‘Wear Orange’ for NIAW on April 27

Since 1989, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has been rocking orange to help promote infertility awareness. Join the orange movement on Wednesday, April 27 and rock your ORANGE gear to show you support of National Infertility Awareness Week.

The #WearOrange Campaign was created to help raise awareness about the importance of empowering you in your journey and changing the conversation around infertility. Whether it’s you or someone you know who struggles to build a family, #WearOrange!

Why orange? The color orange promotes a sense of wellness, emotional energy to be shared: compassion, passion, and warmth. Helps to recover from disappointments, a wounded heart, or a blow to one’s pride. Studies show that orange can create a heightened sense of activity, increased socialization, boost in aspiration, contentment, assurance, confidence and understanding.

RESOLVE uses orange to raise awareness, increase activity around an important movement, and remind our community every day that RESOLVE is there for them during the disappointments while educating and promoting physical and emotional wellness.

Learn how you can get involved at the #WearOrange web site.

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National Infertility Awareness Week starts now!

This is National Infertility Awareness Week. NIAW is a movement founded in 1989 by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Its mission is to empower you and change the conversation around infertility.

All too often myths and misinformation appear in media stories or influence lawmakers and companies to enforce policies that create barriers for people who need help building their family. And still people feel isolated when they struggle to build a family, so we want to empower them to share their stories and find a community that cares.

When the community comes together and talks about National Infertility Awareness Week, we will:

  • Enhance public understanding that infertility needs and deserves attention.
  • Ensure that people trying to build a family know the guidelines for seeing a specialist.
  • Educate lawmakers about how infertility impacts people in their state.

Learn how you can participate by going to the NIAW web site.

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Help us observe National Infertility Awareness Week

Next week, April 24-30, is National Infertility Awareness Week. NIAW is a movement, founded in 1989 by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Its mission is to empower you and change the conversation around infertility.

Please join RSCNJ during NIAW to raise our voices, talk about the issues facing this community and make sure we continue to support those most in need. Anyone can be challenged to have a family. No matter what race, religion, sexuality or economic status, this week unites millions of Americans who want to remove the stigmas and barriers that stand in the way of building families.

For more information, visit InfertilityAwareness.org.

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Infertility and depression: Help is available

“It’s easy to see how infertility could lead to depression. So many personal hopes, life plans, and societal expectations are tied to family building,” says an article on Healthline.com.

“What’s a little less clear is how depression can influence fertility. Yet, there is some evidence that it does,” the article says. It discusses how infertility and depression intertwine, and offers some guidance for how to cope with both.

You can read the article here. After, you can also find more information about counseling services and how they can help at our web site.

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COVID-19 alters levels of fertility-related proteins in men, study suggests

Many people who recover from COVID-19 experience long-term symptoms, such as brain fog or heart problems. Increasing evidence suggests that the virus can also impair fertility. Now, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology have analyzed protein levels in semen of men who have recovered from COVID-19. The pilot study suggests that even mild or moderate illness could change the levels of proteins related to male reproductive function, the researchers report in ACS Omega.

Although SARS-CoV-2 mainly affects the respiratory system, the virus and the body’s response to it also damages other tissues. Recent evidence indicates that COVID-19 infection can reduce male fertility, and the virus has been detected in male reproductive organs.

The researchers analyzed semen samples from 10 healthy men and 17 men who had recently recovered from COVID-19. None of the men, who ranged in age from 20 to 45, had a prior history of infertility. The team found that the recovered men had significantly reduced sperm count and motility, and fewer normally shaped sperm, than men who hadn’t had COVID-19.

When the researchers analyzed semen proteins using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, they found 27 proteins at higher levels and 21 proteins at lower levels in COVID-19-recovered men compared with the control group. Many of the proteins were involved in reproductive function. These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 has direct or indirect effects on male reproductive health that linger after recovery, the researchers say. However, they note that larger studies should be done to confirm these findings, and a control group of men who recently recovered from other flu-like illnesses should be included to ensure that the findings are specific for COVID-19.

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Study provides a new cell atlas of the fallopian tube

The fallopian tube is the site of fertilization, where once a month for the duration of a female’s post-pubescent, pre-menopausal life, an egg is moved from the ovary, ready for fertilization by a sperm cell.

A new study from Michigan Medicine researchers creates a detailed “atlas” of the various cell types and their gene activities within the highly specialized fallopian tube, paving the way for new research into infertility and other diseases affecting this organ, including some cancers.

Using tissue samples from four premenopausal women, Saher Sue Hammoud, Ph.D., and Jun Li, Ph.D. from the Department of Human Genetics led a team at U-M to analyze almost 60,000 cells by single-cell RNA sequencing. They used the data to characterize the diversity of cells that make up the fallopian tube, including both the lining of the tube (the epithelium) and the deeper stromal layer, consisting of immune, blood, muscle, and other cells.

The cells within the fallopian tube are ever changing, replenishing themselves over time and varying in number depending on a woman’s age, hormones, menstrual cycle, and in the presence of disease. By comparing cells from women with healthy fallopian tubes to two samples from women with a fallopian tube disease known as hydrosalpinx (conventionally known as a blocked fallopian tube), the researchers were able to pinpoint which cells increased in number, and which changed characteristics, such as a high degree of inflammation.

“Some of the cells are the cause of the disease state, and some others are the consequence; and now we know the patterns for individual cell types to figure out the molecular reasons for that pathology,” commented Li.

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Device directs sperm to ‘go against the flow’ to help infertility

The female genital tract can be a hostile environment for conception. Out of about 100 million sperm, only a few hundred make it to the fallopian tubes. Guided by a directional movement called rheotaxis, sperm cells swim against the cervical mucus flow to reach the egg for fertilization. This journey, however, is even more critical when considering infertility. Sperm motility — the ability to swim the right way — is key.

By taking advantage of this natural rheotaxis behavior of sperm, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science have developed a microfluidic chip for sperm sorting that is fast, inexpensive, easy to operate and efficiently isolates healthy sperm directly from semen. Importantly, it effortlessly collects sorted sperm cells from the collecting chamber while minimizing contamination by deformed or dead sperm cells.

Assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination and intracytoplasmic sperm injection all require healthy sperm cells for a successful outcome. Current centrifugation methods for sperm sorting require multiple steps, multiple types of equipment and take about two hours to isolate sperm cells. These methods damage sperm during processing and induce significant DNA fragmentation and oxidative stress.

Results of the study, published in the journal Analyst of the Royal Society of Chemistry, showed that sperm cells isolated from the collecting chamber in this microfluidic chip exhibited significantly higher motility (almost 100 percent), a higher number of morphologically normal cells and substantially lower DNA fragmentation, which is a crucial parameter for the fertilization process. In addition, the developed chip provides more than enough cells required for a successful intracytoplasmic sperm injection due to the amount and quality of sperm cells isolated using the chip.v

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‘Fertility Talk’ podcasts cover many topics

Did you know that RSCNJ physicians and staff have recorded more than 40 podcasts, in which they discuss just about every fertility topic there is?

From lifestyle to medications, what to expect and how to prepare for office visits, COVID-19 and PCOS, genetic testing and coping with loss, our podcasts offer expert insight into the most important issues in fertility care.

You can listen to any podcasts from RSCNJ by searching by provider or topic, or browse all the “Fertility Talk” podcasts, at our Podcast web page.

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‘Today’ stars Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie discuss their fertility struggles

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, costars of NBC’s Today show, were interviewed in a recent issue of Good Housekeeping magazine about their journeys to motherhood.

Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and subsequent treatment left her unable to bear children. For Guthrie, at age 41, she experienced a miscarriage after having her first child and went through two rounds of IVF.

You can read about their experiences at GoodHousekeeping.com.

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New research examines causes of infertility, miscarriage, birth defects

Researchers at Rutgers University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University, and Cornell University are teaming up to examine how the processes that regulate gene expression and chromosome behaviors can lead to health issues, including cancer, birth defects, miscarriage and infertility.

Cells undergo a remarkable transformation process to form eggs and sperm, which upon fertilization can form an entire organism. A key step of this transformation involves meiosis, a cell division that halves the genome content of cells. During early stages of egg and sperm development, cells divide by mitosis, the process used by most cells in our body. They then undergo a complete remodeling of the gene expression landscape, and switch to meiosis. Mis-regulation of the mitosis-to-meiosis switch can lead to tumor-like growth, depletion of the reproductive cell pool or failure to complete meiosis.

In the new Rutgers-led study in the journal Genes & Development, the researchers applied powerful methods for mapping the genetic pathway that controls the mitosis-to-meiosis switch. Prior to this study, little was known about the mechanisms regulating this switch in mammals.

“Our work sheds light on the genetic and molecular mechanisms that are required for normal meiosis, which is an essential step towards understanding how and why these processes go wrong and lead to reproductive disorders,” said Devanshi Jain, a principal investigator of the study and an Assistant Professor of Genetics at the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Understanding meiosis is of paramount importance to reproductive health as errors in meiosis can lead to reproductive cell death and infertility.”

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