Monday, December 22, 2008

Secondhand Smoke Causes Problems

More studies have been done on smoking and difficulties with pregnancy, but now a small study shows that secondhand smoke can cause miscarriages.

It seems that the longer women have been exposed to secondhand smoke the more problems they have getting pregnant and/or staying pregnant. An article on MSNBC says that secondhand smoke contains most of the toxins that harm reproductive system.

This is one reason I am glad that Illinois passed the no smoking law. With the DJ business, we were playing music in a lot of bars and hotels that allowed smoking in their banquet areas. Now we don't have to worry about smoke at all.

If you have smokers in the family, try to minimize the exposure to the smoke as much as possible.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Increase in Egg and Sperm Donations

It is a sign of hard economic times when more and more people are selling fertile eggs and sperm. In an MSNBC article, it is reported that a significant increase in people selling fertile eggs and sperm to help pay their bills or to help pay for college.

“I am seeing a huge increase,” said Mary Fusillo, director of The Donor Solution, an agency in Texas. She says egg donor applications have jumped in the past six weeks from two to five a day to 20. “It’s people who suddenly see it as a viable way to make a chunk of change all at one time.”

I am happy to report that donors are put through a lot of tests to make sure that they are healthy and disease free in most cases. This is something you have to investigate before accepting any donation.

Sperm donations can be made up to 10 times a month for $60.00 to $100.00 per donation. Women can sell their eggs for around $7,000.00. One college student sold enough eggs to pay for her college.

What does this mean for those of us going through fertility treatments? For those who use donor eggs and sperm, it means a wider selection of sperm or eggs to better fit your wants and desires.

Good luck to all who are going through fertility treatments. I hope and pray that you get that BFP soon.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Breakthrough in Womens Health and Frozen Eggs

MSNBC has a video on medical breakthroughs for women. One of the items in the article was that frozen eggs are just as viable as fresh or unfrozen eggs when it comes to fertility. Frozen eggs are just as viable as an egg obtained in a fresh cycle.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

PGD (pre genetic diagnosis)

Pre Genetic Diagnose (PGD) is a little controversial and has not been shown to be accurate. Studies have shown that PGD is not very accurate and test results are not conclusive. Eggs that are normal, may show as abnormal in testing and be discarded, while abnormal eggs show as normal and be implanted back into the mother.

PDG is basically used to find out if a fertilized egg has an indication of having a genetic disorder.

"General guidelines for who should be offered PGD in most clinics are:
  • Couples with family histories of inherited genetic diseases
  • Couples where either partner is a carrier of chromosomal translocations (their chromosomes in their genes are “mixed up” – part of one chromosome has broken off and joined with another)
  • Women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages
  • Women over the age of 38 (which is considered an advanced female age for bearing children) attempting IVF
  • Any couple who has experienced repeated failed attempts at IVF (usually 3 or more)
  • Any couple where a man’s sperm count is low that it is necessary to perform ICSI
A single cell is extracted from an egg that has divided cells of 8 or more. The cell is then tested for genetic diseases. For women who are 38 or over this test can indicate which eggs are more likely to result in a successful pregnancy.

"This means that it is not necessarily better to use PGD just because you have had previous IVF cycles that did not work or because you are a woman over 38. PGD for this reason has not been proven to increase chances of pregnancy. However, if you know you have a chromosomal translocation or you are carrying a gene for a genetic disease or disorder, and your potential child is at a high risk of inheriting medical problems, PGD is useful for increasing the chances of a live birth and a healthy baby." Womens Health Information

Unfortunately the test is not always reliable.

"By relying on the result of one cell from the multi-cell embryo, it assumed that this cell is representative of the remainder of the embryo. This may not be the case as the incidence of mosaicism is often relatively high. On occasion, PGD may result in a false negative result leading to the acceptance of an abnormal embryo, or in a false positive result leading to the deselection of a normal embryo." Wikipedia

"However, PGD (referred to as PGS in Europe) for routine aneuploidy screening during IVF for infertile couples has recently come under severe criticism in Europe owing to several prospective, randomized control studies in Holland and Belgium. PGS has failed to show any improvement in IVF clinical outcome per initiated cycle for advanced maternal age, nor for recurrent implantation failure." Infertility.com

"PGD is very controversial because of the many ethical issues involved with this procedure. Many feel that it is unethical to create an embryo outside of the body and then destroy it. This is especially so because PGD is not 100% accurate, which could lead to the destruction of a normal embryo. Also, PGD does not guarantee that a child will be born without a disease or disorder since genes are not the only things that cause medical problems – fetal environment has a large impact as well. " Women's Health UK

Hopefully this will give you some information to make a difficult decision. Good Luck!


Sources:
Wikipedia
Infertal.com
Womens Health UK

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Really Good Web Site

While doing research on different subject, I have come across some web sites that I thought would be good references while going through IVF.


A Brief Guide to IVF, IVF with ICSI, IVM and Frozen Embryo Tansfer - This is a .pdf file that tells you what is going to happen step-by-step and good tips when going through IVF.

Emory Healthcare - Has excellent pictures on what is going on in your body throughout the steps of IVF. It gives you a brief overview of what to expect in the different stages of IVF.

Fertility Plus has excellent tips on how to give yourself a shot and to prevent bruising and soreness. Tips on traveling with medications and needles. And what to expect during Egg Retrieval and Egg Transfer.

If you have more websites please post them in a comment.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Egg Quality and Size

Sorry, for some reason I have been publishing articles for another blog here instead of the blog that it belong on. I guess I need to pay more attention to what I am doing.

Now for an article that you may have more interest in. Egg quality and size. What are our doctors looking for when you go for your ultra sound?

What is a good number of egg to retrieve?

For most doctors they would like 5 mature eggs for a retrieval, but no less than 3. Anything less than 3 has a very low success rate of becoming pregnant. "However, the high number of follicles could indicate the presence of polycystic ovaries as well as the possibility of over stimulating your ovaries through the use of fertility medication. There may also be some egg quality issues that need to be looked into." (quote from Pregnancy Info Net)

An average number of mature eggs is between 12 and 20. But all doctors agree that the quality of eggs are much more important than quantity.

What size should the egg for retrieval?

It differs a little between doctors, but on average an egg should measure between 15 - 22 mm. Anything smaller is not mature enough and is highly unlikely to become fertilized.

Of course there is the flip side of the coin. Anything bigger than 25 is considered over mature and will probably be discarded. This happened to me in my last cycle. I had an egg left over from my last cycle and the doctor didn't even count it as a viable egg.

Sources:
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
Fertility Today
IVF Connections
Center for Applied Reproductive Science
Med Help
Pregnancy Info
Malpani Infertility Clinic

FSH Levels and What They Mean

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is a hormone that stimulates the body to grow and mature eggs. It is usually tested between day 2 and 4 of a woman's cycle. So what do the numbers mean?

If FSH is to high....

"When a women goes into menopause she is essentially running out of eggs in her ovaries. The brain senses that there is a low estrogen environment and more FSH is released from the pituitary gland in an attempt to stimulate the ovaries enough to produce a good follicle and estrogen. " Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

High levels of FSH may indicate:
Menopause Polycystic
ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Ovarian problems

If FSH is to low...

"An example of how delicate this optimal balance is: While those of us who are learning about infertility tend to worry most about FSH levels that are too high, it is also the case that too little FSH can hamper conception. Hypothalamic anovulation (or lack of ovulation due to a malfunction of the hypothalamus gland) is a result of too little or no FSH production." Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

Low levels may indicate:
No ovulation
Problem with pituitary gland functioning
Anorexia
High levels of stress

Some women's FSH level bounces around. One month it is in the normal range and the next it will be high. Women who have this problem are less likely to become pregnant. A steady FSH level produces better quality of eggs.

Remember, in IVF it is not how many eggs produced, but the quality of eggs produced will end in a viable pregnancy.


Sources:
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
FertilityCommunity.com
Justmommies.com
babyzone.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cool Website for Medications

I was doing some research for another post and stumbled across Fertility Lifelines. It lists some of the medications for IVF with printable instructions, video, and prescription information. It doesn't list all the medications, but it does have some.

It has some really good information on IVF and talks about fertility myths.

Please tell us about your favorite IVF related web site.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm Done

Well, I have my final results and it was negative. Alan and I will be taking a break for a while and discuss Foster Care and/or Adoption starting late next year sometime or maybe in 2010.

I will still post on this blog, but probably not as much as I have been. I will be concentrating on the Frugal Sister and the Healthy Living blogs more. If we decide to get into Foster Care or Adoption I may start a blog for that avenue.

The only bad thing about having to wait this long is now I will probably start my period on my Anniversary. Such luck.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

56 Year Old Gives Birth To Triplets

Going through the news this morning I found this short article about a women who gave birth to triplets for her daughter.

MSNBC reports that a woman in Ohio gave birth to twins and their sister earlier this month. She was a carrier for her daughter. She decided to give it a try when her daughter and son-in-law were going through the adoption process. They of course went through IVF.

The 3 children were born October 11th by cesarean two months premature. Grandma and babies are all doing fine.

There may be hope for all of us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Home Pregnancy Tests, are they accurate?

Well, I took an HPT this morning to see if my cycle worked. It is still a little early, but I thought that I would check anyway. I got a BFN. My beta isn't until Monday, so I still have a chance that I may be pregnant. I never got a BFP early anyway. I have no idea why I even took the test. So I thought that I would do some research to find out how accurate they are and when is the best time to take one.

The best time to take an HPT is 14 days after ovulation or 1 day after a missed period. Very few HPTs can accurately give results before this time. To get the best results, use the HPT first thing in the morning. Your morning urine has the most concentrated HCG levels that are used to predict if you are pregnant or not.

From Consumer Reports, the best brand and highest rated is First Response. The second was Clearblue Easy. Wal-Mart's brand Equate had failed to work in testing. I would not recommend that one at all. It looks like in this case brand name is the best for your money.

It looks like I will be going to Walgreen's after work today to get a First Response. I have been buying Walgreen's generic brand.

Good luck to you all and I hope that you get the results you are looking for.

Sources:

ConsumerSearch
Baby Center
WomensHealth.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HCG Levels at Beta

I only have 5 more days until beta. Some women on the Fertility message boards have received their BFP. Some have high HCG numbers and some have low number. What do the number mean?

Anything above 5 is considered pregnant. Unfortunately some doctors feel that anything lower than 20 is considered borderline. Most doctors feel anything lower than 10 is not a viable pregnancy. I say don't count your chickens before they are hatched. Some women with low HCG on the message boards have gone on to have a healthy full term baby.

Here is the levels at weekly intervals.

3 weeks LMP: 5 - 50 mIU/ml
4 weeks LMP: 5 - 426 mIU/ml
5 weeks LMP: 18 - 7,340 mIU/ml
6 weeks LMP: 1,080 - 56,500 mIU/ml
7 - 8 weeks LMP: 7, 650 - 229,000 mIU/ml
9 - 12 weeks LMP: 25,700 - 288,000 mIU/ml
13 - 16 weeks LMP: 13,300 - 254,000 mIU/ml
17 - 24 weeks LMP: 4,060 - 165,400 mIU/ml
25 - 40 weeks LMP: 3,640 - 117,000 mIU/ml
Non-pregnant females: mIU/ml
Postmenopausal females: mIU/ml

In most cases if your HCG level doubles or close to doubles in 48 hours then the baby is growing and the pregnancy is viable. If the HCG level starts to drop it probably means you will miscarry.


Sources:
American Pregnancy Association
Bobrow
Childbirth
Dr.Spock

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pregnancy Symptoms

Since I am on my second week of my two week wait, I thought that I would post some pregnancy symptoms.

  • Sore Breasts
  • Tired a lot
  • Going to the Bathroom a lot and not urinating very much
  • Cramps
  • Spotting
  • Darkening skin around the nipple
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Cravings
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Mood Swings
  • Higher Basel Body Temperature

The a few of the most embarrassing symptoms is my favorite.

  • Gas
  • Cheeseburger Crotch
  • Memory Loss

BabyMed has a great chart specifically for those of us going through IVF and in our TWW.

Remember some women don't have any symptoms at all. Always wait for the official word from your doctor before you have that glass of wine or a huge cup of coffee.



Sources:
babymed.com
fertilityStories
WebMD.com
Parents.com
Healthline.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

IVF Medications

I have found that I was not the only one that was taking the shots and had no idea why I was taking anything. I was blindly doing what the doctors told me to do. So I thought that I would give some information on what medication does what.

Birth Control Pills (BCP) - Used to prepare for cycle. Some clinics use BCPs to help put women on a certain schedule.

Lupron - Causes estrogen levels to rise and suppresses ovulation.



    " For ART protocols Lupron is usually given in either of two ways:

    1. In down regulation (Meldrum) protocols Lupron is started twice daily about 7 days after ovulation has occurred, prior to the anticipated ART cycle. When continuous doses of Lupron are given the pituitary gland becomes "desensitized" and stops producing LH and FSH. Estrogen levels then drop. This inhibition reverses upon cessation of Lupron. When the estrogen levels are low, the daily injections of FSH are begun. This FSH stimulates the development of eggs within the ovarian follicle.

    2. The second method is often referred to at the "Flare" or "Garcia" protocol. In this protocol, Lupron is begun once daily beginning on cycle day 2. FSH is initiated twice daily on cycle day 5 to take advantage of the initial Lupron/estrogen response (Flair)."

Gonol-F and Follistim - Are used to stimulate egg growth.

Pergonal, Repronex, and Humegon - Use with women who have trouble ovulating. Are used to stimulate egg growth.

Letrozole and Anastrozole - Used to stimulate ovulation. "They especially hold promise for the select group of women that have deficient mucus or underdeveloped endometrial lining while on clomiphene citrate. "

hCG - Encourages the eggs' final development prior to retrieval.

Medrol - Prepares the uterus for embryo implantation.

Doxycycline - Prevents infection after egg retrieval and egg transfer.

Progesterone - Ensures adequate amounts of progesterone are in the body following egg retrieval until the placenta begins producing its own.

Clomid - Helps women ovulate.

If I forgot a medication, please add yours to the comments. I will try to find information on it if you don't already have the information.

Sources:

Chicago IVF
DocShop.com
Conceptions
IVF Medication List

Added medication 10/22/08:

A medication to add to the list is Ganirelix - It is to keep you from ovulating before ER.

Sources:
follistim.com
Wikipedia.com

Monday, October 20, 2008

Eating Dairy While TCC

One women on the message board was told that she should not eat dairy products while trying to conceive a baby. "The Infertility Cure" agrees. But what about all the other research that says differently?

Some reports have said that eating whole fat dairy can help fertility in women. I know that when I read eating regular ice cream helped women become pregnant, I kind of went a little overboard.

Eating whole fat foods can also help you lose weight better than eating the low fat versions. Why? Because the fat makes you feel full and you eat less than the low-fat or no-fat foods.

Innovation Reports quote:
"Researchers in the United States have found a link between a low-fat dairy diet and increased risk of infertility due to lack of ovulation (anovulatory infertility). Their study showed that if women ate two or more servings of low-fat dairy foods a day, they increased their risk of ovulation-related infertility by more than four fifths (85%) compared to women who ate less than one serving of low-fat dairy food a week. On the other hand, if women ate at least one serving of high-fat dairy food a day, they reduced their risk of anovulatory infertility by more than a quarter (27%) compared to women who consumed one or fewer high-fat dairy serving a week."

Some research says that you should only consume dairy that is organic. Hormones that are fed or given to animals can increase infertility problems. It is best to find a store close by or order food online that is organic.

What do you think? Will you eat or drink dairy while TCC? If so, do you intend to buy only organic foods?


Sources:
Article City
WiseGeek
Innovations Report
Concieve Online
Pregnancy Info.net
Baby Center

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ET, Bedrest, and More

This week has been very active already. Last Saturday I did get a call from my doctors office letting me know that 2 eggs were fertilized and that egg transfer (ET) will be Monday.

Monday came and we did transfer two beautiful eggs and the transfer went very smoothly. I was uncomfortable with a full bladder, but no where near as bad as last time. I have been pretty much laying on the couch the last couple of days. Although I did run a couple of errands yesterday afternoon.

I do feel better about this cycle. I am positive that I will have at least one baby if not two to deliver late next spring.

Monday afternoon I did get a call that my great uncle passed away. He had been very sick with cancer. I am sad to see him go, but glad that he is no longer suffering. One of my sisters also had gal bladder surgery. She is fine and home recovering.

Oh, my doctor did do ICSI and assisted hatching. I have been home drinking grape juice and eating a little bit of pineapple.

Friday, October 10, 2008

ER and a little disappointment

Even after all that I have tried, I still only had 3 eggs retrieved today. I am scared that none will fertilize. This is my last cycle since my insurance only pays for 3 cycles. I am worried that even if I am lucky enough to have at least one egg to transfer that it won't stick.

One thing I can say is that no matter what happens at this point, my life will go on. After this month I will know if I will be a mom or go on to something else.

I will keep you posted on how things go.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Uterus Lining

After going through so many miscarriages I was wondering about a couple of things. How is my egg quality and is my lining good. As I normally do, I did my own research and came up some some interesting information about uterus lining.

The uterus lining measurement for a viable pregnancy changes, depending on the doctor. Most doctors like to see at least 7.0mm. The web sites that I found say that anything less than a 6.0 would be very unlikely to produce a viable pregnancy.

INCIID Information says this about IVF medications and how it affect the lining.

"Overgrowth of ovarian stroma (stromal hyperplasia) that produces testosterone in response to luteinizing Hormone (LH). This occurs more commonly in older women (beyond 40 years); in poor responders to gonadotropins (especially when they are given large amounts of LH-containing gonadotropins (e.g. Repronex, Menopur); and in very high responders to gonadotropin stimulation (e.g women with polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Over-exposure of endometrial cells to increased testosterone production (as might occur in all such cases (especially when high doses of LH-containing gonadotropins are administered, reduces endometrial receptivity to estrogen. This might explain why, when the same women ultimately resort to ovum donation or undergo FET's where no ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins is undertaken, the subsequently thickens normally following treatment with estrogen."

Using nitroglycerine skin patches can increase the lining when going through IVF. In my opinion acupuncture would be the better choice.

Acupuncture can help increase the blood flow to the uterus and increase the lining. It can also help with my self diagnosed poor egg quality.

Some Chinese Herbs can help increase a woman's lining. The Infertility Cure goes into some detail about Chinese Herbs, but it got a little confusing to me. It would be best to consult an herbalist before using any herbs.

Studies have shown that the thicker the lining the better results of a viable pregnancy. Most studies say that the best way to increase the lining is through acupuncture.


Sources:

Acupuncture Infertility
Being Well Healing Arts
Acubalance.com
NCBI
PubMed Centeral

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things You Don't Need

I know that this blogs subject is IVF, but sometime I can't help but put out an article for those who do become pregnant and deliver that healthy happy baby or two.

Simple Mom has an article on her web site that lists things that she feels is a waste of time, space, and money. When I was pregnant the first time, one of the message boards listed a bunch of stuff that they never used or didn't use very often. If I can find that list I will post it in another article. For now, check out Simple Mom's list.

I wish all of you going through any kind of fertility treatment good luck and my prayers are with all of you.

Monday, October 6, 2008

3 dt vs 5dt

There has been a lot of talk about what is the best time to transfer fertilized eggs back into the mom, 3 days or 5 days. Most of the research I found depends on the maturity of the eggs, how many eggs were fertilized, and the clinic.

For most clinics, they will do a 3 day transfer no matter what condition just because it works best for them. Other clinics it will depend on how many eggs were fertilized. If you have a lot of fertilized eggs and they are all dividing at the same rate, the clinic may wait 2 more days to see if some divide better and have less fragmentation. Then they will transfer the best back into the uterus.

If you don't have many eggs that are high quality, the clinic may go ahead and do a 3 day transfer. This is because some clinics believe that the eggs will do much better in the uterus where they belong than in a dish.

One research did conclude that the success rate is about the same for both 3 day and 5 day transfers and the twin rate is also the same.

My suggestions is go with your doctors recommendation. In most cases they will know what is best. Below are some articles that I found out on the web. I hope this helps.

Sources:

Human Reproduction

http://www.infertilitydoctor.com/lab/lab_embryo_blastocyst.htm

http://www.sharedjourney.com/articles/3vs5.html

Advances Fertility Center of Chicago

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cycle #3 Update

I have been on menopour, lupron, and gonal-f for a week now. I am starting to get the dull headache from the lupron. I hope it doesn't escalate into the almost migraines that I had on the last cycle. In the last couple of days I have started to feel full in my ovaries and twinges every now and then. I am very bloated and looking like I am 5 months pregnant. I am glad I kept my fat clothes.

I go back to the RE tomorrow morning for blood work and update on what meds I will continue and how much. This cycle is going very fast. I should be going in or ER the end of next week and ET 3 days after that.

I will post another update next week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fertility Diet

A friend of mine gave me a December 2007 Newsweek magazine. It has an article about "Fat, Carbs and the Science of Conception".

More than 18,000 women took part in a Nurses' Health Study. Each women said she was trying to have a baby. Over eight years of follow-up , most of them did. About one in six women were able to become pregnant, while some did have trouble. When diets, exercise habits, and other lifestyle choices where compared with those women who easily became pregnant, some key differences became apparent.

Carbohydrates, such as white bread, potatoes, and sugared sodas, increases the odds that you'll find yourself struggling with ovulation. Eating lots of healthy carbs like whole grains, beans, vegetables, and whole fruits can improve ovulation and the chances of getting pregnant.

Eating less artificial fats and adding healthy unsaturated fats can improve fertility. For instance if you ate 2,000 calories a day, 2 percent of calories is the same as two tablespoons of stick margarine, one medium order of fast food french fries or one doughnut. A diet with 2 percent or more in trans fats can greatly decrease fertility.

Eat less animal proteins. Women who ate a diet high in animal protein was 39 percent more likely to have ovulatory infertility. The reverse was true for women who ate a high amount of plant protein.

The Nurse's Health Study found that two servings of whole milk and foods made from whole milk (full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and ice cream) seemed to increase fertility while low fat versions decreased fertility.

Exercise is recommended to everyone except those who are having trouble getting pregnant. Too much exercise can turn off menstruation and ovulation. For women who exercise hard for many hours a week and who are extremely lean, it is recommended that you slow down to a moderate exercise for only 30 minutes a day. If you are overweight you may need to up your exercise to a moderate pace for 60 minutes a day. Too much and too little exercise as well as not enough body fat or too much body fat can cause fertility problems. The Infertility Cure recommends walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 60 minutes a day. No sit ups or core body exercise which can cause blood flow to flow away from the uterus.

The bottom line, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat beans and other plant proteins and then top it all off with a small bowl of regular ice cream flavor of your choice (well, no chocolate sorry!!!). Then go for a nice walk (this will also help with stress).

Beta Numbers

There is always a question when you get your beta numbers. If the number is lower than expected or higher, what does that mean?

Well if you have anything that registers above 5 units on the scale that means you are pregnant. The number should double every 30.9 hours. That is why you go in for 3 beta numbers.

Here are some web sites that have charts. Some even have charts for twins and triplets.

HCG Levels
Early Pregnancy
WebMd - This web site doesn't have a chart, but it has some really good information
American Pregnancy Association
Stages-In-Pregnancy

I hope this helps with your questions.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cycle #3

Well AF finally showed yesterday. Today I had blood work done and a baseline ultrasound. I will be on a new protocol this cycle, the Lupron Flare. So I will be adding menopour to my list of shots. This will be a very fast cycle compared to my last two.

I am excited to get this cycle started, but nervous because this will be our last IVF cycle no matter what happens. My insurance will only pay for 3 cycles. We can't afford to pay out of pocket.

I do have a good feeling about this cycle though. I have been going to get acupuncture for the last 6 weeks. I have been eating better than before and drinking a lot less caffeine. If nothing else, I can at least say that I did everything possible to make this work.

Good luck to all of you who are going through IVF or about to go through any kind of infertility treatment. I hope that the information I have on this blog with help you become pregnant and have a healthy full term pregnancy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Infertility Cure

I finally finished reading the best book I have found for IVF. This books goes through everything from how your eggs mature and grow to acupuncture and acupressure to herbs. This book is geared mostly toward women, but it does have a short chapter toward the back about men. And it does mention what will work for both men and women sprinkled throughout the book.

This is definitely a book about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and how it can help you reach your goals. The author also talks about how TCM can be used in conjunction with Western Medicine's IVF treatments. Chinese medicine is based on balancing the energy flow in your body by using natural herbs, massage, acupuncture, food, meditation, and breathing.

The first thing you do is go through some questions to find out where your are deficient in energy. The rest of the book is based on your findings from the questionnaire.

The only thing I found confusing in the herbs. Most of these I have never heard of and all the rules that goes with what you should and shouldn't take and what time of the month these herbs should be taken. Before taking any of the herbs suggested in the book, I would consult an certified herbalist or Chinese Doctor.

I did make some changes from the suggestion I found in the book. I am cutting down to very little sugar since that seems to be a big problem in my diet and on processed foods. Here are some items that should be cut out entirely no matter where you are energy deficient:

This book goes into detain on what you should and shouldn't eat. If you have a lot of warm energy it suggests you eat cool foods like raw fruits and vegetables. If you have a lot of cool energy, eat warm foods and nothing straight out of the refrigerator.

Here are some Diet and Lifestyle tips:

  • Perform the massage techniques shown in chapter 6 to improve blood flow to the pelvic organs before and during the IVF process, but not after embryo transfer.
  • Do not smoke, use nicotine patches, or chew nicotine gum.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not drink any coffee.
  • Eat well, suing the pattern discrimination dietary guidelines listed in chapter 6.
  • Take wheatgrass supplements, bluegreen alge; co Q-10, pycongenal, fish oil, and royal jelly. (You may take these all the way through your hormonal stimulation if your physician allows) These nutritional supplements will help keep you from depleting your Essence (and tax your Kidneys) any further.
  • Exercise daily before an IVF transfer, but do not begin any exercise program just before or during a cycle. If you do exercise, avoid sit-ups or any jarring, high-impact, or heavy weight-lifting exercises that make you grunt and raise intra-abdominal pressure. She recommends walking, except on the days immediately after embryo transfer.
  • After the egg retrieval, you may feel very uncomfortable and bloated. The best thing to do is drink lots of water and avoid sodium after retrieval
  • After transfer, remain as calm and stationary as possible. Meditate. Breath deeply. Listen to soothing music. Order takeout.
  • Avoid straining with a bowl movement in the days following transfer. If you are prone to constipation, increase dietary fiver or take a mild stool softener (but not a cathartic/laxative) (Poop Paste Recipe)
  • Listen to yourself. Do your best to keep stress hormones out of the equation. Give the embryo within you as much help as you can to settle in to its new home.

The is so much more information that can help each couple in this book that it is hard to highlight everything. For anyone going through or about to go through IVF or any kind of fertility treatments, I highly recommend this book.

Please leave comments on this book or recommend other books.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and IVF

After going through two cycles of IVF, I have been lucky not to have OHSS. It is a potential side effect of IVF treatments. While OHSS is typically mild, but it can be life threatening. Catching the symptoms early can lower the risk of serious complications. You may have mild OHSS during your cycle, however, severe symptoms usually occur 6 to 8 days after egg retrieval.
Symptoms are:

Mild
  • Abdominal bloating and feeling of fullness

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Slight weight gain

Moderate
  • Rapid weight gain, more than 10 pounds in 3 to 5 days

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Severe Bloating

  • Severe nausea (so much that you can’t keep down any food or fluids)

  • Diarrhea

  • Skin and hair may feel dry

  • Thirst

  • Dizziness

Severe
  • Trouble urinating

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Fullness/bloating up above the belly button

  • Calf and chest pains

  • Lower abdominal pain

Prevention and Treatment
  • Avoid sexual intercourse

  • Reduce activities, no heavy lifting, straining, or exercise

  • Drink clear fluids around 10 to 12 glasses a day of ginger ale, cranberry juice, Gatorade, or ensure. ( I don’t remember where I saw that a doctor also suggested V8 juice.)

  • Total bed rest can increase the risk of some complications

  • Put your feet up. This helps your body get rid of the extra fluids

In rare cases when OHSS is severe, you may be hospitalized. The hospital may remove some of the fluids in your belly by needle. Usually the symptoms will decrease once you get your period.

If you get pregnant, your symptoms may stick around for several weeks. Pregnancy can also make the symptoms worse, so your doctor will want to monitor your situation carefully.

Sources:

About.com - http://infertility.about.com/od/infertilitytreatments/a/ohss_symptoms.htm
IVF.com - http://www.ivf.com/ohss.html

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Other Blogs

IVF is very expensive, especially if you have to pay for everything out of pocket. I am one of the few lucky ones that my insurance pays for most of it including meds. But that doesn't keep me from trying to cut some costs to save some pennies here and there.

Last April I my sister and I started a blog called Frugal Sister to help each other save money and cut costs. We also learn from each other on how to invest what little money we do have even if it is just in a high interest savings account. Lately I have been learn how to survive this financial crisis we are in.

For those who are trying to stay healthy while going through IVF, check out Healthy Living Frugally. There I post articles on foods of the week, stress, and exercise.

I have been asked how you make money by blogging. One way is to click on the advertisements that you are interested in or buying the books I have on the blog by clicking on the book. Please only do this if you are interested in the advertisement or the book. I have also posted a similar message as this one on my other blogs today. I usually don't do this, but I thought that I would share with those who are interested in the same subjects.

Please feel free to leave other web sites that you love to visit or your blog in a comment. I am always interested in other blogs and web sites.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Change The Way I Think

Today as I was going through some financial blogs, I discovered a theme. Most of them are talking about slowing down, taking time to breath, de-stressing, and getting organized. One of the biggest things you can do for yourself and your family is to try and stay as stress free as possible, especially when you are going through IVF.

Simple Mom had an article about writing things down to help declog the brain and de-stress the body. Keeping a list of things that need to get done, projects to start or finish, or grocery list in a notebook or on a computer program or web site will help you stay organized and not be so stress out trying to keep it all in your brain.

So I spent the next 2 hours going through my Palm Treo and updating my Tasks to get them all out of my brain. I also updated my calendar and added some alerts so that I don't forget what is coming up.

After thinking about other ways I can de-stress my life I have decided to put some other things into action like:
  1. Meditating for 10 minutes after I finish Tai Chi Chuan in the morning
  2. Going for a walk on the weekends on a bike trail next to my home
  3. Spending 10 minutes a day not doing anything
  4. Organizing my time and my house
  5. Cutting down my daily to-do-list so that I do have time for myself

Clutter is a big deal for me. It makes me crazy especially when I can't find something. Even though I have been working on getting my house organized for the last 6 years, it is time to get back to the chore (this is a long story that will not fit into the blog).

What are some things you can start doing to help you de-stress? Leave your tips in a comment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

IVF Tips

After going through 2 cycles of IVF and reading a lot of posts on the fertility forums, I have put together some really good tips.

  1. When your meds are finally delivered at the door, you will be a little overwhelmed at all the needles and packages. It helps to organize everything. Getting one of those plastic 3 drawer containers to put med, needles, band aids, alcohol swabs, etc.

  2. Setting up a special place in your house for a shot station. This may help with stress especially if you don’t like needles. It will also keep everything in one place so you don’t lose your tiny bottle of lupron.

  3. For some shot other than progesterone, use ice before you get your shot. It will help. No ice or heat with the progesterone because that may kill the properties in the medicine. Extreme heat or cold is not good for progesterone.

  4. If you mix your meds, let it sit for about 10 minutes before you give yourself the shot. This lessens the stinging.

  5. Be prepared for mood swings no matter what meds you are on. Warn neighbors, family, and friends that you may become Mrs. Hide after the cycle starts.

  6. Don’t be afraid to call your doctor if you are having some problems. They are there to help. You may want to ask the question on message boards like Fertility Community. Most of the women there could probably give you some good advice and relieve some anxiety before the doctor is able to get back to you.

  7. If you have questions write them down. This way you don’t forget to ask when the doctor or nurse while they are on the phone. Remember that they have a lot of women they are taking care of and may not call you back right away.

  8. Write down the answers to the questions you asked. This way you can use it as a reference later when you’ve forgotten that you already asked the question or forgot the answer.

  9. After you give or get your shot, don’t be surprised that you may get some seepage back out the whole when you pull out the needle. Don’t panic, this sometimes happens. There is not enough seepage to worry about.

  10. You may bruise. I know I nicked a blood vessel in my last cycle and I had a huge purple bruise on my tummy for a couple of weeks. It was a little tender to the touch.

  11. It is always a good idea to join some of the message boards. The women will give you plenty of support and help when no one else can.


    1. IVF – Infertility.com - http://www.ivf-infertility.com/phpBB2/

    2. Fertility Community - http://forums.fertilitycommunity.com/vitro-fertilization-ivf/%20o%20%20%20%20IVF%20Forum%20-%20http://ivfforum.net/

    3. IVF Forum - http://ivfforum.net/

    4. Pregnancy Calendars, IVF Experience - http://www.pregnancy-calendars.net/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=90


  12. Stims will make you feel bloated and you may look like you are 4 months pregnant. Have those fat clothes ready.

  13. Enjoy the day or so after the trigger shot. It will be the only day or so without any shots and hopefully for 6 to 10 weeks. You will be on progesterone starting the day of egg retrieval until you are about 6 to 10 weeks pregnant or you receive that dreaded call from the doctor saying that your pregnancy test came back negative.

  14. Some women take the time between egg retrieval and egg transfer off work to relax and destress.

  15. Some doctors require that you are on bed rest for 2 to 3 days after egg transfer. This is the time to really pamper yourself. Have a few movies, some books or magazines ready to keep you busy. Maybe start crocheting an afghan or knitting a sweater. It was suggested that you start a pamper box and when you come across an movie or book that you don’t have time for at the moment, throw it in the box.

  16. Bed rest does not mean you need to stay in bed the whole time. It is recommended that you lay down for most of the day, but you can get up to go to the bathroom, fix something light to eat, let the dogs out (but don’t take them for a walk). If you can, have someone stay with you to help out.


I know that I have missed some really good tips. What other tips to do have?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trans Fat Could Cause Fetal Death

MSNBC reported that a study has shown eating a diet high in trans fats could cause fetal death.

" The investigators assessed trans fat intake when the women were 39.5 years old on average. Among these women, 57 percent reported no fetal loss, 24 percent reported one fetal loss, and the remaining women had 2 or more losses."

Even Wikipedia has reported infertility under other effects of trans fats.

"Infertility: One 2007 study found, "Each 2% increase in the intake of energy from trans unsaturated fats, as opposed to that from carbohydrates, was associated with a 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility…".

I was just reading the information in "The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies" that warns that "trans fatty acids can impaire the proper functioning of the immune and reproductive systems."

But not all trans fats are created equal.

Some foods have natural trans fat in them like fish, eggs, soy products, raw nuts and seeds, dark-green and winter vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, kale, collards, cabbage, turnips, rutabega, and brussels sprouts.

Other that you should stay away from are: vegetable oils, shortening, margarine, lard and animal fat, hydroginated vetegable oils which are found in many processed foods.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a key to healthy blood.

"Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to clean the blood of fat deposits, reduce clotting, and encourage blood flow to the tissues, includign the uterus. Omega-3 fatty acids also boost the immune system and have been found to reduce certain immune cells which prevent the embryo's implantation in the uterus. The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docohexaenoic acide are also essential to in fetal brain development."

I if you are having problems staying pregnant, it might be an idea to cut out all processed foods along with the bad trans fats.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Plastic and Babies

There have been a bunch of articles out lately about plastic and baby bottles. WiseBread did have a short statement about plastic affecting pregnancy. Check out these articles.

WiseBread

MSNBC

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cabbage and Fertility

I use Google as my home page with a bunch of widgets. One of the widgets is The World’s Healthiest Foods. Every week they spotlight a food and give a lengthy report. This week is cabbage. There were a couple of really interesting facts that jumped out at me.

Cabbage is high in antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer especially in the lung, stomach, bladder cancer, breast cancer and colon. Idole-3-carinole, sulforaphane, and idoles found in cabbage have been shown to improve estrogen detoxification.

The biggest fact that I found was “In addition, recent research is showing that it’s not only how much estrogen a woman has that puts her at risk for breast cancer, but how her estrogen is metabolized.” The route of estrogen metabolism determines how active and possibly mutagenic a woman’s estrogen is. According to “The Infertility Cure” low estrogen can affect the quality of eggs and delay ovulation.

Just 3 to 5 servings a week (1 serving = 1 cup) will help you decrease your risk of cancer and will help your body metabolize estrogen when TTC.

Sliced, chopped, or steamed is the best way to prepare cabbage to receive the most nutrients.
You may want to stop by the store and pick up some coleslaw for dinner.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Freezing Eggs

Freezing eggs is a concern for those going through IVF and hoping to have good quality blasts to save for another cycle of trying to have a baby. But some women are opting to freeze eggs so that they have a better chance of becoming pregnant later in life. Some are even freezing eggs because of cancer treatments or other serious illnesses that affect the ovaries.

A new process for freezing eggs has improved pregnancy rates with slow freezing or vitrification methods. The process is explained very well at The Infertility Center of St. Louis.

"This new technique of freezing called “vitrification” avoids the damage caused by ice forming inside the cell by not trying to pull every last molecule of water out, because it is impossible to do this 100%. In fact, 70% of the cell is water, and at best you can reduce that to 30%. So with the conventional controlled rate slow-freezing technique, there is always going to be some intra-cellular ice crystal formation, causing some damage to embryos, and severely damaging most eggs. Vitrification uses a super high concentration of antifreeze (DMSO and ethylene glycol), and drops the temperature so rapidly that the water inside the cell never becomes ice. It just instantaneously super-cools into a solid with no ice crystal formation at all.

We can now freeze and thaw, and even refreeze and rethaw, with impunity, using this new protocol from Dr. Masashige Kuwayama from the Kato Clinic in Tokyo. With conventional “slow freezing,” the temperature of the embryo goes down at precisely 0.3°C per minute. With vitrification (using four times the concentration of antifreeze, or cryoprotectant), the temperature is dropped at 23,000 degrees C° per minute, that is 70,000 times faster. At that speed of cooling, and at that concentration of antifreeze, ice crystals simply cannot form."

According to the CBS new article Flash frozen eggs survive more than the vitrified eggs.

"University of Michigan researchers compared the techniques, and found slightly more flash-frozen eggs survived thawing. And it took 21 vitrified eggs to generate a pregnancy, compared with 45 slow-frozen ones. "

Find out which process your clinic uses and ask about their success rates. This might be one of the reasons you choose or not choose to use a certain clinic.

Warning: There is a risk no matter what process is used that some or all of the eggs will not survive the thawing process.

Sources:

The Infertility Center of St. Louis
CBS News article
Extended Fertility
MayoClinic.com

Please post any information you have on the subject.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Discount IVF Pharmacies

I am fortunate that my insurance pays for all my meds. Well I have to pay 10%, but that is nothing to what it costs if you have to pay for everything. So I thought that I would put together a list of places that seem to be less expensive than your regular pharmacy and that specialize in fertility drugs.

Sharfts/Walgreens

Ascend Speacialty

IVF Meds

Freedom Drug

IVPCare

IntegraMeds - now has a coupon for those who are in a shared risk program for $500.00 off meds. See IVF Coupon. Good until October 31, 2008.


If I find more I will add them to the list. If you have a pharmacy that you love please leave the information in a comment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pineapple and Grape Juice

There is a big buzz about the IVF community about the benefits of eating pineapple including the core and drinking grape juice before and after egg retrieval and egg transfer. There is plenty of testimonies on all the IVF and TTC message boards. But it is very hard to find any solid scientific evidence on why it works.

In “The Infertility Cure” Dr. Randine Lewis suggests eating pineapple for the enzyme bromelain, which helps implantation.

At BabySnark supplements and tips web site spells out some of the same information that I have found.

"Grapefruit Juice Usage: I researched grapefruit juice and could find nothing anywhere supporting the various claims that it helps to increase cervical mucus and/or helps a fertilized egg to implant. I believe this to be an old (or new!) wives' tale. Grapefruit juice is rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C, and is of course somewhat high-carb due to the fructose (fruit sugar).

Recommended Dosage: However much you feel like it, unless it gives you heartburn!

Food Sources: Grapefruits.

Side Effects: If you drink too much of it, you might get heartburn. You might also find yourself having to pee a lot if you drink a lot. Heh heh...

Pineapple Juice Usage: There is an old wives' tale floating around that pineapple juice will help a fertilized egg implant. However, pineapple juice is not recommended for use in TTC and/or pregnancy. In large doses, it can cause uterine contractions and bring on spontaneous abortions (miscarriage).

Recommended Dosage: Drink only in small quantities, if at all.

Food Sources: Pineapples.

Side Effects: Large doses may cause uterine contractions, miscarriage, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, very heavy menstrual periods. Unripe pineapple is poisonous, causing excessive diarrhea."

I have found more web sites that state that eating pineapple core is only a wives tale and should only be eaten in moderation. There is more information that eating an excess of pineapple can actually cause the uterus to contract and cause miscarriage. If you plan to eat pineapple, eat it sparingly, only 1/5 of the pineapple a day.

As for grape juice, it is another really good antioxidant and can help clean the body, but there is no proof that I could find that it helps with fertility at any stage. It is best to drink the unsweetened juice to receive the most benefits of antioxidants.

Sources:

http://forums.fertilitycommunity.com/vitro-fertilization-ivf/276751-pinapple-grape-juice.html http://www.babysnark.com/ttc-supplements/ttc-supplements.asp http://www.beginnerbaby.com/improve-fertility.phphttp://www.fertile-paths.com/index.html http://ivf.ca/forums/index.php?showtopic=7755&st=30 http://www.medhelp.org/posts/show/363169

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Caffeine Helps Male Fertility

According to research, in some cases caffeine can help increase male fertility. If the sperm count is low, caffeine may help increase the number of sperm. If your count is normal, caffeine may decrease the number of sperm.

Most research says to abstain from caffeine while the below links says it may actually help. Other items to stay away from are smoking, recreational drugs, hot tubs, and alcohol.

http://www.ivf1.com/caffeine-and-fertility/

“Much confusion has arisen over caffeine use in males. When sperm are treated under laboratory conditions with caffeine there is a short increase in the percent of motile sperm. However, over the longer term, the percent of moving sperm declines more quickly.
When men drink caffeine, most studies show a decrease in their ability to produce a pregnancy. The same Danish study that found a decrease in fertility from caffeine in women also found a similar decrease when men were the ones consuming caffeine.”

According to the Mayo Clinic coffee in moderation may actually increase motility. However large amounts had the opposite effect and caused sperm to swim slower.

It has been reported on some of the message boards that drinking a Mountain Dew the day before and day of ER has increased sperm count and vitality. The advise that applies to women also applies to men. Stop drinking coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, and no chocolate candy for everyone involved in the baby making process.

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fertility/MC00023
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NAH/is_7_33/ai_107637368 http://www.babycenter.ca/preconception/activelytrying/caffeineandfertility/

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What you need to do before IVF?

I wish that I had started this blog long before I started my first IVF cycle. Fortunately I am learning more with every cycle. The biggest thing that I learned is that I should have started 3 months before my first IVF cycle.

Dietary changes should be made three months to a year before you start IVF treatments. Don’t go crazy! Some women will still get pregnant even if you just started making changed in the middle of their cycle. For the best results make the change to eat fresh fruits and veggies, lower the amount of red meat, and avoid junk food, caffeine, tobacco, sodas, sweeteners, and refined carbohydrates as soon as possible.

Most of the information I have found is from “The Infertility Cure”. There is a link on the right column to Amazon.com. Below are some other web sites with great information.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ReproductiveHealth/Story?id=4379398&page=1

Katz says, "The general advice is that if you want to make any changes to your diet in the hopes of conceiving and having a baby, you should probably be looking for a healthy diet with lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and high in folate and omega-3 fatty acids."

http://health.msn.com/pregnancy/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100198030

“When it comes to getting pregnant, the old adage "you are what you eat" rings true. "What you eat affects everything from your blood to your cells to your hormones," says Cynthia Stadd, a nutrition specialist at the Berkeley Center for Reproductive Wellness and Women's Health in New York City. According to the American Pregnancy Association, a nonprofit that promotes reproductive health, you should allow three months to a year for dietary changes to take root. But if you're already in the throes of baby-making, don't fret -- it's never too late to get a leg up. Read on for tips on getting your diet into baby-making shape.”

http://www.healthinharmonytcm.com/fertility.php

“When you are trying to get pregnant, each passing month can seem like a wasted cycle, and three to six months or more can seem like a very long time. However, studies show that at least three months of preparation with TCM is optimal for a healthy pregnancy and baby. In TCM, no cycle is a "wasted" cycle. Each treatment strengthens your body and brings it closer to optimal reproductive health, a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby.”

Please feel free to add any other helpful tips or web sites.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Acupuncture and Infertility

On the message boards I have been hearing a lot about acupuncture helping women become pregnant when used in conjunction with IVF treatments.

Acupuncture is a technique of inserting and manipulating fine filiform needles into specific points on the body with the aim of relieving pain and for therapeutic purposes. According to traditional Chinese acupuncture theory, these acupuncture points lie along maridians which energy flows.
Modern science has never been able to explain how acupuncture works.

“However, the National Institutes of Health in the United States have noted that many researchers are investigating the issue. Some possible theories as to just why acupuncture works include:

Changes to the central nervous system during acupuncture sessions alter the regulation of blood pressure and flow as well as body temperature.

Acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system causing neurotransmitters and neurohormones to be released, thereby boosting your body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Acupuncture reduces pain by releasing the endorphins, which naturally occur in the body’s pain control system, into the central nervous system.”

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat some causes of infertility. Acupuncture is not a cure for infertility. In some cases like blocked tubes or endometriosis, acupuncture can still improve the chances of fertility treatments bringing you a BFP. Acupuncture can help with elevated follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), repeated pregnancy loss, unexplained infertility, luteal phase defect, hyperprolactinemia, polycycstic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with annovulatory cycles, and male factor including men affected with sperm DNA fragmentation.

Treatment should start three to four months before in vitro fertilization or donor-egg transfer. This period seems to have the best results.

Sources:
http://www.pregnancy-info.net/infertility_acupuncture.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture
http://www.americanpregnancy.org/infertility/acupuncture.htm

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Children and Kites

Syndicated columnist Erma Bombeck once wrote a piece the likened children to kites.

"You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you're both breathless. They crash. They hit the rooftop. You patch and comfort, adjust, and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they'll fly."

Finally, they are airborne. They need more string and you keep letting it out. But with each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with joy. The kite becomes more distant, and you know it won't be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you two together and will soar as it is meant to soar, free and alone. Only then do you know that you did your job."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Does drinking coffee or even decaf coffee affect fertility?

I love coffee and really didn’t want to give it up. Most doctors say that you can drink 1 to 2 cups a day and not have any effect on your chances for conceiving a baby. I decided to do my own research so that I can make a better decision for myself.

I found out that I should have given up coffee at least 3 months before I started any kind of IVF treatment. It takes 90 to 150 days for changes in the diet to affect the body. In some research caffeine can prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. Below are links to the web sites that I found and quotes from the articles.

For me, since I don’t have a problem getting pregnant but I do have a problem staying pregnant, caffeine is now totally out of my diet. I did cut out caffeine a month before I became pregnant with my DD. So I have substituted hot water for my morning cup of coffee.

Below are links to some of the web sites I have found and quotes that I wanted to highlight.

http://www.pregnancy-info.net/diet_and_fertility.html

“Diet soda should be avoided, as it contains aspartame. Caffeine should also be limited, especially if you're having trouble conceiving, or while undergoing IVF. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the uterus and prevents eggs from attaching to the uterine wall.”

http://health.msn.com/pregnancy/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100198030

“The research on whether caffeine can affect fertility is mixed. Experts generally agree that low to moderate caffeine consumption (less than 300 mgs a day or about two 8-ounce mugs of coffee) won't get in the way of getting pregnant. But you might want to cut out caffeine altogether if you're having difficulty conceiving or undergoing in vitro fertilization, says fertility specialist Leondires. He says that caffeine constricts blood vessels, slowing blood flow to the uterus and potentially making it harder for an egg to grab hold.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_and_health

http://fertility.amuchbetterway.com/does-coffee-impair-fertility/

http://www.teeccino.com/PDFs/women.pdf

http://www.fertility.com/international/treatment/Enhance_Your_Well_being/Caffeine.jsp

Let me know what you have decided to do.

Monday, September 1, 2008

IVF Coupons

One of the ladies posted this link to a coupon for meds through IntegraMeds. If you are going through the shared risk program you can use this coupon for $500.00 off. It is good through October 31, 2008.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Royal Jelly and Honey

I have been posting to the Fertility Community forum since January. Only since this last cycle have I really seen anything about Royal Jelly and Honey. It peaked my interest so I did my own research.

There really isn't a lot of research information out there, but what I did find is that royal jelly is one of those items that taken on a daily basis will help a lot of ailments like infertility, Parkinson, arthritis, diabetes, helps skin look younger, and my other favorite thing is it helps weight loss.

Some of the women on the forum have said that it increased the number of eggs retrieved and the maturity of the eggs. They have also said that it has helped their husbands increase the amount and quality of sperm.

There is two forms of royal jelly, pure jelly-like substance and freeze dried. I have not found any evidence the either form is better than the other. The differences are:
  • The pure jelly
    • needs to be kept refrigerated
    • You eat it a couple times a day
    • Some do not like the taste, but I am told it is very sweet because of the honey
  • The capsules
    • Can be carried with you easily on trips
    • In most cases you just take two capsules in the morning and you are done
Warning: please do not take any of this if you are allergic to bee stings. You may be allergic to this product as well. If you are unable to swallow the capsules you can take the capsules apart and sprinkle the content on cereal or other foods. Do not put the jelly form in hot drinks. That kills most of the properties that will help your body.

Royal jelly and honey combined with Propolis and Bee Pollen is the best combination to help infertility. For maximum results start taking the royal jelly 3 months before IVF. Although some women have found just taking it for a couple months or less has still helped them receive their BFP.

Since this is my last cycle I am pulling out all the stops. I have started taking capsules from The Natural Shopper. I will keep you informed on how my body reacts.

Here are some of the web sites I found for more information:

The Natural Shopper
The Natural Shopper Benefits
Royal Jelly Research
Royal Jelly Document
Natural Fertility Info
Raw Gugu Store
Alternative Medicine Information
Fertility Forum

Please leave a comment on how Royal Jelly and Honey has helped you.


Update: Here is what The Infertility Cure has to say about Beel pollen and royal Jelly:

"Bee pollen and/or royal jelly is regenerative and tonifying. Bogdan Tekavcic M.D., a Yugoslavian gynecologist, conducted a study in which the majority of women who were given bee pollen with royal jelly showed improvement or disappearance of their menstral problems, while there was no change in the placebo group. Another study showed bee pollen significantly improved sperm production in men. Bee pollen, which is worker bee food, is rich in vitamins, minerals, necleic acids, and steroid hormones, and improves health, endurance, and immunity. royal jelly is modified pollen fed only to the reproducing qeen bee, whose job is to produce more infant bees. The nutritive tonic might be considered the bee equivalent of fertility drugs. Rich in amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes, royal jelly helps the qeen lay millions of eggs and live longer than the worker bee."

Friday, August 29, 2008

BFN

Today was my beta day and I received a BFN. I am not to upset only because I didn't expect anything else. The doctor did give me an option to do a Lupron flare or use donor eggs. DH and I decided to go ahead with the Lupron Flare protocol. I have already started back with the royal jelly capsuls and I will start acupunture around mid September. I am changing my diet a little to more fresh fruits and veggies and cutting down on any processed foods. I don't think that I will get back into a full fledge exercise program, but I am going to start doing Tai Chi Cha in the mornings. I did go an have a mint chocolate chip waffle cone. The doctor wants my body to rest a month so I won't be starting a new cycle until the end of September. As for now I am going to enjoy not being on restriction and free of shots for a while. I am still getting some research done for the Royal Jelly and Honey article, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cycle #2 Didn't Work

Well, it looks like this cycle didn't work at all. I have POAS (peed on a stick) yesterday and this morning and both came up negative. So it looks like we will be having a meeting with our doctor to see what she thinks our next step might be. I am a little disappointed and was very depressed yesterday. I guess I will see how my beta goes on Friday. I still have a little hope but less and less everyday. At least our insurance will pay for one more cycle. Hopefully that will be the one that works for us.

In my next post I will talk about Royal Jelly and Honey.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

3 Day and 5 Day Transfers

For those who are on their TWW and want to know what is going on in there here is a list for 3 and 5 day transfers.

This is what happens in a 5dt:

-1dpt ..embryo is growing and developing
0dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
1dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
2dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
3dpt.. Implantation begins,as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
4dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
5dpt.. Morula is completely implanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells
6dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
7dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
8dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
9dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on HPT

this is what happens in a 3dt :

1dpt ..embryo is growing and developing
2dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
3dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
4dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
5dpt.. Implantation begins as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
6dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
7dpt.. Morula is completely implanted in the lining and has placenta cells &
fetal cells
8dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
9dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
10dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
11dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on
HPT

Sunday, August 24, 2008

HCG Levels

I started this blog a little late in my second cycle. I am currently half way through my TWW and trying to make time go a little faster. For those who are wondering what your HCG levels should be at what week here are some stats:

• DPO, 14. HCG level, 48 mIU/ml. Range: 17-119 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 15. HCG level, 59 mIU/ml. Range: 17-147 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 16. HCG level, 95 mIU/ml. Range: 33-223 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 17. HCG level, 132 mIU/ml. Range: 17-429 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 18. HCG level, 292 mIU/ml. Range: 70-758 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 19. HCG level, 303 mIU/ml. Range: 111-514 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 20. HCG level, 522 mIU/ml. Range: 135-1690 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 21. HCG level, 1061 mIU/ml. Range: 324-4130 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 22. HCG level, 1287 mIU/ml. Range: 185-3279 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 23. HCG level, 2034 mIU/ml. Range: 506-4660 mIU/ml.
• DPO, 24. HCG level, 2637 mIU/ml. Range: 540-10,000 mIU/ml.

Here is the website that a lady in Fertility Community found. HCG Weeks .

I hope this helps for those who have made it to beta and received your BFP.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Poop Paste

Constipation is the most complaint about going through IVF. Yes, shots are the second and then comes the bloating feeling during stimulation shots. But not going number 2 is the most complaint.

Here is one suggestion that was given, Poop Pates:

1 Cup Oat Bran
1 Cup Prune Juice
1 Cup Applesauce

Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons 3 to 4 times a day.

It doesn't look very nice, but it tastes ok. I am going to mix some up today and I will let you know how it works for me. I know TMI. But when you have eggs growing and full intestines, you will be glad that you have some poop paste to help you relive some pressure. Hey that sounds like a really good TV ad. Maybe I should patten it and start an ad campaign. Just kidding.