Monday, January 26, 2009

Soy protein renders womb unsuitable for pregnancy.

A soy protein, genistein, long known to affect fertility can change how pregnancies start and progress in female mice treated with it as newborns. The changes make it harder for fertilized eggs to implant and grow, possibly contributing to infertility. The effects were observed at levels comparable to those experienced by human infants feeding on soy formula.

The researchers then retrieved either unfertilized eggs or fertilized embryos from the female mice to assess egg health and reproductive organ development .They set up a series of experiments to ask several questions:

First, could unfertilized eggs grow to early development?
Second, could naturally fertilized embryos grow properly in a normal, untreated mouse?

Third, could fertilized embryos taken from untreated mice grow normally in the treated female mice?

What did they find?
Genistein impaired the implantation process in the female mice that were treated as newborns and mated after sexual maturity. After mating, the number of embryos retrieved from genistein-treated mice was about half the number of those collected from control mice.

Fewer implantation sites were present in the uterus of genistein-treated mice compared to control.

Together, these findings suggest that the reproductive tract environment in the genistein-treated mice is likely not optimal for embryonic development.
Tested in vitro, treated and control eggs were equally capable of being fertilized. However, embryos from genistein-treated females developed more slowly than controls. Over time this difference disappeared.

What does it mean?
Genistein affects the uterus and the reproductive tract -- not the egg quality -- of the adult female mice that were treated with the soy phytoestrogen while in the womb. Fertilized embryos developing in the treated females did not attach and thrive as well as embryos in the control animals, even though eggs from genistein-treated females were as healthy as those from their unexposed counterparts.

The genistein-treated mice also lost more embryos early in their development. Embryo death means fewer births and higher rates of infertility.

Together, the results suggest that the uterus may be an important factor in genistein-induced infertility.

These findings pinpoint one actual cause of the observed infertility of early life exposure to genistein. They also highlight the need for a much better understanding of how soy infant formulas and other products fed to newborns and infants may influence a developing baby's reproductive life.

Egg quality was not affected by newborn genistein treatment. The immature eggs from genistein-treated mice developed normally and produced fertile female mice just like in the controls.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence that implies that newborns that eat soy-based products may be predisposed to lower reproductive success as adults.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Hormonal disorder leading cause of infertility

Most women have never heard of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), yet it is the leading cause of infertility in women and affects about one in 10 women in the United States.

PCOS is a widespread hormonal disorder found in premenopausal women. It can be treated, so it is important for women experiencing the symptoms of PCOS to see their health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Tracie Traver, who is on the active medical staff of Blount Memorial Hospital, says that common symptoms of PCOS include irregular or missed menstrual periods, infertility, increased hair growth, obesity and ovarian cysts. "PCOS is caused by an excess production of a hormone class called androgens. Androgens are male hormones that all women produce, but that women with PCOS produce in excess.

There is nothing that can be done to prevent PCOS or lower the risk, although weight control may have a positive effect on it."Women with signs of androgen excess who are not ovulating are considered to have PCOS. "Sometimes lab tests are ordered to be sure there is nothing else causing these symptoms," Traver adds. "An ultrasound may be done to look for small cysts on the ovaries, however, there are some patients who have the classic presentation for PCOS, yet the ultrasound doesn't show these cysts."Traver explains that treatment of PCOS helps control symptoms and can help prevent endometrial cancer, diabetes and heart disease. "Daily exercise of at least 30 minutes can help women with PCOS by improving insulin function as well as relieving other symptoms. Also, weight loss may lower insulin levels, which will help with restoring ovulation, and may slow new hair growth."

Medications used to treat PCOS include some medicines typically used by diabetics to help with insulin function. Birth control pills also may be used to control irregular cycles and lower endometrial cancer risk. Other medications are used to cause ovulation for women with fertility issues.

There also are medications available to control the hair growth.Traver recommends that women who are experiencing PCOS symptoms such as irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant and excess hair growth schedule an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist for diagnosis and treatment. "In severe cases, PCOS can lead to balding, lowering of the voice and bigger muscles," she adds. "Some women have a problem with their insulin levels or function, which leads to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. They also have an increased risk of endometrial cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease."If you would like to schedule an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist, call the Blount Memorial HEALTHLINE at 981-3983 for a free physician referral.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Woman has triplets against infertility odds

A woman who was told she could never have children has given birth to triplets. Sam Paciuszko, 31, gave birth 14 weeks early to two girls and a boy, each weighing just 2lb.

Mrs Paciuszko was told there was only a 30 per cent chance of all three surviving but they are now gaining weight and "doing well" as they are treated in three different hospitals for specialist treatment.
This has meant the couple making 400-mile round trips to see each one in turn.

The babies, Martha, Evie and Harry, are still in incubators in intensive care and are not expected to return home until March, the month they were originally due.

Mrs Paciuszko had been told she would never conceive because her body was not producing eggs but she began fertility treatment when she married her husband Andrew, a postman.

After three years of failure, Mrs Paciuszko had virtually abandoned hope until she fell pregnant last year. She gave birth by caesarean section on Dec 6.
Mrs Paciuszko, from Truro, Cornwall, an administration manager for Marks & Spencer, said doctors had performed "miracles".

She said: "It was a very lonely Christmas for Andrew and I because we spent it apart in different hospitals and eating microwave meals.
"We have not seen each other for three weeks. Nobody can give us a guarantee that they (the babies) will be OK but it is looking very good.
"The fact our babies are here at all is a miracle because we were told we could never have children. We just want to keep them safe."

During the pregnancy, the couple were given the option to terminate one foetus to ensure they had at least two healthy babies, but they declined.
Mrs Paciuszko gave birth at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon. A 20-strong specialist medical team delivered 1lb 13oz Harry at 10.12am, 2lb 2oz Martha at 10.14am and 1lb 12oz Evie at 10.16am.

Harry remained at Derriford while Martha was transferred to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, Bristol, for an operation on a perforated gut. Evie was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, to be near her home.
Harry and Evie are now both in incubators in Truro and Martha was expected to join them soon.

Hospital managers said the triplets had been moved to different units because they needed specialist care.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Assisted reproduction leads to 27 live births for every 100 IVF cycles: report

TORONTO — A new report says fertility clinics in Canada achieved a success rate of 27 live births for every 100 IVF cycles in 2006, the latest year for which statistics are available.

And the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society says the pregnancy rate for in vitro fertilization was 35 per cent in 2007, up nine percentage points since 1999, when the group first started collecting these statistics.
It was too soon to say what the rate of live births was for 2007, though it is generally expected that some of those pregnancies would have ended in miscarriage.

The report says about 15 per cent of pregnancies initiated using assisted reproduction through the society's 26 member clinics ended in miscarriage in 2006.
The live birth rates varied substantially by age, with 34 per cent of women under age 35 and 26 per cent of women aged 35 to 39 having a baby using IVF.

The rate dropped sharply, though, in women over age 40, with only 11 per cent of IVF cycles leading to a live birth.
How do the Canadian rates compare to those of fertility clinics in similar countries?
"Very well. They are very comparable," says Dr. Roger Pierson, chair of the communications committee of the society and director of the University of Saskatchewan's reproductive biology research unit.

The figures are the aggregate results of the country's 26 fertility clinics, which the clinics voluntarily provide. Pierson says that while some clinics will post their own rates on their websites, the society is not a regulatory body and does not release clinic-specific data.

He says the sector expects that when the Federal Assisted Human Reproduction Agency completes the task of drawing up its regulations, it will collect and publish clinic-specific results.

The 2006 data show that 70 per cent of babies born with the help of IVF were singletons and of the multiple births, 95 per cent were twins.
Over the years assisted reproduction has led to an explosion of multiple births. Experts have called for limits on the number of fertilized embryos implanted in each cycle with the aim of reducing the chances an IVF pregnancy will lead to multiple births.

The report says the proportion of babies born with congenital abnormalities was not elevated among IVF-assisted births.
Canadian women went through 8,278 cycles of IVF in 2006 in 25 fertility clinics across the country. In 2007 there were 9,019 treatment cycles performed through 26 clinics. The service costs between $6,000 and $15,000 a cycle, depending on the individual clinic and the type of procedure needed.