Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Test Tube Babies

When most people hear the phrase “test tube baby” they may conjure up an image of an X-files episode where special agents Dana Sculley and Fox Mulder discover a secret underground laboratory filled with row upon row of genetically engineered fetuses growing in large cylindrical tubes. The common misconception is that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a purely scientific procedure with little with the biological parents. This infertility treatment is ideal for couples who have been unsuccessful with other methods of assisted reproductive treatments.
The phrase “test tube baby” is an informal term which refers to a baby conceived in a tube-shaped glass commonly found in biology labs. In vitro fertilization usually takes place in a shallower container called a petri dish. The term “In vitro” refers to a biological procedure that is performed outside the living organism where it would normally occur. In this case, the ova and sperm are removed from their normal hosts and placed in a fluid medium to allow the sperm to fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg, or embryo, is then transferred back to the woman’s uterus. Since in vitro fertilization is a more expensive infertility treatment, it is usually recommended only when less expensive options have failed.
IVF requires a healthy egg and viable sperm, as well as a uterus that can maintain a pregnancy. A woman’s age is a major factor in the success rate of IVF. Pregnancy achieved through IVF for woman under the age of 35 is approximately 43% in the U.S. Success rates begin to drop significantly over the age of 35 and women over 40 attain pregnancy only 4% of the time. There are a vast number of factors involved, some of which are not fully understood, and reasons for failure are many. Embryos may not develop properly, or may not implant once inserted into the uterus. Experienced physicians have higher success rates. It is best if the woman’s own eggs are used. Often multiple embryos are transferred to the uterus to increase the likelihood of pregnancy; however, this practice creates a higher risk of multiple pregnancy.
While the actual conception takes place in a “test tube”, IVF is a complex and involved process for couples trying to conceive. Extensive testing and screening is done to ensure the best success for clients considering IVF as an infertility treatment. Although it can be extremely challenging physically and emotionally, giving birth to a “miracle” child is just the beginning of a life of unforgettable experiences.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization test in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Male Infertility and Testicular Sperm Extraction

Male factor infertility is accounted for in approximately 50% of couples attempting to conceive. This is attributed to a wide range of factors including stress, excessive use of recreational drugs, hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, hypospadias, obstruction of the vas defens, oligospermia, and infections. Azoospermia and necrospermia are among the more serious forms of male infertility and generally require infertility treatment in order to achieve a pregnancy.

Men with azoospermia have no sperm in their ejaculate. This is further categorized into obstructive azoospermia, where there is a blockage in the pathway from the testes to the point of ejaculation, and non-obstructive, where there is a problem producing the sperm in the testes. Necrospermia is where the sperm in the ejaculate is dead or lacks motility. These conditions are congenital and cannot be cured. Immotile cilia syndrome is a congenital disorder in which the sperm are actually alive but cannot move. Live sperm that is arrested in development may not be able to be released from the testes, and in these situations advances in infertility treatment, such as testicular sperm extraction, can provide an infertility solution.

The hormones FSH and LH are responsible for sperm production in men, which begins in the testes. Sperm cells go through several phases in the testes and eventually become mature spermatozoa. Spermatozoa leave the testes and travel into the epididymis. It is here where they develop motility and become fully mature sperm capable of fertilizing an egg. It was once thought that no motile sperm could be found in the testes. This has proven true for cases where there is no obstruction in the pathway. When a blockage is present healthy motile spermatozoa have been found in the efferent ducts or the caput epididymis.

Retrieving the sperm is a relatively simple and painless procedure that can be done on an outpatient basis. The skin is stretched out tightly and a small “butterfly” needle is inserted into the testes. Movement of the needle draws out testicular tubules. The needle is withdrawn slowly taking a strand of testicular tissue with it. The tissue is grasped with forceps and gently pulled from the testes. Placed in a culture medium the sample can be examined under a stereozoom microscope for presence of suitable sperm.

The physician will be looking for healthy motile sperm with proper morphology, or shape. Samples don’t often possess enough sperm for intrauterine insemination (IUI), but can work well with intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI). ICSI is a microscopic procedure that requires in vitro fertilization, involving the placement of individual sperm cells into individual eggs using a glass needle. The fertilized egg or preimpantation embryo is then transfered into the uterus. The fertilized egg is then inserted into the uterus. While the process is not without risk, ICSI has become accepted as a relatively safe medical procedure.

About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about the infertility solution. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Requires Infertility Treatment

If you are a sexually active woman who has begun menstruating then you should know about pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Educating yourself about this disease can help in prevent it or detect it in its early stages. This is a serious disease that can lead to life threatening illness if left untreated. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women will have PID, and 75% of the cases will occur in women under 25 years of age.

Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive organs. The infection is typically caused by harmful bacteria introduced to the vagina through unprotected sex with a person carrying STDs, such as Gonorrhoea or Chlamydia. Other causes of the infection may include an imbalance in the vagina’s normal bacteria or introduction into the uterus of harmful bacteria during medical procedures such as vaginal delivery, abortion, or dilation and curettage. Inflammation can occur in the uterus, fallopian tubes and in some cases the ovaries. If untreated, the infection can become quite severe and causing irreversible damage to the reproductive organs.

Inflammation from PID in the fallopian tubes often leads to infertility. It is the most common cause of ectopic pregnancy. This is when the fertilized egg is unable to make its way to the uterus and becomes lodged in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy may be hard to detect as the symptoms experienced are similar to a normal pregnancy. Once the damage has been done, couples attempting to conceive will require infertility treatment, such as in vitro fertilization.

While actual symptoms vary among women, typical signs of PID are abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, and pain throughout the month similar to endometriosis symptoms. Other signs include malodorous (bad smelling) or unusual discharge from the vagina, burning pain while urinating, and unusual bleeding from the vagina. Some women will run periods of chills or high fever throughout the month combined with nausea and vomiting. Diagnosis of PID is usually determined when a patient suffers from the symptoms listed above and is confirmed by laboratory tests.

Typical treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease is a course of antibiotics taken by mouth, as well as medication for fever and pain. In severe and high risk cases, such as women who are pregnant, hospitalization is required for administration of intravenous antibiotics. It is recommended to abstain from sexual activity while completing the course of antibiotics. Although the bacteria that cause PID may be killed with antibiotics, there is no cure for this disease and it can be contracted again. Yearly pap smears can help with early detection. Prevention is best accomplished through monogamy, sex with only one partner as well as using condoms when sexually active. It is also critical to discuss sexual history, including STD’s, with your partner or partners.

If you are experiencing symptoms of PID, have had sex with someone you suspect may be carrying a sexually transmitted disease, or if you or your partner have multiple sexual relationships you should see your doctor immediately. Your life could depend on it.

About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about endometriosis symptoms. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Silent Epidemic

Billboards, television ads, and 7th grade health teachers all proclaim the message of safer sex, yet the U. S. Department of Health and Services estimates that 13 million people become infected with a sexually transmitted disease every year. According to the Center for Disease Control, Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States with 3 million new cases occurring each year. This article will talk about signs and symptoms of Chlamydia, how to treat it, and how to avoid it.

Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be transmitted to a new born baby as it passes through the birth canal of the infected mother. 50-75% of women infected with Chlamydia show no signs or symptoms and have no idea they are infected, which is why it is sometimes referred to as “the silent epidemic”. Chlamydia, when untreated, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. This puts the woman at risk for infertility, endometriosis, and damage to the reproductive system. Endometriosis symptoms can be extremely painful, and if considering conception, may require infertility treatment. Common symptoms of Chlamydia include unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, pain in the abdomen, fever, and painful urination. In order to diagnose Chlamydia a culture swab must be obtained

Once detected, Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. The most commonly used antibiotics in treatment of Chlamydia are Azithromycin, Doxycycline, Tetracycline, and Erythromycin. Antibiotics must be prescribed by a physician and are administered orally according to the doctor’s specifications. It is also important to complete your course of medication completely in order to recover from the infection. It may be a good idea to return to your doctor for Chlamydia testing every year, as it is possible to be re-infected with the disease even after treatment. Abstain from sex while being treated for the disease even if you no longer have symptoms. You can resume sexual activity once your course of antibiotics is finished.

The risk for transmission is dramatically reduced with the use of condoms with a water based lubricant, such as K Y Jelly. Petroleum based lubricants, such as Vaseline, should not be used because they break down latex (the material the condom is made of). The only sure way to avoid becoming infected with Chlamydia is abstinence (not having sex) or monogamy with an uninfected partner.

It is important for partners to discuss their sexual history before having sex and have STD tests done. Essential to prevention for sexually active individuals is an understanding of sexually transmitted diseases and how they are spread.

Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about endometriosis symptoms. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

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Ovulation Test Kits

If you and your partner are trying to conceive an ovulation test kit is a great tool. It can help you by finding out when your body releases an egg from your ovary, an ovulation, and pin point the time of the month when you are most fertile. The egg, once released from the ovary, only has a 24-48 hour life span, while sperm can survive for about 72 hours. You are most likely to become pregnant when sperm is present on the day prior to, the day of, or the day following ovulation.

Ovulation test kits measure the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. Luteinizing hormone is always present in human urine. LH increases dramatically just before a woman’s most fertile day of the month in a process commonly referred to as the “LH Surge”. This LH increase triggers ovulation, which means an egg is released from the woman’s ovary. It is important to know that some infertility treatment medications, such as menotropin, may affect the test result. Certain rare medical conditions or the onset of menopause can cause elevated levels of LH. Some women do not ovulate every cycle, and therefore will not see any increase in the level of LH hormone during these non-ovulating cycles. Women with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may not get reliable results from ovulation tests, as a result of related hormone imbalances. Please check with your doctor if you are unsure.

To find out when to begin testing, determine the length of your normal cycle. The length of your cycle is from the beginning of one period (the first day of bleeding) to the day before the start of the next. If your cycle length is irregular (varies by more than a few days each month) take the average number of days for the last 3 months. Ovulation typically occurs in the middle of your cycle. It is recommended to begin testing a few days before ovulation occurs. For example, if your period normally begins every 28 days then ovulation would occur on or around day 14 of your cycle. In this case, you would want to begin ovulation testing eleven days after the beginning of your last period. Most test kits come with a sample calendar to help you determine which day in your cycle to begin testing.

Read all the instructions that come with the test kit fully before starting your test. The best times to test are from 11am to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm. Early morning testing is not recommended as most women experience a blood LH surge that will not show up in the urine until later in the day. To make sure you catch your LH surge, test twice a day, once in the earlier time frame and the other in the later time frame. Reduce your liquid intake two hours before testing since drinking excessive amounts of fluids can dilute the LH in your urine yielding a false negative result. Test at the same time each day. Have intercourse during the 48 hours following your LH surge to maximize your chances of conception.



About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain what an ovulation test is in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Infertility Treatment Articles: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition characterized by high levels of androgen hormones, missed or irregular periods, and multiple cysts on the ovaries. Researchers estimate 1 in 10 women have PCOS, although many are unaware they have it. Because of the confusing nature of the disease and the extensive list of symptoms, coping with PCOS poses a significant emotional and physical challenge.

While researchers have been aware of polycystic ovary syndrome for over 75 years, the exact causes are unknown. Some scientists suspect genes to be the cause. Often women who have PCOS will also have a sister or mother with the disease. Another theory is based around insulin. Women whose bodies have difficulty utilizing insulin end up with higher than normal levels of insulin in their system. Excess insulin increases the production of androgens, male hormones, which may lead to acne, facial hair growth, weight problems, and cysts on the ovaries. Other symptoms may include male pattern baldness, oily skin or dandruff, high blood pressure and cholesterol, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and sleep apnea. Many women also experience bouts of depression related to their appearance or inability to conceive.

PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. Clinical studies show approximately 70% of infertile women with an ovulation problem have PCOS. High levels of insulin stimulate the ovaries to produce testosterone. This excess testosterone can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg, resulting in irregular menstrual cycle. Irregular and missed cycles reduce the chances of conception. Once pregnancy is achieved, it can cause complications during pregnancy which may lead to miscarriage or premature delivery. Incidence of miscarriage may be as high as 50%, or 35% higher than the national average. The theory is that high insulin levels result in an irregular blood clotting around the uterine lining which compromises the flow of nutrients and release of wastes between the placenta and the fetus.

Unfortunately there is no cure of the disease; however the symptoms are largely treatable by adjustments in lifestyle and medications. Some medications used during infertility treatment, such as metformin, can help normalize insulin levels and reduce the symptoms experienced. Losing weight may also help reduce symptoms. Oral contraceptive pills, such as can be taken to help regulate periods and cut down on the unwanted hair growth. Treatment plans must be customized, as each woman will experience varying levels of the symptoms.

Researchers are seeking women ages 12 and up to join in studies related to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome all across America. More information about these studies, ranging from genetics, to diabetes, to reproduction, can be found online at www.clinicaltrials.gov.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about chronic pelvic pain. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com



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