Posts Tagged ‘in vitro fertilization’

Celine Dion Would Love to Have Another Baby

Three-time mom Celine Dion says she would love to do it again – have another baby, that is.

The superstar singer has conceived twice through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with the help of Zev Rosenwaks, MD, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

Her first son, Rene Charles, is now 10 years old, and her twin boys, Eddie and Nelson, will turn 1 this October.

In A Baby at Last!, written by Dr. Rosenwaks and Marc Goldstein, MD, director of the Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery at Weill Cornell, Dion wrote:

“When I think about my association with Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, I think about the extraordinary talent and intelligence that allows him to combine nature and genius, to create new life.

I am forever in awe of this, and I’m forever grateful for his wonderful talent.”

On “Good Morning America” on September 20, when asked if she would like to add to her family, Dion said:

“We’d love to.”

”It’s the biggest gift that you can offer yourself.”

She added: “Is it gonna be possible?

“Is it gonna happen?”

“I don’t know.”

Dion’s wish for more children will be part of the 90-minute documentary, “Celine: 3 Boys and a New Show,” airing October 1 on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Dion told GMA “Now I’m in my 40s and I think I’m blessed with my family and husband (Rene Angelil).

I’m very privileged to have them.

It’s what I’m the most proud of, my family, my kids.”

In her book, Celine Dion: My Story, My Dream, published just after Rene Charles’ birth, Dion wrote about the meaning of family.

“The one thing that we have been working on so hard all these years is this family.

To us, this great family is more important than anything else, and no other accomplishment makes us so proud.”

She also discussed plans back then to give birth again.

“The idea of having another baby is already in the back of my mind.

One of my eggs that been inseminated with Rene’s sperm is kept at the fertility clinic.

It will be possible to place it back in my uterus.

If everything goes well and, and it’s God’s will, my belly will once again be home to a child from the man I love.”

And now shes thinking of the possibility of a third IVF procedure.

“I think the best is yet to come,” she said.

Buying Fertility Treatments in Bulk

The mounting cost of getting pregnant has led some fertility clinics and doctors to join forces and offer bulk discounts on in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.

The Attain IVF network includes 40 fertility clinics and 190 fertility doctors across the country.

The network offers a program that provides you with multiple IVF cycles for a single, discounted fee that costs about 30-40% less than the same exact treatment plan if you were to pay for it on a cycle-by-cycle basis.

The idea is paying upfront for a few cycles offers peace of mind and takes the stress out of subsequent tries.

With a good fertility work-up, most couples take home a baby after 1 or 2 cycles, but some couples need 3 or more cycles of IVF.

Attain IVF may be particularly appealing to couples who recognize they may have trouble getting pregnant.

This includes couples where the woman is over age 35, when her egg quality is in decline.

This may also include women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, who usually require higher doses of drugs to stimulate egg production and often have their IVF cycles canceled because of overstimulation of the ovaries.

And, of course, this concept may work for couples who can not afford to continue to pay for more than 1 IVF cycle.

On the other hand, younger couples with a single, known fertility problem probably don’t need to enroll in Attain IVF.

A 28-year-old woman who has endometriosis with a partner who has no male factor infertility has a good chance of becoming pregnant with a single IVF cycle.

No one size fits all medical treatments, including IVF.

It comes down to a question of how risk aversive you are, and your particular fertility problem.

Infertile Couples Can Cope with Family Gatherings

The media treat Mother’s Day as a news peg to publish articles about happy families celebrating having children.

Headlines recount tales of how couples celebrate Mother’s Day after in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments for endometriosis and blocked fallopian tubes or to overcome production of too few eggs.

Other articles tell of dozens of IVF moms gathering at a fertility clinic to form their own support group.

But infertility may cause a tremendous amount of strain on relationships with family and friends, particularly on Mother’s Day.

Family gatherings may be particularly painful as you deal with loss and grief.

Some families and friends are supportive, while others just add to your stress.

This may make you angry or cause you to isolate yourselves from them.

You may feel jealous of friends and relatives who have babies.

Friends and relatives may aggravate the situation by repeatedly asking you when you plan to have a baby, or by unwittingly talking endlessly about their own children.

Some family members may want to help, but don’t know what to do or say, while others may prefer to avoid the topic completely.

Many people feel uncomfortable discussing infertility because it relates to having sex.

The older generation may be ignorant of modern technology and new methods of conception.

Siblings and friends may flaunt their own fertility, intentionally or unintentionally.

If you feel a lack of understanding, you may not want to go home for the holidays or may decide to avoid anything having to do with children.

But you don’t want to sacrifice your social networks just when you need them the most, say Weill Cornell fertility experts Drs. Zev Rosenwaks and Marc Goldstein, the co-authors of A Baby at Last!.

If you put a temporary limit on contact with insensitive family members and friends, seek out help from other more supportive friends and family members, therapists, or online or in-person infertility support groups, they write.

Also, a family gathering may be the right time to share your experiences with family members.

The doctors suggest you might speak to one or two family members ahead of time and let them spread the word, or simply answer probing questions honestly.

Be aware of who is capable of being understanding and supportive, and increase your time with those people.

Reduce your time with those who cannot provide the support you need.

Also, take heart that more and more fertility treatment are now available to couples.

Half of all women under age 35 going through one IVF cycle at Weill Cornell take home a baby.

Cancer Survivors Can Father Children

Men who have a zero sperm count from cancer treatments may still have a chance to father a child.

“We can usually retrieve sperm from the testicles of 30-50% of men who had chemotherapy even 15 or more years ago. Using ICSI, about 20% take home a baby,” write Weill Cornell Drs. Zev Rosenwaks and Marc Goldstein in A Baby at Last!

Sperm can be extracted using a procedure called microdissection testicular sperm extraction (TESE), a procedure that was developed by Weill Cornell researchers.

The procedure enables doctors to identify small areas in the testicles where sperm are made and then carefully extract these healthy sperm cells, even in men whose testicles have been severely damaged by chemotherapy. These sperm are then directly injected into a woman’s egg using an advanced in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure called ICSI, which stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

In a new study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on March 14, Weill Cornell researchers report on more than 1,000 TESE procedures on nearly 900 men, including 73 cancer patients.

The researchers retrieved sperm in 27 (37%) of the cancer survivors, which led to the birth of 20 children using IVF techniques.

If you have cancer, the type of cancer and type of chemotherapy you receive affects your chances of successful sperm retrieval. For men with testicular cancer who received platinum drugs, the sperm retrieval rate was 85%. Men with lymphoma treated with an alkylating agent such as cyclophosphamide had lower retrieval rates, ranging from 26-36%. Sarcoma patients had the lowest retrieval rate, only 14%.

“When we started this study, we thought sperm retrieval rates would be close to zero among the group of cancer survivors, but we were surprised to discover that in many cases small areas of testicular tissue survived and resumed sperm production over a period of several years,” said lead author Peter Schlegel, MD, chairman of the Department of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College, in a press release about the study.

“This study gives men a new way to achieve fertility and the potential of parenthood. Survivors of childhood cancer should be made aware of options besides using banked sperm, adoption or donors if they want to be fathers,” noted Lisa Diller, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, in the release.

Because the numbers of sperm retrieved from the testicles of cancer survivors are low, TESE is best performed at the time of egg retrieval so that fresh sperm can be immediately injected into the egg using ICSI. Any extra sperm can be frozen and preserved for future use.

Adding Acupuncture to IVF

More and more infertile couples are turning to holistic techniques to increase their odds of conception and to cope with the stresses of trying to conceive.

There is increasing evidence of the effectiveness of alternative medical approaches. Some fertility clinics recommend that couples introduce yoga, relaxation, and nutrition into their fertility treatment plans, or, in difficult cases, to try acupuncture in addition to assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

As a fertility treatment, acupuncture is said to increase blood flow to the uterus, relax the cervix, and help stabilize the nervous system to allow the body to handle stress better.

The effects of acupuncture may also be based on brain chemistry. Acupuncture may help to improve a woman’s chances of conceiving by balancing the hormones released by the brain. In 2002, Weill Cornell researchers, including Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, searched the medical literature and found a clear link between acupuncture treatments and increased production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing brain chemical.

The studies they reviewed suggested that certain effects of acupuncture are mediated through endorphins, and the endorphins influence secretions of reproductive hormones. So it’s logical to hypothesize that acupuncture may influence ovulation and fertility.

This new blog post says prominent acupuncturist Jin Jin Hua asserts acupuncture can be used in conjunction with IVF to further enhance your fertility chances to a “surprising success rate of 60% among infertile women.”

Since IVF pregnancy rates are at about 50%, adding acupuncture might boost a woman’s chance of having a baby by about 10%.

But the jury is still out as to whether acupuncture can help increase your chances of getting pregnant with IVF, based on very mixed results of clinical trials.

While there are still some unresolved issues about acupuncture and IVF, it’s unlikely that acupuncture does any harm, and probably does reduce the stress associated with fertility treatment.

If you do decide to try acupuncture, always check on the training and qualifications of the acupuncturist. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine can help you locate a board-certified, licensed acupuncturist in your area.

What’s your experience in using acupuncture along with IVF?

No Need to Stress Out Over Fertility

Does stress affect fertility?

A body of evidence continues to build about the effects of chronic stress on a woman’s ovulation and a man’s sperm production. Stress may lead to a cascade of hormonal events that led to inhibition of the body’s central reproductive hormone signal, and subsequently disturb ovulation or sperm production and sexual activity, write Weill Cornell fertility doctors Drs. Zev Rosenwaks and Marc Goldstein in A Baby at Last!

Humans are designed to endure acute stress. That’s a part of life. But the significant amount of stress couples endure, cycle after cycle, as they attempt to conceive may disrupt reproductive function. Normal fitness and diet routines may fall by the wayside, leading to a more frazzled, stressed lifestyle. Putting this into Eastern philosophic terms, if you are not in harmony with yourself and your culture, you are stressed.

However in studies attempting to make a direct connection between stress and lower in vitro fertilization success rates, the results are mixed.

A new meta-analysis of 14 studies and more than 3,500 infertile women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment found emotional distress did not affect their chances of becoming pregnant. In the Feb. 24, 2011 online edition of the British Medical Journal, Cardiff University psychologists conclude: “The findings of this meta-analysis should reassure women and doctors that emotional distress caused by fertility problems or other life events co-occurring with treatment will not compromise the chance of becoming pregnant.”

We still need more information to determine the exact relationship between stress and its effects. It may be helpful for couples to know that anxiety and depression won’t necessarily ruin their chances of having a baby.

Welcome!

NY Resident magazine book review

Welcome to my new blog. My current news is the positive responses I’ve been getting regarding my latest book, A Baby At Last!

A very favorable review ran in this month’s issue of the Resident magazine.

A Couples’ Guide to Getting Pregnant

“Everyone seems to know someone who has a fertility problem…”  That’s the start of  A Baby At Last!: The Couples’ Complete Guide to Getting Pregnant—from Cutting-Edge Treatments to Common Sense Wisdom by Mark L. Fuerst, Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., and Marc Goldstein, M.D.

This book is for every couple seeking a solution to fertility problems. It conveys the knowledge that you are not alone and much can be done. You’ll learn when to seek help, how to find doctors and ask the right questions, what tests are worth having and why. The book covers up-to-date therapies and provides support for the emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatments.

Céline Dion’s many failed attempts at in-vitro fertilization were heartbreaking but in October 2010 the 42-year-old singer gave birth to twin boys. She said, “When I think about Dr. Rosenwaks and the extraordinary talent and intelligence that allows him to combine nature and genius to create new life, I am in awe and forever grateful for his talent.”

“Sugar” Ray Leonard, six-time world boxing champion, said, “One of my toughest fights was to father children with my loving wife, Bernadette. After two failed surgeries, I found Dr. Goldstein. My greatest victories are my Olympic gold medal, my world titles, and my family, the last one with thanks due to Dr. Goldstein.”

Mark L. Fuerst’s writing talents shine. Publishers Weekly said, “The text is reader-friendly and accentuated with informative ‘Take Home Messages’ that will help couples expand their knowledge and foster fertility success.”

About the Authors

Mark L. Fuerst is a health and medical writer and coauthor of ten books including The Couple’s Guide to Fertility. His many articles on fertility have appeared in major magazines.

Zev Rosenwaks, M.D. and Marc Goldstein, M.D. are fertility experts at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, a leading pioneer in treating infertility.

By Dorri Olds