Sunday, December 26, 2010

Encouraging Results For Rocking The Cradle After 45

Career women who put babies on hold until after 40, or even 45, will be reassured by new research from Tel Aviv University. Even though there are associated risks for babies when postponing child-bearing, the neonates can overcome them, says Prof. Yariv Yogev of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Hospital for Women at Rabin Medical Center.
Working as a clinician in Israel, a country that supports in vitro fertilization (IVF) in older women, Prof. Yogev and his colleagues investigated the outcomes for mothers of 45 or more and their children. They personally assessed adverse health risks so they could more effectively advise future patients of any foreseeable dangers. "I'd been an attending physician in a delivery ward to a woman over 60 who had twins. I wanted to know if it's ethical to treat older women like this - I wanted to know if it's safe for both mother and child," Prof. Yogev explains.
In a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Prof. Yogev reports on evidence collected on more than 200 births in older women. Included in the study were 177 women over the age of 45 and 20 above the age of 50.
A natural center of older moms
There are more complications in pregnancies for older women, Prof. Yogev explains, but the risks are considerably lessened in a good birthing center. Most older women, he says, will deliver a healthy child, and the majority of complications that arise in women over 40 are health risks such as gestational
diabetes or preeclampsia. For the most part these risks do not affect the newborn after three days have passed.
Frequent IVF cycles are covered by the social health insurance system in Israel, which provided Prof. Yogev with extensive data on pregnancy outcomes. Also, he says, a growing number of women past 50, when Israel's coverage stops, are opting to fly abroad for insemination by an egg donor.
While Prof. Yogev does not encourage waiting later than 40 to start having children naturally - the rates of female fertility drop considerably after this point - the results show that would-be mothers can still give birth to healthy babies even if mom is 45 or even 50.
Blessings and risks: The hard numbers
The complications that mothers over 40 can expect include a 300% greater chance for gestational diabetes and
high blood pressure during their pregnancies. Older women also have higher rates of preterm births and placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta blocks the opening to the birth canal. Prof. Yogev's study found that nine percent of older moms had high blood pressure, which affects only 3% of younger mothers. And an advanced age shortened the pregnancy to less than 37 weeks, compared to the normal 40 week gestation period. Severe bleeding after birth, and metabolic problems in the newborns were additional risk factors found in greater rates among older moms.
After 50, the risks and complications in women became more severe. But the babies themselves, Prof. Yogev says, overcame the risks in the short term.
The study was conducted on women at Rabin Medical Center in Israel, where Prof. Yogev is a practicing gynaecologist/obstetrician.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prevent OHSS During IVF Treatments

A common side effect of ovarian stimulating drugs given during a normal IVF treatment is Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome or OHSS. This condition annually affects more than 40,000 women who are undergoing IVF treatments. While in many cases this syndrome is mild, causing only bloating, weight gain, or abdominal pain, in some cases OHSS can be life threatening leading to serious blood clots, kidney damage or ovarian damage. A new study out of England now says that in order to minimize the risk of OHSS, women should drink a strong cup of coffee with every IVF cycle as caffeine just may help to prevent the onset of OHSS.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Healthy Women Freeze Eggs To Delay Childbearing

As more women delay childbearing until their 30s and 40s, a growing number are freezing their eggs in a process known as oocyte cryopreservation, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The process is most commonly used by women undergoing medical treatments that could affect fertility. However, the procedure is now being marketed as an option for healthy women who want to delay having children.
Nicole Noyes, co-director of the
Oocyte Cryopreservation Program at the New York University Fertility Center, said that women lose much of their natural fertility between ages 35 and 40 and that the quality of their eggs decreases with age, which can increase their chances of miscarrying.The two- to three-week oocytpe cryopreservation process involves taking fertility medications that mature multiple eggs in the ovaries. Those eggs are then extracted, gently dehydrated and stored in liquid nitrogen. When the woman wants to become pregnant, the eggs are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryos.The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that the process is "experimental" and warns that healthy women should not use it as a way to defer reproductive aging until there is more "proven scientific information" on it.Glenn Schattman, associate professor of reproductive medicine at Cornell University's Weil Medical College and co-author of the ASRM guidelines, said that about 50% of fertility clinics offer egg freezing.
There is no national registry to track how many pregnancies derived from previously frozen eggs, but according to a 2009 study, 936 infants have been born from frozen eggs throughout the world without any increased rate of birth defects.According to Noyes, the freezing process costs about $9,500 with some private clinics charging an addition $1,000 to $3,000. The thaw cycle costs between $3,500 and $5,000 (Deardoff, Chicago Tribune, 4/2).

Friday, March 12, 2010

Strong Period Pain and Excess Weight in Childhood Increases Risk of Endometriosis, Study Finds

scientists have identified a new link between strong period pain experienced in adolescence and early adulthood and the risk of endometriosis.

Researchers from QIMR's Gynaecological Cancer Laboratory have found having strong period pain often at an early age doubles a woman's risk of developing endometriosis.

The study also found that girls starting their menstrual cycle after 14 years old had a significantly decreased risk of endometriosis.

Researchers analysed information from more than 500 Australian women -- making this one of the largest studies of its kind. Information about early menstrual characteristics in women with moderate to severe endometriosis was compared to data from women who had not been diagnosed with endometriosis.

"Although the relationship between menstrual characteristics and endometriosis has been studied extensively, most research has focused on the recent menstrual cycle characteristics of women with the disease. Our research is one of the first studies to look at the factors contributing to the development of endometriosis long before symptoms and diagnosis occur," said Dr Christina Nagle from QIMR.

In a related study last year, Dr Nagle and her team found that being overweight at 10 years of age also doubles the risk of developing endometriosis in later life.

"Our research aims to better understand the signs and symptoms before the disease develops and to help identify women at higher risk. Early intervention will result in better health outcomes for women with this condition."

To date, there is no known cause or cure for endometriosis, which affects 10% of women, causing severe pain and reduced fertility, in many cases. Disease symptoms can be managed through pain medication, hormone treatment or surgery, or a combination of each.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Signs of Ovulation

Ways to Detect Signs of Ovulation
By Rachel Gurevich

Signs of ovulation aren’t difficult to notice, once you know what to look for. Some signs of ovulation help warn you that ovulation is approaching, allowing you to time sex for pregnancy. Other signs of ovulation let you know that ovulation has passed. While there are many methods below, don’t think that you should use them all.

As ovulation approaches, your
cervical mucus changes in amount and consistency. When you’re not ovulating, cervical mucus may appear sticky or creamy, or may be entirely absent. As ovulation approaches, cervical mucus become more abundant, takes on a watery to raw-egg-white-like consistency, and stretches up to an inch or more between your fingers.
· 100% free.
· Considered to be one of the most accurate indicators for timing sex for pregnancy.
· Get to know your body better.
· Some people are grossed out by the idea.
· Not a definite sign. You can have fertile cervical mucus, and not ovulate. (Common in women with
Clomid or antihistamines may dry up your cervical mucus, which may make detection difficult.
More about ovulation and cervical mucus:
How to Check Your Cervical Mucus
What Is Hostile Cervical Mucus?

Sign of Ovulation #2 – Increased Sexual Desire
Turns out nature does know what it’s doing (sometimes, anyway.) Research has shown what many of us already notice: Women experience an increase in sexual desire when they are most fertile. This is a couple days before you ovulate, which is the right time to have sex if you want to get pregnant.
· Doesn’t require any know-how. Just being in tune with your feelings.
· Worse comes to worse, if you have sex and you weren’t about to ovulate, you still (hopefully) had a nice time with your partner. Nothing lost!
· The stress of trying to conceive can squash sexual feelings. Also, depression or anxiety, common in couples
coping with infertility, can lower sexual desire.
· It’s not a definite sign of ovulation. You may notice an increase in sexual desire at any time in your cycle, including right before your period, or even after watching a great Johnny Depp or Pierce Brosnan movie. (Or maybe that’s just me.)
More on ovulation and sex:
In the Mood? You May Be Ovulating!
Are You Timing Sex Right for Pregnancy?
How Often Should You Have Sex To Get Pregnant?

Sign of Ovulation #3 – Body Basal Temperature Changes
Body basal temperature charting is perhaps the most popular method of tracking ovulation among women trying to get pregnant. Your body basal temperature will rise by a few tenths of a degree, and stay elevated, after ovulation. This rise in temperature is caused by the hormone progesterone, which increases immediate after ovulation. By charting your body basal temperature, you can detect this increase in temperature.
· If your temperature rises, you can be almost positive that you ovulated.
· It’s low cost, and almost free (except for the purchase of a thermometer, which you probably already have).
· May help your doctor make a
· Won’t warn you that ovulation is coming, but only confirm that it has passed.
· If your sleep patterns are unusually erratic, or you work the nightshift, body basal temperature charting will probably not work for you.
· Some women feel overwhelmed by taking their temperature every morning. Also, worrying about every little fluctuation in temperature can make some women more anxious than they already are. It can easily become a bit of an obsession.
More on body basal temperature charting and ovulation:
Step-by-Step Instructions on Charting Your Body Basal Temperature
How to Take Your Body Basal Temperature
Everything You Need to Know About BBT Charting

Sign of Ovulation #4 – Changes in Cervical Position
Just as your cervical mucus changes as ovulation approaches, your cervical position also goes through changes. When you’re most fertile, your cervix will be higher, softer, and more open.
· It’s free.
· Get to know your body better.
· May help you figure out if you’re ovulating, even when your cervical mucus is drier from Clomid or antihistamines.
· Takes practice to get a feel (no pun intended) for the differences.
· Some people are grossed out by the idea.
· Not a definite sign of ovulation. Like with cervical mucus, you can have fertile cervical signs but not actually ovulate.
More on cervical position:
How to Check Your Cervical Position
Where Is Your Cervix?

Sign of Ovulation #5 -- Breast Tenderness
Some women experience tenderness in their breasts just before or after ovulation. This is related to the hormones rushing in your body, getting ready for the potential of pregnancy. For me personally, the last confirmation I have that ovulation has occurred is breast tenderness.
· It’s free.
· Helps you get to know your body better.
· It’s by no means an accurate indicator of ovulation.
· Breast tenderness may come before or after ovulation, as well as right before menstruation and as a side effect of some
fertility drugs.
· Getting too obsessed about how tender your breasts feel can lead obsessing over imaginary pregnancy symptoms.
More on imaginary pregnancy symptoms:
Feeling Pregnant? All About Imaginary Pregnancy Symptoms
Two Week Wait Survival Tips
Early Pregnancy Signs
Another common way of detecting ovulation is with an ovulation predictor test kit. Ovulation predictor kits, sometimes referred to as OPK tests, require you to either pee on a test stick, or dip a special paper into a cup of collected urine, once a day for a week before you expect to ovulate. There are two lines on the test strip. Whenever the test line is darker than the control line, the test has detected an
LH surge. (This is the exact same hormone that causes fertile cervical mucus.)
· If
body basal temperature (BBT) charting is not an option, an ovulation predictor kit can be used. Also, if cervical mucus is dried up from medications, OPK tests can help.
· As opposed to BBT charting, you ideally only need to bother with the tests for a week before you expect to ovulate.
· When BBT charting gives unusual or confusing results, some women use ovulation predictor kits as an additional confirmation of ovulation.
· Expensive compared to other methods of ovulation detection. An ovulation predictor test kit for one cycle costs anywhere from $10 – 20 dollars. Over a year, that can add up.
· Determining when the test line is darker than the control line isn’t always easy.
· You can miss the LH surge and never see a darker line. For example, if you test Monday morning, and your LH surged Monday afternoon, by Tuesday morning, when you test again, it may be over already. (Some women test more than once a day for this reason – raising the cost.)
· If you ovulate irregularly, you may need more than one kit per cycle.
· Not a definite sign. You can have positive OPK results, and not ovulate. You can also have more than one LH surge detected per cycle, but only the last of those surges correlates to possible ovulation. (Common in women with