Archive for the ‘Sperm’ Category

Bone Marrow To Create Early-Stage Sperm Cells

April 15, 2007

GOETTINGEN, GERMANY – German scientists have used human bone marrow to create early-stage sperm cells, an initial step on the path to artificial development of human sperm. The disclosure was made in a paper by researchers at the University of Goettingen and other institutions that was published in the academic journal Reproduction on Friday.
Researchers said the breakthrough will help them understand more about how sperm cells are created, but warned that it could take years before they are used in fertility treatment.
Led by Professor Karim Nayernia, the research team took bone marrow from male volunteers and isolated stem cells previously found to grow into other body tissues such as muscle.
They cultured these cells in the laboratory and coaxed them into becoming male reproductive cells, which are scientifically known as “germ cells.”
Genetic markers showed the presence of partly-developed sperm cells called spermatagonial stem cells, which are an early phase of the male germ cell development.
In most men, spermatagonial cells eventually develop into mature, functional sperm but this progression was not achieved in the experiment conducted by Nayernia and his team.
The professor, who now works at the North-east England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI), based at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne, said it would take three to five years to grow the immature cells into fully developed sperm.
A lengthy process of scientific investigation is required within an ethical and social framework to be able say if it has potential applications in terms of fertility treatments in humans, he added.
Prof Nayernia gained international acclaim in 2006 when he and colleagues created sperm cells from mouse embryonic stem cells and used them to fertilise mice eggs, resulting in seven live births.
“We are very excited about this discovery,” Nayernia said of his new research paper.
“Our next goal is to see if we can get the spermatagonial stem cells to progress to mature sperm in the laboratory and this should take around three to five years of experiments.”
from Earth Times

Mother’s Beef Eating Puts Son’s Sperm Count At Risk

March 28, 2007

Gay Sex
Men whose mothers ate a lot of beef during their pregnancy have a sperm count about 25% below normal and three times the normal risk of fertility problems, researchers reported Tuesday.
The problem may be due to anabolic steroids used in the United States to fatten the cattle, Dr. Shanna H. Swan of the University of Rochester Medical Center reported in the journal Human Reproduction. It could also be due to pesticides and other environmental contaminants, she added.
If the sperm deficit is related to the hormones in beef, Swan’s findings may be “just the tip of the iceberg,” wrote biologist Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri-Columbia in an editorial accompanying the paper.
In daughters of the beef-eaters, those same hormones could alter the incidence of polycystic ovarian syndrome, the age of puberty and the postnatal growth rate, he said.
“It’s a small effect, but it is a significant effect,” said Dr. Ted Schettler, an environmental health specialist at the Institute for Global Communications in San Francisco. “It’s not surprising. The more you look at dietary factors, the more you turn up interesting information about how diet during pregnancy affects lots of aspects of human health.”
Six growth-promoting hormones are routinely used in cattle production in the United States and Canada: the natural steroids estradiol, testosterone and progesterone, and the synthetic hormones zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate. At slaughter, not all of these hormones have been metabolized.
Diethyl stilbestrol was also used in this country from 1954 to 1979, when it was banned after tests showed that minks fed chicken waste containing DES became infertile.
The Food and Drug Administration limits how much hormone residue is permissible in beef. Those limits may need to be reexamined if Swan’s findings can be confirmed, Vom Saal said.
The use of these hormones in beef was banned in Europe in 1988, and the United States has disputed the EU’s attempts to ban imports of U.S. beef containing hormones.
Studies in rodents have shown that even a trace of estrogen in the uterus from food can affect an offspring’s sperm count, but no one has previously tried to study the question in humans.
Swan and her colleagues studied 387 partners of pregnant women in five U.S. cities, including Los Angeles. Each man provided a sperm sample and his mother filled out a questionnaire about her food consumption during pregnancy.
Swan concedes that women may have difficulty recalling their diets more than two decades earlier, but pregnancy may be an exception. “When you are pregnant, you are very aware of what you eat,” she said.
The mothers were asked how often they ate beef and other meats. On average, they ate beef about 4– times per week, and other meats much less frequently.
They found that, in general, the more beef a woman ate, the lower her son’s sperm count. For women who ate beef at least seven times a week, the son’s sperm averaged 24.3% below normal. And even though those sons produced a pregnancy, they were three times as likely to have consulted a fertility doctor.
The researchers found no link to the mother’s smoking, employment outside the home or the number of children she had. There was not enough data on other meats to reveal a potential association.
Schettler noted that there was room for a lot of inaccuracies in the mother’s recall of her diet, “but what that tends to do is bias the study toward not finding anything. So the fact that she found [a relationship] was kind of a surprise to me.”
The finding applies only to North American women, Swan said, because beef-producing practices vary widely elsewhere.
Swan emphasized that the study needs to be confirmed, adding that it is too soon to recommend that pregnant women not eat beef. But if a pregnant woman wants to be cautious, she said, she could switch to organic beef or other high-protein food.
from The Los Angeles Times

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Gay Male Parents Get Dedicated Fertility Program

March 14, 2007

Gay Family
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles fertility clinic has launched what it says is the first dedicated program for gay men wanting to become parents.
The Fertility Institutes, already a pioneer in the controversial area of gender selection, said it was responding to huge demand from gay male couples around the world who want their own biological children but are often thwarted by prejudice and bureaucracy.
“There are a lot of centers that dibble and dabble in this. But we are the only program for gay men that has psychological, legal, medical, surrogates, donors and patients all taken care of in one place,” Dr Jeffrey Steinberg, director of The Fertility Institutes, told Reuters in an interview.
“The demand is incredible. The United States has always been busy but we are seeing more and more demand from abroad.”
The last few years have seen a large increase in the number of gay men who want to father children using surrogate mothers rather than opting for adoption, which is difficult or impossible for homosexuals or lesbians in several U.S. states.
Gay male couples seeking parenthood usually have to go to several different agencies to find surrogate mothers, egg donors, lawyers and medical treatment.
Potential surrogate mothers often opt out when they discover the couple wanting a child is gay, partly because of perceptions that homosexuals have a higher risk of diseases such as hepatitis, syphilis and the HIV virus.
Steinberg gets consent from surrogates up front, tests the fathers-to-be for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and freezes their sperm for six months as an extra safeguard.
Steinberg has already treated about 70 gay male couples while perfecting the program. Some 40 percent were Americans, with the rest from Britain, Germany, China, Canada, Italy, Brazil and South Africa.
The average cost is about $60,000 — and three-quarters of gay couples pay extra to choose the sex of their baby. Gender selection of babies is illegal in most countries except the United States.
“We thought they were all going to come in and want boys, but about 65 percent want male and the others want girls,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg said he was braced for controversy about going public with the program but hoped to ride the storm.
“This is new. It is challenging. We understand people are a little intimidated, a little frightened by it,” he said. “It just takes time to get used to things.”
Data from the 2000 U.S. census showed there were some 301,000 unmarried male couples in the United States. Figures for those adopting or having biological children were unavailable.
from Reuters

264 Gallons Of Sperm

March 5, 2007

Phillippe Meste needs your help. Otherwise he’ll be spanking it for the next 20 years. The artist plans to fill one cubic meter with sperm–that’s 264 gallons of men’s best swimmers–to hypothetically impregnate millions of women. “Theoretically, it is a possible mission, but it’s always my mental possibility,” he says. The cube is kept just above freezing, so he admits it’s not quite practical. So far, Meste is 263 gallons shy of his goal after soliciting donations at and freezing his own for “stock.” It gets weirder. The Plexiglas structure was produced by Catholic school kids–yes, Catholic students–from Belgium.
Before you write off Meste as another perverted French artiste, consider other great exhibitionists like Dan Colen and Ryan McGinley, who’ve been praised as “Warhol’s Children” by New York magazine and remain leaders of the L.A. and Manhattan art scenes. Both have either photographed their members or used sperm as ingredients in their work. Meste can best be described as obsessed with power. His website covers 10 years of his art–all involving Gun, Action, Sex and Money–although the sex pieces are understandably the ones with the most press. In 2005, he invited people to “finalize” one of his mirrors spackled with sperm, and The New York Times had a field day: “Other reactions are more visceral, like…Philippe Meste’s large, square mirror splattered with something white that is identified by the wall label as sperm.”
That aside, his Sperm Cube has caught international attention. Americans, Brits and Spaniards have all made…contributions. Ultimately, he’ll need 135,168 men to complete the project if they each give one sample. After the cube, he’s considering retirement. “My next piece is me, preserved and frozen in a fighting position, presented in a showcase in a graveyard,” Meste says.
OK, so maybe he’s a little nuts.
from Esquire

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Hot Tubs, Baths May Hurt Male Fertility

March 3, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO – Hot tubs or hot baths can lead to male infertility, according to a small pilot study in Brazil.
A three-year study analyzed data from 11 infertile men who had been repeatedly exposed to high water temperatures through hot tubs, Jacuzzis or hot baths, the study reported in the March-April issue of the International Brazilian Journal of Urology.
“It has been believed for decades that wet-heat exposure is bad for fertility, as an old wives’ tale, but this effect has rarely been documented,” said study leader Dr. Paul J. Turek, a urologist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco. “We now have actual evidence to show patients that these recreational activities are a real risk factor for male infertility.”
For the purposes of the study, wet-heat exposure was defined as the immersion of the body in a hot tub, heated Jacuzzi or bath at a temperature warmer than body temperature for 30 minutes or more per week for at least three months prior to participation in the study.
However, a larger study is needed to confirm the results.
from UPI

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Actor Selling Himself And His Sperm Online

January 4, 2007

Vincent GalloActor Vincent Gallo, who shocked audiences with a graphic sex scene in The Brown Bunny, is selling his sexual services – and his sperm – on the Web.
The 45-year-old star, whose credits include Goodfellas and Buffalo ‘66, is offering women an evening of passion for $50,000 (all figures U.S.) plus expenses.
“I can fulfill the wish, dream, or fantasy of any naturally born female,” Gallo promises on his official Web site. “No real female will be refused.”
His fee is doubled for lesbian couples. And despite having worked as a stripper at New York’s Gaiety Theatre, a now defunct sex club for men, Gallo says he’s only willing to satisfy women. “I highly frown upon any male having even the slightest momentary thought or wish that they could ever become my client,” he says.
Last June, in an interview with gay magazine HX, Gallo admitted that in his early 20s he charged men $10 to watch him masturbate.
Gallo said he is willing to travel anywhere in the world for an additional $50,000 per travel day plus “premium” flight costs.
According to the posting, women interested in a night of passion with Gallo must have good hygiene and submit to a test for sexually transmitted diseases. The actor also insists on security. “Security fees will vary depending on the details of an encounter and how much security I will need.”
Gallo urges potential clients to watch the controversial scene in The Brown Bunny, in which Chloe Sevigny performs fellatio on him, so they can be sure “that they can fully accommodate all of me.”
The star, whose next film is called Oliviero Rising, is also selling his sperm online – for a cool $1 million. Gallo “will supply sperm for as many attempts as it takes to complete a successful fertilization and successful delivery.” An additional $500,000 is required if a client prefers natural insemination over in-vitro fertilization.
The posting claims Gallo is drug, alcohol and disease free and has good genes. He also suggests a male offspring will be well-endowed – promising “8 inches if he’s like his father.”
Gallo’s posting says he would prefer a Jewish woman and he draws the line at providing sperm to a woman who is not white, explaining he does not want “to be a part of that type of integration.”
The actor’s sperm and escort services are included in a list of autographed items available for purchase. Their inclusion resulted in online payment service PayPal canceling his account because he violated its policy against “facilitating meetings for sexually oriented activities.”
In addition to his career as an actor and filmmaker, Gallo is a musician and painter.

Clinics Target Men’s Toilets In Search For New Sperm Donors

November 19, 2006

PenisUNITED KINGDOM – Fertility clinics are to advertise for potential sperm donors in men’s toilets for the first time in an attempt to help couples desperate to have children.
The shortage in recruits has forced one clinic in the West Midlands to display posters above public urinals urging men to sign up.
Midland Fertility Services, near Birmingham, is targeting 18- to 45-year-olds with its campaign, which launches this month, through appeals in the gents at Walsall Football Club as well as in fire and ambulance stations.
The clinic says traditional donors, including students, have been deterred by a change in the law abolishing donor anonymity.
Dr Gillian Lockwood, the clinic’s medical director, said: “The removal of anonymity has had a direct impact on sperm donation. We want to attract older men who may already have families with quality sperm who are motivated by altruism.”
from The Independent

Cell Phones May Damage Sperm Quality

October 24, 2006

Cell PhoneCLEVELAND, OHIO – A new study suggests talking on the cell phone for more than four hours a day may lower men’s sperm counts. The researchers think this may be due to radiation from mobile phones, which may affect sperm by damaging DNA.
The study of 364 men found that those who used their cell phones more than four hours a day had less sperm, and the sperm that they had didn’t move as well and were of poorer quality than the sperm of men who were less reliant on cell phones. Their sperm counts, on average, were 50 million per milliliter.
Men who talked on the cell phone for two to four hours a day had fairly healthy sperm, and their sperm counts averaged about 69 million per milliliter. Men who never used cell phones had the healthiest sperm of the group, with sperm counts of about 86 million per milliliter.
Dr. Ashok Agarwal from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who led the research, said the study did not prove that cell phones negatively affected sperm quality, but the findings show that more research is warranted.
He said at an American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in New Orleans, “There was a significant decrease in the most important measures of sperm health, and that should definitely be reflected in a decrease in fertility, which is seen worldwide.
“People use mobile phones without thinking twice what the consequences might be.”
However, Dr. Allen Percy, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, is skeptical that such a link exists.
He tells BBC News, “This is a good study, but I don’t think it tackles the issue.”
“If you’re holding it up to your head to speak a lot, it makes no sense that it is having a direct effect on your testes,” he says.
Percy says people who spend a lot of time on their cell phones may be more sedentary, undergo more stress or eat more junk food, and such lifestyle factors – not cell phone use itself – may be the real culprits.
from All Headline News

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Rupert Everett Becomes Spermless

September 25, 2006

Rupert EverettLONDON, ENGLAND – Rupert Everett has found himself in a win-lose situation. The actor recently admitted he takes medication to stop from going bald, but as a result, the powerful pills have made him run out of sperm – literally. But at least he has his hair, he says, and that’s all that matters.
The openly gay actor – who once starred with Madonna in the movie “The Next Best Thing,” about a gay man who gets his friend pregnant and agrees to raise the child – doesn’t care about the serious side-effect because he would rather look good than be fertile.
Everett, 47, said, “I take medication for alopecia. It means I don’t have any sperm left. If I stop taking the pills, all my hair will fall out, but I would rather have hair than sperm.”
Everett has just published his autobiography, “Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins,” but insists he has been careful not to offend his friend Madonna by revealing any secrets about the “Hung Up” singer.
He said, “I adore Madonna and I know I have to be careful about telling the truth. People are very sensitive about things and I definitely didn’t want to upset her. I didn’t want to upset anyone. I don’t mind people saying, ‘I don’t believe it!’ Then getting over it. But I would hate to really, really hurt someone.”
from All Headline News