Archive for the ‘biosensor’ Category

The Ovulona™

December 11, 2007

This is the putative trade name of the women’s health version of the bioZhena core product, as opposed to the animal version (see the BioMeter entry in the Alphabet of bioZhena). An earlier prototype was once referred to as the Ovulon – at the time when it received its FDA 510k clearance – but the feminine-gender form of the name is surely more appropriate (with the a at the end of the name, the Ovulona).

Now a citation:

A remarkable property of the cervix is the extreme sensitivity to the effect of estrogen and progestogens. Changes in the composition and properties of cervical secretions have been used for many years as an in vivo biologic assay for sex steroids.

How well put, on page 564 of the compendium “Human Reproduction: Conception and Contraception”, edited by E.S.E. Hafez and T.N. Evans, Harper & Row Publishers, 1973.

In the Epilogue, Professor Hafez further stated that “…the fertile period of the menstrual cycle is not more than 4 days, and probably less”.

He also said: “Unfortunately, accurate detection of this fertile period is difficult, due to individual variation in the length of the menstrual cycle and frequency of ovulation, and to the absence of clinical signs of ovulation.”

We cite him here because the books edited by Hafez were explored at the inception of this project, and because all these referenced facts of life were the premises for the beginning of the project and for the development of the intellectual property.

You may almost view the cited reference to the remarkable property of the cervix as a possible definition of the bioZhena innovation. Definition of the basic primary application of the invention. Accurate detection of the fertile period is the operative phrase, and it is what eludes the various alternative, already marketed, methods and products. I refer to them as the peri-ovulation methods. We all know that those products have not solved the fundamental diagnostic need of woman- or humankind. 

We have, which is why we can talk about a non-hormonal, non-chemical, non-barrier, non-surgical pregnancy avoidance as well as pregnancy aiding – by timing intercourse with respect to ovulation. Here is a schematic diagram of how (stripped of precision):

The essence of bioZhena’s primary product offering

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For more on how this will work for you, view the slide The three-day fertile window how-to (to exit the slide, just click on it. You can also view this by clicking on the image below).

In this animation, with the “try for” indicators, we reference the outcome of a France et al. study of fetal gender pre-selection superimposed on the menstrual cyclic profile generated by our device in a small clinical trial. Morning and evening monitored data were compared to BBT temperature data of the same subject of the pilot study. You might notice how the data suggests the progress of folliculogenesis between the AM and the PM hours.

Fertile windowClick image to view The three-day fertile window how-to (to exit the slide, just click on it).

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And now, let me insert a fast-forward from the time this post was written in December 2007.

Here is the shortest possible summary introduction of the Ovulona device for women’s personal tracking of fertility with concurrently screening cervical health. 3 slides with some links https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/ovulona-from-startup-version-to-cervical-ring-implementation.pps

For further particulars, try this bioZhena intro in 10 mostly narrated slides https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/new-set-v7-narrated-slides-edec16.pps

How the OvulonaTM will help women’s physicians to better help their patients is shown in this slide: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6489235834502463488

Cervical health screening, pregnancy monitoring and other applications will be introduced while generating revenues with the already FDA-cleared minimum-value application of the core OvulonaTM product.

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The Smart Ovulona™ will interpret the daily measurement data for display on the screen of the device in plain language such as FERTILE DAY 1 or PREGNANCY DETECTED or SEE DOCTOR ABOUT CERVIX.

But that is only the beginning. The fertile window determination is the basic or primary application of the Ovulona, our core product with numerous diagnostic ramifications within the bioZhena Fertility and Health Awareness System™.

The various topics for utilization of the Ovulona are discussed in the posts of this blog, reflecting the broad applicability of our technology of FOLLICULOGENESIS IN VIVO™ beyond reproductive management. See, for example, Much in women’s health revolves around folliculogenesis – from teen age to peri-menopause .

Although we do not disclose and I do not blog about all the significant uses of at-home monitoring of the cervix uteri, another example is discussed in the post “Far more than a tool for getting pregnant and for pregnancy avoidance. (On symptometric monitoring correlated with folliculogenesis: Why it is essential for effective diagnosis in women’s healthcare)”. This is a hint at how the technology can help physicians to better help their female patients.

Explore the blog’s Table of Contents. In one of the articles you will read how another Emeritus Professor (Erik Odeblad) influenced the inception and development of the bioZhena project by his work, which influence was memorably captured in his apt saying,

“The cervix is a precision organ as complex as the eye”.

There you have it, the basic tenets of bioZhena and our focus on the cervix uteri.

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For further particulars, read on.

The origination of the Ovulona (and/or BioMeter) technology was a response to a basic human need on the part of a husband and wife pair of scientists. On the one hand, we struggled with the newly experienced pain of an apparently sterile marriage. But we also realized that we were conceivably in a position to help ourselves by combining our respective professional knowledge resources.

It all goes back to the postulate, by the ever so pragmatic female of the species, that before any of the more or less bothersome medical procedures should be undertaken, the basic problem of proper timing of the conceptive intercourse (i.e. of insemination) must be conquered.

This is how the project came about, and everything else followed. (The reader will understand that the postulated principle holds for every couple.) And let’s be explicit about the fact that “everything else” includes not only the broad applicability of the ensuing tissue biosensor.

The said “everything else” also includes the realization that, by interfacing with the cervix, we are monitoring folliculogenesis (the maturation of the egg in the ovarian follicle). And it includes, most importantly, the crucial capability to detect ovulation and not just predicting it. Last but not least, “everything else” also includes the appreciation of the unprecedented impact the monitoring of fertility status via the uterine cervix has on the quality and broad applicability of the menstrual cycle profile.

Better than so many words, let me offer you a picture, a shorthand representation of what the bioZhena ectocervix monitor is involved with, how the menstrual cycle profile records come about – the neuroendocrinological mechanism. Do note well the words in lieu of the figure caption.

Hypothalamus-P-G Feedback and innervation panorama

Here are 447 words in lieu of a caption for the composite image:

The ovulographic monitoring of folliculogenesis in vivo is believed to capture the fine-tuning effects on folliculogenesis of the direct neural control via ovarian and uterine innervation and the acute effects of local (autocrine and paracrine) modulatory actions.

Neither of those effects can be detected by the systemic peripheral variables such as the BBT or the urinary levels of hormones monitored by the commercially available home-use technologies.

See https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/Single-slide-How-the-Ovulona-will-help-physicians.pdf for how this will help physicians to better help their female patients. See how Ovulona anticipates failure to ovulate in a healthy woman, and how Ovulona detects delayed ovulations in asynchronous cycles that happen to many healthy women. These occurrences are where the neurological effects are suspected to play a role.

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Although we could not really be clear about this until Chiara Benedetto, M.D. sent us the results of measurements performed with our early prototypes by her carefully selected baseline subjects, the Ovulona provides not only a short-term anticipation of ovulation but also an earlier long-term prediction signal.

This was subsequently confirmed by another proof-of-concept study with non-baseline subjects at the Natural Family Planning clinic at Marquette University (Wisconsin – Dr. Richard Fehring and associates). See the Fehring and Schlaff paper with a Note about further insight into the published results.

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Three baseline cycles from Turin clinical trial

The cyclic profile features are discussed in the Post Script, below.

To be clear, the long-term predictive peak has no counterpart among the various other methods of fertility monitoring. Its position ahead of ovulation apparently depends on the rate of maturation of the dominant follicle in the given menstrual cycle, and it correlates with the length of the menstrual cycle.The other methods predicting ovulation all monitor hormone markers in general circulation (after clearance into other body fluids), which is too remote, indirect, hence the no counterpart statement of fact.

None of this would have been apparent from the early in-house longitudinal study, since the study involved a non-baseline subject (and then another). In non-baseline cycles, which are common in real life, even the luteal (post-ovulation) phase quite often is not the theoretical 14 days long… and various other deviations occur from the “ideal” (simplified) case descriptions found in medical textbooks.

Data to date indicate that the long-term warning of the upcoming ovulation event occurs sufficiently early for the practice of natural family planning (NFP). Consequently, we are in a position to claim progress over the 1973 statement in the Hafez Epilogue, which stated that “the long-term prediction of ovulation by at least 6 days seems to be difficult and, as yet, unsolved” (loc. cit. page 711).

The capability to anticipate ovulation well in advance, and to then detect ovulation independently of the predictive signals, is unique to the bioZhena technology.

This unique capability results from the mode of action, further discussed in the Alphabet of bioZhena under Modus operandi (MO). See also under Mysterious conceptions – or the non-existence thereof. From the MO also follows the broad applicability of the technology.

This broad applicability is another feature that distinguishes the Ovulona from any other product addressing fertility status and, as they in fact do, merely estimating (guessing at) ovulation.

For a potential impact of the technology on public health, see in the Alphabet under Sexually transmitted diseases, and also under Cervical cancer and under Smoking. You can also find articles on these topics in this blog’s Table of Contents (TOC). The TOC is clickable and provides descriptive snippets about the blog articles. As an example, see the blog post “Smoking affects the menstrual cyclic profile as captured by the Ovulona™, monitoring might help with smoking-cessation” .

It could be argued that the greatest aspect of the bioZhena project is the idea of introducing – via the affordable personal fertility monitoring method – a general, routinely usable, women’s health tracking and diagnostic tool, with the potential to impact on several important areas of public health. We have every intention to make this argument, and we plan to put it into practice – with support of a well-matched investor. That is why the plan to transform the Ovulona into the (semi) permanently worn telemetric cervical ring.


Post script

Here is a larger, easier to read, rendition of the Figure with the data (choose either a silent graph or a narrated animation):

Three baseline cycles from Turin study and/or the same as an annotated slide narrated by yours truly

The cyclic pattern exhibits a number of well defined peaks and troughs: The first repeatable feature is the first post-menstruation minimum occurring typically on day 6, 7, or 8 (driven by the selection of the dominant follicle). The signal then rises to a maximum (the long-term predictive peak), which is driven by the maturation of the dominant follicle.

At this point I share with you the explanation of the long-term predictive peak by reference to the picture of the baseline cycles that we are now well familiar with. The picture is annotated with labels and short-hand elucidation of the features under discussion.

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For better legibility, click the image, view a slide show version.          The URL is: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/wealth-of-info-elucidation-of-domin-folli-peak-3-slides.ppsWealth of information and elucidation of DF peak

 R… Recruitment on days 1 to 5 ± 1 (data captured usually only after blood flow – due to hygiene concerns).

S… Selection on day  6 ± 1.

GC+TC E2up… Dominant Follicle Maturation: Granulosa and Theca Cells produced Estradiol  (E2) rises, which drives the signal up; Dominant Follicle also initiates expression of LH Receptors.

GC P4up… After the appearance of LH Receptors, the preovulatory Granulosa Cells secrete Progesterone (P4), which drives the signal down. (That’s also why the ovulation marker is a trough, the lowest minimum in the menstrual cyclic profile.)

Ref.: Page 39 of 23rd Edition of Williams OBSTETRICS © 2010, 2005, 2001 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (www.gums.ac.ir/Upload/Modules/Contents/asset39/williams23.pdf)

Above: Elucidation of the long-term ovulation-predictive dominant follicle peak (December 2016)

The long-term predictive dominant follicle peak is followed by the usually narrow short-term predictive peak, which falls off directly into the trough of the ovulation marker, the lowest reading of the cycle. We have found the ovulation-marker minimum to correlate with urinary LH and FSH peaks, and we view the marker to be an effect of the steroid hormone switch that occurs at ovulation (estrogen to progesterone dominance).

Note that the corresponding basal body temperature (BBT) curve rises, to the post-ovulatory higher level, after the ovulation marker. This indicates, to the extent that the BBT can be relied on, that ovulation had, indeed, occurred. The planned sonographic (ultrasound) investigations will confirm this correlation with a better accuracy.

The post-ovulation (luteal phase) peaks and valleys have only recently been interpreted as due to the follicular waves (preparing for the next menstrual cycle). The follicular waves are a relatively recent discovery in women [Baerwald AR, Adams GP, Pierson RA, Fertil. Steril. 2003 Jul;80(1):116-22, “A new model for ovarian follicular development during the human menstrual cycle”], which now adds a diagnostic usefulness to the luteal-phase part of our cyclic profile – for example re: menopause, aging, which is a use of the waves invoked by the cited authors.

Our understanding of the implication for early detection of pregnancy came in due course. Very early detection, essentially instant – no waiting for two weeks for the absent menstrual bleeding and for a detectable concentration of hCG in the urine!

See https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/instant-detection-of-pregnancy-and-of-early-pregnancy-loss-epl-the-adversary-of-trying-to-conceive-ttc-especially-after-age-25/ for the article “Instant detection of pregnancy and of Early Pregnancy Loss, EPL – the adversary of Trying To Conceive, TTC – especially after age 25”.

Early Pregnancy Loss (EPL) is also known as stillbirth or miscarriage, or early embryonic mortality, and the Ovulona™ will enable the user to try conceiving again as soon as possible, in order to avoid recurrent EPL miscarriage (since it is now known that the sooner conception occurs after the EPL, the better the chance of success).

Should you wish to talk with me on the phone or via Skype, please email me first to schedule the call. My email is: vaclav at biozhena dot com

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BIOZHENA’S MISSION: A HEALTH TOOL FOR EVERY WOMAN

December 10, 2007

Far more than a tool to aid achieving and avoiding pregnancy

In the early years of the project, I published here a modestly formulated version of bioZhena’s vision statement. That was before a female OBGYN physician joined the team and together we broadened the vision and mission.

With the “Ambassador for the Vagina” it became plausible to fully explore the broad applicability of the technology, and to plan pregnancy monitoring and the transformation of the daily-inserted Ovulona into the semi-permanently worn telemetric cervical ring version that Kim the OBGYN named the Halo™.

Friendly Technology - with cervical ring & Ovulograph

For healthcare providers the Ovulograph™, and the Halo™ cervical ring for all women

Our vision is to create a product that practically every woman will want to use. The woman of the 21st century is envisaged to become accustomed to using her daily Ovulona and/or Halo self-check about as routinely as she is using her toothbrush.

It is pertinent to note that a May 2017 Human Factors in Computing Systems study found that the smartphone apps that track menstrual cycles “often disappoint users with a lack of accuracy… and an emphasis on pink and flowery form over function and customization”. Significantly, too, “teenage girls were relying on smartphone apps as their primary form of birth control”. Such evidence indicates that the market is primed for the bioZhena technology breakthrough.

The Ovulona™/Halo™ will be useful to the point of becoming an essential tool of women’s health management, both at home and, when appropriate, via the Ovulograph™, for the provider in the doctor’s office – and for the payer, too. Accordingly, the Ovulona will be supremely user-friendly and affordable for everyone.

See and listen to the slides in the link at the end of the post.

The Ovulona personal fertility status self-diagnosis device

 What is folliculogenesis - like EKG

Applications of cervical sensor girl w. device and other solutions - panorama1

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Go to New mostly narrated slides 2017

Slide show takes a few moments to open

The Elevator: Swiss VC/PE deal-maker offers bioZhena to their investors

December 7, 2007

The Elevator, “The Magazine for a Wealth of Opportunity”, December 2007

 

This post is about the integral and unavoidable aspect of project development – seeking development capital. The title could conceivably read “From Switzerland With Love”, if a play on words were intended. Such as the name of The Elevator magazine is a reference to the phrase “elevator pitch”, a standard concept in the venture capital/private equity arena (meaning a very brief introductory pitch of the investment proposition; The Elevator articles are naturally somewhat more extensive than that).

The editor of The Elevator reviewed and published bioZhena after we responded to their invitation, “Seeking Deals to Fund”, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/456/786 .

The Elevator (“The Magazine for a Wealth of Opportunity”) is an impressively produced electronic magazine, attached. On page 3, the editor writes: “…since our first issue in March 2006 we have reviewed over 300 projects and retained 60 of them as features. More than 10,000 individuals have seen The €levator ; we’ve had a great diversity of projects, much interest and several deals closed over the past 12 months. … I invite all our readers to become active members of our investor’s forum …“.

On page 35 appears the following claim: OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS PROVIDES ACCESS TO THE BEST SOLUTIONS IN PRIVATE EQUITY, ASSET MANAGEMENT AND VIP ADVISORY.

Here are the headlines from the magazine’s title page, featuring a partial list of contents, and bioZhena is one of these featured listings:

  • How to open your own fund. An introduction by the experts of JP Fund Services
  • bioZhena. The turnkey technology for birth control
  • VentureLab. The professional matching platform
  • The Village Barbados. Prime Luxury Retreat seeking USD 31 million

The interesting thing about this presentation of bioZhena, by the Geneva-area international business VC/PE deal-maker, is their risk scale. We see a scale with 6 colors, from green and light green, through yellow, then light pink and dark pink, and finally the highest risk level is red.

The editor indicates the risk level of the bioZhena proposition as between light green and yellow (or level 4 on a scale of 1 to 11). This is the same as that of the real estate deal “The Village Barbados”, and it is better than the level 5 [yellow] risk level of the VentureLab deal, and it compares favorably with the various other listings in this December issue of the Elevator. Only the Yacht Club Mediterranean and the Castellan, New York real estate deals are assessed with lower risk levels, 2 and 1 respectively.

It is also interesting that bioZhena’s risk level is assessed the same as that of DealFlow, Toronto – “a television series that captures the drama and sport of global business as seen through the eayes of dealmakers”. DealFlow “is currently seeking US$620,000 in a US$875,000 Private Placement Offering of Convertible Preferred shares at US$20.00 per share”.

bioZhena’s investment opportunity is described as follows:

Investment Volume: Up to $ 15 Million (current Offering for $3M plus 1-year $3M Warrant)

Est. Return on Investment: 100%+

Est. Duration: Approx. 3 Years

Minimum Investment: $250,000 or a portion thereof at Company’s discretion

 

Ref.:

The Elevator, “The Magazine for a Wealth of Opportunity”, December 2007

Fetal sex preselection – illustrated

December 3, 2007

Ovulona and logo

In the document attached to this post (below), we say:

The following illustration is adapted from one of our slides. The slide indicates how baby gender pre-selection works or rather how it will work when the Ovulona™ is launched in the marketplace. The data were generated in a clinical study performed with our early prototype by an independent OBGYN academic. The data show the morning and evening cyclic profiles from one of the baseline subjects studied by the gynecologist Dr. Benedetto of the University of Turin, Italy.

This is a record of one menstrual cycle of a 30-years old woman participating in the Italian clinical test. The record shows the typical features of the Ovulona cyclic profile. In these early tests, the measurements were taken twice daily (morning and evening) in order to see if a time-of-day effect could be observed, and the BBT (Basal Body Temperature) was taken in the usual manner as a reference parameter.

Here is the slide:

The three-day fertile window how-to

The record shows that the features of the cyclic pattern – reproducible because the same features were also obtained by other women – make it possible to determine the boundaries of the fertile window. The precision is such that it allows for correlation of fertile day 1 with trying to conceive a boy, and correlating fertile day 3 (the ovulation day) with trying to conceive a girl. Correlating each of the 3 fertile days with the indicated likely gender of the baby conceived on the given day is based on the results of certain studies by other investigators (John France et al.), as referenced below.

The outcome of their clinical work is consistent with the finding a decade later – by other investigators in 2001 – that male spermatozoa (Y-chromosome-bearing sperm) live longer than female spermatozoa (X-chromosome-bearing). The France et al. results from timed-conception birth-giving patients stand by themselves but it is nice to have available the separately produced physiological rationale that explains those results; read on.

And here is in a nutshell the clinical trial evidence for the 3-day fertile window:

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3-day window data from a study by John France et al.
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This is a re-plot of their data (from 55 births) of birth counts as a function of the cycle day, whereby the outlier data points were considered to belong, in fact, to the counts of the three days of high birth counts, the outliers having been due to their inaccurate and unreliable methods of estimating the time of ovulation. The problem will be resolved when, instead of the old imperfect methods of guesstimating ovulation, people will use our Ovulona monitor.

More details are in the attached file: Fetal sex preselection – illustrated

The file is a description of the origin (including the best clinical trial evidence available to date) of the 3-day fertile window.

The 3-day window of high conception probability is unequivocal (there is no doubt that the data show that window). The low birth counts on the flanks of this 3-day group are data point outliers due to errors in the investigators’ estimating the ovulation day.

The 3-day group of high birth counts is in the data whether we simply ignore the outliers or add them to this group. This is no unreasonable massaging of the data because the investigators’ methods of estimating ovulation timing are well known to have high error bars associated with their ovulation-day estimation.

The 3-day fertile window is also supported by evidence published in the NIH paper referenced below. The 3 days of unequivocally high probability of conception are clear in their data, which is all based on analysis of first morning urine samples for metabolites of estrogen and progesterone that they considered “highly concordant with the peak urinary concentration of luteinizing hormone (which corresponds approximately with the day of ovulation)”.

The NIH researchers (Wilcox et al.) did not consider the inaccuracy of their estimated ovulation despite their having acknowledged that their method only “approximately” assessed the timing of ovulation. Unlike France et al., they did not use more than the one method of estimating ovulation. They simply accepted that, in addition to the three days of high conception probability, their data also contained three early days of low probability of conception – as though 3 to 5 days old spermatozoa made a woman a little bit fertile, despite the 3-day maximum lifespan of the sperm.

We account for their days of low conception probabilities in the same way as above, in terms of data point outliers. A probable cause of their low conception probabilities in the early pre-ovulation days (days -5 to -3), additional to their merely approximately estimating ovulation timing, was the possible delay between the indirectly monitored systemic hormone signals and the actual ovulation. Ovulation (day 0) in their study was not detected but only assumed based on urine hormone metabolite measurements. Despite this and other flaws in their study design, the evidence of the 3 days of high conception probability is there, similar to the data of France et al.

The Wilcox et al. technique of tracking certain ovarian hormones in the urine does not monitor the complex mechanism of folliculogenesis. Any mismatch between the ovarian and the brain hormone signals goes therefore undetected, and their estimate of ovulation timing is indeed very approximate. Of the other study design flaws, let’s mention the artifice that any “intercourse recorded on a given morning was assumed to have occurred the previous day”. This incongruous assumption artificially produced the day 1 conception probability of zero.

As for their low probability data for days -5 to -3, we can consider them to be data point outliers because a pilot study with our prototypes produced evidence of ovulation delays of up to 3 days after urinary LH detection (even 4 days in one of the 21 cycle records, monitoring urinary LH, Peak mucus, and Ovulona prototype). Ref.: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/folliculogenesis-in-vivo%E2%84%A2-monitoring-is-far-better-than-current-home-use-fertility-self-help-tools/

Further, in support of the fetal gender preselection based on fertilization timing, a “statistically significant lower proportion of male births among conceptions that occur during the most fertile time of the cycle”, meaning at or near estimated ovulation, was found in a 1991 Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of six NFP studies, cited below in the References.

Similar conclusion came out of an assessment of medical literature in 1989: “More females are conceived when coitus occurs relatively close to ovulation…”. The view of the cited group at University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle was that the “influence of coital timing on the sex ratio is overall quite subtle and is not a practical method to alter the sex ratio for individual couples” (for citation see References). We would say that our purpose is to offer a means with which to make it practical…

Besides the referenced reviews of clinical outcomes, there is the above-mentioned evidence from a premier infertility treatment institute (G. Hodgen et al., see References) that male spermatozoa (Y-chromosome-bearing sperm) live longer than female spermatozoa (X-chromosome-bearing).

Therefore, intercourse two days before ovulation favors the conception of a boy because only the male Y-chromosome bearing spermatozoa live that long. The male sperm live long enough to be available for fertilization when ovulation releases the ovum (egg) from the ovulating ovarian follicle.

Whereas the female X-chromosome bearing spermatozoa have a chance to produce a baby girl only if intercourse takes place on the day of ovulation, because of their short lifespan.

Note that these are probabilistic indications, hence the labeling “try for a boy” and “try for a girl”. Certainly, we would not say that on the given day you will definitely conceive as indicated.

That should be no surprise because you know that conception is a matter of chance, a probabilistic matter, in the first place. More on this topic of conception probability is in the post Difficult conception tied to pregnancy complications – addressed.

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References

France et al. paper with data on fetal sex pre-selection, 3-day fertile window:

J.T. France, F.M. Graham, L. Gosling, P. Hair and B.S. Knox, “Characteristics of natural conception cycles occurring in a prospective study of sex preselection: fertility awareness symptoms, hormone levels, sperm survival, and pregnancy outcome”, International Journal of Fertility 37 (4), 224 – 255, 1992.

Wilcox et al. NIH paper:

A.J. Wilcox, C.R. Weinberg and D.D. Berg, “Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby”, New England Journal of Medicine 333, 1517 – 1521, 1995.

Hodgen et al. paper on different survival times of X and Y sperm:

Q. Van Dyk, M. C. Mahony and G. D. Hodgen, “Differential binding of X- and Y-chromosome-bearing human spermatozoa to zona pellucida in vitro”, Andrologia, Volume 33, Issue 4, Page 199, July 2001.

Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of six NFP studies:

R. H. Gray, “Natural family planning and sex selection: fact or fiction?”, American  Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1991 Dec; 165(6 Pt 2):1982-4.

University of Washington School of Medicine review and assessment:

P. W. Zarutskie, C. H. Muller, M. Magone and M. R. Soules, “The clinical relevance of sex selection techniques”, Fertility and Sterility 1989 Dec; 52(6):891-905.


Regarding fetal sex preselection

December 2, 2007

Ovulona(TM) and bioZhena Corporation logo

A new friend, interested in the bioZhena technology and venture proposition, has written to me:

“One question that I’ve gotten is around the accuracy of sex selection. I know this is (or can be) a controversial subject. My wife and I (parents of 3 boys) tried using one of the methods in a book to have a girl on our second try. It didn’t work, obviously, and our son decided to come on his own. Could you please tell me more about that part of the test. I understand it in theory but probably it will need to go into clinicals to validate the claim – right?”

I responded fairly promptly, but without details such as the references and especially some graphics, and without expressing serious doubt about my friend’s book and the advice they had drawn from it. This was my response:

Of course, sex preselection is a controversial subject. Most important, though, is that you understand that this is not our initial product offering; it is merely a well justified expectation (speculation), which requires a study and investment, just like the early cervical cancer diagnosis as well as the birth control uses of the Ovulona technology.

What we have for immediate market introduction is the Ovulona as a tool for aiding conception, as previously passed by the FDA, and that did not include any fetal sexing claims.

[NFP = Natural Family Planning; FAM = Fertility Awareness Method]

We will introduce SFP, Scientific Family Planning. SFA, Scientific Fertility Awareness. All four ™-designated.

For your immediate understanding of this particular fetal sexing implications of the bioZhena technology, you presumably are aware of slide 4. Now I summarize for you where this comes from. Namely, I paraphrase from a detailed white paper, which is available for study upon request, if interested:

…a 1992 publication by John T. France et al., reporting data from 55 pregnancies (and births). The study was based on data whereby only one coitus per fertile period occurred, and three different markers were used to estimate the time of ovulation.

The stringency of the study design by France et al. went so far as to exclude 29% of pregnancies from the birth sex ratio evaluation in terms of timing of conception with respect to ovulation, because of more than one act of intercourse during the fertile period. Significantly, the birth sex ratio was 0.50 for this excluded group but far from 0.50 for the good study population.

The results of the France et al. study were as follows: Of the 34 male infants born, 65% were conceived 2 to 5 days before ovulation, and 71% of the born girls were conceived from intercourse timed between 1 day before to 1 day after the estimated time of ovulation. However, there was a great uncertainty about the actual ovulation day because in only 9% of the cases did the three ovulation markers agree with each other. In 68% of the cycles, agreement was within +/-1 day. The peak cervical mucus marker was one while the other two markers were the onset of the LH surge, and the basal body temperature rise.

Hoping that this mildly specialist language is not just mumbo jumbo to you, the key to this is your understanding that until the emergence of our device there has not been a definitive tool for this; that is, not only predicting but also detecting ovulation – and everything else follows from this simple fact.

The France et al. study was the best, better than some others, but even France et al. did not do everything right. For example, John France was not able to share those 9% of cases where the three methods, which they wisely used (to make up for the absence of a definitive tool), coincided in terms of the day of ovulation. Those 9% could have given us a better, almost definitive baseline. (5 definitive cases, if coincidence of three unreliable methods amounts to definitiveness. 5 = 9% of 55.)

K., this slip into details has been due to your scientific education and the personal level of your prior involvement with the subject, which presumably makes for an appreciation not necessarily to be found elsewhere, in other people.

Having quoted the question and answer verbatim, my next post will attempt to improve the answer (the answer to what may well be a burning question in numerous minds) with the illustrations and explanations. That is: Fetal sex preselection – illustrated . Check it out!

References

France et al. paper with data on fetal sex pre-selection, 3-day fertile window:

J.T. France, F.M. Graham, L. Gosling, P. Hair and B.S. Knox, “Characteristics of natural conception cycles occurring in a prospective study of sex preselection: fertility awareness symptoms, hormone levels, sperm survival, and pregnancy outcome”, International Journal of Fertility 37 (4), 224 – 255, 1992.

NIH paper:

A.J. Wilcox, C.R. Weinberg and D.D. Berg, “Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Effects on the probability of conception, survival of the pregnancy, and sex of the baby”, New England Journal of Medicine 333, 1517 – 1521, 1995.

Hodgen et al. paper on different survival times of X and Y sperm:

Q. Van Dyk, M. C. Mahony and G. D. Hodgen, “Differential binding of X- and Y-chromosome-bearing human spermatozoa to zona pellucida in vitro”, Andrologia, Volume 33, Issue 4, Page 199, July 2001

The Alphabet of bioZhena — Abeceda bioŽeny

November 28, 2007

THE ALPHABET OF BIOZHENA WITH CLICKABLE TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Alphabet of bioZhena

A glossary of biomedical terms for bioZhena Corporation

Ovulona and logo

The glossary-and-primer of bioZhena is attached; click on one of the links above.

The glossary is just that! For more details with illustrations and more substantial treatment of certain topics, please go to the the blog, starting perhaps with the Table of Contents . Or try one of the two About pages – one about the blogger and the issues covered here , and the other About bioZhena – tech pitch . See if both these pages include the link to a quick pictorial summary of the bioZhena project, called Tweetroducing bioZhena in 8 slides !

In THE ALPHABET we expand on – and explain the meaning of – the one brief sentence: We have invented the new technology of ovulography™, fundamental to women’s health and lifestyle.

Ovulography is bioZhena’s proprietary technology for monitoring folliculogenesis in vivo. To tell the woman user, which are the three days when she can become pregnant (and the rest of the month when she cannot). And there is more, much more, which is what THE ALPHABET OF BIOZHENA is about. As is the whole of bioZhena’s Weblog .

This glossary/primer of bioZhena Corporation is no Alphabet of Ben Sira — an anonymous work, which has been dated anywhere from the seventh to the eleventh century, and which tells the story of the conception, birth, and early education of the prophet Ben Sira.

There were twenty-two stories (mimicking the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet) to answer the questions posed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Apart from being notable for the story of Lilith, the primordial first wife of Adam, what makes this ancient text particularly unique and fascinating is its irreverent tone …And, we get to learn of the angels who are in charge of medicine: Snvi, Snsvi, and Smnglof!

For more information on the ancient and irreverent Alphabet of Ben Sira, go to http://www.google.com/search?q=Alphabet%20of%20Ben%20Sira !

Lilith from Michelangelo’s The Temptation of Adam and Eve

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And now, as the ancients would say, remotum joco (roughly, “joking aside”):

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A simple description and pictorial representation of the female reproductive organs is available at the American Medical Association’s web site “Atlas of the Body: Female Reproductive Organs”: http://www.medem.com/MedLb/article_detaillb.cfm?article_ID=ZZZ8QKJ56JC&sub_cat=2

A more detailed treatment of Sexual Reproduction in Humans is given in http://www.ultranet.com/~jkimball/BiologyPages/S/Sexual_Reproduction.html

For a particularly enjoyable, stimulating and informative source on the intimate geography of womanhood, reach for Natalie Angier’s Pulitzer Prize winning book “Woman – An Intimate Geography”, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999, ISBN 0-395-69130-3. An excellent background read for the appreciation of bioZhena. But read Mysterious conceptions, under M.

For all that, go to one of the attached files: The Alphabet of bioZhena in PDF format. THE ALPHABET OF BIOZHENA WITH CLICKABLE TABLE OF CONTENTS is more convenient than the PDF version that does not have the clickable table of contents.


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