The Power of Semen

Originally published on September 19, 2012, on

Just when we thought we had the biology of human reproduction figured out, new research shows there’s still plenty we don’t understand. Today’s example? A team of biologists have shown that a protein commonly found in the semen of many animals—including humans—can help kick-start the release of an egg (a.k.a. ovulation). The protein, which has been on biologists’ radars for a long time, is called beta nerve growth factor, or β-NGF—named for the first thing scientists noticed it doing.

Studies in llamas, alpacas, and cows show that giving β-NGF as a shot leads to the release of an egg in most of the animals. But what about humans? We know there is β-NGF in human semen too, but we don’t know whether it does something similar in humans as in the animals the scientists tested it on. The researchers hope to tackle this question next.

The answers they find will help determine how reliable the rhythm method (a.k.a. fertility awareness) can be as a form of birth control. It could also suggest a new treatment for couples struggling with infertility… We’ll be keeping our ears open!



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Elisa F.
Elisa F.5 days ago

Thanks for sharing. Need to update.

Joe Le Gris
Joe Le Gris16 days ago

was that the beginning of an article...?

Michelle Hall
Michelle Hall20 days ago

Thanks, but wish there was an update on this.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen20 days ago

Thank you

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B.24 days ago


Brett Cloud
Brett Cloudabout a month ago


Elisa F.
Elisa F.about a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

Bob P.
Bob P.about a month ago


Deborah S.
Deborah S.about a month ago

Thank You

Roberto MARINI
Roberto MARINIabout a month ago

Thank you for this article