-Provera discontinuation and an average of four to six months after oral contraceptive pills are discontinued. A better understanding of what previous birth control practices mean for conception can be helpful to couples as they endeavor to start their families.

About 85 percent of couples in their 20s and mid-30s become pregnant within 12 months of trying. So for many couples, conception is not only possible but probable. However, other couples may benefit from speaking with a medical provider on ways to improve their chances of becoming pregnant.

For other tips on how to get pregnant on your own, visit our web page, How to Get Pregnant on Your Own.

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New genetic causes of male infertility discovered

Infertility, defined as the failure to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, affects one in every six couples worldwide, and the man is implicated in about half of these cases. Despite the known importance of genetic factors in the event of the man producing no sperm, only about 25% of these cases can be explained currently. A study presented recently at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics has uncovered new potential genetic causes, and this discovery will help to develop better diagnostic tests for male infertility.

Researchers from the Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, the Netherlands, carried out the first exome sequencing study to investigate the role of “de novo” mutations (genetic changes that are not present in the DNA of the parents of an individual) in male infertility. The exome is the DNA sequence of genes that are translated into protein, where most of the currently known disease-causing mutations are situated.

De novo mutations are found in every individual and are part of the normal evolution of the genome, and usually do not affect our health, the researchers explained. But in some cases they have a strong effect on gene function and can lead to disease. Until now, their role in male infertility had not been studied.

The researchers studied DNA from 108 infertile men, and also from their parents. Comparing the parental DNA with that of the offspring enabled them to identify 22 genes involved in de novo mutations. The researchers hope to screen more patients and their parents in order to search for patterns in the locations of the novel mutations, and to learn more about the function of the genes that are affected by them.

The results will help establish new diagnostic tests, which will be able to provide a patient with a detailed analysis of the reason for his infertility, and allow for personalized care.

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‘My husband and I trust them 110%’

“We are proud to share this recent review of our services”

“The doctors and staff are AMAZING! Their bedside manner is the definition of a true professional. They are very patient when they consult with you and take the time to answer all questions that you may have. My husband and I trust them 110%. I would recommend them to anyone who needs their services. They are really one of the best around!”

Thanks to this patient and to all those who post positive reviews of RSCNJ, which you can read on our web site.

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