Saturday, December 09, 2006

Egg sharing story

"A MUM who gave up hope of having another baby got pregnant after
giving her eggs to a childless couple who paid for her fertility
treatment in return."

Read more:

10 tips to survive the holidays for infertile couples

See here for ten tips for surviving the holiday season:

Infertility advice is lacking

From BBC news:

"Fertility clinics are failing to provide enough information to
potential patients, a regulator says.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) looked at the
performance of UK clinics offering IVF and donor insemination.

While the majority of its standards were being met by most of the 78
clinics, the HFEA found clear areas where big improvements were needed.

It said just half of clinics gave patients adequate information."

Read more at:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

New IVF babies location

Our site has changed location to: The new site offers much more flexibility.

We will retain the domain as the main point of reference

See you there!

Friday, June 23, 2006

NHS funding for IVF

Good overview article in the Times (UK) about IVF funding in the UK.

Points raised in the article:

- skimping on IVF funding is false economy

- IVF babies pay for themselves by the age of 31, only 2 years older than naturally conceived babies

- IVF babies may help with the problem of an expanding ageing population


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More than 3 million IVF babies worldwide

More than 3 million babies have been born using IVF since the first 'test-tube' baby was born 28 years ago according to a report from a European fertility conference. Interestingly, over of the treatments offered in 2003 (in Europe) have used the ICSI technique.


New test for genetic disorders

New test for genetic disorders raises designer baby concerns from ABC Online (Australia)

"Scientists in the UK have developed a new, more accurate procedure to test for serious genetic disorders in embryos ... The new method allows doctors to identify embryos carrying genetic conditions more quickly but it has reignited the debate over designer babies."


Monday, June 19, 2006

Opera about birth

From London - an experimental opera about labour and birth, including a scene with an IVF mother expecting quintuplets (it's always the sensational angle...).

No physical health problems for ICSI children - conference paper

From BioNews:

Bionews reports from the the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) annual conference about a Belgian study that shows that children born from intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are still developing well 8 years after birth (ICSI was introduced in 1991). This study looks at physical development.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Secondary infertility

Secondary infertility or subfertility is an often ignored or misunderstood aspect of infertility. And yet, over three million Americans are affected by the condition.

What is it?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after one or more successful pregnancies. It can happen to both couples who have struggled with primary infertility in the past or couple who were previously fertile. Technically, some couples are classed as subfertile as they may be able to fall pregnant naturally or have done so in the past. These couples may feel as though their doctors or other infertile couples do not take them seriously.

How does it affect couples?

Some women who have gone through primary infertility and assisted conception to have their first child may have embraced all the 'normal' parenting experiences such as playgroups believing that they have left the experience of infertility behind them. However, when other mothers begin falling pregnant easily with their second or even third child- either by accident or design- they may begin to feel isolated and resentful. Flippant references to only children, ideal age gaps or being super fertile can also be hurtful to someone struggling with secondary infertility.

Parents can experience a range of emotions including guilt about wanting another child (especially if they know other couples struggling with primary infertility), guilt about not being able to give their existing child a sibling, and resentment and jealousy of other fertile couples.

Undergoing fertility treatment with a child at home add complications - particularly if no childcare is available. Couples may find it hard to hide or explain disappointment over failed cycles or grief over lost pregnancies and worry about the impact on their existing child.

Finding support.

Finding support for secondary infertility can be a challenge. Fertile friends and relatives often do not understand and previous support outlets (for primary infertility) may now be inappropriate. Joining a support group specifically for secondary infertility or couples with IVF children - either online or in person- may be a better option.

For an indepth discussion of SECONDARY INFERTILITY see this article by RESOLVE on secondary infertility

Friday, June 16, 2006

IVF babies

It's been 25 years since the first IVF baby was born. Since that time the success rates have improved dramatically and IVF and other ART related procedures such as ICSI have become more accessible. IVF births now comprise around 1% of annual live births in the US and up to 2% of annual live births in Australia. While this is not an overly large number, it does mean that many people now know or know of an IVF baby in their social circle or family.

So who do IVF babies belong to? In recent years the media has played up the stereotype of career driven women who have deliberately put off childbearing until their late 30s because they are obsessed by monetary gain and indulgent lifestyles. These women, who have gone against the "natural" order of starting a family at an early age, find that they cannot conceive naturally and need intervention in the way of fertility treatments. Such coverage may even go so far as to state that these women use IVF as something that they can always count on - a way of escaping the natural consequences of ageing. In countries such as Australia where a large proportion of the cost of IVF is funded by the government through the national health system (Medicare), this stereotype has been used by politicians and social commentators to justify seeking limits on funding individual IVF attempts.

It is important to realise that infertility is a medical condition and not a lifestyle choice. Although fertility decreases with advancing age there are often many other factors that may influence infertility - both known and unexplained. Infertility is not restricted to any age group and many younger couples utilise IVF to achieve a pregnancy.

Looking beyond the media stereotype we can see the diversity of people that pursue IVF such as:

* younger couples
* couples with male factor issues such as low or no sperm count
* couples where the male had a vasectomy is a previous relationship or at an earlier time
* lesbian couples
* couples where one partner has suffered a spinal injury
* single women
* couples with secondary infertility who may have had an existing child either conceived naturally or through IVF
* older couples

Monday, June 12, 2006

IVF division of labour (humour)

If you don't know much about the IVF process the division of labour between the two parties goes a bit like this:

WOMAN - may start by taking a birthcontrol pill (ironic, eh?!) then she moves on to either a disgusting nasal spray or self-injections. After about 2 weeks she adds more injections to stimulate the follicles for another 2 weeks or so. During this time ther are regular blood tests and the fun of vaginal u/s (aka dildocam). When it's time to harvest the eggs (or oocytes if you want to be technical) she takes an hCG injection (yep - the pregnancy hormone, if you pee on a pregnancy test it will show up as a positive result) and 36 hours or so later she goes in for an egg retrieval and depending upon the clinic this is done under sedation or general anaesthetic. After all this probing she starts using progesterone pessaries or gel every day. Progesterone is an evil drug that makes you feel like you are PMSing x 1000. It's also highly messy. After 2-5 days she goes back for the embryo transfer and gets to ride in the special chair so that the dr can replace the embryos back into the uterus via a catheter - all very romantic. Then it's another 2 weeks of progesterone - some women also have hCG booster shots - before her period arrives or she gets a positive pregnancy blood test. During this time there are all sorts of protocols to follow and you must remember to take the right amount of drugs at the right time.

MAN- has a few preliminary blood tests which often make him nauseous and then provides a "sample" on egg retrieval day. Some clinics even provide private rooms complete with alcohol and pornos to help him perform, others have to do it at home and have to transport it leading to all sorts of comical situations. The most important thing for him to remember is to give it to the right person. In our clinic handbook this was highlighted in pink and bolded so you knew it was important - although who else were you going to give it to?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

UK couple speak out about IVF clinic mix up

A mistake by a British IVF clinic six years ago resulted in the birth of mixed race twins. There have been a number of stories in British newspapers about the case. Bionews has a good synopsis of their story and links to the main newspaper articles.

National Infertility Day - UK

June 10th is National Infertility Day in the United Kingdom. A conference will be hosted by the National Infertility Network.

Embryo quality and IVF success

The quality of the embryos created and not the quantity put back is the key to IVF success according to a study from Finland.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Placenta Previa risks for IVF pregnancies

A study from Norway has found that women who have IVF treatment are six times more likely to suffer a potentially dangerous condition (placenta praevia) during pregnancy than those who conceive naturally.

Interestingly there was also a finding that there is "a threefold risk among mothers who had given birth twice, once conceiving naturally and once IVF, or ICSI, in which a sperm is injected directly into an egg."

Read more in the Australian newspaper

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Designer babies" in the news

Over the last week there have been several newspaper stories, mainly from the UK, about "designer babies".

The Sun (UK) proclaims its sensational headline Designer tot is world first. On closer examination we learn that the couple in question screened their embryos to produce a baby free from a hereditary illness that has inflicted their first child.

Even The Times (UK) published an article entitled First baby in Britain designed cancer free about a couple who have again used PGD to screen their embryos for a form of eye cancer.

The use of the words "design" and "designer" evokes images of people using these technologies to screen embryos not only for disease but for positive attributes such as intelligence and preferred hair or eye colour. It is this Gattaca like image that fuels debates over the ethics of using PGD to screen embryos.

Dr Alan Thornhill, Scientific Director, London Fertility Centre and Honorary Lecturer, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University College London via Bionews has a more realistic view:

"To get the desired combination of high intelligence alleles in just one baby, more than 5000 embryos would need to be tested. It would take a woman 40 years of continuous IVF with PGD to achieve this. In short, 'designing' babies using PGD is a non-starter."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Folic acid link to multiple births

Increasing dietary intake of folic acid could result in more women giving birth to twins after IVF treatment, UK researchers report.

Read more ...

Encouraging openess in egg donor families

Encouraging openness in gamete donation families from BioNews

A report on a study about donor families.

Woman in her 60s pregnant after IVF

There have been a lot of news stories this week about a 63 year old woman who is now 7 months pregnant after IVF treatment. Debates have centred around ethical issues:

Briton in her 60s pregnant after IVF from 'clone' medic from The Scotsman

'Oldest mum': We have thought this through from The Daily Mail

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Baby Envy. Dealing with Infertility

Baby Envy. Dealing with Infertility

A rare article about the psychological effects of infertility. Several women talk of the strain that infertility has placed on friendhships with fertile friends.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

in vitro maturation - new technique

from The Age (Melbourne, Australia)

"WOMEN who get seriously sick from IVF treatment will soon be offered a
less invasive technique - in vitro maturation"

Read more -

Newspaper defends IVF competition

<excerpt>A follow up to our previous report:



</smaller></color></excerpt>from The Press Gazette (UK)


</smaller></bold></excerpt>"The Birmingham Post has said its
controversial IVF treatments competition was "never about getting more
readers", following the birth of twins to a winning couple."

The newspaper claims that it was hilighting the inequity of the
"lottery" of NHS infertility funding (depending on where people live)
- however critics claim that it was promoted as a 'win a baby'

One wonders if the newspaper would have reported unsuccessful cycles -
which are more likely to occur.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Egg sharing to reduce IVF costs (UK)

from the Yorkshire Post Today - Leeds,Yorkshire,UK

'Helping someone desperate for a child to realise their dreams is a wonderful thing'

A story from the UK about egg sharing. After egg collection, the eggs
are shared equally between the egg sharer and the recipient.

"With relatively limited NHS funding for IVF available nationally,
many couples with fertility problems cannot afford to pay for the
treatment that they need. Egg sharing provides IVF treatment for
infertile couples who are prepared to share some of their eggs, at a
drastically reduced the cost."

New DVD on Emotional Journey of In Vitro Fertilization

Documentary Journeys through the Emotional, Physical and Psychological Roller Coaster of In Vitro Fertilization

"Technostorks ( is the first documentary that goes
inside the lives of couples to explore the emotions, expectations and
physical demands that IVF visits on those who want to conceive. Sitting
alongside them, viewers witness three couples unveil their greatest
hopes and fears. From their living rooms to the operating room,
Technostorks documents their journey beyond medical textbooks and
sensational headlines about sextuplets. It is a personal journey and
one with no single destination."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Newspaper funds IVF treatment

Newspaper funds IVF treatment - a story from the UK about a successful IVF birth of twins. The couple's IVF treatment was funded by a newspaper.

This was worth all the agony, tears and upset - Birmingham,UK
Not only are they little miracles, they are also the first to be born...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Australia to plan fertility ad campaign

"The Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) is planning an advertising campaign warning of the factors that can affect fertility, the Age newspaper reports. The society says the ads, the first of their kind in the country, will be about 'IVF doctors stopping people from having IVF'. It hopes to draw attention to the difficulties faced by older women trying to get pregnant, and to raise awareness of the effect factors such as obesity, smoking and Chlamydia infection can have on fertility."

This story originally appeared in The Melbourne Agenewspaper.

You can read more about it on Bionews- the free weekly news digest of the top stories in assisted reproduction and human genetics, published by Progress Educational Trust.

Friday, March 03, 2006

IVF as a business

There's an interesting article by Deborah Hope in the Weekend Australian called I forgot to buy a baby which looks at IVF as a business. The article draws on ideas from the book The Baby Business. The article looks at the lack of regulation in the US IVF market and the implications of having a client base who are prepared to spend just about anything in their attempts to have a baby.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Stork Market - book review

The Stork Market
How making babies has become a $3 billion industry -- and an unregulated mess.

The Washington Post reviews this new book which discusses the Commerce of Conception.

Monday, February 20, 2006

frozen embryos

What to do with frozen embryos

"THE number of frozen human embryos stored in Australia and New Zealand has quadrupled over the past decade and for the first time exceeds 100,000, statistics show.

Although many of them are used promptly by couples taking in vitro fertilisation treatment, IVF experts are concerned that a growing number are in long-term storage with no plan for their use."

Social Sex Selection Study

"Most people would not choose the sex of their child if given the option, according to a new nationwide survey. The study is the first to examine the demand and preferences for sex selection among the U.S. general population."

From New Medical Net

Thursday, January 19, 2006

IVF "triplets" born 10 years apart

IVF "triplets" born 10 years apart from the Sydney Morning Herald (AUS)

A news story about a woman who is pregnant with her third child from one egg harvest performed ten years ago. She already has two children from the same harvest - one is ten and the other is seven.

More IVF if just one embryo transferred

More IVF could be provided if only one embryo transferred

UK researchers say that an additional 10,000 cycles of IVF per year could be provided free on the National Health Service (NHS), if clinics took action to reduce the number of multiple births following IVF. It is common for women undergoing IVF to have two embryos implanted at a time, to increase their chance of becoming pregnant, and some women may even have three embryos implanted.

Read the rest of this article (with links) on BioNews

Monday, January 09, 2006

Over the counter fertility test

"Scientists at the UK's Birmingham University have developed a fertility test kit that can be bought over-the-counter at chemists and used by couples at home. The Fertell test, which will cost about £80, takes less than an hour to work and is said to give accurate results in nearly all cases." from Bionews

Frozen egg twins, male infertility factors, healthy IVF/ICSI babies

UK couple have frozen egg twins -

Environmental Factors, Lifestyle, And Medications Affect Male Fertility -

IVF, ICSI babies as healthy as others - WebMD

Saturday, January 07, 2006

IVF parents keep it a secret?

Parents of IVF babies remain quiet on fertility issue
from the Sun Herald (AUS)

"WHILE one Australian baby in 35 is now conceived through IVF, many parents still fear a stigma is attached to fertility problems.

Experts say that while about 10,000 women each year undergo the treatment nationally in an industry worth $40 million, many prefer to keep it a secret."

To tell or not to tell? This is a discussion that inevitably occurs on online discussion boards. Many women choose not to tell anyone about their fertility issues or IVF treatments while undergoing them but it can be a different story once their hopes are achieved and their baby is born.

Part of the reason for keeping quiet while undergoing IVF treatment may be due to a couple's embarassment over fertility problems, particularly if the problem is largely due to male factor. However, in many online discussions women have talked about how they don't want their fertility issues or IVF treatment to be the source of family gossip or idle chatter or that they don't want the "pressure" from outsiders about the way their treatment is going. Instead many women choose to discuss their treatment anonymously (or semi-anonymously) with other women going through the same treatment via internet message boards.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Parenting after infertility - article

Waiting for the Other Shoe - article from infertility central.

This article explores issues and emotions that infertile parents may experience once they achieve a pregnancy and/or when their child is born.

Frozen egg babies & cancer mums in the news

Wold first - cancer mum has frozen egg baby
from the Daily Mail (UK)
"A cancer survivor has become the first in the world to have a baby using her own frozen egg."

Cancer victim's bid to have frozen embryo baby fails
from the Daily Mail (UK)
"A woman left infertile after cancer treatment has been unsuccessful in a bid to overturn a High Court decision that she cannot use her frozen embryos to try and have a child."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Male infertility on the rise

It's been a while since I've updated the news items, mainly due to the Xmas lull.

Wh infertility is now a male crisis

This article from the UK's Daily Mail describes how male infertility is on the rise.