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Fertility

By using Wink to take their basal body temperature, women can access data through Kindara'...

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

Cue examines a droplet of saliva or blood to calculate a digital measurement of your healt...

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

Spermbots created at IFW Dresden approach an egg, and the microtube falls away (Image: IFW...

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

The fertility chip causes sperm to flow through a liquid-filled channel, where they pass u...

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

Researchers are developing a birth control pill for men (Generic pill image: Alina Zienowi...

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

Spanish scientists have attached silicon barcode labels to embryos and oocytes

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

The DuoFertility system discreetly monitors body temperature for subtle changes related to...

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

An engineered honeycomb of cultured theca cells (top row) envelopes spheres of granulosa c...

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

Dutch scientists develop home sperm counting device

Anyone who's ever had to drum up the courage to visit a male fertility center will agree that today's process for sperm counting is at best awkward, and at worst embarrassing, messy and intimidating. So if you'll pardon the pun, it will come as a relief to many that a "lab on a chip" device is being developed that can let guys do their own sperm counts at home - avoiding the embarrassment and inconvenience, if not the mess. That's gonna be fun at parties. Warning: uncomfortable anecdote after the jump.  Read More

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