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Monday, October 29, 2007

MEN'S FERTILITY AFTER CHICKEN POX

Chicken Pox and Male Factor Infertility

I always think of chickenpox as a childhood disease. However, adults can get it too and, although rare, it could affect sperm production in men a couple of ways. 
My site: www.getpregnantover40.com
Chicken pox is caused by the herpes virus (varicella-zoster). It is an infectious disease, contagious, and can spread either through direct contact with the affected person or through the air. Chicken pox frequently affects preschool and elementary age children, however, men and women can get it too and it can be more severe in adults.
picture: Adult Male With Chicken Pox  CDC.gov


Click Here To Read Full Article

 

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fertility Home Screening


When I was trying to conceive naturally (after my difficult and unsuccessful years of assisted reproduction), I didn't want any medical information "messing with my mind". I didn't want to know my FSH levels or anything else because I thought it might only discourage me (and in retrospect, I'm glad I never knew how supposedly dismal my chances were of getting pregnant). For me, ignorance was bliss...I went on my merry way, knowing somehow, some way I would have a baby.

However, many couples want or need to know information about hormonal levels and other fertility markers. Now you can test and get results in the privacy of your own home. Here is an article from US News and World Report about a new product called "Fertell" which makes at-home screening possible. As the article points out, the test has some limitations, but it may give couples the information they're looking for. Read more:

New Home Screening Test for Infertility
By Deborah Kotz (www.health.usnews.com)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Infertility Ain't For Sissies



I was watching "The View" last week (well, since I use my TV more like a radio, I should say I was "listening" to The View) and Elizabeth Hasselbeck was talking about how she was going to be taking her maternity leave and how everything worked out for the best with the timing of her pregnancy. Her husband, a pro-football play is going to be playing for a different team and she'll be going with him while she is out on leave. She then goes on to explain how they had such a hard time getting pregnant. Now, in all fairness, I have no idea how long she was trying to conceive and I don't know if she went through any sort of assisted reproduction, but I do know that she has a daughter somewhere around 2 to 3, so she couldn't have been trying for that long (maybe a year?). I surprised myself with my sarcastic cynical reaction (i.e. what a sissy!) me of all people should be understanding about the trials and tribulations of trying to conceive. It's just that when you hear people who have so much and then they complain about a small little blip in their "life plan", it's hard to muster up sympathy. I would have been jumping for joy if it only took a year to get pregnant and I hear from women every day who would consider one year a drop in the bucket.

Okay, I'm just being honest here. I realize people in the fertile world just expect that they're going to get pregnant "on schedule" and their lives will go on perfectly. But if you're one who has struggled for a longer period of time, you learn that even though you have a plan for your life, your baby will come when they're good and ready. You learn how to be patient and how to appreciate everything you have. Getting pregnant may be more of a gift than an entitlement.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fertility and Menopause: Affected By Season Of Birth

Well...none of us have any control over our month of birth, but this article still may be of interest. Apparently, according to a study done by Italian researchers, women born in early spring may enter menopause before those born in the fall. Read more:


Season Of Birth Influences Age Of Menopause, Say Italian Researchers (www.sciencedaily.com)

A study of nearly 3,000 post-menopausal women showed that the earliest age of menopause was found in women born in March and the latest among those born in October. On average there was around 15 months' difference, with women born in October reaching menopause at over 50 years compared with under 49 years for women born in March.

Writing in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, lead author Dr Angelo Cagnacci said that the findings reinforced the concept that prenatal environmental factors affected a baby's adult life.

"Mothers should be aware of this, considering that during pregnancy they are going to influence, not only the health of the newborn, but also the health and reproductive life of their child during adulthood," he said.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Is Infertility Becoming More Of A Male Problem?

I'm guilty of it myself, assuming that a couple's failure to conceive lies with the woman. I guess I always think of the female reproductive system as more complicated and more prone to something going wrong. However, even though sperm are produced in much greater numbers than eggs, their production can be affected by lifestyle and environmental factors. The article below suggests that male infertility may surpass female infertility. Read more:

New Report Suggests Infertility Could Be Affecting More Men Than Women (www.sciencedaily.com)

From the article:

Until now, approximately 40% of infertility cases have been linked to medical problems in men and 40% to medical problems in women, with the remaining 20% due to joint problems.

However, a report from the ESHRE committee that monitors assisted reproduction in Europe, has shown that ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) overtook conventional IVF techniques as the most commonly used assisted reproductive technology used in Europe in 2002.

There were more than 122,000 ICSI cycles and nearly 113,000 IVF cycles according to figures reported from 24 European countries in 2002. During the time that the committee has been collecting figures, the numbers of ICSI cycles have risen steadily: in 1997 the proportion of ICSI cycles versus IVF cycles was 43.7%; in 2002 it had grown to 52%.

Dr Anders Nyboe Andersen, Head of the Fertility Clinic at the Rigshospitalet at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, and co-ordinator of the ESHRE IVF monitoring committee, said: "We do not really know why ICSI has become more prevalent. There are probably many reasons. One of them could be that the relative causes of infertility are shifting. We see less and less infertility caused by severe tubal problems in women, probably because of better sexual protection due to the risk of AIDS during the last 15 years. But male subfertility seems to be increasing. Perhaps the data on declining sperm quality are true, and maybe environmental factors are playing an increasing role as the planet becomes more polluted and factors that disrupt the endocrine system enter the food chain."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Infertility On Oprah


I made a point of watching the Oprah show yesterday when the show's subject was infertility. The show covered everything from hiring surrogates from India to couples going through the rigors of IVF. One guest on the show was Martha Stewart's daughter who is currently 42, and going through assisted reproduction. She pulled out a huge box of drugs and needles and stoically spoke of her TTC journey (one which she admits she treats like a "job" and is costing her $28,000 per month !!???!!)

After my journey through fertility treatments and all my associated complications, I'm certainly more of an advocate of natural methods (especially since that is what worked for me). However, I must say that I do not pass judgement on the path that other women or couples choose to parenthood. Depending on their diagnosis, high tech treatments may be the only option.

Since Oprah is seen by women all over the world and is one of the most influential shows on television, I only wish that some mention had been made about the possible complications of fertility treatments and how there are natural methods to enhance fertility even for women over 40. The impression I was left with after this show was that if you're over 40, good luck - you'd better run, not walk to the closest fertility clinic. Wouldn't it be fun if Oprah did a whole show on women who conceived naturally over the age of 40? There are plenty of us out there, but lets face it, it's just more exciting to peer into the world of space-age babymaking techology. Besides if she did a show on women conceiving naturally over 40, the critics would claim we're giving everyone "false hope".

I love Oprah's show, it's one of the few good things left on TV, but I only wish that this particular show had taken a broader view. Focusing on the high-tech fertility treatment industry only gives couples the impression that there's only one way to go. Unfortunately, many of these couples will spend their life's savings and walk away empty handed. And then there's people like me, not only did we spend tens of thousands of dollars, but I experienced a number of complications from fertility treatments which only further derailed us from our goal of getting pregnant. The natural route may not work for everyone, but I truly believe everyone should know all their options before making any decision - especially one that may compromise their health and financial condition. Yes, you do have to try harder to get pregnant over 40 and it may take longer...but it's not impossible. As a matter of fact, the rate of unintended pregnancies in women over 40 is second only to teenagers...obviously, they weren't trying at all!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

TTC - Storyline On Journeyman


I have to mention here that NBC has a great new show on Monday nights called "Journeyman" (and no, they didn't pay me to say so). I never outgrew my obsession with "sci-fi" programs and movies. I devote so little time to TV viewing so when I watch something, it better be good. I love this show. It's kind of a "Quantum Leap" of this decade (and if you don't remember Quantum Leap, you're too young to be reading my blog!) Anyway, the story is about a guy who travels back in time and tracks people to change some part of their life for the better. Even though the concept is a little "out there" somehow when you watch it, it's believable.

The last episode brought back a number of my TTC memories. The main character and his wife were trying to have another baby. She would announce when she was ovulating and she and her husband would go on a "procreation vacation" of sorts. The only problem is he would beam back in time and miss the opportunity. The airport security personnel started interrogating his wife because he got on the plane and disappeared. When security asked the purpose of their trip, she wryly says, "to have a lot of sex". The security guy says, "I'm not joking" and she says, "neither am I". Hey, at least the rest of us never had to deal with time travel in the midst of our TTC journey.

To view episodes on-line, click here:

Journeyman

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