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Fertility Tips

Stress - Does It Make You Infertile?

Stress - Does It Make You Infertile?

Nowadays, the entire world along with the inhabitants have become so fast-paced that the most common matter which affects almost everyone is stress. Getting stressed is not only unhealthy for your body and has an impact on every aspect of life including fertility. You might be wondering that how stress can affect your fertility as they sound unrelated. Read on to understand. Till date, though no direct correlation between stress and infertility has been established, it has been observed that if a couple who is trying their best to conceive is under stress, there appears to be a problem. Now, have a look at a few of the impacts that stress has on fertility.

How does stress affect fertility?
Too much stress has an impact on the proper functioning of the hypothalamus. It is that part of the brain which has the responsibility of sending as well as receiving all type of signals from the reproductive system. The menstrual cycle is one of the most complex communicating systems between the brain and ovaries, and thus stress may affect the fertility cycle. In this manner, stress may delay the ovulation, and in severe cases, it may also prevent the women from ovulating.

Another point that needs to be mentioned is that due to stress fewer mature eggs may be available. Some of the studies focus on the point that the women, who were stressful as well as anxious regarding their IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization), possessed approximately twenty percent fewer eggs than they usually could produce that are viable for fertilization.

Dealing with stress-
Different women have their way of dealing with stress. Thus, the impact this unwanted issue has on a woman might not be similar to the reactions of another woman. Many people start to gain weight in such stressful periods while some lose a lot of fat. A fact is sure that stress is not at all healthy and good for an aspiring mother.

So, now that you are aware of stress and infertility and how stress affects your fertility, the best possible course is to eliminate stress from your life as much as possible in a systematic manner. To reduce stress, you must have an adequate amount of sleep and also practice exercise on a regular basis. You may also opt for other habits like practicing yogameditation, prayer, seek counseling, etc.

Thus, the bottom-line is, if you are trying to get pregnant, either naturally or through IVF due to genetic or medical reasons, relieving yourself from stress is crucial.

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Know How Quality Of Eggs Affects The Success Rate Of IVF!

Know How Quality Of Eggs Affects The Success Rate Of IVF!

The concept of egg quality of a woman is derived from the belief that the embryo implantation probability is powerfully related to the age and ovarian reserve of the woman. Thus, it is regarded that the quality of the egg is almost synonymous with the chances of embryo implantation. Its quality cannot be assessed merely by looking at the egg or measuring its ability to receive the fertilization by sperm or simply observing the initial embryo division.

There are a few important factors that contribute to the success or failure of the embryo implantation and some of them are:

  1. Diminished ovarian reserve: A woman with an increased FSH level on the third day of the menses is regarded as having diminished reserve of the ovary. This implies that her ovary is not competent in sending feedback signals to the pituitary gland and the body responds by producing an increased amount of FSH for stimulating the ovary. For more than 10 years, it has been found that in over thousands of fertility treatment cycles, women with an increased FSH level have a lower egg quality.
  2. The advanced age of maternity: Even though the FSH level is normal, the age of the mother who provides the eggs plays an important role to determine the quality of the egg. Quite like women with increased FSH levels, eggs obtained from women aged more than 40 years can have some problems at a later stage of fertilization. Normal FSH levels are not considered a reassuring factor, owing to the lower implantation rate in females aged over 45 years.
  3. Diminished quality of egg: With an increase in age, the capacity of the mitochondria in producing energy slowly decreases. The egg is linked to the circulation before ovulation, and it is linked again after the embryo implantation. But during the one week time ranging from ovulation to implantation, the egg and the resulting embryo are contained in the zona pellucida and function on the basis of mitochondrial energy supply. The older age of the woman doesn’t cause any problem at the initial stage of ovulation. Its fertilization and embryonic development are also normal. But soon, it runs out of energy and stops dividing before reaching the stage of implantation.

Therefore, it is important to have the eggs tested to find out any sort of chromosomal abnormality. In case the mother is deficient of producing high-quality eggs, the best option is to have donor eggs.

Mitochondrial Concept:

Mitochondrial replacement (MRT, sometimes called mitochondrial donation) is a special form of in vitro fertilization in which the future baby's mitochondrial DNA comes from a third party. This technique is used in cases when mothers carry genes for mitochondrial diseases. The two most common techniques in the mitochondrial donation are pronuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer.

Cells are the tiniest part of an organism including the human body but has various parts within, which have specific functions. The mitochondria, for instance, are the batteries of the cells and produce energy for all functions, including cellular movement and adequate cellular function.

The egg, being a single cell, also is highly dependent on the mitochondria for its optimal function. For an egg to be healthy, it should have optimal energy, and that comes only when the mitochondria is functioning at its best. This determines the overall quality of the egg too. Poor eggs, it is well established, is one of the major cause of infertility, as it cannot implant itself and sustain the entire term of pregnancy.
Studies have confirmed that eggs have more mitochondria than normal cells, as their energy requirements are higher.

The ovaries have cells called precursor cells, which eventually can become eggs and get fertilized. Studies have shown that when mitochondria from these precursor cells are infused into the fertilized egg, the overall quality of the egg improves and therefore improves chances of fertilization.

The mitochondrial transfer is the new technique which is being developed and has resulted in a baby but involves third-party IVF and hence is in an ethical debate.

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Can Abortion Affect Fertility?

Can Abortion Affect Fertility?

There are two types of abortion, namely medical and surgical. In case of medical abortion, pills are taken to terminate the pregnancy; whereas surgical abortion is done if the pregnancy has reached an advanced stage when pills are ineffective. While generally there are no health risks or negative effects of abortion on fertility, there are rare cases of complications, which can give rise to severe symptoms post abortion. Following is the information you need to know about abortion and its effects on fertility:

When to seek medical assistance ?

It is advisable to seek medical help if you have the following symptoms post abortion:

1. Persistent pain in the lower abdomen, which lingers even after taking medication
2. Excessive bleeding
3. A high temperature

Possible effects of surgical abortion on fertility

1. Infection after abortion

Infections post abortion like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) if left untreated for long can spread and harm your reproductive organs, thereby impacting your fertility. It can cause complications like infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

2. Damage to the cervix during abortion

Damage to the cervix during an abortion can cause cervical incompetence and consequently increase the risk of miscarriage.

3. Damage to the womb during abortion

There are chances of damage of the womb (uterus) during abortion, resulting in scarring, which can cause fertility issues if not corrected. This is more likely in case you had multiple abortions.

Apart from the above mentioned complications there are a number of other complications, which can happen due to abortion, preterm birth, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy and low birth rate, etc. Further, infertility can also be a possible side effect of abortion pills, which happens due to scarring of the uterus during the procedure of forcible elimination of the fetus.

In all such cases it is advisable to schedule regular check ups with your gynaecologist.
 

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History Of IVF!

History Of IVF!

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a readily recognizable term today. However, scientists took hundreds of years to perfect IVF technology, which has brought it to where it is today. If you want to know how it all started for IVF, you have to begin as early as the 1800s.

IVF in the 1800s-
Until the very early 1800s, people were unaware that the sperm and the egg combine to form a new human being. After scientists discovered this fact, a doctor performed the first ever intrauterine insemination on a woman using the husband’s sperm. However, this insemination did not result in a successful pregnancy.
In 1884, Dr. William Pancoast used donor sperm to inseminate a woman whose husband was infertile.

IVF in the early 1900s-
By the early 1900s, scientists began to extensively research the connection between hormones and fertility. In 1934, a scientist named Gregory Pincus performed IVF-like studies on rabbits, for which he was fired from his job. Pincus’s primary researcher Menkin continued this research regarding IVF.
At a Baltimore hospital in 1965, Dr. Jones and Dr. Edwards became the first physicians to fertilize a human egg in vitro successfully. Dr. Edwards returned to England and continued his IVF research. In 1968, he, along with Dr. Patrick Steptoe performed a laparoscopy to extract an egg from a woman and fertilize it in vitro. This study was published in the 1969 edition of Nature.

IVF in the 1970s-
On September 12, 1972, the world could have witnessed the first successful IVF pregnancy, but it was stopped at the last moment. On this day, Dr. Sweeney managed to extract five eggs from a woman. The woman’s husband collected the eggs and brought it to Dr. Shettles at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. The husband then collected a fresh sample of his own ejaculate and asked the doctor to use it to fertilize the eggs. However, the Chairman at the hospital found out about the experiment and prohibited it.
In 1975, Dr. Steptoe and Dr. Edwards announced the first successful IVF pregnancy to the world. However, due to an ectopic pregnancy, the endeavor failed. The duo once again announced successful IVF pregnancy in 1978. This time, the pregnant woman Lesley Brown gave birth to the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Joy Brown.

IVF in the 1980s and 1990s-
The regulation became a problem during the initial stages of IVF. Australia became the second country to report a successful IVF-related birth in 1980, while the United States became the third in 1981. After these three successful cases, the interest and studies related to fertility increased drastically.

The following events occurred thereafter–
• Scientists began improving fertility drugs
• Doctors devised methods to extract eggs through the vagina, instead of through laparoscopy
Other changes also came into effect and the IVF technology evolved. While initially, IVF resulted in multiple pregnancies and other problems, more studies and advancement in the field made it safer.

IVF - Know Steps Involved In It!

IVF - Know Steps Involved In It!

What is IVF?

IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization and is a method of artificial insemination that dramatically increases the chances of pregnancy. It is one of the assisted reproductive technologies methods used as fertility treatment across the world where other methods have had drastic results.

In simpler terms, a man's sperm is inserted in a woman's egg using controlled laboratory environment to proceed with fertilization. These embryos are then carefully put back into the mother's uterus after 4 to 5 days of fertilization in incubator in hopes that the embryo would grow in a full baby. The embryo transfer process needs to be carefully done in order for successful fertilization in the mother's womb.

There are many reasons why IVF is conducted:

  1. Poor sperm quality - Males having poor sperm quality are unable to achieve fertilization and increase the chances of conception with their female partners. This is male factor infertility due to which people move towards IVF.
  2. Fallopian tube problems - This is a female factor infertility, in which fallopian tubes either get blocked or damaged making it complicated and stressful for the embryo to travel to the uterus.

One must approach IVF treatment with patience and a willingness to comply with all the tenets that the treatment is built upon. IVF clinics may vary the treatment a little according to what the patient's condition demands and different clinics may have different methods. The basic methods of IVF treatment, however, remain the same. The first step to the treatment is to find the right clinic which complies with factors like availability of resources, cost and quality of treatment. After deciding the clinic, the next step is to understand that IVF treatment happens in cycles and the success rate of conception varies. Patients must also be ready to face any disappointment.

Here’s the short version of the steps involved in an IVF treatment cycle:

  1. Ovarian stimulation. Your doctor prescribes a course of drugs for you to take to stimulate your ovaries into hopefully producing 12 to 15 mature eggs.
  2. Monitoring of your drug response. To monitor the progress of your ovarian stimulation you undergo an ultrasound examination and blood tests.
  3. Egg maturation. Two days before your eggs are due to be collected you have a hormone injection, which triggers maturation of the eggs.
  4. Egg collection. You receive a light general anaesthetic for this simple, short procedure, and your doctor retrieves your eggs using an ultrasound-guided technique.
  5. Sperm production. On the day of egg collection, your partner provides a sperm sample.
  6. Fertilisation. The embryologist puts sperm and eggs together in the lab and, if all goes well, the eggs fertilise and early embryo development begins.
  7. Embryo transfer. Two to five days after egg collection, your doctor places one or two embryos in your uterus. Frozen transfer can be planned after a gap of 1 month.
  8. Embryo freezing. If you have additional embryos suitable for use, they can be frozen and kept for future transfers. Also, frozen embryos are available.
  9. Pregnancy test. About two weeks after embryo transfer you have a blood test to find out whether the treatment worked.
    • If the test is positive, you have your first pregnancy scan two weeks later.
    • If the test is negative, you and your partner need to talk to your doctor and decide whether to try the treatment again.
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IVF - Know Process Of It!

IVF - Know Process Of It!

IVF or In vitro fertilization is a form of fertility treatment where the sperm and egg is combined, in a laboratory. IVF is one of the most common fertility treatment procedures, which involves high technology and are undertaken by many couples all over the world. If you have ovulation problems or problems with the quality of egg and blocked fallopian tubes or in case your male partner has low sperm count or high mortality, you can undertake IVF to become pregnant.

The process of IVF involves the following steps and methods:

  1. Ovarian stimulation: Before your menstrual cycle begins, you should take a gonadotrophin. This is a fertility drug which will stimulate your ovaries for the development of multiple, mature eggs for fertilization process. Taking synthetic hormones like cetrorelix and leuprolide also help in ovaries stimulation.
  2. Development of follicle: You must visit your doctor frequently while having the medicines for a checkup of your blood hormone levels. Getting an ultrasound done for regularly measuring your ovaries is also very important. This will allow your doctor to monitor the development of follicles.
  3. Trigger shot: You will be given a trigger shot injection after the follicles are ready. This injection causes full maturation of the eggs and makes them ready to get fertilized. The eggs can be triggered after 36 hours of trigger shots.
  4. Gathering of the eggs: You will be given an anesthetic by the doctor and an ultrasound probe will be inserted through your vagina for observing the ovaries and follicles. A thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall and the eggs are removed from the follicles.
  5. Fertilization: Your eggs will be observed once more before being combined with your partner's sperm and being incubated overnight. Fertilization occurs during this time and abnormal eggs are not fertilized. Three days after the eggs are retrieved, some of the successfully fertilized eggs turn into embryos made up of six to ten cells. After five days, some of these embryos become blastocysts made of fluid-filled cavities and tissue, which begin to develop and separate into the baby and the placenta.
  6. The most viable embryos are selected to be placed in your uterus. The doctor places one to five embryos in your uterus by the insertion of a thin tube or catheter through the cervix. The embryo implants in the walls of the uterus and slowly develops into a baby. The chances of pregnancy are higher in case of multiple embryos.

IVF is successful and quite a common fertilization process. It is an old procedure used and has been in use for a very long time. The track record of IVF is impressive and more improved techniques are being developed every day.

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What Are The Best Days/ Fertile Days In Menstrual Cycle To Get Pregnant?

What Are The Best Days/ Fertile Days In Menstrual Cycle To Get Pregnant?

Fertile days are the period in which there are maximum chance of ovulation and having physical relationship in this period will help the patient to become pregnant sooner.

Patients often ask this question regarding what are the best days to become pregnant or fertile days. Some patients with little bit knowledge think that they are from 12 th day of menstrual cycle to 18th day. Is it true in all cases? 
The answer is no. It is not true in all cases.

If your menstrual cycle is of 30 days then you deduct 14 days from it (that would be usually the day of ovulation, which will be 16 th day. Now have variation of 4 days. This way for a regularly menstruating women every 30 days. Most fertile days will start from 12th day of menses to 20th day of menses. Likewise for a women who menstruates every 40 days the fertile days would be 22th day of menses to 30 th day of menses. If a womens menstruate every 24 days in such case fertile days would be 6 th day of menses till 14th day.

Many a times little bit of variation in days happens. So in such cases you have to take an average of last three months. E. G. For 1st month she menstruates on 28 th day, next month 32 nd day, next month 30 th day. In such case average of last three months would be 30 days. And now count fertile days by deducting 14 from average figure 30. Plus add variation of 4 days. That would be 12th to 20th days.

Wish you the best.
 

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Stress And Infertility - How Stress Affects Your Fertility?

Stress And Infertility - How Stress Affects Your Fertility?

In today’s modern, fast paced society, it is easy for people to become stressed. In fact, one would almost think that being stressed is the “in” thing, and if you aren’t stressed it must mean there is something wrong with you! Realistically however, stress is not a good thing for our bodies in general, and has a very real impact on your fertility.

Can Stress Have an Effect on Your Fertility?

If your mind and body is under stress your body is signaled to release a hormone - Adrenalin. This is a stress relieving hormone and gives your body the rush to face the stress. This hormone inhibits the utilization of the hormone Progesterone, which is essential for fertility. Also during stress Prolactin, another hormone, is relapsed which also interferes with infertility. Hence to conceive its essential that your anxiety levels are under control.

How Stress Impacts Fertility?

Recent research tells us that stress boosts levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, catecholamines and cortisol, which can inhibit the release of the body’s main hormone, GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone), which is responsible for the release of sex hormones. Subsequently this may suppress ovulation in women, reduce sperm count in men and lower libido in both women and men.

Chronic Stress also decreases libido 

Chronic stress may cause lack of libido as well as a decrease in general fertility. This has become such a common issue that they have created a name for it Stress Induced Reproductive Dysfunction. These facts are very important to consider if you have been trying to conceive with no results. It also shows that stress relief should be a part of every couple's conception plan even if they are going through IVF.

Ways to reduce stress & improve fertility

If you are having difficulty to conceive, it's imperative that you get fertility tests done and also evaluate your life. Look out for the stress points that may be hindering a relationship. Remember defeating the stress may be the solution to your worries.

  1. Reduce stress in your life: The issues in your life may be work or result related. You need to learn to balance your personal and professional life. The sooner you do it the better; after all you are preparing yourself to welcome a new born in your life.
  2. Change your reactions: Get a hang of the situation and react accordingly. Over reaction to a situation can harm your body and mind. Stop bothering so much about the future.
  3. Let few things be the way they are: Stop getting bothered about people. Remember by nature everything will fall in place. Let few things be the way they are.
  4. Make it your habit to reduce stress: Call it an obsession or a practice, train your mind to choose options where there is less stress.
  5. Sleep well: A good rest is essential for a healthy mind and body. Meditate, do yoga or seek counseling. Go for facials if it sooths you.

Please note that if your fertility reports are normal, then it's just a matter of time. Give you, your partner and your body time. There are certain medical complications or disorders that can also be responsible for infertility. Be calm and composed so that you are able to face the rough waters clearly with your partner.

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Frozen Embryo Transfer - What's The Success Rate Of It?

Frozen Embryo Transfer - What's The Success Rate Of It?

Women are not really sure about frozen embryos’ ability to result in pregnancy. Ironically, the success of Frozen Embryo Transfer has dramatically improved over the last few years. In the days gone by, the chance of women getting pregnant through the use of frozen embryos seemed to be on the lower side compared to that from the transfer of fresh embryos. Recent data related to this suggests that this is no longer the case.

Reasons behind the low success rate of frozen embryo transfer in the past
Previously during the frozen embryo transfer process, the embryos which had to get frozen were the ones that did not get chosen for the fresh embryo transfer initially. The reason being that the embryologist had gone ahead to choose the best possible embryos for getting them transferred initially. As far as the fresh embryo transfer is concerned, the quality of embryo has got a major effect on the chance of a woman getting pregnant. On the other hand, if the quality of embryos frozen is not good, the rate of survival after it gets thawed along with the rate of pregnancy would be on the lower side.

The second important reason is the number of embryos that got transferred. Let us consider a couple who produce four very good quality embryos. Two of them are transferred during fresh In Vitro Fertilization Process and the remaining two are frozen. This leads to pregnancy and the woman gives birth to a baby. Later on, the couple once again decides to go for pregnancy by using the frozen embryos. Though only one embryo survives after getting thawed. The frozen embryo transfer is that of a single embryo. The success rate of a frozen embryo transfer through a single embryo is always going to be on the lower side than what it will be when multiple embryo transfers are involved.

Finally, the method of freezing embryos has seen a sea change quite a number of years ago. Nowadays the freezing of embryos takes place by a fast method, known as vitrification. This process has got a much better survival rate when embryos get thawed along with good rates of pregnancy when those particular embryos are transferred in a much better manner.

Studies about the high success rate of frozen embryo transfer
There have been studies performed in women, who have had quite a vigorous stimulation of their ovaries and were considered to be at high risk for Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. The physicians took the decision of skipping the process of embryo transfer and instead go ahead to freeze all the embryos for use at a later stage.

This tends to significantly decrease the risk of having serious Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome along with the decrease in complications. Other cases involved, physicians deciding to move on with a fresh embryo transfer despite the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. In both the scenarios the couples have quite a large number of embryos and the embryos selected for transfer were the best embryos.

The studies have shown no difference in the rates of pregnancy between fresh or frozen embryos or for that matter higher rate of pregnancy with frozen embryos.

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Fertility - How To Enhance It?

Fertility - How To Enhance It?

Pregnancy can be easy and smooth, while on the other hand, it might be time-consuming, marred with conception difficulties all along the way. Pregnancy may seem exciting to some, whereas it can be stressful for others. Regardless of whether it is the first child you are planning or have had a successful pregnancy previously; there are some tips you need to keep in mind in order to improve fertility and give birth to a healthy child.

Some fertility boosting factors are:

  1. These fantastic swimmers are at the very root of male fertility. Some important components which need to be taken into consideration are sperm count, sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to swim around the female reproductive tract) and morphology (shape and size of a sperm). In order to have all these parameters in check and working fine, one needs to abstain from smoking and limit alcohol consumption among many other lifestyle modifications.

  2. Having unprotected vaginal intercourse during the woman’s fertile days in a month helps improve chances of conception.

  3. Fertility becomes a challenge when you are either overweight or underweight. The weight of a woman affects ovulation (The release of eggs from the ovaries) and causes hormonal imbalance; factors which make it very difficult to conceive. Keep your weight levels in check and that could prove primarily essential in bettering your fertility.

  4. Staying well-nourished boosts your odds of conceiving! Make sure to include enough protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D in your diet, because deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to lengthened menstrual cycles (and therefore less frequent ovulation) and a higher risk of early miscarriage. Ask your gynaecologist if you should take a daily multivitamin supplement. And be sure to eat protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, and beans.

  5. Beware of STDs or Sexually Transmitted Diseases. One is the most prone to STDs of any kind if he/she happens to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse; having a number of sexual partners just ups the chances of getting afflicted by STD. Protected vaginal intercourse helps prevent STDs, thus enhancing fertility and subsequently, chances of conception.

  6. According to several studies, the lubricant one chooses surprisingly plays a significant role in determining fertility. Not all lubricants boost fertility and sperm motility (sperm count). Baby oil or egg whites are a few good examples of such lubricants.

  7. While a limited amount of caffeine consumption is good, overdoing it might spoil and hamper fertility. Limit caffeine intake and keep it within a level of 200-250mg a day.

  8. Smoking, besides playing havoc with every organ in the body, affects the reproductive organs and thus fertility. In men, it leads to reduced sperm count and in women, it causes DNA damage. Stub the bud right now and never get back to it.

  9. Certain toxic chemicals can lead to female and male infertility. So it is advisable that you stay away from chemicals such as pesticides, organic solvents and lead, the primary toxins which pose a severe threat to fertility.

  10. Exercising regularly can never go wrong. It gives you the strength and stamina, boosting your overall health. However, vigorous exercises, especially when you are trying to conceive, will do you no good. It might adversely lead to the suppression of certain hormones such as progesterone (pregnancy stimulating hormone) and might affect ovulation, hence affecting fertility. Aim at a regular 20 minutes session of light exercises; mild cardiovascular exercises such as walking can work wonders, especially in such circumstances.
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