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Fertility

Medical

Lab-grown sperm cells used to create healthy baby mice

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have successfully created functional sperm cells from mouse stem cells in the laboratory, then implanted those cells into rodents' egg cells to produce healthy, fertile offspring. While a lot more work needs to be done before human trails could be considered, the breakthrough could be significant, with the potential to combat male infertility.Read More

Medical

Motorized spermbots help weak swimmers along to boost fertility

There are a number of possible solutions available to those having trouble conceiving, including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, but these treatments are far from a surefire fix. Researchers at IFW Dresden in Germany are working towards another approach they hope will provide better results by targeting a key driver of infertility, sperm that don't swim well. The team has now demonstrated sets of motorized "spermbots" that can give weaker swimmers a much needed boost to the egg. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Wink oral thermometer helps keep tabs on fertility

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 6.7 million women in the US with an impaired ability to become pregnant and carry a baby to term. US-based reproductive health company Kindara has now developed Wink, an oral thermometer that works in conjunction with a mobile app to inform women when the time is right – or wrong – to get down to business. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Cue lets users perform medical diagnostics at home

Not so long ago, self health monitoring was largely limited to weighing ourselves to see how a diet was going and sticking a thermometer under our tongue to see if we were getting sick. For everything else we went to the family doctor. That was in the past. Technology has put health and fitness monitoring firmly in consumers’ hands. Starting with pedometers in the 1980s and progressing to the myriad wearable fitness trackers flooding the market today. The grip has just tightened again with Cue – a device that allows users to run medical diagnostics from the comfort of their own home.Read More

Science

Remote-controlled spermbots could be used to fertilize eggs

Hijacking sperm cells to create little robots might seem far out, but that's exactly what researchers from the Dresden Institute for Integrative Nanosciences have done. Their "spermbots" consist of live sperm cells in little tubes, that can be magnetically controlled to move in a desired direction until they reach their destination and do their job – they're currently robust enough to even guide a specific sperm cell to an egg cell. The scientists hope that further development will allow the technology to offer a viable alternative to parents trying to have a child through in-vitro fertilization. When perfected, the spermbots could also be used as a safe means for drug delivery and gene manipulation. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Lab-on-a-chip counts and sorts sperm

While just about everyone is familiar with home pregnancy testing kits, what many of us may not realize is that a (sort of) equivalent product exists for men - home sperm count kits. These kits, however, will simply tell users if their sperm count is above or below a standard value. While a yes or no answer like that might suffice for the pregnancy kits, a little more information would definitely help a man who suspects he might be infertile. Loes Segerink, a PhD student from The Netherlands' University of Twente, hopes to change that with this prototype lab-on-a-chip device. Segerink's chip counts exactly how many sperm are present in a sample of ejaculate, and can even differentiate between the good swimmers and the duds.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Birth control pill for men being developed

Following this week's coverage of the reversible male contraception method, it appears that a birth control pill for men is also in the works. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center are developing what may be the first non-steroidal, oral contraceptive for men. The team of scientists, led by Dr. Debra J. Wolgemuth, discovered that low doses of a compound that interferes with retinoic acid receptors (RARs), stopped sperm production with no apparent side effects. In addition, just like the birth control pill for women, normal levels of fertility could be restored almost immediately after the dose has been ceased.Read More

Science

Scientists attach barcodes to mouse embryos – human ones coming soon

Fans of the film Blade Runner may remember a scene in which the maker of an artificial snake is identified by a microscopic serial number on one of its scales. Well, in a rare case of present-day technology actually surpassing that predicted in a movie, we’ve now gone one better – bar codes on embryos. Scientists from Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), along with colleagues from the Spanish National Research Council, have successfully developed an identification system in which mouse embryos and oocytes (egg cells) are physically tagged with microscopic silicon bar code labels. They expect to try it out on human embryos and oocytes soon.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Advanced fertility system offers money back pregnancy guarantee

For an estimated one in six European couples, trying for a baby proves an often fruitless and frustrating process. Those wanting to avoid invasive techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and opting for a more natural approach may find their lives being taken over by complicated calendar-based calculations or early morning toilet duties. UK-based Cambridge Temperature Concepts has developed a sophisticated body temperature measurement system which helps couples predict the best time to plan for a romantic evening, and is backed by a money-back guarantee. A wireless sensor stuck under the arm continuously monitors the minute changes in basal body temperature indicative of ovulation, and wirelessly sends the results to a hand-held reader which displays a six day optimum conception forecast.Read More

Medical

‘Artificial ovary’ allows human eggs to be matured outside the body

We recently looked at a prototype implantable artificial kidney and now, in a move that could yield infertility treatments for cancer patients and provide a powerful new means for conducting fertility research, researchers have built an artificial human ovary that can grow oocytes into mature human eggs in the laboratory. The ovary not only provides a living laboratory for investigating fundamental questions about how healthy ovaries work, but also can act as a testbed for seeing how problems, such as exposure to toxins or other chemicals, can disrupt egg maturation and health. It could also allow immature eggs, salvaged and frozen from women facing cancer treatment, to be matured outside the patient in the artificial ovary.Read More

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