Before mistletoe was used for coaxing people into kissing, it used to be an ancient symbol for fertility. “In previous times, it was held in high regard because it was rootless, green and thriving when the tree it was on looked dead. Celtic druids latched onto it as some sort of supernatural fertility symbol—everything was a fertility symbol to druids—and it became part of popular culture from there.”
Today, researchers are learning more about the plant and discovering it could contain a compound that helps fight obesity-related liver disease. So far the only tests have been done on mice but those showed very positive results, according to an article published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times for people who have struggled with infertility. If this has been the case with you, do not delay in seeing your fertility doctor. Soon you could be on the path to parenthood.
Dr. Tomer Singer says the University of Michigan study is interesting but it’s small scale means it comes with limitations.
“They would probably have to repeat this in a larger group before coming to any conclusions,” he said. Also, Singer said that testing saliva is less accurate than testing blood for the hormones studied.
The couples in the sample were mostly white, highly educated and with a relatively high income. So they might not be as stressed financially as others, he added, which might explain why there was no increase in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The ideas as to why the changes occur also need more study, he said.
As more and more women wait to have children, their spouses are forced to postpone parenthood as well. In the 70’s less than 15% of all men fathering children were over 35 years of age. Today, more than 25% of fathers are over the age of 35 and there is an even more notable increase in men 50 to 54 years of age. Whereas most women realize their biological clock ticks as they age, the same cannot be said for men. Until recently, popular belief held that men could easily father children regardless of age. However, mounting evidence is showing otherwise. A recent study concluded that a man’s chances of fathering a child decrease with each passing year and that the volume, motility and structure of sperm all decline with age which is consistent with previous studies. Moreover, there is the suggestion that not only does a man’s age effect a couples chance of pregnancy but may affect the pregnancy itself, with reports of higher risk of obstetric complications, miscarriage, and offspring disorders such as autism, Down syndrome, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Therefore, clinicians and the general public need to be aware of the risks associated with male age on both fertility and pregnancy outcomes.
Read more about this study, collated and reviewed by researchers at the University of Utago.
Dr. Tomer Singer was interviewed on the results of a recent study linking defects in sperm within semen to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and skin and glandular disorders.
“The result of this study will allow us to help our patients lead healthier lifestyles, consume less medication, which can also affect sperm quality, and increase the chance of normal sperm production.” Dr. Tomer Singer
Poor semen quality may not be an isolated issue; a new study has shown than men with infertility often have other medical issues.
“Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine examined the 1994 to 2011 medical data of 9,387 men, ages 30 to 50, with fertility problems to determine if there was a link between semen and overall health. The researchers examined the semen samples of the participants and evaluated the volume, concentration and motility. About half of the samples were abnormal while the rest had some defects. The analysis showed that 44 percent of the participants had other health problems aside from fertility, such as hypertension, vascular disease, heart disease, skin disease or endocrine disorder.”
According to lead researcher Dr. Michael Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology and director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at the Stanford School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, “We should be paying more attention to these millions of men. Infertility is a warning: problems with reproduction may mean problems with overall health.”
Scientists are trying to figure out the next steps in the road to healthiness for men. By treating their other health problems, it’s possible men can improve their semen quality. On the flip side, it’s possible that medication to improve the other health issues could be negatively affecting the semen quality. Regardless, the best things to do to improve your semen quality and health in general are to be regularly exercising and eating a healthy diet.
Talk to your doctor today about any questions or concerns you have about your ability to conceive.
A recent report in the Wall Street Journal cites numbers collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that show the American fertility rate is declining at a record pace.
Yahoo Finance’s Jeff Macke says, “This is one of the first signs we’re seeing of a real tangible threat to the long term economy. The U.S. needs 2.1 children per woman to keep the population stable. In 2013, women were only averaging 1.86. Fewer babies and a declining population means less consumer spending. You’re talking about a lot of disposable income. Diapers, anything related to a baby is just a money printing machine for the economy.”
Speculation about the source of the fertility decline usually points to the economic crash back in 2009. The millennial generation saw the economy go bad and has reason to distrust the stock market and stability in general. Concerns with the economy as well as the rising costs of having a family are causing people to wait longer to have children, and have less children overall. Among the financially secure couples in their mid-30s, however, the fertility rate has seen an increase.
As much as this low rate is a concern now, it’s a huge concern for the future. Less children now means less adults in the future contributing to the economy and supporting the older generation.
Talk to your doctor today if you are concerned at all about your ability to conceive in the future.
Defeating a patient’s cancer and preserving the quality of life afterwards is always the goal of the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute.
For women and men still in their reproductive years, that means the Institute works to ensure that the treatments designed to defeat the disease, don’t jeopardize fertility and the dreams they have for their lives after cancer. Read the full article in Toward a Cure, featuring Dr. Avner Hershlag.
Research: Hope Lives Here is a bi-annual event that celebrates how the research conducted at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research directly benefits patients. The series brings together leading Feinstein Institute researchers, physicians from the Health System and their patients to share success stories about the intersection of research with a specific disease. Read more details.
This event is open to the public and refreshments will be served. Valet parking will be available. Event Date: 12/04/2014
As more information is known about why people encounter problems conceiving, people are becoming more open to talking about this struggle. However, this wasn’t always the case. Many people kept their struggles secret, afraid or ashamed to share with others what felt like a personal failure. One European couple bucked this trend of silence and is sharing their story with the world, encouraging other couples to be open as well.
Karen and Ryan were married in 2007 and spent the next six and a half years trying to have a baby. They tried every non-surgical method they could think of, as well as undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) at least four times, before finally becoming pregnant with a donor egg. Their journey was one of heartbreak and tears, but also of perseverance. You can read more about it here: http://travelforivf.com/our-journey/.
One thing they stressed constantly on their blog was how beneficial it was to get emotional support. They had plenty from their friends and family but also found the staff at their clinic to be very helpful in being patient and empathetic with them. Dealing with infertility is not something that should be handled alone; it is important to be open with those around you so they can support you, as well as comfort you.
There are many people who can help you during this difficult time, beyond just friends and family. Considering joining a support group for those dealing with infertility, whether in person or online (for example, http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Infertility/support-group). Talk to a counselor about what you are going through. Above all, talk to a doctor; they can help you determine what your infertility issue is, as well as what can be done to help you conceive in the future.