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Journal: Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E


BACKGROUND: Gonadotrophins are used routinely for follicular stimulation during ovarian induction and assisted reproduction techniques. Developments in recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone preparations and their injection devices have improved patient quality of life by enabling patients to self-administer treatment at home. The objective of this study was to investigate patient experiences of learning to use and overall satisfaction with the follitropin-alpha (Gonal-f) filled-by-mass (FbM) prefilled pen. METHODS: This questionnaire-based survey study was conducted in 23 fertility centres in Japan over a period of 14 months. Patients who were receiving fertility treatment with the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen were asked to complete a questionnaire to assess their satisfaction, ease of learning and use, and injection site pain following treatment. RESULTS: A total of 663 women participated in the study. The majority of patients found the instructions for administering follitropin-alpha with the prefilled pen easy to understand (83.0%; n = 546/658) and patients found that a hands-on demonstration by a nurse or doctor was the most useful tool for learning to use the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen (80.0%; n = 497/621). Forty-eight percent (n = 318) of patients in the study had previous experience with different types of fertility medications and the majority of these patients found the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen easier to use (75.1%; n = 232/309) and less painful (89.0%; n = 347/390) than their previous medication. The majority (80.2%; n = 521/650) of patients reported overall satisfaction with the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen. CONCLUSIONS: The follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen is an easy-to-use injection device according to this questionnaire-based survey. Patients who had experience of different types of fertility medication preferred the follitropin-alpha (FbM) prefilled pen to other injection devices.

Concepts: Hormone, Menopause, Physician, Infertility, Fertility medication, Assisted reproductive technology, Pharmaceutical drug, Follicle-stimulating hormone


In successful reproduction, endocrine and immune systems closely interact. We here attempt to further elucidate the relationship between androgen levels, systemic activation of the immune system and reproductive success in infertile women, utilizing 2 distinct infertile patient cohorts.

Concepts: Immune system, Organism


Infertility affects an estimated 15% of couples globally, amounting to 48.5 million couples. Males are found to be solely responsible for 20-30% of infertility cases and contribute to 50% of cases overall. However, this number does not accurately represent all regions of the world. Indeed, on a global level, there is a lack of accurate statistics on rates of male infertility. Our report examines major regions of the world and reports rates of male infertility based on data on female infertility.

Concepts: Male, Female, Infertility


The lifesaving chemotherapy and radiation treatments that allow patients to survive cancer can also result in a lifetime of side-effects, including male infertility. Infertility in male cancer survivors is thought to primarily result from killing of the spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) responsible for producing spermatozoa since SSCs turn over slowly and are thereby sensitive to antineoplastic therapies. We previously demonstrated that the cytokine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) can preserve spermatogenesis after alkylating chemotherapy (busulfan).

Concepts: Cancer, Bone marrow, Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, Sertoli cell, Spermatogenesis, Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, Spermatocyte


Several factors have been shown to influence semen parameters, one of which is sexual abstinence; a clinical criteria included in the semen evaluation to provide maximum sperm quality. The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of a daily ejaculation frequency on conventional and functional semen parameters.

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Evaluation, Sperm, Semen analysis, Spermatozoon, Semen, Ejaculation, Masturbation


Genome editing technology, including zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas, has enabled far more efficient genetic engineering even in non-human primates. This biotechnology is more likely to develop into medicine for preventing a genetic disease if corrective genome editing is integrated into assisted reproductive technology, represented by in vitro fertilization. Although rapid advances in genome editing are expected to make germline gene correction feasible in a clinical setting, there are many issues that still need to be addressed before this could occur. We herein examine current status of genome editing in mammalian embryonic stem cells and zygotes and discuss potential issues in the international regulatory landscape regarding human germline gene modification. Moreover, we address some ethical and social issues that would be raised when each country considers whether genome editing-mediated germline gene correction for preventive medicine should be permitted.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Human, Reproduction, Biotechnology, Embryonic stem cell, In vitro fertilisation


BACKGROUND: Ovarian aging patterns differ between races, and appear to affect fertility treatment outcomes. What causes these differences is, however, unknown. Variations in ovarian aging patterns have recently been associated with specific ovarian genotypes and sub-genotypes of the FMR1 gene. We, therefore, attempted to determine differences in how functional ovarian reserve (FOR) changes with advancing age between races, and whether changes are associated with differences in distribution of ovarian genotypes and sub-genotypes of the FMR1 gene. METHODS: We determined in association with in vitro fertilization (IVF) FOR in 62 young Caucasian, African and Asian oocyte donors and 536 older infertility patients of all three races, based on follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and oocyte yields, and investigated whether differences between races are associated with differences in distribution of FMR1 genotypes and sub-genotypes. RESULTS: Changes in distribution of mean FSH, AMH and oocyte yields between young donors and older infertility patients were significant (all P < 0.001). Donors did not demonstrate significant differences between races in AMH and FSH but demonstrated significant differences in oocyte yields [F(2,59) = 4.22, P = 0.019]: Specifically, African donors demonstrated larger oocyte yields than Caucasians (P = 0.008) and Asians (P = 0.022). In patients, AMH levels differed significantly between races [F (2,533) = 4.25, P = 0.015]. Holm-Sidak post-hoc comparisons demonstrated that Caucasians demonstrated lower AMH in comparison to Asians (P = 0.007). Percentages of FMR1 genotypes and sub-genotypes in patients varied significantly between races, with Asians demonstrating fewer het-norm/low sub-genotypes than Caucasians and Africans (P = 0.012). CONCLUSION: FOR changes in different races at different rates, and appears to parallel ovarian FMR1 genotypes and sub-genotype distributions. Differences in ovarian aging between races may, therefore, be FMR1-associated.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Africa, Menopause, In vitro fertilisation, Gynecology, Demonstration, Follicle-stimulating hormone, Anti-Müllerian hormone


To preclude transfer of aneuploid embryos, current preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) usually involves one trophectoderm biopsy at blastocyst stage, assumed to represent embryo ploidy. Whether one such biopsy can correctly assess embryo ploidy has recently, however, been questioned.

Concepts: Cell, Embryo, Endometrium, Zygote, Preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Blastocyst, Prenatal diagnosis, Embryo transfer


Approximately 10 to 15% of couples are impacted by infertility. Recently, the pivotal role that lifestyle factors play in the development of infertility has generated a considerable amount of interest. Lifestyle factors are the modifiable habits and ways of life that can greatly influence overall health and well-being, including fertility. Many lifestyle factors such as the age at which to start a family, nutrition, weight, exercise, psychological stress, environmental and occupational exposures, and others can have substantial effects on fertility; lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, illicit drug use, and alcohol and caffeine consumption can negatively influence fertility while others such as preventative care may be beneficial. The present literature review encompasses multiple lifestyle factors and places infertility in context for the couple by focusing on both males and females; it aims to identify the roles that lifestyle factors play in determining reproductive status. The growing interest and amount of research in this field have made it evident that lifestyle factors have a significant impact on fertility.

Concepts: Human, Male, Reproduction, Female, Smoking, Cigarette, Fertility, Drug addiction


Previously manual human embryology in many in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers is rapidly being replaced by closed embryo incubation systems with time-lapse imaging. Whether such systems perform comparably to manual embryology in different IVF patient populations has, however, never before been investigated. We, therefore, prospectively compared embryo quality following closed system culture with time-lapse photography (EmbryoScope™) and standard embryology. We performed a two-part prospectively randomized study in IVF (clinical trial # NCT92256309). Part A involved 31 infertile poor prognosis patients prospectively randomized to EmbryoScope™ and standard embryology. Part B involved embryos from 17 egg donor-recipient cycles resulting in large egg/embryo numbers, thus permitting prospectively alternative embryo assignments to EmbryoScope™ and standard embryology. We then compared pregnancy rates and embryo quality on day-3 after fertilization and embryologist time utilized per processed embryo.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Embryo, Fetus, Developmental biology, Mesoderm, Fertility, In vitro fertilisation, Embryology