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ASRM Conference Sperm Research Round-Up

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is holding its 67th annual meeting in Orlando this week. ASRM members are currently meeting in Orlando to present the latest fertility research findings. Here's a round-up of sperm news from Monday, October 17, 2011.

Men need to lay off the trans fats and eat their fruits and veggies to keep their sperm strong. Two studies presented today show a link between dietary patterns and semen parameters. In the first study, conducted by an international team from the Harvard School of Public Health, University of Rochester and the University of Murcia in Spain, the researchers identified two types of diets: a Western diet (high in red meat and refined grains) and a Prudent diet (high in fish, vegetables and whole grains). Men who adhered to a Prudent diet had higher sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to swim toward an egg). In the second study, researchers recruited men attending the Fertility Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. The men completed food journals and underwent semen analysis. Researchers also collected semen samples of some subjects to do a more detailed analysis to measure the level of trans fats. They found that a diet high in trans-fats was negatively associated with sperm concentration levels.

Percentage of Y-bearing (baby boy creating) sperm is linked to sperm motility. Boys are created when sperm with a Y chromosome fertilizes an egg. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine theorized that the declining number of male babies born in industrialized nations may be related to a possible decline in semen quality (motility). They reviewed their database for men who had undergone semen analysis with fluorescent in situ hybridization and determined the odds of possessing Y-bearing sperm. In their study, they found that men with higher numbers of motile sperm in their semen also had a higher proportion of Y chromosome-bearing sperm, they they may be more likely to create boys.

Husband's age and sperm quality impact IVF success when donor eggs are used. Brazilian researchers found that, in donor egg IVF, the main determinants of success are the male partner’s age and his semen characteristics. The researchers compared cycles of donor egg/partner sperm IVF treatments that resulted in pregnancy with those that did not and found that couples whose IVF cycles were successful, the male partner averaged 41 years of age. The male partners in couples who did not get pregnant were 45 years old on average.

Spinal cord injury and other diagnoses of male factor infertility result in similar IVF/ICSI outcomes. Miami researchers compared the outcomes of IVF with ICSI for couples in which the male partner had spinal cord injury to IVF/ICSI outcomes for couples in which the men had other diagnoses of male factor infertility. Often men with spinal cord injuries have normal sperm counts, but abnormally low numbers of viable and motile sperm. The researchers found that even though fewer eggs were fertilized with sperm from men with spinal cord injuries, the pregnancy rates and live birth rates were very similar.

Pregnancy rate Improves in couples with unexplained infertility following intrauterine insemination (IUI) with magnetically selected non-apoptotic (non-dead) sperm. Doctors in Islamabad randomized 60 couples with unexplained infertility to two groups of 30 couples. The couples received intrauterine insemination (IUI) for three cycles with semen samples prepared using density gradient centrifugation. However, one group also received sperm that had dead and damaged sperm cells removed. The researchers found that pregnancy rates were much higher in the study group than in the control group (40 percent vs. 16.6 percent) as were live birth rates (30 percent vs. 13.3 percent).

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