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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Sarah T.
Sarah T.1 days ago

What an odd group of species to test this on.

Pablo B.
Pablo B.5 days ago


Erika Acosta
Erika Acosta8 days ago


Bob P.
Bob P.9 days ago

Thank you

Franck R.
Franck R.18 days ago

Thanks for sharing Info

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Time for an update in the appropriate forums.

Mary B.
Mary B.26 days ago

Interesting article! Since this is a 2012 article, it would be nice to see if there's been any update.

Kampuwai S.
Kampuwai S.28 days ago

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Kathryn Irby
Kathryn Irby29 days ago

Who gives a rat's ass? Very inappropriate article, to say the least.

Alexa R.
Alexa R.about a month ago

Informative, thank you ..