Researchers Uncover a Mystery At Moment of Conception, Giving New Hope to Infertile Couples

Scientists have discovered that bright sparks are emitted at the moment of human implantation. These sparks provide valuable insight for successful IVF implantation.

[DIGEST: The Telegraph, Waking Science, Daily MailNorthwestern University]

Scientists have noted an explosion of light when a human egg is fertilized. The size of the sparks relates directly to the health of the egg and its chances of developing into an embryo.

The spark is the result of zinc being released from the egg, which is triggered when sperm meets the egg, causing an increase in calcium. As the zinc escapes, it binds to molecule probes, which emit light.

conception
Credit: Source.

While previous studies have marked this in other animals, this study, published in late April in Scientific Reports, is the first time that scientists have observed this in humans. (The study used sperm enzyme rather than sperm, as fertilizing eggs with actual sperm for human research is prohibited under federal law.)

“These fluorescence microscopy studies establish that the zinc spark occurs in human egg biology, and can be observed outside of the cell,” said Tom O’Halloran, one of the senior co-authors of the study, and a professor of chemistry at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.

“It was remarkable,” said Teresa Woodruff, one of the study’s two senior authors and an expert in ovarian biology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “We discovered the zinc spark just five years ago in the mouse, and to see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.”

conception
The flash illuminates the moment that sperm enzyme enters the egg. Credit: Source.

The researchers further noticed that some of the eggs burned brighter than others. The ones that burned the brightest were more likely to produce a healthy embryo. Doctors may

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