The recently nicknamed “conception-moon” is the latest craze in DIY (do-it-yourself) remedies for trying to get pregnant. The idea is that if you are trying to get pregnant for a few months and haven’t conceived yet, you can plan a “conception-moon” vacation with your partner to boost your chances of getting pregnant. Not just any […]
Taking the time to care for yourself and to learn about certain foods & lifestyle changes can really help women to not only conceive, but feel better throughout the fertility journey. Many women struggling to get pregnant have PCOS or insulin imbalances, both of which can prevent them from getting pregnant naturally or prevent them […]
The human egg has two main compartments; the nucleus, which contains a person’s DNA (genome – repository of hereditary information) organized into 46 chromosomes of which 23 are inherited from the mother and 23 from the father; and the cytoplasm, which surrounds the nucleus and contains all of the components needed to maintain egg viability and support reproduction. One can visualize the nucleus as the yolk of a sunny-side up egg and the cytoplasm as the egg white. To prepare for fertilization by sperm, the egg discards one member of each of its 23 chromosome pairs (23 discarded) in order to present the correct number to the sperm, which carries 23 chromosomes, the result being a fertilized egg (embryo) containing the normal human complement of 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. Discarding one member of each of the 23 chromosome pairs requires a lot of energy
A recent study published in the journal, Menopause, found that women, who had children later in life, were twice as likely to live longer lives (up to age 95). The group of older mothers was compared to a cohort who stopped having children by age 29. The average age of motherhood is increasing as more women delay family building in order to complete educational and professional goals. Egg freezing and egg donation are now allowing women to conceive and carry pregnancies safely into their mid-fifties. Since modern women in industrialized countries are living well into their 80’s, it is reassuring to know that later-in-life pregnancies do not foreshorten longevity.
A recent study from the United Kingdom published by Dr. Allan Pacey, suggests the marijuana may affect fertility in young men.
The study examined semen from 1, 970 men who had provided semen as a part of a fertility assessment. The investigators found a higher rate of abnormal sperm in men who smokes marijuana. While previous studied have suggested the same, no clear cause and effect exist for marijuana use and infertility.
A recent study published by Pam Factor-Litvak in the journal, Fertility and Sterility, suggests that men who feel stressed have fewer and slower sperm.
Today I would like to talk to you about Ovarian Reserve. The term ovarian reserve means egg inventory, how many eggs are left in the ovary. When a woman starts menstruating as a teenager she has about 500,000 eggs in her ovaries, and over time batches of these eggs will be released every month. So by the age of 30 a woman only has 10% of her eggs left, and at age 40 she only has 3% of her eggs left. That sounds rather alarming, but the good news is fertility is still quite good when a woman is in her thirties.
Egg quality decline is the most important cause of age-related infertility. Egg quality refers to the ability of the egg to create a chromosomally normal embryo. Each egg has 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. In order for the egg to prepare for fertilization, it must discard 23 chromosomes in order to make room for the 23 chromosomes brought by the sperm. Failure to correctly discard 23 chromosomes leads to a an embryo with the wrong number of chromosomes, medically referred to as aneuploidy.
There is no test for egg quality, but we know it to be closely correlated to age. For example women in their 20’s have a 20% chance of having a live birth with each month of timed intercourse, a rate that drops
Angelina Jolie recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times describing the impact breast cancer has had in her life. Angelina Jolie is a carrier of a gene mutation known as BRCA 1. Carriers of this gene mutation have an 80% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. The only known prevention is double mastectomy.
BRCA 1 and 2 genes are normal genes found in the body. The typical role of these genes is to keep DNA stable and prevent cells from growing out of control, or mutating. Mutations of either BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes can lead to loss of cell control and the development of various cancers, among which breast and ovarian cancers are most prevalent.
This month I wanted to take the opportunity to answer some quick questions that I sometimes get here at our clinic. If you have any topics or questions you’d like me to address, post a response to this blog entry. The first step toward battling infertility is becoming educated about infertility.
Question: Can more than one egg be released during ovulation?
Answer: Every month dozens of egg follicles are released by the ovary. The pituitary gland secretes a Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in order to promote the growth of the egg follicles. Once the egg follicles begin to grow, they release a potent estrogen hormone called estradiol. This hormone travels from the ovary back to the pituitary gland and causes a decrease in secretion