Monday, August 27, 2007

Obesity Link to Fertility Issues in Some Women

From Science News:
Report links obesity with infertility

Published: Aug. 24, 2007 at 12:05 AM
ADELAIDE, Australia, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- An Australian researcher says she has confirmed the link between obesity and infertility.

Cadence Minge from the Adelaide University Research Center for Reproductive Health said animal studies show that obese women whose eggs are damaged by high levels of fat and cholesterol have difficulty sustaining healthy embryos, The Age newspaper said Thursday.

"(Embryos) were much slower to divide and grow," Minge said. "And the way that the cells developed was also disturbed."

She found that some of the damage could be reversed using an anti-diabetic drug such as rosiglitazone, although the drug can have potentially serious side effects.

Minge said weight loss was a more effective way to restore fertility.

Stacey's comment:

It is great now that someone has confirmed why obesity can contribute to fertility issues. This protein is most likey effected secondary to the insulin resistance that a person who is obese is experiencing. Insulin resistance is also associated with leptin resistance and based on the book Mastering Leptin, leptin helps to regulate estrogen output in the ovary.

But please be caution regarding medication to control this. The medication that showed an improvement in mice (rosiglitazone otherwise known as Avandia), has been show to have serious side effects in humans increasing cardiovascular risk by up to 43% in people taking it to regulate diabetes. There have also been a few cases of liver failure.

Its important to remember that a quick fix usually isn't the best for your body and good old exercise and balanced eating plan are effective in improving fertility as well. A study by Dr. Anne Clarke, an IVF doctor in Australia showed this in women with PCO.

So if you find yourself experiencing fertility issues and are in the category of obese (Body Mass Index over 30) then it would be probably be beneficial to work with a naturopath, dietician, and or exercise specialist to addrss these issues.

We had one women who was on blood pressure medication and who had a BMI over 40, utilise our herbs and get on a regular exercise program and healthy eating plan. In one and a half years time she lost 80 pounds (37kilos), was able to get off her blood pressure medication, from which time her cycle improved drastically and 6 months later after a few missed conceptions (overdue cycles) she became pregnant naturally. Her husband experienced poor morphology as well and he improved this with a healthy eating plan and supplements.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sperm Injection Method or ICSI is said to be Gouging Patients with Unnecesary Costs

From the Associated Press:

Fertility Clinics Gouging Patients With Costly Technique (Wired News)
A sperm-injection method that is effective for one type of infertility problem is being used across the board, doing little except bloating the bill.

The technique referred to in the above statement found on the Associated press is a technique called ICSI. This technique involves injecting the sperm into the egg and basically removes natural selection completely from the process of trying to create a healthy embryo artificially.

Normally with IVF eggs are taken from the female and put in a petri dish along with about 100,000 sperm that were obtained by the male. Then after a certain amount of time hopefully a fertilisation takes place. Hopefully it is the healthiest and strongest of the sperm then that has fertilised the egg. This would simulate what happens when the sperm meets the egg following intercourse.

With ICSI however the IVF specialists take the sperm that they think looks the best and inserts it directly in the egg. This has been done in the past when there has been certain issues with the sperm requiring ICSI.

It appears that "The percentage of IVF cycles that used ICSI increased dramatically during the 10 year time span from 11 % of procedures to 57.5 percent of procedures while the percentage of diagnosis for male factor infertility remained steady." This is reported by Dr. Tarun Jain assistant professor of reporductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Chicago Illinois

He also adds "Further studies are needed to better understand the proper role of ICSI and and perhaps guidelines may be useful to determine what eh best indications are for the use of the technology in patients without male factor infertility".

It is also suggested that more studies need to be done regarding the possibility of assoicated risks such as genetic disorders and congenital anomalies when ICSI is used.

Stacey's comment:

I think the most important issue is that the patients involved should be explained what the procedures are and how they differ. Most patients that have had ICSI done without there being male factor fertility issues have said that their doctor told them the procedure was likely going to improve the chance for a fertilisation and have better pregnancy rates. Very few, if any, were given an explanation as to what the advantages and disadvantages were to the procedure and how it differed from a regular round of IVF.

This is especially important as patients are often having to pay out of pocket for their procedures (and complimentary programs) and adding ICSI in increases the bill.

Often times physicians will make the comment that taking herbs or supplements is just a waste of money but they don't often consider paying extra hundreds of dollars for a procedure that the patient is already paying thousands of dollars for as an issue.

At our clinic we strive to educate the patient so they can make decisions based on what they feel is best for their particular situation. It's important that they have all the facts to help them decide what procedures they feel comfortable with.

It isn't our place to make these decisions for the patient, but instead encourage them to do what they feel is best for themselves.

Can Plastics Negatively Impact Your Fertility?

Headlines in the Los Angeles Times this weekend reported information from a recent study about certain chemical compounds in certain widely used plastics can have a negative impact on the male and female reproductive system.

The article says:

"In an unusual effort targeting a single chemical, several dozen scientists on Thursday issued a strongly worded consensus statement warning that an estrogen-like compound in plastic is likely causing an array of serious reproductive disorders in people.

The compound, bisphenol A or BPA, is one of the highest-volume chemicals in the world and has found its way into the bodies of most human beings.

Used to make hard plastic, BPA can seep from beverage containers and other materials. It is used in all polycarbonate plastic baby bottles as well as other items, including large water cooler containers, sports bottles and microwave oven dishes, along with canned food liners and some dental sealants for children."

I have talked about the importance of minimising the use of plastics in your life to help you address your fertility issues. And this information just reiterates the fact that this is an important issue that each couple experiencing fertility issues should address.

On our website I have reprinted a "Smart Plastics Guide" which has helped many people make smart decision regarding plastic use in their every day lives. This can be found in the fertility tips section of our site about halfway down the page, once you log in.

You might remember the study that also showed the very real possibility of women being exposed to a common plastic while they were pregnant was correlated with deformities of the genitals of their newborn sons.

This is an often overlooked but very important issue regarding fertility and could be key to those dealing with "unexplained" fertility issues.

Remember to check out our website about Safe Plastic Use. Also when we find that patients are at risk of having excess estrogens in their tissues we do recommend specific testing to help these patients assess their situation. Ask your practitioner what they can do to assess this with you.Because not only does excess estrogens in the system affect fertility, excess estrogens accumulating in the body due to thyroid issues, adrenal issues, chemical exposure, and a variety of other possibilities, can lead to cancers, growths, tumors etc in the long or short term.

Make sure you are working with someone knowledgeable in this information to help you address this situation which could potentially be effecting your fertility and long term health.

We have many couples report to us that they felt that minimising the use of toxins such as these discussed today along with a good program including herbs formulated by professionals, supplements, and lifestyle changes and of course managing their stress levels had helped them become pregnant (both naturally and with reproductive procedures) within months of becoming really serious about incorporating these changes in their life.