Diabetes reduces sperm count, damages DNA in men: Study

MUMBAI: Diabetic men are twice as likely to suffer from DNA damage to sperms than healthy individuals, an ongoing study by Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre has revealed. The study also showed that diabetes significantly reduced sperm count and affected the movement and appearance of sperm.

Doctors said the findings are worrying, especially when India has emerged as the diabetes capital of the world. Also, with diabetes affecting more and more young people in the country, the study has sent alarm bells ringing.

The study found that diabetic men were nearly three times more likely to suffer from sperm apoptosis— self-destruction of a cell due to break-up of the DNA—than healthy individuals.

Fragmented or broken DNA may not only lead to fertility issues but also higher miscarriage rates in couples.

Dr Firuza Parikh, director of the Jaslok Hospital’s IVF and genetics centre, said the findings were in conjunction with global observations that diabetes could contribute to changing the morphology or the look of sperm. The study showed that in diabetic men, 92% sperm looked abnormal whereas only 11% healthy donors showed abnormality.

Diabetic men also fared poorly in sperm count and motility—the agility of a sperm to fertilize an egg. In diabetic men, sperm motility hovered around 22% while it was more than double in case of those who did not suffer from the disease. Sperm count in diabetic men was found to be less than half of that of healthy individuals.

The study, initiated about three years ago by the Pedder Road hospital’s assisted reproduction and genetics department, compared the sperm quality in 120 diabetic and non-diabetic men in the 24-45 age group. Smokers were excluded to avoid any interference in the findings.

Dr Arundhati Athalye and Dr Meenal Khandeparkar, the main investigators, said the study underlined the need to perform routine DNA fragmentation testing in every diabetic patient seeking infertility treatment as that could be the underlying cause.

Dr Prochi Madon, head of genetics, pointed out that early diagnosis was the key to beat diabetes and associated health problems. “The diabetic men chosen for the study had come to the clinic seeking treatment for infertility.”

In a recent seminar at Jaslok Hospital, Dr Craig Niederberger, head of urology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, stressed that in addition to sperm function tests, it was important to thoroughly evaluate men suffering from infertility. He said the link between low testosterone, male infertility and the risk of prostatic cancer later in life was already established.

But it is not all bad news for young men with diabetes. Parikh said some couples grappling with infertility managed to conceive naturally after working on ways to de-stress. “Lifestyle modification or simple things like taking a vacation have worked for many.”

Smoking during pregnancy may hamper son’s fertility

Latest study has revealed that women who smoke during their pregnancy impose a risk of infertility in their sons. According to www.dailymail.co.uk, men who have remained exposed to tobacco content while in the womb possess considerably less sperm count.

In addition the sperm is also more likely to be weak and slow, which makes it hard for allowing pregnancy. The study was conducted by the researchers at the Edinburgh University wherein the team of researchers studied the reports from all over the world, analyzing various prospective causes which lead to deformity in infants including obesity, smoking and chemical exposure in the womb.

As per www.news1.capitalbay.com, the researchers explained that the damage caused during the womb period of a child becomes permanent as compared to the damage caused during the adult hood which is still curable. This could be the result of lesser production of sertoli cells, which are required to protect the young sperms. Smoking habit of the mothers could also lead to other health problems in sons including premature birth, cot death or lesser birth weight.

The researcher concluded that the chemicals which are found in cosmetics, food and cigarette could be held responsible for young boys’ genitals.’This highlights the importance of women having healthy pregnancies and not exposing their baby to harmful chemicals, such as cigarette smoke.” said Professor Sharpe, Lead researcher.

Celebrities who smoke include Lindsay LohanJack Nicholson, Shenae Grimes and Barrack Obama.

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/953898, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1140052

Drinking excessive cola may lead to infertility

A recent study conducted by Danish researchers has revealed that drinking about a litre of cola daily could hamper the sperm count in men.  According to www.health.infoniac.com, the researchers found that men who were habitual of consuming a litre of cola everyday recorded for 30 percent lower sperm count as compared to men who did not drink cola drinks on daily basis. Lesser sperm count is generally blamed for infertility in men.
As per www.topnews.us, the research was conducted on about 2500 young men who were examined to know the negative impact of caffeine content present in the cold drinks on the male reproductive system. However, it was found that the caffeine content can not be held responsible for infertility in men because the component is also present in coffee and that too in higher quantity and coffee does not lead to infertility or lower sperm count.
The research was conducted by a team of researchers at the Copenhagen University Hospital, located in Denmark. However, scientists also considered certain other factors including unhealthy lifestyle in men for lower sperm count. Kold Jensen, the lead author of the study said the research has been conducted on a closed group of men and that further studies will help uncover more facts about sperm count and infertility in males.
Many celebrities have had reproductive assistance. Celebrities who have benefited from IVF include actresses Marcia CrossCourtney Cox-Arquette and Halle Berry.
Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/971012, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1119461

Omega-3 can protect women against infertility

A recent study has revealed that consuming foods rich in Omega-3 oil keeps infertility at bay. According to www.sify.com, women who take Omega-3 oils on routinely basis are at a lesser risk of developing endometriosis as compared to those who take a diet rich in these fats. The study conducted by a group of American researchers has also revealed that it’s the type of fats that are important to fight against diseases and not the amount of fats. Endometriosis is a condition which can further result in infertility.

Speaking about the research Dr Stacey Missmer, the lead researcher said, “Millions of women worldwide suffer from endometriosis. Many women have been searching for something they can actually do for themselves, or their daughters, to reduce the risk of developing the disease, and these findings suggest that dietary changes may be something they can do. The results need to be confirmed by further research, but this study gives us a strong indication that we’re on the right track in identifying food rich in Omega-3 oils as protective for endometriosis and trans fats as detrimental.”



As per www.usnews.com, Omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly found in oily fish. The researchers are now contemplating the fact that whether these Omega-3 oils can help ease the problem of the women who are already prone to endometriosis.

Many celebrities have had reproductive assistance. Celebrities who have benefited from IVF include actresses Marcia CrossCourtney Cox-Arquette, Helena Bonham-Carter and Halle Berry.

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/202393

Chemicals in furniture could cause infertility

Will you look at your old table or curtains the same way after knowing that scientists have household products to contain chemicals that can cause infertility?

A study has found that flame retardant chemicals found in some furniture causes delay and difficulties in women becoming pregnant. The study, conducted by UC Berkley, found that women with high levels of the chemicals, called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), were between 30 and 50 percent less like to conceive every month than women with low levels, the New York Daily Post reports.

University of Berkley Professor Kim Harley said: “When the analysis was limited to women who were actively trying to become pregnant, we found that they were half as likely to conceive in any given month if they had high levels of PBDE in their blood.

“We aren’t looking at infertility, just sub-fertility, because all the women in our study eventually became pregnant.

“Had we included infertile couples in our study, it is possible that we would have seen an even stronger effect from PBDE exposure.”

Professor Harley added that it is suspected PBDEs affect the levels of sex hormones, which then affected the chances of falling pregnant, telegraph.co.uk reports.

These chemicals were reportedly common in furniture from the 1970s, including carpets, electric appliances, sofas and plastics. The Telegraph reports these chemicals are inhaled and are then stored in the fat cells.

While many of these chemicals are no longer in common use, we still need to be aware we will probably be affected by them for a long time, Professor Harley says.

“PBDEs are present in many consumer products, and we know they leach out into our homes. In our research, we have found that low-income children in are exposed to very high levels of PBDEs, and this has us concerned about the next generation.”

That’s not even mentioning the new chemicals in new products out on the market, of which, Professor Harley says, we know even less.

Several celebrities have had fertility problems, and reverted to treatments, including IVF and Artificial Insemination.

Celebrities who have had IVF include Octomom.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pregnant_woman2.jpg

In vitro fertilization – IVF

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of several assisted reproductive technologies (ART) available to couples who want to have a baby but have been unable to conceive naturally. The process involves removing an egg from the woman’s ovaries and uniting it with sperm in vitro (in the laboratory). Once fertilized, the egg (now an embryo) is then placed back into the woman’s cervix and pregnancy can commence. The woman is also required to take drugs to prepare her for the egg retrieval process and her hormone levels are regularly monitored.

The basic process, as outlined by Shared Journey is:

  • Ovulation Induction (preparation)
  • Retrieval of the eggs
  • Collecting and preparing the sperm
  • Insemination of eggs
  • Transferring embryos to the uterus

How successful is IVF?

IVF is by far the most popular of all the ARTs and boasts a success rate of around 30%. More than 95% of all women opt for IVF before any other treatment. The success rate depends greatly on the age of the woman, which directly affects how healthy her eggs are. Younger women, with healthier eggs, have a better chance of conceiving.

There are an array of health conditions that could limit a man’s or woman’s reproductive capacity. These problems, even if they are mild, can also greatly affect the success rate of IVF. Among these are:

  • Ovarian problems which prevent the production or release of the egg
  • Endometriosis (the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus) making the implantation of the embryo difficult
  • A male’s low sperm count
  • An abnormal uterus shape
  • Benign tumors of fibrous tissue developing on the wall of the uterus

How safe is it?

IVF is basically a safe proceedure, but as with any surgical and hormone treatment, there may be complications and side-effects, such as:

  • Failure to get pregnant (the most common)
  • Gonadotropin hormone stimulation can cause mood swings and headaches
  • Egg retrieval and transfer can cause moderate discomfort, bleeding and cramping
  • Possibility of twins (around 25%)
  • Possibility of ectopic pregnancy (around 5%)

How much does it cost?

The cost of IVF in the United States varies between $10,000 and $15,000 (all-inclusive) depending on the circumstances. The price is for one cycle of treatment. On average, it takes a couple 3 cycles to get pregnant. If you have previously frozen embryos, you should expect to pay no more than around $3,000 for transfer.

In certain countries, such as the UK, IVF can be obtained through the national health service when certain criteria are met. See the National Health Service for more information.

Celebrities who have benefited from IVF include actresses Marcia Cross, Courtney Cox-Arquette, Helena Bonham-Carter and Halle Berry.

See the American Society for Reproductive Medicine for more information.

Image attribution:  flickr.com/photos/22177648@N06/2364734203