Researchers Prove BPA Halts Sperm Production

April 15th, 2015

It has long been suspected but an element in some plastics known as bisphenol-A or BPA has now been proven to interrupt sperm production.  University of Washington scientists conducted the study that has just proven so, published in the journal PLOS GeneticsThe team showed that BPA disrupts DNA interactions which are pivotal in making sperm. Lead investigator, geneticist Pat Hunt and her colleagues say they may have proven a theory behind the phenomenon called the “sperm crisis” or the plummeting of male sperm counts in industrialized countries around the world. Sperm levels in first world nations have been in decline since the 1950’s. But the phenomenon wasn’t discovered until Danish scientists noticed this disturbing trend in the 1990’s. The case for one theory dubbed the “estrogen hypothesis,” was strengthened by this research. This is where endocrine disruptors in the environment, which register in the body as estrogen, enter men’s bodies and interfere with sperm production.  Hunt says though they went in through the “back door” this research gives insight into the sudden drop in male fertility in recent decades.


The hormone estradiol was also found to affect men’s sperm counts. This is the birth control hormone which is allowed to pass through sewage treatment plants untreated. BPA is known to be in food containers, plastic drink bottles and the lining of certain cans. In this experiment, baby male mice were given doses of BPA orally. They were also administered synthetic estradiol. Those exposed to these while their testes were developing saw poorer meiosis—the process in which genetic material of the parent is packaged for delivery in the sperm. As a result, less sperm were produced correctly and so perished. Hunt has predicted that with each subsequent generation exposed, human sperm counts could continue to fall. Hunt’s words in the report are haunting. Noting that this phenomenon has been going on for decades, and with male infertility becoming more prominent, she asks, what happens after several generations have passed and also, “Are we creating the perfect storm?”

Sex Toy Helps Couples get Pregnant

April 15th, 2015

Before Stephanie Berman’s invention, men with sexual dysfunction or disabilities, same-sex female couples and others who wanted to get pregnant had few sexy or romantic options. The seed which led to Berman’s invention was that she and her wife wanted to get pregnant, but the options available felt too cold, clinical and unloving. They wanted something more romantic and sexy. Besides a visit to a physician, the choices at the time were a turkey baster or a needleless syringe for use in insemination. Since she works in female reproductive health, she decided to develop something couples could use to make assisted pregnancy fun, safe, engaging and feel more like a bonding experience than a calculated, medical treatment. The result was Semenette. This is a dildo that has a pump used to engage ejaculation, making the process enjoyable and providing a more natural insemination experience. It can be used singly or with a partner.


Now the inventor and entrepreneur is launching a crowd-funding campaign to bring about the next generation; the Semenette 2.0. Any couple struggling to get pregnant knows that it can take a heavy financial and emotional toll. This product can inject more fun into the experience. Berman says her product allows for intimacy, authenticity and privacy. It can also involve both partners in an enjoyable and engaging way. The newer version will come in different colors and sizes. Berman plans to use a silicon blend to make it slightly softer and give it a more realistic feel. Also the newer version will include a larger bulb, giving it the ability to deliver more fluid. Heterosexual couples who have been trying for 12 months without success should see a fertility specialist. If interested in using the Semenette for your fertilization needs, why not broach the subject with your doctor or specialist? They may not be familiar with it, so be sure to bring some information with you to your next visit. There’s no reason why such a process has to be cold and clinical. Now, every child can be created through a warm, deeply connected and loving process.

How Come There’s no Male Contraceptive Pill Yet?

March 17th, 2015

Once the female birth control pill hit the market, the Sexual Revolution was in full swing. Since that time, scientists have been trying to develop a male counterpart to “the pill” without success. But why? How come there’s no male contraceptive pill yet? It has to do with the complexity of the male reproductive system. You can use low-levels of hormones to trick a woman’s body into thinking she is pregnant, and thus inhibit ovulation. But there is no equivalent to stopping a man’s body from producing sperm.  Some studies have tried a hormonal approach but were halted due to a high rate of side effects. Another problem is that sperm production occurs on a 90-day cycle. That means that if you stop a man’s sperm production today, he would still be fertile for another three months. Researchers are now looking at the problem from other angles, such as making sperm unable to swim or obstructing fertilization.


Pharmaceutical companies are also a stumbling block. They are afraid of taking on liability. If a man takes such a birth control pill and it fails to work or he experiences side effects, he may sue. So scientists are hemmed in trying to develop a male birth control alternative that has few side effects, yet is effective. Some women are also wary as to whether their man will take a pill each day unwaveringly. Men are interested in such a form of contraception, at least in the U.S. One survey showed that 50% of men would take a male birth control pill if it were on the market today.  Researcher Michael O’ Rand at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is working on a method that alters the protein Eppin which in turn interferes with how the sperm swim. If they can’t reach the egg fertilization cannot occur. An Indonesian team is working with an herbal remedy called Genda​russa, which also inhibits fertilization. This was discovered from a tribe in Papua New Guinea who make tea out of the herb as a method of birth control. The last method is Vasalgel. This is a polymer injected into each vas deferens tubule in order to block sperm from entering the semen. This chemical vasectomy is reversible and the closest one to FDA approval, which is still years away.

Trials Begin for New Male birth Control

January 20th, 2015

Men’s role in birth control is generally rather limited. There are condoms of course. But many long-term monogamous couples don’t like to use them. They can be uncomfortable, fumbled with in the throes of passion and easily misused or broken. A vasectomy is another male option. Many men are squeamish about the idea, though it doesn’t hurt that bad. In fact, it’s only same day surgery. Still, it is a bit pricier and far more permanent. Meanwhile, many women don’t like the hormonal changes that come with the birth control pill, long-term. An IUD irritates some women. But now a nonprofit called The Parsemus Foundation is beginning new trials for an innovative method of birth control focused on the male side of the equation.  This is a nonprofit organization which seeks “low cost solutions” the big drug companies aren’t interested in.  The technique they are using has been called a liquid vasectomy. It is non-invasive, cost effective and easily reversible.


The doctor injects a gel into the vas deferens. These are two tubules that supply sperm with semen from the testes before exiting the body. These sperm cannot pass through the gel, eliminating their ability to reach and fertilize the egg. To reverse it, another liquid is injected into the same area, dissolving the polymer. The product is now in pre-clinical trials. Three male baboons have received the procedure. Each had access to between 10 and 15 females. Researchers have reported that despite ample mating, none of the females has gotten pregnant. This product does nothing against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) however, such as HIV. It should only be used by disease-free monogamous couples in a long-term relationship.  If all goes well, “vasalgel” as it is called will be available by 2017. Pharmaceutical companies meanwhile may be worried about their profits from the birth control pill going once this product hits the market.

Performance Anxiety when Trying to Conceive

November 12th, 2014

When you first start trying to have a baby, it can seem too good to be true. There are no more condoms to fool around with. Your partner may be extra motivated, which is always fun. Certain days you know, no matter what happened that day, you are getting lucky that night. But after some time, say months or even a year, what was once an added bonus can turn into a liability. Los Angeles marriage and family therapist Aaron Buckwalter says, “…after 6 months of no pregnancy, people start to get a little worried. Part of this worry derives from hearing so much about infertility that people start to get anxious and move rapidly into concern about infertility.” This is where sex turns a corner. Instead of fun, it becomes a chore. Buckwalter says, “Some books and doctors recommend having sex twice a day during the ovulation period. Having sex 6 times in three days sounds like it could be fun, but can lead to performance anxiety and often anger and resentment.” This negativity is carried into the bedroom. But how men and women deal with such emotions is different.anxiety (1)

“Men do typically bear the brunt of performance anxiety as couples try to conceive,” Buckwalter says. “When the pressure is on to have sex numerous times in a short time period, many men have erection difficulties and also difficulty achieving orgasm each time. If there is a ‘failure’ in one of those attempts, it can compound the pressure later in the day or the following day to perform their duty successfully.” The woman’s own anxieties can compound the issue. With so much pressure and negative emotions building up on both sides, and the spontaneity and playfulness gone out of it, it’s no wonder so many guys have performance anxiety at this crucial time. So how can you overcome it? According to Buckwalter, “Rather than giving into the timetable and feeling rushed, the couple should relax and try to re-introduce playfulness into the situation. It can be a good time to check in with each other about fantasies or role playing ideas and other ways to distract them from the timetable.” Make it more like in the old days. Don’t feel pressured. Instead, find ways to deal with your anxiety. Talk about it and see how she feels, too. Once you clear the air and deal with those negative emotions, lovemaking can become organic and exciting, and less of a chore. If performance anxiety still exists, seek out a counselor or sex therapist. If you cannot conceive after one year of trying, see a fertility specialist.