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Touched by the Stork - Fertility Information

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Using Leftover Embryos
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Once a couple decides to undergo IVF or other ART procedures, there are often extra remaining embryos from the procedure. These embryos are frozen to be used in later cycles if their current procedure is not a success. Unneeded embryos are then destroyed if the biological donors do not want to store them. The Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area (RSC) has created an embryo donor program to give patients at their clinic an opportunity to utilize these unwanted embryos.

"RSC's new program enables its patients to use embryos donated by other RSC patients, providing highest quality assurance and the comfort of a trusted fertility clinic" reports one RSC doctor.

The cost of using egg donation has increased due to FDA regulations and donor agency fees. By using an in-house donation program, the RSC is giving patients a less expensive and less time consuming option. Donated embryos may be used by women who cannot use their own eggs for the procedure. This includes women who product too few or no eggs, or women of older ages whose eggs may not be viable. The only drawback to using donor embryos is that they will not be biologically linked to either potential parent.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Too much IVF?
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Women dealing with infertility are often sent to a specialist in order to undergo in vitro fertilization procedures. However, some doctors believe that IVF is being performed on too many women who may not need the procedure. Doctors may be overlooking male infertility issues which are repairable.

"First off, 40 percent of infertility is male factor infertility. If there is a sperm problem, the doctor should not be pumping the woman up with fertility drugs to make multiple eggs, but rather sending the husband off to see a specialist. You need to reach the root cause of their infertility, not just bypass it" says Dr. Sami David to CBS News.

Doctors who believe IVF is being used too frequently believe that impatience is the key. Patients want a quick answer to their infertility problems and may not want to spend the lengthy amount of time to investigate all causes of their fertility issues. Dr. David believes that IVF is now a first choice for patients with infertility issues, instead of a last resort when other treatments have failed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Laughter Therapy
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Laugher is said to be the cure for many things, including fertility. Studies have shown that those with lower stress levels had a higher rate of success in fertility. Laughter is an easy way to relieve stress and remove the mind from the difficulties involved with infertility. One clinic in Dallas even offers Laughter Yoga to their patients.

Laughter yoga relaxes the individual and their body. The sessions last about an hour long. Yoga exercises utilize the face and body muscles involved with smiling and laughing. The sessions were created to help couples and individuals escape their stress during the day through laugher therapy.

Monday, August 10, 2009
Test Your Fertility Early
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As women wait until their 30s and 40s to have children, the risk of infertility issues rises. Some believe that women should test their own fertility early to detect if there may be infertility issues later in life. This may identify problems in a woman that may be able to be fixed prior to their attempts at pregnancy. Professor Bill Ledger has created the Plan Ahead testing kit to measure the number of eggs available in a woman's ovaries presently, and the estimated number in 2 years.

"They think, 'It won't happen to me, I'm 37, I go to the gym twice a week, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I'm fit – everything about me is young'. Well it is, except your ovaries" says the creator of the Plan Ahead testing kit to the Telegraph UK.

With a blood test and a full medical examination, women at age 30 can assess their current level of fertility. A couple may change their decision on holding off pregnancy if they were to know about possible future complications. On the other hand, some believe that these tests may give some women false hope that they have time to wait. There is no guarantee that these tests will predict the future chance of your fertility years ahead of time.

Friday, August 07, 2009
Eat Right for Better Sperm
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According to the ASRM, about one third of all infertility cases are attributed to men. Low sperm count and motility are key factors in a male's inability to reproduce. A new study by the University of Murciahas has shown that a balanced diet can help increase the quality of a man's sperm.

"A healthy, well-balanced diet is not just important for preventing diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension, but it may be useful for preserving or improving your reproductive health too" said the study leader to Reuters Health.

The men in the study who had normal semen ate more carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, lycopene, and folate in comparison to men with poor sperm quality. The study also found that men who ate foods with less protein and fat had a higher quality sperm. Men should be aware of their dietary habits and the potential effect that their lifestyle may have on their ability to reproduce.

Thursday, August 06, 2009
How Many Is Too Many?
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Publicity from the octamom scandal has still raised many questions in regards to the number of embryos that can be implanted into a woman during IVF procedures. The standard rate for embryo transfer according to the ASRM is between 1 to 5 dependent on a factors including age. If too many embryos are implanted, there is a high risk of complications that can occur.

"Well over 90 or 95 percent of these situations will result in a catastrophic event, namely the loss of many, if not all, the fetuses, and a high risk to the mom. It's a scenario that really should never happen" said the director of artificial reproduction from UCLA Medical School to the Vancouver Sun.

There are specific guidelines for physicians to follow in regards to embryo transfer. However, there will always be doctors who will disregard these guidelines. Patients should be aware of their own health risks and discuss all options with their physicians prior to committing to any procedures. This will protect their health and the health of their potential fetuses.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Grandparents Funding Procedures
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Fertility procedures can be very expensive for couples dealing with infertility, especially if many rounds of treatment are needed. Grandparents, who desperately want grandkids of their own, have been found by a UK magazine to be a key contributor to paying for such procedures.

"One in eight couples undergoing fertility have their bill subsidized to the tune of thousands of pounds by would-be-grandparents. The figure is higher for older women, who are more likely to have to go private, with a quarter of over-40s having their IVF attempts funded by their parents" reported the Daily Mail.

Grandparents offer their children an answer to their financial needs. Even if they fund only part of the procedures, this money can relieve a great deal of stress off of couples.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009
The Aging Issue of Fertility
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A survey by Red Magazine has found that one in three women experience some type of infertility problem during the course of their life. The survey totaled over 2,600 women with the average age of 37. The results also showed that as women get older, they worry more about their ability to conceive.

"We can't change the fact that the best time to have babies is in your early 20s, even though that doesn't fit in with society" said the secretary of the British Fertility Society to the Daily Mail Reporter.

The success rates of IVF decrease as women increase in age. Many women wait until they are older and more established to attempt pregnancy. As a result, more and more women are dealing with fertility issues. In years past, the fertility statistics were much lower since the majority of women attempted pregnancy in their 20s. Today, more women are dealing with the issue of infertility in their 30s and 40s. Although these may not be the biologically ideal years to conceive, fertility treatment technology is advancing rapidly in response to the demand.

Monday, August 03, 2009
Herbal Remedies
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Herbal medicine is used to cure a variety of medical conditions including infertility. These herbs can help the reproductive organs and regulate hormone levels. There are fewer side effects than conventional medicine, due to the decreased levels of chemicals.

There are 5 main herbal plants which the Examiner specified to be the most popular for infertility. Red clover relaxes the body and helps balance hormones. Black Cohosh has been prescribed to help prevent miscarriage. Dong Quai helps regulate menstrual cycles. False Unicorn Root encourages ovulation and Raspberry Leaf is used to nourish the uterus.

As with any medication, caution is needed prior to use. These medications are not FDA regulated. Your doctor may prescribe these herbal remedies in conjunction with other medications or infertility treatments.

Friday, July 31, 2009
Infertility in the Workplace
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Employers are becoming more aware that employees may be dealing with infertility issues. A woman who needs to leave early for fertility treatments or take time off for a fertility procedure are not faced with the same stigma as in years past. Infertility is a topic widely discussed in the media and in legislation. Discrimination laws and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act allow women more freedom to engage in infertility treatments without fear of harsh repercussions from employers.

"Many [employers] realize family life is important to employees and accommodate the treatment. And infertility is less of a workplace taboo these days; most bosses know someone who has been affected" reports the Wall Street Journal.

Employees planning to miss work for infertility treatments should inform their employer in advance so arrangements can be made. Most employers view infertility as a medical condition and can usually give the same accommodations as for those dealing with other medical conditions.

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