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  1. #1
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    Interesting read on how long Sperm can live in the Fallopian Tubes

    http://www.wsu.edu/NIS/Universe/sperm.htm

    LONG-LIVED
    SPERM


    by Barb Chamberlain

    Understanding where sperm cells are stored in a woman’s body and how long they can live prior to fertilizing an egg is critically important, both for couples who want to conceive, as well as those who don’t. Yet little progress has been made in this field, due to the difficulty of studying the small Fallopian tube, where fertilization occurs in normal women.

    However, research conducted by Joanna Ellington in WSU Spokane’s Health Research and Education Center is changing our understanding of human fertility.

    Ellington describes the knowledge gap: “Throughout the past two decades, you have had medical textbooks teaching that sperm survive one to three days [in women]. There is no original source or study that provided this information—it’s just there. On the other hand, scientific journal articles were looking at real-life conception rates for people with long intervals—six days or more—between intercourse and ovulation.” She is now working with Spokane-area physicians, whom she describes as enthusiastic collaborators, to solve this contradiction.

    Ellington credits her background of research in large-animal veterinary medicine for the fresh perspective she brings to questions about human fertility and reproduction. In contrast to studies of people, a great deal has been learned over the past decade about how sperm are stored in females of other species. This has been done in part by use of an in vitro coculture system Ellington developed while working on her doctorate at Cornell. This system grows cells from the Fallopian tube (oviduct) of a female animal in a petri dish. Sperm will then interact with these oviduct cells when cocultured with them, simulating what happens in the tube itself.

    Comparing sperm function in this coculture system to what is seen in tubes removed surgically from animals has allowed Ellington and others in her field to map out where exactly sperm are stored in the female and how long they live for each species. Sperm survival time in domestic animals ranges from two days in cows to a week or more in horses and dogs. Such knowledge has helped optimize the production of normal offspring.

    Recently, in collaboration with Ray Wright of the Department of Animal Sciences and Spokane-area physicians, Ellington has modified her coculture system to study human sperm in contact with tubal cells. Her results suggest that many of the assumed details about human reproduction are incorrect. Her research team’s record for survival of human sperm is 10 days—far longer than the one to three days your doctor will tell you about—and sperm appear to be stored directly in the Fallopian tubes, as well as in the cervix.

    Ellington and co-workers have now begun studies to determine whether sperm stored in the tube for longer time periods are damaged. Some earlier research found that couples in whom the time between coitus and ovulation was extended—that is, in whom fertilization occurred from “aged” sperm in the woman’s body—had an increased incidence of children with chromosomal defects.

    So far, they have found that sugars and proteins made by the tubal cells actually protect sperm from any breakdown or DNA damage during coculture. In fact, contact of sperm with the tubal cells allows sperm to live longer and maintain normal function two to three times longer than sperm in salt solutions in the laboratory.

    “The Fallopian tube is not just a passive ‘pipe’ where sperm and eggs meet,” says Ellington. “Fallopian tube cells make a whole new set of products when sperm attach to them, and these products protect sperm and allow them to live at the internal body temperature of the woman, as opposed to living in the scrotum of men, while they wait for an egg to appear.”

    Ellington and co-workers are currently isolating these tubal factors for use in clinically assisted reproduction techniques to improve reproductive outcomes for procedures like artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, which currently fail more than half the time. The oviductal product they are developing yields selective attachment of sperm with better quality DNA than those normally retrieved using currently available products. Use of this product will thus improve the quality of the embryos fertilized with that sperm.

    “You’re not going to stop the rapid adoption of new clinical techniques, because people want babies. So we need to improve the outcomes,” Ellington says. “There has been little FDA testing or efficacy data compiled on products currently in use—products which are often intended for scientific research, not for wholesale use in humans.”

    Ellington’s previous research in collaboration with Sylvia Adams Oliver, associate director of the Health Research and Education Center, has already led to one product that has helped produce healthy babies. Quik Wash, licensed by AB Technology, is used to wash sperm prior to clinical procedures. It works twice as fast as similar products and acts to decrease the amount of free radical and chromosomal damage to sperm during handling. Other products for sperm freezing are also being tested, and several patents have been approved. Now Ellington seeks to follow up these commercial successes with further scholarly research on oviductal products and related compounds, so that the environment sperm are exposed to during in vitro procedures will seem more like “home” to them, thus improving their function.

    Treating infertility is a $2 billion industry in the United States alone. Increasing positive outcomes—from fertilization to the health of the embryo—will help couples seeking to become parents. Understanding the mechanisms of reproductive physiology may also lead down the road to improved methods of contraception, helping couples who seek not to become parents.

    Ellington’s research was funded by the National Institutes
    I have 3 boys. I lost about 40 lbs since last year. Did the LE and BD once and got a BPF ( late April). Sort of in shock! I was planning on moving on with my 3 boys in life and not TTC anymore after April, but God had another plan.

    200520072009 and finally a littleborn in January 2013 to complete our family.

  2. #2
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    I found this too from here:

    Q. During the days before a woman starts to enter her fertile zone, before any signs of good fertile cervical mucus even, can sperm enter the cervix? Or is the cervix open enough for sperm to get in only during the fertile period of a woman's cycle? My husband and I have started to have intercourse every few days, even though my fertile period has not yet started, and I am wondering if any sperm is able to make its way through my cervix yet. I hope so, just to be ready in case ovulation happens in the next week.
    A. It isn't really an issue of your cervix being "open enough" for sperm. The World Health Organization did studies looking at when conceptions occur related to intercourse. Approximately 10% of all conceptions occur from intercourse seven or more days prior to ovulation. Because some men's sperm can live up to two weeks in the woman's Fallopian Tube, women can even get pregnant from unprotected intercourse during menses, but that is pretty rare (the super sperm!).

    The issue on sperm and cervical interactions has to do with mucus quality. During the non-fertile part of the cycle, the mucus is acidic which kills sperm. When your egg is ready, the mucus becomes a pH of 7-8 (which is what pre-seed is) to support the sperm. There also are fibers in the mucus. These fibers are not lined up right and are too close for sperm to move freely in non-fertile mucus. When you ovulate, water comes into the mucus gel and the fiber spacing expands, and the fibers line up. This promotes sperm transport within 30 minutes after intercourse through the cervix up to the Fallopian Tubes.

    So it is fine to have intercourse prior to ovulation, BUT . . . some men's sperm doesn't live long in the Fallopian Tubes. This has been my area of research for years. In fact, for some men it may only live a few hours instead of days to a week. Therefore, if you are having problems conceiving, you want to make sure you have intercourse LONG ENOUGH through the cycle - this is a common mistake people make. Remember ovulation tests tell you when a hormone is released. The egg is then released 6-12 hours after this release and the egg can be fertilized for 12 hours+ after that. So if you don't have intercourse after you have the hormone rise and your husband's sperm are not long-lived, you will miss the right time.
    I have 3 boys. I lost about 40 lbs since last year. Did the LE and BD once and got a BPF ( late April). Sort of in shock! I was planning on moving on with my 3 boys in life and not TTC anymore after April, but God had another plan.

    200520072009 and finally a littleborn in January 2013 to complete our family.

  3. #3
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    This is really interesting jj! Please post any more bits you might find So this info could add weight to the ewcm for boys thoughts as maybe it is definately the girls who can make it through the more hostile cm possibly????!

  4. #4
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    Agreed definitely interesting, if only they tested gender of the longest survivig ones too
    MMC at 12+4 Jan '10, DS at 38+1 Dec '10, DS2 at 38+1 Sept'12, TTC pink again in a few years hopefully

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjc3434 View Post
    Because some men's sperm can live up to two weeks in the woman's Fallopian Tube, women can even get pregnant from unprotected intercourse during menses, but that is pretty rare (the super sperm!).
    Holy $#^@! Super sperm indeed! Great info...all this stuff is so interesting!
    Jen + DH = & ... '08 & '10..........and hopefully 2012
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    Yes the gender results would have been interesting.

    Was there/did I miss the health of the babies. If the baby was conceived on 5-7 days before Ov did it have problems?

    I know DS1 was conceived the day before my period was due... little monster
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepoet20 View Post
    Yes the gender results would have been interesting.

    Was there/did I miss the health of the babies. If the baby was conceived on 5-7 days before Ov did it have problems?
    I know! Would love to hear if there were any health problems and gender results would be nice too. I'm guessing we won't find out.
    Jen + DH = & ... '08 & '10..........and hopefully 2012
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suddenly surrounded by angels, we are honored and humbled to be the parents of our twins - 8wks and 16 wks (girl)
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    My Ovulation Chart for a R A I N B O W in 2012

  8. #8
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    That is def. interesting although the WHO info is not at all similar to what I've read. I would suspect that some of those numbers are inaccurate (as in, people did not ovulate when they think they did). A LOT of people do NFP and it's a very reliable method of birth control - this would not be the case if any large % of sperm stayed alive for many days.

    ETA - here is just one set of data from FF "In a recent analysis of 119,398 charts from women charting with Fertility Friend, we found that 94% of women who became pregnant had intercourse on at least one of these three days. For conception purposes, it is thus ideal to have intercourse during a three day fertile window which includes your ovulation day and the two previous days. " The three days they mention are O-2, O-1, and O day. Plus there was a lesser but still significant number on O-3. That leaves a very small % for longer cutoffs and O+12.

    I don't believe the numbers that were attributed to the WHO.
    Last edited by atomic sagebrush; June 25th, 2011 at 10:25 AM.
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