Suffering from Male Infertility: New Research Findings

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (right in our neighborhood!) published some findings this week that may mean great things for those who suffer from male fertility. The researchers used human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)from skin samples (unbelievable to think that a skin graft in the future could make a man fertile again!) to create precursor sperm cells.

You can read all about the amazing research being done here:

Looking forward to hearing more about this in the future.


Rinovum Women’s Health – Tech 50 Finalist

The Pittsburgh Technology Council named Rinovum Women’s Health (formerly Ib2C) a finalist in the Life Sciences Category for their annual Tech 50 Awards. This is an exciting nomination for our company, we are very honored to be named a finalist. For more information on The Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Tech 50 Awards:

Rinovum Women’s Health is currently in the final development stages of their first product, The Stork, designed to aid in conception for those struggling with getting pregnant. A number of contributing factors have led to declining fertility rates in not only the U.S, but worldwide. Our company hopes that The Stork will truly be the first step on the path to conception. We look forward to bringing you more product news this fall!

New Show Alert: The New Normal

You may or may not have seen the trailer for the new comedy coming in the fall to NBC: The New Normal. The show website says the idea behind the new show is that families come in all types, shapes and sizes- “These days, families come in all forms – single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors… It’s 2012 and anything goes.” (  The show is about the journey to parenthood for an alternative lifestyle male couple who desperately want to expand their family with the help of a surrogate.

Infertility and different types of families plot lines have been creeping up in Hollywood for the past few years. TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, Giuliana & Bill, The Fertility Chase to name a few have either included a plot line discussing difficulties in conceiving, different types of families  or different ways a family “became a family”. We are excited that a new show is going to debut specifically focused on alternative ways to create a family and the need for an alternative method of treatment for trying to conceive. What used to be (and still is to many) a hidden struggle is becoming more openly discussed which may help those trying to conceive out. The timeline for this show and the production of the book: could not be more necessary for this day and age.

I know we are very excited to see the different paths many of us will take in life on our journey to parenthood on primetime in the Fall!


Ladies: Your brain on sex (and the new fact found about semen)

A recent study published in Science Daily discussed the findings of a protein in semen that acts on the female brain to promote ovulation. The protein that they have called (OIF) Ovulation-Inducing Factor was compared to the numerous proteins in the mammals they were studying. The research scientists discovered that this OIF was the same protein as the Nerve-Inducing Factor protein (in nerve cells through out the body).The NIF protein/OIF protein in semen will send a signal to the female’s brain (hypothalamus) and the pituitary gland to produce/release hormones, which we know these hormones trigger the release of an egg.

The study was not on humans, therefore they are unsure what this implies for future studies on fertility in humans. To read more about the work being done:

Want to give his sperm a boost? Break out the nutcracker and WALNUTS!

A recent study discovered that men who ate 75 grams of walnuts a day had increased sperm motility, morphology and a higher percentage of sperm vitality than those that did not. The study spanned over 12 weeks splitting the two groups of men into those that ate a Western-style diet, including walnuts and those that ate a Western-style diet without walnuts. After the 12 weeks, they conducted a semen analysis to compare against the initial semen analysis, but they also measured any change to the BMI, body weight or activity level in all of the men (where they discovered that the 75 grams a day did not have negative changes to the health of individual).  Read more about the study here:

The group that had a steady diet of walnuts saw an increase in their Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s, improvement to their sperm motility, morphology and an increase in sperm vitality. Are you one of the estimated 33% of couples (of all suffering from fertility issues) that has male fertility issues? There are a variety of ways to increase his intake of walnuts. Here are a couple of tips and/recipes:

– Add chopped walnuts to a morning yogurt, top off with blueberries or strawberries for a tasty treat.

-Add crushed walnuts to oatmeal.

-Sprinkle walnuts into a salad, they’ll add a yummy texture and flavor. Walnuts go great with summer salads.

-Saute walnuts with your favorite leafy greens like kale or spinach

-Crush walnuts and crust chicken with them, then bake in the oven for a delicious crunchy meal.

Not only are scientists discovering that there are benefits for male fertility from the walnut, but it has historically been linked to studies showing increased cardiovascular health and increased brain function are among some of the healthy benefits from it.

Vitamins: Boosting your Natural Fertility 

If you go down any drugstore vitamin aisle today you will be confronted by MANY different brands of vitamins and MANY different types of vitamins or supplements. What are the best vitamins for your best health? Better yet for those trying to conceive, what are the best vitamins to take? There are many different aspects of the vitamins you are selecting that you should take into consideration:

–   Grade of the vitamins you plan to take (and no we do not mean school grades here, although you could rank them on that system). Today, vitamins are not held to heavy requirements to be on the market, therefore generic brands have less of the supplement you are seeking in it than pharmaceutical grade vitamins.

–   Absorption: taking certain vitamins with specific foods so that the full benefit of the nutrients is released.

For those trying to conceive, the path to conception includes following a healthy eating and exercise plan; including taking vitamins to optimize your chances. What are the best vitamins for a woman to take while trying to get pregnant?

  •  Folic Acid: Research shows that take this during your childbearing years will decrease the chances of having a child born with spinal cord and brain disorders (Neural tube disorders). Women taking a folic acid supplement are said to have less risk of ovulation problems/egg production issues.
  •   Fish Oil: These supplements have had a lot of press lately. Fish oils contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which aid in many processes of the body that are important to fertility. Fish oils are said to help the woman have a regular menstrual cycle.

Multivitamin that includes:

  • Vitamin C: Increases fertility in women who have luteal phase defects and may increase hormone levels. Can be found in a multivitamin chosen based on your needs.
  •  Vitamin D: Low levels of vitamin D are said to cause problems with ovulation. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and regulation which may increase her odds of ovulation by helping with the development of her follicles. Found in your multivitamin.
  • Vitamin B6: Improves a woman’s chances for ovulation. This vitamin also is said to regulate a woman’s hormones. Found in your multivitamin.
  •  Iron: Research suggests that this may be important in the maturing of the egg in preparation for healthy ovulation. Found in your multivitamin.

Childhood obesity studies say may affect future fertility

We all know that childhood obesity is on the rise, in fact according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), it has more than tripled in the past 30 years!! This is astonishing to some, especially when you think of how you were as a kid constantly running around with energy through the roof (I’d do anything to have some of that energy back). Then you glance around at all the junk food and fast food that is everywhere today and it doesn’t seem so unbelievable that childhood obesity has tripled.

Obesity early in life as a child can make everything so much harder for them. Depending on the child’s size they may not be able to participate in childhood activities like they should (I mean this is the time in their lives when they should be engaged in activities and developing their personalities). Not to mention how much harder it is being the overweight child at school; unfortunately bullying exists and it can be so horrible for them. The problems that come from childhood obesity not only affects the child socially and physically (outwards appearance-wise), but it has detrimental affects on their health short-term and long-term.


  • high cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • pre-diabetes
  • sleep apnea, bone problems, joint issues
  • psychological issues: low self-esteem

Long-term: (Childhood obesity is most likely to cause obesity as an adult)

  • The list includes: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancers…

A study published in the Science News yesterday,, discussed how childhood obesity may affect fertility and the reproductive system later in life. The results had many implications that childhood obesity is affecting the reproductive system in a different way than what generations prior have experienced.  Any extreme difference in body fat or caloric intake will change the natural process of the body’s systems; anorexia and obesity will cause changes to the reproductive system, but in different ways. Younger female children struggling from obesity are entering into puberty much sooner than their mothers or grandmothers had. While this will vary based on heredity, studies have suggested that endocrine signals from fat may be disrupting a neurohormone, kisspeptin- a hormone identified as a part of the reproductive system.

Another theory was the disruption of the body’s natural circadian clock from changes in the child’s diet. Despite these theories needing further research, the implications that a child’s diet will affect them later in life are clear.

Encouraging children at an early age to partake in an active lifestyle can help your child all throughout life, instilling healthy habits today for a healthy, happy tomorrow!