You may have heard about the exciting discovery by scientists of the protein which helps eggs and sperm to bind together. Named after the Roman fertility goddess Juno, it is found on the surface of female eggs and is essential in order to allow fertilisation to take place. Apparently the scientists are now starting to investigate whether screening tests for Juno could be an indicator for fertility problems – and the discovery has been widely touted in the press as the “key” to unexplained infertility
It’s obviously a hugely important advance, but whether it explains why so much infertility is unexplained is not at all certain.
Many of those who receive a diagnosis of unexplained infertility are eventually offered IVF treatment, and at this point it is actually quite unusual for eggs not to fertilise even if the treatment doesn’t eventually work.
It is possible that ICSI could by-pass Juno, but for standard IVF treatment, fertilisation can only occur if Juno is present – which would suggest that it is unlikely to be a major cause of unexplained infertility.
If you have unexplained infertility and have been thinking that maybe it’s down to a lack of Juno, this won’t be the case if you’ve ever had a fertilised egg during IVF.