Scientists create human sperm


Newcastle: British scientists created human sperm from stem cells for the first time in a bid to better understand the causes of male infertility.

The researchers, led by Karim Nayernia from Newcastle University, developed a technique to turn stem cells with male chromosomes from human embryos into reproductive cells, known as germline, and prompt them to divide, they said in a study published in the journal Stem Cells and Development today. The divided cells produced functional sperm, the scientists said.

The new technique “will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men,” Professor Nayernia said in a statement released with the study. “This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own.”

The research may also help scientists understand how genetic diseases are passed on, according to the statement.

The lab-created sperm won’t be used for “fertilization of human eggs and implantation of embryos,” the researchers said. “While we can understand that some people may have concerns, this does not mean that humans can be produced ‘in a dish’ and we have no intention of doing this,” they wrote.

Stem cells, which have the power to become any type of cell in the body, are controversial when research involves human embryos, which are killed when the cells are harvested.

In another medical journal last week, more than 40 scientists, bio-ethicists, lawyers and science journal editors called on their colleagues and policy makers to develop guidelines for the research and reproductive use of stem cell- derived eggs and sperm.


Careers and Conception – the race against time


Careers and Conception – The race against time

David Alpert, founder of the International Institute for Anti-Ageing (iiaa) was recently invited to present a lecture for the Newborn and Maternity Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.

The theme of the event was the trend by society to delay motherhood, balanced against the problem of biology that has not kept up with this trend. David Alpert presented iiaa evidence-based research to show that certain lifestyle changes and simple actions can maximise a woman’s fertility potential and help her to conceive at a later age.

The trend towards women putting career before family and choosing to have their children later in life may mean mothers are past the period of optimal fertility and into the period of reduced fertility by the time they decide ton start a family. This will inevitably find more and more women facing difficulties conceiving. The average age of motherhood has increased by 5 years since 1970 and over the last 10 years the number of women conceiving over the age of 40 has doubled.


Women are born with a finite number of egg follicles in their ovaries and the iiaa anti-ageing fertility approach looks at reducing factors that decrease fertility and increasing factors that increase fertility and health of remaining eggs in the ovaries.

For example, fertility can be positively affected by exercise and nutrition (eating a low GI diet can increase fertility) whereas environmental factors can impede and reduce fertility (stress, the presence of chemicals and heavy metals as well as the huge rise in sexually transmitted diseases).

Unfortunately the biggest obstacle for women over 35 is their fertility age denoted by the quality and quantity of eggs remaining in her ovaries. On average, a woman hits her peak fertility between the age of 18-30 and after 35 fertility starts to decrease quite sharply.

Applying the iiaa anti-ageing pyramid to your lifestyle can make a difference when it comes to conception:

Environment/Social : factors that contribute to unhealthy environment

Endocrine Disrupting Pollutants
Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
Increase in gonorrhoea by 46%
Increase in Chlamydia by 116%

Nutrition: a high GI intake, increase in trans fats and high animal proteins are more likely to cause fertility problems. Studies have also shown that those with the highest GI intake are 92% more likely to have ovulatory fertility problems.

Exercise: Excessive weight decreases fertility
Moderate exercise increases fertility
Nutritional Supplements: Supplements can increase fertility as food has significantly dropped in nutritional value over the last 50 years. Certain minerals such as Zinc and Selenium are essential for healthy reproductive systems.

Positive Mental Attitude: According to Professor Sarah Berga, Emory University Atlanta, many women suffer from sub-clinical forms of stress and fail to ovulate properly. A study showed that 80% on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) started to ovulate again normally as opposed to only 25% on randomised control.

Many women can improve the health of their reproductive systems, and thereby their conception potential as they get older, by making key lifestyle and diet choices.

Fertility increased by acupuncture


London: The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has welcomed the preliminary results of a recent international study published today in the British Medical Journal which found that acupuncture given with embryo transfer can improve rates of pregnancy by 65% in women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Head of the British Acupuncture Council Research Committee, Professor Nicky Robinson said: The recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 trials, involved 1,336 women undergoing IVF.

“This study suggests that when acupuncture given in conjunction with embryo transfer increases the chance of women becoming pregnant by 65%, in comparison to sham acupuncture or no additional treatment. What this means is that 10 women would need to be treated with acupuncture to bring about one additional pregnancy.”

“It confirms what many of our practitioners and their patients have found, namely that acupuncture can be helpful in this area.”

”At the BAcC, we recognise that our practitioners are treating more and more women for a wide range of fertility issues, including menstrual irregularities and the inability to conceive and our research committee has a comprehensive research study underway, analysing the member’s practice of fertility related conditions.”

The researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and VU University Amsterdam set out to determine whether acupuncture given with embryo transfer improves the rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing IVF.

Acupuncture is a form of oriental therapy and fertility focused acupuncture treatment can help to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, balance hormone levels, regulate the menstrual cycle and help improve the lining of the uterus and quality of eggs released.

Acupuncture is thought to aid fertility treatments by being able to:

* regulate the menstrual cycle and promote regular ovulation
* regulate the hormones to produce a larger number of follicles
* improve the functions of ovaries to produce better quality eggs
* enhance the vitality of sperm
* relieve the side effects of drugs used in IVF
* increase the thickness of the uterine lining so to encourage successful implantation.

As with all health care treatments, it’s important to find a registered and qualified practitioner. To find a practitioner in your area call the British Acupuncture Council on T: + 44 (0) 20 8735 0400 or visit

About the BAcC:

The British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) has a membership of over 2,800 professionally qualified acupuncturists. It is the UK’s largest professional body for the practice of acupuncture.

BAcC members practise a traditional, holistic style of acupuncture diagnosis and treatment based on a system developed and refined over 2,000 years. To achieve BAcC membership, practitioners must first undertake extensive training in traditional acupuncture (minimum three years full-time or part-time equivalent), which includes physiology, anatomy and other biomedical sciences appropriate to the practice of acupuncture.

World’s population getting older


Vienna: The world’s population is growing older as people live longer, and fertility and birth rates fall.

A study, published online by Nature, carried out by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis at Laxenburg, Austria, examined population forecasts and fertility rates in 13 major regions of the planet.

The future paths of population ageing result from specific combinations of declining fertility and increasing life expectancies in different parts of the world, it says.

The “speed of ageing is likely to increase over the coming decades and to decelerate in most regions by mid century”.

The study found the overall average of the world’s population will increase from 26.6 years in 2000 to 31.1 in 2050 and then to just 32.9 in 2100, slightly less than what it was in China in 2005, owing to large differences in the regional patterns of ageing.

The researchers say the probability that world population growth will end in this century is 88 per cent, somewhat higher than previously believed. After mid century, lower rates of population growth are likely to coincide with slower rates of ageing.

By the middle of the century, the average Briton will be 48.4 years old, against 39.1 years old now.

But by 2100, the rate of increase will have slowed, with the average age rising to 53.5 years.By the middle of the century it is likely that a third of the population in Britain will be over 60 thanks to people living longer coupled with falling fertility rates

They found that by the middle of the century there is an 82 per cent chance that a third of the population in Britain will be over 60 thanks to people living longer coupled with falling fertility rates, compared with 98 per cent in Japan/Oceania and close to zero per cent for sub-Saharan Africa.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Based on ancient Chinese medicine over 5,000 years old and uses herbs to treat a variety of illnesses. The herbs which are either pungent, sour, sweet, bitter or salty, are boiled in water and drunk several times a day and often used alongside acupuncture. Reputed to be useful for skin diseases, addictions, weight loss,
fertility and breathing problems.

Contact the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine
PO Box 400
Wembley HA9 9NZ, UK.
Tel: 44(0) 7000 790322
Fax: 44(0) 7000 790332
Contact: Mr Melvin Lyons