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20 January 2011
Male subfertility helped by antioxidants says research

Antioxidants may help improve male fertility, early research suggests.

A review of existing data found, compared with controls, a couple was more likely to have a pregnancy or live birth if the man took certain vitamins or other antioxidants.

Researchers from The Cochrane Library looked at trials of more than 1,000 couples at fertility clinics where most of the men had low sperm counts.

A UK expert said more research was needed.

Male subfertility - where a man struggles to get his partner pregnant - affects one in 12 UK men.

Some clinics advocate the use of antioxidants, which are natural and synthetic chemicals, including certain vitamins and minerals.

Free radicals

The use of antioxidants is based on the theory that free radicals - highly reactive atoms with an odd number of electrons - can cause damage to the DNA in sperm, which is vital for creating an embryo.

The result could be lowered sperm counts and an impaired ability to fertilise eggs.

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“Men who think antioxidant therapy may help them should consult their doctor and only take the therapy if they are advised to do so.”

Dr Allan Pacey, University of Sheffield

Dr Allan Pacey, Senior Lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield gave a cautious welcome to the research, which he said was “encouraging”.

However, he said it was important to note that antioxidant therapy would be unlikely to increase the numbers of sperm men produce and could not therefore help with all cases of male infertility.

He added that it was an area of ongoing interest:

“To date, the research has been controversial with some studies showing evidence of benefit and others showing no improvement.

This meta analysis seems to suggest that there is an increased chance of pregnancy in the partners of men who took antioxidant therapy, although the numbers are still small. Clearly more research is needed.”

The review focused on 34 controlled trials involving couples undergoing assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilisation and sperm injections.

Most men in the trials had low sperm counts or low sperm motility.


  • Out of 214 couples, 20 live births occurred where men took antioxidants. Men taking oral antioxidants had an associated statistically significant increase in live birth rate when compared with the men taking the control. The births were reported in three separate studies.
  • Out of 964 couples, 96 pregnancies occurred. Antioxidant use was associated with a statistically significant increased pregnancy rate compared to control. The pregnancies were reported in 15 separate studies.

The trials also explored the use of many different types of oral antioxidants, including vitamin E, L-carnitine, zinc and magnesium.

Lead researcher, Marian Showell from the University of Auckland in New Zealand said taking an oral antioxidant supplement may increase a couple's chance of conceiving when undergoing fertility treatment:

“When trying to conceive as part of an assisted reproductive program, it may be advisable to encourage men to take oral antioxidant supplements to improve their partners' chances of becoming pregnant.”

She acknowledged though that evidence is still limited and that more work needs to be done.

Dr Pacey said that men with fertility problems should always consult their doctor:

“Men who think antioxidant therapy may help them should consult their doctor and only take the therapy if they are advised to do so.”

Dr Allan Pacey University of Sheffield, from  
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20 December 2010

The BERLIN SPERM BANK will provide the first 3 donor specimens FREE of charge to every lesbian couple (in civil partnership) living in the UK.

Only prerequisite is that the treatment be carried out in Berlin.
This offer is valid until May 1st 2011.

More information:
External link

Dr. Peet


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18 October 2010
Comparison of the effectiveness of single versus double intrauterine insemination with three different timing regimens

By Dr. Esra Tonguc et al


To compare double insemination with two different single insemination regimens.


Four hundred and fifty patients with unexplained infertility, male factor, and ovulatory dysfunction underwent controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with gonadotropin.


The patients were divided randomly into three groups:

  • patients in group 1 underwent a single preovulatory intrauterine insemination (IUI)
    - performed 24 hours after hCG administration.
  • Patients in group 2 underwent two IUIs
    - performed 12 and 36 hours after hCG administration.
  • Patients in group 3 underwent a single periovulatory IUI
    - performed 36 hours after hCG administration.


The total pregnancy rate per patient was
14.2 % (64 pregnancies in 450 patients).

Group 1 had 17 pregnancies (11.3%), while groups 2 and 3 had 21 (14.0%) and 26 (17.2%) pregnancies, respectively.

The difference between the three groups in regard to pregnancy rates was statistically not significant.


Despite the 36th hour being the preferred timing for IUI, there was no difference regarding pregnancy rates between single 24th hour and double 12th- and 36th-hour inseminations.

This finding suggests that the 24th-hour IUI might be preferred in demanding situations.

Dr. Peet

From Fertility/ Sterility Volume 94, Issue 4, Pages 1267-1270 (September 2010)


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20 September 2010

In September the Berlin Sperm Bank, together with the Praxis für Fertilität (clinic for fertility), started  their „joint venture”

the Berlin Baby Project.

The Berlin Sperm Bank provides the sperm, the clinic its medical know-how.

Read more about the project:
External link

Dr. Peet


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01 September 2010
London goes Berlin!


Dr. Peet, CEO Berlin Sperm Bank


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