Women's Bodies Can Impede Less Desirable Sperm

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A woman's body can act to lower less desirable sperm's chances of fertilizing an egg, researchers report.

They found that genetic compatibility between a woman's cervical mucus and a man's sperm affects the swimming motion, speed and viability of the sperm, CNN reported.

The study was published Aug. 19 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

A previous study by the same researchers showed the same thing occurs in a woman's follicular fluid.

"The whole reproductive tract of the female seems to have evolved to filter out 'unwanted' spermatozoa," said the author of both studies, Jukka Kekalainen, an associate professor, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland, told CNN.

"We argue that cryptic female choice can potentially occur in multiple stages during the sperm migration from the vagina towards the unfertilized egg," she said.

The findings could help improve infertility treatment.

Between 30-40% of couples struggling with infertility don't know the exact cause, so if "both are diagnosed as fertile, it is possible 'gamete-level incompatibility concept' can help them to understand the reasons behind their reproductive problems," Kekalainen told CNN.

"Thus, we would encourage future infertility research to test the possibility that infertility is not always a pathological condition, but instead can also result in demonstrated evolutionary mechanism," she said.

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