Concept: Fertility medicine
Loss of fertility is one of the many potential late effects of cancer treatment. For young men and women who have not yet started or completed building their families, this can be a source of considerable emotional distress. Advances in reproductive technology can enable many of these patients to preserve their fertility; however, discussions must be initiated early enough during treatment planning to enable them to take advantage of these options.
Male infertility affects up to 12% of the world’s male population and is linked to various environmental and medical conditions. Manual microscope-based testing and computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) are the current standard methods to diagnose male infertility; however, these methods are labor-intensive, expensive, and laboratory-based. Cultural and socially dominated stigma against male infertility testing hinders a large number of men from getting tested for infertility, especially in resource-limited African countries. We describe the development and clinical testing of an automated smartphone-based semen analyzer designed for quantitative measurement of sperm concentration and motility for point-of-care male infertility screening. Using a total of 350 clinical semen specimens at a fertility clinic, we have shown that our assay can analyze an unwashed, unprocessed liquefied semen sample with <5-s mean processing time and provide the user a semen quality evaluation based on the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines with ~98% accuracy. The work suggests that the integration of microfluidics, optical sensing accessories, and advances in consumer electronics, particularly smartphone capabilities, can make remote semen quality testing accessible to people in both developed and developing countries who have access to smartphones.
What is the semen quality of young adult men who were conceived 18-22 years ago by ICSI for male infertility?
The extent to which birth defects after infertility treatment may be explained by underlying parental factors is uncertain.
Male infertility constitutes 30-40% of all infertility cases. Some studies have shown a continuous decline in semen quality since the beginning of the 20th century. One postulated contributing factor is radio frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones. This study investigates an association between characteristics of cell phone usage and semen quality. Questionnaires accessing demographic data and characteristics of cell phone usage were completed by 106 men referred for semen analysis. Results were analysed according to WHO 2010 criteria. Talking for ≥1 h/day and during device charging were associated with higher rates of abnormal semen concentration (60.9% versus 35.7%, P < 0.04 and 66.7% versus 35.6%, P < 0.02, respectively). Among men who reported holding their phones ≤50 cm from the groin, a non-significantly higher rate of abnormal sperm concentration was found (47.1% versus 11.1%). Multivariate analysis revealed that talking while charging the device and smoking were risk factors for abnormal sperm concentration (OR = 4.13 [95% CI 1.28-13.3], P < 0.018 and OR = 3.04 [95% CI 1.14-8.13], P < 0.027, respectively). Our findings suggest that certain aspects of cell phone usage may bear adverse effects on sperm concentration. Investigation using large-scale studies is thus needed.
Fertility treatment is associated with increased risk of major birth defects, which varies between in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and is significantly reduced by embryo freezing. We therefore examined a range of additional perinatal outcomes for these exposures.
Before planning an assisted conception treatment cycle, a thorough assessment of the woman’s hormone profile and ovarian reserve is essential to aid the decision on the appropriate protocol for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH). There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of one type of gonadotrophins over another. There is no benefit of luteinising hormone (LH) supplementation in cycles stimulated with follicle stimulating hormone alone in an unselected population. There is some evidence to suggest a potential benefit of LH supplementation in patients with a history of poor ovarian response to stimulation and in those older than 35 years. The long gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist protocol is the most widely used and is the preferred protocol in the unselected population of women undergoing COH for in vitro fertilisation or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. The GnRH antagonist protocol is best used for known or suspected high responders, including women with PCOS, as it reduces the risk of OHSS. There is a lack of robust evidence to suggest that the GnRH agonist protocol is better than the GnRH antagonist protocol in poor responders. The prolonged GnRH agonist protocol is advantageous in women who are undergoing COH due to pelvic endometriosis. Oral contraceptive pill pre-treatment adversely affects the IVF outcome in GnRH antagonist cycles, but not in GnRH agonist cycles.
To determine the magnitude of improvement in semen parameters after a varicocelectomy and the fraction that have improvements such that couples needing IVF or IUI are “upgraded” to needing less invasive assisted reproductive technology (ART).
There is increasing use of fertility medications for ovulation induction and ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilization in the treatment of female infertility. In this review, recent literature regarding the association between fertility medication and cancer risk is reviewed.
Animal experiments suggest that ingestion of pesticide mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations decreases the number of live-born offspring. Whether the same is true in humans is unknown.