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Age and Fertility

By David Kreiner MD

February 2nd, 2015 at 4:23 pm


credit: photostock/free digital

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, 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 ) as well as a well-respected Donor Egg Program  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?


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Please Join Us Tonight: East Meets West Free Seminar!

By Tracey Minella

February 15th, 2011 at 12:00 am

There is something really radical going on in Plainview, New York tonight. It is called a free face-to-face, real live informational seminar on infertility. That’s right.   We’re talking personal connections here. Not a webinar. For free. (Did I mention the munchies?)

Tonight’s discussion is about combining Western and Eastern approaches in treating infertility. Like a one-two punch. Have you been trying to conceive without success? Maybe suffered one or more miscarriages? Is your day 3 FSH in the stratosphere? Have other programs told you to give up? Then this unique approach designed to increase pregnancy rates and possibly reduce miscarriage rates could be your answer. Imagine that!

The expert speakers are Dr. David Kreiner of East Coast Fertility and Acupuncturist Mike Berkley of the Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness. Don’t you owe it to yourself to just check it out? When was the last time you could corner a RE or an acupuncturist and grill him ‘til you were satisfied? For free.

Still hesitant? Consider this scenario.

Picture two infertile friends and co-workers talking at the water cooler. One can’t get pregnant. The other can’t stay pregnant. One invites the other to a free seminar after work. It goes like this:

“But, I’m too tired after work. I just wanna go home.”

“Oh, c’mon. There’ll be munchies. It’s just two hours and maybe we’ll find the answers we’ve been looking for.”

“But, I hate those things. A conference room full of strangers. It’s probably just a big sales pitch about the same old, same old.”

“What if it’s not, though? I’ve never seen a seminar about combining these two approaches. I wouldn’t even know where else to look for an acupuncturist to talk to.  Maybe, just maybe, it can help us. It’s free. If I could avoid another failed IVF, it’s worth checking it out. Besides, we’ll be together.”

“Nah. I’m gonna pass, but you have fun. Sounds kinda hokey to me. Anyway, it’s freezing outside…”

Now let me ask you something. If you are the one left alone at the water cooler because your friend is on maternity leave, how are you going to feel about doing the easier thing tonight?

There will always be plenty of excuses not to go. Apathy, cold, tired, and depressed are powerful feelings to overcome. But remember, cutting edge opportunities in infertility treatment don’t present themselves every day. I promise you won’t have any regrets if you do go. Bring a friend.

Go on. Step away from your laptop. We’re waiting for you. (Hey, did I mention the munchies?)

Seminar begins tonight at 6:30 pm, until 8:30 pm, at:

East Coast Fertility, 245 Newtown Rd., Suite 300, Plainview, New York 11803

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