Posts Tagged ‘sperm’

Zika and sperm – a new concern

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

spermThe latest news about the Zika virus is that there is a potential risk that some semen donated to sperm banks in South Florida might be contaminated with Zika.

Here’s why:

  • Zika can remain in semen for several months;
  • men who donated semen may not have shown signs or symptoms of Zika yet they could have been infected with the virus;
  • semen is not tested for Zika, unlike blood and tissue donations.

Therefore, it is possible that an infected man may have unknowingly donated semen contaminated with the Zika virus.

Where is the risk?

Although the Zika virus has been identified in Miami-Dade County, the risk of it spreading to other neighboring areas is possible, since individuals in this part of the state often travel to and from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

CDC says “This analysis has led to CDC identifying that since June 15, 2016, there has been a potential increased Zika risk for residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties because of local travel to areas of active transmission in Florida and challenges associated with defining sources of exposure.” The increased risk in the overall numbers of people exposed to the virus means that donor sperm may be at risk, too.

What does this mean to women trying to become pregnant by donor sperm?

Semen contains sperm, which is necessary for a woman to become pregnant. Although the risk of Zika transmission is small, if a woman wishes to become pregnant or currently is pregnant by donor sperm from these areas in Florida, she should speak with her healthcare provider. There have not been any confirmed cases of the Zika virus infecting a pregnant woman from donor sperm, but the possibility exists that it could occur.

The CDC emphasizes that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause brain problems, microcephaly, and congenital Zika syndrome, a pattern of conditions in the baby that includes brain abnormalities, eye defects, hearing loss, and limb defects.

See our website for more information on Zika during pregnancy, microcephaly, and congenital Zika syndrome.

The CDC website offers detailed guidance for people living or traveling to South Florida.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Aging sperm may impact offspring’s cognitive skills

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

thinkingA new study out of the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, Australia suggests there may be a subtle decline in cognitive skills (intellectual activity as opposed to emotional response) among children whose fathers were near the age of 50 or older at the time of conception. 

A review of over 33,000 children was undertaken at ages 8 months, 4 years and 7 years.  Regardless of the mother’s age at conception, children whose fathers were 50 or older had slightly lower scores on all tests (concentration, memory, thinking, reasoning, reading, as well as motor tests).  The findings were broadly consistent at all three ages.  In contrast, advanced age of the mother was generally associated with better scores, using the same measures.

Other studies have suggested an association between paternal age and both autism and schizophrenia.  A large Swedish study at the Karolinska Institute (published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, Sept. 2008) studied Swedish national registries for cases of bipolar disorder.  They found, although small, a statistically increased risk of bipolar disorder in offspring as the fathers aged. (Findings applied to adult offspring only, not children.) The authors offered a possible biological explanation. Unlike women who are born with a complete supply of eggs that do not replicate, men are constantly replicating sperm.  The older a man is, the more often his sperm cells have replicated, and the more replications, the greater the chance for random DNA copying errors to occur.  While this is one interesting study, it is important to note that bipolar disorder is rare in any age group and that in the overall population, the vast majority of children of fathers of any age will not get bipolar disorder.

These are only two studies and much further research needs to be done to confirm any of these findings.