Any Difference between a Transplanted Penis and a Natural One?

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July 28th, 2015

Back in December, a groundbreaking procedure made headlines around the world. South African surgeons performed the world’s first successful penis transplant. The recipient of the donor organ, a 21 year-old man whose identity is being held for his privacy and protection, has just announced that he is going to become a father. The news has given hope to men around the world who have suffered a birth defect, a terrible infection or serious injury to their penis. Now these men have hope. But questions remain. One of the most common, Is there any difference between a transplanted penis and a natural one? An interesting thing to note is that urination and even ejaculation doesn’t require a penis at all. For ejaculation is controlled not by the sex organ but the spinal cord. When the pelvic muscles contract in a certain rhythm, ejaculation occurs.

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In South Africa, traditional circumcision is sometimes botched, as with the case of the young man who received the transplant. Other reasons for this kind of operation include amputation due to serious infection or penile cancer, birth defect or an injury where a significant trauma to the groin makes the penis unrecoverable. In America, surgeons have discussed performing penile transplants for returned veterans who have sustained such injuries in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is an extremely complicated procedure. The South African surgery took nine hours. Nerve endings and tiny blood vessels need to be reattached. Also half of the hardware resides inside the body, the other half outside, making the procedure more complicated. When transplanting other organs, surgeons don’t need to worry so much about the aesthetics of the organ itself. A transplanted kidney for instance doesn’t need to look pretty on the inside. But with a penile transplant, aesthetics are an important issue. These South African surgeons have reported that the young man can urinate and ejaculate normally. But experts say there is no guarantee that it looks and feels just like one’s natural penis.

Sperm Created in the Lab for the First time

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June 4th, 2015

In a breakthrough that could revolutionize male infertility treatment, scientists have for the first time created sperm in a lab, outside of the human body. This advancement could protect or restore male fertility for tens of thousands worldwide in the near future. Biotech firm Kallistem has achieved this innovation. The company recently announced that it had done so at the end of 2014. Scientists at the company used patient testicular biopsies containing spermatogonia or underdeveloped germ cells. For over 15 years a number of scientific firms have been trying to be the first to achieve spermatogenesis in vitro. This is a terribly complex process that takes 72 days to complete. A company spokesperson says they used two entirely new, patented technologies which meet current regulatory standards. The company has funded its own research to date. Now, it is looking for partnerships to help take this development to the next level.

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Kallistem seeks to turn this breakthrough into a viable fertility therapy for men whose fertility is treatment resistant.  Pre-clinical trials will come to a close in 2016. This technique will then undergo clinical trials starting in 2017. Within five years, it is hoped that fertility clinics will be able to offer this technique. Men will be able to have their sperm created in a lab that can then be used to fertilize their partner’s egg. Male infertility is a global problem. Sperm quality and counts have been dropping for the last half-century. Scientists still aren’t sure why. PBAs, chemicals used in agriculture, aluminum and many other substances are suspected. Professor Hervé Lejeune of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at Lyon University spoke out about this breakthrough. She called it “a real biotechnology achievement.” She also said, “This opens up long-awaited therapeutic possibilities.” There are 50,000 patients with at-risk fertility each year globally, according to statistics. Another use, today there is no treatment to protect the fertility of prepubescent boys going through chemotherapy for cancer treatment. There is also no current treatment for males who have treatment-resistant infertility. This breakthrough will lead to techniques to protect or reinstitute the fertility to males in these cases.

This New Form Of Birth Control Guarantees You’ll Have An Orgasm

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April 23rd, 2015

We’re kind of freaked out—yet intrigued.

As if a desire to not have children in the next nine months and protection from STDs weren’t incentive enough to use contraception, researchers have created a new method that promises a 100 percent orgasm rate—at least after you’ve used it a few times.

This Frankenstein-like combination of contraception and sex toy is called the Va w.o.w. Here’s how it works: The female condom, which goes inside you, is attached to a vibrating ring that’s used to keep the condom from slipping into your vagina.

Now about that that whole guaranteed to make you orgasm thing: According to a user survey of 50 women ages 20 to 40 who tried the vibrating female condom, 70 percent achieved an orgasm on the first use, while 84 percent crossed the finish line with the second use, and 100 percent got their happy ending by the fourth use. Crazy, right?

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While the absolute promise of a big O sounds pretty freaking amazing, it’s important to keep in mind that the study was paid for by the creators of the product (so it may well have been biased).

The vibrating female condom is still awaiting FDA approval. However, it could be available in Europe in as soon as a year and a half from now, says Brian Osterberg, CEO of the company that created the device. Now you finally have an excuse to take that European vacation you’ve always wanted.

By Ashley Oerman

Researchers Prove BPA Halts Sperm Production

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.