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Touched by the Stork - Fertility Information

Monday, March 09, 2009
Obesity and Infertility
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It has long been considered by physicians and researchers that there is in fact a clear link between infertility and obesity. According to new studies, the link between the two is quite evident. Obese women appear to go under significant changes in their ovaries which result in their eggs inability to properly be fertilized.

The Endocrine Society said, "In the study, Dr. Robker and her colleagues measured hormone and metabolite levels in follicular fluid obtained from the subjects' ovaries during their egg collection procedures. They found that obese women exhibited an altered ovarian follicular environment, particularly increased metabolite and androgen activity levels, which may be associated with poorer reproductive outcomes. The researchers say that the fats might alter the very sensitive metabolism of the egg and such changes are known to be harmful to embryo formation. In addition, inflammation can damage cells and when this happens to eggs it can affect embryo survival."

Typically obese women were seen as struggling or taking longer to conceive, but this new research shows that the links are evident and may actually be a viable cause for the adverse fertility affects due to obesity.

Thursday, March 05, 2009
IVF Single Birth Success
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For many infertile couples In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a necessity, the numbers of couples struggling with natural conception have increased over the years, but likewise with that increase so too have multiple births as a result of IVF. In many regards IVF is a blessing, but in recent weeks it has come under strict scrutiny due to negligence and lax fertility regulations by the government onto fertility clinics. In wake of these recent criticisms, doctors have said that single births are becoming more successful for young women.

The USA Today reported on this newfound IVF information, "But thanks to advancements in culturing embryos in the lab, doctors can offer many younger patients an excellent chance of conceiving with only a single embryo. In the journal Fertility and Sterility last November, Stillman reported that eSET patients had basically the same pregnancy rate - 65% - as those who transferred two embryos, but only 1% of eSET patients had twins, compared to 44% of the women who'd received two embryos."

However it is also important to note that for women in their 40s seeking out fertility treatments, doctors typically implant more than one embryo, because the success rates are much higher with increased embryo. Also couples must remember it is still a shared risk to take on a treatment like IVF, the chance of multiple births still remains.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009
‘Ocotomom' has Spurred Stiff Regulations
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If any good has come from 'Octomom' Nadya Suleman that is her 14 IVF babies have instigated the deployment of stringent fertility laws. California's fertility clinics will now be under watch after Suleman gave birth to octuplets after In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment, where 6 embryos were inseminated into the so-called 'unfit' unemployed mother of 14.

The Los Angeles Times reported on people's reactions to these soon to be implemented laws, "It is alarming that the State of California has no one watching out for patients," said McLeod, a Democrat from Chino.The bill, which also introduces regulations for plastic surgery centers, was originally inspired by the November 2007 death of Donda West, Kanye West's mother, who died of heart disease following liposuction and breast reduction surgery."

Many say, it's about time the US has stiffer regulations. Fertility clinics have been scrutinized for having no watchdogs, leaving the clinics and patients will full discretion.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Designer Baby Boom
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From the Drudge Report to BBC News, the talk of Tinseltown today is designer babies. A Los Angeles based fertility clinic is assuring patients seeking out In Vitro Fertilization and other infertility treatments that they can pick and choose gender and aesthetic traits of their babies. The clinic is claiming that they are offering this service due in part to recent demands by patrons, though this has kicked up a stir amongst industry experts and even locals.

Fox News reported on the information behind this newfound designer treatment, "While PGD has long been used for the medical purpose of averting life-threatening diseases in children, the science behind it has quietly progressed to the point that it could potentially be used to create designer babies. It isn't clear that Fertility Institutes can yet deliver on its claims of trait selection. But the growth of PGD, unfettered by any state or federal regulations in the U.S., has accelerated genetic knowledge swiftly enough that pre-selecting cosmetic traits in a baby is no longer the stuff of science fiction."

If this fertility clinic really can deliver its promises of beautiful babies, will this start a flurry of fertile couples going in for insemination just to choose the look of their child? Is fertility being exploited? I leave that up to you, but for now for infertile couples around LA one clinic is offering you 'Versace Babies.'

Monday, March 02, 2009
Financial Troubles mean Surplus of Eggs
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In lieu of the global financial crisis, women across the United States are offering to sell their eggs for extra money to pay bills. Draw by such payments over $10,000, clinics are seeing a frenzy of women young and old coming in.

Reuters reported on the increase in women donating eggs, "Nicole Hodges, a 23-year-old actress in New York City who has been out of work since November, says she has decided to sell her eggs because she desperately needs cash."I'm still paying off college. I have credit card bills and, you know, rent in New York is so expensive," Hodges, who has been accepted as donor and is waiting to be chosen by a couple, told Reuters Television."

The economic climate is encouraging such donations, but many women also say they are happy to donate eggs not just for the money but also to help infertile couples seeking out artificial insemination and other infertility treatments. The ideal candidate that fertility experts look for are healthy, active women in their twenties.

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.

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