Monday, 19 December 2016

Causes of infertility in men

There are several causes for infertility in men, which relates to some underlying medical condition or some other factor such as poor semen quality. Almost 9 % of world’s male population suffers from some kind of infertility. If you are having unprotected intercourse with your female partner for around a year and still unable to make her pregnant then you or your partner could be suffering from some sort of infertility complications that needs medical attention. Below are the main causes of infertility in men for you to read.

Sperm Abnormalities

There are several sperm abnormalities, which can cause infertility in men. The factors that cause sperm abnormalities are disease, congenital birth defects, lifestyle habits and chemical exposure. Several sperm abnormalities are unknown as well. The main categories of sperm abnormalities are Oligospermia (Low sperm count), Asthenospermia (Poor sperm motility) and Teratospermia (Abnormal sperm morphology). Basically the sperm abnormalities are categorized as per sperm movement, sperm count and sperm shape.

Retrograde ejaculation
Retrograde ejaculation is a condition in which the sperms are forced back into the bladder instead of coming out. This happens when the bladder muscles do not function properly. In retrograde ejaculation the quality of sperms is not up to the mark. There are many reasons of retrograde ejaculation such as surgery of bladder or prostate, diseases such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes, spinal cord surgery or injury, certain medications such as tranquilizers or alpha blockers and aging.

Structural abnormalities

There could be several structural abnormalities that can affect fertility in men. Any abnormality that block or damage the testes or tubes can result in infertility. The various types of structural abnormalities are Cryptorchidism and Hypospadias. Cryptorchidism is the condition in which testicles do not descend from the abdomen to the scrotum. This results in harm to sperm production. Hypospadias is the condition in which urinary opening is on the base of the penis. Although it can be corrected surgically but it’s one of the factors, which results in infertility in men. Another form of structural abnormality is blockage in the tube that moves sperm. Some men lack the tube that transports sperm from the testicles to the penis resulting in infertility.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Cancer drug may cause women to grow new eggs, study suggests

Women treated with a common chemotherapy drug combination have more young eggs in their ovaries afterwards, research has found. A small study indicates that a therapy commonly used to target Hodgkin's lymphoma appears to increase the number of non-growing eggs in women's ovaries.
Researchers say it is too soon to link the outcome to fertility, but believe more research is needed to better understand the findings and their implications.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh analysed samples of ovary tissue donated by 14 women who had undergone chemotherapy, and from 12 healthy women. They found that the ovaries from eight of the cancer patients, who had been treated with a drug combination known as ABVD, had a much greater incidence of immature, or non-growing, eggs compared with tissue from women who had received a different chemotherapy, or from healthy women of a similar age.

The ovary tissue was seen to be in healthy condition, appearing similar to tissue from young women's ovaries. If further research can reveal the mechanism by which treatment with ABVD results in increased production of eggs, this would aid understanding of how women might be able to produce more eggs during their lifetime, which was until recently thought to be impossible.

Researchers had set out to better understand why treatment with ABVD is one of the few cancer drug combinations that does not impact on women's fertility. Future studies will examine the separate impact of each of the four drugs that combine to make ABVD -- known as adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine -- to better understand the biological mechanisms involved.

The study, published in Human Reproduction, was supported by the Medical Research Council. Lead researcher Professor Evelyn Telfer of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, said: "This study involves only a few patients, but its findings were consistent and its outcome may be significant and far-reaching. We need to know more about how this drug combination acts on the ovaries, and the implications of this."

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Saturday, 10 December 2016

Poor Responder Lady With Poor Ovarian Reserve Its Reasons

Poor ovarian reserve (POR) in women is one of the major factors that plays a very vital role for the success and treatment of infertility. This is an indication of the quality and quantity of a woman's age and of the oocytes. The relation of the age of the patient's which can be due to diversity of the etiological factors. For the success rate, the evaluations of the therapeutic strategies and ovarian reserves play a vital role.
How IVF can make a difference
Those who are diagnosed with POR can go ahead and use the IVF method if they are trying for a baby, while there may be a risk factor in association to the success of the pregnancy, however with proper guidance, treatment, regular monitoring and precautionary measures, this can be minimized. This can also be helpful so that the need of an egg donor can be avoided. With this condition, a woman can have high chances of pregnancy loss and it does not matter which age group she may belong to.
Indications of POR
One of the major indications of POR is the fact that the menstrual cycles are short due to the ovulation and follicle development. Even the increasing age could be one of the associations as to why the oocyte may decline. As per a work group that is associated with the European Society of Human Reproductions and Embryology else known as ESHRE, out of the three main features at least two of them would be needed in order for an unsuccessful attempt of IVF, the three main reasons would be as follows
1) If it is pertaining to POR, then the reason why the IVF would be unsuccessful would be due to the various risks factor which includes the advancement of the maternal age.
2) If there has been a previous history of POR due to which the IVF was not successful
3) If the patient has ORT which is a test conducted for an ovarian reserve that is abnormal.
If the person is considered to be a poor responder, this means that even after the maxim mum stimulation, the person has had two episodes of an unsuccessful IVF due to POR. This could be due to various reasons such as
1) The person is said to be in the advanced stages in regards to an abnormal ORT.
2) It could be due to the ovarian reserve's reduction
3) In regards to the outcome of the ovarian stimulation cycle, the person may act as a surrogate.
Under the above mentioned situations, then the patient is considered to be an expected poor responder. While there is no definition of what you can term as a universal terminology used for a poor responder, however the various factors and considerations of the failed IVF treatment can surely be the main reason's as to why the procedure was not successful. Although there are two main sub groups wherein woman who are POR can be classified, they would be
1) The stimulated cycles previously resulted in the POR as per the observations made which is else known as a definition that is retro-spective.

2) The reason for the POR is due to the various reasons which can be seen in the tests for ovarian reason like an ovarian surgery, age, etc else known as a definition that is prospective. 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Male Infertility Trends And Causes

For the conception of a healthy baby, there are various factors that influence it, apart from the fact that the woman has to be capable for it, even the male's sperm and ability to help in the conception that plays a vital role. In comparison to the infertility of females, the complications behind male infertility are a lot less. This is a situation where the male is not able to be a father due to various factors such as
1) Sexual dysfunction which can also be that the man is not able to maintain or achieve a proper erection
2) The man faces retarded or premature ejaculation
3) The quality or count of the sperm is not up to the mark
4) Ability to produce a certain amount of semen needed for conception
There are various reasons as to why a man can be infertile; this can be due to the lifestyle he lives or the heredity or genetic factor. Some of the major reasons could be as follows
1) The quantity and quality of the sperm has been reduced since he smokes
2) The inadequate production of the sperm can also be due to prolonged activities and certain kinds of exercises which can increase the temperature of the scrotal
3) Physiological factors including stress can also be the reason for sexual dysfunctional
4) Abuse, Use of substance or alcohol can either lead to inadequate sperm quantity and quality or sexual dysfunction
5) Heredity problems or medical conditions which require regular medication that can cause infertility as a side effect or as a result of the particular treatment or condition that they have.
Reasons as to why a man is infertile: In order to understand what the root cause of the matter is, it would be essential that there would be certain tests that would be conducted. After a certain amount of tests, you will get to know the exact reason as to why the infertility has been caused, the reason as to why a man may be infertile could be due to the following reasons
1) The speed at which the sperm moves through the tube may not be that much since the amount of sperms that are needed is not sufficient
2) There are certain hormonal problems in the man which cause an imbalance.
3) There is an infection due to which the infertility is caused.
4) There could be some kind of trauma like a surgery or an injury to the testicular due to which the infertility is triggered.
5) Inflammatory of the prostrate due to which there is some kind of infection.
6) The person has some kind of Sexual transmitted infection
7) He has sustained some kind of injury to the spinal cord
8) Has been diagnosed with Testicular cancer
9) Sickle cell anemia which causes hypogonadism which is where the testicles do not function as desired.
If this is something that can be treated easily with the help of certain medications and or procedures this problem can be taken care of. However, in case this may not happen, then there are artificial procedures like IVF that can be helpful for the fertilization of the egg.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Endometriosis & Infertility

Endometriosis is a condition where in the uterus lining also known as the endometrium grows on place like the ovaries, along the pelvic or even the Fallopian tube and after it breaks down, there is nowhere that it can go. This lining is very similar to the one that is formed in the uterus which results in women having their menstruation. In such a case where the lining has nowhere to go, it can cause Endometriosis which can also result to infertility.
How Infertility and Endometriosis is Connected
The reproductive age of around 10-15% or women is affected due to Endometriosis. This is a disease that is dependent on the estrogen of the woman and is also one of the established associations of infertility. There are various reasons why this can be caused; it could be environmental, genetics, molecular or mechanical. When it comes to the fertility being affected, the mechanisms which cause it are yet to be understood.
Factors of Why This Problem Can Occur
There are various theories' that have come to light about why this problem can occur. It could be due to

Areas that can be affected due to this condition
If a woman is diagnosed with Endometriosis, the different parts that could be affected due to which the fertility can be impacted and abnormalities can be caused could be
1) Ectopic endometrium

Can endometriosis be considered Hereditary or generic and what are the symptoms?
The theory on this front is very genetic; presently there is a team of doctors that is studying this factor which is based in London. The basis of the theory points out to very strong evidence that the hereditary factor is what leads to a woman being diagnosed with endometriosis. As per the studies that have been seen and conducted, if a woman has a family history on this front, it is natural that if she has a daughter, they may also be suffering with the same problem. Symptoms of Endometriosis would include -
1) During the time of menstruation, the cramping can get worse over time and also depilating.  
2) The pain can also be felt during the gastrointestinal period, urination, fatigue and even when they are having sex
3) At times, they can also have some bleeding even thought their periods are not due
Infertility Caused due to Endometriosis
Due to the fact that a woman may have very severe endometriosis, there are various problems that can develop to the pelvic, bowel and the uterus which can result in her developing an infertility problem. A few things that can lead to such a situation would be
1)  A distortion or scarring of the pelvic.
2) Blocked or damaged tubes
3) Endometriosis cysts can be found in the ovaries
4) The pelvic sidewall, bowel and uterus can be affected due to the cysts which can also result in the woman being infertile to conceive.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

World's first 'three-parent' baby is born by new IVF technique

World's first 'three-parent' baby is born by new IVF technique

A baby boy has the DNA of three people after being conceived using mitochondrial donation

In what embryologists are calling "a huge deal," a baby has been born using a new three-person fertility technique. It's a world first, and has brought happiness to a Jordanian family who was unable to have children without it.

The unidentified baby boy is now 5 months old, and has the usual DNA from his mother and father, as well as a tiny bit of genetic code from a donor. A team of U.S. doctors from New Hope FertilityCenter in New York City took the unprecedented (and somewhat controversial) step to make sure he would be born free of a genetic condition carried by his mother in her genes — a disorder called Leigh Syndrome that would have proved fatal to any baby conceived. The procedure, known as mitochondrial donation, was carried out in Mexico because there are no laws against it there. It involves taking all the vital DNA from the mother's egg and adding healthy mitochondria from the donor egg to create a healthy new egg that can be fertilized with the father's sperm.

While this isn't the first time scientists have created babies that have DNA from three people, mitochondrial donation is an entirely new and significant method that could help many other families who are unable to have children because of rare genetic conditions.

In the U.K., laws have already been passed to allow the creation of babies from the DNA of three people. But critics of the new technique speculate that many failed attempts may have gone unreported before we heard this success story. Those who oppose mitochondrial donation on ethical grounds question how a child born using this technique might feel about having DNA from three people. Others warn that three-person babies may be more likely to develop cancer, have a higher risk of premature aging and may require close monitoring for their whole lives.

Dr. John Zhang, who led the team from New Hope Fertility Center, will answer questions on the technique when they present their findings at a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in October. There's no doubt that revolutionary new techniques like this will always come with complex ethical issues. But for families who are desperately in need of it to fulfill their baby dreams, it's hard not to see it as a positive breakthrough.


Monday, 26 September 2016

First animal ever conceived through IVF

The buffalo used for this procedure are part of a herd that has been maintained at the Stapelberg farm for more than 17 years.

The first Cape buffalo calf to be conceived through in vitro fertilisation(IVF) is now a full three months old and in great health. “This breakthrough is of great significance, as it is the first of its kind in the world and holds great promise for the continued survival of endangered species,” Dr Morné de la Rey, MD of Embryo Plus, said when he announced the Pumelelo’s birth.

Pumelelo was born on June 28 this year. The assisted reproductive technology used in the production of this calf was developed by Embryo Plus from Brits in the North West Province, a world-leader in the embryo industry.

The Embryo Plus team, led by De la Rey, is still developing techniques that can be used to save critically endangered wildlife species. “The use of Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART’s) in wildlife management, although still in its infancy, is becoming more of a reality. This success is of major importance for the prospective breeding of endangered,” De la Rey said.

In a process similar to ovum recovery in women undergoing in vitrofertilisation (IVF), the oocytes of a buffalo cow were collected by a technique called ovum pickup (OPU), which took place with the cow under full anaesthesia. A needle was guided trans-vaginally and ova (eggs) were aspirated from the ovaries of the cow, using ultrasound to visualise the process.

De la Rey said the eggs were matured and fertilised in vitro with frozen-thawed Cape buffalo semen, then grown in a laboratory incubator in a process known as in vitro production (IVP). After 7 days of growth, the embryo was transferred into a surrogate buffalo cow, which carried the foetus to term for 11 months. DNA samples taken from the calf confirmed the parentage of the cow and bull used in the IVF/IVP process.

He added that extensive preliminary research was necessary to mature and fertilise the eggs and to incubate the embryos to an advanced stage of development, as all species have different requirements for growth and utilise different nutrients during the laboratory phase of the largely uncharted path of IVF/IVP in African game species.

The buffalo used for this procedure are part of a herd that has been maintained at the Stapelberg farm for more than 17 years.

Reference :

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Baby joy for mother with no womb- thanks to loving family

Baby joy for mother with no womb- thanks to loving family

A WOMAN born without a womb has become a mum thanks to her sister offering to be a surrogate and her parents paying for IVF treatmentFaye Richards, 31, from Hereford, was born with a condition called Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome which meant she could never carry a child. As her husband Tony, 41, a decorator, had three children from a previous relationship the couple knew they would have to pay thousands for private IVF and surrogacy expenses to become parents together.

Faye’s younger sister Kim Thomas, 28, stepped up as an IVF surrogate – and her parents Dave, 66, a plasterer, and June, 58, a nurse, offered to foot the £22,000 bill for private treatment. Faye said: "Kim and I were always close, but when she offered to be my surrogate I was staggered. "It was the most generous offer she could have made, when my parents gave us the funds to make it happen our dream of being parents was finally within reach."

Kim, a health care assistant who is mum to six-year-old Harry, added: “Being a mum was so important to Faye I knew I’d do anything to make it happen. I know she would have done the same for me.” After two unsuccessful rounds of IVF with Faye’s eggs and Tony’s sperm, Kim - who is engaged to partner Jason Baginski - fell pregnant on her third attempt. Baby Ralphie was born in May.

Faye, who works in mental health, added: “Every time I look at my son I feel so lucky my family helped me have him. “When Ralphie’s older I’ll tell him that we wanted him so much his Auntie Kim and Grandma and Grandpa stepped in to make it happen.” Faye was diagnosed with MRKH and polycystic ovaries at Hereford County Hospital aged 19 when her periods still hadn’t started. She said: “Put simply, I was born without a womb. I have ovaries and produce eggs, but have no Fallopian tubes or uterus so will never carry a child.

“It was devastating. Even as a teenager I knew I wanted to be a mum someday."

In January 2011, Faye started dating dad of three, Tony. They discussed having children together through an  IVF surrogate - meaning Faye’s eggs would be fertilised by Tony’s sperm and implanted in a surrogate womb. But in December 2012 they were refused  IVF surrogacy on the NHS as Tony was already a dad. Faye said: "We knew private surrogacy would cost thousands in expenses on top of the £6,000 quoted per round of  IVF. There was no way we could afford it."

That month the couple got engaged and Faye asked her sister to be her bridesmaid. Then in June 2013 Kim made the huge decision to offer her womb as a surrogate for her sister. What’s more, June and Dave offered to lend Tony and Faye money to pay for  IVF. June said: "We used our savings but there was nothing more we wanted to spend that money on.

"Tony promised to pay back every penny, but we told him we’re in no rush to see that money. "It was our first present to our grandchild." Now, Kim and Jason plan to get married next year, and Faye said she can’t wait to attend the ceremony with her husband and son. Kim said: "Faye kept asking how I was feeling. I told her I felt like I’d just carried my nephew so my sister could be a mum."


Friday, 16 September 2016

Stress negatively affects chances of conception, science shows

Stress negatively affects chances of conception, science shows

Highly-stressed women 40-percent less likely to conceive during ovulation window

What many have long suspected, has been scientifically confirmed -- women's high stress reduces their probability of conception. 
University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences epidemiologist Kira Taylor, Ph.D., and her UofL and Emory University colleagues, found that women who reported feeling more stressed during their ovulatory window were approximately 40-percent less likely to conceive during that month than other less stressful months. Similarly, women who generally reported feeling more stressed than other women, were about 45-percent less likely to conceive. The results of the study recently published in the journal Annals of Epidemiology.

In the study, 400 women 40-years-old and younger who were sexually active recorded their daily stress levels measured on a scale from one to four (low to high). The diaries also contained information regarding menstruation, intercourse, contraception, alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Urine samples also were collected throughout the study, and women were followed until they became pregnant or until the study ended, for an average of eight menstrual cycles.

Researchers calculated mean stress levels during each phase of the menstrual cycle, with day 14 as the estimated time of ovulation. They found the negative effect of stress on fertility was only observed during the ovulatory window, and was true after adjustments for other factors like age, body mass index, alcohol use and frequency of intercourse.

"These findings add more evidence to a very limited body of research investigating whether perceived stress can affect fertility," Taylor said. "The results imply that women who wish to conceive may increase their chances by taking active steps towards stress reduction such as exercising, enrolling in a stress management program or talking to a health professional."

The study also found that women who did conceive experienced an increase in stress at the end of the month in which they became pregnant. Taylor hypothesizes this could be the result of two factors: women became stressed after taking a home pregnancy test and learning they were pregnant, and/or most likely the increased stress was the result of changes in hormone levels caused by pregnancy itself. "Some individuals are skeptical that emotional and psychological attributes may be instrumental in affecting fertility," Taylor said. "I hope the results of this study serve a wake-up call for both physicians and the general public that psychological health and well-being is just as important as other more commonly accepted risk factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or obesity when trying to conceive."


Monday, 12 September 2016

What Infertility Really Feels Like

What Infertility Really Feels Like

Every infertile woman carries with her a list of questions, comments, and suggestions she steels herself against: When are you finally having kids? Oh, you can’t? Maybe you should gain weight, lose weight, go on vacation, take vitamins, take your mind off things for a while, adopt. These questions and suggestions come from well-meaning people, she reminds herself, and she carries them with her not to dwell on a sense of isolation but because they are always waiting, at the next picnic, church service, family reunion, wedding, book club, potluck, grocery aisle.

The worst experience like this, during my five years of infertility, happened during an annual performance review at the rural high school where I taught English and creative writing. I had been fitting doctor’s appointments around my teaching schedule, taking ovulation tests in the gross school bathroom before scheduling intrauterine inseminations at my fertility clinic, a half-hour’s drive away. I thought I would begin IVF soon, and wanted to make sure my principal understood that I would need more time for medical appointments (protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act, I was ready to mention). I was close to this woman, and remained close, even after she said what she said. Which was: "Drink whole milk, and if it doesn’t work, it probably wasn’t meant to be." She also made some suggestion about why it wasn’t working. Maybe there was some problem in my marriage? I can’t remember exactly, because I left my head for a time and couldn’t speak, I was so angry. I told my friends about it later, and promised I’d quit, but I didn’t quit, because I needed the money and insurance for medical treatments. I wrote about it in an essay and deleted that part, guilty and embarrassed that it even happened.

I forgave her. And completed my IVF treatment, and told her about the pregnancy, and accepted her effusive, awkward congratulations in front of the whole school. Of course I forgave her, a flawed human just like all of us. It wasn’t even the worst story I’d heard, in my two years at an infertilitysupport group. Not even close. But listening to the misconceptions of people who have never been through infertility has changed me. It has changed my relationship to social media — never a close one, I’ll admit — because before I post anything about my child, I think about the friends I have who are still waiting, testing, hoping, in treatment. It has changed the questions I ask when I meet someone. I try to wait for the person I’ve met — older or younger, man or woman, single or partnered, queer or straight — to bring up children.

“The unfulfilled longing for children, I’ve learned, is a complex, often hidden, and common experience.”

One in eight American couples experiences infertility, a statistic that noticeably leaves out single people as well as others who can’t conceive “naturally” but may not be infertile, like same-sex couples. Those of us who long for a child, or for the experience of pregnancy, often don’t match the stereotype our culture teaches us to expect: older career women who “put off” having kids until it's "too late." Some of us have been trying for years and years and years. Some of us are past our reproductive years, but carry the disappointment with us. Some of us are single moms-to-be, undergoing expensive donor insemination or donor-sperm IVF. Some of us are LGBTQ individuals or couples navigating complex and sometimes discriminatory adoption laws. Some of us are trans women who wish we’d been born with ovaries and a uterus and hope that one day, medical science will catch up.

Recently, I took my 2-year-old daughter for a haircut at a salon that caters to young children. We watched, before her appointment, as the hair stylist meticulously clipped the thick, dark locks of a four-month-old baby while his father held him and his grandparents and mother filmed and photographed the event. When it was Beatrice’s turn, she chose the chair shaped like a boat and sat nervously, hands clasped in her lap, as the stylist draped her in a colorful cape and praised her calm demeanor and pretty face. She sprayed Beatrice’s hair with water, gently, and started combing and snipping. I snapped pictures — I always do — and hovered in what I hoped was a not-too-annoying way.

“Your first?” the stylist asked.

“My only,” I said. She made some other comments about kids, and seemed so comfortable and warm that I asked her the question I thought I’d trained myself out of. “Do you have kids?”

“No,” she said. “Me and my husband, we haven’t had any luck.”

Though she spends her days surrounded by the trappings of childhood — cartoons, toys, hair bows — in a way that I never could, this woman’s history was much like my own. Married the same year, treated by the same doctors, saddened by the same sense of exclusion and longing. It was all the same — except for the luck.

“'Your first?' the stylist asked. 'My only,' I said."

“It’s worst at church,” she told me. “Everyone has kids, and everyone wants to know why we don’t.”

As she gave my daughter’s bob its final careful touches, she said she likes working with kids. It’s the adults who bother her — the people who haven’t learned to mind their business, though I imagine she forgives them.

I’m still learning, as I go, about the incredible, diverse range of experiences and longings we humans carry around with us. Becoming a parent has made me more vulnerable to the world around me, but I also hope that it makes me more sensitive. Every experience of pain, joy, heartbreak, longing, failure, misunderstanding, and triumph — that could be in my daughter’s future. I think that’s what we who are lucky enough to be parents should remember and remind ourselves before we make assumptions about anyone else’s life.

An old habit I’ve recently taken up again is finding and pressing four-leaf clovers. I find them on walks, at the park while my daughter plays, at home under my mother’s clothesline, and I press them into whatever book or notebook is nearest at hand. Though I’ve found them all my life, the clovers have taken on new meaning for me personally. I must have collected hundreds of them while I was in fertility treatment, and dozens more while I was pregnant. Sometimes I keep them, but I always have plenty — enough to give away.

So far this year, I’ve mailed them to booksellers, given them to some wonderful writers I worked with at a conference in Vermont (Bread Loaf’s campus, like the grass under my mother’s clothesline, is excellent for finding clovers), and I just put one in the mail to the hairstylist I met. I hope they carry luck with them, but when I give a clover to someone else, I know that what is lucky for me is not the same as what is lucky for her, and I give them in that spirit. Here’s a clover! For whatever you want the most, right now (which is also none of my business) — I hope that whatever it is, it comes your way.

Reference :

Doctors raise concerns about India’s booming IVF industry

Doctors raise concerns about India’s booming IVF industry

For parents desperate to have a child through IVF, a trip to India can seem like the magic solution to an expensive, painful problem — falling pregnant later in life. Triumphant headlines celebrating the birth of babies to elderly Indian women — see “Indian woman in her 70s gives birth to healthy baby boy” or “70-something woman gives birth and she’s even breastfeeding” — continue to perpetuate the country’s reputation as a mecca for IVF successThe industry is largely unregulated and a single IVF cycle costs around $2000, compared to $10,000 in Australia.

Fertility Society of Australia president Professor Michael Chapman says he has seen many Australian couples come back from India with IVF success“The appeal is in the price, the lack of regulation and it’s easier to get access to donor eggs,” he said. “There have been success stories from there, but they are needles in haystacks. Often the doctors have been to see one IVF clinic and think they can do it themselves. The standards are very questionable. “Every obstetrician and gynaecologist calls themselves a fertility specialist. They do 10-15 cycles a year and say ‘I can do IVF’, but they’re using scientific staff who are not trained properly.”

Daljinder Kaur, 72, gave birth to a baby boy in April after falling pregnant by her 79-year-old husband Mohinder Singh Gill, following fertility treatment at a northern Indian clinic. In 2008, another Indian woman, Rajo Devi Lohan became the oldest woman to ever give birth, when she welcomed her daughter Naveen at age 74.

These families are the subject of a new Al Jazeera documentary India’s Miracle Babies, which explores India’s booming unregulated IVF industry and chronicles the lives of several elderly Indian parents. After 46 years of marriage, Daljinder Kaur and Mohinder Singh Gill were over the moon when their son Arman, meaning hope, was born in April. Arman was conceived with a donor egg and possibly donor sperm — the couple are reluctant to reveal details. “A lot of people used to tell me ‘adopt a child’, but I never felt the urge to adopt or have someone else’s baby,” Kaur told Al Jazeera“The almighty only has made this possible for us. It is his gift ... I want everything for [Arman], that he should become a big man and bring me fame. He has already brought me fame,” she said.

Rajo Devi Lohan, now age 77, is thought to be the oldest mother in the world. She is similarly enamoured with her child, Naveen. “When people used to tease us I’d get angry with them,” Lohan said. “Those who were on our side would say ‘It’s God’s wish. This is your fate and nothing can be done about it’.” But some doctors have raised concerns about the industry’s lack of regulation. They say both the mothers and their children are being put at risk. “Seventy-two years is not the right age to have a baby,” said Dr Narendra Malhotra from the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction.
“It was shocking yes, science can do it. Science can do a lot of things. 

But it is for the society to decide whether we are going to do things which ... put the patient and the child at great harm. And that is what has happened here. Getting pregnant at 72 is putting a life in jeopardy,” he said. Since giving birth at age 74, Rajo Devi Lohan has developed cancer. She’s had three operations to repair a ruptured uterus and remove several tumours, as well as many rounds of chemotherapy. “Earlier, she was healthy and strong. But after she had her baby, she turned weak. 
Then after a year or two she got cancer,” said Lohan’s family doctor Dr Praveen Sharma. “I feel the treatment she underwent at this age may have caused all these problems, because having a baby at this age means there is some fiddling with the hormones. If you give high dosages of oestrogen to an elderly woman, they’re more likely to have cancer.”

Professor Michael Chapman says the two diseases older people are most susceptible to — diabetes and high blood pressure — can be exacerbated by pregnancy. “A pregnancy is like a stress test for each of these diseases,” Prof Chapman told “The metabolic changes of pregnancy promotes diabetes, which affects both the mother and the baby. The increased circulatory load that a baby processes increases your blood volume by 50 per cent. If you’re 30 that’s fine, if you’re 60, your blood vessels are less likely to cope.

There are also significant emotional risks for the child,” says IVF Australia’s Associate Professor Peter Illingworth. “There is a lot of data on the effects of the child having extremely aged parents,” he said. “The child could have a lot of emotional problems afterwards and is then left looking after old parents at a very young age, or even dealing with possible dead parents.”

Most Australian IVF clinics will not provide any treatment to women over 52, but there is no law in Australia that stipulates an age cut-off. “It’s a deeply personal thing and a law could be discriminatory,” Assoc Prof Illingworth said. For women over 40, the chances of a live birth from IVF is 18 per cent. By a woman’s 41st birthday, these rates drop significantly. Women aged 41-42 have a 5.8 per cent change. For those aged 43-44 it’s 2.7 per cent. If you are over 45, it drops even further to 1.1 per cent, or a 99 per cent chance of failure. Women over 45 are usually advised to undergo IVF using donor eggs from a younger woman.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Acupuncture, IVF and everything you should know about pregnancy after 40

Acupuncture, IVF and everything you should know about pregnancy after 40

Unlike men who continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, a woman is born with all the egg-containing follicles in her ovaries that she will ever have studies have revealed

Women do not remain fertile until menopause. At birth there are about one million follicles.
By puberty that number will have dropped to about 300,000. Of the follicles remaining at puberty, only about 300 will be ovulated during the reproductive years. A woman’s best reproductive years is in her twenties. Fertility gradually declines in the thirties, particularly after age 35. By age 40, a woman’s chance of natural conception is very slim. This has necessitated the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) like In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), and Intra-Uterine Artificial Insemination(IUI). In-vitro Fertilization (IVF), refers to the process where a woman’s eggs are fertilized outside of her body in a laboratory and once embryos have been produced, they are transferred back into the uterus a few days later.

This treatment is usually recommended for women with absent, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes or in cases of unexplained infertility. When used in conjunction with IVF, acupuncture and other fertility therapies increases conception rates by a great percentage and even up to twenty-five percent.

A recent study from Tel Aviv University reports says that “When combining IUI with acupuncture treatments, 65.5 percent of the test group were able to conceive, compared with 39.4 percent of the control group, who received no herbal or acupuncture therapy.” The mere thoughts of having needle holes punched all over the body will make anyone cringe. If you are a needle phobic like me, I am sure you can resonate with the dread for needles. Listen to an acupuncturist describe the process, and you can feel your nerves being soothed already.

The process consists of the gentle insertion and stimulation of thin, disposable sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body. There are over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that connect with fourteen major pathways, called meridians. Chinese medicine practitioners believe that these meridians conduct energy, between the surface of the body and internal organs.

The relationship between the emotions, the body, and the Spirit is complex. Emotions such as anger, worry, sadness and grief, fear, and shock can alter the body’s hormonal system and cause diseases. Anxiety impairs the spleen, the kidney and the heart by weakening the spleen.

Anxiety can cause blood deficiency thus impacting upon fertility. Acupuncture helps to keep the normal flow of this energy unblocked, thereby increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving.

Acupuncture and stress.
One of the ways acupuncture infertility treatment increases fertility is by reducing stress, which is often a key factor in fertility for both men and women. Stress can also create spasms in both the fallopian tubes and the uterus, which can interfere with movement and implantation of a fertilized egg. In men, stress can alter sperm counts, motility, and cause impotence. Acupuncture infertility treatment counters the effects of stress and cortisol by releasing endorphins in the brain. Acupuncture can increase fertility by reducing stress, increasing blood flow to the reproductive organs and balancing the endocrine system.

Among many other benefits, acupuncture can provide better blood flow to the ovaries and uterus, creating a stronger chance for an egg to be nourished and carried to term.

Acupuncture and Pre-Natal & Post-Partum Care
Acupuncture can help with much more than just conception. It is a safe, proven reliable effective treatment for every stage of pregnancy. During the first trimester, acupuncture is one of the safest methods for relieving fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. During the second and third trimesters, acupuncture treatment helps relieve anxiety, swollen hands, sciatica or back pain, indigestion, ankles and feet, acid reflux, and insomnia. After delivery, acupuncture effectively relieves bloating, and helps increase milk supply and return to hormonal balance. Embarking on IVF or any assisted fertility treatment can be a very demanding and stressful experience, but the right physical and emotional support can lessen these stresses and strains and increase your chances of success.


High alcohol intake associated with slightly decreased female fertility

High alcohol intake associated with slightly decreased female fertility

But total abstinence may not be necessary to improve conception rates

Women who drink 14 or more servings of alcohol a week are slightly more likely to have reduced fertility, suggests a study published by The BMJ today. Low to moderate intake of alcohol, defined as one to seven servings a week, seemed to have no effect on women's fertility, nor did the type of alcohol beverage consumed. But the authors still recommend for couples to abstain from alcohol during their fertile window until a pregnancy is ruled out, because the fetus may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol during the first few weeks after conception.

In developed countries, up to 24% of couples experience infertility, defined as time to pregnancy of 12 months or more. Official guidelines in several countries, including the UK, USA and Denmark, recommend that women trying to become pregnant should abstain from alcohol consumption. But the extent to which alcohol intake affects female fertility is unclear. So a group of Danish researchers carried out a large prospective cohort study to examine the association between pre-conception alcohol consumption and time to pregnancy. In total, 6,120 female Danish residents, aged 21-45 years, were included in the study. They were all in a stable relationship with a male partner, trying to conceive and not receiving fertility treatment, between June 2007-January 2016.

The study assessed overall alcohol consumption as well as intake of specific types of alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and spirits. Alcohol consumption was self reported as beer (330 mL bottles), red or white wine (120 mL glasses), dessert wine (50 mL glasses), and spirits (20 mL), and was categorized in standard servings per week (none, 1-3, 4-7, 8-13, and 14/more). Each female participant completed bimonthly questionnaires for 12 months, or until conception occurred, on alcohol use, pregnancy status, menstrual cycles, frequency of intercourse, and smoking.

In women who drank 14 or more servings of alcohol a week, there were 37 pregnancies in 307 cycles, compared with 1381 pregnancies in 8054 cycles in women who did not drink. While the sample size was large, only 1.2% of women drank more than 14 servings of alcohol a week, so the estimate for this high level of exposure is imprecise, caution the authors. This is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be made about cause and effect. The study did not distinguish between regular and binge drinking, which is important because alcohol can affect the menstrual cycle. And the male partner's alcohol intake was also not taken into account, which is known to affect sperm quality.

In a linked editorial, Annie Britton from University College London, says that the results "offer some reassurances" to couples trying to get pregnant and suggests that "total abstinence may not be necessary to maximise conception rates" because "if alcohol is consumed moderately, it seems that this may not affect fertility." "However, it would be wise to avoid binge drinking, both for the potential disruption to menstrual cycles and also for the potential harm to a baby during early pregnancy. If a couple are experiencing difficulty in conceiving, it makes sense for both partners to cut down on their alcohol intake," she concludes.

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