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February 2009 Blog Archive

Friday, February 27, 2009
Fertility Hope for Cancer Patients
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After extensive amounts of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, cancer patients tend to lose their chances of fertility. The strong treatments save their lives but destroy their fertility. Oncologists have developed a chemo-treatment that may preserve cancer survivors fertility. These researchers are hoping to bring awareness to patients and doctors not familiar with fertility in the oncology world.

Science Daily reports on Oncofertility, "A leading oncofertility researcher and a breast surgical oncologist from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have written a guide to help doctors navigate their patients through the new technologies to preserve their fertility and understand the fertility threats posed by cancer treatments. The guide, based on the latest research, offers strategies based on each kind of cancer, age and gender of the patient."

These oncofertility doctors are urging oncologists to break away from past traditions of throwing young women and men into chemo and radiation, and instead opt for surgery to remove the cancer. They are hoping this new mindset and type of cancer treatment coupled with freezing embryos can preserve fertility, especially for young cancer patients.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Pick and Choose
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Researchers at the University of Basque Country have developed a way to choose the best suited embryo for insemination. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other infertility treatments will now have better chances of successful birth because the 'healthiest and best' embryo may be chosen. The experts have done 2 case studies via a mathematical model to determine the strength and quality of the embryo.

Science Daily released the information, "The team's next lines of work will concentrate on perfecting these techniques for selecting the best embryo in infertility treatments and in predicting multiple pregnancies, due to the risk they pose to women. The scientists will try to collaborate with other hospitals in this task."

Physician's test the infertile couples: sperm quality, age, type of infertility, and other variables. This information brings hope for infertile couples seeking IVF treatment who do not want multiple births, and likewise want to make sure their child comes out healthy.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Recession is even Hindering Fertility
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The economic downturn is taking its toll on all areas of our lives. From finances, shopping, cosmetic surgery, and now to fertility. A recent study shows that male testosterone levels can be adversely affected to due excessive amounts of stress (in this case caused by the recession). The study done in the UK was reported by China Daily says, "Testosterone, the hormone produced by the testicles, triggers the development of male sexual characteristics. It is linked to sexual function, circulation and muscle mass, as well as concentration, mood and memory."

The worst situation is men with chronic stress, who's fertility may be seriously harmed. Sadly, chronic stress occurs quite frequently in our fast-paced societies, from work to home life, the recession blues are starting to sink in for many financiers, bankers, and average-joe's all over the world.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Testicular Cancer and Male Fertility
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US News and World Report has released a report done by researchers saying that infertile men are at higher risk of developing testicular cancer. The question many are wondering is it the infertility treatments causing this increase or simply a random link between infertile men and testicular cancer. At this point in time the data is not certain of such causes, but the thought is that an underlying environmental factor is linked to both infertility and cancer in men.

The article said, "They analyzed data from more than 22,500 men in couples who sought fertility treatment between 1967 and 1998, and also examined cancer registry data. Thirty-four of the men developed testicular cancer within a year of seeking treatment for infertility. The researchers calculated that men in couples seeking fertility treatment were 1.3 times more likely to develop testicular cancer than those of the same age in the general population. Men with male infertility factor were 2.8 times more likely to develop testicular cancer than other men."

Testicular cancer has become much more prevalent in the last 30-50 years, especially in industrialized countries like the US. If it is an environmental germ or factor, it is adversely affecting fertility as well.

Monday, February 23, 2009
Fertility Guidelines Shunned by Many
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The Associated Press has reported that only about 20% of fertility clinics nationwide abide by fertility regulations. The Southern California fertility clinic which implanted the embryo into the infamous octuplet mom, is not the only one of it's liking. Unlike our European counterparts, the US lacks stringent fertility regulations, they are more like "voluntary rules" leaving the discretion purely to the "experts" running the clinics. After the birth of her octuplets, Nadya Suleman has sparked much controversy over fertility laws, and now the government is finally hoping to deploy some.

The AP article said, "The 20 percent figure is contained in reports filed by clinics with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fertility doctors say there are many reasons clinics skirt the guidelines: pressure from patients who want to use more embryos to improve their chances of getting pregnant; financial concerns from those who are paying for their treatment out of their own pockets; and the competition among clinics to post good success rates."

Altough the number of embryos implanted into a woman is a complex decision and quite individual for that matter, there should be a set precedent of universally acceptable number for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other forms of fertility treatments.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Fertility Woes in Japan
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A young Japanese woman was apparently impregnated with the wrong egg. The embryo-mix-up has caused much distress for the woman in her 20s, who later aborted the pregnancy and is now suing the local government for 20 million Yen (roughly $250,000 US Dollars). During the In Vitro Fertilization procedure the woman was implanted with another woman's eggs. The issue at hand is that it is said the Japanese culture frowns upon surrogacy, adoption, and basically raising children which are not yours.

Yahoo News said, "The hospital has a long history of carrying out such procedures, and this is the first time such a mistake has occurred, hospital spokesman Hajime Morishita said."The in vitro procedures are carried out in sequence one after the other, and in this case the eggs from one procedure may have accidentally been left over and used in the following procedure," he said"

In recent weeks, both in the US and overseas, IVF and fertility treatments have been greatly scrutinized, so this lawsuit comes on the surge of many fertility woes. This may bring about more stringent fertility treatment and fertility clinic laws globally.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Diet may have link to Fertility Ailments
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Poor diet clearly will adversely affect your health and physique, but recent studies are showing that poor diet may also be a factor in fertility problems. Coupled with bad eating habits and overindulgence comes the lack of exercise. Lifestyle has a serious and significant role in a woman's successful conception or successful insemination (In Vitro Fertilization). This however is not just for women bearing children, men with poor diets and lack of fitness carry less testosterone thus impairing fertility chances as well.

The study shows, "They found the women with the highest fertility diet scores ate less trans fat and sugar from carbohydrates, more protein from vegetables than animals, more fiber and more iron. They also took more multivitamins, had lower BMIs, exercised for longer periods each day and ate more high-fat dairy products than low-fat ones.Women who exercise 30 minutes every day and have a BMI of 20 to 24 have the best chance of getting pregnant."

If you want to avoid fertility issues, one way to prevent them may be to better your lifestyle by increasing your fitness and improving your eating habits. Throw away the junk food and sign up at your local gym.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
New Hope for Cancer Patients
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For years recovered cancer patients have struggling to successfully conceive after chemotherapy and radiation. But now there may be fertility hope for these survivors. Fertile Hope a New York based cancer society is offering patients with information, financial services and education about how to live life to the fullest post-cancer. The organization has made the Human Ooctye Preservation Experience Registry which is:

Northeast Ohio Medical Industry and Hospital News said, "The registry hopes to enroll about 400 women of reproductive age over the next three years who will have their eggs frozen and eventually thawed and fertilized. Researchers will track the eggs to study the safety and effectiveness of egg freezing. Freezing eggs is not the only option available for doctors who are trying to preserve a cancer patient's fertility."

Doctors say that limiting the damage done to ovaries and cervix is key to maintaining fertility. It is said that the drug Lupron is necessary for patients undergoing chemo who want to keep a healthy fertility chance.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Fertility Fiends
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No I'm not referring to our mother 14 the ever notorious Nadya Suleman. The fertility fiends I'm referencing are those in southern California fertility clinics who are hoping to make a penny or two off infertile couples. These so-called fertility experts are giving many struggling couples the hope and chance for children, but in doing so they are also making a heap of money by offering patients seeking treatment the chance to pick their child's eye color, hair color and complexion. According to the LA Times many of these clinics already offer gender picking for patients undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Allan Goldberg the LA Times columnist said in his article about choosing babies health not looks, "Now the Fertility Institutes is corrupting this lifesaving clinical procedure by using it to help families create designer babies, and I worry that their excesses will turn public sentiment against all preimplantation genetic diagnosis. That would be wrong."

But amidst the already tumultuous fertility industry and recent faux pas with the octuplet fiasco, is it really a necessity to pick our children's aesthetic traits? Shouldn't we be focusing on producing healthy children via infertility treatments?
Monday, February 16, 2009
Fertility On Our Minds
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Worldwide the hot news topic has been fertility; from fertility laws to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and many other treatments. Last week the buzz around town was the octuplets born via IVF in Southern California, today it is maternity leave. Government officials in Australia are saying that the ever-omnipotent global financial crisis may be taking a toll on paid maternity leave for soon-to-be mothers.

The Sydney Morning Herald said, "WITH speculation growing that federally funded paid maternity leave may be a victim of the downturn, the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said yesterday that the Government did not want to do anything to discourage firms putting in their own schemes."

Australia has been known for its lax fertility and maternity initiatives. Most women and infertile couples are allowed fertility treatments without serious background checks, likewise many have the treatments paid for. The country is also known for allowing decent time and pay for mothers.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Teens Should Take More Caution
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Unfortunately much of what we do during our foolish teenage years has the potential to adversely affect us later in life. The links between STDs and infertility are present and sadly prevalent. Many teens have succumbed to infertility issues during their 30s after years of unprotected sex and contracting STDs. Diseases like Chlamydia and gonorrhea have the chance to turn into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if gone untreated; a condition that can result in fertility problems.

CNN reported today saying, "…doctors worry about sexually active teenagers and young adults who may be unaware that some STDs may doom their chances of having a baby later in life. He said it is a growing reality for nearly 2 million women in the United States who are infertile. "We don't know how many are affected by STDs, but they can cause PID. A woman [with PID] has a 10 to 20 percent chance of being left infertile," Douglas said."

The sheer truth is that teenagers are easy victims; most are unaware of the long-term repercussions of unprotected sex. It's not only the job of parents and teachers to bring about fertility awareness, but media organizations, who can impart some knowledge upon our younger generations.
Friday, February 13, 2009
IVF Troubles
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Yet another multiple birth due to In Vitro Fertilization has made headlines, but this time in Australia. A lesbian couple who sought out one child with IVF has sued the fertility clinic for implanting two babies, which ultimately resulted in a "damaged relationship." The angry couple is also causing a stir among industry and government officials because many couples are complaining they do not want multiple births yet clinics are implanting multiple embryos.

News.Com.Au has said, "In the first Australian case of its kind, the Melbourne parents of the twin girls sued Canberra obstetrician Sydney Robert Armellin for implanting two embryos instead of the requested one. During the initial proceedings, the ACT Supreme Court heard that following the twins' birth, the mother had lost her capacity to love. The couple's relationship had also suffered as they became mired in everyday tasks associated with raising two children."

With the recent influx of news stories, criticisms, and harsh commentary about IVF and fertility clinics, there is a chance and possibility that governments in the US and Australia will stiffen embryo implanting laws – and attempt to limit the number of children infertile couples can have using IVF.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Improvement or Breakdown?
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Many fertility experts and pundits believe that the recent influx of multiple births due to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), is a result of a breakdown in fertility clinics and money hungry opportunists. Some would say fertility clinics are taking advantage of infertile couples by offering them many children in one go. However, this is resulting in unfit mothers (or couples) with huge numbers of children.

The New York Times reported today, "Nearly a third of in vitro births involve twins or more. The government, along with professional associations, have been pushing fertility doctors to reduce that number, citing the disastrous health consequences that sometimes come with multiple births - infant mortality, low birth weights, long-term disabilities and thousands of dollars worth of medical care."

Though some would argue that multiple births prove the success of IVF and infertility treatments. Though the government is hoping to employ some restrictions on clinics and limit the number of embryos injected in women seeking IVF. Most fertility physicians inject additional embryos with hopes that the successful births will increase, and couples will spend more money.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
IVF Success
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New hope for infertile couples seeking out In Vitro Fertilization has emerged onto the fertility front. Couples may now be able to increase chances of a successful birth with "electroactivation" of the fertilized egg. This research is still at it's preliminary stages and has been done in Cairo, however some success has clearly been evident.

Reuters reported on the study, "With electroactivation, the fertilization rate was 68%, significantly higher from a statistical standpoint than the 60% rate seen without electroactivation, report Dr. Ragaa Mansour and colleagues, from the Egyptian IVF-ET Center in Cairo."

This week IVF and fertility clinics were under serious scrutiny due to some clinics and experts and their lax behaviour towards unfit potential mothers, more specifically the woman with 14 children, 8 from IVF, has received the most criticism, as have her California based fertility physicians.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Octuplets Incite Stronger Sanctions
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After the infamous octuplets birth last week, California is calling for more stringent regulations for fertility clinics nationwide. Nadya Suleman an unemployed 33-year-old single mother of 14 who gave birth to octuplets after In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has sparked discussion about newfound fertility laws.

Bloomberg News reports, "She probably had the multiple embryos implanted in her by "a rogue clinic," said Jeffrey Steinberg, a Los Angeles fertility doctor who wasn't involved in her treatment. While implanting that many embryos exceeds the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, it doesn't violate any law."

Fertility experts are saying the lack of regulation on this case should be the instigator and poster child for why America needs tighter fertility laws. Many worry that the single-mother of 14 will not be capable of sufficiently providing both monetarily and emotionally for the children. The case has received much notoriety and scrutiny in recent weeks.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Fertility Drugs No Link to Ovarian Cancer
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There is newfound hope for women suffering from infertility issues. Those who have taken fertility drugs do not need to worry about a link to ovarian cancer. Previously, fertility experts worried that fertility drugs could possibly induce ovarian cancer, but new data shows otherwise.

WebMD released a report saying, "The study found little association between the use of drugs like Clomid and the cancer. There has long been concern that the ovulation-stimulating and ovulation-regulating drugs used to treat infertility raise ovarian cancer risk. Several small studies conducted in the 1990s suggested that they do, but more recent studies failed to show an association. Now the largest, most rigorously designed trial ever to address the question shows "no convincing association" between fertility drug use and ovarian cancer."

Fertility issues have been on the forefront of headlines in recent months with new laws, new products, procedures, and data. These recent revelations may ease the fears of many infertile couples who opted against fertility drugs with worries of potential risks associated with it.


Thursday, February 05, 2009
Non-stick Chemicals may be Linked to Infertility
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An article released by Science News Magazine, says that a controversial study says many infertile women seem to have high doses of non-stick chemical pollutants in their blood. The chemicals found present in women's bodies are linked to products at home like Teflon and scotch guard.

"In an upcoming issue of Human Reproduction, released online January 28, Fei and her co-workers report that "higher maternal PFOA and PFOS levels measured in early pregnancy were found to be associated with longer time to pregnancy."

This research however is the first of its kind, leaving many people sceptical. The findings will hopefully be further delved into by the researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. The researchers are also hoping for stricter regulations of products in the marketplace and mainstream that have high PFOA and PFOS rates. The primary reason for this is not just fertility ramifications of high doses, PFOA and PFOS do not breakdown easily and remain in the environment for long periods of time. These chemicals are even found in carpets, some clothing and stain-guard products. They are quite prevalent in day to day products.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Limiting Numbers of Children with IVF
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In lieu of the recent octuplets born in Southern California, many fertility researchers and experts have administered a number of studies. Data shows that, couples not worried about costs of In Vitro Fertalization, can actually find a way to limit and decrease the chances of multiple births. A fertility clinic in Rockville, Maryland – Shady Grove Fertility Dr. Stillman has said, "...that many patients who undergo IVF at Shady Grove Fertility Center and who are good candidates for eSET request that only a single embryo be transferred back to the their uterus. If you can transfer one single embryo, without compromising pregnancy rates, then you can even minimize the risk of a twin pregnancy."

The press release and data also shows that Shady Grove and this eSET request have low rates of triplets among IVF patients. Which is promising in an economic climate where multiple children may be quite costly to afford. The woman who now has 14 children (a set of octuplets and 6 other kids) would have served perfectly for this case.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
2009: Designing Your Baby?
The latest controversial fertility procedure to stir up news is about designing your child prior to conception. The Melbourne Herald Sun featured an article about 14 Australian couples seeking out this designer baby idea in Los Angeles. California-based fertility expert and physician Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg is allowing infertile couples to choose the sex of their child and cosmetic features such as hair and eye color.

Dr. Steinberg told the Herald Sun that they initially began this genetic advancement to help albino children, "We started out trying to help these albino children and in the process we're learning how to predict eye color." The controversial side, Dr Steinberg agrees, is that parents can now be told the likely hair and eye color of a future child as they make a decision on which of their fertilized embryos will go to pregnancy."

While many are seeking Dr. Steinberg out for cosmetic improvements on their children, the vast majority of his work revolves around children with genetic illnesses not gender and hair color. He sees roughly 800 patients each year and has 3 clinics nationwide. As exciting of a breakthrough as this may be, the tests and procedures cost upwards of $20,000 to simply diagnose, and over hundreds of thousands for proper treatment.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Octuplets bring Fertility into Limelight
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Fertility experts and doctors were flabbergasted today when California based octuplets were born. The case has sparked loads of media hype since this is only the second set of octuplets to be born in the United States. Because of the increased chances of fetal disabilities and ailments, fertility experts go out of their way to avoid such mishaps.

Reuters stated today, "But experts in reproductive health say an occurrence of octuplets represents a likely case of fertility assistance gone awry, posing grave risks to the health of the mother and her premature offspring."

The six boys and two girls were born 9-weeks premature, but these little rascals have the entire medical arena and fertility industry awed by their succesful and healthy birth.

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