New Genetic Test To Help Women Conceive Easily

New Genetic Test To Help Women Conceive Easily

Article by Aboki Basira on a new genetic test, Fertilome that could help identify issues with reproductive health provided by Latinos Health.

Celmatix, on a mission to help women and their doctors get better outcomes on fertility issues, has created a new test that can help women conceive easily.

The women’s health and fertility startup announced a new test called Fertilome which screens for alterations in 32 genes that are associated with reproductive health. Signs and symptoms of endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and primary ovarian insufficiency could indicate fertility issues at a time.

“We want women to be proactive, to know the risks. Genetics is not destiny – it is a guide,” Celmatix CEO and founder Dr. Piraye Yurttas Beim said.

Most women are testing for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which could also indicate increased risk of breast cancer. Beim says that fertilome tests can be similarly used to help guide a woman on her path to pregnancy.

Currently, doctors only test a single gene when a woman faces difficulty in conceiving but fertilome tests for multiple genes at a time.

However, the FDA does not regulate most genetic tests, but the situation is expected to change few years to come. Though the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, monitor clinical labs, they do not check whether the tests conducted in the labs are clinically meaningful.

Healthcare companies like 23andMe, conducts this genetic screening and have run into issues with the FDA in the past. They were ordered to stop issuing health guidance to customers in 2013 but received clearance to offer more limited genetic screenings in 2014.

Last year, 23andMe collaborated with Celmatix to share its genetic data for a study on fertility. Celmatic was created by Beim in 2009 with a mission to better understand women’s fertility.

Celmatix’s predictive analytics software Polaris is already used by fertility clinics to gather insights about a woman’s health and suggest fertility treatments. Fertilome is not covered by insurance and costs $1,900.

Women can request the test through their doctor who will take their blood sample and send it to a Celmatix lab that uses an FDA-approved gene sequencing device and can process tests for people in all 50 states.

It will not take more than two weeks for women to get the results, Beim said. She hopes the cost of the test will eventually reduce, especially as it becomes more affordable to sequence genes.

More Articles on Fertility News: 

Procedures Claimed to Boost IVF Success Lack Supporting Evidence

House Bill Proposes Insurance Coverage For Treating Infertility

Techno Music Effect: Repetitive Bass Line Could Help Test Tube Babies Grow

 

Procedures Claimed to Boost IVF Success Lack Supporting Evidence

Procedures Claimed to Boost IVF Success Lack Supporting Evidence

Article by Sandy Ong on the success rate of add-on procedures recommended during IVF provided by Newsweek. 

Natalie Fitzpatrick, 29, had been through three rounds of in vitro fertilization when her doctors suggested she try immunotherapy. Each of her IVF treatments had resulted in a miscarriage, and her doctors wanted to test her to see if there was something wrong with her immune system. But nearly $4,000 later, the additional testing proved fruitless. Fitzpatrick’s next two IVF cycles were unsuccessful—she miscarried once more—and she’s still trying.

Testing the immune system is one of a growing number of add-on procedures offered to couples who can’t conceive through IVF treatment alone. Some clinics say they do it because certain antibodies can interfere with embryo implantation, but these claims are not backed by evidence. According to a study that appeared in the BMJ at the end of November, the same goes for many other extra services—of nearly 30 fertility clinic add-ons reviewed, only one increased a woman’s chances of having a baby. That was an endometrial scratch, in which a small nick is made in the uterus’s lining to enhance the likelihood of an embryo implanting on it. And that had good results only if a woman had been through two previous rounds of IVF.

“People are inventing new technologies and tests to try to help, but they’re not demonstrating big benefits,” says one of the study’s authors, Elizabeth Spencer, an epidemiologist at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. “In most cases, these add-on procedures are not demonstrating benefits at all.”

These add-on procedures include blastocyst culture, where the embryo is allowed to grow in the lab for five days instead of the usual three, before being transferred to a woman’s uterus. Or genetic screening of embryos for possible defects so that only “healthy” ones are implanted.

Spencer and her colleagues spent a year examining the websites of all the fertility clinics in the U.K., compiling a list of procedures each clinic offered in addition to IVF. They then reviewed evidence for the usefulness of each of the add-on procedures. The researchers concluded that for 26 of the 27 routinely offered procedures, there was no conclusive evidence that they improved a couple’s chances of having a baby. Of the 276 claims made by fertility clinics on their websites, only 16 even cited scientific research backing up that claim.

But that may not always be the fault of clinic doctors, says New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan. “People are willing to gamble and pay for the chance on add-on procedures that it might add something” to their chances of conceiving, he notes. “There are very few people who are as desperate as infertile people.”

This melding of ardent desires—clinics seeking a profit and patients desperately wanting a baby—has resulted in a booming business. Fertility treatment is a $4 billion industry in the U.S., where 7 million women have fertility problems.

In vitro fertilization, introduced in 1978, is the most popular—and, arguably, the most successful—assisted reproductive technology. With IVF, a woman undergoes hormone treatment to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then removed from her body and combined with sperm in a laboratory dish. When the eggs are fertilized and begin to grow, one or more embryos are moved into the woman’s uterus. One such IVF cycle costs an average of $12,400 in the U.S., and couples typically undergo more than one cycle because IVF success rates aren’t usually higher than 30 percent for women under 35 and lower for women over that age.

The new study’s authors say there is an urgent need for trials to establish better that supplementary services work. But such tests are expensive and time-consuming, and there’s no incentive for pharmaceutical companies or fertility clinics to run them, says Rene Almeling, who teaches sociology and public health at Yale.

One of the things clinics often do is use drugs for purposes for which they are not approved. The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for approving fertility drugs, but it can’t stop approved drugs from being used for other purposes. The drug Lupron, for example, was developed to treat advanced prostate cancer. It is being used to retrieve eggs, says Marcy Darnovsky, director of the Center for Genetics and Society. Lupron lowers estrogen levels, shutting down the reproductive system before another drug is used to stimulate the production of multiple eggs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires fertility clinics to report their IVF success rates each year. But it doesn’t collect information on whether babies were born healthy or if their mothers suffered from the long-term effects of egg-harvesting—data that experts say is much-needed. The industry “is not very regulated at all in the U.S.,” Darnovsky says, “but there’s not much of an appetite for [more regulation].”

If the government isn’t going to regulate the clinics more strictly, it’s up to the patients to do their homework, says Miriam Zoll, author of the 2013 book Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility, and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies, in which she discusses her four failed attempts at IVF. She encourages patients to learn about fertility treatments and “speak to people who’ve been through it all before.” Patients should look at the information provided by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a nonprofit consisting of physicians and other health professionals in reproductive medicine. And before deciding on IVF or paying for any add-ons, they should ask whether a treatment has been adequately studied and found to be safe and effective, she says.

Fitzpatrick and her husband are preparing to undergo their sixth round of IVF and are considering other treatments, but this time, she says, “I’m going to do my homework first.”

More Articles on Fertility News: 

House Bill Proposes Insurance Coverage For Treating Infertility

Techno Music Effect: Repetitive Bass Line Could Help Test Tube Babies Grow

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

Things That Lower Your Sperm Count: What Men Don’t Know About Their Own Fertility

Things That Lower Your Sperm Count: What Men Don’t Know About Their Own Fertility

Article by Elana Glowatz on men’s lack of knowledge on their own male fertility is provided by Medical Daily. 

Men don’t know much about their own male fertility, researchers say, based on their answers to a recent survey.

According to a study published in Human Reproduction, a survey of about 700 Canadian men showed that they “have limited knowledge of the various factors that are associated with male infertility,” as they were generally only able to identify about half of the risk factors and health issues linked to male fertility issues like lower sperm counts. Those results were largely consistent across age groups and education levels, but the study noted that ethnic minorities “displayed moderately greater awareness.” Additionally, men with lower income levels who did not want to have children in the future were more likely to report that they were unaware of the risk factors and health conditions associated with infertility.

“Men aren’t as inclined to ask questions about their health, so it stands to reason that they would be less well-informed about their male fertility,” study leader Phyllis Zelkowitz, an associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University and director of research in the department of psychiatry at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, said in a statement from the university.

 

The study notes that men have already been shown in previous research to know less about general fertility and reproductive health than women, and the new findings delve deeper into a knowledge of what affects their particular male fertility, not just women’s health.

“Insight into the areas where men’s knowledge may be lacking can inform strategies for disseminating fertility-related information and improving men’s fertility awareness,” the study says. “Public health initiatives should tailor campaigns to educate men about the lesser known associations with male infertility, particularly those that are most prevalent and preventable through lifestyle modification.”

Those associations could include cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, smoking, and steroid use — which the surveyed men were more likely to correctly identify — as well as obesity, diabetes, frequent bicycling, testicle size and frequently using a laptop on your lap.

Even something that seems as beneficial to your health as bicycling can lower your sperm count.

Despite their lack of knowledge, more than half of the respondents wanted to learn more about male infertility. A third of them also expressed concern about their own fertility. McGill University noted that greater awareness is key, as infertility rates are on the rise over the last 20 years, and educating men at a younger age could help prevent some cases.

“Infertility can be devastating for people,” Zelkowitz said in the statement. “When men can’t have children or have to undertake very expensive treatments, it can have a grave psychological impact. It can lead to depression and put severe stress on relationships.”

Source: Zelkowitz P, Daumler D, Chan P, Lo KC and Takefman J. Men’s knowledge of their own fertility: a population-based survey examining the awareness of factors that are associated with male infertility. Human Reproduction. 2016.

More Articles on Male Fertility: 

How To Become A Dad: Sleep Naked To Boost Sperm Production & Quality

Obesity: Hidden Cause of Male Infertility

Why you can’t fry eggs (or testicles) with a cell phone

House Bill Proposes Insurance Coverage For Treating Infertility

House Bill Proposes Insurance Coverage For Treating Infertility

Article by Donesha Aldridge on Mississippi infertility legislation (House Bill 451) that may require insurance companies to provide infertility benefits. 

Women and men who have medical problems that prevent them from having children could get extra help.

A bill currently in committee could offer insurance coverage for treating infertility.

House Bill 451 seems to be a bipartisan issue with a Republican and Democrat coauthoring the bill. If passed women could get extra help when paying for fertility treatments that can cost thousands of dollars.

One in six women struggles with fertility. Dr. Preston Parry with the University of Mississippi Medical Center says there are some factors that can contribute to it.

“The older you get and if you don’t have children, the more common it is,” she said.

Many women like Angie Haraway resulted in using IVF.

“One of those things you think is going to happen naturally, and unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t,” she said. “We knew pretty quickly that it was going to be a struggle, so we were sent to a fertility specialist pretty quickly.”

Her first round was successful.

“We were very blessed that we had success on the first try and had twins as the result of that.”

After the twins came one more boy through the use of frozen embryos.

“We definitely had to get creative in how we were going to pay for that,” Haraway said. “Thousands of dollars and at that team seemed like millions.”

She says it took about $15,000 in treatments to get pregnant with her three boys. All of it was out of pocket. The idea of House Bill 451 offering insurance coverage for those treatments could give future parents struggling with infertility some relief.

“I can’t even imagine, just the relief and just the freedom it would give you to pursue those options and not being in fear of being in debt. ”

According to the bill, treatment coverage would be offered to married males and females. If passed Mississippi would be the 16th state to offer coverage for fertility treatments…

“if a woman can’t get pregnant there’s a 50 percent rate of major depression and there can be an up to 50 percent increase in divorce rates. Infertility doesn’t just keep you from expanding your family it will erode the relationships, so we want to help and protect women.”

The bill requires any insurance companies that already offer pregnancy-related benefits to include fertility treatments.

More Articles on Fertility News:

Techno Music Effect: Repetitive Bass Line Could Help Test Tube Babies Grow

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

12 Things To Try Before Turning To IVF

How To Become A Dad: Sleep Naked To Boost Sperm Production & Quality

How To Become A Dad: Sleep Naked To Boost Sperm Production & Quality

Article by Darwin Malicdem on tips to increase sperm health provided by HealthAim.

Men searching for tips on how to become a dad have something new to try. According to scientists should be naked this night. The thing is, you don’t have to be intimate with your partner, apparently, simply sleeping without clothes could promote good sperm health.

It’s long been suggested that going to bed naked helps improve health. Now, experts also recommend going commando for better sperm quality and improvement of fertility.

The human body naturally decreases temperature during sleep. Researchers believe sleeping naked helps lower the temperature, which prevents a person from waking up in the middle of the night.

Lower body temperature at night could also help improve weight. It’s effective to burn calories during sleep.

However, wearing underpants at night has been found not a good tip on how to become a dad. The material may harm the sperm as it could increase the temperature on the crotch, making too warm.

“Your nether regions need to be just the right temperature in order to optimize sperm health and production,” Dr. Brian Steixner, director of the Institute for Men’s Health at Jersey Urology Group, told The Sun. “More bacteria makes for a higher likelihood that any chafed or irritated skin down there becomes infected.”

How to Become a Dad Tips: Just Sleep Naked With Your Partner

Being naked at night maintains a specific temperature for the scrotum. Keeping it not too warm effectively boosts the sperm health and production of men and may also affect the health of their children in the future.

In addition, researchers found going to bed without clothes with a partner could also improve male fertility. The skin-to-skin contact between couples encourages the brain to release the oxytocin or the “love hormone,” reports Daily Mail.   

It mainly creates an emotional bond. But the hormone also improves the immune system and lowers blood pressure.

More Articles on Male Fertility: 

Obesity: Hidden Cause of Male Infertility

Why you can’t fry eggs (or testicles) with a cell phone

This Specific Type Of Exercise Improves Men’s Fertility

Techno Music Effect: Repetitive Bass Line Could Help Test Tube Babies Grow

Techno Music Effect: Repetitive Bass Line Could Help Test Tube Babies Grow

Article by Christie Abagon about a recent study that showed that playing techno music – known for its repetitive base line – increased the number of viable embryos is provided by iTech Post. 

‘Techno Eggs’ Are More Likely To Grow Into Embryos

According to Independent, techno music appears to have a stronger effect compared to tests with classical, metal and pop music.  The current study shows that “techno eggs” were slightly more likely to grow into embryos and a lot more likely to develop at the point where they could be implanted in the womb.

For the study, DJ Armin van Buuren’s “A State of Trance” was played to 758 eggs at 80 decibels, while the same number was nurtured in silence, The Times reported.  Alex Biryukov and his research team found that eggs that were played the music were marginally more likely to grow into embryos, but much more likely to develop to the stage in which they could be implanted.

Techno Music’s Vibrations Possibly Created Similar Conditions To Those In The Womb

Dr. Dagan Wells, associate professor at the University of Oxford who has been involved in the study of human embryos for at least two decades, said that there is still “much room for improvement” for IVF treatment, but it had “improved dramatically” in recent years.  He stated that for this recent study, techno music’s vibrations could have created similar conditions to those in the womb immediately after conception.

Wells stated that “it is possible that vibrations could simulate some of these effects by agitating the medium, helping to mix the fluid in which the embryo is immersed, diluting potentially harmful chemicals excreted by the embryo and increasing exposure to vital nutrients.”  Researchers of this study presented their findings at Fertility 2017, a conference held in Edinburgh earlier this month.

More Articles on Fertility News: 

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

12 Things To Try Before Turning To IVF

No Proven IVF- Breast Cancer Link, Doctors Say

Being Overweight Could Put Your Baby at Risk for Developmental Delays

Being Overweight Could Put Your Baby at Risk for Developmental Delays

In recognition of Health Weight Week, an article by Caroline Picard on the groundbreaking study that shows the link between obesity and developmental delays for infants provided by Redbook.

Losing weight is at the forefront of most people’s minds come January 1, but shedding extra pounds could primarily benefit growing families. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals that children of obese parents are more likely to have developmental delays.

Using data from more than 5,000 surveys, researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development measured both parents’ weight and their children’s development. The questionnaire asked moms to perform simple tests with kids up to 3-years-old along with information about themselves and their partners. Putting the pieces together revealed some pretty alarming results.

Toddlers of obese moms were almost 70% more likely to fail a test measuring fine motor skills, like stacking blocks or turning pages of a book. Moreover, the research indicated that both Mom and Dad’s health could impact little ones. Children of obese fathers were 75% more likely to struggle with relating and interacting with others. Since very few studies look at the paternal side of things, this connection especially stood out. When both parents were obese, another area of developmental delays appears: Kids were almost three times more likely to fall short in a problem-solving test.

While the results suggest an important link, don’t jump to big conclusions just yet. “Our study wasn’t designed to prove cause and effect. At this point, we only have correlations between parents’ BMI and children’s scores on a screening questionnaire,” co-author Edwina H. Yeung emphasized.

As a for a potential “why’s” the researchers believe obesity could set off some changes before or during pregnancy. In moms, the extra weight might promote inflammation, affecting the fetal brain. As for dads, obesity may alter the genes in their sperm.

While the are lots left to be learned, the study authors hope that their research can still help physicians right now. Since more than one-third of American adults meet the criteria for obesity, doctors can take parents’ weight into account when screening for potential developmental delays. And happier, healthier babies is always a good thing.

More Articles on Fertility Research: 

Obesity, Fertility And IVF: What You Need To Know

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

Digital Health Innovation in Fertility and Women’s Health

9 Smart Strategies for Working During IVF

9 Smart Strategies for Working During IVF

Article by Kelly Reilly about how to balance fertility treatments with work provided by FitPregnancy. 

If you’re undergoing IVF and you work full-time, chances are you’ve already been mysteriously disappearing for fertility clinic visits for a while. But IVF requires much more of your time and energy, in addition to careful planning so you can keep up at work while maintaining your privacy (if you wish). Learn nine essential tips to tackling one of your life’s biggest undertakings—while staying on your A game in the office.

1. Understand your IVF timeline.

Before you begin, you’ll be given a calendar of exactly when to come in for your scans and blood draws, as well as what medications you’ll need to take when. However, this handy document doesn’t tell the full story. Depending on how you respond to the medications, your egg retrieval will be held within a window of dates. Unfortunately, you won’t know the exact day until the process is well underway. Once the eggs are retrieved, if any embryos result, you’ll return three to five days later for implantation, followed by possible bed rest as prescribed by your clinic. So, while you’ll have a general idea of when things will happen, you may not know exactly when until several days before.

2. Block off more time than you need.

Because your egg retrieval and embryo transfer days are moving targets and will require you to rest and recoup, consider blocking out the entire range of possible dates, so you don’t have to worry about rescheduling anything pressing at work. This approach also allows you to explain your absence as a vacation if you’re most comfortable with that.

3. Adjust your schedule.

Clinics try to schedule scans, so workday disruption is minimized, but you may need to tweak your calendar so you can attend your appointments without feeling rushed. Consider shifting recurring meetings that may interfere with scans, and be open to staying late or bringing work home as needed. It’s only temporary!

4. Keep your contact info up to date.

You and your nurse will be in regular contact throughout the process. Post-appointments, she’ll call with instructions on how to adjust your medication, your blood-draw results, and more. Make it easy for your clinic to get a hold of you and leave messages in case you’re in meetings. “Be sure your name and phone number are current in your chart. Have voice mail set up and identify yourself with the message,” advises Sheila Rees, RN at Mid-Iowa Fertility in Clive, Iowa. Privacy laws require your name for your nurse to leave a detailed message. You’ll want to make sure your nurse can give results via voice mail instead of requiring a callback.

5. Be as up front with your supervisor as possible.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to discussing IVF with your boss. If you can’t imagine telling her you’re about to undergo IVF, you’re under no obligation to do so. You can mask your time away as illness or vacation, guilt-free. However, those regular scans and draws may be difficult to hide, especially if you work nearby. If you have a solid, friendly relationship with your supervisor, consider telling her about your journey. Chances are she knows someone who’s had a similar struggle and will empathize and accommodate your needs. However, discussing your situation ahead of time means she’ll likely be interested in your results, so you’ll need a plan for informing her whether or not your procedure was successful. If you do become pregnant and wait until the end of your first trimester to announce, it can make for an awkward few weeks. Ultimately, let your gut be your guide when it comes to what to divulge and when.

6. Rethink your wardrobe.

Those pencil skirts may need a push to the back of the closet. Injections and subsequent possible ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can lead to severe bloating and weight gain. Purchase some looser clothing (think: leggings and tunics) that will keep you comfortable.

7. Get ahead of the game.

If you can’t easily delegate your tasks (who can?!), put in extra time up front, so you won’t be frantically checking emails or trying to work while you’re away. Egg retrieval, which requires sedation, will leave you feeling foggy and sore the rest of the day and perhaps into the next. Embryo transfer is usually painless, but depending on your clinic’s recommendation, you may need to take bed rest for a couple of days.

8. Beware of Dr. Google.

If you sit in front of a computer all day, it can be tempting to search for the cause behind every abdominal pinch and pull. Before you know it, hours have passed, you’ve maxed out the number of tabs your browser will allow, and you’re more confused than when you started. Rees offers a simple solution: “Avoid researching on the Internet—just call the office with any questions,” she says. “There are a lot of misleading sites and chat rooms out there that can cause more stress than comfort.”

9. Take a deep breath and hang in there!

Odds are you’ve already been through a lot on your path to parenthood, and this next hurdle can be especially intimidating. Do your best to manage stress; try acupuncture; reach out to friends, family, and your spouse for help; and don’t be afraid to take extra time for yourself.

More Articles on Fertility Support: 

How My Struggle With Infertility Helped Me Find Myself

Struggling With Unexplained Infertility In Your 20s

What My Pregnancy Loss Taught Me About Joy

Obesity, Fertility And IVF: What You Need To Know

Obesity, Fertility And IVF: What You Need To Know

In recognization of Healthy Weight Week, article by Emma Brancatisano on how your weight and obesity plays more of a role on fertility than you realize was provided by The Huffington Post

We are all familiar with the phrase, ‘you are what you eat.’ But clinical practitioners today are telling us to take this one — or two — steps further.

“The evidence that we have now is entirely conclusive that, to a large extent, we are also what our moms and dads ate before and around our conception,” Professor Chris O’Neill, Head Of the Human Reproductive Unit at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, told The Huffington Post Australia.

“This is a huge issue that does carry through to certainly the next — and probably the next two — generations.”

For many couples, going through the process of IVF is their only chance at having a baby. While success rates in Australia are improving, the likelihood of falling pregnant, having a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby are significantly lessened by carrying extra weight.

With a Ph.D. in embryology, O’Neill has been involved in pioneering in vitro fertilization in Australia for decades. After being involved in initiating the IVF program at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney — the first of its kind in NSW and among the first in Australia — he now researches the effects of a range of stressors on gametes and embryos.

And he labels obesity a significant stressor.

“Being overweight is a continuous scale, and there’s no magic number to this. But when we are talking about obesity, we have to face up to the fact that it is a diseased state that has strong associations with subfertility,” O’Neill said.

As Australia’s obesity epidemic continues to impact a growing percentage of younger Australians, it is an organization that is becoming increasingly relevant.

Obesity and subfertility: what’s the link?

According to O’Neill, a major consequence of obesity is chronic inflammation.

“Obesity is the most common or widespread source of chronic inflammation, and we typically think of it as causing damage to cardiovascular tissue,” O’Neill said.

“Gametes — the eggs and the sperm — are also particularly sensitive to inflammation, and this can cause low-grade but measurable damage.”

While the association between body mass and inflammation is less understood, research strongly indicates that exposure to such inflammation can have secondary effects on both sperm and eggs.

“An egg has vast stores of lipid or fat-like material. It is clear that when people have a poor diet and are overweight or obese, the nature of the lipids within their eggs is different and can cause abnormalities in their function,” O’Neill said.

“The inflammatory stress results in sperm which is of poor quality and motility. Quite often, large portions of a man’s sperm count are nonmotile when they are overweight or obese.”

The typical result of these effects is subfertility — a form of reduced fertility with prolonged time of unwanted non-conception.

“For an optimally fertile couple, conception can usually occur in a relatively small number of cycles. When you consider partners who may be obese, that is going to be stretched out.”

How does this impact conception?

According to O’Neill, this low-grade inflammation can pose a range of hurdles to conception.

“The first step is getting the gametes to fertilize,” O’Neill said. Whether you fertilize naturally or in vitro — where the chances of success are much more efficient in a test tube — you are still starting off with the poorer quality material.”

“The next hurdle is getting the embryos to attach and implant in the uterus over the next four or five days. Then the challenge is ensuring that the attached embryo develops in a normal fashion.”

According to O’Neill, the efficiency of each of these steps is lessened due to inflammatory damage.

Does weight loss help?

For bariatric surgeon and Kolling Institute researcher Dr. Carolyn Jameson, the subfertile struggle is a cycle that she knows all too well.

“Patients may come in unable to conceive a child in the first place — and then they become privy to the impact their weight poses. They’ll lose a bit of weight, return to the IVF clinic and they may go through multiple unsuccessful cycles,” Jameson told HuffPost Australia.

“This then increases their stress and anxiety levels — which are already more common among overweight or obese people — which leads them to put on more weight. It becomes a cyclical problem.”

The key to improving fertility — and busting the cycle — involves removing traces of inflammation. And this can be achieved through weight loss.

“It’s the inflammatory mediators that do the damage. As you reduce that inflammation, you reduce the damage,” O’Neill said.

“It doesn’t take very long after that inflammation has reduced to start producing sperm and eggs that have a lower damage profile.”

When it comes to more severe cases, Jameson sees some patients who are referred for surgical management of their weight loss.

According to a recent study published in the Obesity Surgery Journal, bariatric surgery improves factors that underlie fertility and pregnancy outcomes — from body weight and type 2 diabetes to menstrual dysfunction and polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS).

“Losing weight regulates a person’s hormones, improves malnourishment and associated comorbidities,” Jameson said.”With a reduction in all of these risks, their fertility levels increase.”

She urges those considering falling pregnant to be aware of the impact of their weight.

“People need to understand that obesity significantly affects their chances of a successful pregnancy,” she said.

What does all this mean?

For Jameson and O’Neill, this issue has broader implications related to not only lowering fertility rates but also rising obesity levels — particularly in children.

“It is one thing that being obese is strongly associated with subfertility. But obese people do have babies, and we know that the embryos they are producing are different,” O’Neill said. “They contain within them information which is going to predispose that infant to obesity and all of its associated comorbidities.”

Such ’embryonic programming’ creates a ‘double-barrel effect.’

“If you are born with your metabolic programming set to be obese, it is a huge issue for those people to regain a healthy weight,” O’Neill said.

Jameson agrees.

“We haven’t set up society to look after the next generation,” she said.

More articles on Fertility Research: 

Digital Health Innovation in Fertility and Women’s Health

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

Egg Cryopreservation: Make The Right Decision For You

#HealthyWeightWeek #HWW

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

Are You Stat Savvy When It Comes To Infertility?

by Shweta Nayak MD

When trying to conceive a child, the numbers play a big part.  The number of days in your cycle, the number of eggs and sperm, how many days until ovulation etc.  When looking for assistance with fertility issues, numbers become even more crucial and include age, timing for tests and more.  Selecting the right Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialist utilizes numbers as well. When trying to conceive a child, the numbers play a big part.  The number of days in your cycle, the number of eggs and sperm, how many days until ovulation etc.  When looking for assistance with fertility issues, numbers become even more crucial and include age, timing for tests and more.  Selecting the right Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialist utilizes numbers as well.ude age, timing for tests and more.  Selecting the right Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialist utilizes numbers as well. When trying to conceive a child, the numbers play a big part.  The number of days in your cycle, the number of eggs and sperm, how many days until ovulation etc.  When looking for assistance with fertility issues, numbers become even more crucial and include age, timing for tests and more.  Selecting the right Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialist utilizes numbers as well.

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) is an organization devoted to helping infertility patients clarify and navigate the numbers.  SART is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to the practice of IVF, or assisted reproductive technology (ART), and represents the majority (90%) of the ART clinics in the country (www.sart.org). The mission of SART is to establish and maintain standards for ART so that patients receive the highest possible level of care.

 

It’s best to be know your own numbers, as age, evaluation, medical history, ovarian reserve, and sperm counts can all impact chances for success.  However, when researching a clinic, Shweta Nayak MD, a Board Certified REI with Reproductive Medicine Institute (www.teamrmi.com), shares her top tips:

  1. Learn more about your clinic through the “Clinic Services and profile” tab.  Here, the key items to consider are not only that the clinic is a SART member, but also that they have verified lab accreditation.
  2. Many variables are listed as outcomes in SART, but perhaps the most important one to consider is the cumulative chance for live birth.  This rate reflects the chance of achieving a live birth after a fresh or frozen embryo transfer within a year of initiating a cycle.
  3. Need another good tell for how great a lab is?  Some clinics may have strict exclusion criteria for patients who will pursue IVF.  This means other clinics, who may have a larger population of more challenging cases, appear to have relatively lower success rates by comparison.  Ultimately, this means that you CAN NOT draw a straight line comparison between clinics due to the specific patient population that is cared for by each clinic, and all of the individual factors involved.  Thus, the best measure of the proficiency of a lab or clinic is the donor egg IVF rates as, in this scenario, all other factors for infertility are minimized.
  4. Want to get more personalized information about your chances for success?  Visit https://www.sartcorsonline.com/predictor/patient, or contact your own fertility specialist, or one of RMI’s physicians for consultation (www.teamrmi.com).

As with any medical specialty, the personal relationships formed between the patient and the physician and/or the patient and the practice are crucial in determining a good connection.  None the less, being savvy of the statistics in either selecting or confirming your physician/clinic of choice, is another good determinant.

When trying to conceive a child, the numbers play a big part.  The number of days in your cycle, the number of eggs and sperm, how many days until ovulation etc.  When looking for assistance with fertility issues, numbers become even more crucial and include age, timing for tests and more.  Selecting the right Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialist utilizes numbers as well.

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) is an organization devoted to helping infertility patients clarify and navigate the numbers.  SART is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to the practice of IVF, or assisted reproductive technology (ART), and represents the majority (90%) of the ART clinics in the country (www.sart.org). The mission of SART is to establish and maintain standards for ART so that patients receive the highest possible level of care.