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.