Scientists have found that male hormones or androgens help in female fertility by promoting follicle development in women who opt for in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Researchers say the study is a boon for those women who take IVF but produce either few or no follicle. Follicles are found in the ovary and during ovulation they release mature eggs. An egg is finally fertilised by sperm.
The research was conducted on mice. Stephen R. Hammes, professor of endocrinology at New York-based University of Rochester's school of medicine and dentistry and lead author Aritro Sen, professor of endocrinology at University of Rochester found that androgens boost follicle development in two ways.
First, they prevent follicles from dying at an early stage. Androgens help the follicles reach the maturity stage and release an egg.
"Second, androgens make ovarian cells more sensitive to follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, which promotes follicle growth," said Sen.
They do this by creating more FSH receptors, molecules on the surface of ovarian cells that jump-start the follicle making process in response to the hormone.
"Androgens are increasing follicle growth and ensuring follicles do not die, exactly what you want when providing fertility treatment," said Hammes.
According to a Harvard study, infrequent ovulation account for about 20 per cent of fertility problems. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A report has predicted that from 2012 to 2016, there will be a CAGR rise of 12.12 per cent in global IVF market and the reason behind this is rise in infertility rate in the world.
According to another report, more women are resorting to in vitro fertilisation because many are now conceiving later in life. Harvard Medical School says ovulation becomes slower and less effective with age and ageing begins to decrease fertility as early as 30 years.