Study reveals stress degrades sperm quality

stress degrades

Psychological stress is harmful to sperm and semen quality, affecting its concentration, appearance, and ability to fertilize an egg, according to a study led by researchers Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Rutgers School of Public Health. Results are published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects men and women equally, and semen quality is a key indicator of male fertility.

“Men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate, and the sperm they have are more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility,” says senior author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “These deficits could be associated with fertility problems.”

The researchers studied 193 men, ages 38 to 49, enrolled in the Study of the Environment and Reproduction at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Oakland, California, between 2005 and 2008. The men completed tests to measure work and life stress on subjective scale (how they felt overall) and objective scale (life events behind the stress). They also provided semen samples. Technicians at the University of California, Davis, used standard methods employed in fertility testing to assess the samples for semen concentration, and sperm appearance and motility.

Measured subjectively or objectively, life stress degraded semen quality, even after accounting for men’s concerns about their fertility, their history of reproductive health problems, or their other health issues. Workplace stress was not a factor, however the researchers say it may still affect reproductive health since men with job strain had diminished levels of testosterone. Being without a job did not improve matters. Unemployed men had sperm of lower quality than employed men, regardless of how stressed they were.

It is not fully understood how stress affects semen quality. It may trigger the release of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, which in turn could blunt levels of testosterone and sperm production. Another possibility is oxidative stress, which has been shown to affect semen quality and fertility.

“Stress has long been identified as having an influence on health. Our research suggests that men’s reproductive health may also be affected by their social environment,” says Teresa Janevic, PhD, the study’s first author and an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
While several previous studies have examined the link between stress and semen quality, the current paper is the first to look at subjective and objective measures of stress and find associations with semen concentration, and sperm appearance and motility.

Source: science daily

Now, a kit to test sperm quality at home


Before you rush to buy the pregnancy kit for your spouse, want to know if you are fertile enough to be a father?

You may soon avoid frequenting a doctor as scientists have now developed a fertility-test kit that allows men to test their sperm quality from the comfort of their

Aptly named TrakFertility, the portable device allows men to learn about their sperm counts within minutes, claimed the scientists.

“It allows men to test and track their fertility from the comfort and privacy of their own homes,” researcher Greg Sommer, who co-developed the device, was quoted as saying.

Sommer worked as a staff scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in the US.

In view of the fact that most fertility solutions today are women focused, TrakFertility is expected to highlight the importance of sperm quality in conception.

The researchers, who founded a start-up Sandstone Diagnostics Inc to develop the device, said the the kit would be available for consumers next year, reported

Source: Zee news

Woman Gets Pregnant Thanks to Yolk from a Hen’s Egg

A British couple who spent £40,000 and went through 12 IVF cycles trying to get pregnant have found success with an unusual treatment involving egg yolks.

Mark and Suzanne Harper agreed to the procedure after doctors revealed Suzanne had high levels of natural “killer cells” in her body that were attacking her embryos and preventing her from getting pregnant. The rare technique involved treatment with intralipid infusion – a special drip mixture that includes yolk from a hen’s egg and soy oil. The fatty acids of this combination were thought to control the aggressive cells – and it worked.

The Harpers were surprised by the main ingredient. Suzanne reveals:We were very surprised when we were told what the treatment consisted of. You don’t expect to be treated using yolk from a hen’s egg. But we were willing to try anything to try to have a baby.

Suzanne was one of the first women in Britain to undergo the pioneering treatment. When the couple decided to conceive again, they used the yolk combination along with IVF and had their second daughter. She said:

We are so happy to be parents at last — and it’s all thanks to egg yolk. It has given us both our daughters and we can’t be grateful enough.

Source: celeb baby

Utah Mom to Give Birth to Daughter’s Daughter

A 58-year-old Utah woman is set to give birth in a few weeks — to her first grandchild.

Julia Navarro is serving as a gestational surrogate for her daughter and son-in-law after the couple struggled with fertility problems.

Navarro’s daughter Lorena McKinnon said she began trying to have a baby with her husband, Micah McKinnon, three years ago.

The 32-year-old Provo woman said she’s had about a dozen miscarriages, with the longest pregnancy lasting 10 weeks.

After several tries, the couple began looking for a surrogate. McKinnon said a friend and sister both considered carrying her baby, but ultimately decided against it.

That’s when her mother offered to step in.

Navarro had to undergo hormone shots for three months before an embryo fertilized by her daughter and son-in-law could be implanted. Because of her age, doctors had warned there was only a 45 percent chance the implantation would be successful.

But the procedure was a success, and Navarro said she’s had a smooth pregnancy carrying a developing baby girl.

As with other surrogacy arrangements, the couple and Navarro needed three months of counseling.

“The psychologists wanted to make sure we knew what we were getting into — that we were mentally prepared,” McKinnon said. “Mostly, surrogacy contracts are with people you don’t know. It was weird to have a contract with my mom.”

It’s unclear how rare it is for a woman to carry her own grandchild, but recent news reports have detailed similar relationships.

Last year, a 53-year-old Iowa woman gave birth to her twin granddaughters. And in 2012, a 49-year-old woman in Maine gave birth to her grandson.

McKinnon said she was grateful and overwhelmed by her mother’s offer, which eases some of the obstacles and financial burdens for parents using a gestational surrogate.

According to Utah law, surrogates must be 21 or older, financially stable and must have already given birth once.

Couples must be married and are allowed to offer a reasonable payment to a surrogate.

On average, a couple can spend about $60,000 on procedures and paying the surrogate, but McKinnon said her mother’s offer to help is saving the couple about half of that.

Both she and her daughter said they’ve bonded over the experience.

The baby girl is due in early February.

Source: abc news

Top five health benefits of pomegranate

One of the oldest known fruits, Pomegranate has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life. This antioxidant rich fruit with a brilliant red hue is packed with several health benefits.

Pomegranate juice is heart-healthy: Pomegranate juice packs a high antioxidant potency punch and protects against heart attack and stroke. Pomegranates are known to help prevent plaque from building up in your arteries and reverses previous plaque buildup.

Maintains blood sugar: Since the fruit is moderate in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats,it is suggested by nutritionists in the diet for weight reduction and cholesterol controlling programs.

Fights breast cancer: Studies show that pomegranate juice destroys breast cancer cells .The juice helps eliminate free radicals from the body and inhibits the growth and development of cancer and other diseases.

Maintains blood pressure: Pomegranates also reduce high blood pressure. The juice of this fruit reduces lesions and the inflammation of blood vessels in heart patients. It is a natural aspirin, which keeps the blood from coagulating and forming blood clots. It even acts as a blood thinner allowing for an unrestricted flow of blood through the body.

Pomegranates keep you young: Pomegranate juice is highly revered as a longevity treatment. Pomegranate helps in the regeneration of cells in the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin. It has an ability to hasten the process of healing of wounds. It also helps to sustain the regeneration of the skin cells and prevent hyper pigmentation and occurrence of dark spots.

Source: inagist

Triplet Births Due to Fertility Treatments Are Declining

More than one-third of U.S. twins, and more than three-quarters of triplets and other multiple births, are now born as a result of fertility treatments, according to estimates from a new study.

In 2011, 36 percent of twin births and 77 percent of triplet and higher-order births (quadruplets, etc.) were aided by fertility treatments, which include both in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other treatments, such as the use of drugs to stimulate the ovaries and induce ovulation, the study found.

Between 1998 and 2011, the national rate of triplet and higher-order births decreased by nearly 30 percent — a trend that researchers called good news.

Part of that decline may be related to a 1998 change in guidelines that discouraged doctors from implanting three or more embryos during a single IVF cycle. After that, the proportion of triplet and higher-order births attributable to IVF declined by 33 percent (from 48 percent in 1998 to 32 percent in 2011).

However, there’s still a lot of work to be done to reduce the U.S. rate of multiple births, said study researcher Dr. Eli Y. Adashi, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University. The percentage of twin births resulting from IVF and non-IVF fertility treatments is still on the rise.

Why a decline in multiple births is good

Twin and other multiple births increase the risk of complications for the mother and infant, including the risk of premature delivery. An unintended consequence of fertility treatment technology was an increase in the nation’s multiple-birth rate, Adashi said.

The new study also suggests that non-IVF fertility treatments deserve greater attention, as they now contribute to a greater proportion of multiple births than IVF does. The percentage of triplet and higher-order births resulting from non-IVF treatments increased from 36 percent in 1998 to 45 percent in 2011, the study found.

“When people hear ‘multiple,’ they intuitively point at IVF,” Adashi said. The study found “IVF is an actor,” he said, but “not the leading culprit when it comes to the genesis of multiples.”

But unlike multiple births from IVF, which result from the number of embryos that are intentionally implanted, multiple births from non-IVF fertility treatments are difficult to prevent, Adashi said. That’s because non-IVF treatments, including oral and injectable drugs, stimulate ovulation in ways that cannot be precisely controlled, Adashi said.

How to reduce multiple births

But there are a few steps doctors can take that may reduce the rate of multiple births from non-IVF fertility treatments, such as lowering the doses of the ovulation-stimulating drugs, Adashi said.

“Increased awareness of multiple births resulting from non-IVF fertility treatments may lead to improved medical practice patterns and a decrease in the rate of multiple births,” the researchers wrote in the Dec. 5 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

To come up with their estimates, the researchers analyzed information on birth rates between 1962 and 1966 — before the advent of fertility treatments — to get a measure of the natural rate of multiple births. They also used publicly available data on IVF births between 1997 and 2011.

Because no database tracks multiple births due to non-IVF treatment, the researchers estimated this number by factoring in the natural rate of multiple births and IVF births. The researchers also took into account maternal age, which increases the chance of giving birth to multiples, but were not able to account for other factors, like obesity, which some studies suggest increases the chances of giving birth to twins.

source: live science

Eating tips to boost fertility revealed

Women watching their weight and closely following a Mediterranean-style diet that is high in vegetables, vegetable oils, fish and beans may boost their chance of becoming pregnant, according to dietitians.

Brooke Schantz, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, LUHS, said that establishing a healthy eating pattern and weight is a good first step for women who are looking to conceive.

She said that not only will a healthy diet and lifestyle potentially help with fertility, but it also may influence foetal well-being and reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.

Schantz said that reduced intake of foods with trans and saturated fats while increasing intake of monounsaturated fats, like avocados and olive oil could help women who are looking to conceive.

Another tip was lower intake of animal protein and adding more vegetable protein and fibre to their diet.

She also said that incorporating more vegetarian sources of iron like legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds and whole grains may help women in their endeavour.

Source: ANI news