Fertility Musings, Questions & Answers and News

Monday, March 08, 2010

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

A quickie. Right after IVF?

So, like every other obsessed webmaster/blogger, I go through my stats often and many times daily I get searches like "orgasm after IVF", "sex after IVF", "do orgasms after IVF prevent implantation", etc. So, a quick trip to Google scholar (this whole post has to be quick b/c I've got to run to get Matan from Taekwondo) gave me some information that's more scientific than my own personal experience (which I'm wise enough not to share here).

The theory was actually that intercourse may help implantation, despite the problems like uterine contractions & possibility of infection (due to the fact that the "cervical mucus barrier that prevents ascending infection is disrupted by passage of the embryo transfer catheter". - Aflatoonian et. al., 2009 - see the full article here). They found no significant difference between those who had intercourse within 12 hours of embryo transfer and those who did not (although the clinical pregnancy rate was higher in the study group than in the control group - 14.2% vs. 11.7%, it was not statistically significant).

A previous study by Tremellen et. al. (2000), cited by 50, showed a higher percentage of viable pregnancies in the intercourse group than in the control group. They reached the conclusion that "...Exposure to semen around the time of embryo transfer increases the likelihood of successful early embryo implantation and development." (See the abstract here.)

Based on this, I think it's pretty safe to say that it's OK to have sex - and even orgasms - after embryo transfer. It's not going to harm your chances of success. It might even help.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Egg donation in Israel

It's currently practically impossible to receive an egg donation in Israel. The only women who are allowed to donate are those who are undergoing infertility treatment - exactly the women who need those eggs most. Having been one of those women whose doctor approached her with a form to sign while I was still half under anesthesia, I can tell you how desperate they are for donations (enough to completely con people, seriously). Like in the example of Prof. Zion Ben-Raphael who was convicted of overstimulating women's ovaries in order to produce excess eggs and then steal them from him. (See Jpost article, which also includes details of the new bill)

So this is a real breakthrough for Israel - one that would allow women to donate eggs whether or not they were going through fertility treatments AND to receive some kind of compensation for it.

I hope that this will allow more women who need egg donations to get them and will reduce the pressure on women who don't want to give theirs up.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The arrangement

So, a few posts back I wrote about someone I know of* (I don't actually know her, I'm in close touch with a member of her family) who has chosen to try to conceive using the sperm of one partner of a homosexual couple. They've now tried a natural (unmedicated) IUI cycle and a medicated IUI which were both unsuccessful. Currently the third cycle is underway (also medicated).

It is interesting to hear about the relationship developing between the two families, in preparation for the future child... some members of the extended families have met and the future mother and fathers(?) have actually decided to buy apartments in the same building, so that they will be close to each other. In many ways, their commitment to each other seems even more solid than a marriage - and she never has to worry about him leaving his smelly socks on the floor, while he never has to worry about her spending too much money on make-up... And, perhaps as a single mom, it's really very responsible to think of what will happen to the child should something ever happen to her.

I guess the next step is to actually get pregnant. I'll keep you posted.

*She knows (and doesn't mind that) I am writing about her.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Inheriting infertility via ICSI

I read this article in Times Online today. It states that there is now evidence that fathers of test-tube babies may be passing their infertility on to their sons. Anyone who was trying to conceive back in the mid-90's heard speculation then that ICSI can help couples conceive, but it can't guarantee that if there's a genetic defect causing the man's infertility that it won't be passed on to the child. And why wouldn't it?

So this study goes on to linking ICSI to shorter fingers in boys - a trait they say is known to be associated with infertility. The study compared 211 six-year-olds conceived through ICSI with 195 naturally conceived children of the same age. The boys in the ICSI group had shorter fingers. OK, now let's think about it. ICSI was most frequently used to overcome male infertility. There are other reasons for using ICSI, but that is the reason it was developed and, at least in the past, was its main use - if there were plenty of swimmers, it wasn't really necessary... Then there's this lovely quote from John Manning (and a nearly identical one by Allan Pacey), "This is telling us that we sould only use ICSI when it is absolutely necessary." Um. Maybe what it's really telling us is what we knew all along - genetics are inherited... It isn't the ICSI that's causing the infertility in the next generation, it's the genes the child inherited...

A question to anyone who would contemplate using ICSI on this basis - why, if ICSI can produce a healthy (yet, possibly infertile) child today would you think that in another 25 years or so, when this child wants to become a father, that medical science would not have improved this process and made it even easier to become a father?

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do you love someone who is infertile?

If you do, Shari DeGraff Stewart and Julia Fichtner Krahm from the Stewart Institute have written an informative & helpful magazine-style book by that name, which provides insight into what infertility is really like for people who are experiencing it. When Julia first wrote me, I surfed on over to their site and thought, “I can’t wait to read this”. It’s a resource for which there is a real need – parents, friends, siblings & even husbands don’t always know what to do when they know someone who is going through infertility. Aware of this need, I asked my mom to cooperate with me and we co-wrote a page for parents on FertilityStories.

Do you Love someone who is Infertile ($12.95, currently available only in the US) presents real experiences, alongside practical advice for husbands, parents, siblings and friends. In addition, the design is fabulous – using photos, typography, layout, and graphical elements to make the book incredibly appealing. I picked up the book and my first thought was, “I love this!” – and reading it made me happy to see that people were writing the things that I’d felt, from both sides. You can see sample pages of the book here – and you can order the guidebook here.

Want a chance to get my review copy? Leave a comment on this blog post. Want another chance? Tweet about it & let me know. Want a third chance? Write a blog post or even just send people to this one. Good luck!

Drawing will be on Feb 11, 2010.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Yes, I really do wonder

I do. I wonder why I have a blog if I don't have time to update it.

There were two things I wanted to share from recent news in Israel.

Today, it was announced that from now on it will be illegal to fire any person undergoing fertility treatments both during the treatment and within 150 days of the time they began. I couldn't find the article in English, but the google translation does an almost tolerable job...

The other was that Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital announced that they are now able to provide fertility treatments to HIV positive men, removing the virus from the sperm and using ICSI to create healthy embryos. Apparently this treatment is already available in the US.

I'm busy doing a huge user interface project and completing a course in survey methodology - and going to sleep way too late every night (and waking up way too early every morning).

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