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Archive for the ‘diet and fertility’ tag

Age and Fertility

By David Kreiner MD

February 2nd, 2015 at 4:23 pm

 

credit: photostock/free digital photos.net


You’ve heard the “Reproductive Bell” toll and may question “Is it real?”…

You see celebrities getting pregnant well into their 40’s and think “Then why can’t I?” So, is your reproductive clock as critical as modern doctors say?

I have come across fertility advice from non-physician practitioners, such as acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists, who encourage their patients to “question the Western dogma” when it comes to age and fertility. They claim the effect of aging and fertility is “exaggerated by the Medical profession and can be overcome with a shift in an individual’s health and lifestyle”.

Unfortunately, this advice comes without any cited research or statistics in support of it.  According to the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, as published on SART.org, a review of the 2012 national statistics, those most recently published of IVF cycles started, the age breakdown for IVF live birth rates are the following:

 

Age <35= 40.2%

 

Age 35-37=31.3%

 

Age 38-40=22.2%

 

Age 41-42=11.8%

 

Age >42=3.2%

 

It is true that a woman’s health and physiology gets worse as she gets older.  Some of these non- physician practitioners argue that perhaps if this can be improved then the diminishing fertility commonly seen with aging can be reversed. But though improving a woman’s general health may help it is not sufficient in most cases.  Fertility rates decrease with increasing age in large part because there is an increase in genetic abnormalities found in gametes (eggs and sperm) as patients (women in particular) age.  This is the result of long-term environmental exposure to toxins, in addition to the increased likelihood of genetic damage over time.  Miscarriage rates increase with age for the same reason in large part due to the greater likelihood of embryos having chromosomal abnormalities.

Many women as they age also will experience a significant drop in their ovarian activity, referred to as diminished ovarian reserve.  This activity can be assessed by your physician with a blood level of Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and day 3 FSH and estradiol levels.  Women with lower AMH levels and elevated FSH in the presence of a normal low estradiol have fewer ovarian follicles, and hence eggs, that will respond to ovarian stimulation.  Since the likelihood of these eggs being genetically normal is less, then fertility is reduced and the probability of IVF and other fertility treatments resulting in a live birth becomes significantly lower.

The challenge to any practitioner dealing with an aging patient attempting to conceive is to optimize their patient’s chance to have a healthy baby which optimally would include an integration of multiple modalities.  Therefore, ideally a physician specially trained in the fertility process (a Reproductive Endocrinologist), should implement state-of-the-art Western therapies with a complementary holistic approach that aims to shift their patient’s health and fertility.  These holistic approaches include diet and lifestyle changes as well as fertility-directed acupuncture and herbal therapy treatments.

Lifestyle changes that may improve fertility primarily include those that reduce stress and improve diet and activity.  Stress at work, at home, and with family and friends can create pathology from both Eastern and Western perspectives.  Diets that do not support adequate blood production or create Eastern patterns of cold or heat can affect fertility.  Excesses or deficiencies of particular foods…such as dairy, fat, or grains… can create imbalances or pathology that may affect fertility or result in obesity or malnutrition which also impact reproduction.

Inactivity may impair fertility. Therefore some level of exercise, combined with an improved diet directed at improving fertility, stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, and supplements (which may include Chinese Herbs as well as Western supplements) will optimize your chances of successfully building your family.

The first step is to seek help from a reproductive endocrinologist skilled in state-of-the-art fertility therapies who can coordinate a program which is ideal for you. But if you are hearing the “Reproductive Bell” tolling, it is important to take that first step soon, because, while these many complementary approaches can optimize your fertility, they may not be enough to overcome the reality of the negative effect of advanced age in fertility.

Long Island IVF offers complementary holistic approaches to achieving pregnancy (See our Mind-Body Program http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm ) as well as a well-respected Donor Egg Program http://www.longislandivf.com/donor_programs.cfm  with no wait for pre-screened, multi-ethnic donor eggs, or Donor Embryos.

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Has the increased visibility of older celebrity moms getting pregnant made you think you have more time? Have you considered combining Western and Eastern medicine in your family-building treatment?

 

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Younger_Women_g57-Young_Woman_Holding_Clock_p49428.html

 

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Forget the Beach Body! Are You in Reproductive Shape?

By David Kreiner MD

June 3rd, 2014 at 5:41 am

 

 

image courtesy of stock images/freedigitalphotos.net


How do you get started building your family when it isn’t happening on its own?

First, if you are thinking about getting pregnant get a check up! Get your pap done – go to the dentist – have your blood pressure and lipids checked. I’m not an expert on the art of motorcycle maintenance, but our bodies, like machines, go through wear and tear and, as a result, occasionally are not operating at optimum capacity.

Here’s what needs to happen for a life to be created. Millions of sperm need to traverse the cervix (which needs to have adequate watery mucus for the sperm to swim through to get to the uterus) and, from there, to the fallopian tubes where, en masse, the sperm gang release digestive enzymes that help bore a hole through the egg membrane. Your egg needs to be healthy and mature, picked up by the fimbria, the fingerlike projections of the fallopian tube and swept along the length of the tube by microscopic hairs within the tube. The environment of the tube needs to allow for fertilization with penetration by only one of the sperm, followed by division of the fertilized egg into a multi-cellular embryo. While the embryo continues to grow and cleave and develop ultimately into a blastocyst containing the future fetus (inner cell mass) and placenta (trophoblast) the tubal micro-hairs continue to sweep the embryo ultimately into the uterine cavity.

The lining of the uterus, the endometrium, must be prepared with adequate glandular development to allow the now hatched embryo to implant. Yes, there is a shell surrounding the embryo that must break in order for the embryo to implant into the uterine lining. Inflammatory fluid, polyps, fibroids or scar tissue may all play a role in preventing implantation.

Oy, it’s amazing this ever works!

In fertile bodies of good working order, this all works an average of 20% of the time!

So . . . how do we get our bodies in optimal shape to maximize our chance of conception?

Check on medications that you may be on. Can you stay on them while trying to conceive? Guys need to do this too! Some medications may affect ovulation or implantation. Prostaglandin inhibitors found in common pain relievers can affect both ovulation and implantation. Calcium channel blockers commonly used to control high blood pressure may affect your partner’s sperm’s ability to penetrate and fertilize an egg.

How is your diet? Is your weight affecting ovulation and preparation of your uterine lining either because it is too high or too low? Do you have glucose intolerance that is leading to high levels of insulin in the blood that affects your hormones and ovarian follicular and egg development? Perhaps you would benefit from a regimen including a carbohydrate restricted diet, exercise and medication to improve glucose metabolism.

Make love. Sex is critical to reproduction, obviously but I am often asked how often and how to time as if it need be a schedule chore. This is a bit tricky as it is vital that while we reproductive endocrinologists are assisting our patients to conceive we want to preserve the relationship that provides the foundation on which we want to build their family. I try not to give patients a schedule until they are in an insemination cycle where we actually identify the precise day of ovulation. I recommend spontaneous lovemaking that in cases of normal sperm counts (which should be analyzed as part of that check up) should average at least every other day in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Ovulation typically occurs 14 days prior to the onset of her menses. Sperm survive anywhere from 1 day to 7 days in a woman’s cervical mucus varying both on the sperm and the quality of her mucus which for some women is optimal for only hours if at all. Eggs survive 6-8 hours. Therefore, when we perform insemination it is better if we inseminate prior to ovulation rather than after as the sperm have more time to sit around and wait for the egg than visa versa.

See an RE. When all else fails, it is recommended that you consult with a reproductive endocrinologist if you have not conceived after one year before age 35 and six months if you are 35 or older. The treatments available to the specialist are extraordinarily successful today and should ensure that for the great majority of you, you may happily retire that teeny weenie bikini for a maternity swimsuit.

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What items on this list have you intentionally or innocently neglected? Did you find this information helpful?

 

 

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Long Island IVF Celebrates National Infertility Awareness Week with a Fun Fertile Cooking Event!

By Tracey Minella

March 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am

 

Move over, Emeril! Long Island IVF is “kickin’ it up a notch” for National Infertility Awareness Week this year with an offer you can’t refuse.

If you’ve been trying to conceive without success and could use a fun night out with other women in the same boat, this invitation is for you. And you do not even have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend.

Be our guest for an evening of fun in the fertility kitchen with chef-lecturer, Patricia Bove at the quaint Long Island Cooking Café and Tea Room, 454 Main Street, Islip, New York, on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

Experience the thrill of a live cooking demonstration while learning how you may improve your chances of conceiving. Savor the intoxicating aromas and treat your taste buds to a gourmet, sit-down, multi-course dinner of fertility-friendly foods. Kick back and let a professional chef entertain and serve you! You’ll walk away from this fabulous feast knowing how to optimize your chances of conceiving and take back some control over your fertility.

Did you know that what you eat…or don’t eat…can affect your fertility? Are you aware that science has proven that both men and women can improve their reproductive health by eating certain foods? Well, Long Island IVF is raising awareness of infertility in a fun and novel way this NIAW with an event designed to entertain as well as educate.

Understandably, an event like this is bound to fill up quickly. Seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our patient advocate, Bina Benisch at 516-398-5248 or binabenisch@gmail.com.  Please do not call the Long Island IVF office or Chef Bove directly. Don’t delay, call today.

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Do you know any… or have some favorite… fertile foods? Will we see YOU at this fun event???

 

 

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Fertile Food Friday- Blueberries

By Tracey Minella

July 5th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

 

image courtesy of Mr GC/freedigitalphotos.net

Welcome back to Long Island IVF’s “Fertile Food Fridays”*! This is our second week of focusing on foods that can potentially boost male and female fertility. If you missed it, be sure to check out last Friday’s Avocado post with a mean guacamole demonstration and a testicle tree. With the Fourth of July holiday celebrations continuing over the next few days, we’ve got the perfect food for you to add to your barbeque (or take to a potluck) this week.

So without further ado, the second first fertile food will be Blueberries.

Blueberries  are one of the best sources of antioxidants you can find. Only have raspberries, strawberries or blackberries on hand? No problem. Most berries are high in antioxidants, so feel free to eat them all or substitute your favorites in the accompanying recipe. The antioxidants in berries protect against cell damage and cell aging, so help keep those reproductive cells at their peak by loading up on these healthy fruits.  

Blueberries have anthocyanins which give them their namesake color. [“Cyan” means blue in Greek] and are a great source of Vitamin C. Studies show that compounds and vitamins in blueberries may help with some of the symptoms of endometriosis and uterine fibroids by easing some of the pain and heavy bleeding… and blueberries may even positively affect the uterine lining which may help with implantation**.

Ready for an easy blueberry recipe?

A popular use for fresh blueberries is in Fresh Berry Kebobs and Fruit Dip, served with a creamy fruit dip. This dip is one of my own creations and is also great whenever you’re serving a platter of fresh fruit instead of the fruit kebobs. All you need for the kebobs are wooden skewers, blueberries (and strawberries or other fruits that work well on sticks) to thread onto the skewers and the following easy dip ingredients, which you combine in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use:

1- 15 oz. can of frozen Bacardi® pina colada mixer (there is no alcohol in it), thawed,

1- 8 oz. container of Cool Whip®, thawed and

1- 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained.

Another great blueberry recipe that is really patriotic and easy is this gorgeous 4th of July Strawberry (and Blueberry) Shortcake Kabobs from Foods 101 with Deronda . Check out the quick video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpqVNEFzF-s  You will be a hit at any summer gathering with this one!

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Did you make either of these eye catching patriotic treats? Have another blueberry recipe to share?


*Disclaimer:Any recipe we offer is only meant for those who aren’t sensitive or allergic to the ingredients. Recipes are shared simply for fun only and nothing contained herein constitutes medical advice or a guarantee that eating any particular food will have any affect on your fertility.

 * http://www.livestrong.com/article/543691-blueberries-the-uterus/

photo credit: Grant Cohrane http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10047219

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