The Future of Fertility Treatment
If you need help getting pregnant these days, there’s an array of advanced techniques available to both diagnose and treat infertility in men and women. If you needed medical assistance thirty years ago, you had few treatment options — basic surgery or limited hormonal therapy for women and varicocoele http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/varicoceles repair for men.
To Maximize Fertility, Men Should Minimize Bacon Consumption
If you and your partner have decided to seek medical assistance to help get pregnant, your doctor may have handed you a list of “lifestyle” instructions to follow to enhance the success of your treatment using assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
Now, along with not smoking, drinking less and maintaining a healthy weight, comes word that men should step away from the bacon to maximize their fertility.
Newsweek featured infertility treatments in its Health Insight section this week:
For Infertility Treatment, Options Abound
ART Babies Develop the Same as Other Babies
Every parent thinks about what their child will be like when they get older, no matter how their child was conceived. For those parents who successfully used assisted reproductive technology (ART) comes reassuring news – there appears to be no difference in cognitive development and academic performance for their children compared to kids spontaneously conceived.
While there are still few long-term studies examining whether children conceived through ART perform differently in school than their peers, results from two large studies confirm that in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is safe over the long-term with no negative effect on cognitive development.
One robust study showing comparable development included every child conceived by ART and born in Denmark between 1995 and 2000 (a total of 8251 children). As 9th graders, they were compared to two control groups: all twins born in Denmark during the same period and a randomly selected group of spontaneously conceived singletons. Also, ART singles and twins had comparable test scores.
Another major study by the University of Iowa followed children conceived using IVF through their hospitals and clinics. The age of children at the start of the study ranged from 8-17. Children were assessed through tests (grades 3 through 12), observation and answers given by parents on questionnaires.
The study showed IVF children performed better than peers matched by age and gender except that singles performed best and multiples (twins and triplets) tended to score slightly lower, though not significantly, than peers. Factors found to affect test scores included maternal age, parental education level, divorce and the child’s BMI. Cryopreservation, length of embryo culture and method of insemination did not affect scores. http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/01/building-a-brighter-kid-consider-ivf/
Additional long-term research is needed including the effect of IVF multiple births. After all, every parent wants to have children who are smarter than they are if just to avoid helping with the math homework.
Using Prostaglandins Following Miscarriage
When a woman experiences a miscarriage or has a termination during the first trimester, a dilation and curettage (D&C) is commonly used to remove the remaining tissue. However, if future pregnancies are being considered, other treatment options should be discussed as the procedure has recently been linked to preterm (less than 36 weeks) and very preterm (less than 32 weeks) delivery. The consequences of such early delivery can be serious and long lasting.
A Milestone in Fertility Treatment: The Uterine Transplant
Medical breakthroughs for previously untreatable conditions often make the headlines. Add one more milestone to the list – this time in reproductive science – the world’s first live birth last year by a 36-year-old woman who received a transplanted uterus from a 61 year-old woman who had already gone through menopause.
Uterine transplant has been likened to other breakthrough infertility treatments, including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), ovarian transplantation, preimplantation genetic diagnosis and egg freezing. Previously, women with uterine factor infertility – where uterine issues interfere with pregnancy – were considered to have the last untreatable form of infertility. Now, there’s a potential solution.
Egg Donation and the Older Patient
To use your own eggs or not use your own eggs really is the question for women over a certain age facing challenges in becoming pregnant.
When the decision is to use in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the next question is whether a woman will use her own eggs or donor eggs. The answer and likelihood of getting pregnant are strongly related to age. Especially for women aged 38 and over, studies show a lower pregnancy success rate when women use their own eggs in treatment.
I Wish I Could Talk About It – Dealing with Infertility and My Culture
Not being able to conceive when you want to is really hard, and not being able to discuss the intensely personal issue with family or friends due to cultural issues can make the situation even more painful.
In her column titled “How Woman Around the World Cope with Infertility,” Karen Springer tells Mamta Jhunjhun Wala’s story. Wala, of Mumbai says, “People ask a woman’s name—and then, ‘How many children do you have?’ When the woman answers ‘none’, […] they don’t know what they can talk to you about.” http://www.newsweek.com/how-women-around-world-cope-infertility-89405 And, self-described “Type A Latina” Annette Prieto-Llopis wrote in a CNN blog that even now it’s “hard to believe that infertility remains a taboo subject especially in the Hispanic community.”
No matter where you live, for some cultures it is simply not considered appropriate to talk about infertility. The inability to talk about the emotional issue means some “suffer in silence,” and couples facing the situation speak of feeling isolated.
What are the Challenges to Patients Choosing Elective Single Embryo Transfer?
Click for a Printable Version
A multiple birth significantly increases the risk of serious health problems to the mother, fetus, and newborns
- Prospective risk of fetal death more than triples in twins vs. a singleton
- The average gestational age at delivery is 35 weeks for twins and 32 weeks for triplets vs. 39 weeks for singletons
So why do so many women choose Multiple Embryo Transfer (MET)?
It all comes down to having the right information!
Patients often make a major medical decision regarding embryo transfer without knowing the full risks of a multiple birth.
Read more about this issue here!
I’m Ready: How Do I Choose A Reproductive Endocrinologist?
If the most important thing for you and your partner is having a baby – and you’re having trouble conceiving – the next most important thing is finding the right reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to get help.
A reproductive endocrinologist is an OB-GYN who specializes in diagnosing and treating infertility in women and men. They’ll direct medical testing to first help diagnose why you may be having trouble getting pregnant. And, they’ll work with you to determine the best way to overcome the problems you may be experiencing.
Here are a few important factors to consider when choosing the reproductive endocrinologist that’s right for you.
What is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)?
There are many different reasons why a woman may have difficulty becoming pregnant. Fortunately, advances in treating infertility have led to effective procedures that help address specific problems and unexplained infertility. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is one such first-line treatment for many couples.
When couples have fertility issues, a complete assessment of both partners can help identify the likely obstacles. If the problems are related to sperm – such as low count or motility, or incompatibility with a woman’s cervical mucus or problems with sexual intercourse – IUI may be helpful. The procedure can be performed with the partner’s sperm, or when donor sperm is used, and it is also often a first treatment for unexplained infertility and endometriosis issues.
When, Where, and How to Start Your Fertility Journey
When a couple is eager to have a baby and isn’t getting pregnant right away, time seems to stand still. The first place to start is figuring out if there is a problem. Infertility is defined as not getting pregnant after 12 months (or more) of regular unprotected sex. Ninety percent of couples get pregnant during this timeframe.
If there is trouble conceiving, experts have recommendations on how soon to consult a fertility specialist based on a woman’s age and past reproductive history. Guidelines suggest a woman under the age of 35 should seek help after 12 months, which drops to six months for women aged 35 to 39. And women aged 40 and over should seek fertility assistance after trying to get pregnant for three months without success. If the woman has a known reproductive problem such as irregular cycles, hormone problems, history of pelvic surgery or if the man has a history of problems that might affect sperm production, then they should seek medical help right away.
From Scandal to Mainstream: The History of IVF
We often take for granted what comes before research translates to widely accepted medical practice. For in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the research and breakthroughs leading to success took substantially longer than most people realize. The history of IVF is a lesson in persistence and reward — more than five million babies have been born worldwide using IVF in the 37 years since the first assisted birth. But it wasn’t easy. http://www.eshre.eu/Guidelines-and-Legal/ART-fact-sheet.aspx
How IVF – combining sperm and egg in the lab – came to be begins in the mid-1800s when scientists first confirmed that pregnancy occurred from a combination of sperm and eggs. By 1876, early IVF treatments were tested with rabbits, and by the early 20th century major research was underway on how hormones and fertility were linked.
It Takes Two: Male Infertility
It takes two to tango – and two to make a baby. So when there are problems with getting pregnant, there are two people to consider when looking for possible causes. And even though infertility is often looked at as a “women’s issue,” every couple’s fertility assessment should include a review of the male partner.
Male infertility is more common than most people realize – approximately 15% to 25% of all infertility is due to solely to male factors. An additional 20-40% of infertility cases are related to male and female issues with sperm. Some of the reasons for male infertility are well documented and a variety of tests are available to assess potential problems. However, at least fifty percent of cases are due to unknown factors.
IVF culture media may influence sex of embryo
BioNews reported on March 23rd, “The nutrient-filled liquid used to grow embryos during IVF might affect the resulting male to female birth ratio, a study suggests. But this only seems to be true when the sperm is injected directly into the egg during fertility treatment (a technique known as ICSI).
“…Dr David Adamson, a reproductive endocrinologist and surgeon at the Advanced Reproductive Care Fertility Clinic in California, USA, told Medical Daily: ‘I don’t think it’s effective enough to say that it’s a good therapeutic intervention. This may well be true, but in the absence of information about the culture medium, it’s difficult to interpret.'”
Read more here
IVF Nutrients May Influence Gender Selection In Embyros, Reports Medical Daily
Medical Daily reported March 19th, “Chinese scientists believe that certain undisclosed nutrients given to embryos during in vitro fertilization may favor the development of male fetuses over female. The study is significant because it could possibly lead to a new technique for gender selection. However, experts are more concerned about what other changes that aren’t as obvious as sex these gender-specific nutrients may bring about.” Read more here…
Dr. Adamson writes about advanced maternal age in the Silicon Valley issue of Bay Area Parent magazine. Click here to access the article.