Thursday, October 26, 2006

"Miracles Do Happen" by Carol Andrews

There is an ebook written by a woman named Carol Andrews available for download in which she describes a breakthrough technique she learned to conceive when, late in life, all other options were failing for her. She was 34 years old when her and her husband decided to start a family. They tried and tried but she was unable to get pregnant. Disappointment turned to sadness and dispair after time went on. She did not want to try IVF after hearing about the troubles her friend had with it. Eventually she happened upon something that led to her having two children (you need to download the ebook to find out the details).

Download Miracles Do Happen.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cell phones pose risk to men's fertility

Cell phone use impacts fertility of men

Study results released yesterday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans indicate that men who use their cell phones for more than four hours per day may risk lower sperm counts and reduced quality of sperm. A previous study showed a similar correlation between cell phone use and sperm quality but this is a much larger study involving 361 men in Cleveland, Ohio and Mumbai, India. Men who used a mobile phone for more than four hours a day had a 25 per cent lower sperm count than men who never used a mobile. And men with highest usage also had greater problems with sperm motility and a 50 per cent drop in the number of properly formed sperm. Researchers are speculating that the cause of the drop in sperm count and quality could be the result of electromagnetic radiation, heat, or hormone changes. But the precise mechanism is not known and there is certainly the possibility that cell phone use and some other behavioral or environmental factor that is causing the fertility impact are strongly correlated.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pill claims to boost male fertility

A story from Australia says a new pill called Menevit, which contains seven antioxidants and minerals, can boost male fertility by reducing sperm DNA damage and improving embryo quality. The new pill is aimed at attacking free radicals from sources such as smoking, obesity and exposure to chemicals, which damage sperm. The inventor, Kelton Tremellen, an Adelaide fertility specialist, says the pill has been the subject of three years of research and two clinical trials. It will be sold through multinational drug maker Bayer.

All the online sources regarding the clinical trials seem to point back to this page. So it seems the clinical trials are real. I just don't know how to interpret the results. The inventor claims the results are outstanding. If this proves to be true it could mean a much easier time for many couples who are having problems conceiving due to male factors. Up until now the solution has typically been IVF using ICSI which is costly and hard on the woman.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fertility Predictor Watch

There was the cell phone with built in fertility timer. Now we have a wrist watch with a chemical sensor that predicts fertility. It is called the OV Watch®. It works by measuring the concentration of chloride ion on a woman's skin. The inventor of the watch says this is a better predictor of the best time to try and conceive because the chloride ion concentration begins to rise four days before ovulation. LH, on the other hand, gives only 12 to 24 hours notice. LH changes are measured with urine test strips which makes it messier, far less convenient and prone to error. A graph comparing the chemical changes appears below.

Chloride ion versus LH and Estrogen

The maker says because of the greater convenience, accuracy and advance notice the probability of conception is much higher compared to testing for LH. Another graph:

Probability of conception

You can purchase the OV Watch with a 3 month supply of sensors.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fertility forecasting with AMH test

AMH, the Anti-Mullerian Hormone, is a hormone that is produced by young healthy egg follicles in the ovaries, and it can be detected by a simple blood test. This hormone does not fluctuate month to month like other hormones, so it may actually be a true test of a woman's biological clock, say some researchers. Studies have shown AMH may be the strongest predictor of how many healthy eggs a woman has left in her ovaries, and it also helps predict which women are likely to have success with in-vitro fertilization procedures, and which women will not.

A test kit called Plan Ahead was introduced by a UK company named Lifestyle Choices Ltd. in May of this year. The test requires 3mls of blood to be taken from the arm on the second or third day of the woman's period. From analysis of the blood sample, the number of eggs present in the ovaries is calculated using the Ovarian Reserve Index and this is plotted onto a graph to show the woman's 'actual' position compared to the average population at that age. The test allows the ovarian reserve for the following two years to be calculated, enabling women to make an informed decision as to whether, or how long, they can potentially delay before trying to conceive.

This sounds pretty interesting. But a lot of (somewhat) informed people at this forum believe it is not a credible test (actually, they used some stronger language). The test costs 179 British pounds (about $350 U.S.) so is not cheap.

Friday, October 06, 2006

New cell phone tracks fertility cycle

According to a story at Gizmodo, Mitsubishi is shipping a new cell phone that tracks a woman's monthly cycle and informs her of the optimal time for attempting to achieve pregnancy. It is the FOMATM D702iF model.

Cell phones do almost everything these days.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The case for "natural" IVF

The standard IVF treatment cycle involves the administration of hormones to stimulate the ripening of multiple follicles so that a number of eggs can be harvested and fertilized, hopefully yielding several healthy embryos for implantation. However, the hormones can cause complications in some cases, and they are quite expensive. A few fertility centers are practicing what they call "natural" IVF. There are no hormone injections, just close monitoring of the monthly cycle and development of the (normally one) egg. Just as the egg is ripening it is harvested, fertlized and implanted as in standard IVF.

The advantage, say the fertility centers practicing this approach, is no risk from the use of ovarian stimulation hormones, normally healthier embryos since a high percentage of eggs produced as the result of hormone injections are abnormal, a healthier and more natural uterine lining leading to higher implantation success rates, and the cost is one-third that of standard IVF.

The main disadvantage is lower success rate per cycle, typically 10% in the best cases, compared to 25% to 30% with standard IVF.

Obviously the costs savings is offset by the lower success rate, since it might take three cycles at one-third the cost to reach the same success rate as standard IVF. That is not on a per case basis, of course, but an overall average. The centers say that the lower success rate is largely due to the implantation of a single embryo instead of two as in standard IVF. However, some studies have shown that single embryo implantation are nearly as successful as multiple embryo implantation in standard IVF and some doctors are advocating it to avoid the risk of multiple births. So the much lower success rate of "natural" IVF seems a bit of a mystery.

Health tourists get free IVF in Britain

In a curious reversal of what one normally thinks of when they hear the term "health tourist", some couples from other countries have come to Britain and received IVF treatment paid for by NHS. Normally, people are leaving Britain and becoming health tourists/medical tourists in other countries like Thailand and India because the health care there is excellent, it is inexpensive, and it is available when you need it.

In England IVF is free, paid for by the NHS. But there have been long waits and shortages of donors that have left many citizens frustrated. However, a few couples who are not even entitled to IVF paid for by the NHS have managed to get it. Details of those couples' circumstances are unknown. Perhaps they were temporary residents in England and sought treatment during their stay, maybe not even realizing they were supposed to pay for it. But a Dr. Luca Sabatini of St Bartholomew's Hospital in London did a study earlier this year that suggested that up to half of British fertility clinics are being duped by patients who lie about their age or identity to get treatment.