Friday, December 28, 2012

Are Infertility Doctors Predatory Bankers?

A neighbor, a friend, a couple down the street will discover this week that they are infertile and that if they want biological children of their own, they are going to need in vitro fertilization (IVF).  According to treatment protocol, the woman will need to take powerful medicines to ramp up her production of fertilizable eggs.  One monthly cycle of this treatment will run around $12,000.  But most couples require more than one cycle to achieve their goal of carrying a child to term.  In other words, this couple could easily be looking at a bill exceeding $30,000 or $40,000.
And did I mention that this money could all come out of their own pockets?  Because not all insurance companies pay for in vitro fertilization.
No worry though.  Their infertility physician informs them about a company he has worked with that specializes in infertility loans.  He even offers to have his office staff help the couple fill out the necessary paperwork.  Thanks to this assistance, the couple secures the loan and, with luck, will soon be rewarded with a healthy baby.
Infertility Doctors
Free market medicine at its finest, yes?  A couple with “skin in the game” learns about their health costs in advance.  They are given accurate data about the likelihood that any given cycle of treatment will work.  They even work with a loan agency specifically geared to meet their financial needs.
Would it bother you if you learned that the infertility doctor received a referral fee from the loan agency?  Would you be upset to learn that this couple was charged an annual interest rate of 22%?
My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

50 Million Couples Experience Infertility

On the Friday before Christmas an article appeared in HealthDay News regarding infertility rates.  It makes me sad to think that almost 50 million couples experience infertility.  However, I don't find it surprising, because I have so many friends who struggled to have their children. 

In 2010, nearly 50 million couples worldwide were unable to conceive a child after five years of trying, according to the study published online Dec. 18 in the journal PLoS Medicine.  For the study, researchers examined 277 national surveys in order to estimate the infertility levels in 190 countries between 1990 and 2010.

50 Million Couples Experience Infertility

The analysis revealed that in 2010, 1.9 percent of women aged 20 who wanted to have children were unable to have their first live birth (primary infertility), and 10.5 percent of women who had previously given birth were unable to have another baby (secondary infertility).

That works out to a total of 48.5 million couples worldwide, study leader Gretchen Stevens, of the World Health Organization, and colleagues explained in a journal news release.

Here's the link to the full article.

My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Infertility Linked to 'Huddle' Gene

This is a very interesting article, which (down the road) could give hope to a lot of infertile couples - specially if you believe in gene-therapy.  
Scientists have identified a gene which could help solve the problem of infertility in humans.  A team at the University of Edinburgh conducted a study with fruit flies, where they discovered that when the gene SRPK is missing, chromosomes do not 'huddle' together.
Oocyte (Human Egg)

They huddling process, they believe, is necessary to ensure the egg's healthy development and fertilisation.  Chromosomes are thread-like structures which contain a person's DNA, and when they divide it can lead to sterility and low fertility, according to the study.
Previous research in mice has shown that the huddling process is essential in order for eggs to remain fertile, the scientists said.

Here's a link to the full article.

My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Male Infertility: Enzymes to Blame

There is an article on News-Medican by Sally Robertson, which discusses morphology issues in male sperm, among other things.  It is rather technical.  However, here is a quote and you can find the link to the full article below.

"An enzyme complex present in sperm plasma membranes plays an important role in the overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress in sperm with abnormal morphology, researchers have shown."


Here's the link to the full article.

My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Infertility Treatments and Multiple Sclerosis

There is an article on WebMD, which discuss two studies that show that infertility treatments increase relapse rates for MS patients.  This makes me incredibly sad.  Infertility is hard enough and so is MS, but to have both and to know that infertility treatments may make your MS worse is just too much.  I wish the best for women who are suffering from infertility and MS.

Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy

Here is a link to the full article.

My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Obesity Damages a Woman's Eggs

Obesity has long been associated with infertility as well as lower success rates with in vitro fertilization, and now researchers think they understand why: Obese women are more likely to have abnormalities in their eggs that make them impossible to fertilize.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital infertility researchers examined nearly 300 eggs that failed to fertilize during IVF in both severely obese women and those with a normal body weight. They found that severely obese women were far more likely to have abnormally arranged chromosomes within their eggs compared with women who weren’t overweight, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction.

Researchers still don’t completely understand why obesity might lead to structural problems in eggs, but it could have something to do with higher levels of hormones like leptin, which make chromosomes more fragile.

Previous research has linked similar abnormalities to aging eggs, which could at least partly explain why women over 40 have a much harder time getting pregnant than those in their 20s.
While women can’t do anything to turn back the clock, they may be able to improve their egg quality by achieving a healthier weight, said Dr. Catherine Racowsky, study co-author and head of the Brigham’s IVF lab. “Many obese infertility patients in our program wind up achieving successful IVF after they lose weight,” she added.

The women in the study were severely obese with a body mass index of at least 35 -- or 210 pounds for a 5-foot, 5-inch person -- and it’s likely that moderately overweight women who carry just 20 or 30 extra pounds don’t have the same increase in egg abnormalities.

But those at the extreme end of the weight spectrum who are attempting infertility treatments should make an effort to nudge their weight closer to a healthier BMI. Obese women who lose just 5 or 10 percent or their body weight may see enough improvement, according to Racowsky, to help them achieve a successful pregnancy with IVF or natural methods. By the same token, underweight women, who have a BMI under 18.5 -- or 111 pounds for a 5-foot, 5-inch person -- are also at risk of infertility and might increase their pregnancy odds by gaining a few pounds.

Here is the link to the full article.

My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wrong Sperm Inseminates

I feel so poorly for the women who had fertility problems and trusted their doctor.  In Ottawa Canada, a renowned fertility specialist Dr. Norman Barwin allegedly artificially inseminated three women with the wrong sperm. Barwin currently volunteered to surrender his license which is now restricted.

In 1985, a woman went to Barwin to beinseminated with her husbands sperm, which had been frozen prior to starting cancer treatments. Later giving birth to a baby boy, later to discover the child was not her husbands.

Another lawsuit pending against Barwin, in 2007 Ottawa resident Jacqueline Slinn said she seeked Barwin’s help in 2003, selecting a donor from Toronto sperm bank. Slinn did conceive after a series of inseminations, giving birth to her daughter in 2005. Later Slinn joined a registry to make contact with other mothers who had been inseminated with the same donor. Three of the children were DNA tested, and discovered that none of the children had the same biological children.
The full article is here.

My book, Five Strands of Hope, is available here on Amazon.  It is a memoir about my journey through secondary infertility through a horrendous triplet pregnancy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

US Women Like IUDs for Birth Control

When I saw this article I wasn't surprised.  I spent a good chunk of my early twenties taking the birth control pill.  I loved it.  I knew exactly when my period was coming and for how many days.  It didn't care that I really had no need for the pill, except that without it I rarely menstruated and my doctor thought that it was a good idea.

Now, however, if I needed birth control, I would definitely choose an IUD.  I have a couple friends who have one and they don't get their period at all.  That sounds marvelous.  No tampons; no cramps; no oopsies I forgot and sprinting to the bathroom.

For the full article click here.

FIVE STRANDS OF HOPE ebook at Amazon

Saturday, September 1, 2012

5 Stands of Hope Free on Amazon for the Holiday

Hi Everyone!
Happy Labor Day weekend.  I hope everyone has a nice and relaxing weekend.  School starts for my kids on Wednesday.  I'm happy and sad as every parents has probably felt when their child started kindergarten.

Labor Day 5 Years Ago

I can't believe it's been less than a year since I started to write my book and then published it and only 4 months since I started my blog.  I guess I've accomplished more in the past year than I thought.  Scary to think that the picture was from June.  I feel like I took it yesterday!

Last Day of School in June

Five Strands of Hope is free on Amazon for the holiday weekend.  I hope you get a chance to read it and that you enjoy it.

Five Strands of Hope (FREE eBook)

Happy Holiday!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sperm Grown from Skin: Infertility Hope for Men

Wow!  That's all that I can say after reading an article from the Daily Mail (UK) about doctors/scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.  Scientists succeeded in using slivers human skin tissue to grow early-state sperm.  Thousands of infertile men may be able to fulfill their dream of fatherhood with their own biological children.

Male Sperm

The scientists use chemicals to turn back the biological clock in skin cells, which gives the cells chameleon-like powers of embryonic stem cells.  Then nutrients transform the cells into round ones and appear to be genetically normal.

Click here for the full article.

Five Strands of Hope on Amazon

Monday, August 27, 2012

Expanded Infertility Care for Veterans

I saw an article in the Seattle Times regarding expanded health coverage for veterans.  This bill, which is being considered in the Senate, includes infertility care for Veterans and their spouses.  Currently, IVF and surrogates are not covered.

I am so excited for the Veterans and their families.  Of course, I'll be happier when the bill actually passes.  However, I was upset by comments readers left on Seattle Times' website.  It is horrible enough that men and women who protect our country and human rights of people everywhere are hurt and killed in the line of duty.  It never occurred to me that thousands of men and women also lose the ability to have biological children.  Since it is within our abilities to perform infertility treatments (IVF and surrogacy) that will greatly increase the chances of Veterans to have children, then we should not think twice about covering the cost.

Here is the link to the full article.

Five Strands of Hope on Amazon

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mothering with Pain

Good morning!
I'd like to say Happy Wednesday, but I'm a little blue.  Ahh....Happy Wednesday!  I'm trying desperately to hold onto my good spirits even though a knee injury that I suffered 5 weeks ago while playing tennis.  It is interrupting my sleep and drastically curtailing my activities.


I have mothered in pain before.  However, this time is different because I'm in pain and not very mobile.  I find myself getting short with the kids when one at a time they want something to drink, help going potty and forget to close the back door.  All of which necessitate me getting up off and walking around.

The summer started out wonderful.  We taught Gavin how to ride a bike and now he can bike to the ice cream shop.  I started to teach all the kids my favorite sport, tennis.  Admittedly, the triplets think their tennis racquet is a golf club and just whack at the tennis balls on the ground, but Gavin has gotten quite good at hitting the ball over the net.  Our weekly trip to the ice rink, so Owen could make snow angles and the others could ice skate, was put on hiatus.  Family soccer when Dad got home from work was another activity that brought the family joy.  

Biking at the Manasquan Resevoir

Now I'm a bit of a lump.  I feel badly that I'm not doing all these activities with the kids.  Thankfully, they seem quite happy.  We have gone to Nana & PopPop's pool more frequently than before my injury  and they've spent a lot more time with their favorite babysitters.  The happiest glowing from their faces and the slits their eyes turn into at night indicate that they are very active and enjoying their summer.  This gimp heart is relieved that a fluke knee injury while playing tennis with my father didn't ruin their summer, which ultimately means that my summer wasn't ruined either.

Here's to an injury-free school year!

Robinson Triplets - Slideshow

There is an article on the NWF Daily News website about a family's journey with their triplets.  As a mom to triplets, I'm always interested in the life's of similar families.  The Robinson family had/has a particular tough ride with its triplets. 

Robinson Triplets

Here is an excerpt:

The sun is finally coming up for a local family who has spent most of the last year battling nearly insurmountable odds.
It began with the unexpected news that Rita and Greg Robinson were expecting triplets and became more complicated as health issues for Rita and the premature babies stacked up.
Zamen had acid reflux and a cyst on his brain that made him incapable of ever feeling full. Zamyah had underdeveloped lungs and a hole in her heart. Niren had two holes in his heart, an extremely narrow tube leading to his heart and far too low oxygen levels in his blood.

Here's the link to the full article.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Childhood Obesity and Infertility

Sorry, I've been radio silent for the past week or so.  We had our floors done and what I thought would be an easy home-improvement proved to be much more challenging.  Without going into boring detail, I'll just say I don't know what the floor guy was thinking when he told me we could stay in the house while the floors were being done, because he wedged our leather couch between the refrigerator and the island!

I found this interesting article in The Jerusalem Post about childhood obesity and infertility.  “The issue of so many humans being obese is very recent in evolutionary terms, and since nutritional status is important to reproduction, metabolic syndromes caused by obesity may profoundly affect reproductive capacity,” said Patrick Chappell.

Obesity can Lead to Infertility

But in general, puberty appears to be starting earlier in girls. It is being accelerated.

This may have several effects, scientists have found. One theory is an impact on kisspeptin, a recently characterized neurohormone necessary for reproduction. Normal secretions of this hormone may be disrupted by endocrine signals from fat that serve to communicate to the brain.

Another possible affect on pubertal timing, and reproduction in general, is disruption of circadian clocks, which reflect the natural rhythms of night and day. Disrupted sleep-wake cycles can affect the secretion of hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, and insulin, researchers have found.

Here is the link to the full article.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Monday - Princess Camp

Happy Monday!
My little girl goes to Princess Camp this morning.  She's so excited...and so unlike me.   

Anna & One of Her Many "Princess" Outfits

I spent years playing in the dirt, digging for gold with my two best friends, Dave and Bobby.  Then I spent more years playing tennis all day, all summer long.  I never desired to be a 
princess.  I dreamed of being a hockey player even though I didn't play.

Here's to all the little girls who dream of being a princess or a hockey player!

Happy Monday, 

Fake Tans Can Cause Infertility

Experts in the UK will hopefully dampen peoples zeal for fake tans.  The researchers found there to be a host of ingredients in the tanning creams, including poisonous substances - cancer-causing formaldehyde and nitrosamines.  These dangerous chemicals could cause serious health risks from cancer to infertility.

"The Sun" reported that pregnant women who apply the tanning lotions face a higher risk of birth defects, adding men and women both could suffer fertility problems,`The Sun` reported.

Here is the full article.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Should Schools Teach About Infertility?

There is an interesting article in The Guardian (UK) that discusses teaching infertility in schools.  It asks the question:  "Why doesn't sex education cover infertility, when five children in every class are likely to experience it?

I am not ashamed (and hope no one is) that we had to turn to fertility treatments to have the family that we do.  I plan to be very open with my children (why I wrote the book) about the path we took to have our children.  However, do I really want them to learn about infertility in high school?  Do I want them to be scared that they will struggle to have kids when they are still kids themselves?

No, no, no...I do not want my kids to have a class in high school that teaches them about infertility.  I want them to focus on high school, college and to find a career/vocation that they love.  I don't want them thinking that they should have children in their late teens/ early 20s, because they might suffer from infertility.  

When my children enter their 30s and don't have children then I will discuss infertility with them, specially my daughter.  I will educate her about freezing her eggs and other options that she has.  If I am not around to talk to her, I will hope that she will be comfortable with the internet and search engines and will be able to find out all the information that she needs regarding infertility.

I'd love to know what you think about teaching our high schoolers about infertility?

Here's the link to the full article