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In weird Brazilian cave insects, male-female sex organs reversed

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This may be the role reversal to end all role reversals. Scientists on Thursday described four insect species that dwell in extremely dry caves in Brazil, feed on bat guano and possess what the researchers called an "evolutionary novelty." . The females have an elaborate, penis-like organ while the males have a vagina-like opening into which females insert their organ during mating sessions that last 40 to 70 hours, the scientists reported in the journal Current Biology.

Izumo and Juno: Sperm-egg secret unscrambled

Scientists said Wednesday they had made the long-sought discovery of how sperm latches onto an egg in the very first spark of reproduction, the outcome of a near decade-long hunt. The find opens up avenues for new contraception or treating infertility, they said. When a sperm meets an egg, they fuse to form a single-cell entity called a zygote, which divides to produce an embryo. In 2005, Japanese researchers reported they had found a molecule jutting from the membrane of mammalian sperm that docks onto the surface of the egg.

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - You can forget about the birds and the bees. If you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo. Fertilization takes place when an egg cell and a sperm cell recognize one another and fuse to form an embryo. But how they recognize each other in order to hook up had remained a mystery.

Moms in labor can bar dads from birth room, N.J. judge rules

By Victoria Cavaliere NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey this week became the first U.S. state to allow pregnant women to bar the fathers of their children from the delivery room while giving birth, under a court ruling. Mothers-to-be are also not obligated to inform fathers they have gone into labor, according to a decision published Monday by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Sohail Mohammed.

British widow wins battle for husband's frozen sperm

A British woman won a High Court battle on Thursday to preserve her late husband's sperm for at least another decade so that she can bear his children. Beth Warren, 28, had challenged a ruling by fertility regulators that the sperm stored by her husband Warren Brewer before his death in 2012 should be destroyed next year. Judge Mary Hogg said in a written ruling: "I am satisfied it was his wish that Mrs Warren should have the opportunity to have the use of his sperm after his death in order to have his child or children if she so wanted."

Four women with transplanted wombs receive embryos

Four Swedish women with transplanted uteruses have received test-tube embryos in a cutting-edge bid to fall pregnant, Swedish researchers said Monday. "I cannot verify if any of them are pregnant or not," Mats Braennstroem, head of the research team at Sweden's Gothenburg University, told AFP. "We will wait until late pregnancy to release any data on that." The embryos -- produced by in-vitro fertilisation -- were transferred into the transplanted wombs during the past month.

U.S. FDA weighs evidence on producing 'three-parent' embryos

By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. medical advisers are considering whether there is scientific justification for allowing human studies of a controversial procedure known as "three-parent in vitro fertilization (IVF)," a technique supporters say could prevent horrific genetic defects but that critics believe could lead to designer babies.

Brain-dead Canadian woman kept on life support to save fetus

By Julie Gordon VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A 32-year-old Canadian woman who has been declared brain dead is being kept on life support in a Victoria, British Columbia hospital, with doctors working to keep her alive long enough to deliver her unborn son. Robyn Benson was just 22 weeks pregnant when she complained of a headache and then collapsed on her bathroom floor, according to postings on a blog and fundraising site by her husband Dylan Benson. Her fetus, already named Iver Cohen Benson, has continued to grow in the womb.

Brain-dead Canadian woman kept on life support to save fetus

By Julie Gordon VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A 32-year-old Canadian woman who has been declared brain dead is being kept on life support in a Victoria, British Columbia hospital, with doctors working to keep her alive long enough to deliver her unborn son. Robyn Benson was just 22 weeks pregnant when she complained of a headache and then collapsed on her bathroom floor, according to postings on a blog and fundraising site by her husband Dylan Benson. Her fetus, already named Iver Cohen Benson, has continued to grow in the womb.

Seeing ultrasound rarely changes abortion plans: study

By Shereen Jegtvig NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Nearly 99 percent of women went ahead with an abortion after voluntarily viewing an ultrasound image of the fetus beforehand, according to a large new U.S. study. Based on medical records for more than 15,000 women seeking abortion at Los Angeles Planned Parenthood clinics, researchers found that only a small fraction of the women changed their minds after seeing the image.
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