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Archive for March, 2015

The Fertility Awareness Opportunities Angelina Jolie Missed

By Tracey Minella

March 27th, 2015 at 11:57 am

 

 

credit: Paul Sherman/ wpclipart


Actress, director, humanitarian, ambassador, mom of twins, adoptive mom, wife of Brad Pitt. And she’s gorgeous.

What’s not to hate?

Oh, I’m just sort of  kidding. No, really. But despite all the good she does, there will always be haters. People who want her money, her talent, her babies, or her man. Jealousy can do that.

I don’t necessarily admire many celebrities… and that’s fine, because their only job is to entertain me, not impress me. But I am impressed with Angelina Jolie. She’s charitable with her time and money and seems pretty grounded for a megastar. And she uses her celebrity for good.

It’s been only two years since Jolie made headlines for undergoing a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation… a mutation that significantly increases the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. At that time, she was open about her decision and used her celebrity to increase breast cancer awareness.

Now Angelina revealed that she took those preventative measures to the next level. This time, she had both of her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in the hope of avoiding ovarian cancer…another deadly cancer linked to the same gene mutation. Jolie lost her mom to ovarian cancer and said in a recent New York Times Op Ed piece that she doesn’t want her children to experience the same loss. Her openness is raising awareness of ovarian cancer.

But there is another untold story here, too…a fertility awareness story…and it needs to be heard.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know Jolie has six children. She adopted three children internationally and gave birth to a singleton and a pair of twins. Practically eliminating her risk of getting ovarian cancer is not the only result of her surgery.

The media is reporting that she can no longer have biological children. And Jolie acknowledged how hard her decision would be for a woman who has not completed her family-building. Perhaps because of the size of her family, this point seemed lost on the general public. But it’s not lost on you, is it? This surgery is a big deal. And before others who may not be done with their family-building journeys emulate Jolie and follow her path, some crucial missing information needs to be shared.

In fact, there are three opportunities here to increase fertility awareness and educate the public about advances in the field of reproductive technologies, namely PGD, Egg donation, and Egg-freezing.

First, there’s pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (“PGD”). PGD enables couples who are concerned about passing a life-threatening genetic disease on to their children to have their embryos pre-screened for gene mutations. This screening can only be done in conjunction with an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, where eggs are retrieved and fertilized in a lab and the resulting embryos can be tested. Then, only those embryos that did not test positive for the mutated gene would be transferred into the uterus…virtually eliminating the chance of passing on that hereditary disease. BRCA is one of the many genes that can be screened through PGD. Long Island IVF offers PGD.

Second, there’s egg donation. If a woman has her ovaries and tubes removed, she cannot thereafter have a biological child…one created using her own eggs… however she may still experience childbirth. If she still has a healthy uterus, it may be possible for her, through IVF, to use eggs from an egg donor and the sperm of her partner or a donor, and have the resulting embryos transferred into her uterus where a pregnancy can implant and grow to term. Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Program brought Long Island its First donor egg baby decades ago.

Finally, there’s the latest breakthrough in women’s fertility preservation technology: egg freezing. Egg-freezing offers an exception to the egg donor statement above. If… prior to removing her ovaries… a woman undergoes IVF for the purpose of either freezing her retrieved eggs (or freezing the embryos resulting from the fertilization of her retrieved eggs), then instead of needing donor eggs, she would be able to later have her own frozen eggs (or embryos) thawed and transferred into her uterus in the hope of becoming pregnant with her own biological child. Or if her uterus was unsuitable or absent, she could still have a biological child by having someone else carry a pregnancy for her. (Note: Surrogacy and gestational carrier laws vary from state to state.) Long Island IVF has an Egg Freezing Program.

These three fertility awareness opportunities, when coupled with Jolie’s breast cancer and ovarian cancer awareness, will further empower women everywhere to make better medical choices and take charge of their fertility and general health.

Shame on the haters. It’s wonderful that Jolie is open about her health in a way that raises awareness for others. She is a just a mom. A selfless mom who just wants to be there to see her children and future grandchildren grow up.

Is there something wrong with being proactive after tests show you carry a gene that could one day take your life, like it took your mother’s? Are the haters just jealous of her? Is she a hero?

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What do you think? What would you do?

 

 

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March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

By David Kreiner MD

March 24th, 2015 at 10:34 pm

 

photo: OhMega1982/ freesigitalphotos.net


I don’t have to tell you that endometriosis can be a very painful illness and that it can cause infertility. It is often a reproductive lifelong struggle in which tissue that normally lines the uterus migrates or implants into other parts of the body, most often in the pelvic lining and ovaries. This leads to pain and swelling and often times difficulty conceiving.

If you have endometriosis, you are not alone. Five to ten percent of all women have it. Though many of these women are not infertile, among patients who have infertility, about 30 percent have endometriosis.

Endometriosis can grow like a weed in a garden, irritating the local lining of the pelvic cavity and attaching itself to the ovaries and bowels. Scar tissue often forms where it grows, which can exacerbate the pain and increase the likelihood of infertility. The only way to be sure a woman has endometriosis is to perform a surgical procedure called laparoscopy which allows your physician to look inside the abdominal cavity with a narrow tubular scope. He may be suspicious that you have endometriosis based on your history of very painful menstrual cycles, painful intercourse, etc., or based on your physical examination or ultrasound findings. On an ultrasound, a cyst of endometriosis has a characteristic homogenous appearance showing echoes in the cyst that distinguish it from a normal ovarian follicle. Unlike the corpus luteum (ovulated follicle), its edges are round as opposed to collapsed and irregular in the corpus luteum and the cyst persists after a menses where corpora lutea will resolve each month.

Women with any stage of endometriosis (mild, moderate, or severe) can have severe lower abdominal and pelvic pain – or they might have no pain or symptoms whatsoever. Patients with mild endometriosis will not have a cyst and will have no physical findings on exam or ultrasound. It is thought that infertility caused by mild disease may be chemical in nature perhaps affecting sperm motility, fertilization, embryo development or even implantation perhaps mediated through an autoimmune response.

Moderate and severe endometriosis are, on the other hand, associated with ovarian cysts of endometriosis which contain old blood which turns brown and has the appearance of chocolate. These endometriomata (so called “chocolate cysts”) cause pelvic scarring and distortion of pelvic anatomy. The tubes can become damaged or blocked and the ovaries may become adherent to the uterus, bowel or pelvic side wall. Any of these anatomic distortions can result in infertility. In some cases the tissue including the eggs in the ovaries can be damaged, resulting in diminished ovarian reserve and reduced egg quantity and quality.

The treatment for endometriosis associated with infertility needs to be individualized for each woman. Surgery often provides temporary relief and can improve fertility but rarely is successful in permanently eliminating the endometriosis which typically returns one to two years after resection.

There are no easy answers, and treatment decisions depend on factors such as the severity of the disease and its location in the pelvis, the woman’s age, length of infertility, and the presence of pain or other symptoms.

Treatment for Mild Endometriosis

Medical (drug) treatment can suppress endometriosis and relieve the associated pain in many women. Surgical removal of lesions by laparoscopy might also reduce the pain temporarily.
However, several well-controlled studies have shown that neither medical nor surgical treatment for mild endometriosis will improve pregnancy rates for infertile women as compared to expectant management (no treatment). For treatment of infertility associated with mild to moderate endometriosis, ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) has a reasonable chance to result in pregnancy if no other infertility factors are present. If this is not effective after about three – six cycles (maximum), then I would recommend proceeding with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Treatment for Severe Endometriosis

Several studies have shown that medical treatment for severe endometriosis does not improve pregnancy rates for infertile women. Some studies have shown that surgical treatment of severe endometriosis does improve the chances for pregnancy as compared to no treatment. However, the pregnancy rates remain low after surgery, perhaps no better than two percent per month.

Some physicians advocate medical suppression with a GnRH-agonist such as Lupron for up to six months after surgery for severe endometriosis before attempting conception. Although at least one published study found this to improve pregnancy rates as compared to surgery alone, other studies have shown it to be of no benefit. The older a patient is, the more problematic post surgical treatment with Lupron will be as it delays a woman’s attempt to conceive until she is even older and less fertile due to aging.

Unfortunately, the infertility in women with severe endometriosis is often resistant to treatment with ovarian stimulation plus IUI as the pelvic anatomy is very distorted. These women will often require IVF in order to conceive.

Recommendations

As endometriosis is a progressive destructive disorder that will lead to diminished ovarian reserve if left unchecked, it is vital to undergo a regular fertility screen annually and to consider moving up your plans to start a family before your ovaries become too egg depleted. When ready to conceive, I recommend that you proceed aggressively to the most effective and efficient therapy possible.

Women with endometriosis and infertility are unfortunately in a race to get pregnant before the endometriosis destroys too much ovarian tissue and achieving a pregnancy with their own eggs becomes impossible. However, if you are proactive and do not significantly delay in aggressively proceeding with your family building, then I have every expectation that you will be successful in your efforts to become a mom.

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Do you suffer from endometriosis? How has it impacted your fertility journey? Do you have any advice for others who are suffering?

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Infertility and TCM Part 13: Why TCM Thrives in a Sick Western Society

By David Kreiner, MD

March 19th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


Why is it that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has survived for some 2500 years and in fact remains a viable medical option for common health complaints in many contemporary societies?

Few other medical methodologies and treatments experience as much use as TCM even in the US which shares no common tradition, history or beliefs that may otherwise explain its popularity. Need I compare it to the history of Western Medicine, the bulk of which has been thankfully replaced by more contemporary scientific and technological advances?  These new innovations truly appear to be offering more good benefit than the dangerous, risky and unethical medicine popularly practiced in the West as recently as 85 years ago.

In fact, Western Medicine caused much iatrogenic illness until Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis introduced the importance of sterility in medical procedures and Dr. Joseph Lister did the same for surgery in the mid and late 1800’s respectively. It took until 1928 that Penicillin, the first antibiotic, was invented and it was not until 1953 that Jonas Salk invented the first vaccine to prevent polio.

Medical science has made great advances in immunizations which have been enormously successful in preventing disease.  These vaccinations have saved millions from life-threatening diseases.  So why is this not universally accepted as the medical panacea some of us perceive it to be?  The latest knock on this 20th century medical miracle thought by many to be worthy of the Nobel Prize in health and medicine is believable reports that autism is somehow related to these magic vaccines.  After all the experience and research, reasonably scientific folk are having difficulty completely ruling out a relationship.

Antibiotics and immunizations have saved more lives in the past 85 years than the compilation of all infectious deaths comprised from the beginning of time.  We have come a long way from the original discovery of the antibiotic benefits of some moldy bread transmuted to penicillin. However, a malady we face with modern medicine is that Western medical treatment has been developed in total disregard for our society, culture, traditions and environment.  A potential cure must be acceptable with not just proper use but strict disallowance of its improper use.

In the years that we have been blessed by the antibiotic revolution, we have seen commercial abuse in the form of common treatment on farm animals essentially creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria that destroys the effectiveness of that magic bullet that proved the savior against devastating disease making it oft times worthless.  Common overuse of antibiotics among physicians adds to this conundrum.

Environmental pathogens are making people ill including tobacco, stress, and recreational drugs as well as unhealthy diets rich in chemicals, medications, sugar, animal fats, and excess carbohydrates lacking nutritional value.  Food is over-processed and is often eaten to such excess that in combination with sedentary lifestyles in Western Medicine leads to obesity, diabetes and hypertension and in TCM to pathology related to stagnation of Qi, development of damp and other pathogens.

TCM is unique in that it works to improve these underlying factors responsible for making our society so sick.  This is why, though ancient, Traditional Chinese Medicine thrives in our modern albeit sick society.

Prior to the invention of the modern day antibiotic, TCM doctors discovered over the ages the “antibiotic” properties of certain herbs they discovered in their environment.  These ancient medicinals were derived from plants, animals, and minerals.  Other herbal decoctions were created to treat common complaints such as headache, pain, cough, cold, etc. as well as diseases such as gallstones, diabetes, hypertension, menstrual disorders and infertility. Dietary prescriptions are given by TCM practitioners and result in effective diminution of patient symptoms as well as acupuncture treatments aimed to eliminate pathology and correct unhealthy constitutions.

The goal of the TCM practitioner is to improve the individual’s health and well-being by focusing attention on the potential hazards of his/her environment such as stresses, emotions, bad habits, sleep, rest and activity, and diet.  An acupuncture treatment may help nourish deficiencies in the individual’s constitution that can put one at risk of contracting illness.  Herbal remedies can do same as well as eliminate pathologies before they turn into serious disease.

These TCM treatments are not only helping patients live healthier in their environment, the remedies themselves are actually coming from nature without artificial chemical contamination and are much less likely to have deleterious side effects.  It stands to reason that though the science behind TCM precedes the precision offered by the tools available with modern technology, the potential benefits are very much real today.

If you’d like to know more about TCM and how it may enhance your fertility, Long Island IVF is offering a free event on April 23, 2015, during National Infertility Awareness Week, entitled AN Evening of Alternative Medicine and Holistic Approaches to Enhancing Fertility.

All events during NIAW are FREE, but pre-registration is required. Events will fill up quickly. Attendance is limited. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our Patient Services Coordinator, Lindsay Montello at 631-386-5509 or lmontello@liivf.com. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend. Please feel free to bring your partner or a friend.

 

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Have you considered TCM for fertility enhancement or any other health issues?

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“Synthetic Babies”: The Shot Heard Round the World

By Tracey Minella

March 16th, 2015 at 10:50 pm

 

Credit: Iamnee/freedigitalphotos.net


Can’t we all just get along?

Boycott is the word of the week in the IVF world. In the GLBT world. And the fashion world as well.

Popular gay fashion designers, Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) crossed the line this week with some insensitive comments about GLBT parenting, claiming that children should only be born to a mother and a father.

The comments were apparently made by the designers known for pushing the “traditional family model” (one mom and one dad) as a focus in their fashion campaign. One of the pair reportedly used terms like “children of chemicals”, “synthetic children”, “uterus for rent” and “sperm from catalogs” in slamming the children produced through IVF for the GLBT community.

Leading the boycott charge is pop icon Elton John, who along with his husband David Furnish, are parents of two IVF babies. John responded on Instagram:  “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’… And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.” Then: #BoycottDolce&Gabbana.

Other celebrities, many of whom are gay or lesbian parents who used IVF and/or surrogacy to create their families, quickly jumped on the bandwagon to boycott the designers. Of course, fertility practices and infertility organizations weren’t far behind in expressing their dismay and outrage. The social media world exploded with #BoycottDolce&Gabbana hashtag, and claims that the designers’ mindset was as archaic as their designs. Ouch. People of privilege promised never to buy D&G again.

But what does this mean for the average infertile person who never even heard of D&G before… much less bought their pricey designs or fragrances? Budget-conscious folks, gay or straight, just trying to afford their fertility treatments.

Not much from a practical standpoint.

But let’s look at the silver lining of this storm cloud.

Although it has come a long way over the decades and is widely accepted, IVF has always been… and will always be…criticized by those who feel it is against their religion. Personhood amendments are a threat, but we’re still winning that long, familiar battle. At the risk of being overdramatic, IVF knew who its enemy was. And it was never the GLBT community.

Then D&G happened. To have two openly gay men bash the science that is responsible for giving the GLBT community the ability to become biological parents was just so… unexpected. It caught the breath in our throats. It not only offended heterosexuals, but it outraged the GLBT community. No doubt it felt like a betrayal. And with that handful of insensitive and hurtful remarks, the old sci-fi stigma of “test tube babies” came flooding back to the forefront.

Momentarily.

Until it was promptly and forcefully beaten with a stick into the ground with a vengeance.

The swift and deafening response to the attack on gay parenting via IVF was positively electric! The passionate defense of this science and the countless children it’s responsible for creating was beyond heartening. And the collective protective instincts of the many gays and straights who stepped up against this latest enemy of medically-assisted family-building for all came through with all the ferocity of a pride of lions guarding its cubs.

For better or worse, society places great weight on the opinions of celebrities. So while no one will lose sleep over whether or not the boycott bankrupts D&G, this incident has actually helped IVF. Sad and disgusting as it was, the incident has increased public awareness of infertility and incited a “call to arms”, particularly among the GLBT and celebrity communities, in support of the rights of all people to become parents and in support of the science of IVF. And IVF needs all the support it can get.

Stand united against any threat to the science of IVF and its accessibility to all.

#BoycottD&G today.

Boycott the next threat tomorrow.

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Do you boycott companies that threaten your religious, moral, or political beliefs? What do you think about the D&G scandal?

Do you have D&G items you no longer want? Parents Via Egg Donation had a good suggestion: Rather than throwing D&G items in the trash, consider selling them and donating the proceeds to charity or a fertility-friendly organization.

 

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Long Island IVF Celebrates National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) 2015

By Tracey Minella

March 11th, 2015 at 7:19 pm

NIAW is April 19-25 this year and Long Island IVF has several fun and educational events planned. Egg Donation, Fertile Yoga, Stress reduction techniques, Acupuncture and more! All events are FREE…and you don’t have to be a patient to attend. It’s our part in the movement to increase Infertility Awareness.

Here’s what’s going on all week long:

Tuesday 4/21: Donor Egg Recipient Program Night:

Thinking about using an egg donor to build your family? Then we’ve got the night for you. Learn everything you ever wanted need to know about the Donor Egg process. Learn why some women can benefit from donor eggs, how egg donors are thoroughly screened, how the process works, the competitive success rates of our program, and so much more. Meet the Donor Egg Team and hear a testimonial from one of our many successful and happy moms.

When you’re ready to move forward with egg donation, we have pre-screened egg donors of many ethnicities just waiting to help you! Come see what it’s all about. Light refreshments.

 

Wednesday 4/22: Fertile Yoga Night:

Yoga with a Baby Goal!

Created for both newbies and yoga devotes, this is your chance to participate in a yoga session specifically geared to potentially enhance your fertility. Bring your mat or a towel (and yoga pants or gym wear) and experience meditation, breathing and stretching designed to reduce stress, lessen muscle tension and increase blood flow to the pelvis.

You’ll be guided by Lisa Pineda, of Yoga For Fertility, an instructor experienced in yoga for fertility who will leave you relaxed and wanting more. Light refreshments.

 

Thursday 4/23: Alternative Medicine & Holistic Approaches to Fertility Enhancement Night:

Stress reduction is the name of the game tonight!

This interactive evening will highlight Mind-Body and holistic medicine practices including meditation techniques, breath work, Reiki, massage therapy and a live demonstration of fertility-focused acupuncture. Learn how fertility-focused alternative medicine options  may complement traditional medical fertility protocols.

LIIVF’s own Dr. David Kreiner will discuss acupuncture and Bina Benisch, MS RN and other affiliated local practitioners will lead the other discussions/demos. Additionally, Rachel Liberatore, LMT, from Nu Touch Therapy will be providing free chair massages. And Jim Vitale, licensed acupuncturist and owner of Suffolk County Acupuncture will fascinate you with a live fertility acupuncture demonstration!

Don’t miss this chance to learn how to help yourself reduce stress and improve your own fertility. Light refreshments.

You’ll leave all these events feeling more empowered and relaxed, knowing ways you can optimize your chances of conceiving. Take back some control over your fertility.

 

Please join us from 7:00- 9:00 each evening at:

Long Island IVF

8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101

Melville, NY

 

All events are FREE, but pre-registration is required. Events will fill up quickly. Attendance is limited. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our Patient Services Coordinator, Lindsay Montello at 631-386-5509 or lmontello@liivf.com. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend. Please feel free to bring your partner or a friend. Come to any or all of these great events.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

 

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Which of these events do you find interesting? What other kinds of events would you like to see us host?

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The Birds and the Bees…Or The Shots and the Cup?

By Tracey Minella

March 6th, 2015 at 10:39 am

 

credit: digitalart/ freedigitalphotos.net


Many a parent has squirmed over “the talk”. Explaining to their innocent child the answer to that age old question: “Where do babies come from?”

How detailed do we get? Should we use a book? Where do we begin?

Fifty years ago, that story probably started like this: “Well, honey, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much…and after they get married and get a house…they decide that they want to have children to love [cue the squirming] so they wish on a star, um, pray really hard, [panic sets in] call the stork who flies to their house with a little baby.” Seriously?

Today’s parents are a far cry from the so-called traditional parents of that era. There are many intentionally single parents, LGBT parents. Babies are created through assisted reproductive technologies including IUI, or IVF. There may be donor eggs, donor sperm, or donor embryos. Surrogates and gestational carriers. Adoptions of many different methods. These parents certainly got some ‘splainin’ to do!

Forget the birds and the bees. Our truthful talk might include shots and a specimen cup. But how in the world…and when…do we do this?

As an IVF mom of two myself, with a daughter too smart for her own good, I wrongly assumed the talk would be years in the future. But Miss Precocious blind-sided me one day at the ripe age of 3, when I was pregnant with her brother.

“Mom, where do babies come from?”

Oh no. I’m not ready. Though the stork script came rushing to mind, I knew she’d never buy that lame cop out. So in an instant, this epic gem came rolling out: “When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much and want a baby, um, they can go to a special doctor to get one.” Perfect. True… sort of. I could feel the sides of my lips curling into a Grinch-like grin.

“So where did you get me?” the little urchin pressed on.

Check mate. I had to see it through. “Well, actually, um, Dr. Kreiner,” I blurted out. “Hey how about we go get some ice cream…”

Some quick casual mention of the baby growing in my uterus and a gesture to my growing belly and the grilling session was complete. [Note: Mint chocolate chip is a great distraction.] Other than her correcting a nurse months later who asked her if she was excited that mommy had a baby in her belly (“It’s not in her belly; it’s in her uterus!”), the topic was dormant for several years.

It was revisited when the topic of sex ed came up in school. It was our personal choice to tell her she was an IVF baby at that time as we wanted to be honest and it somehow felt right. She was always mature for her age, but it still made her feel a little different and maybe a little uncomfortable on some level, even though we explained how long it took us and how very much we loved and wanted her. And we even named several of her friends and family that had a doctor’s help to conceive. I wonder if she was also affected by the way sex ed is presented in Catholic school. But it was never really a big issue and she’s very comfortable with it now in her late teens. As she’s grown, more age-appropriate details about our fertility challenges have been and will continue to be shared as she asks.

Telling or not telling, and when and how to tell, are personal choices. If you’d like to share yours, please do.

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How and or when did/do you tell your child they were conceived with assistance? How did it go over?

 

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Can Sunshine Boost Your Fertility?

By David Kreiner MD

March 4th, 2015 at 7:29 am

 

photo courtesy of stock images/freedigitalphotos.net


Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is present in a variety of forms but has recently been recognized as playing a critical role in reproduction.  It is essential in the production of sex hormones in the body.  It is thought that a deficiency of Vitamin D may lead among other things to ovulation disorders.

It has been demonstrated that Vitamin D deficient rats had a 75% reduced fertility and a 50% smaller litter size that was corrected with Vitamin D treatment.  In addition, sperm motility in males was reduced in the presence of a Vitamin D deficiency.

A study at the Yale University School of Medicine revealed that only 7% of 67 infertile women studied had normal Vitamin D levels and not a single woman with an ovulatory disorder had normal levels.  Nearly 40% of women with ovulatory dysfunction had a clinical deficiency of Vitamin D.

At a past conference of American Society of Reproductive Medicine, a study presented by Dr. Briana Rudick from USC showed that a deficiency of Vitamin D can also have a detrimental effect on pregnancy rates after IVF, possibly through an effect on the endometrial lining of the uterus.

In her study only 42% of the infertile women going through IVF had normal Vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D levels did not impact the number of ampules of gonadotropin utilized nor the number of eggs stimulated, embryos created or embryo quality.  However, Vitamin D levels did significantly affect pregnancy rates even when controlled for number of embryos transferred and embryo quality.  In this study the pregnancy rate dropped from 51% in Caucasian women undergoing IVF who had normal Vitamin D levels to 44% in those with insufficient levels and 19% in those that were deficient.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes

Vitamin D can be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun and getting sun exposure on the arms and legs for 15-20 minutes per day during peak sunlight hours.  The sunlight helps the skin to create Vitamin D3 that is then transformed into the active form of Vitamin D by the kidneys and liver.   An oral supplement is available also in the form of Vitamin D3, with a minimum recommended amount of 1000 IU a day for women planning on becoming pregnant.  For those with clinical insufficiencies a higher dose may be administered by injection.

Our study and many others suggest that the effect is endometrial, but we don’t know for sure.

 

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Does this information cause you to reconsider how much time you’ll spend in the sun this spring and summer and how you’ll use sunscreen or other sun protection?

 

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