Path To Fertility Blogger Lisa Rosenthal  

Lisa Rosenthal has over twenty-five years of experience in the fertility field, including her current roles as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communications for RMACT and teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women's sense of self. Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association, where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director

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Infertility Treatment and Cancer- The Good News


Tuesday Text
Dr. Leondires brought this to my attention yesterday. News we all want to hear; that trying to conceive a child and using advanced reproductive technologies do not seem to cause cancer. It's being picked up by news agencies all over the world as it's really the best news possible.

We want our families, but at what risk? Even if we were willing to take the risk of illness for ourselves, it's only fair to ask about how that would effect the child that we have brought into this world. Ironic that we even have to question that the medicine and treatments that could create a child could also create disease. How does anyone make that choice? Why should anyone have to?

The good news, as being celebrated the world over, is that you don't have to choose between a child and possible cancer. Read on to see exactly what the report has to say :


By Lynne Peeples  ESHRE logo

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Dec 02 - Fertility treatment may not be tied to an increased risk of cancer, suggests a new study from Sweden.

Some prior studies had suggested that fertility drugs might be linked with breast, uterine and ovarian cancers, but the numbers of women followed in these studies were small, said lead researcher Dr. Bengt Kallen of the University of Lund in e-mail to Reuters Health.

In new research reported online November 18th in Human Reproduction, Dr. Kallen and colleagues analyzed registry data from 1982-2006 on 24,000 women who gave birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF). They compared rates of cancer in these women and in 1.4 million women in the general Swedish population who also gave birth in those years.

Fewer than 2% of women in the IVF group developed one or more cancers during an average follow-up of 8 years, vs close to 5% of the control group.

After accounting for maternal age, number of previous pregnancies, and smoking status, the overall risk of cancer was about 25% lower for women who had IVF.

"A couple who needs IVF does not have to be afraid that the hormone treatment used -- at least those used in Sweden -- will carry a risk for the woman to develop cancer," Dr. Kallen told Reuters Health.

The risk of ovarian cancer was more than twice as high in the women who had IVF as in those who didn't, however. Dr. Kallen suggests this may be due to abnormalities in ovarian function, which both increase the risk for infertility -- and therefore the need for IVF -- and the risk for cancer.

"The risk for two common cancers, breast and cervical, was significantly lower than expected," Dr. Kallen said.

Dr. Kallen also offered two possible explanations for these surprising findings: women who got IVF may have been healthier than average, or perhaps more likely, IVF-treated women may undergo more mammography and cervical exams.

The only fertility drugs currently used with IVF in Sweden are gonadotropins. Prior to the mid-1990s, these drugs were used in combination with another treatment, clomiphene.

Gonadotropins are also the primary fertility hormones prescribed today in IVF clinics across the U.S. Clomiphene is used only very rarely, Dr. Helen Kim, Director of the In Vitro Fertilization Program at The University of Chicago, told Reuters Health.

Despite some concern regarding the relatively homogenous population of Sweden, Dr. Kim - who wasn't involved in the study - believes its findings should be fairly generalizable.

Infertility News from ESHRE- European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology


Wednesday word image
Below is an article that was written based on information presented at ESHRE (European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology). At RMACT (Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT), we have a nutrionist (Carolyn Gundell, MSN) on staff that works directly with our patients to help with this particular aspect of infertility and miscarriage.

Heavy women's miscarriage risk higher after IVF
By MARIA CHENG (AP) – Jun 28, 2010

LONDON — Overweight women have a much higher risk of a miscarriage after having in-vitro fertilization compared with slim women, new research says.

Doctors have long known that heavy women are more prone to having a miscarriage and suffering other complications after becoming pregnant naturally, but there has been conflicting data over whether that was also the case after using artificial reproduction techniques.

British doctors tracked all 318 women at a London clinic who became pregnant after having in-vitro fertilization from 2006 to 2009, then divided the women according to their Body Mass Index. Women who had a BMI of 18 to 24 were classified as normal. Those who had a BMI of 25 or above were considered overweight, while those above 30 were obese.

After making a statistical adjustment for factors that might have skewed the results — such as age, smoking and medical history — the researchers found overweight and obese women were much more likely to have a miscarriage as thin women.

The research was presented Monday in Rome at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

Among women with a normal weight, 22 percent using in-vitro at the clinic had a miscarriage. But among overweight and obese women, the risk of a miscarriage was 33 percent.

For women who have conceived naturally, the miscarriage rate can range from 4 percent to 23 percent during the first trimester, depending on their age and medical history. Experts say the risk for overweight and obese women conceiving naturally can be three to four times higher than the average for regular weight women.

"One of the best fertility treatments is weight loss," said Dr.Richard Grazi, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, who was not linked to the study.

"With the obesity epidemic, we are constantly counseling patients to lose weight if they want to have IVF," he said. "Our goal is not only that they get pregnant, but that they stay pregnant."

At Grazi's U.S. clinic, patients with a BMI above 35 are not eligible for in-vitro fertilization. At many hospitals across Europe — where at least one cycle is paid for by governments — the cut-off is often lower, at a BMI of 30.

Doctors aren't sure why excess body weight makes pregnancy more risky, but suspect fat may have harmful effects on the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for embryos properly implant.

"Fat doesn't just sit there, it's very dynamic and sends out hormones and other signals that affect the rest of your body," Grazi said.

"Our aim was not to exclude women from getting treatment, but to help women get the best outcome after they have IVF," said Dr. Vivian Rittenberg, a clinical fellow in the Assisted Conception Unit at Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital in London, who led the study. She said overweight and obese women pursuing artificial reproduction techniques should get more help losing weight first.

Other experts agreed the findings should spur heavy women to drop a few pounds before pursuing in-vitro fertilization, a costly and invasive process that can last for months. Only about one in four couples pursuing IVF end up with a baby, and being heavy can reduce those odds even further.

"Overweight and obese women have poorer outcomes at nearly every stage of pregnancy," said Dr. Daghni Rajasingam, an obstetrician and spokeswoman for Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Rajasingam said overweight or obese women are also at higher risk for developing diabetes while pregnant, which in turn raises the chance of a miscarriage.

She said women should realize losing weight could make a big difference to having children.

"If you optimize your body weight so that your BMI is normal, your chances of having a baby to take home are much higher," Rajasingam said.

Infertility News From Europe and the USA

Around the world, infertility and fertility treatment is making news.
In Europe, the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has been meeting. Below are links to the different abstracts that have been presented. An amazing array of subject matter. Because these are press releases, they are written in a way that one can read and understand, not in medical language.

Ana Chritina Cobo Cabal
- On-going pregnancy rates from vitrified eggs as good as those from fresh, finds randomised trial

Alicia Armstrong - New non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids can improve quality of life and maintain fertility

Jacques de Mouzon - European IVF Monitoring Data

Karl Nygren - Preliminary global ART data

Peter Sjoblom - Is early development altered in pregnancies after in vitro maturation of oocytes

 Maria Lalioti - Researchers discover why some women are sub-fertile and have a poor response to ovarian stimulating hormones

Suzanna Frints - A cheap and simple, non-invasive blood test could replace invasive diagnostic techniques in early pregnancy

Cecilia Host Ramlau-Hansen - Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may damage sperm quality in sons

Noriko Kagawa - Increased longevity of old infertile mice after allo-transplantation of young mice ovaries

 Srilatha Gorthi and Julie Nekkebroeck - Studies of women's attitudes to ‘social egg freezing' find that young professionals put career ahead of motherhood, while older women are still waiting for Mr. Right 

Kelechi Nnoaham - Endometriosis has a significant effect on women's work productivity, first worldwide study finds 

Vivian Rittenberg - Overweight women undertaking ART twice as likely to miscarry as their slimmer counterparts 

Paolo Emmanuele Levi Setti - Italian constitutional court modifications of a restrictive ART law significantly improve pregnancy rate

Anna Pia Ferraretti - Italian patients amongst the most mobile in crossing borders for ART

Filomena Gallo - Italian judges move to protect couples' rights 

Ciara Hughes - Is performing viral screening within 30 days of oocyte collection justified 

Filippo Ubaldi/Luca Gianaroli - Women over 40 years have a higher risk of aneuploidy and Poor Ovarian Response (POR) 

Joep Geraedts - PGS polar body study results

 Fahimeh Ramezani Tehrani: Researchers develop accurate way to predict the age when women will hit the menopause

Fertility Authority 
A little closer to home, Fertility Authority made this announcement:

New York, NY - FertilityAuthority.com-the single, authoritative source for premium fertility content, from trying to conceive to resolution-announced  today the purchase of http://www.fertilethoughts.com/, the leading social networking site in the fertility field. The acquisition increases FertilityAuthority's monthly traffic to almost a quarter of a million monthly visitors. This marks the first acquisition by the New York-based start-up, http://www.fertilityauthority.com/, which launched just over a year ago. FertileThoughts.com is a 14-year old community site and the overwhelming leader in social networking for those trying to conceive with more than 185,000 monthly users. In addition to its U.S. penetration, the site boasts a significant global population, with heavy participation in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and India. 

FertileThoughts will remain a standalone site, and co-Founder Dave Ferrell will continue as head of community engagement. "I'm excited to see the growth of FertileThoughts in new ownership of a site run by people who are passionate about the fertility industry". FertilityAuthority.com's CEO, Gina Bartasi added, "We've been actively looking for ways to scale our business and FertileThoughts offers us just that. They have by far the largest, extremely engaged community. Most of the patients we've talked to don't "fan" their fertility doctor, so it's a way to provide value to our clients and still protect the identity of our user base since most patients prefer to keep their fertility struggles private."

In addition to the added value of the community site traffic, FertilityAuthority recently launched its premium business services division offering reproductive health service professionals website development, design and search engine marketing. 

In the infertility world, there's lots and lots of news. I hope that something here helps you today.  

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