Today’s post aims to explain the conclusions drawn from research performed by the Biology Department at Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante in collaboration with the Biotechnology Department at the University of Alicante. The work in question was awarded the ICIRA prize for research. The study looked into the effects of cannabinoids (marijuana derivatives) and substances that are produced by our organisms (endocannabinoids) on male fertility. […]
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C (HCV) and hepatitis B (HBV) are viruses that are transmitted through blood and body fluids as well as through vertical transmission (from the mother to the foetus). As a result, couples wishing to get pregnant in which one partner is a carrier of a virus are faced with the question of whether or not it is possible to do so without the other partner getting infected. If the male partner has one of these viruses and his female partner does not (serodiscordant couples), assisted reproduction technology (ART) can be used in order to avoid transmission. […]
IMSI, or Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection, is a technique that became popular over a decade ago. It uses a very high-power microscope to examine and select the sperm that will then be introduced in the egg with the aim of increasing the possibilities of a successful implantation and reducing the probabilities of miscarriage. […]
1.- Ovarian stimulation in the patient is carried out by administering doses of hormones that stimulate ovarian function with the aim of achieving sufficient oocytes. The doses of the aforementioned hormones are personalised to each patient depending on her ovarian reserve and based on the results of antimullerian hormone levels in a blood test and a follicle count for each ovary using a vaginal ultrasound scan. Controlling each patient’s ovarian response is done over a series of vaginal ultrasound scans (an average of 3) and, in some cases, by checking oestradiol (the hormone produced by the ovary) levels in blood. Once the checks indicate that the ovary is ready, oocyte retrieval is scheduled. This period of ovarian stimulation lasts between 8 and 10 days in most women and does not affect the patient’s daily routine. […]
Is it possible for me to get pregnant if I only have one fallopian tube? What if I have neither of them?
The uterine tubes (or fallopian tubes) are muscular tubes leading from the ovaries into the uterus. The uterine tubes are responsible for collecting the egg each month. Fusion between the egg and the sperm (fertilisation) also takes place inside them. The resulting embryo is taken to the uterus where the pregnancy will evolve. Evidently, the fallopian tubes fulfil essential roles in natural reproduction linked to ovulation, fertilisation and pregnancy. In fact, diseases or abnormalities in the uterine tubes are the cause of up to 30% of all cases of sterility. […]
Spermatozoa production takes place in the testicular seminiferous tubules and the process is known as spermatogenesis. At the end of this process, a germ cell generates 4 mature spermatozoa which will survive in the human body for between 62 and 75 days. The final stage in spermatogenesis, known as spermiogenesis, is a cell differentiation and maturation process consisting of the change from spermatids to spermatozoa. As can be seen in the picture, the spermatids develop from secondary spermatocites and have already undergone Meiosis I and II division. They have a normal set of chromosomes (haploid) which means that fertilisation of a mature egg can take place. Therefore, and despite the fact that they are immature cells, they can be used in assisted reproduction techniques using ICSI when there are no mature sperm in samples taken from the ejaculate or testicles. […]
A seminogram, or semen analysis, is a basic analysis of a semen sample with the aim of determining semen quality. In order to carry out the analysis correctly, the patient needs to refrain from sexual intercourse for a period of 3 to 5 days. That is, he must not ejaculate during that period and the sample must be obtained by means of masturbation.
The most relevant parameters evaluated in a semen sample include: […]
Oligozoospermia: What is it? How can it be detected? What course of treatment can be used in order to get pregnant? What about criptozoospermia?
Oligozoospermia is the presence of an abnormally low number of sperm in a semen sample.
According to the criteria in the 5th edition of the World Health Organisation (WHO) manual, normal sperm content in a sample of semen should be equal to or above 15 million per millimetre. If a sperm count gives a result below this figure, this is known as oligozoospermia and it may be associated with fertility issues. More than one sample will need to be evaluated in order to confirm this.
The diagnosis method consists of a spermogram which, amongst other things, gives a sperm count per millimetre of semen. […]
When a couple is faced with difficulties getting pregnant, there is approximately a 50% chance of the reason for this being a factor in the male partner.
The main cause of fertility issues in men is poor semen quality. Therefore, various parameters in semen need to be analysed in order to determine what the quality of the semen is. Two parameters are particularly important: the concentration or quantity of sperm in semen and their motility. This needs to be adequate in order to ensure that the egg is fertilised.
There are several quick tests available on the market. They are similar to female ovulation tests and they are understood to carefully evaluate semen quality and determine if a man is fertile or not. But are these tests really useful in understanding semen quality? […]
Miscarriage rates in the general population with no fertility problems range around 15-20%. In other words, one out of every five couples who achieve pregnancy suffers a spontaneous miscarriage, and 5% of these couples suffer it more than once. Even when pregnancy is achieved with the help of assisted reproduction techniques, miscarriage rates do not vary. For this reason, it is important when couples come to our clinic seeking reproductive counselling to perform comprehensive testing and design an adequate protocol for their case to secure the best result, which is a healthy baby at home, minimising the chances of miscarriage. In order to do that, one should know that miscarriages and pregnancy losses are caused by different reasons (uterine problems, immunological problems, and so on), and yet in half the cases there are chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo that prevent pregnancies to progress, hence causing miscarriages. Normal embryos have two copies of each chromosome, one inherited from the father and the other from the mother, and the chromosomal anomalies they may suffer involve a change in the number of copies, producing an imbalance in their genetic load which might block embryo development. […]