In the Netherlands, 30% of subfertile women are overweight or obese, and at present there is no agreement on fertility care for them. Data from observational and small intervention studies suggest that reduction of weight will increase the chances of conception, decrease pregnancy complications and improve perinatal outcome, but this has not been confirmed in randomised controlled trials. This study will assess the cost and effects of a six-months structured lifestyle program aiming at weight reduction followed by conventional fertility care (intervention group) as compared to conventional fertility care only (control group) in overweight and obese subfertile women. We hypothesize that the intervention will decrease the need for fertility treatment, diminish overweight-related pregnancy complications, and will improve perinatal outcome.
Multicenter randomised controlled trial in subfertile women (age 18-39 year) with a body mass index between 29 and 40 kg/m2. Exclusion criteria are azoospermia, use of donor semen, severe endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, endocrinopathies or pre-existent hypertensive disorders.
In the intervention group the aim is a weight loss of at least 5% to10% in a six-month period, to be achieved by the combination of a diet, increase of physical activity and behavioural modification. After six months, in case no conception has been achieved, these patients will start fertility treatment according to the Dutch fertility guidelines. In the control group treatment will be started according to Dutch fertility guidelines, independently of the patient's weight.
Outcome measures and analysis
The primary outcome measure is a healthy singleton born after at least 37 weeks of gestation after vaginal delivery. Secondary outcome parameters including pregnancy outcome and complications, percentage of women needing fertility treatment, clinical and ongoing pregnancy rates, body weight, quality of life and costs.
Data will be analysed according to the intention to treat principle, and cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed to compare the costs and health effects in the intervention and control group.
The trial will provide evidence for costs and effects of a lifestyle intervention aiming at weight reduction in overweight and obese subfertile women and will offer guidance to clinicians for the treatment of these patients.
Dutch Trial Register NTR1530
Purpose: To study the role of the autosomal candidate gene DAZLA (Deleted in AZoospermia Like Autosome) in male subfertility.
Methods: We reviewed clinical data of subfertile men with oligozoospermia or azoospermia, mostly candidates for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Mutation detection was performed using polymerase chain reaction followed by single strand conformation polymorphism analysis. All shifted bands were analyzed by sequencing.
Results: We searched for mutations in 44 subfertile men. Nine subfertile men were included, because family history showed that their brothers also faced fertility problems. In these men a possible autosomal gene defect may contribute to their fertility problem. No mutations were found, except for two polymorphisms in intron 4 and 5.
Conclusion: At this moment it does not seem relevant to search for possible mutations in the DAZLA gene in clinical practice.
DAZLA; genetics; ICSI; male subfertility
To gain more insight in whether failure of intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment in patients with idiopathic subfertility could be related to diminished fertilization, the aim of this study is to compare the fertilization of an initial IVF procedure after six cycles of IUI and the fertilization of an initial IVF procedure without preceding IUI cycles in couples with idiopathic subfertility.
We performed a complimentary analysis of a randomized controlled trial, in which the number of total fertilization failure (TFF) in the first IVF procedure after unsuccessful IUI was compared to those of IVF without preceding IUI in patients with idiopathic subfertility. These patients participated in a previous study that assessed the cost effectiveness of IUI versus IVF in idiopathic subfertility and were randomized to either IUI or IVF treatment.
45 patients underwent IVF after 6 cycles of unsuccessful IUI and 58 patients underwent IVF immediately without preceding IUI. In 7 patients the IVF treatment was cancelled before ovum pick. In the IVF after unsuccessful IUI group TFF was seen in 2 of the 39 patients (5%) versus 7 of the 56 patients (13%) in the immediate IVF group. After correction for confounding factors the TFF rate was not significantly different between the two groups (p = 0.08, OR 7.4; 95% CI: 0.5–14.9).
Our data showed that TFF and the fertilization rate in the first IVF treatment were not significantly different between couples with idiopathic subfertility undergoing IVF after failure of IUI versus those couples undergoing IVF immediately without prior IUI treatment. Apparently, impaired fertilization does not play a significant role in the success rate of IUI in patients with idiopathic subfertility.
The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between seminal zinc concentration and spermatozoa–zona pellucida (ZP) binding and the ZP-induced acrosome reaction (ZPIAR) in subfertile men. Semen analyses and seminal zinc concentration assessments were carried out according to the World Health Organization manual for 458 subfertile men. A spermatozoa–ZP interaction test was carried out by incubating 2 × 106 motile spermatozoa with a group of four unfertilized oocytes obtained from a clinical in vitro fertilization programme. After 2 h of incubation, the number of spermatozoa bound per ZP and the ZPIAR of ZP-bound spermatozoa were examined. The effect of adding 0.5 mmol L−1 zinc to the media on the ZPIAR of spermatozoa from normozoospermic men was also tested in vitro. Seminal zinc concentration positively correlated with sperm count and duration of abstinence, but negatively correlated with semen volume. On analysis of data from all participants, both spermatozoa–ZP binding and the ZPIAR were significantly correlated with sperm motility and normal morphology, but not with seminal zinc concentration. However, in men with normozoospermic semen, the seminal zinc concentration was significantly higher in men with defective ZPIAR (< 16%) than in those with normal ZPIAR (≥ 16%) (P < 0.01). The addition of 0.5 mmol L−1 zinc to the culture media had no effect on spermatozoa–ZP binding, but significantly reduced the ZPIAR in vitro (P < 0.001). In conclusion, seminal zinc concentration is correlated with sperm count and the duration of abstinence in subfertile men. In men with normozoospermic semen, high seminal zinc concentration may have an adverse effect on the ZPIAR.
semen analysis; seminal zinc; spermatozoa–zona pellucida interaction; subfertile men
OBJECTIVE--To test the hypothesis that subfertility in men is familial and to examine the distribution of subfertility within families for consistency with a genetic cause. DESIGN--Case-control study and segregation analysis. SETTING--Two teaching hospitals in Leeds. SUBJECTS--Cases (probands) were men with an abnormal sperm count who attended a subfertility clinic and whose partners had no major factor contravening fertility. Controls were fathers of two or more children recruited through vasectomy clinics or a maternity department. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--The incidence of involuntary childlessness among brothers with partners and among sisters and second and third degree male relatives. When possible clinical and laboratory details were obtained from involuntarily childless brothers. RESULTS--Seventeen of the 148 (11.5%) brothers of probands but none of the 169 brothers of controls had sought medical advice for childlessness (P < 0.0005). Four probands had more than one involuntarily childless brother. There were six further brothers whose childlessness was thought to be involuntary bringing the total prevalence of subfertility among brothers of probands to 16%. Segregation analysis was consistent with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance accounting for 60% of subfertility in men. Seventeen of the 346 (4.9%) uncles of probands and 10 of 420 (2.8%) uncles of controls were reported to be involuntarily childless (P = 0.09), but there was no difference in childlessness among sisters. In three families sperm counts from "affected" brothers confirmed the diagnosis and showed considerable similarities within but not between families. CONCLUSION--Subfertility in men has a familial component, and the observations are consistent with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance in over half the cases. Several different genes are probably involved.
Testicular biopsies from eight men with abnormal karyotypes have been examined for histological and cytogenetic evidence of disturbances of meiosis. Quantitative analysis of this material showed one, with a 13;14 Robertsonian translocation, to have apparently normal spermatogenesis. Three patients, one with a 47,XYY and two with 45,XY, inv 9 karyotypes, had an overall depression of spermatogenesis. Four others, all with major chromosomal abnormalities, had apparently normal spermatogenesis until the primary spermatocyte stage. Two of these had sex autosomal translocations. One, 45,Y,t(X;21), had a complete block at MI, the other, 46,X,t(Y;16), had a partial block at spermatid formation. One man with a reciprocal 2;10 translocation showed delay at all stages beyond spermatocyte formation and one man with an inversion of chromosome 3 showed impaired spermatid maturation.
The mechanism responsible for poor reproductive outcomes in type 1 diabetic males is not well understood. In light of new evidence that the Sertoli cells of the testis secrete insulin, it is currently unclear whether diabetic subfertility is the result of deficiency of pancreatic insulin, testicular insulin, or both. In this study, the Akita mouse diabetic model, which expresses a mutant, nonfunctional form of ins2 in testes and pancreas, was used to distinguish between systemic and local effects of insulin deficiency on the process of spermatogenesis and fertility. We determined that Akita homozygous male mice are infertile and have reduced testis size and abnormal morphology. Spermatogonial germ cells are still present but are unable to mature into spermatocytes and spermatids. Exogenous insulin treatment regenerates testes and restores fertility, but this plasma insulin cannot pass through the blood-testis barrier. We conclude that insulin does not rescue fertility through direct interaction with the testis; instead, it restores function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and, thus, normalizes hormone levels of luteinizing hormone and testosterone. Although we show that the Sertoli cells of the testis secrete insulin protein, this insulin does not appear to be critical for fertility.
Approximately 80% of childhood cancers can now be cured but a side effect of treatment results in about one-third of the surviving boys being infertile or severely subfertile when they reach reproductive age. Currently, more than 1 in 5000 men of reproductive age who are childhood cancer survivors suffer from this serious quality of life problem. It is possible to obtain a testicular biopsy before treatment to preserve the spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) of the male by cryopreservation, but the results of long-term storage of SSCs on their subsequent functional ability to generate normal offspring has not been examined in any mammalian species. Moreover, it will be necessary to increase the number of these cryopreserved SSCs to remove any contaminating malignant cells and assure regeneration of spermatogenesis.
METHODS AND RESULTS
In this report, we demonstrate that long-term cryopreservation (>14 years) of testis cells from mouse, rat, rabbit and baboon safeguards SSC viability, and that these cells can colonize the seminiferous tubules of recipient testes. Moreover, mouse and rat SSCs can be cultured and re-establish complete spermatogenesis, and fertile mouse progeny without apparent genetic or epigenetic errors were generated by the sperm produced.
These findings provide a platform for fertility preservation in prepubertal boys undergoing gonadotoxic treatments.
cryopreservation; germ cells; spermatogenesis; spermatogonial stem cells; male infertility
Blood testis barrier (BTB) is one of the tightest blood-barriers controlling the entry of substances into the intratubular fluid. Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is an epidemic metabolic disease concurrent with falling fertility rates, which provokes severe detrimental BTB alterations. It induces testicular alterations, disrupting the metabolic cooperation between the cellular constituents of BTB, with dramatic consequences on sperm quality and fertility. As Sertoli cells are involved in the regulation of spermatogenesis, providing nutritional support for germ cells, any metabolic alteration in these cells derived from DM may be responsible for spermatogenesis disruption, playing a crucial role in fertility/subfertility associated with this pathology. These cells have a glucose sensing machinery that reacts to hormonal fluctuations and several mechanisms to counteract hyper/hypoglycemic events. The role of DM on Sertoli/BTB glucose metabolism dynamics and the metabolic molecular mechanisms through which DM and insulin deregulation alter its functioning, affecting male reproductive potential will be discussed.
blood-testis barrier; diabetes mellitus; Sertoli cells; glucose metabolism; male fertility
The impact of overweight among men of reproductive-age may affect fertility. Abdominal fat, more than body mass index, is an indicator of higher metabolic risk, which seems to be involved in decreasing sperm quality.
This study aims to assess the relationship between abdominal fat and sperm DNA fragmentation and the effect of abdominal fat loss, among 6 men in subfertile couples.
Sperm DNA fragmentation, abdominal fat and metabolic and hormonal profiles were measured in the 6 men before and after dietary advices. Seminal oxidative stress and antioxidant markers were determined.
After several months of a lifestyle program, all 6 men lost abdominal fat (patient 1: loss of 3 points of abdominal fat, patient 2: loss of 3 points, patient 3: loss of 2 points, patient 4: loss of 1 point, patient 5: loss of 4 points and patient 6: loss of 13 points). At the same time, their rate of sperm DNA fragmentation decreased: 9.5% vs 31%, 24% vs 43%, 18% vs 47%, 26.3% vs 66%, 25.4% vs 35% and 1.7% vs 25%. Also, an improvement in both metabolic (significant decrease in triglycerides and total cholesterol; p = 0.0139) and hormonal (significant increase in testosterone/oestradiol ratio; p = 0.0139) blood profiles was observed after following the lifestyle program. In seminal plasma, the amount of SOD2 has significantly increased (p = 0.0139) while in parallel carbonylated proteins have decreased. Furthermore, all spouses got pregnant. All pregnancies were brought to term.
This study shows specifically that sperm DNA fragmentation among men in subfertile couples could be affected by abdominal fat, but improvement of lifestyle factor may correct this alteration. The effect of specific abdominal fat loss on sperm quality needs further investigation. The reduction of oxidative stress may be a contributing factor.
To examine the association between body weight and measures of male reproductive potential.
Fertility clinic in an academic medical center.
483 male partners of subfertile couples.
Main outcome measures
Standard semen analysis, sperm DNA fragmentation and serum levels of reproductive hormones.
As expected, BMI was positively related to estradiol levels and inversely related to total testosterone and SHBG levels. There was also a strong inverse relation between BMI and inhibin B levels and a lower testosterone:LH ratio among men with a BMI ≥ 35kg/m2. BMI was unrelated to sperm concentration, motility or morphology. Ejaculate volume decreased steadily with increasing BMI levels. Further, men with BMI ≥ 35kg/m2 had a lower total sperm count (concentration × volume) than normal weight men (Adjusted difference in the median [95% CI] = −86 × 106 sperm [−134, −37]). Sperm with high DNA damage were significantly more numerous in obese men than in normal weight men.
These data suggest that despite major differences in reproductive hormone levels with increasing body weight, only extreme levels of obesity may negatively influence male reproductive potential.
BMI; obesity; semen analysis; sperm DNA; hormones; infertility
High isoflavone intake has been related to decreased fertility in animal studies, but data in humans are scarce. Thus, we examined the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters.
The intake of 15 soy-based foods in the previous 3 months was assessed for 99 male partners of subfertile couples who presented for semen analyses to the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center. Linear and quantile regression were used to determine the association of soy foods and isoflavones intake with semen quality parameters while adjusting for personal characteristics.
There was an inverse association between soy food intake and sperm concentration that remained significant after accounting for age, abstinence time, body mass index, caffeine and alcohol intake and smoking. In the multivariate-adjusted analyses, men in the highest category of soy food intake had 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not consume soy foods (95% confidence interval = –74, –8; P, trend = 0.02). Results for individual soy isoflavones were similar to the results for soy foods and were strongest for glycitein, but did not reach statistical significance. The inverse relation between soy food intake and sperm concentration was more pronounced in the high end of the distribution (90th and 75th percentile) and among overweight or obese men. Soy food and soy isoflavone intake were unrelated to sperm motility, sperm morphology or ejaculate volume.
These data suggest that higher intake of soy foods and soy isoflavones is associated with lower sperm concentration.
soy; isoflavones; semen analysis; sperm concentration; infertility
Background: Various frequencies of sperm aneuploidy are reported in sperms of subfertile patients compared to normal individuals. Moreover, sperm DNA damage is shown to be associated with male infertility. In this study, the rate of DNA damage and frequencies of aneuploidy in sperms of subfertile patients was investigated. Methods: Semen samples were obtained from healthy normal and subfertile (oligozoospermia, asthenozoospermia, and oligoasthenozoospermia) men. The frequency of aneuploidy was assessed using primed in situ labeling (PRINS) analysis with specific primers for chromosomes 18, 21, X, and Y. Sperm DNA damage was assessed using alkaline comet assay. Results: The mean frequencies of disomy for the patients were significantly higher than normal for all chromosomes (P<0.01). The extent of DNA damage in sperms of subfertiles was significantly higher than in normal individuals (P<0.001). The obtained results indicated that higher rate of DNA damages led to higher frequency of chromosomal disomy except for asthenozoospermia samples which exhibited higher rate of DNA damage and lower frequency of chromosomal disomy. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that men with oligozoospermia and oligoasthenozoospermia have an elevated risk for chromosome abnormalities in their sperm, particularly sex chromosomes. DNA damage might be involved in the process of malsegregation of chromosomes.
Asthenozoospermia, DNA damage, Primed in situ labeling (PRINS), Comet assay
Genital tract reconstruction has been attempted in subfertile men with obstructive azoospermia (370 patients) or unilateral testicular obstruction (80 patients), and in vasectomised men undergoing reversal for the first (130 patients) or subsequent (32 patients) time. Histopathological changes in the obstructed testes and epididymes, and immunological responses to the sequestered spermatozoa have been studied to gain insight into possible causes of failure of surgical treatment. The results of surgery have been assessed by follow-up sperm counts and occurrence of pregnancies in the female partners. The best results were obtained with vasectomy reversal (patency 90%, pregnancy 45%), even after failed previous attempts (patency 87%, pregnancy 37%). Epididymovasostomy gave good results with postinfective caudal blocks (patency 52%, pregnancy 38%), while postinfective vasal blocks were better corrected by total anatomical reconstruction (patency 73%, pregnancy 27%) than by transvasovasostomy (patency 9%, no pregnancies). Poor results were obtained with capital blocks (patency 12%, pregnancy 3%), in which substantial lipid accumulation was demonstrated in the ductuli efferentes; three-quarters of these patients had sinusitis, bronchitis or bronchiectasis (Young's syndrome). There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that this syndrome may be a late complication of mercury intoxication in childhood. After successful reconstruction, fertility was relatively reduced in those men who had antibodies to spermatozoa, particularly amongst the postinfective cases. Similarly, impaired fertility was found in men with unilateral testicular obstruction and antibodies to spermatozoa. Mononuclear cell infiltration of seminiferous tubules and rete testis was noted occasionally, supporting a diagnosis of autoimmune orchitis; although rare, this was an important observation as the sperm output became normal with adjuvant prednisolone therapy.
There has been a growing interest over the past few years in the impact of male nutrition on fertility. Infertility has been linked to male overweight or obesity, and conventional semen parameter values seem to be altered in case of high body mass index (BMI). A few studies assessing the impact of BMI on sperm DNA integrity have been published, but they did not lead to a strong consensus. Our objective was to explore further the relationship between sperm DNA integrity and BMI, through a 3-year multicentre study. Three hundred and thirty male partners in subfertile couples were included. Using the terminal uridine nick-end labelling (TUNEL) assay, we observed an increased rate of sperm DNA damage in obese men (odds ratio (95% confidence interval): 2.5 (1.2–5.1)).
male infertility; obesity; overweight; sperm; sperm DNA fragmentation
Spermatogenesis is regulated by a cascade of steroid regulated genes in the testis. Recent studies suggested that acupuncture may improve fertility in men with abnormal semen parameters. Yet, the underlying mechanisms in which acupuncture enhances spermatogenesis remain largely unknown. Here we used a scrotal heat-treated rat model to study the effect of electroacupuncture (EA) on recovery of spermatogenesis. In this model, spermatogenesis was disrupted by 30 min scrotal heat treatment at 43°C. Ten sessions of EA were given at Baihui (GV20), Guanyuan (CV4), Zusanli (ST36) and Sanyinjiao (SP6) from day 9 to day 36 post-treatment. Sperm motility and production, morphology of the germinal epithelium by Johnsen’s scoring, germ cell apoptosis by TUNEL staining, proliferation by proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) staining, as well as serum testosterone and inhibin B levels by immunoassays were evaluated on day 0, 1, 9, 25, 37, 46, 56 and 79. When compared with the heat-treated (H) group, the heat-treated plus EA (H+EA) group showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) in PCNA-positive cells and inhibin B levels on days 37 and 46, and a higher Johnsen’s score till day 56. On day 79, motile spermatozoa could be found in the vas deferens of H+EA group only. Consistently, there was a trend of improved motility and increased number of motile epididymal spermatozoa in the H+EA group than the H group; while apoptosis of germ cells and serum testosterone levels were similar between the two groups. Taken together, EA enhanced germ cell proliferation through improvement of Sertoli cell functions. This may facilitate the recovery of spermatogenesis and may restore normal semen parameters in subfertile patients.
Apoptosis; electroacupuncture; proliferation; spermatogenesis; spermatozoa
Several studies have reported associations between solvent exposure and reduced female fertility, but the evidence is inconclusive for male fertility.
To investigate the impact of solvent exposure on subfertility among families of male licensed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study cohort.
The couples enrolled between 1993 and 1997. Cross‐sectional questionnaire information on work tasks was used to assess exposure to solvents. The data were limited to couples (wife aged less than 40 years) with an attempt at pregnancy in the last four years (n = 2112).
Twenty eight per cent of the couples were defined as subfertile (not conceiving a pregnancy after at least 12 months of unprotected intercourse, regardless of whether or not a pregnancy ultimately occurred). Adjusted subfertility odds ratios (OR) for exposure to solvents were calculated with logistic regression. Female (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.75) and male exposure to solvents (OR 1.21 (95% CI 0.93 to 1.57) for monthly exposure and 1.40 (95% CI 0.97 to 2.03) for daily or weekly exposure) were associated with subfertility. In farming, spouses may share or exchange jobs. To account for potential dual exposure, variables for parental exposure (either parent exposed or both parents exposed) were also defined. Both were strongly associated with subfertility (OR 1.62 (95% CI 1.20 to 2.17) and OR 2.10 (95% CI 1.22 to 3.60), respectively).
Solvents may impair fertility of either gender, though the evidence for female effects is stronger than for male effects.
agriculture; female exposure; male exposure; solvent exposure; subfertility
Oxidative stress contributes to defective spermatogenesis and the poor quality of sperm associated with idiopathic male factor infertility. The aim of this study was to review the current literature on the effects of various types of antioxidant supplements in patients to improve fertilization and pregnancy rates in subfertile males with idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (iOAT). Review of recent publications through PubMed and the Cochrane database. Oxidative stress is implicated in impaired spermatogenesis leading to the poor semen parameters and increased DNA damage and apoptosis in iOAT. Strategies to modulate the level of oxidative stress within the male reproductive tract include the use of oral antioxidant compounds to reinforce the body's defence against oxidative damage. In our evaluation, carnitines were considered the most established pharmacotherapeutic agent to treat iOAT, as evidence and data concerning carnitine supplementation have been shown to be most consistent and relevant to the population of interest. Other therapies, such as combined vitamin E and C therapy, are still considered controversial as vitamin C can act as a pro-oxidant in certain instances and the results of randomized controlled trials have failed to show significant benefit to sperm parameters and pregnancy rates. There is a need for further investigation with randomized controlled studies to confirm the efficacy and safety of antioxidant supplementation in the medical treatment of idiopathic male infertility as well as the need to determine the dosage required to improve semen parameters, fertilization rates and pregnancy outcomes in iOAT.
Antioxidants; idiopathic oligoasthenoteratozoospermia; male infertility; oxidative stress
Low concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) are necessary for the biology and physiology of spermatozoa, but high levels of NO are toxic and have negative effects on sperm functions. Although several studies have considered the relationship between infertility and semen NO concentrations, no study on the effects of asthenospermia treatments such as oral zinc supplementation on concentrations of NO, which are important in fertility, has been reported. Studies have shown that oral zinc supplementation develops sperm count, motility and the physical characteristics of sperm in animals and in some groups of infertile men. The present study was conducted to study the effect of zinc supplementation on the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of semen, along with enzymes of the NO pathway in the seminal plasma of asthenospermic patients.
Semen samples were obtained from 60 fertile and 60 asthenozoospermic infertile men of matched age. The subfertile group was treated with zinc sulfate; each participant took two capsules (220 mg per capsule) per day for 3 months. Semen samples were obtained (before and after zinc sulfate supplementation). After liquefaction of the seminal fluid at room temperature, routine semen analyses were performed. The stable metabolites of NO (nitrite) in seminal plasma were measured by nitrophenol assay. Arginase activity and NO synthase activity were measured spectrophotometrically.
Peroxynitrite levels, arginase activity, NO synthase activity and various sperm parameters were compared among fertile controls and infertile patients (before and after treatment with zinc sulfate). Peroxynitrite levels and NO synthase activity were significantly higher in the infertile patients compared to the fertile group. Conversely, arginase activity was significantly higher in the fertile group than the infertile patients. Peroxynitrite levels, arginase activity and NO synthase activity of the infertile patient were restored to normal values after treatment with zinc sulfate. Volume of semen, progressive sperm motility percentage and total normal sperm count were increased after zinc supplementation.
Treatment of asthenospermic patients with zinc supplementation leads to restored peroxynitrite levels, arginase activity and NO synthase activity to normal values and gives a statistically significant improvement of semen parameters compared with controls.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01684059
Asthenospermia; Nitric oxide synthase; Arginase; Peroxynitrite; Zinc; Zinc supplementation; Oxidative stress
To identify lifestyle factors associated with subfertility (time to pregnancy >12 months) among women attending an antenatal clinic, and to determine whether this changed from 2001 to 2007.
Waiting-room surveys administered in 2001 and 2007.
There were significant changes in lifestyle factors between 2001 and 2007, including such factors as previous contraceptive use and obesity, smoking, alcohol and caffeine intake of both partners. All changes were in the direction favourable to health and fertility. However, despite these health improvements, there was no overall decrease in the prevalence of subfertility in the antenatal population. Mathematical modelling showed that even if the entire population had improved their lifestyle this would have made little difference to the proportion of subfertile couples.
A modest improvement in lifestyle over a period of 6 years in couples trying to conceive a pregnancy did not lead to any reduction in the incidence of subfertility and even substantial changes would not have made a significant difference.
Infertility; subfertility; time to pregnancy; reproductive and sexual health
The inability to procreate is frequently considered a personal tragedy and a hardship for couples, impacting on the entire family and even the local community. In Gaza strip, Palestine, there has been no study on etiological risk factors for subfertility. The present study aimed to identify risk factors associated with subfertility among women in Gaza, Palestine. One hundred and sixty-nine women in the study group and 115 women in the control group were included. Cases were selected randomly from those referred to the Al Basma Fertility Center, Gaza, Palestine. Data were collected through close-ended questionnaire, sonography, hormonal analysis and thrombophilia profile that included the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR 677 C > T), factor V leiden (1691 G > A) and prothrombin (20210 G > A) genes. By using univariate analyses, the effects of different patient-related variables on the presence of subfertility were evaluated. A multiple logistic regression model was constructed, crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated. The findings showed that 73.5 % (169/230) of the women referred to the Al Basma Center sought treatment for subfertility. Different etiological risk factors were associated with subfertility, the most frequent of which in descending order were: thrombophilic disorders, fallopian tube problems, sex hormone abnormalities and polycystic ovary syndrome with an adjusted OR of 21.42, 13.63, 11.69 and 10.29, respectively. In conclusion, several etiological risk factors are responsible for subfertility among women in Gaza. Comprehensive evaluation of infertile women should be considered in the course of treatment; otherwise, the duration of sterility may be extended.
subfertility; etiology; risk factors; Gaza; Palestine
Microarray gene‐expression profiling is a powerful tool for global analysis of the transcriptional consequences of disease phenotypes. Understanding the genetic correlates of particular pathological states is important for more accurate diagnosis and screening of patients, and thus for suggesting appropriate avenues of treatment. As yet, there has been little research describing gene‐expression profiling of infertile and subfertile men, and thus the underlying transcriptional events involved in loss of spermatogenesis remain unclear. Here we present the results of an initial screen of 33 patients with differing spermatogenic phenotypes.
Oligonucleotide array expression profiling was performed on testis biopsies for 33 patients presenting for testicular sperm extraction. Significantly regulated genes were selected using a mixed model analysis of variance. Principle components analysis and hierarchical clustering were used to interpret the resulting dataset with reference to the patient history, clinical findings and histological composition of the biopsies.
Striking patterns of coordinated gene expression were found. The most significant contains multiple germ cell‐specific genes and corresponds to the degree of successful spermatogenesis in each patient, whereas a second pattern corresponds to inflammatory activity within the testis. Smaller‐scale patterns were also observed, relating to unique features of the individual biopsies.
testis; infertility; microarray; spermatogenesis; germ cell
An association between male subfertility and an increased risk of testicular cancer has been proposed, but conflicting results of research on this topic have rendered this theory equivocal. To more precisely assess the association between subfertility and the risk of testicular cancer, we performed a systematic review of international epidemiologic evidence.
We searched the Medline database for records from January 1966 to March 2008 complemented with manual searches of the literature and then identified studies that met our inclusion criteria. Study design, sample size, exposure to subfertility and risk estimates of testicular cancer incidence were abstracted. Summary relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the DerSimonian and Laird model. All statistical tests were two-sided. We identified seven case-control studies and two cohort studies published between 1987 and 2005. Analysis of the seven case-control studies that included 4,954 participants revealed an overall statistically significant association between subfertility and increased risk of testicular cancer (summary RR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.22 to 2.31), without heterogeneity between studies (Q = 8.46, P heterogeneity = 0.21, I2 statistics = 0.29). The association between subfertility and testicular cancer was somewhat stronger in the United States (summary RR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.01 to 3.02) than it was in Europe (summary RR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.92). The source of the control subjects had a statistically significant effect on the magnitude of the association (population-based summary—RR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.11 to 4.17; hospital-based summary—RR = 1.56, 95% CI: 0.93 to 2.61). After excluding possible cryptorchidism, an important confounding factor, we also found a positive association between subfertility and increased risk of testicular cancer (summary RR = 1.59, 95% CI: 1.28 to 1.98). These results were consistent between studies conducted in the United States and in Europe (Q = 0.20, P heterogeneity = 0.66). Of the two cohort studies that reported standardized incidence ratios, both reported a statistically significant positive association between subfertility and increased risk of testicular cancer.
Our findings support a relationship between subfertility and increased risk of testicular cancer and apply to the management of men with subfertility, and prevention and diagnosis of testicular cancer.
Objectives To assess gestational length and prevalence of preterm birth among medically and naturally conceived twins; to establish the role of zygosity and chorionicity in assessing gestational length in twins born after subfertility treatment.
Design Population based cohort study.
Setting Collaborative network of 19 maternity facilities in East Flanders, Belgium (East Flanders prospective twin survey).
Participants 4368 twin pairs born between 1976 and 2002, including 2915 spontaneous twin pairs, 710 twin pairs born after ovarian stimulation, and 743 twin pairs born after in vitro fertilisation or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Main outcome measures Gestational length and prevalence of preterm birth.
Results Compared with naturally conceived twins, twins resulting from subfertility treatment had on average a slightly decreased gestational age at birth (mean difference 4.0 days, 95% confidence interval 2.7 to 5.2), corresponding to an odds ratio of 1.6 (1.4 to 1.8) for preterm birth, albeit confined to mild preterm birth (34-36 weeks). The adjusted odds ratios of preterm birth after subfertility treatment were 1.3 (1.1 to 1.5) when controlled for birth year, maternal age, and parity and 1.6 (1.3 to 1.8) with additional control for fetal sex, caesarean section, zygosity, and chorionicity. Although an increased risk of preterm birth was therefore seen among twins resulting from subfertility treatment, the risk was largely caused by a first birth effect among subfertile couples; conversely, the risk of prematurity was substantially levelled off by the protective effect of dizygotic twinning.
Conclusions Twins resulting from subfertility treatment have an increased risk of preterm birth, but the risk is limited to mild preterm birth, primarily by virtue of dizygotic twinning.
Ovarian Reserve (OR) is a term which describes the functional potential of the ovary, which constitutes the size of the ovarian follicle pool and reflects the number and quality of the oocytes which are within it. Assessment of the OR helps in reflecting the reproductive potential of women. Various markers are available for assessing the OR and the best marker is the Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) which reflects the ovarian follicular pool in the ovary. In this study, the serum level of AMH/MIS(Mullerian Inhibiting Substance)was estimated to assess the ovarian reserve in both fertile and infertile women.
To assess the ovarian reserve in women of the fertile and subfertile groups with regular cycles, who were in the age range of 26 -33yrs, by estimating the level of AMH and those of other hormones like FSH and E2 and also to calculate the ovarian volume and the Antral follicular count by an ultrasonographic method.
Materials and Methods
Thirty fertile and thirty sub fertile women whose ages ranged from 26-33yrs were included as group 1 and group 2 respectively. The hormones like AMH ,FSH and oestradiol were assayed. Measurement of the ovarian volume and the antral follicular count by doing a transvaginal ultrasonogram, was done in all the subjects who were involved in both the groups. The correlation test was studied between the variables and the test of significance of the variables between the 2 groups was also analyzed by the Statistical Package Of Social Sciences (SPSS).
The Antral Follicular Count (AFC) and the ovarian volume were negatively correlated with the age. The ovarian volume was positively correlated with the AFC. The FSH negatively correlated with the AFC. The Anti Mullerian Hormone negatively correlated with the age, and it positively correlated with the AFC. The mean values of AFC, FSH, and AMH were also statistically significant between the two groups.
AMH can be considered as a marker for assessing the ovarian reserve, as it is cycle independent as compared to the other hormones. The women in the subfertile group with low levels of AMH should be insisted to proceed for ART as early as possible.
Ovarian reserve; AMH; AFC