Polycystic ovarian syndrome is an androgen excess disorder that affects between 5 percent and 10 percent of all women. PCOS is a syndrome, not a disease, which means that it is a collection of physical findings and symptoms that suggest a common disorder.
There are many women who have had their "tubes tied" (tubal ligation) and then decide they do, in fact, want another child. In the tubal ligation surgery, a woman's fallopian tubes are separated in a surgical manner to prevent eggs from reaching the uterus for fertilization.
If you have had tubal ligation surgery and then decide you want another child, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is one option. With IVF, the eggs are retrieved from a woman's body, fertilized in the lab and then transferred back into the uterus — bypassing the fallopian tubes altogether. Another option, however, may be tubal ligation reversal, a surgical procedure to reconnect or reopen the fallopian tubes.
So how do you know if you should consider tubal reversal before proceeding to IVF?
"Depending on the age of the patient and type of tubal ligation, if the patient is younger than age 39 and has adequate tubal length for reversal, surgery is a viable alternative to IVF," says Donald C. Young, D.O., FACOG, medical director of Mid-Iowa Fertility. "It is very helpful for the tubal reversal surgeon to have the sterilization operation reports and/or pathology report from the surgery to give appropriate recommendations for a reversal versus IVF."
In the majority of cases, when a woman's eggs are retrieved during in vitro fertilization, she receives anesthesia. This may take the form of general anesthesia or conscious sedation in which patients are sedated, but they are able to respond to stimuli such as verbal questioning.
Interestingly, a new retrospective study by Argentinean scientists compared fertilization rates among nearly 450 patients who had undergone either general anesthesia or conscious sedation during egg retrieval and found significantly higher rates of fertilization and embryo development among those who received general anesthesia. However, there were no differences in pregnancy rates.
The findings were presented at the 2012 World Congress of Anesthesia.
"The study is interesting, but we should be cautious not to over-interpret the findings of a retrospective trial," says Alan Copperman, M.D., medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. "There are numerous possible confounding variables."
The 1992 Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to publish fertility clinic success rates. The goal of the annual Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates report is to help infertility patients make informed decisions about assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Celebrating your own mom may work, but if not, take a day for yourself
Sunday is Mother’s Day. Unlike Valentine’s Day, which focuses on the couple, this commercialized day can be one of the hardest days for a woman coping with infertility.
“Mother’s Day can be a double whammy,” says Andrea Mechanick Braverman, Ph.D., a Pennsylvania health psychologist who specializes in infertility counseling. “Another anniversary of a year gone by without a baby — and a holiday that specifically excludes you.”
There is good news for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) who have experienced previous intolerance to prescription treatments of insulin resistance. More and more data is surfacing on the ability of natural supplements to regulate endocrine function, and ovulation, in women with PCOS with little to no gastrointestinal side effects.
If you are struggling with male infertility you may have been tempted by advertisements for fertility supplements. But do they really work? It’s important to look at the ingredients of each male fertility supplement you are considering to see if their claims are backed up by science.
For healthy sperm, men should increase their intake of antioxidants, particularly if they are older or have fertility issues. Two recent studies have found that increased antioxidant intake is linked to improved sperm quality.
"Americans spend billions of dollars every year on vitamins and other supplements. Evidence of the benefit is lacking. The problem is that proving the efficacy of one type of treatment for multiple diseases with multiple causes is nearly impossible," says Joe Massey, M.D., a founder of Servy Massey Fertility Institute in Atlanta, GA. "In male infertility, the situation is parallel. In a modern society, dietary deficiency is unlikely to have caused male infertility. With this understanding, in cases of male subfertility, there is new evidence that there is some improvement in DNA strand breaks by high consumption of certain vitamins or by supplementation at levels difficult to reach with food."
Older Men and Sperm Quality
These days more older men over 35 are becoming fathers, and as men age, their sperm are likely to have more sperm DNA fragmentation. chromosomal rearrangements and DNA strand damage. In addition, studies have found that the age of the father when a baby is conceived does matter with regard to passing on gene mutations.
Now, researchers have found that improving one's diet may be a way to protect against some of this damage. in a study led by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers analyzed 80 healthy male volunteers between 22 and 80 years of age. They found that men older than 44 who consumed the most vitamin C had 20 percent less sperm DNA damage compared to men older than 44 who consumed the least vitamin C. They found the same was true for vitamin E, zinc and folate. However, they did not see the same effects in younger men — higher intake of micronutrients didn’t improve their sperm DNA.