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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fertility Myths From WebMD


I found this common sense article from WebMD called "The Overachievers Guide to Getting Pregnant Fast". It gives some good information about some of the misinformation out there when it comes to fertility. Read more:

(www.webmd.com)

From the article:

MYTH: You are most fertile two weeks after your period starts.
This rule holds true only if your cycle length happens to be 28 days. However, many women have cycles that are either shorter or longer than this, or are highly irregular. (Just a reminder: The length of your cycle is defined as the length of time between the first day of one period and the first day of the next.) Since ovulation occurs approximately 14 days before the onset of your next period, if your cycle is 35 days long, you can expect to ovulate on or around day 21.

On the other hand, if your cycle is highly unpredictable—that is, 28 days one month and 35 days the next—you could find it a little more challenging to predict your fertile days. We'll be giving you some pointers on predicting your fertile days elsewhere in this chapter.

MYTH: Taking your temperature every morning will tell you when to have intercourse.
Many women who are trying to conceive make a point of taking their temperature each morning so that they can track their basal body temperature (BBT), or resting temperature. Although tracking your BBT can provide plenty of valuable information, it won't tell you when to have sex. The reason is simple: by the time your temperature starts to rise, ovulation has already occurred.

What you can learn from tracking your BBT, however, is whether you are ovulating at all, whether your luteal phase (the second half of your cycle) is long enough for implantation to occur, whether your progesterone levels (the so-called pregnancy hormones) are sufficiently high during your luteal phase, whether you are pregnant (if you have more than 18 consecutive high temperatures), whether you are in danger of having a miscarriage (if your temperature suddenly drops), and whether you were pregnant before having what seemed to be a "late period."

The only way you can use a BBT chart to predict your most fertile days is to look at a few months' worth of charts and try to determine whether your cycle conforms to any repeatable patterns. For example, if your temperature always shoots sky-high on day 14, you'll know that you have a good chance of ovulating in that same time frame during your next cycle.

MYTH: To maximize your chances of conceiving, you should make love during the days leading up to and following ovulation. Although part of this statement is correct, it's living proof that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. It's a good idea to time intercourse on the days prior to ovulation, but you've missed your opportunity if you try to conceive more than a day after ovulation has occurred.
The reason is simple: the egg is capable of surviving for only 12 to 24 hours after ovulation, so if it hasn't been charmed by a sperm cell by then, it's too late.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences confirmed the importance of timing intercourse prior to or at the time of ovulation: all of the 192 pregnancies that occurred in the 625 couples participating in the study resulted from intercourse the day of ovulation or within five days before it.

MYTH: There's something wrong with you if you don't conceive within the first three months of trying.
This is a particularly nasty bit of misinformation because it causes a lot of couples a tremendous amount of anxiety and grief for no good reason. Although some couples do manage to conceive within the first three months of trying, a large number of other highly fertile couples take considerably longer than that. Consider the numbers for yourself:

Your odds of conceiving in any given cycle are approximately one in four.

Approximately 60% of couples who are actively trying to conceive (having intercourse two to three times a week) will conceive within the first 6 months of trying, 75% within 9 months, 80% within a year, and 90% within 18 months.

MYTH: Your fertility declines dramatically after age 35.
Although it's true that your fertility declines as you age, you still have an excellent chance of having a baby even if you're past the reproductive world's magic age of 35. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, you have a 96% chance of conceiving within one year if you're under 25, an 86% if you're between 25 and 34, and a 78% chance if you're between the ages of 35 and 44.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fertility Awareness: Basic Principles


Pregnancy Over 40 - Fertility Awareness Can Help You Conceive


I never really thought about it, but the same principles that help you avoid pregnancy can actually help you get pregnant. It's all about fertility awareness. This site also gives some advice on enhancing fertility. I stumbled upon this website called doctoryourself.com and it has a segment on contraception and conception.Read more:

Conception and Contraception (www.doctoryourself.com)

From the article:

If you WANT to conceive, try having the man take megadoses of vitamin C for a few weeks prior. At least 6,000 milligrams a day, and as much as 20,000 mg/day virtually guarantees very high sperm production. Divide the dose throughout the day for maximum effect. And that effect is what, exactly? More sperm, stronger sperm, and better swimming sperm all occurred, at even lower daily C doses, in a University of Texas study. Take more C and you'll make vast quantities of super sperm. You think this won't work? Have I shown you my baby pictures?

Here’s more: zinc and plenty of it helps the prostate and increases seminal fluid production. There is a scientific literature a mile long about zinc and male fertility. About five to ten times the RDA will do it. That is approximately 50 to 100 mg of zinc daily. For best absorption and best results, divide the dose into two, or better yet, four doses. Zinc gluconate is well absorbed, and zinc monomethionine better still. These are available at any health food store without a prescription.

A lot of wussy nutritionists will tell you that such levels of zinc are harmful. Truth is, most men don't even get the puny RDA of zinc, set laughingly at 10 or 12 milligrams. Zinc lozenges for the common cold are many times higher than this. Up to 550 mg of zinc has been safely given daily for a few weeks.

Continued high doses of zinc can produce a copper deficiency, and sometimes a copper deficiency anemia. This is very easy to compensate for. To begin with, most Americans have copper water pipes in their homes. Drink a glass or two of cold water first out of the tap every morning and you'll get copper. Secondly, eat more raisins and other copper-high foods. Third, take a multiple vitamin (as you should be doing anyway) with copper in it. Finally, do what people in India have been doing for thousands of years. Buy a copper metal cup, fill it with cold water at bedtime, and drink it first thing the next morning.

I have worked with supposedly "infertile" people who have tried "everything" to conceive a child. Nutrition, especially the vitamin C part, is not even mentioned in any fertility textbook I've ever seen. I've received some nice postcards from couples who have taken an odd idea or two of mine and gotten pregnant within a month or two. It is a wonderful feeling, by the way, to have helped them bring a soul to the Earth.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fertile Women More Likely To Have Gay Sons



Yes, this post is a little off topic from my usual getting pregnant theme, but I always find these types of articles interesting. As you're probably aware, there has been a long-standing debate out there as to whether or not homosexuality is biological or a choice. I have an old high school friend who recently confided in me that her son is gay. She said it wasn't a big surprise when he told her because she recognized some major differences between him and her other son when is was as young as one year old. The article below seems to support the biology theory. What's interesting is that they found sons of highly fertile women were more likely to be gay. Read more:

Are Highly Fertile Women More Likely To Have Gay Sons? (www.blogs.discovermagazine.com)

From the article:

In 2004, the team studied Italian families and found that the female relatives of gay men were more fertile than average women. After using a series of computer models to analyze that data, the scientists released a study this week saying that homosexuality in men is genetically connected to women who have high fertility. In their model, male homosexuality has to be governed by two genetic loci—particular fixed positions on a chromosome—and at least one locus and maybe both must be on the X chromosome, meaning it’s passed down from mother to child.


What’s more, Camperio-Ciani and his team now say male homosexuality is an example of sexually antagonistic selection—meaning a trait that gives one of the sexes a reproductive advantage diminishes the reproductive advantages of the other. This shows up all the time in the animal kingdom—for instance, fruit fly seminal fluid makes females lose interest in mating with other males, and actually shortens their lives. Most of the time it’s males taking the advantage, but in this case the researchers say it’s vice versa: Homosexuality means men will probably have fewer children, but their females relatives will have more, keeping homosexuality in the gene pool.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fertility Clinic Advertising - Beware

It seems like a "free-for-all" out there when it comes to evaluating the services and success rates of fertility clinics. Having worked with healthcare statistics in my previous career, I know how data can be manipulated. It's almost funny to think how naive I was back when I started looking into fertility treatments. Oh, if I only knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself so much physical and emotional turmoil. Here is an article about fertility clinic advertising and how couples need to take a "buyer beware" approach to evaluating the different programs:

Questions Raised Over Fertility Clinic Advertising

Advertising guidelines that clinics should be adhering to require clinics to provide specific information about how in vitro fertilization outcome statistics are reported, mandate that clinics follow Federal Trade Commission guidelines, and warn against the comparison of success rates between clinics. But the researchers found that approximately half of the websites published success rates, and of those, the percentage adhering to the advertising guidelines was low in all categories evaluated.

"Despite an attempt to clarify assisted reproduction information on the Internet, there is a great deal of disparity among how clinics publish success rates on their Web sites," said Jain. "Patients need to carefully evaluate the information presented on Web sites, and they need to know what questions to ask when they meet face-to-face with a physician."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fertility and Flower Essences

Trying To Get Pregnant?  Smell Of Flowers May Help

I found the following site which at first glance looks like it might be part of the "old wives tales and folklore" category that I posted earlier.
My site: www.getpregnantover40.com
however, as I read through it, a lot of what is said makes sense. I've read numerous articles about how we underestimate our sense of smell and it's affect on brain chemistry and body chemistry. Here is an article about flower essences and fertility:

Fertile Emotions (www.flower-essences.net)

From the site:

To begin with we need to understand how the mind and body communicate and how negative emotions affect hormonal balance. All our experiences from in-utero to now are stored in the emotional brain - some of these experiences we remember, many of them are stored in the subconscious. Emotions such as anger, fear or depression are our responses to these experiences. The brain transforms these emotions into biochemical and electrical messages from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands and they are distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. This negative hormonal communication along the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis is responsible for many reproductive problems. Research is now showing that resolving unfinished business from childhood and earlier adult life can impact positively on our hormonal systems, thereby enhancing our ability to conceive and birth a healthy baby.

How flower essences can be used and how they will help you to feel if you are trying to conceive:
Essences can help you to feel less anxious before or during a doctor's visit or medical procedures or when waiting for results.
You will recover more quickly emotionally and physically after surgery, failed cycles, miscarriage or stillbirth and other traumatic events or procedures.
Essences can help you cope more easily when you hear about other women conceiving and/or at Xmas or a family gathering where there are babies or young children present.
You will become more aware of how you really feel and learn to express these feelings appropriately. For example grief and anger are both emotions that when not expressed can, over time, have serious psychological and physiological consequences.
Essences over time will help you become more intuitive and peaceful and more able to know what is right for you (which treatment to follow, how long to carry on trying etc) and feel less affected by negativity around you - regarding e.g. your age or diagnosis. Personally, I feel that labels such as infertile or too old are incredibly damaging and can ultimately impact on how the woman or man feels about her/himself and therefore negatively affecting fertility.
Essences can help us become more accepting and forgiving each time pregnancy does not occur and ultimately if we decide to stop trying.
Finally and very importantly, flower essences can help us to make contact again with the beautiful, creative, joyful woman inside of us all.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Caffeine and Fertility


I think we all have come across an article or two about how caffeine should be avoided if you're TTC or pregnant. Years ago, when we first starting on our TTC journey, one of the first things I did was to wean myself off caffeine. I was surprised how hard it was. I had headaches and really felt like I was going through withdrawals! I found this site which has a very detailed article about the effects of caffeine on women's health including fertiity and pregnancy. I'll warn you up front, this site (link below) sells caffeine free herbal coffee and I've never tried their product. However it appears they have done their research on caffeine so it's certainly worth reading:

Effects of Caffeine and Coffee on Women's Health:
Fertility, Menopause, Breast and Uterine Health (teeccino.com)


On the other hand, the following article talks about how caffeine can actually help sperm:

Caffeine Perks Up Sperm (www.medicalnewstoday.com)

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