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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

IVF: Attempts To Reduce Twin Prgnancies

Back when I started fertility treatments I thought having twins would be the greatest thing in the world. What could be better than an instant family? In retrospect, I'm so glad I only had a "singleton" pregnancy. Even though most twin pregnancies can result in good outcomes, the rate of complications and premature births is much higher. Here is an article about how IVF is starting to be regulated in some countries to avoid multiple embryo transfers and the resulting complications. Read more:

Fertility treatment
Quality, not quantity (www.economist.com)


From the article:

Sharing a womb is not an ideal start to life. Twins who survive their much higher rates of miscarriage are often born early and small, which puts them at higher risk of cerebral palsy, low IQ and even death during their first year. Their expectant mothers are more prone to high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. Around half of all twins are transferred to intensive-care units soon after birth.

Now the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which licenses fertility clinics in England and Wales, has decided enough is enough. On April 4th it started a three-month consultation on changes in the way fertility treatment is carried out. The new rules, due to come into force in October, aim to halve the number of twin IVF pregnancies

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Enhancing Male Fertility


I've read a number of articles that talk about how zinc and folic acid taken together can increase male fertility. The following article says these two nutrients can increase normally formed sperm by 74%! Wow, that's significant. Read more:

Zinc and Folic Acid Found to Increase Sperm Count

According to the article, the zinc and folic acid need to be taken together for maximum benefit. I've always known that these nutrients were important for women, but it sounds like men can benefit too.

If you prefer to get these nutrients from foods rather than supplements try these:

Folic Acid: found in green leafy vegetables, oranges, legumes, fortified cereals and grains

Zinc: found in red meat, poultry, and fortified cereals

I usually write about fertility from a woman's point of view, but there are two parts of the equation when it you're trying to get pregnant. In general, I've found that the same things that a good for female fertility are also good for men.

Friday, August 17, 2007

IVF Abnormalities Part IV

The following article discusses how the process of culturing embryos in the lab could cause genetic errors. Although much of this research is preliminary and not all of it may translate to humans, some abnormalities have been found more often in babies conceived through IVF. Read more:

Researchers Zero In On Genetic Errors From IVF

From the article:

Researchers from UCLA dropped a bombshell at the recent European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference, declaring that the conditions in which embryos are cultured in the lab during IVF could be causing genetic errors that are associated with certain developmental syndromes and other abnormalities in growth and development, such as low birth weight...

...This is not the first study to suggest that culturing embryos in the laboratory during IVF could be affecting embryos adversely. "Emerging new evidence shows that some neurological and behavioral abnormalities are associated with assisted reproductive techniques. Cases of Angelman and Beckwith-Wiedeman syndromes in humans, which are due to aberrant genomic imprinting, and other abnormalities in growth and development in mice have been described after culture in vitro," said Rinaudo.

Angelman syndrome is characterised by severe mental retardation, speech impairment, balance disorder and a happy, excitable demeanour; it occurs in about one in 10,000 to 30,000 of the population. Beckwith-Wiedeman syndrome is characterised by overgrowth, with an abnormally large tongue, umbilical hernia, neonatal hypoglycaemia and a predisposition to certain tumours.

Other possibly IVF related anomalies were identified in the genes responsible for T cell development (part of the immune system), tumor suppression, amino acid transport, Silver-Russell syndrome (a growth disorder) and McCune-Albright syndrome (involves bone, hormone and skin abnormalities).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

IVF Abnormalities Part III

Here is the third article in my series on IVF outcomes. This article discusses something called BWS or Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome which is six times more likely in babies conceived through IVF. Read more:

IVF May Be Linked To Birth Defects

From the article:


Scientists from Johns Hopkins and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that in vitro fertilization (IVF) appears to be associated with a rare combination of birth defects characterized by excessive growth of various tissues.

After studying data from a national registry of patients with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS), the researchers found that IVF-initiated conception was six times more common than in the general population. The findings are slated for the January issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, and should be online by the end of November.

Children born with BWS, which may predispose them to Wilms' tumor, hepatoblastoma, neuroblastoma and other cancers, would likely represent only a tiny fraction of babies conceived via IVF if the findings are confirmed, the researchers emphasize. The results should stimulate further investigation, not change parents' decisions, they say.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

IVF Abnormalities Part II

To continue with my series of IVF abnormalities, here is an article about how a bladder defect is seven times more likely in babies conceived through IVF. Read more:

IVF May Be Linked To Bladder Defects

From the article:

Information collected on 78 children with cloacal-bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex treated at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center from 1998 to 2001 shows these birth defects are approximately seven times more widespread in IVF children. An estimated 12 percent to 14 percent of the children born each year with exstrophy-epispadias in the United States are evaluated at the Children's Center. The findings are reported in the April issue of the Journal of Urology.

"What we are seeing now is simply an association between this group of birth defects and IVF births," said the study's senior author, John P. Gearhart, M.D., director of the division of pediatric urology at the Children's Center. "Further research is needed to verify these findings and understand this association. These defects are extremely rare, and our preliminary findings should not alone discourage couples from undergoing IVF."

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What Is Ultrasound and What Are They Looking For?

Pregnancy Over 40, Many Ultrasounds Performed

Between my fertility treatments and pregnancies, I had so many ultrasounds that I actually got pretty good at reading them.
My site: www.getpregnantover40.com
 There were a few times I really thought I knew more than the technician performing them (I had everyone from PA's, nurses, nurse practitioners, and ultrasound technicians doing the ultrasounds). Here is a video that explains more:

Understanding Ultrasound (www.sciencedaily.healthology.com)

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