Archive for the ‘Infertility’ Category
April 21 – 27 marks an awareness week that many people don’t know about: National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). During this week, the National Infertility Association sponsors events to raise awareness and advocacy about infertility.
The movement toward a week dedicated to talking about infertility began back in 1989, but it was not until 2010 that NIAW became fully recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services. Today, its main goals are to enhance the public’s understanding of infertility, and to educate legislators about infertility’s impact.
If you’re planning to have children in the future it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about infertility testing. Sometimes infertility is simply a matter of missing the right days of ovulation. If, however, you have tried timing conception with peak ovulation and have had no success, it may be time to have a fertility specialist conduct fertility tests. These may involve physical exams, semen analysis, blood tests, or other procedures.
For more information or to see if there are any NIAW events happening in your area, visit www.resolve.org. Do not let uncertainty about your fertility stop you from having the family you have always wanted.
In a recent article entitled “Ectopic Pregnancy Treatments Have Similar Effects on Fertility,” the results of a two-year study following women who had undergone treatment for ectopic pregnancies were published. Over 400 women in France who had an ectopic pregnancy were treated using one of three methods: a methotrexate injection which halted the pregnancy; conservative surgery, which preserved the fallopian tube; and radical surgery, which removed the fallopian tube. One part of the study compared those who received drug treatment to those who received conservative surgery. The other part of the study compared the conservative surgery to the radical surgery.
Two years after treatment, the pregnancy rates following each treatment were fairly comparable: 67 percent for those who underwent drug treatment, 70 percent for conservative surgery, and 64 percent for radical surgery.
Dr. Hershlag, chief of the Center of Human Reproduction located at North Shore University Hospital, was mentioned in this article and said these reportings “reaffirm our experience that [nonsurgical] medical treatment is sufficient in most cases of ectopic pregnancy,” if the ectopic condition is discovered early enough.
This is good news for women who have undergone treatment for ectopic pregnancies, giving them hope that a normal pregnancy is still possible even after such treatment.
To learn more about fertility treatment or assistance for those who have experienced ectopic pregnancy, contact The Center for Human Reproduction at 516-562-2229.
Can common chemicals hurt fertility? A recent study suggests that exposure to common household chemicals may hamper a couple’s efforts to conceive a child.
This morning the National Institute of Health (NIH) released a study that found couples with higher levels of certain mostly banned chemicals, such as PCBs, in their blood took longer to get pregnant than couples with lower levels.
The Center for Human Reproduction’s very own Dr. Christine Mullin explains how we can avoid over exposure to chemicals in the article that follows.
Chemicals in the kitchen may put human reproduction at risk.
Exposure to common chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may hamper a couple’s efforts to conceive a child, a new study shows.
“This suggests that some environmental chemicals might be important for human reproduction, specifically the time it takes couples to get pregnant,” said lead researcher Germaine Buck Louis, director of the division of epidemiology, statistics and prevention research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Rockville, Md.
Despite being banned, PCBs and other similar chemicals are still present in the environment. “The chemicals in this paper are commonly referred to as persistent environmental chemical compounds, meaning that when they get into the environment they don’t break down,” Louis explained.
Exposure often originates in the family kitchen, where processed and high-fat foods harbor the compounds. Heating plastic containers in the microwave oven also ups the risk of exposure, experts say.
“Humans are exposed largely through their diet,” Louis said. “It takes a long time for these chemicals to clear from the body, but the key is to try to minimize new exposure.”
One way to do that is to trim the fat from fish and meat, which is where some of these chemicals are absorbed, the researchers noted.
Their report was published online Nov. 14 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
For the study, Louis’ team collected data on 501 couples who gave blood samples so the researchers could measure the levels of these chemicals. In addition, the women kept a record of their menstrual cycles and the results of home pregnancy tests.
Over a year of follow-up, they found as the levels of chemicals increased, the odds of getting pregnant decreased. For women exposed to PCBs and the perfluorchemical known as perfluorooctane sulfonamide, the odds dropped by 18 percent to 21 percent.
Perfluorooctane sulfonamide belongs to a class of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyls, which have been used in fire-fighting foams.
For men, the odds dropped 17 percent to 29 percent for those exposed to PCBs and DDE, which is produced by degrading of the pesticide DDT. Although DDT was banned in the United States, it is still used in some countries, the researchers noted.
A previous study by this same group found high blood levels of lead and cadmium — two common metals — were also tied to delayed pregnancy.
PCBs have been used as coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment. They are in a category of chemicals known as persistent organochlorine pollutants and include industrial chemicals and chemical byproducts as well as pesticides.
These chemicals are ubiquitous and found in soil, water, and in the food chain. They don’t readily decay, and may stay in the environment for decades. Some of these chemicals, known as persistent lipophilic organochlorine pollutants, accumulate in fatty tissues.
Other chemicals, called perfluorochemicals, are used in clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant, non-stick cooking surfaces, and in the insulation of electrical wire.
Some of the delays in pregnancy may have been due to exposure to several chemicals, the researchers added.
“There is really no way to avoid exposure to these chemicals,” said Shanna Swan, vice chair for research and mentoring in the department of preventive medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
“The best thing to do is keep your exposure down to a dull roar,” she said.
Moreover, the effects of newer chemicals used to replace these older ones aren’t yet known, Swan said.
To reduce exposure to these and other chemicals, Swan advises, eat pesticide-free food, don’t eat processed food and don’t microwave food in plastic containers.
In addition, Swan believes products should be labeled with their chemical contents.
Another expert, Dr. Christine Mullin, a reproductive endocrinologist/infertility specialist at the Center for Human Reproduction at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., commented that these findings are “not surprising.”
“We have added so many pollutants to the environment that it’s just a matter of time until it started to affect women’s ability to conceive,” she said.
Mullin noted that exposure to these chemicals affects men’s sperm and may also affect women’s eggs.
She encouraged people to watch what they eat.
“Live as healthy a life as possible,” she said.
If you have any questions related to the health of your fertility, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.
To view the original article, you can visit News Max Health.
A Personal Story by Gail Fernandez, RN- Nurse Supervisor
It’s no surprise I ended up working in the field of Human Reproduction. Having been on an infertility journey myself, I was drawn there. The special feeling I had inside after having been through the ordeal never left me. I wanted to help those with the anguish, depression, failure and feelings of worthlessness that I too once experienced.
These heartaches run deep, they hurt so badly. To compound these feelings of despair, you have to ‘buckle up’ and smile when you hear from your friend or sister in law or cousin when they revel in the delight of a newly diagnosed pregnancy. It seems to pervade your life. Everyone you know is pregnant except you.
I’ll never forget the devastating feeling of being in the bathroom and crying because once again, another month gone by and I got my period. It’s an indescribable feeling that hurts so much it’s nearly unbearable– and though my husband was supportive, I never really felt that he understood this feeling of hopelessness.
So the days and the months and the years went by– my life became like clockwork, analyzing the countless temperature charts (this was before the days of IVF). Sex became a chore rather than a pleasure. The clinic visits, the testing, the pills, the temperatures, the hunger for information…….
My story ends on a happy note, though bittersweet. I kept at it. We adopted a wonderful baby boy only to succumb to another devastating loss when the birth mother changed her mind. Three months after this life changing incident, lo and behold, I was pregnant with twins!!!
Therein, lies the ecstasy. I had a relatively uneventful pregnancy though emotionally charged. It was perhaps the most memorable experience of my life. I now have not only my 26 year old identical girls but also a ’surprise’ 22 year old boy. Be it a prayer, luck or God’s will, I consider myself blessed.
I urge everybody to pursue their goals because there is an answer for everyone. Work through the pain, keep yourselves busy and persevere. That being said, when we get the news of a birth from our patients it brings a joyful tear to my eye. The best part of my job is seeing our patients realize their dreams.