Ivf (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)

It’s a tragic situation when a child is orphaned virtually upon birth, but in a first-of-its-kind birth in China recently, a newborn was born an orphan four years after his parents died.

The baby’s parents, Shen Jie and Liu Xi, had hoped for a child, but had encountered problems conceiving. So they created several embryos in preparation for IVF, which were stored at a Nanjing hospital in deep freeze. Then, five days before one of the fertilized embryos was scheduled to be implanted, the couple was killed in a car accident in 2013.

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A newly published study in the Journal of Human Reproduction has some alarming news about sperm count in four industrial nations: North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. No decline of significance was seen in South America, Asia or Africa, although, as the researchers point out, not many studies of this kind have been conducted in those areas.

Researchers at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem analyzed data from 7,500 studies on men who did not undergo treatment for infertility between 1973 and 2011, totaling nearly 43,000 men.

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[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.

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[DIGEST: NPR, BBC, The Guardian]

A world without cystic fibrosis, diabetes or muscular dystrophy. A world free of painful and degenerative diseases. Until now, this occurred only within the pages of utopian novels, but U.K. fertility regulators, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), recently approved the editing of genes in human embryos. This study could shed light on how to eradicate such diseases completely. The U.K. is the first country in the world to take this step, but the possibility of fiction becoming reality has raised ethical concerns.

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