Choosy Bodies Choose — uh, not sure yet

University of Adelaide professor Sarah Robertson thinks the likelihood of fertilization is based on chemical communication between a man's sperm and a woman's body, which determines whether it accepts the presence of the sperm by making changes in her immune system.

Robertson says that the assumption in treating infertility has been that if a man's semen tested as normal, that meant there was something wrong with the woman's reproductive system which prevented her from becoming pregnant. Her research suggests that the problem may not lie with either individual, but with compatibility in the signaling between sperm and host.

And a degree of familiarity, in this case, breeds not contempt but greater likelihood of acceptance. A woman's body is more likely to accept the sperm of a man whose semen she has been exposed to for a period of at least three months.

Another factor in whether the sperm is accepted could be whether environmental conditions are favorable for a pregnancy, Robertson says.

Robertson's research has mostly been in mice and pigs thus far, as well as some with human cells. She is currently recruiting female subjects to continue her research in humans.

Despite the fact that the actual research done to this point has not been in women's bodies, some news outlets could not let pass by the opportunity to suggest that men are right when they say "women are too picky". Every good news story needs a hook. There is none more tried and true than, "And another thing that's wrong with women is . . ."

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