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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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer4 days ago

Intriguing title.

One Heart i
One Heart inc8 days ago


Denise D
Denise D11 days ago

Any updates to this story?

Tania N
Tania N21 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Nirvana J
Nirvana Jaganath1 months ago

Thanks... Article is 5 years old... Any updates?

Jetana A
Jetana A1 months ago

I don't think this works in humans, because women with regular periods get their period on time whether or not they have been having intercourse.

Mark muc
Mark p.muc1 months ago


Bill E
Bill E1 months ago


Olga N
Olga Nycz-Shirley1 months ago

Look forward to further updates on this interesting topic.