Can darkness protect female fertility?

Can darkness protect female fertility? New research says yes! Women who wish to achieve pregnancy are now advised to avoid late nights and artificial light as it can harm their fertility and, as a consequence, decrease chances of conception.

darknessEvery time we turn on the light at night, the production of melatonin is reduced. Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain, in response to darkness, that helps regulate other hormones in the body and is commonly known for its sleep effects. However, fertility experts from the University of Texas report another quite important role of the hormone in female fertility.

A review of studies, published in ‘’Fertility and Sterility’’, that summarized previous research results on the role of melatonin and circadian cycle on achieving pregnancy in women, provided evidence that melatonin protects the ovary, eggs and placenta from the disastrous effects of free radicals as it exhibits unique oxygen scavenging abilities. That means that melatonin prevents the production of ROS (reactive oxygen species) saving the reproductive system from oxidative damage.

Russel J. Reiter, professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and lead researcher of the study, reported that ‘’darkness is important for female fertility as well as for protecting the developing embryo’’.

He also recommended women trying to get pregnant to spend at least 8 hours in the darkness during the night. Ideally, all lights should be off, however if there must be a light on, red or yellow are preferable. White and blue light should be avoided as these colours could disturb the biological clock.

So, can darkness protect female fertility? The main conclusion of the study review was that the circadian cycle and melatonin, both linked to darkness, are crucial for optimal function of the reproductive system. Additionally, the circadian cycle should remain stable smooth and undisturbed from one day to the other otherwise it is more likely for a women’s biological clock to go out of tune. Professor Reiter would advise the same for pregnant women in order to support fetus development.

Would you choose darkness over light for protecting your fertility?

DHEA for Increased IVF Success Rates?

DHEA hormone administration can significantly increase IVF success rates for women treated for infertility according to a study.

This study showed that women who used DHEA hormone supplements during their treatment increased their chances of pregnancy compared to women who did not receive the supplement.


DHEA is a natural hormone supplement received by many women reaching menopause for slowing down age changes

There are many studies showed the value of DHEA supplementation to subfertile women and there are in agreement with the above findings. Some of them indicate a beneficial effect of DHEA on maintaining pregnancy as well, decreasing miscarriage incidents.

What is DHEA?

DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a natural hormone supplement received by many women reaching menopause for slowing down age changes, fighting anility, or as a part of infertility treatment. It is converted to testosterone and estradiol in the body and it can benefit women with poor egg reserve or low response to IVF medication.

But how safe is for women to receive DHEA supplements? Despite the fact its side effects are relatively mild it is always advisable to check with your physician before you receive any supplement. Due to its androgenic activity DHEA can cause acne, hair loss, facial hair growth, voice deepening and menstruation changes. A low dose of the hormone can keep the risk of side effects low. However women suffering from certain medical conditions like endometriosis and several cancer types (ovarian, uterine and breast cancer) have increased risk for serious DHEA side effects.

Dosage of DHEA

The doctors in the study used a 25 mg DHEA tablet 3 times a day for twelve weeks prior initiation of the IVF treatment cycle for increasing the success rates.

Its use for enhancing fertility is not always an option as there is not enough data clearly documenting its effects on this condition and in some countries like the UK is not permitted. In the US on the other hand, DHEA supplementation is fully licensed in fertility issues.

 Would you consider DHEA supplementation for boosting fertility?

Scientists discovered a new critical process for healthy embryo development

Sembryos ringcientists have discovered a process during mammalian embryonic development that is critical for early embryos to develop into healthy blastocysts.

Transformation from morula to blastocyst is a defining event of preimplantation embryo development. During this transition, the embryo must establish a paracellular permeability barrier to enable expansion of the blastocyst cavity.

Using advanced microscopy techniques and live mouse embryos, the researchers observed rings of actin – a main component of a cell’s cytoskeleton – forming on the surface of the embryo.

The study, jointly led by Dr Maté Biro of UNSW Medicine and Dr Nicolas Plachta of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, is published in the journal Cell.

Pioneering treatment with stem cells therapy reverses the symptoms of menopause.

stem cells menopauseBreakthrough raises the prospect of women having babies in their 50s with stem cells therapy.

Pioneering treatment that reverses the symptoms of early menopause has raised hopes that women affected could go on to have children naturally.

Stem cells from bone marrow were injected into the ovaries of 33 women suffering premature ovarian failure (POF) who began to have periods again after six months.

As well as treating early menopause, which can lead to women becoming infertile in their forties or earlier, it could also offer an alternative to hormone replacement therapy.

Complex structure at the tip of the sperm tail

New studysperm tail led to the discovery of a novel, complex structure at the tip of the sperm tail that has never been seen before.

Since sperm motility and morphology are determinants of male fertility, understanding the functional role of the TAILS complex may have clinical implications relating to male infertility and contraception.

Male Fertility Declines with Age

It now appears that women are not the only one who have to worry about their biological clock since male fertility declines with age as well, research reveals. Although, there are differences between male and female fertility, experts now advise male population wishing to have biological children, to avoid losing time. ’’Men too cannot afford waiting forever’’ says Dr. Paula Fettback of the Huntingdon Reproductive Medicine Centre in Brazil.

Male Fertility Declines with Age

At the age of 45 chances of a man to father a child drop to 35%.

Dr. Fettback lead a study focused on the outcome of 570 IVF treatments carried out at her clinic. More specifically, fertility outcome was analyzed for 570 men under fertility treatment from March 2008 to April 2011. In order to eliminate female infertility factors, researchers only studied cases of IVF treatment where eggs from young and healthy women were used through egg donation.  They came to result that in couples who had difficulty in conceiving male age was greater than in couples who achieved pregnancy. Actually, for couples where the man was 41 years old chances of conception were about 60%.

‘’Our investigation showed that for each extra year of paternal age pregnancy chances exhibit a decrease of 7%’’, highlighted Dr. Fettback. Furthermore, at the age of 45 chances of a man to father a child drop to 35% and these chances are dropping even faster in older ages, indicating that male fertility declines with age.

The effects of female age on human reproduction are more or less known. As for men, even though there is data suggesting that male fertility declines with age, the effects of male age factor are not fully elaborated, explains Dr. Fettback.

According to experts, attention should be paid to the fact that a growing number of men globally are following the trend of older parenthood. In Germany, for example, the average age of married fathers has increased from 31.3 to 33.1 in about 8 years. In England, fathers aged 35-54 accounted for 25% of overall child births. 10 years later this percentage reached about 40%.

Since more and more men are now choosing to become fathers in advanced age, a better understanding of male age factor as well as men’s sperm quality renders quite critical for public health.

What do you think? What is the ideal age for fathering a child?

Hey! If you found this post interesting or useful, you can help us get even better by subscribing to our newsletter. Just write your email and you’ll have the latest news regarding fertility issues. Thank you once more for your help.

Alcohol ‘’kills’’ fertility

Alcohol kills fertilityAlcohol practically ‘’kills’’ fertility, or at least that is what collective data from multiple studies on alcohol and fertility indicate so.

Alcohol can dramatically impact both male and female reproductive system. It has been found that, in men, alcohol negatively affect major male sex hormones such as testosterone as well as the quality of the sperm. In fact, long term abuse of alcohol can eventually cause male hypogonadism and sterility.

Alcohol effects are equally great on the female reproductive system. Excessive alcohol consumption is related to decreased fertility in women and in some cases it could even cause sterility.  It appears that alcohol disrupts the egg maturation process, inhibits ovulation, blastocyst development and womb implantation. Therefore, it’s no surprise that even women who consume as little as 5 drinks per week or less have their fertility decreased, according to research.

However, it’s not only natural conception that can be hindered by alcohol but assisted conception as well. According to a recent study out of Harvard medical school, alcohol dramatically decreases chances of a successful IVF outcome. Study findings suggest that even small amounts of alcohol can negatively affect success rates of an IVF cycle.

Researchers reported that, for women, pregnancy chances started to go downhill when they consumed six units of alcohol per week which roughly corresponds to 2 large glasses of wine or 3 glasses of beer. In fact, the greatest drop of pregnancy chances was observed among women who consumed white wine regularly. Specifically, 2-3 large glasses of wine per week can decrease success rates by 24%.

On the other hand, women whose men where daily drinking beer had 30% less chance to conceive a child, while IVF success rates decreased by 38%.

So, study results are clear, if you want a baby you should definitely give up on alcohol, either a woman or a man, in order to increase your fertility and pregnancy chances.

The truth is there are a number of things that can cause infertility and are to blame for not achieving pregnancy, either naturally or through IVF. Yet for many of them people can do nothing about. When it comes to alcohol though, they definitely can.

Would you be willing to give up on alcohol completely for optimizing your pregnancy chances?

Woman about to get pregnant after having her frozen ovary re-implanted


For young women of reproductive age freezing their eggs prior chemotherapy is a great option

A young woman form Dubai hopes to get pregnant through IVF after having her prior- puberty frozen ovary re-implanted.

A cancer diagnosis can be very shocking for women of young age since usually at that time in life creating a family is a top priority, so it is really important to them to have fertility options. When it comes to children though, fertility options are limited.
A main concern for young girls being treated for cancer or other disease is loss of fertility. Even if the disease itself does not impact fertility by damaging the ovaries and general reproductive health, what impairs or threatens to impair fertility is the treatment of it. More specifically, chemotherapy is a major cancer treatment that can cause infertility.
For young women of reproductive age freezing their eggs prior chemotherapy is a great option for fertility preservation. For children, however, growing eggs would not work. IVF cannot be done before girls go through puberty. Freezing a piece of the ovary is the only options for these cases and now it is seen for the first time that this method actually works.
Moaza Alnatrooshi, a 21 year old woman from Dubai, suffering from beta thalassemia, had to undergo chemotherapy for treating her disease at the age of 8. Her mother decided to have part of her ovary frozen, so that she would be able to use it after puberty for having a baby.
Her remaining ovary was not fully functioned so experienced an early menopause at the age of 21. Moaza underwent the ovarian tissue transplant in Denmark in August last year. The outcome of the surgery was her hormone levels and ovulation process to be restored.
IVF experts collected 8 oocytes and fertilized them by IVF in the fertility clinic. Three of them led to viable embryos while one out three is about to be transferred in the following month. Moaza is quite likely to be the first woman who got pregnant after receiving a transplanted ovary, frozen prior puberty, giving hope to all the girls who might find themselves in such an unfortunate condition.

Would you consider preserving your child’s fertility if it suffered a similar condition?

Parasitic worms increase female fertility?

Can parasitic worms increase female fertility?  Accordingly to what parasitic worm is a woman’s digestive system infected with, she can conceive a child more or less easily. That is the unexpected conclusion of a quite unusual research study who studied a Bolivian tribe of the Amazon called Tsimane.

Bolivian Tsimane

The Tsimane women have been ranked among the most fertile women in the world.

The idea of conducting this piece of research came from a team member who had begun trying to conceive while working in Bolivia. The fact she conceived rather quickly got her wondering whether there was an environmental factor that made her more fertile and as it turned out…it was a worm!

The biologist who led the study, Aaron Blackwell of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his team had been gathering data from about a thousand Tsimane women for nine years. The study results were published in ‘’Science’’.

The Tsimane women have been ranked among the most fertile women in the world, having 10 children each on average,  but it appears that some of them are even more fertile compared to others of their tribe.

Study researchers presented evidence that women infected with a specific kind of parasitic worm, a type of hookworm, tend to conceive their first child later in life, have long gaps between their children and have less children in overall. On the contrary, women infected with another type of helminth have birth of their first baby earlier and tend to have more children.

Scientist concluded that the one type of helminth increases female fertility while the other hinders it. The cause of this fertility effect is unknown; however, Blackwell’s theory is that this fertility effect’’ could be related to the balance immune responses that the different parasites induce’’.

70% of the  (roughly 16.000 people) has been infected by parasitic worms without taking notice. Women infected with the roundworm (which could grow up to 36 cm) have 3 children more than those not infected. On the other hand, women with the hookworm have 3 children less.

It is estimated that approximately 800 million people have been infected by either hookworm or roundworm globally. Consequently, it is possible that such parasitic infections may play a role to global demography if they indeed have such a major effect on female fertility.

Did this study make you reconsider your opinion about worms? 

Hey! If you found this post interesting or useful, you can help us get even better by subscribing to our newsletter. Just write your email and you’ll have the latest news regarding fertility issues. Thank you once more for your help.

Women’s faces turn red during ovulation

Women’s faces turn red during ovulation, study says. It appears that women’s face is redder in the middle of their cycle, during their fertile window.

Women’s faces turn red during ovulation

Women appear more attractive to men when they ovulate

The study, published in ‘’PLoS ONE’’, is considered one of the most efficient in investigating the female face during a menstrual cycle. 22 college girls participated in the study conducted by researchers of Cambridge University in the UK. They photographed the faces of the girls without make-up, every evening, at the same time, when they all gathered for dinner, at the college hall, for a month. For photographing the faces, they used a special instrument, similar to a normal camera but advanced in terms of color capturing.

For analyzing the images captured by the camera, experts designed specialized computer software that picks up an identical patch of cheek from each image. The girls of the study were also tested for hormone changes at specific times, critical for the ovulation cycle, as decided by the research team.

The face color analysis revealed that the skin’s redness exhibited changes during the month. In fact, the biggest change in terms of red skin color was observed during ovulation and retained its intensity over the last days of the cycle, where estrogen levels started to decrease.

The researchers from the University of Cambridge consider that redness changes of the skin were indicative of body temperature fluctuations. However, the face color changes, even at their pick, were not detectable to the human eye. More specifically, the average difference in redness was 0.6 units while the threshold of human visual perception was 2.2 units.

This observation was in contrast to the scientists’ initial expectations, as in other primates it is quite common for females to display specific sighs of ovulation and fertility that are easily detectable to males, attracting them to mate.

In women however, even if their face turns red during ovulation, that is not the case. Previous research has shown that women appear more attractive to men when they ovulate, however facial redness is not what men notice. ‘’Women do not advertise ovulation but they do leak information about it and facial redness could be a small piece of a larger puzzle’’, commented Dr Hannah Rowland from the Zoology Department who led the study.

Hey! If you found this post interesting or useful, you can help us get even better by subscribing to our newsletter. Just write your email and you’ll have the latest news regarding fertility issues. Thank you once more for your help.

Green tea for increasing fertility?

If you are trying for a baby, a cup of green tea could be a great option for increasing your fertility and boosting your pregnancy chances.

green tea

Green tea is an antioxidant-rich beverage with many health benefits.

Green tea is definitely a good, healthy coffee alternative decreasing your daily caffeine intake which in excess can harm fertility and negatively affect conception. So, limiting caffeine intake is more than enough reason to consume green tea instead. But, that is not all.

Green tea is an antioxidant-rich beverage with many health benefits, including the reproductive system. There is some research reporting that antioxidant ingredients of green tea may protect the reproductive organs from cellular damage. More specifically, polyphenols and hypoxanthine of tea may improve chances of having viable embryos as well as promote egg maturation.

Researchers from Stanford University used a supplement made of green tea extract, chaste berry, folic acid and minerals to decide its effects on pregnancy chances. 15 women received this nutritional supplement and other 15 women received a placebo. According to the study results, one third of the women receiving the green tea supplement got pregnant within five months while none of the placebo groups achieved pregnancy. Though the study sample is too small to prove positive effects of green extracts on increasing fertility it can surely suggest that a positive correlation exists.

But it is not only women who can benefit from green tea consumption. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research demonstrated that small everyday nutritional habits like moderate green tea consumption may be improving sperm motility, thus increasing male fertility. According to the study, it was found that low doses of EGCG (the major catechin of green tea) increase cholesterol efflux in sperm cells; a procedure of great importance for their proper function and fertilizing ability.

So if you want to benefit from green tea health properties all you have to do is to add it in your diet. Just don’t overdo, bear in mind that in excess it can have the opposite results, harming both male and female fertility. So keep it safe and stick to 1-2 cups per day.

Would you give green tea a chance?

More Sex May Boost Fertility

Sex at any time induces immunity changes that may boost fertility, enhancing chances of conception. That is what an American study, currently published to ‘’Fertility and Sterility’’ and ‘’Physiology and Behavior’’, reported.

Sex May Boost Fertility

American scientists proved that sexual activity can affect Fertility

Researchers from the University of Indiana, collected data from thirty women in order to investigate how the immune system of women who were sexually active is regulated compared to those who were not. The study was led by Dr. Lorenz, a researcher at the Kinsey Institute of Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. They found clear differences regarding the immune system regulation between the two study groups.

‘’It is already known that frequent sexual intercourse is recommended to couples who want to achieve pregnancy, even if it’s outside of a woman’s ovulation cycle. However, for the first time we can actually scientifically document that intercourse promotes immunity types in the body that can boost fertility and support conception. In fact, even for non-fertile days the body, during sex, prepares itself in advance for a potential pregnancy’’, Dr. Lorenz explained.

In the paper published in ‘’Fertility and Sterility’’ the scientific team used saliva samples from thirty healthy premenopausal women at the four phases of the women’s cycle (menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal). Half of them were sexually active while the other half was abstaining from sex.

They discovered that women who were sexually active exhibited greater changes to helper T cells and proteins related to the body’s ability to get ready for possible pregnancy changes. Moreover, the same group was found to have higher levels of helper T cells in overall, which are believed to assist the body to adjust to pregnancy during the luteal phase of the cycle.

This study was repeated under the same conditions, using data from other 32 premenopausal women. The outcome confirmed the results from the first study, as published in ‘’Physiology and Behavior’’.

It has been previously shown that immunity changes occur during pregnancy, after labor and during menstrual cycle. But now for the first time the American scientists proved that sexual activity can actually affect the function of the immune system. In other words more sex may boost fertility!!!

 What do think? Is this a good reason for having more sex?

Hey! If you found this post interesting or useful, you can help us get even better by subscribing to our newsletter. Just write your email and you’ll have the latest news regarding fertility issues. Thank you once more for your help.

Human sperm in vitro created by scientists

Human sperm cells have been successfully created in the laboratory for the first time by using an artificial bioreactor. This is a breakthrough in infertility treatment sought for more than a decade since no one had been able to complete the complicated process of sperm maturation in vitro.

human sperm by scientists

Human sperm cells have been successfully created in the laboratory

Researchers based at a French national research institute in Lyon had announced this discovery previously, but they and government lab CNRS explained the process for the first time on Sept. 17 after taking out a patent on it.

Scientists have managed to complete spermatogenesis in vitro, a process taking place in the male testes in vivo, which leads the immature germ cells to become mature spermatozoa fully competent to fertilize. They succeeded this by developing a bioreactor using a viscous fluid, made partly of substances found in the walls of mushrooms, to mimic the in vivo conditions.

Scientists claim that this achievement promises to succeed in helping young men with cancer that caused them fertility issues later in their lives and adult men who cannot make their own sperm. About 15,000 men are made sterile due to cancer treatments and other 120,000 suffer from untreatable infertility. They explained that their fertility could be preserved by developing mature human sperm from their immature cells, then freezing it. The team hopes to be able to treat patients as soon as 4 years.

Even though trials have been reportedly successful on rat, monkey and human sperm cells, the lack of further details on the process has other scientists feeling skeptical. They look forward to the publication of the study so that to be able to discuss details of the research with the team and reveal the full mechanism through which such a process was accomplished in vitro.

Is this novel data or what?

Hey! If you found this post interesting or useful, you can help us get even better by subscribing to our newsletter. Just write your email and you’ll have the latest news regarding fertility issues. Thank you once more for your help.