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2.  Laser-assisted blastocyst dissection and subsequent cultivation of embryonic stem cells in a serum/cell free culture system: applications and preliminary results in a murine model 
Background
To evaluate embryonic stem cell (ESC) harvesting methods with an emphasis on derivation of ESC lines without feeder cells or sera. Using a murine model, laser-assisted blastocyst dissection was performed and compared to conventional immunosurgery to assess a novel laser application for inner cell mass (ICM) isolation.
Methods
Intact blastocysts or isolated ICMs generated in a standard mouse strain were plated in medium with or without serum to compare ESC harvesting efficiency. ESC derivation was also undertaken in a feeder cell-free culture system.
Results
Although ICM growth and dissociation was comparable irrespective of the media components, an enhanced ESC harvest was observed in our serum-free medium (p < 0.01). ESC harvest rate was not affected by ICM isolation technique but was attenuated in the feeder cell-free group.
Conclusion
Achieving successful techniques for human ESC research is fundamentally dependent on preliminary work using experimental animals. In this study, all experimentally developed ESC lines manifested similar features to ESCs obtained from intact blastocysts in standard culture. Cell/sera free murine ESC harvest and propagation are feasible procedures for an embryology laboratory and await refinements for translation to human medical research.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-4-20
PMCID: PMC1479373  PMID: 16681851
3.  Non-obstructive azoospermia and maturation arrest with complex translocation 46,XY t(9;13;14)(p22;q21.2;p13) is consistent with the Luciani-Guo hypothesis of latent aberrant autosomal regions and infertility 
Cell & Chromosome  2005;4:2.
Objective
To describe clinical and histological features observed in the setting of an unusual complex translocation involving three autosomes (9, 13, and 14) identified in an otherwise healthy male referred for infertility consultation.
Materials and methods
The patient was age 30 and no family history was available (adopted). Total azoospermia was confirmed on multiple semen analyses. Peripheral karyotype showed a 46,XY t(9;13;14)(p22:q21.2;p13) genotype; no Y-chromosome microdeletions were identified. Cystic fibrosis screening was negative. Bilateral testis biopsy revealed uniform maturation arrest and peritubular fibrosis.
Results
Formal genetic counseling was obtained and the extant literature reviewed with the couple. Given the low probability of obtaining sperm on testicular biopsy, as well as the high risk of any retrieved sperm having an unbalanced genetic rearrangement, the couple elected to proceed with fertility treatment using anonymous donor sperm for insemination.
Conclusion
Although genes mapped to the Y-chromosome have been established as critical to normal testicular development and spermatogenesis, certain autosomal genes are now also recognized as important in these processes. Here we present clinical evidence to support the Luciani-Guo hypothesis (first advanced in 1984 and refined in 2002), which predicts severe spermatogenic impairment with aberrations involving chromosomes 9, 13, and/or 14, independent of Y-chromosome status. Additional study including fluorescent in situ hybridization and molecular analysis of specific chromosomal regions is needed to characterize more fully the contribution(s) of these autosomes to male testicular development and spermatogenesis.
doi:10.1186/1475-9268-4-2
PMCID: PMC1253518  PMID: 16162283
4.  Identification and isolation of embryonic stem cells in reproductive endocrinology: theoretical protocols for conservation of human embryos derived from in vitro fertilization 
Background
Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are pluripotent cells obtained from the inner cell mass (ICM) of blastocysts derived from in vitro culture associated with reproductive endocrinology therapy. Human ESCs are regarded as highly significant since they retain the capacity to differentiate into any of approximately 200 unique cell types. Human ESC research is controversial because to acquire such cells, the ICM of human blastocysts must be manipulated in a way that renders embryos nonviable and unsuitable for transfer in utero. Techniques to yield competent ESCs with conservation of source blastocysts would satisfy many objections against ESC research, but at present such approaches remain largely untested.
Results and discussion
We contrast experimental culture of single blastomeres obtained by 1) non-destructive biopsy of embryos destined for transfer, and 2) isolation of karyotypically normal blastomeres from disaggregated ("dead") embryos considered unsuitable for transfer, and evaluate these approaches with regard to production of ESCs. Pluripotency was confirmed by morphological criteria and by quantification of divergent homeodomain proteins specific to undifferentiated cell development. Following ESC isolation and identification, assessment was conducted according to a novel ESC grading system, also proposed here.
Conclusion
The role of reproductive endocrinology in ESC research remains paramount. In this report, we hypothesize new and expand on existing strategies having the potential to enhance human ESC isolation, identification and in vitro maintenance.
doi:10.1186/1742-4682-2-25
PMCID: PMC1185568  PMID: 16026616
5.  Article processing charges, funding, and open access publishing at Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction 
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction is an Open Access, online, electronic journal published by BioMed Central with full contents available to the scientific and medical community free of charge to all readers. Authors maintain the copyright to their own work, a policy facilitating dissemination of data to the widest possible audience without requiring permission from the publisher. This Open Access publishing model is subsidized by authors (or their institutions/funding agencies) in the form of a single £330 article processing charge (APC), due at the time of manuscript acceptance for publication. Payment of the APC is not a condition for formal peer review and does not apply to articles rejected after review. Additionally, this fee is waived for authors whose institutions are BioMed Central members or where genuine financial hardship exists. Considering ordinary publication fees related to page charges and reprints, the APC at Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction is comparable to costs associated with publishing in some traditional print journals, and is less expensive than many. Implementation of the APC within this Open Access framework is envisioned as a modern research-friendly policy that supports networking among investigators, brings new research into reach rapidly, and empowers authors with greater control over their own scholarly publications.
doi:10.1186/1743-1050-2-1
PMCID: PMC546227  PMID: 15649322
6.  Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction: shaping the future of research and practice in reproductive endocrinology/infertility 
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction is an open access, online, peer-review journal publishing papers on all aspects of research into reproductive endocrinology, infertility, bioethics and the advanced reproductive technologies. The journal reports on important developments impacting the field of human reproductive medicine and surgery. The field exists as a sub-specialty of obstetrics & gynecology, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of complex human reproductive problems. The continued growth of this relatively new field depends on quality research by proven scientists as well as junior investigators who, together, make contributions to this area of medical and surgical practice. The publishing revolution made possible by internet technology presages a bright future for continued interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers. Against this background, Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction exists for the scientific community to facilitate this scholarly dialogue.
doi:10.1186/1743-1050-1-1
PMCID: PMC524035  PMID: 15507153
publishing; reproductive medicine; internet; research; trends
7.  Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis for Elective Sex Selection, the IVF Market Economy, and the Child—Another Long Day's Journey into Night? 
The promise of medical innovation has long evoked social commentary, particularly when personal reproductive autonomy may be involved. Development of the oral contraceptive, effective and safe surgical sterilization, and later IVF and ICSI are among the revolutionary developments where the initial reactions were dubious but were accorded mainstream status with sufficient clinical experience. In each instance, debate about the moral and social implications of these treatments accompanied their introduction into the medical marketplace. This pattern appears to be repeating itself in connection with the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) for elective sex selection of human embryos. As with prior challenges in reproductive medicine, the development of meaningful “guidelines” for this latest controversy has proven to be a contentious task. Indeed, the progression of ethics committee reports from the Society for Reproductive Medicine seems to echo the ambivalence within society at large regarding this issue. In this report, we chronicle sex selection claims based on sperm sorting, and describe how flow cytometry and especially PGD have facilitated this selection at the gamete and embryo stage, respectively. In doing so, we also explore market forces and practitioner considerations associated with the application of PGD for this; related ethical issues with particular emphasis on the progeny derived from such treatment are also.
doi:10.1023/A:1016819908612
PMCID: PMC3455545  PMID: 12408539
Ethics; IVF; PGD; sex selection
8.  Intrauterine pregnancy following low-dose gonadotropin ovulation induction and direct intraperitoneal insemination for severe cervical stenosis 
Background
We present a case of primary infertility related to extreme cervical stenosis, a subset of cervical factor infertility which accounts for approximately 5% of all clinical infertility referrals.
Case presentation
A 37 year-old nulligravida was successfully treated with ovulation induction via recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and direct intraperitoneal insemination (IPI). Anticipating controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with in vitro fertilization/embryo transfer (IVF), the patient underwent hysteroscopy and cervical recanalization, but safe intrauterine access was not possible due to severe proximal cervical stricture. Hysterosalpingogram established bilateral tubal patency and confirmed an irregular cervical contour. Since the cervical canal could not be traversed, neither standard intrauterine insemination nor transcervical embryo transfer could be offered. Prepared spermatozoa were therefore placed intraperitoneally at both tubal fimbria under real-time transvaginal sonographic guidance using a 17 gage single-lumen IVF needle. Supplementary progesterone was administered as 200 mg/d lozenge (troche) plus 200 mg/d rectal suppository, maintained from the day following IPI to the 8th gestational week. A singleton intrauterine pregnancy was achieved after the second ovulation induction attempt.
Conclusions
In this report, we outline the relevance of cervical factor infertility to reproductive medicine practice. Additionally, our andrology evaluation, ovulation induction approach, spermatozoa preparation, and insemination technique in such cases are described.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-2-9
PMCID: PMC139980  PMID: 12450413
cervical factor infertility; intraperitoneal insemination; ovulation induction
9.  A Seminar on Human Cloning: Reprogramming Somatic Cell Differentiation and the Hayflick Limit: Contrasting Two Modern Molecular Bioengineering Aims and Their Impact on the Future of Mankind 
The molecular biology of human cloning and aging research depend on the closely related laboratory techniques supported by a thorough understanding of cell-signaling processes. Unfortunately, the link between these two research fields has received only marginal attention in the lay press. Cloning is possible when somatic cell differentiation is successfully reprogrammed, and clinical control of cellular senescence depends on a proper reconfiguration of the predetermined number of divisions permitted during the cell life-cycle (the so-called “Hayflick Limit”). In this paper, we discuss these two concepts and compare the impact likely to be associated with bioengineering studies that facilitate both human cloning and longevity therapy.
doi:10.1023/A:1016694923125
PMCID: PMC3455520  PMID: 11599467
cloning; ethics; research; relativism

Results 1-9 (9)