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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Surrogate Mothers

Picture: Carrie Pratt (www.tampabay.com)
Obviously I'm an advocate of getting pregnant naturally, however, I realize there are many couples that have physical limitations or past surgeries which would make a natural pregnancy impossible. I was contacted by Leonora LaPeter Anton, a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, about her series on surrogate mothers. For anyone interested, here is a link to the story:


The Surrogate (www.tampabay.com)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Questionable Need For Postcoital Test

I did have a postcoital test when I began fertility treatments. However, since then, I've come across a number of articles such as the one below which question the usefulness of this procedure. My post-coital test did come back somewhat abnormal, however, I conceived naturally many times after that. As a result of this test, many couples undergo inseminations which is not only costly, but may be unnecessary. Here is an article from WebMD about the post-coital test:

Postcoital Test (www.webmd.com)

A postcoital test checks a woman's cervical mucus after sex to see whether sperm are present and moving normally. This test may be used if a woman is not able to become pregnant (infertility) and other tests have not found a cause.

The test is done 1 to 2 days before ovulation when the cervical mucus is thin and stretchy and sperm can easily move through it into the uterus. Within 2 to 8 hours after you have sex, your doctor collects and looks at a cervical mucus sample.

Many doctors question the value of the postcoital test to check for infertility. It is not done very often.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sperm Allergies Uncommon

I can't tell you how many times I've read about sperm allergies in relation to infertility. This interesting article sets the record straight about how sperm allergies are actually uncommon and a bigger problem (although also uncommon) is if a man has antibodies against his own sperm. Read more:

Allergic To Sperm (www.healthline.com)

From the article:

Many people say that they are allergic to their partner’s sperm, and that can mean different things, depending on the testing done. True incompatibility with sperm is very uncommon. Some female patients may have had a blood test to see if they have “anti-sperm antibodies” circulating in their blood stream. A positive test result actually does not correlate well to a true problem of incompatibility and infertility, and therefore this blood test is no longer recommended as part of infertility testing. An uncommon, but more relevant problem would be if the MALE partner were making sperm antibodies against his OWN sperm. Men who are at risk of this are those who have had testicular injury (scrotal trauma) or testicular surgery (torsion, tumors, or other indications). Antibodies are also commonly found in men who have undergone vasectomy reversal, especially if the interval between vasectomy and vasectomy reversal is a long one.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Endometriosis: New Discoveries

Pregnancy Over 40, Endometriosis and Infertility

I frequently write about endometriosis since it can be one of the underlying causes of infertility.
My site: www.getpregnantover40.com
There are many theories of endometriosis but based on everything I've read, it's still a mystery how and why women have it. Here is an article that talks about yet a new discovery which may help us understand more about the condition. Read more:

New culprit suspected in endometriosis (www.aphroditewomenshealth.com)

The enzyme in question, called telomerase, is released by cells in the inner lining of the womb during the latter stages of the menstrual cycle in women who are affected by endometriosis. Telomerase is not commonly found in the cells that make up the body, but is uniquely found in the inner lining of the womb and in some special cells, such as sperm and egg cells. The enzyme is also found in cancer cells.

"Endometriosis occurs when cells of the inner lining of the womb are found growing outside of the uterus. At the time of a woman's menstruation cycle these cells, called endometrial cells, are shed and can be expelled into the abdominal cavity. If these cells continue to live and are implanted in the pelvis and abdomen it can cause severe pain and in serious cases can lead to infertility," explained researcher Dr Dharani Hapangama.

Hapangama found the telomere - a region at the end of all chromosomes that prevents the chromosome destroying itself during cell division - is abnormally long in women with endometriosis. During menstruation telomeres normally shorten in length with each cycle of cell division until they reach a certain length at which they can no longer divide. An enzyme called telomerase can extend the length of the telomeres so that they can continue to divide and this can happen in some special cells such as sperm and egg cells, but not normally in cells that make up the organs of the body.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Fertility Treatment Providers Hit The "Motherload"


Yes, pun intended. Well, I did my part - I helped contribute to the wealth of a number of fertility doctors. Here is an article about how fertility treatment providers are becoming some of the highest earning physicians. This article quotes figures in the UK, and it's a few years old, but I'm sure current figures have probably gone up.

The baby millionaires: Fertility experts become medical profession's highest earners
Helping desperate women to conceive earns these 'unorthodox' specialists more money than even the best-paid plastic surgeons. By Sophie Goodchild and Jonathan Owen


From the article:

New research published next month will reveal that the worldwide market in fertility treatment is now worth more than £3bn. Academic Debora Spar, in her book The Baby Business, argues that the potential for exploitation is huge and that more safeguards for patients must be put in place.

"You have a large number of potential customers each of whom is willing to do whatever it takes and pay whatever they can to purchase the product at hand," said Professor Spar, of Harvard Business School.

"When you have this kind of demand some of the suppliers are going to make lots of money."

Her findings will be presented in March at the annual conference of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates treatment in this country. The HFEA is calling on clinics to publish costed treatment plans in writing so that patients are fully aware of the costs involved and can complain about unreasonable charges.

Unlike other procedures that are limited on the NHS, such as weight reduction operations and breast enhancements, fertility treatment is a gruelling process that often involves more than just one session of treatment. This can put a big psychological and financial strain on couples who already feel defeated by their inability to conceive naturally.

The fees for one cycle of fertility treatment can vary from £800 to £3,000 and these figures can increase dramatically to as much as £20,000 for those who do not get pregnant at the first attempt. At private clinics, costs are obviously higher than the NHS and patients must also pay for fertility drugs as well as extras such as anaesthetic, which can cost up to £300.

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