While the male has to do whatever it takes to get the female’s acceptance, the sperm is also responsible for transmitting signals to “convince” the female body to give birth.
Human reproduction usually begins with sperm moving through semen to meet an egg and fertilize it. That creates a zygote, which can then attach to the uterine wall and begin the process of developing into a baby.
However, this transplant is not entirely a default. A woman’s immune system may reject the fertilized egg, treating it as something “foreign” and preventing pregnancy. Previous scientific studies have shown that semen contains proteins that reduce this immune response, encouraging a woman’s body to accept the zygote and become pregnant.
But now, researchers at the University of Adelaide (Australia) have discovered that it turns out that sperm also send their own signals, specifically designed to persuade a woman’s body.
“This upsets our current understanding of sperm capabilities,” project leader Sarah Robertson said in a press release. “They are not only carriers of genetic material, but also agents of persuading the female to invest reproductive resources in that male.”
In the trial of the new study, female mice were mated with sperm-producing males and the males had a vasectomy (meaning they produced semen without the sperm).
Based on changes in the expression of different genes in the utero of females, the researchers determined that sperm-producing mice promoted immune tolerance in their mates more strongly than those that did not. vasectomy.
By inserting male sperm into female cells in the lab, the researchers were able to confirm that sperm is directly responsible for these changes.
So why is this finding so important? Because infertility is a common problem, affecting tens of millions of couples globally, and problems such as recurrent miscarriages, pre-eclampsia or stillbirth are related to a woman’s immune response. female during childbirth.
Now, when we know that sperm can influence that immune response, researchers can identify new ways to treat infertility – potentially helping some couples conceive and give birth to healthy babies.