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Pregnancy

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

Realityworks' RealCare Baby 3 is an electronic stand-in for the real thing

There's a popular educational exercise in which teens are required to take care of a bag of flour for several days, as if it's a baby. The idea is that by having to lug that bag around with them everywhere they go, while keeping it from getting damaged, the kids will realize how much responsibility is involved in raising an infant. As any parent will tell you, however, there's a lot more to baby-raising than just safely lugging them around. That's why products like Realityworks' RealCare Baby were created.  Read More

The Intra Uterine Ball, or IUB, is said to offer advantages over traditional intrauterine ...

If a woman wishes to avoid pregnancy for the time being, but thinks she might want to get pregnant at some point in the future, then using an intrauterine device (IUD) is often a good course of action – the simple devices are now the world’s most common form of birth control, as used by women. However, while IUDs are generally fairly safe and reliable, complications can occur. Now, Israel’s OCON Medical has announced the forthcoming availability of something that it claims is considerably safer and more effective – the Intra Uterine Ball, or IUB.  Read More

A study suggest mobile phone use by pregnant mothers can affect fetuses (Image: Shuttersto...

While there have been – and continue to be – numerous studies examining the effects of radiation from mobile phones on users, Yale School of Medicine researchers have looked at the possible effects on fetuses of mobile phone use by pregnant mothers. According to the study, mobile phone radiation exposure in the womb can affect the brain development of offspring and potentially lead to behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity.  Read More

PREDIBIRTH is a software system that determines how likely pregnant women are to experienc...

In the United States, approximately one-third of all births are performed via cesarean-section. Here’s another statistic: emergency C-sections are six to seven times more likely to result in death or harm to the infant, than are planned C-sections. Therefore, if a significant percentage of the emergency cesareans could instead be planned, that would potentially save a lot of babies. That’s where PREDIBIRTH comes in. Developed by Dr. Olivier Ami and a team of researchers from France’s Université Paris Sud, the software can accurately predict the likelihood of difficult births, based on MRIs of pregnant women's bellies.  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

The PreVue concept from industrial designer Melody Shiue proposes using 4D ultrasound tech...

Checking the health of a baby inside the womb using ultrasound has been going on for a good many years and can be a useful tool for detecting problems early. A new concept from industrial designer Melody Shiue proposes using the technology to enhance the bond between parents and the growing fetus. PreVue would take advantage of developments in e-textile research and advances in ultrasound technology to offer mother and father a live window into the various stages of their little treasure's development.  Read More

Mommy Tummy is a pregnancy simulation suit, on display at Tokyo Make Meeting

One of the more popular exhibits at Tokyo Make Meeting this past weekend was Mommy Tummy, a pregnancy experience simulation system developed by Kosaka Laboratory of Kanazawa Technical College. It allows men (and others who have never carried a child) to not just feel what it's like to be pregnant, but to also gradually experience the changes. The Mommy Tummy suit is pumped full of water, and the onscreen display updates you as to how far along your pregnancy has progressed. The man's breasts will get bigger as well – did I just write that? – via a pair of inflatable balloons on the front.  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

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