Sperm Sorting FunctionNOTE: this is pure, unadulterated speculation, based upon some scientific research I had recently been reading. I originally published this on my Facebook page, which I have since deleted, so I am now publishing it here on my Wireclub blog, in an edited form. (I have taken out much of the religious speculation and implications and just talk mainly about the science. To read the missing parts, go to Club: Gemtam Discussion .)
All women have designed into their reproductive organ a Sperm Sorting Function (SSF), the purpose of which is to sort through the various sperm deposits in the vaginal cavity and choose the best genetic material for conception.
As long as the SSF is operative, menopause never happens. MENOPAUSE IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO SSF SHUTDOWN.
If sperm never enters the vagina (as in the case of virginal old maids), or if only sperm from one man enters (as in the case of monogamous relations), the SSF is not activated, because it requires the sperm from two or more men for activation.
The greater the number of sperm donors, the more active the SSF (because there is more sorting to do.) The more active the SSF, the more fertile the woman will be. FERTILITY IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO SSF ACTIVITY.
Fertility, then, is not solely determined by the female, nor solely by the male, but also (and principally) by the NUMBER of male partners a female has in a given sexual period.
Only when SSF is inactive is fertility dependent upon other factors. In other words, when fertile females (who have not, yet, reached menopause) are in monogamous relationships, fertility is determined by other factors. When she is having polyandrous sexual relations, the SSF takes over in determining fertility and vastly increases her chances of getting pregnant.
SSF and sperm competition are complementary, so that for the multiple males engaging in sexual intercourse with the female, their bodies produce genetically superior and more fertile sperm, to compete with the sperm of the other males, as well as greater quantities of it, increasing the likelihood of impregnation. It is almost as if their body knows that the SSF has been or will be activated and therefore makes the best sperm it can create so that the SSF ends up picking its sperm over the other sperm.
The greater the sperm competition and the more active the SSF, the more genetically superior the offspring will end up being. This process reduces or eliminates genetic mutations, resulting in biologically superior children which continues with each succeeding generation as this mating model is followed.
Nature is such that good breeding habits, in which genetically superior children are produced, are prolonged while bad breeding habits are shut down prematurely. Menopause is nature's way of shutting down bad breeding habits. In monogamous and polygynous arrangements, genetic mutations are continued to be passed on, so the SSF, if it is not sufficiently activated, eventually will shut down completely, causing the onset of menopause.
On the other hand, in polyandry in which sperm variety is continually present, the SSF is continually active and keeps menopause from happening, indefinitely. This is done so that genetically superior children continue to be produced.
In cases in which women are promiscuous (such as prostitutes), but who terminate pregnancies or use contraception, menopause may initiate regardless of high SSF activity, due to the body not being able to follow its natural course and produce offspring.
Just as muscles which perform the same exercises over and over again will become accustomed to them, adapt and then stop growing new muscle tissue, which necessitates changing exercise routines to create muscle confusion, which then allows continuous muscle growth, the SSF may also adapt to multiple sperm and eventually shut down, initiating menopause. This happens when the same group of men continue to deposit sperm over time with no introduction of new, unknown sperm. The SSF will always pick the same genetic makeup (the best) when presented with the same group of men over and over again. The body will eventually not even recognize the inferior sperm and will function as if there was only one sperm donor, with no need for SSF activity.
To continue to keep the SSF active, a woman needs to alternate the groups of men she has intercourse with. A woman who is married to ten men, then, who has sexual intercourse with this same group of men, will inevitably enter menopause. She must, from time to time, be introduced to new husbands, and change the group of men she has sexual relations with, in order to keep the SSF “guessing” or trying to figure out which sperm is best.
The implication of this, assuming that the above speculations are true, is that a woman could conceive children throughout her entire life, by using a strategy that allows the SSF to always be activated.
All of the above assumes familiar sperm (through marriage) because the introduction of unfamiliar sperm through one night stands and other fleeting relations may cause the female body to react in ways that are detrimental to herself and any offspring that may result.
Can the SSF be reactivated once it is "permanently" shut down? Sarah was barren and then had her womb open in her old age. We call it a miracle (which it was) but what if there is a simple, scientific explanation to it? If the SSF activates with multiple semen deposits and eventually turns "permanently off" with a lack of such semen, could the re-introduction of multiple semen deposits re-start the process? Semen isn't just deposited and then drips out. It actually gets ABSORBED into the woman's blood stream through the vagina. Science likes to isolate individual components of substances, trying to figure out the "active ingredients," but sometimes isolation is not the name of the game. Like a fruit cocktail, sometimes it is the combination of ingredients that produces the effect, and not any of the individual components. Semen from multiple men may create just such a cocktail. We know, for example, that semen contains testosterone, estrogen and other hormones, such as prostaglandins (made in the prostate gland), luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. Not all of the chemicals in semen have been identified (or isolated.) Could it be possible that male semen might actually REGULATE the female reproductive cycle, switching it both on and off?
For example, this is from an article by Beth Rosenshein called, Preventing Menopause:
"We have all been taught that ovarian failure is inevitable and that there is nothing that can be done about it. A recent study would suggest otherwise.1 [1 Refers to a study on WebMD Medical News called, Age of Menopause getting later, found on webmd.com]
“The timing of ovarian failure can be influenced. Ovaries fail for one reason and one reason only: they run out of eggs. The ovaries contain a certain number of eggs at birth. After puberty, when the ovaries begin to recruit eggs every month, the store of eggs goes down. As long as things go well, the number of eggs recruited each month is approximately the same. Based on the number of eggs at puberty and the number of eggs recruited monthly, a woman's ovaries should last her until she is in her seventies.2 [2 Refers to Gougeon A, Ecochard R, Thalabard JC. Age-related changes of the population of human ovarian follicles: increase in the disappearance rate of non-growing and early-growing follicles in aging women. Biol Reprod. 1994;50(3):653-63] All goes well until a woman reaches her late thirties, when the ovaries begin to use more eggs than necessary every month. As a result, the store of eggs goes down faster than normal, and the ovaries run out of eggs about 20-30 years sooner than necessary. The reason ovaries begin to use more eggs is because the ovaries are not getting what they need to function well. Like any ailing organ, providing what is needed helps the ovaries work better."
So, menopause is caused by ovarian failure and ovaries fail because they run out of eggs, and they run out of eggs because they start to use up more eggs than is necessary every month, and they begin to use more eggs because they aren't getting what they need to function well. So, the big question is, what do ovaries need to function well? My SPECULATION is that they need a variable semen cocktail (no pun intended) from multiple men who are familiar to her (no one night stands but from long term relationships, meaning marriage) on a regular basis, and that this semen cocktail needs to be regularly varied so that not the same group of men contribute to it all the time, but a differently mixed semen cocktail is regularly received in the vagina, because this will keep the SSF activated and will regulate the ovaries, keeping them in perfect heath.
There are a set number of eggs in human females that can be fertilized. When they are used up or discarded, that's it, right? But how many does she have?
From a web site: "A woman has the maximum number of potential eggs (primary oocytes) while still a fetus, more than 7 million. By birth the number has fallen to 1 or 2 million, and by puberty to about 300,000. Only 300 to 400 reach maturity."
Why such large numbers? Could it be that these numbers fall due to mutations via generational monogamy? Could it be that the re-introduction of the multihusband-multiwife model might reverse the fall of these numbers, leaving a higher number that reach maturity, so that if females live longer, they also remain fertile longer? Could the tribal model be some kind of a preparation of the organs of reproduction for the Millennium, in which people will live a thousand years again? Again, all speculation, but it wouldn't surprise me if all our numbers are wrong as to how many humans have lived on this planet.
Okay, drum roll please....Here is abstract #1, in which some researchers cast doubt upon the findings of another group of researchers. The doubting scientist say in their abstract: "A group of scientists from Harvard Medical School (Johnson et al., 2004) claims to have 'established the existence of proliferative germ cells that sustain oocyte and follicle production in the postnatal mammalian ovary'" And then they go on to contradict those claims. Here is the abstract, called Eggs Forever?:
Now, the orginal group of scientist who made the initial claim then responds to this abstract with another abstract of their own, called, Serious doubts over "Eggs Forever?" In this abstract the researchers categorically state: "While we agree with Byskov et al. that our work represents a radical departure from the age-old dogma that mammalian females permanently lose the capacity for oocyte and follicle production during the perinatal period, careful examination of all of the available data leaves no doubt that adult female mammals retain the capacity for oogenesis and folliculogenesis." This means that menopause may be REVERSIBLE. So, based upon this abstract, I will stick to my hypothesis that the key to all of this is a variable, multimale sperm cocktail regularly received into the vaginal cavity and that such a cocktail might actually take menopausal woman out of menopause and back into ferility, or, to use the scientific language, cause oogenesis and folliculogenesis. Here is the abstract:
Yet another abstract, this one, in my opinion, VERY interesting. It is titled, "Systemic signals in aged males exert potent rejuvenating effects on the ovarian follicle reserve in mammalian females."
The implications of the above abstract might be that the sperm cocktail must have variety not only in that the men who put their part into it are different than the last cocktail's group of men, but that the men themselves ought to be of variable ages: young men, middle aged and old men. In other words, that the female reproductive system responds greatest when there is the greatest diversity and variety in the cocktail. Taking this even further (don't you just love to speculate every once in awhile?), racial diversity may also engage the SSF and subsequent oogenesis and folliculogenesis to an even greater degree.
Some experiments that could be done using this working hypothesis:
1) a monogamous mouse pair living alone as control;
2) a polyandrous mouse arrangement with two or more (young) male mice and one female mouse living together so that the female mates with each mouse;
3) a polyandrous mouse arrangement in which the female lives with all of the males but she is allowed to mate with only part of the group for one sexual period and then is allowed to mate with a different part of the group for the next sexual period, always with a rotation and mix-up so that no two succeeding sexual periods have the same "sperm cocktail."
4) A fourth group could be polyandrous like the third, except that each part of the group that mates with the female will consist of diverse ages: young, middle-aged and old.
Then, we could see what kind of children result from these various mating strategies. Also, each of these mice in all of the various arrangements would be taken from monogamous lines, to see if sperm mutations are affected by any arrangement. For the third and fourth arrangements, it may be easier simply to make the ratio of males to the single female quite high, so high in fact that she is incapable of mating with all of the males in a given sexual period, thereby eliminating the need to herd her into one particular group of males (and away from the others) at a time.
Another aspect of this theory is where does inbreeding fit it? If sperm competition genetically upgrades the sperm of all sperm cocktail donors, and if an activated SSF routinely selects the genetically superior sperm from a variable sperm cocktail, would sexual relations with close relatives (inbreeding) pose the same risks of manifesting recessive or deleterious traits in offspring as the inbreeding found among monogamous, polygynous and polyandrous settings?
If the answer to that question is no, then this could explain why the children of Adam and Eve could inbreed without danger, by adopting a multihusband-multiwife model which allowed the women to sleep with multiple groups of husbands, regularly varied, so that the sperm cocktail was always different each sexually active period. The mice experiment proposed above could test this out.
"For example, models of hymenopteran offspring relatedness and number of mating partners suggest offspring heterogeneity increases steeply when the number of partners increases from one to five and sperm use is random (Page and Metcalf, 1982; see also Yasui, 1998). "
I find the above number five quite significant. Five may be the basic husband group unit for minimum female fitness:
"In contrast to Bateman's principle, there is now increasing evidence that female fitness can depend on the number of mates obtained."