Usually, Mother Nature gives about 60 to 100 million sperm a chance at the conception lottery at any one try, but this baby was created using just one lone soldier.
Nine-month-old Kenley Schiraldi of Campbell, Ohio, came into being against absolutely all natural odds: she was conceived using just a single sperm.
The clinic in which she was conceived says this is the first documented case of a single sperm having been frozen, injected into a single egg, and resulting in a healthy pregnancy. Jennifer Schiraldi, 33, Kenley’s mom, says the odds the couple beat were higher than those for winning the lottery. She may be right.
Even the director of the IVF program at the Cleveland Clinic hasn’t yet calculated the odds, which might be a mathematical stretch. In addition to the dad producing virtually no sperm, mom’s egg supplies were found to be significantly below par for her age.
“It was like a shot in the dark,” said Nina Desai, the clinic director who has developed a ground-breaking technique that can find and store tiny amounts of sperm – even just one, as it turns out. The technology allows the storage of a sperm – or a few – inside a straw as thin as a sewing needle. The sperm can then be frozen and later thawed for use in a special in-vitro fertilization technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, which inserts the sperm cell directly into the egg.
The new and groundbreaking technology is expected to be a boon to men with very low sperm counts, which accounts for 1 in 8 cases of infertility among couples.
Jennifer and her husband Jason, 35, came to the clinic after trying to conceive for two years. The couple had been married for nine years and doubtless found themselves ready to become parents after establishing their careers as a hospital dietician and a catheterization nurse, respectively.
“They took a sample and we found out immediately: There’s no sperm,” Jennifer Schiraldi recalls the day when they discovered the source of the problem.
The couple pursued aggressive fertility treatments, including a thorough testicular biopsy which yielded exactly two dead sperm and one living, viable one. Jason said the procedure was difficult but worth it.
Because any pregnancy with so few sperm requires an IVF procedure, doctors needed to harvest Jennifer’s eggs. That’s when the couple found out that she has far fewer than a typical woman her age. In a last-ditch effort to help boost the couple’s chances, doctors combed through Jason’s harvested tissue to make sure they got all the sperm and to try to fertilize as many of Jennifer’s eggs as they could – with no results. They had to work with the one living sperm and choose one of the good eggs.
They injected the sperm into the egg, which began to rapidly to divide. They then implanted the embryo into Jennifer’s womb. Two weeks later she was confirmed pregnant. She carried the baby to term without complications.
“Miracle is not a large enough word to describe it,” said Jason Schiraldi. “Of all the fascinating and amazing things we do in the health care field, it’s amazing that this happened to us.”
Jennifer Schiraldi says she looks at her daughter every day and marvels that she’s here.
Desai and her colleagues plan to use the technology they’ve developed to help other couples whose male partner has very low sperm counts.
Meanwhile, it is important for all aspiring would-be parents to be aware and informed around the issue of fertility. A recent survey found that most women flunk fertility math, being doubtless under the false impression that getting pregnant in one’s late thirties and even forties is easy, given all the celebrity news featuring moms with advanced maternal age.
The Fertility IQ 2011 Survey, sponsored by biopharmaceutical firm EMD Serono Inc., found that women were wrong most often about how long it takes to get pregnant — and about how much fertility declines at various ages.
Most women don’t realize that a 30-year-old woman has about a 20 percent chance of becoming pregnant in any one month of trying, and by 40, her chances are down to just 5 percent. Many of those surveyed thought that a 30-year-old woman would have a 70 percent chance of conceiving and that a 40-year-old’s chances could approach 60 percent.
Most women are uninformed or deceived by media reports about celebrities like Salma Hayek (daughter at 41), Marcia Cross (twins at 44), Mariah Carey (twins at 41), Holly Hunter (twins at 47), Jane Seymour (twins at 44) and Kelly Preston (son at 48). The fact that so many of these births are twins suggests fertility treatments for some of these cases, yet the star moms are almost universally unlikely to disclose that fact. Instead, they blithely wax poetic about the ease of the pregnancies in media interviews. And that does many ordinary women a great disservice. It sends the message that the rest of us ordinary folks can do the same.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Comment and add to the story without registration, but keep the comments meaningful please. Links are not accepted.
- MasterChef 4 premieres: Greenback flambé, a wedding proposal, and redemption
- Spare ribs marinade ideas for Memorial Day grilling
- Feed Your Late-Night Cravings on 'Last Call Food Brawl'
- Can a Low-Carb Flaxseed Meal Muffin Really Taste Good? YES!
- Edible life on Mars? NASA explores 3-D pizza printers
- 20 Exciting Ways to Use Eggshells For Home and Garden
- Carlos Santana's $65 Supernatural Napa Valley wine
- Operation BBQ dishes up good food to Oklahoma tornado victims
- Cake mix recall, Eco-Cuisine self reports
- Regrowing Foods from Kitchen Scraps Can Save Money Year-Round
- HGTV Memorial Day Cocktails Liven Up Summer Parties
- Four foods a day to keep the doctor away
- Apples to Whole Grain: why and how these 17 foods fight cancer
- Good Eggs Needed for the Chief Egg Officer Search Contest
- Meatless Monday's 10 Hot Tips For Tasty Summer Grilling That'll Get You Fired Up For A Healthy BBQ Season