Maca, the Peruvian root vegetable, is touted on the internet as an aphrodisiac and fertility aid.
Clinical trials have shown that maca has favorable effects on energy and mood, may decrease anxiety and improve sexual desire. Maca has also been shown to improve sperm production, sperm motility, and semen volume.
However there have not been significant clinical results showing a positive impact on female fertility.
IVF breakthrough as scientists discover chemical signal that can predict if embryo will be accepted by the womb.
Embryos, which were deemed the most promising were found to give off a chemical called trypsin, the function of which is to prepare the womb prior to implantation. If no trypsin is detected the womb responds by appearing to issue an 'alarm response' which eliminates what is perceived to be a genetically flawed embryo.
Currently less than 30 per cent of IVF cycles successfully result in the birth of a healthy baby, the Times reports. Nick Macklon, professor of obsterics and gynaecology at the University of Southampton told the newspaper: 'Only about one third of the top-quality embryos are implanting, which means there's a lot of room for improvement.'
At present, there are only basic measures available to predict the chances of a patient having a successful pregnancy. These include the patient's age, medical and genetic history and existing statistics on the percentage of IVF cycles which succeed.
Often doctors will select a healthy embryo during IVF only for a woman to suffer an unexplained miscarriage. This means many couples endure several rounds of treatment in the hope of a successful pregnancy. The new findings could go a long way to explain why some women suffer miscarriages and others fail to get pregnant.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2555623/IVF-breakthrough-scientists-discover-chemical-signal-predict-embryo-accepted-womb.html
5 Foods that boost fertility: Avocado, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, eggs and buckwheat.
The fruit is high in monounsaturated fats, which could improve fertility. One study found that women who ate the highest amount of these healthy nutrients while undergoing IVF therapy had triple the success rate of those who ate the lowest.
Take down a handful three times a week. Rich in zinc, the little suckers can help balance the reproductive hormones that lead to high-quality human eggs.
The spice has insulin-reducing powers and may help increase your ovulation rate. Sprinkle it into your smoothies.
Eat 'em in poached or soft-boiled form (no scrambling!) twice a week. Keeping the yolks runny preserves their vitamin D and B6 content, both of which spur the production of progesterone, a hormone necessary for pregnancy.
The seed is rich in compounds that help lower insulin and testosterone levels, a process that can enhance ovulation. Cook up a quarter cup to eat with dinner three times a week.
Excerpted rom Redbook's article on getting pregnant over 40, it isn't the cakewalk celebs make it appear to be. But, the birth rate for women ages 40 to 44 increased by 3 percent from 2008 to 2009.
1. Here are the real numbers.
Women over 40 have less than a 5-percent chance of getting pregnant naturally during any given reproductive cycle, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. With the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), the success rate rises to between 6 and 10 percent, finds the American Pregnancy Association.
2. If you do get pregnant, it may not be with your own eggs.
We can blame Hollywood for this misconception. “Older pregnant celebs often don’t 'fess up to using eggs donated from a younger woman,” says Goldberg. A study in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that 40-year-old women treated for infertility have only a 25-percent chance of getting pregnant with their own eggs. By age 43, that number drops to 10 percent, and at 44, it’s only 1.6 percent.
3. A healthy weight can make a big difference.
Yet another reason to stay—or get—in shape: In a recent study of more than 53,000 women, those over 40 who were at a healthy weight when they conceived lowered their risk for Caesarean section, premature birth, low birth-weight, and gestational diabetes, which is particularly common in older pregnant women, says Goldberg.
4. Your odds of miscarriage are higher.
As eggs age, they’re more likely to develop genetic abnormalities that prevent a fetus from growing to full-term. Many miscarriages happen because the baby would not have been born healthy, and, sadly, there’s no amount of prenatal vitamins—or desire for a child—that can prevent the heartbreaking event. Harvard Medical School researchers found among those who underwent IVF a miscarriage rate of 24 percent for 40-year-olds, 38 percent for 43-year-olds, and 54 percent for 44-year-olds.
5. The age of the father matters too.
Older men are often patted on the back for their virility—Tony Randall was 77, after all, when he passed out the cigars—but their fertility also declines over time.
6. Fertility treatments aren’t miracle workers.
If you’re over 40 with regular monthly menstrual cycles, try getting pregnant the natural way for six months—younger women are usually advised to wait a year—before seeking fertility treatments. However, if your period is irregular, see a doctor right away. And if you do end up in an M.D.'s office, expect to undergo standard tests, like checks for fibroids in the uterus and fallopian tubes.
7. There are many ways to get eggs.
If your own aren’t panning out, you still have lots of options, like using a known donor—often a friend or family member—going through an egg-donor agency, or soliciting candidates by putting an ad in a local college newspaper. But there have also been a lot of advancements in egg-freezing technology (by which you choose an egg as opposed to an egg donor) in just the last two years.
8. Genetic testing of embryos improves the odds of IVF success. With new technology, fertility docs test embryos prior to implantation, allowing them to select the healthiest ones and increase your odds of a successful pregnancy. “We recently published data that found that selective transfer of embryos resulted in pregnancy rates that were not much different between younger women and those up to age 42,” says
9. Being wrinkle-free won’t do much good.
Alas, you can’t fool Mother Nature—even if you can pass for a decade younger than you actually are. “It's the genetic content of embryos and the mother's age, not her physical health, that determine fertility,” says Surrey. That said, some supplements may boost the eggs you still have left. DHEA, which you can buy over-the-counter at any pharmacy, has been shown to improve the odds of conceiving for those struggling with infertility. “Co Q10 may have a similar potential benefit,” says Surrey.
10. You may want to skip the midwife or home birth.
It may sound more relaxing and natural than checking into the hospital, but the older you are, the higher your risk of complications like diabetes, hypertension, and other potentially dangerous situations that need to be monitored carefully.
Read more: Redbook
Stephanie Hawkins is one of the 6.7 million women in the U.S. who struggle with infertility. But when she and her husband Ben realized they wouldn’t be able to have biological children, the Rochester, NY couple decided it was time to try to start their family another way.
“[Using a sperm or egg donor] seemed like going outside of our marriage,” Hawkins, now 33, told FoxNews.com. “So we decided [a baby] will either be from both of us or…we’ll go the route of adoption.”
But instead of a traditional adoption, the couple decided to pursue another option: embryo donation – also sometimes referred to as embryo “adoption.”
When a woman undergoes in vitro fertilization (IVF), she freezes a number of embryos in order to achieve a successful pregnancy – sometimes those frozen embryos go unused for various reasons. Embryo donation refers to the process in which a woman chooses to donate unused IVF embryos– usually anonymously – to a clinic so another woman can have a child.
For people with leftover embryos, their options include donation, destroying the embryos, keeping them frozen or allowing them to be used for scientific research. For this reason, Stephanie and Ben felt embryo donation was not only a good option for their family – but also the “pro-life” thing to do.
“These embryos, rather than being discarded or thrown out like trash, or used to be researched on in some lab or just sitting indefinitely frozen in limbo…you’re giving them this chance at life, releasing them from their frozen state,” Hawkins said.
A unique way to start a family
To help them start their family, Stephanie and Ben chose Nightlight Christian Adoptions’ Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program, after receiving referrals from both a family friend and their obstetrician.
According to Kimberly Tyson, marketing and program director for Snowflakes Embryo Adoption, Nightlight chooses to employ the phrase embryo ‘adoption’ – as opposed to ‘donation’ – because the organization believes in utilizing practices common in traditional adoptions to match embryo donors with recipients.
Typically, embryo donations occur anonymously, requiring no contact between the donor and recipient, Dr. Paula Amato, the chair of the ethics committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) told FoxNews.com in an email.
The Snowflake Embryo Adoption program is unique in that it is one of a few clinics in the United States that allows the donor family to have a say in who receives their embryos – encouraging open communication between families after a donation results in a birth. Furthermore, recipients go through screening processes similar to those seen in adoption.
“We treat [donors] in this perspective like a woman with an unplanned pregnancy, though the comparison ends there,” Tyson told FoxNews.com. “A birth mother chooses which family she will place her children with, and we feel donor parents should have same ability to choose who their embryos go with.”
Controversies surrounding embryo donation and ‘adoption’
The legal status of embryos in the United States has long been a topic of debate. In fact, in 2006, Nightlight Christian Adoptions was drawn into the debate surrounding the ethics of using embryos for scientific research when President George W. Bush invited the families of ‘Snowflake’ children to attend an event in which he vetoed increased funding for embryonic stem cell research.
The term embryo ‘adoption’ is also controversial in the world of assisted reproductive technology.
In a paper from the ASRM’s Ethics Committee, the group states that, “Embryos are deserving of special respect, but they should not be afforded the same status as persons. Adoption refers to a specific legal procedure that establishes or transfers parentage of existing children. Application of the term ‘adoption’ to embryos is inaccurate, is misleading, and could place burdens upon infertile recipients and should be avoided.”
However, Tyson noted that while Nightlight utilizes the best practices of adoption for their embryo donations, they’re aware that embryo ‘adoption’ is nothing like traditional adoption from a legal standpoint.
“Everybody wants to know: Do you have to finalize in court like regular adoption?” Tyson said. “And the answer to that is ‘no’ because in the U.S. the woman who gives birth is considered the legal parent and the man she is married to is considered father unless they go to lengths to prove otherwise.”
A donation success story
Through Nightlight, Stephanie and Ben eventually matched with a donor. After going through the application process and a home study, the couple “adopted” the donor’s three leftover embryos – and in 2009, Stephanie gave birth to their daughter.
Stephanie and Ben have a good relationship with their donor family, and regularly exchange emails and pictures. They also agreed to a meeting between the two families when their daughter was 2 years old.
Overall, Stephanie said the process has been great and she would recommend it to other families.
“It’s a really cool thing that you’re doing, in the process you get to have your child or children but you’re also helping lives,” Hawkins said.
Tyson said she wishes more of the embryos that are simply destroyed or abandoned could be donated to other women seeking children. Furthermore, Nightlight works with all types of families to facilitate donations.
“We work with people of all faiths, no faiths…the LGBT community, we’ve worked with all of these groups,” Tyson said.
“The Baby Chase: How Surrogacy Is Transforming the American Family,” by Leslie Morgan Steiner is a true story about surrogacy and egg donors.
The book describes the history of surrogacy and donor eggs, and how they developed over time. It follows a couple, Rhonda and Gerry Wile, and the Indian doctors and surrogate who ultimately help them to create their family after many false starts.
Every issue is covered: the choice of a donor egg, the selection of a surrogate, the medical processes, and the ethics of it all.
A must-read if you are considering either surrogacy or egg donation. And we know several very very happy mamas who have gone through both, so consider it!
A ‘no-frills’ IVF treatment costing under £1,000 should be available to British women within weeks.
The budget procedure, which was developed last year, economises on expensive drugs and incubators. Instead, it uses a cheap test-tube set and a chemical reaction inspired by Alka-Seltzer hangover tablets.
Despite its low-tech approach, a pilot study showed the treatment to be at least as effective as the conventional equivalent, which costs up to £15,000.
Dr Geeta Nargund, of the Walking Egg foundation, who is bringing the procedure to Britain, believes it will allow the NHS to pay for more IVF treatments.
Thousands of women are denied IVF each year because health trusts cannot afford the cost, leaving patients to choose between finding the thousands of pounds needed to go private or remain childless.
The cheap new technique has been tested in Belgium, where a third of the women involved became pregnant, resulting in 16 births. Dr Nargund’s London clinic, Create, will now treat 50 women aged 37 or younger, comparing their progress with 50 given normal IVF.
If the study is a success, the technique could be generally available by later this year.
Read more: Dailymail.co.uk
Interesting article on egg freezing in the New York Times.
Unfortunately, the quality of the eggs depends on when you froze them, the younger the better. I feel compelled to tell younger women to freeze their eggs, don't some of you?
Interesting facts from the article:
"Fertility doctors don’t have a consensus about how many eggs you should freeze; I was told I should aim for anywhere from 12 to 30. That would be enough for two to four embryo transfers, each of which has a 30 percent to 50 percent chance of resulting in a pregnancy."
"Each retrieval cycle costs $10,000 to $12,000 and usually nets eight to 14 eggs. At some clinics, prices have dropped to $7,000 per cycle — still out of many people’s reach. One new program begun last month at Shady Grove Fertility, which has clinics in the Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas, offers freezers under 37 the chance to put away 20 eggs within four cycles for $12,500."
Egg freezing is out of reach for many, but as technology improves and prices drop, it may offer future generations much better odds.
Fertility Myths Excerpted From HuffPo:
1. Most couples can conceive as soon as they start trying.
The truth is that a young couple at the peak of their fertility has only a 25% chance at best each month of conceiving. After trying for a year, 85% of young couples will conceive. It is only after a year of trying that the chance of pregnancy decreases to 5%; and, these couples will likely need medical assistance to get pregnant.
2. A woman can get pregnant until the time she stops ovulating with menopause.
Between 31 and 35 years of age, the chance of spontaneously conceiving decreases about 3% per year. After age 35, the rate of decline accelerates and by the age of 40, over half of couples are infertile. By 45, women have less than a 5% chance of becoming pregnant. Why? Although a woman in her 40s may still be ovulating, the eggs are of poorer quality.
3. There is nothing I can do to stop "the clock."
While it is true that there is nothing one can do to stop the affect of age on our fertility, technology has advanced to allow women to freeze their eggs when they are young and at the peak of fertility. Several years ago vitrification (flash freezing technology as opposed to slow freezing) was introduced and has proven to be a successful and reliable means to preserve an egg. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) showed the success rates using a vitrified egg were equal to those of a vitrified embryo, and subsequently took the experimental label off the process making elective egg freezing accessible to more women.
4. A man's fertility does not decline with age.
The older the man, the more difficult it is to conceive due to a decline in semen quality and an increase in DNA fragmentation seen in the sperm. In addition to problems with sperm, male aging is also associated with decreased sexual activity and erectile dysfunction.
5. If a couple cannot get pregnant, it must be because of the female partner.
A deficiency in sperm quality or quantity is the primary problem in 20% of infertile couples. In another 30-40% of couples, there are both female-related and male-related fertility issues.
6. If I undergo IVF, I will end up with twins or triplets.
Over the past four decades, the increased availability and use of infertility treatments has resulted in an increase in multiple births and an increase in the associated complications. Therefore, in 1998 the doctors who practice IVF proposed a set of guidelines to limit the number of embryos transferred during IVF. In addition, improvements in lab procedures and cryopreservation have allowed the number of elective single embryo transfers. According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine report this has resulted in a 29% decline in triplet and higher order multiple pregnancies.
Read more at Huffington Post
After years of infertility, heartache and painstaking research I got pregnant naturally at age 43! ! Now I want to share everything I've learned to help other women struggling with infertility and IVF.