Melatonin and Your Fertility

Sleep will forever be a necessary ingredient to staying healthy, especially getting the right amount of sleep. But it turns out that the amount of darkness you get affects how much melatonin your body produces, which has an impact on your fertility.

Russel J. Reiter, a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and his colleagues decided to conduct a review of studies that examined melatonin levels and circadian rhythms, the results of which were published in July in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.

He found that every time you turn on the light at night, your melatonin production decreases. “Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain in response to darkness, is important when women are trying to conceive, because it protects their eggs from oxidative stress. Melatonin has strong antioxidant properties that shield the egg from free-radical damage, especially when women ovulate.”

Ultimately, the light-dark cycle should be regular from day to day. If it isn’t regulated, a woman’s biological clock could get confused and thrown off, making it more difficult for hormones to be consistent. Reiter is careful to distinguish between sleep and darkness. Yes, sleep is important, but melatonin can be produced even when you are awake, as long as you are in the dark. Be sure your bedroom has adequate coverage over any windows so you can rest and sleep in solid darkness.

There are many other factors which play in to how fertile you are. Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you have, so you can soon be on your way to parenthood.

Posted in Blog

How Cholesterol Can Affect Your Fertility

As doctors and scientists do more research about human fertility, they are finding ever more factors that affect how fertile humans are. The latest research has found that if both partners have high cholesterol, it can take significantly longer for them to conceive a child.

It’s unclear at the moment why cholesterol affects fertility. However it is known that cholesterol is closely involved with the production of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development lead scientist Dr. Enrique Schisterman said, “We’ve long known that high cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart disease. From our data, it would appear that high cholesterol levels…also reduce couples’ chances of pregnancy. In addition to safeguarding their health, our results suggest that couples wishing to achieve pregnancy could improve their chances by first ensuring that their cholesterol levels are in an acceptable range.”

The study was conducted of 500 American couples and examined fertility along with environmental chemicals and lifestyle. It found that couples where both the male and female had normal levels of cholesterol had the easiest time conceiving. Couples where the female had a higher level of cholesterol than the man had a more difficult time conceiving. Couples who both had high levels of cholesterol took the longest time to conceive.

Staying healthy is not just for you—it impacts any future children you would like to have. Talk to your doctor today about any health concerns you have and how they would affect you being able to have a child.

Posted in Blog, Improve your Fertility, Infertility

Ready for DIY Fertility Treatment?

A new “do-it-yourself” ultrasound method could let women who are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) cut down on their trips to the doctor’s office, a new study suggests.

For them to feel that they can rely on their own monitoring, I think, is a big leap.
Avner Hershlag. MD
Chief, Center for Human Reproduction

I’m all in favor of doing monitoring at home; I just don’t think that this study proves that doing it in all patients is feasible.
Tomer Singer, MD
Reproductive Endocrinologist, Center for Human Reproduction

Read more about the DIY Vaginal Ultrasound from Rachael Rettner at Live Science.

Posted in Avner Hershlag, Blog, Center for Human Reproduction, Fertility Treatments, News, Tomer Singer

Fertility Specialist vs. OB/GYN

If you are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant and have decided to see a doctor, you may now be at a crossroads of which doctor to see: a fertility specialist or an OB/GYN. What are the differences, and when should you go to each one?

An obstetrician-gynecologist, commonly called an OB/GYN, has gone through four years of undergraduate schooling, four years of medical school, and usually four years of residency before she can see her own patients. She is trained in understanding the body both in day-to-day life as well as in pregnancy. See your OB/GYN first for a preliminary fertility evaluation. If your evaluation results show that you may have a fertility issue, you should then consider seeing a fertility specialist.

A fertility specialist has gone through all the schooling an OB/GYN goes through, but also has completed an additional three years of schooling specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. If your periods are irregular or extremely painful, you have a difficult time tracking your ovulation, you’ve had more than one miscarriage, you or your partner has an STD, or you have other health concerns that could be affecting your fertility, see a fertility specialist.

Talk to your doctor today about any fertility concerns you have and who you should be talking to. Do not wait any longer to start your journey to becoming a parent!

Posted in Blog, infertility specialist

Get Your 8 Hours for a Healthy Pregnancy

Sleep-quote

To learn more about this sleep study and it’s correlation to your fertility, click through to the article on Live Science.

Posted in Blog, Improve your Fertility, Lifestyle, News, Study, Women's Health

The Link Between Stress and Fertility

6106594_s-cropFinally — what doctors have suspected for a long time, and what may seem obvious — a study from Human Reproduction supports the connection between stress and a woman’s fertility — specifically, a reduction in fertility.

Severe stress can cause a woman to experience irregular ovulation and in the most extreme cases it can temporarily cease ovulation.

There could be many possibilities or multiple reasons for a woman to experience infertility, and it’s always best to make an appointment with a fertility specialist to understand what is going on in your unique situation. But when it comes to stress, we need to take the lead. Although we may not be able to control the circumstances that create it, we can learn better techniques on how to manage that stress. Here are 10 simple things you can do to reduce stress in your life.

Meditate: one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to reduce stress.

Exercise: a consistent exercise program is a healthy habit to adopt.

Socialize: connect with other people to put your issues in perspective.

Keep a Journal: writing about your issues de-escalates their negative impact.

Eat a Healthy Diet: a healthy body is simply better equipped to deal with stress.

Get Good Sleep: a good restful nights sleep is often under-rated.

Yoga: promoting relaxation, practicing yoga is the opposite of stress.

Aromatherapy: the right aromas can invoke soothing and relaxing memories.

Listen to Music: slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

Get a Massage: a 15-minute chair massage can do wonders
Posted in Blog, Depression, Improve your Fertility, Infertility, News

New Technique Sheds Light on Fallopian Tube Blockages

If you are having trouble getting pregnant, a common cause could be that you have blockage in your fallopian tubes. The most common way doctors determine if you have this blockage is by using a dye inserted into your fallopian tubes and then doing an x-ray, but this procedure is often quite painful for patients. Now, a new technique is in place that involves much less discomfort: bubbles, saline water, and ultrasounds.

“Using the FemVue Sono HSG, the physician delivers the mixture of saline and air bubbles into the uterus through a small catheter, which then flows into the fallopian tubes. Under ultrasound, the air bubbles are highly visible as they travel through the tubes, allowing the physician to determine if a blockage exists.” This is physically a much more pleasant procedure, and has the added benefit of the patient not needing to undergo an x-ray.

This new technique solves other problems that the first technique also had. Many women feared the pain of the procedure and would not attempt it at all, even though undergoing it may give them answers as to their infertility. Some women were allergic to the dye and therefore physically could not undergo it.

The FemVue Sono technique is performed at a clinic. Ideal candidates are women who have already had at least one child and do not have a high risk for tubal disease. The test should be performed after the period has ended but before ovulation begins. The results are usually delivered immediately following the procedure before you leave the clinic.

There are many reasons your tubes might be blocked, as well as other reasons in general that you are experiencing infertility. Schedule an appointment today with your fertility doctor to get the answers you’ve been searching for.

Posted in Blog, Fertility Treatments, Infertility Contributing Factors, News

Boost Your Sperm Count by Working Out

Obesity comes with a list of health issues, a fact that is well-known. Impaired fertility is definitely an effect of being overweight. It might be surprising to find out that obesity’s effect on fertility is applicable to both women and men alike. For men, it is important to boost your fertility not only by eating healthily, but also by working out.

“At Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, 137 men seeking fertility treatments between 2006 and 2012 were evaluated on the relationship between their sperm concentrations and their exercise habits. The study found men who engaged in moderate to high intensity exercise for seven hours a week showed 48% higher sperm concentrations than those who exercised less than one hour per week.”

Is there a certain type of working out that is better? Turns out there is: weight lifting and outdoor activities. Studies show weight lifting increases testosterone and improves insulin management. To get the biggest testosterone boost from your weight lifting, do three to four sets of 8-12 reps and select exercises that work different muscles at the same time, such as squats, pull-ups, and push-ups. Outdoor activities increase vitamin D, which has been shown to positively impact fertility.

If biking is your chosen activity for staying fit, it might be worthwhile to take a break from it. In the same study as mentioned earlier, men who biked for over an hour a week had a 34% lower sperm count than those who didn’t. The pressure from the seat on a man’s scrotum as well as the high heat in that specific area has shown to negatively impact fertility.

Your fertility doctor will have the best answers as to what to do to improve your fertility. Schedule an appointment today to find out how you could soon be on the path to parenthood.

Posted in Blog, Infertility Contributing Factors, News

Study: Sperm Donor Age Doesn’t Impact Pregnancy

mullinstaffThis article is a very large study out of Europe which looks at a large population of men donating sperm and they basically controlled for men’s age and saw that the age of the men who were donating sperm would not affect the pregnancy rate.

Christine Mullin, MD
Reproductive Endocrinologist

Read more about this at the North Shore News Room.

Posted in Blog, Christine Mullin, Donor Sperm, Fatherhood, News, Uncategorized

Vitrification Increases Viability of Frozen Eggs

tomer

Dr. Tomer Singer

In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) said egg freezing through vitrification should no longer be considered experimental.

Since that announcement, fertility specialists say they’ve seen much more interest in egg freezing. Dr. Tomer Singer, director of the Egg Freezing Program at North Shore LIJ Center for Human Reproduction, estimates that before 2012, his clinic saw about five to 10 patients interested in egg freezing per year. Now, he gets the same number of inquiries on a weekly basis.

Dr. Singer says the new process could increase interest as it is perfected and the cost comes down. Currently, the cost of egg collection can range from about $5,000 to more than $15,000, depending on where women have the procedure done and how many eggs they freeze.

Read the full article, by Rachael Rettner at Live Science.

 

Posted in Blog, egg freezing, News, Tomer Singer