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infertility

infertility problems and solutions

April 19th 2017

The contraceptive pill can reduce the general well-being of healthy women, a study has claimed.

Researchers at the Karolinka Institutet in Sweden and the Stockholm School of Economics studied 340 healthy women aged between 18 and 35. The women were either given prescriptions for a combined contraceptive pill containing ethniylestradoil and levonorgestrel (the most common type of contraceptive pill in the country and many others) or a placebo pill.

Neither group knew which pill they were taking but the women who were given contraceptive pills estimated their quality of life to be “significantly lower” than those taking the placebos. The women said their general well-being, along with their moods, self-control and energy levels, were all negatively affected by the pill.

However, despite these side effects the study suggested there was no significant increase in depressive symptoms.

The researchers emphasised that as the changes were relatively small, the results must be interpreted with caution but said the negative effects on the quality of life in individual women may be of clinical importance.

“This might in some cases be a contributing cause of low compliance and irregular use of contraceptive pills,” the study’s co-author Niklas Zethraeus said. “This possible degradation of quality of life should be paid attention to and taken into account in conjunctions with prescribing of contraceptive pills and when choosing a method of contraception.”

The authors said the findings could not be generalised to other kinds of combined contraceptive pills as they may have a different risk profile and side-effects.

Last year, a particularly large study suggested a link between women who take the pill and an increased risk of developing depression. The study analysed one million Danish women and found the combined oral contraceptive increased the risk of a woman aged between 20 and 34 being prescribed antidepressants by 23 per cent. For teenage women aged between 15 and 19, the risk of depression was 80 per cent and 120 per cent for those taking the progestogen-only pill (mini pill).

April 11th 2017

A man who froze his sperm more than two decades ago before having twins with his partner has claimed a world record.

The Scottish musician, who did not want to be named, had his sperm frozen when he was 21 before starting chemotherapy treatment for cancer, as doctors warned him he would become infertile.

After his sperm was kept in cold storage for 26 years and 243 days, his partner underwent in-vitro fertilisation in 2010.

“It’s quite a big deal for a woman to take that on,” he told The Times.

The couple gave birth to a girl and a boy the following year. He was 47, and his partner was 37.

Now 54, he knew he held a world record, but did not want to go public.

The previous world record holder, Alex Powell, had his sperm frozen for 23 years and the story was reported around the globe. He was also about to undergo chemotherapy.

But the musician learnt he could be listed anonymously in the Guinness Book of Records, and he agreed to speak to one newspaper to highlight how long sperm can be frozen and used to produce healthy children.

“For people going through chemotherapy, they should keep hope," he said.

Marco Gaudoin, director of the GCRM medical clinic where the treatment took place, said that frozen sperm could theoretically be stored “indefinitely”.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority claims sperm can be frozen for more than 40 years, but not all sperm survive the process.

It has to be frozen for at least six months before it can be used for treatment, to screen the donor for infections.

Sept 26th 2016

Women in UK can now use an app dubbed 'order a daddy' to pick a sperm donor

A mobile app has been launched that allows women to select a sperm donor based on characteristics including race, nationality and eye colour.

London Sperm Bank Donors, dubbed the "order a daddy" app, allows users to narrow down their search and browse through potential fathers and create a "wish list" alert that informs them when a donor with their desired characteristics becomes available.

The search function on the app provides a list of potential fathers - titled by number such as "Donor 1000" and Donor 1004" - with their physical characteristics listed below.

The user can then choose to "Find out more", which brings up more detailed information about the donor, including medical information, personality and a written description of their characteristics.

The description gives an insight into what the donor is like. One states: "Pleasant, charming and easy to get on with, this donor was a cheerful intellectual teeming with positivity," while another reads: "He is a well mannered, well spoken and very likeable individual".

Applicants listed are from a wide range of professions including law, medicine, finance, engineering, hospitality, the performing arts and creative work.

Users can buy a donor's sperm sample by making payment of £950 via the app, and the sample is then delivered to the fertility clinic where the woman is being treated.

The app, which promotes itself as a way to "Plan your family on the go", is legal and meets the requirements of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the IVF regulator. About half of Britain's IVF clinics are said to have registered to use the service.

Critics have claimed the app trivialisesparenthood. JosephineQuintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, told The Times: “How much further can we go in the trivialisation of parenthood?

“This is reproduction via the mobile phone. It's digital dads. Choose Daddy. This is the ultimate denigration of fatherhood.”

But Dr Kamal Ahuja, scientific director of the London Sperm Bank, said the app was in keeping with the rise in online transactions, saying: “You make all the transactions online, like you do anything else these days.

"This allows a woman who wants to get a sperm donor to gain control in the privacy of her own home and to choose and decide in her own time. We think this is the first of its kind in the world.”

Sept 14th 2016

Smallest baby

A little girl born with feet the size of a fingernail is being hailed as the world's smallest surviving premature baby.

Emilia Grabarczyk was only 8.6 inches (22cm) long and weighed 8 ounces (229 grams) when she was born at a hospital in the western German city of Witten nine months ago.

Her tiny foot was only 1.2 inches (3cm) long.

In comparison, a large banana weighs about 7 ounces while an orange is 6 ounces.

Doctors have described her as the "little fighter" and her survival as a "medical sensation" while German media said she was the lightest premature baby ever born in the world.

The early birth was followed by a period of uncertainty. Emilia was born so early that it led to subsequent complications.

There was an increased risk of hyperactivity and learning difficulties. Emilia even survived abdominal surgery at a weight of just 12 ounces.

Yet luckily for the girl, there are no signs of serious disability.

She was initially fed with a tiny tube. The doctors used a cotton bud soaked in sugar water to soothe her and relieve pains.

Her birth at the Maria Hospital came after doctors decided with her parents Lukas, 34, and Sabine, 30, to deliver the baby by Caesarean section at the 26th week of pregnancy.

The record for the smallest baby was said to be held by Rumaisa Rahman, who was born in the Loyola University Medical Centre in the US city of Chicago in 2004 when her mum was only 25 weeks pregnant.

At birth, Rumaisa was 8 inches tall and weighed 8.6 ounces.

Professor Dr Sven Schiermeier, chief physician of obstetrics, said that Emilia would have died in the womb if they hadn't delivered her early as the placenta was not sufficient for her nutrition.

For comparison, the doctor said that usually a foetus in the 26th week of pregnancy would have weighed around 21 ounces.

For Lukas and Sabine, there was no question as to whether they would give the child a chance even if the odds for survival were low.

"There were many difficult days and many tears, but she clearly wanted to survive," the mother said.

Right now, Emilia weighs 106 ounces and seems to be in much better physical condition.

Dr. Bahman Gharavi, Head of Children and Youth Clinic at the hospital, said the Emilia's birth was truly unique.

The doctor said that the survival of the baby was only possible thanks to the joint effort of paediatricians, gynaecologists and paediatric surgeons.

"Even children with a birth weight of 14 ounces rarely survive. We have to thank Emilia as well for her own survival," he said.

"She is a little fighter.

"For more than six months, it was unclear whether she would survive. Only in recent weeks she is getting more robust."

Infertility is a very worrying problem for couples who are trying to increase their family but are being unsuccessful for no apparent reason, and it’s not very reassuring when your friends and family say that as soon as you stop worrying about it then it will happen, but there’s a lot truth in that, the wondrous thing that happens when a baby is conceived will only happen when your body decides that you are relaxed enough for motherhood.

Have you ever wondered why female has two ovaries, and are they the same? do they both produce an egg every month? this is unlikely or there would be more twins in the world, they do take turns at releasing an egg? yes they do and what happens if one of the ovaries is not functioning for some reason, does that mean you only get one chance every two months? yes it does. As you can see it’s a very complicated subject that produces more questions than answers.

The first step is a very thorough examination by your medical expert to see if there’s any obvious reason why you are not clicking, if there is nothing obviously wrong with you then will have to consider the health of your partner, if the sperm sample he produces has no obvious defects then will have to turn our attention to the technique and mechanics of your mating.

It is not a good idea to refrain from sex until the particular day that you have calculated to be your best time, there are several reasons for this firstly making this day special increases your stress level and that’s not a good thing if you are trying to be relaxed, it should be a stress free, every day event, well perhaps not every day, there are a few people with that much drive and stamina.

Then we have to consider the health of the little swimmers, there are constantly being produced and if they are not used the body reabsorbs them if they have nowhere to go, it’s obviously much better to use a supply of the freshly produced sperm and frequent ejaculation ensurers that what you’re getting is top quality, or at least as good as it gets.

Apparently female orgasm does not come into this calculation according to Masters and Johnson who have stated there is no indication that this helps the actual conception, or as a state in their book there is no indication of upsuck.

Also interesting

Australian scientists are designing a condom that actually feels goodReplacing latex with prosthetic skin.

FIONA MACDONALD 8 APR 2015 18.2k 

It's no secret that a lot of people don't enjoy using condoms. Sure, we appreciate their disease- and pregnancy-preventing benefits, but let's be upfront about the fact that no one really likes to wear them.But there's hope, because scientists at the University of Wollongong in Australia are working with an ultra-tough material called hydrogel that could be used to create condoms that can feel even better than nothing at all.Hydrogels are strong and flexible solids that have been used for decades, but have more recently been engineered to have a range of different properties. One of the most promising is the fact they can be made to feel and act like human tissue, and are already being widely used in prosthetics to create things such as blood vessels and even eye implants.But the Australian team, led by materials scientist Robert Gorkin, decided to take things one step further, and investigate whether hydrogel could replace latex to create condoms that people actually want to use (no offence, latex).University of WollongongThey entered the idea in a recent Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation call-out for a Next Generation Condom, and won one of 52 grants on offer, giving them access to US$100,000 to research the viability of their hydrogel condoms. Nine months on, and things are looking extremely promising, with the material not only able to physically act like a condom, but also able to block biological material.“Our original idea was just to try to prove that an original material could replace latex," Gorkin told ScienceAlert. "We were starting from scratch, we had an idea that these new materials would have the same properties as rubber with a nicer feel, but we weren't sure if they had the right properties for a condom."“The early indications are that the materials are strong enough and actually do prevent against the transfer of small biological molecules," he said. You can see some of their durability tests in action below:Even more impressive is the fact that hydrogels can be engineered to perform all kinds of different functionalities, such as self-lubrication, topical drug delivery, biodegradability and even electric conductivity. For example, imagine a condom that delivers its own dose of Viagra, or responds to stimulation just like human skin. Depending on how you fabricate the material, you can potentially open up a whole new world of pleasure.The team is not just relying on their own opinions on what feels good, however, they're now partnering with Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, to conduct biometric testing that will be able to measure the body's response to the material."We'll be able to look at brain activity to see whether it really feels better than latex," explained Gorkin. "If you make them so pleasurable that people can't wait to put them on, then more people will use them, and we can hopefully stop the spread of disease. It's as simple as that."University of WollongongThe next step is to prove that hydrogel is a potential material for the Gates Foundation Next Generation of condoms, and receive the next round of funding to start making and testing them more broadly. Of course, the aim is to one day be able to create something that does what no condom has been able to do yet - improve uptake and regular use.Although a lot of the focus is on regions such as sub-Saharan African and southeast Asia, the outcome would be just as important in countries such as the US, which, despite having plenty of access to birth control, has the highest rates of accidental pregnancies and HIV transmission in the developed world.Gorkin also wants to look beyond the science and make sure that cultural and social needs for birth control influence how they design their condom. "It's a branding exercise as much as a scientific one," said Gorkin. "A material alone can't change the way we look at sex, but we believe it can definitely help."We're already sold - bring on the future of birth control.

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