13 January 2015
Research by a team at the University of California, Berkeley, has highlighted the link between stress and fertility problems. The study, published in the journal eLife, found that long periods of stress triggers a hormone that can inhibit fertility after the anxious period has ended.
By blocking this hormone, the team were able to return female reproductive behaviour to normal. Although the tests were conducted in the lab, the researchers are optimistic that a similar approach of blocking the gene for the hormone - called gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH) - could help women overcome stress-related fertility problems.
It is thought that around three-quarters of healthy couples under 30 years old have problems conceiving within three months of first trying, while 15 per cent are unable to conceive after a year.
"What's absolutely amazing is that one single gene controls this complex reproductive system, and that you can elegantly knock this gene down and change the reproductive outcome completely," said Daniela Kaufer, an associate professor of integrative biology.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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