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In a finding that raises provocative questions about how a father's drug use might cause birth defects in his children, researchers have found that cocaine can attach itself to human sperm without impairing the sperm's survival or mobility. The results, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., suggest that sperm might carry cocaine or other toxins into an egg, triggering the kind of developmental problems in offspring already seen in animal studies.
February 6, 2014 | Alicia Banks
Martin Byhower has trekked across Chadwick School's Palos Verdes Peninsula campus for 30 years. Fossils scattered across the hilltop grounds often caught the eye of the seventh-grade life sciences teacher. Two years ago, he spotted one that particularly interested him. And on Wednesday, staff from the Natural History Museum excavated it and carefully loaded it onto the bed of a truck. Soon, researchers will begin cleaning it to learn more. This much is known: It appears to be the skull of a juvenile sperm whale, and it is 12 million to 15 million years old. Byhower contacted different groups to ask them to identify the fossil; he got a response from the county museum.
July 2, 1996
Re "Bioethics at Center Stage," editorial, June 23: I am extremely disturbed by the implications of Ralph Brinster's discovery of "biological immortality." One, because eternal storing of male sperm of endangered species may mean the ability to restore almost-extinct animals in the future, but where will we put them when their habitat will have long been usurped by us humans? Two, if this technique is used to "immortalize" humans, it will be the sperm of males. Are females not carriers of "superior" eggs?
August 12, 2013 | By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone
When does a man become a father - the legally recognized parent of a child, responsible for support and eligible for custody? Historically, parenthood has involved something more than simply a biological connection. In some eras that meant the law recognized only fathers who married the mothers. Today, recognition extends to unmarried parents who raise a child together. The new question on the table is whether it extends to a man who donates sperm to a woman and establishes a relationship with the child.
September 17, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
It's a new day for sexual surveillance: A team of scientists has developed an imaging technique that allows three-dimensional tracking of the movements of 1,500 human sperm at one time. Because of the limitations of microscopes and other traditional tools for imaging moving objects such as sperm, scientists typically have been unable to watch the behavior of cells over time as they move. The new technique gets around this by imaging the shadows of sperm using light of two different wavelengths produced from two different angles at the same time. As a result, the researchers could simultaneously track hundreds of sperm as they moved through liquid.
August 5, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
If you know just one thing about embryonic stem cells, it's probably that they have the potential to grow into any type of cell in the body. That, of course, is why scientists find them so valuable. But having the potential to become any type of cell is not the end game -- research groups around the world are trying to figure out the precise recipe for turning those stem cells into specific types of cells that would be useful for studying or treating various diseases. This week, a group of Japanese researchers from Kyoto University  said they had figured out a way to turn embryonic stem cells into the more specific type of stem cell that makes sperm.
A new technique to freeze sperm-producing tissues can provide "biological immortality" for males, a finding that researchers believe may ultimately have a major impact on conserving endangered species, protecting valuable research animals and preserving the reproductive ability of males who undergo intensive chemotherapy for cancer. The technique may even make it possible for men with abnormally low sperm production to reproduce.
November 22, 1994 | From Newsday
The first experiments showing that it is possible to transplant sperm-making cells from one animal into another were reported Monday. In experiments at the University of Pennsylvania, reproductive physiologist Ralph Brinster made one mouse produce sperm that carry the genes--the biological inheritance--of another mouse. By simply transplanting the sperm-making cells--spermatogonia--from one mouse into another, he permanently changed the recipient's sperm, so it carried only the donor's genes.
February 3, 1992 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Sperm may have the equivalent of a sense of smell, European researchers reported last week in the British journal Nature. The newly discovered capability may help the sperm find their way to an egg that is to be fertilized, and the discovery may lead to the development of new birth control techniques, the researchers said.
August 22, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
A New York gangster who smuggled his semen out of federal prison to impregnate his wife was sentenced to an additional 16 months in jail. Kevin Granato, a convicted hit man for the Colombo crime family, and his wife, Regina, pleaded guilty to charges they used a cryogenic sperm kit to sneak out his sperm. The couple's daughter is now 3.
July 13, 2013 | By Naomi Cahn and June Carbone
In the United States, there is a competitive market in human eggs provided for reproductive purposes. An "extraordinary" egg donor can earn as much as $50,000 when she offers her eggs to an infertile couple. In California, however, that same "extraordinary" individual would receive nothing, aside from payment for her direct expenses, if she provided those same eggs for research purposes. That could change soon. A bill co-sponsored by four female Democratic legislators would allow women to sell their eggs for research, just as men can sell their sperm.
July 12, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
For at least two decades, the California family code stated that sperm donors were not to be considered the fathers of the children they helped conceive. That was supposed to protect both the men donating sperm - often anonymously and for money - and the women who used it to get pregnant but who didn't want the donor involved in the child's life. Two years ago, the code was amended to allow an exception when the donor and the woman had a written agreement to the contrary, signed before conception.
July 6, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - A child-custody dispute involving actor Jason Patric has evolved from Hollywood tabloid fodder into a policy battle in the state Legislature that could affect thousands of California parents. Patric, a star of films including "The Lost Boys," donated sperm in 2009 as part of a fertility treatment that resulted in pregnancy for a former girlfriend, Danielle Schreiber. The actor decided he wanted to help raise the child, Gus, who is now 3, but has been stymied in his attempts to gain partial custody in court.
March 19, 2013 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
When writer-director Ken Scott and his writing partner Martin Petit began working on the script for "Starbuck," a 2011 hit in Canada that opens in the U.S. on Friday, they were worried no one would buy the premise of a habitual sperm donor who discovers years later he is the father of 150 children. "Each day we would come in to write thinking it is too much," said Scott, 42, who was a member of a comedy sketch troupe before turning to screenwriting (2003's "Seducing Dr. Lewis") and directing (2009's "Sticky Fingers")
February 14, 2013 | By Amina Khan
The band King Missile's 1992 single "Detachable Penis" might seem like a tripped-out nightmare straight from the male psyche, but it's all too real for one strange sea creature. The sea slug Chromodoris reticulata has a disposable penis that it sheds after sexual intercourse, according to a new study in the journal Biology Letters. Researchers in Japan collected the red-and-white sea slug in shallow coral reefs off the coast of Okinawa. They stuck pairs of sea slugs in a small tank and watched the critters mate, documenting what they rather aptly called “bizarre mating behavior.”  C. reticulata is a hermaphrodite: Each animal possesses both male and female reproductive organs, and can use both at the same time.
February 4, 2013 | By Monte Morin
For those men who are looking to boost their sperm count, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have some simple advice: drop the TV remote control and get to the gym. A study published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men who watched more than 20 hours of television a week had 44% lower sperm count than men who watched almost no television. Researchers found too that men who engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise for 15 or more hours a week had 73% higher sperm count than men who exercised less than five hours per week.
December 20, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The older men get, the more damaged their sperm are genetically, University of Washington researchers have reported. This could help explain recent findings that show older men are more likely to father children with birth defects, as well as to be less fertile than younger men, they said. Geneticist Narendra Singh and his colleagues tested 66 men ages 20 to 57 and found the older men produced a higher percentage of sperm with highly damaged DNA.
November 6, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Working with mice, Pennsylvania researchers have isolated and grown stem cells that produce sperm, a feat that will allow them to produce massive numbers of sperm cells for research. The feat, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is important because it will allow scientists to modify the sperm genetically, correcting genetic defects or introducing desirable traits.
December 14, 2012 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
Army Staff Sgt. Matt Kiel was shot while on patrol in Iraq just six weeks after his wedding. Doctors said he would be on a ventilator for the rest of his life and would never again move his arms or legs - dashing his hopes of raising a family. But within months of his injuries five years ago, Kiel was breathing on his own and had regained enough function in his left arm to operate a motorized wheelchair. Doctors said he and his wife, Tracy, could start a family through in vitro fertilization.
November 19, 2012 | By Alan Zarembo, Los Angeles Times
Dr. Ernest Zeringue was looking for a niche in the cutthroat industry of fertility treatments. He seized on price, a huge obstacle for many patients, and in late 2010 began advertising a deal at his Davis, Calif., clinic unheard of anywhere else: Pregnancy for $9,800 or your money back. That's about half the price for in vitro fertilization at many other clinics, which do not include money-back guarantees. Typically, insurance coverage is limited and patients pay again and again until they give birth - or give up. Those patients use their own eggs and sperm - or carefully select donors when necessary - and the two are combined in a petri dish to create a batch of embryos.
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