Cell Phones Reduce Fertility

Just about everyone in the world has one today – a cell phone. But are you aware using one may seriously impair your chances of getting pregnant?

A recent study suggests men are more at risk than woman, but as you need your man to help create the baby you crave, the study is of huge significance to women.

Why Men Are At Risk

So, just what are the risks? Well, even moderate cell phone use can result in men producing lower quality sperm.

Why is this? The researchers discovered that men who regularly use cell phones have higher levels of circulating testosterone, but lower levels of luteinizing hormone (LH).

And why is LH so important? Because it is a vital reproductive hormone, secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain.

Who is Affected?

Study leader Dr Rany Shamloul and his team conducted their research between 1993 and 2007 at an Austrian infertility clinic.

The sperm of over 2,000 men was collected and examined. Men were asked if they owned and used cell phones at the time of collection. Those who used a cell phone on a daily basis were labeled cell phone users.

And based on that premise, the data suggests that male cell phone users have lower quality sperm than those who do not have cell phones.

Why are Cell Phones Damaging?

The researchers think that electromagnetic waves (EMW) emitted by cell phones may have a dual action on male hormone levels and fertility.

The belief is that cell phone EMWs increase the number of testosterone-producing cells in the testes, but also lower levels of luteinizing hormone excreted by the pituitary gland.

This in turn may negatively impact fertility by blocking the conversion of the basic type of testosterone to the more active, potent form of testosterone associated with sperm production and fertility.

Dr Rany admits the findings were “a little bit puzzling”.

“We were expecting to find different results, but the results we did find suggest that there could be some intriguing mechanisms at work.”

Should Men Restrict Cell Phone Use?

If you and your partner are struggling to get pregnant, you may need to negotiate with your man and encourage him to reduce the time he spends chatting on his cell phone.

The findings of this research follow a warning from the UK Government just two months ago which advised people to text or use hands free kits rather than make calls. Taken together, it should give you pause for thought.

The earlier warning by the UK Department of Health said whilst there had been no “clear evidence of adverse health effects” from the use of mobiles or from phone masts, texting or using hands free kits instead of calling would reduce the user’s exposure to harmful radiation emitted by cell phones.

However, it also added: “As people have only been using mobile phones for relatively few years, more research is needed, especially to investigate whether there might be longer term effects.”

Conclusion

 

The health risks of electromagnetic waves (EMW) in our day-to-day environment is quite a hot issue with often contradictory conclusions depending on which lobby group is presenting the data.

That said, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns “There is reason for concern” and advises “prudent avoidance”.

Whilst this article focuses on male cell phone use and the risks to their fertility, you need to be aware of other things in your home and work environment which exposes you and your partner to potentially damaging EMWs, such as computers and microwave ovens.

But maybe that can wait for another day and another post.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on June 5 2011).

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Cut the Coffee to get Pregnant

OK… own up. How many cups of coffee, or cans of caffeine-based sodas do you drink a day?

Why? Because it can be preventing you from getting pregnant.

Damaging Your Fallopian Tubes

A recently published study has revealed that too much caffeine can damage your Fallopian tubes.

Now, because your Fallopian tubes transfer your eggs from your ovaries to your uterus, any damage caused to them can impact negatively on your fertility.

The study was conducted on mice by researchers at the University of Nevada’s School of Medicine. One of the researchers, Professor Sean Ward commented:

“Our experiments were conducted in mice, but this finding goes a long way towards explaining why drinking caffeinated drinks can reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant.”

The Importance of Tubal Muscular Contractions

Although not much is known about how the eggs travel through the muscular Fallopian tubes, to have a successful pregnancy, a woman’s microscopic eggs have to travel to her womb, the uterus.

It has long been presumed cilia – minute hair-like projections – in the lining of the tubes slowly push the egg along, together with muscular contractions in the tube walls.

However, Professor Ward and his team found from their research on mice that specialized pacemaker cells (which help coordinate the tube contractions) became much less active when the mice were given caffeine.

The researchers concluded that the role of the tube contractions is much greater than that of the cilia in pushing the eggs along.

Professor Ward added: “This provides an intriguing explanation as to why women with high caffeine consumption often take longer to conceive than women who do not consume caffeine.

“This discovery about reduced fertility and caffeine consumption has numerous benefits. As well as potentially helping women who are finding it difficult to get pregnant, a better understanding of the way Fallopian tubes work will help doctors treat pelvic inflammation and sexually-transmitted disease more successfully.”

A further benefit of the findings is that it may also lead to a better understanding of the causes of ectopic pregnancies.

Conclusions

This is probably not the first time you have heard of the health risks of drinking too much caffeine-based drinks, but for me it is the first time I have heard about a possible direct link on how it can damage your Fallopian tubes and undermine your chances of conceiving.

It’s probably early days yet to draw hard and fast conclusions from this single research, but nor should you completely ignore it.

Either way, there is ample evidence out there that clearly supports the idea that reducing your caffeine intake can have multiple health benefits.

So take note of just how much caffeine you are imbibing and take necessary steps to reduce it, especially if you are trying to get pregnant.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on May 28 2011).

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Do You Have This Baby-Killing Gene?

Is your health affected in any way by cholesterol? If so, it may be a cause of your infertility.

A new study suggests a gene that regulates cholesterol in the bloodstream also appears to affect progesterone production in women … and THAT can result in infertility.

SCARB1 – A Baby Killer?

Now this gene goes under a quite curious name – the scavenger receptor class B type 1 gene (or SCARB1 for short).

The Johns Hopkins Group, who conducted the research, has developed a simple blood test for SCARB1, but emphasize there is no approved therapy yet to address the problem in infertile women.

Researchers first studied female mice and discovered a link between SCARB1 and a deficiency in these receptors for HDL – the so-called ‘good’ or healthy’ cholesterol – and infertility.

Without the receptor, the mice had abnormally high levels of HDL in the blood because their bodies were unable to uptake the cholesterol. They were also at increased risk from heart disease, as well as being infertile.

Subsequent investigation found the same link in studies of women with a history of infertility.

The Shocking Data

Between November 2007 and March 2010, the leader of the study, endocrinologist Dr Annabelle Rodriguez, and her team analyzed ovarian cells and fluid collected from 274 women unable to become pregnant for various reasons and undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some 207 of them went on to have their eggs collected, fertilized in a test tube and implanted in their wombs.

The John Hopkins study then measured whether there was evidence of a gestational sac or a fetal heartbeat 42 days after embryo transfer. Fascinatingly, of the nine women in the group found to have the mutated SCARB1 gene, NOT ONE OF THEM got pregnant!

The researchers also showed that the nine women with the altered gene had low levels of progesterone, a hormone critical to sustaining pregnancy in its earliest stages, despite being supplemented with progesterone as part of the IVF process.

Further research is planned to confirm the findings. The John Hopkins team says if the results are confirmed, not only will they offer clues into a genetic cause of some infertility, but they could also lead to a treatment for women already shown to work in mice.

Probucol – Wonder Drug or Not?

For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who studied the genetically engineered mice also found a treatment for their infertility in a cholesterol medication developed decades ago. The drug – probucol – lowered levels of cholesterol circulating in the blood and restored the rodents’ fertility.

However, probucol is no longer approved for use in the United States, partly because of concerns that it ‘unsafely’ lowers HDL. Curiously, it is that very ‘side effect’ that works well for mice with missing HDL receptors. For your information, it is available in Japan for use in some conditions.

Dr Rodriguez says: “I’m optimistic that this drug or one like it could also restore fertility in women. Everything else that was found in mice so far has borne out in humans.”

In the very near future, Dr Rodriguez hopes to conduct a clinical trial to see if probucol can help infertile women with the gene variation get pregnant. She is also planning to collect data on HDL levels in infertile women with the genetic variation (which she believes could be present in 8 to 13 percent of the population) to see if it could prove to be an early clue to a genetic cause of their infertility.

She adds: “Infertility is fairly common and a lot of the reasons for it are still unknown. Right now, the benefit of this research is in knowing that there might be a genetic reason for why some women have difficulty getting pregnant. In the future, we hope this knowledge can be translated into a cure for this type of infertility.”

Conclusions

I personally found this report quite fascinating with strong data supporting the idea that quite a high ratio of the population – 8 to 13 per cent – may be vulnerable to this gene variation.

If any tests or analysis you have undertaken so far in your search to get pregnant have not revealed the culprit gene SCARB1, but you do have some cholesterol issues with your health, I would strongly advise you to ask your medics to specifically check this out.

It could be key in discovering what are your prospects in getting pregnant.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on May 22 2011).

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Send in the Clowns to Get Pregnant

Regular readers of my weekly e-letter will know I frequently uncover weird and wonderful ways to help you get pregnant. Well, I’ve got a beauty for you this week:

If you want to improve your chances of conceiving, hire a clown! Seriously!

Now before you think I’ve taken complete leave of my senses, read on.

You know I keep beating the drum about reducing stress in your life to help you get pregnant. Well a new study again reinforces this, concluding that enrolling in a stress-management class might help women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) get pregnant.

Indeed, a previous study revealed that entertainment by a professional medical clown just after embryos were implanted was helpful. That’s no laughing matter!

Join a Stress Management Group

In the latest study, Alice Domar of Boston IVF and her team enlisted 143 women undergoing their first IVF cycle. The researchers randomly assigned half of the women to a mind-body course intended to curb stress levels. The rest received a gift certificate to a spa.

The mind-body course consisted of 10 weekly classes during which women received talk therapy focused on changing negative thinking and training in relaxation and healthy behavior.

The study then followed the women through two cycles of IVF. A total of 97 women – 46 in the stress-management group and 51 in the control group – completed at least one cycle.

After the first IVF cycle, 43 percent of women in both groups became pregnant. By comparison, BEFORE the start of that cycle, less than half of women in the stress-management group had attended their first class.

Stunning Results

The results improved in the second cycle. By then most women taking stress-management classes had gone to at least five sessions. This time, 52 percent of women taking the course got pregnant, against just 20 percent of women in the comparison group.

Dr Domar considers the findings “should give women a lot of hope.”

She added: “It makes sense that lots of stress can make it harder to conceive. After all, when our ancestors were overwhelmed by the difficulties of finding food and surviving harsh conditions, it probably wasn’t the best time to add a baby to the family.”

Commenting on the findings Courtney Lynch, the head of reproductive epidemiology at The Ohio State University said: “Women who are in infertility treatment report huge amounts of stress.

“One of the reasons IVF is not always effective is that some couples don’t make it to cycle 2 and cycle 3 because they’re so stressed out,” added Dr Lynch.

She describes it as “a chicken and egg problem.”

“We don’t know if the infertility caused the stress or the stress caused the infertility,” she said.

Dr Lynch added that chronic stress may cause changes in hormones that interfere with the development of eggs, making them slower to release. Stress may also interfere with the immune system in a way that increases the chance a woman’s body will reject an embryo.

Convenient and Inexpensive

Both Dr Lynch and Dr Domar recognize the need to offer a program for couples seeking fertility treatment that reduces stress, but is also convenient and inexpensive.

As Dr Lynch commented: “With fertility treatment you have to go to the physician’s office many, many times. We’re trying to find an effective at-home intervention, like a book or a video or even a computer program that folks could access to do this.”

Another fertility specialist, Dr Brian Cooper of Mid-Iowa Fertility, welcomed the findings but with a note of caution, saying: “This type of stress-management program is a great option, but only for some patients.

“There’s no one magic bullet for everyone. Each person must find their own way to de-stress. But it is a topic every IVF patient and her doctor should discuss together. For some, it might be moderate exercise, yoga, or support groups. But sometimes a nice, tropical vacation is all that some people need.”

Conclusion

So there you have it. To improve your chances of success when undergoing IVF treatment, hire a clown, get to stress management classes, or … take a relaxing tropical vacation.

Simple, isn’t it? I wish!

But what is agreed upon by all three fertility doctors in this article is you DO improve your chances of conceiving if you reduce stress in your life. You just need to identify the best – and the most affordable – method which best suits YOU.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on May 5 2011).

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National Infertility Awareness Month

It may have slipped your notice, but in the US April is the National Infertility Awareness Month with this particular week designated as National Infertility Awareness Week.

You didn’t know? Well … that highlights the need to make more people aware about infertility and what to do about it.

Of course, with a late Easter in April and many other causes competing for attention (can you believe April is also National Donate Life Month, Grilled Cheese Month and National Poetry Month!), it is not surprising National Infertility Awareness Month passed you by.

Consider the following Fast Facts About Infertility:

  • Infertility affects 7.3 million people in the U.S. This represents 12 per cent of women of childbearing age, or 1 in 8 couples. (2002 National Survey of Family Growth)
  • Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or is unexplained
  • A couple aged 29 to 33 with a normal functioning reproductive system has only a 20 to 25 per cent chance of conceiving in any given month (National Women’s Health Resource Center)
  • After six months of trying, 60 per cent of couples will conceive without medical assistance. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
  • Approximately 44 per cent of women with infertility have sought medical assistance. Of those who seek medical intervention, approximately 65 per cent give birth. (Infertility As A Covered Benefit, William M. Mercer, 1997)
  • Approximately 85 to 90 per cent of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Fewer than 3 per cent need advanced reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF)

Prime Time to Conceive

Dr Pasquale Patrizio, the director of the Yale Fertility Center, specializes in helping infertile couples conceive. He considers “The prime time to have a baby is between 25 and 30. Age is the biggest factor in the ability to get pregnant.”

That said, Dr Patrizio acknowledges the 25-30 age range does not work with many couples’ lifestyles. He stresses the importance of planning for the future with emphasis on the advances in technology.

“It’s now possible to freeze eggs. This can help women preserve their future fertility and postpone their plan of a pregnancy with success.”

Dr Patrizio also recommends that couples who have been trying to conceive without success for a year should seek medical advice with an expert in reproductive medicine. That timeframe shortens to six months if the woman is 35 or older.

He also stressed infertility is not a single problem, it’s a problem for the couple.

For the woman this may require a thorough examination of the body’s response, the quality of the eggs and the embryos, the uterus and other factors.

Having hopefully identified what is causing the problem, couples can start exploring different ways of conceiving, including medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

If these don’t work a couple may have to consider using a surrogate, egg donation or adoption.

Dr Patrizio recognizes this can put an enormous strain on a relationship, so an equally important part of any infertility treatment is psychological. “Egg donation and surrogacy may be options totally different from a reproductive plan a couple may originally have had in mind. They need some time to adjust to that. We need to be really sure that that’s in the best interest of that particular couple.”

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on April 28 2011).

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The Dangers of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)

As if we women encountering fertility issues haven’t got enough to overcome, a new report about the dangers of premature ovarian failure (POF) suggests early menopause in women is on the increase.

Whilst this potentially further impacts on women struggling to get pregnant, the report concludes there is still hope for women trying for a baby.

Let’s take a closer look at the report.

What is Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)?

Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) is the fancy name for early menopause. The report that POF is on the increase recently appeared in the UK professional magazine The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist.

Before getting into the details of the report, let’s clarify who it affects and how.

POF affects approximately 1 in 100 women and results in the loss of the function of the ovaries before the age of 40.

Now that ratio is steadily increasing, perversely you might think, because cancer cure rates in children and young women are dramatically improving.

Curiously, this leads to a likely increase in POF as the condition has been linked to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Whereas previous studies found that 8% of all survivors of childhood cancers experience non-surgical POF, this increases to 30-40% in those who receive a combination of radiotherapy and alkylating agents.

What Causes Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)?

Frustratingly the cause of POF is still largely unknown.

Although the condition is usually permanent, ovarian activity can resume and fertility has been noted among 5-10% of women diagnosed with POF.

The main symptoms of POF include menstrual irregularity, oestrogen deficiency in the form of hot flushes, night sweats and loss of libido.

Young women with POF face an increased risk of osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular accidents and depression.

What to Do If You Suspect You Have Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)

A physical examination, including height, weight and body mass index (BMI), is essential.

Once POF is confirmed treatment usually entails education, counselling and psychological support, as well as treatment of oestrogen deficiency symptoms and fertility management.

Because being diagnosed with POF can be such a shock, it is vital you get help to deal with the diagnosis. The first line of support is probably your medic, who may in turn refer you to professional counsellors and psychologists.

Together, this support team can provide relevant information about the cause and prospects of POF and the treatments available.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be used as oestrogens have been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular status and bone density.

In addition to HRT, other things to consider in avoiding bone loss include physical activity, a calcium-rich diet, vitamin D supplements and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

Can I Still Have a Baby With Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)

Yes, but the options are quite limited.

You can try for adoption (which of course is not the same as ‘creating’ your own child), or get pregnant by oocyte or embryo donation.  For an oocyte donation it is necessary to prepare the endometrium (the inner membrane of the uterus ) for implantation. This requires incremental doses of estradiol valerate and then progesterone therapy to create a uterus receptive to embryo implantation.

Conclusions

One of the co-authors of the report, Puneet Arora, Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hope Hospital, Salford, UK, says:

“Premature ovarian failure is usually permanent, but ovarian activity can resume in some cases. Women who are diagnosed with the condition need support as these women are often anxious and depressed. However recent scientific advances in assisted conception provide hope to women.”

In my opinion, discovering you have POF when already struggling to get pregnant can be a real kick in the teeth which leads you to total despair that you will ever have a child of your own.

That’s why, as the report reviewed here states, it is essential you get the necessary help and support to guide you through the discovery you have POF.

Let’s be honest, the odds in your favour of ever conceiving with POF are not great.

BUT! Nor are they absolute zero. You just need to weigh up the emotional, physical and financial cost of still trying for a baby after discovering you have POF.

And ultimately, that decision can only rest with … YOU.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on April 20 2011).

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Of Mice and Fat Mamas

It is my belief that no matter what age you are, if you have a happy and healthy relationship with your mother you are never too old to cuddle up to her.

Now regular readers of my weekly e-letter know, I lost my mother at the end of last year and there is nothing more I would love to be able to do than share a hug with her.

Older, mature women tend to pack on the pounds later in life, but if your mama was already carrying extra weight in her younger years it could have serious repercussions on your attempts to get pregnant today.

Why so …? Read on.

Tubby Moms and Infertility

A recent study has revealed that mothers who are obese are more likely than their peers to have children who are either infertile, or whose fertility is much lower than the norm.

As one in three Americans for example are considered obese, and if your mother carries a few extra pounds, there is an increased risk your levels of fertility are reduced as a result.

The study by Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven carried out research on mice.

But what have mice to do with us humans, you ask? Well, mice were used because their physiology is similar to the humans in this regard.

And what researchers discovered was that the fertility of female mice born from obese mothers was significantly lower than the fertility of females born from healthy mothers.

Deeper study showed obese female mice produce lower levels of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone which impacts on energy balance and metabolism. In addition, it regulates the reproductive function in animals and humans.

As well as discovering that female mice born of mice with ghrelin deficiency had diminished fertility, results also revealed they produced smaller litters than those born of mice with normal ghrelin levels.

Dr Hugh Taylor, one of the research doctors, commented: “While our study involved mice, we believe our findings have significant implications for women. The results suggest low ghrelin levels could program the development of the uterus in the female children of obese women. As a consequence, these women may then be less fertile as adults.”

Conclusion

OK … so yet another study giving insight into how your genes (and diet) can impact on your fertility.

It’s a real bummer to learn you were dealt a bad hand at birth before you were even conscious of the fact you are a woman which has consequences for you today in your desire to be a mother.

The Yale research admits it is too early to fully comprehend the relevance and potential consequences for women in this study and what can be done to address lower levels of ghrelin.

So, whilst the findings are interesting the study offers no solutions. I simply suggest you take on board many of the excellent tips offered on Increase Fertility Tips to help improve your odds of conceiving.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on March 24 2011).

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Does Your Race Affect Fertility?

A shocking revelation for you this week: if you are a black, Hispanic or Asian woman your chances of success using infertility treatment is less than that of white women. And that level of success can be further undermined if you are overweight.

The connection between being overweight and having lower fertility levels has long been established and accepted, but a recent study reveals how race may further jeopardize your chances of getting pregnant.

Black, White, Hispanic or Asian? The Differences …

The research studied almost 32,000 infertility procedures performed in US clinics in 2007. Whilst researchers confirmed that obese women were less likely than thinner women to have a baby their findings also reveal – regardless of weight – black, Hispanic and Asian women had lower success rates than white women.

White women had the highest pregnancy success rate of 45%, followed by Hispanic women with 43%, Asian women 38% and finally African Americans with just 36%.

A similar pattern what repeated amongst women who became pregnant and didn’t miscarry in the first 22 weeks. From this group, although 85% of white women eventually gave birth, only 80% of both Asian and Hispanic women and 76% of black women achieved full pregnancy.

Whilst fertility treatments are 20% more likely to fail in obese women, even among normal-weight women, pregnancy and birth rates were generally lower for minorities.

Why This Racial Gap?

Dr Barbara Luke of Michigan State University in East Lansing who led the research says that while the results confirm previous evidence that excess weight can undermine fertility treatments, they do not explain the racial gap and exactly what causes such discrepancies.

Dr Luke speculates a possible explanation for racial differences in fertility treatment success rates could be body-fat distribution.

Compared to white women, black women tend to carry more of their excess weight in the upper body. This potentially creates more inflammation and greater health risks in general than fat around the hips and thighs.

Black women are also more likely to have uterine fibroids, which are associated with lower pregnancy and birth rates.

Another possibility considered by Dr Luke and her team is vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis, an infection that can lead to complications during pregnancy. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in darker-skinned people than whites.

Conclusion

Now whilst the findings are interesting, it must be noted that of the near 32,000 procedures cases studied, white women accounted for most of them – nearly 25,000. That alone could imbalance the findings.

Nevertheless, Dr Luke concludes that more studies are needed on the race question in fertility treatment success. In particular, future research should focus on clarifying the underlying causes of these disparities.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on March 16 2011).

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Does Stress and Tension Impact Negatively on Fertility Treatment?

It has long been believed that stress and tension impacts negatively on fertility treatment, such as IVF or other assisted reproduction therapy.

However, new research suggests emotional distress caused by their infertility or other life events will not prevent the treatment from working.

Stress Impact on Fertility Study

A very comprehensive evaluation of 14 studies of 3,583 infertile women undergoing a cycle of fertility treatment first assessed the women before fertility treatment for anxiety and stress. This data was then compared for women who achieved pregnancy and those who did not.

The results suggest that emotional distress was not associated with whether or not a woman became pregnant.

This rather bucks the view, largely based on anecdotal evidence and fertility myths such as ‘just relax and you’ll get pregnant’.

The leader of the research, Professor Jacky Boivin from the Cardiff Fertility Studies Research Group, said: “A lot of people worry that their stress, anxiety and tension might reduce their chances of pregnancy with a specific treatment cycle, but there is no evidence of that.”

Professor Boivin adds she is not claiming stress never has an effect on fertility treatment, but considers: “It could be stress has an impact on treatment, in that you give up sooner. Stress can also reduce quality of life during fertility treatments, so women undergoing fertility treatment should not ignore stress, but try to reduce excess stress.”

Professor Boivin further explained: ”Your body prefers to reproduce when all conditions are optimal. But when those conditions don’t become reality, the stressed-out woman may decide she is going ahead regardless.

But is it True …?

A counter view comes from Alice D. Domar, director of the Domar Center in Boston, who says the jury is still out on the stress and infertility link.

“There have been almost 30 studies in the last 15 years looking at the impact of stress on IVF outcome, and most of them did show a positive relationship,” said Dr Domar. “The more stress there was, the less likely the woman was to get pregnant.”

Dr Domar also believes women who volunteer to participate in the studies of stress and infertility are often among the less-stressed women, agreeable to putting in the time required for the study, so further distorting any true results.

Conclusion

My thoughts? I know the stress and anxiety I went through trying to get pregnant. And the stress and anxiety I experience some days just getting through a normal day!

I know how ‘out of tune’ I feel with myself, my thoughts, my body when I’m stressed out. I know I’m clumsier, more likely to make mistakes and be irritable with other people.

I just instinctively feel, if you and your body are calmer and more in harmony, you are better disposed to reproduce when – as Dr Boivin herself says – “all conditions are optimal”.

So … reduce stress levels as much as much to further increase your odds of conceiving, regardless of just how you are looking to get pregnant.

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on March 9 2011).

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Fertility and Lubricants

A delicate subject for you today: sperm and foreplay!

You as a women depend on those little tadpole-like critters if you are going to get pregnant. They are particularly important if you already have fertility problems.

But are you innocently indulging in a practice which seriously undermines their prime function – fertilizing your eggs to create the life you so crave? Let’s look at what I mean.

Fertility and Lubricants

In today’s world it’s not unusual for partners to use lubricants to liven things up and facilitate love-making. But did you know that even water-based lubricants have spermicidal effects which could prevent you from conceiving?

To get a little bit scientific on you for a moment, sperm can only survive in alkaline environments with a pH level of 7.0 or 8.5.

Now both oil-based and water-based lubricants are acidic with pH values of 3 or 4.  Not only do these products create a hostile environment for sperm, but the osmotically active particles* in lubricants also negatively affect sperm motility.

(* in more simple terms, this is water moving between two contacting places from the most diluted to the most concentrated).

Saliva and water aren’t any more sperm-friendly than lubricants either. The digestive enzymes in saliva can kill sperm, whereas the sperm cell absorbs water too easily, causing it to burst.

Relax and Increase Fertility

Why is this significant for couples trying to get pregnant?

Well, a common problem for couples trying to conceive is a lack of excitement in their sex lives. It’s hardly surprising. You have the stress of work, the puzzlement of failing to get pregnant, the loud ticking of your biological clock. I could list a whole host of issues.

The result is neither you nor your partner are relaxed in your love making. It lacks spontaneity and becomes simply functional, a chore, with the prime objective of trying to conceive a child.

This lack of excitement in your sex life can be a major cause of you failing to get pregnant.

Increase Fertility by Lubricating Naturally With Foreplay

The key here is to relax and enjoy love making more. Instead of getting straight to the point of intercourse, spend a little more time exploring foreplay.

Foreplay can greatly benefit your fertility in two ways. The most obvious one is that it will help you relax.  If you’ve subscribed to my Increase Fertility Tips Course and followed my weekly e-letters you are well aware by now just how much stress can lower your chances of conceiving because stress hormones upset the balance of sex hormones.

The second point is that extended foreplay encourages natural vaginal lubrication. This is vital to understand.

Why? Well … couples experiencing fertility issues quite naturally turn to stress and fertility drugs as aids and solutions to their problem. What you may not be aware of is that those self-same stress and fertility drugs tend to cause vaginal dryness.

As a result, many couples trying to conceive make the mistake of using commercial lubricants to solve this problem. But as pointed out above, the chemical properties of those lubricants may be killing your man’s sperm before it has a chance to fertilize your eggs.

Conclusion? Get creative in the bedroom. Enjoy your love-making. Welcome your partner’s sperm with the utmost of care. And do so without the lubricants!

(This post was sent to subscribers in a weekly newsletter on March 1 2011).

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