Tag Archives: infertility

Infertility and Your Biological Clock: Time to Take Action

In the 30 years since I performed the first in-vitro fertilization procedure in Massachusetts, one of the first in the country, it’s incredible how many advances have been achieved over that period of time to give many couples the possibility of having a baby who might otherwise remained infertile.  But one thing hasn’t changed: the impact of age on your chances for success. Several key studies have followed populations of people who did not use contraception over their entire reproductive life span to determine their fertility rates. Very consistently, the chances of a woman naturally having a baby after age 35 decline by about 50 percent, and decline by about 90 percent after age 40.

Infertility is defined as one year of attempting conception without success. Some celebrities seem to easily have babies in their 40s, and it seems simple. But sometimes, they may not disclose that they received an egg from a younger woman by a procedure called egg donation. So if having a baby is in your future plans, get started before age becomes an age-old problem. If age is a factor, don’t wait to be seen. If you’re over 35, see an infertility expert if you don’t conceive naturally within six months. If you’re over 40, be seen after 3 months of unsuccessful trying. Making a baby takes time. See my video on below, “Making A Baby Takes Time.”

The pregnancy planner and journal I created called Journal Babies is a helpful tool for getting pregnant and as a journal to follow your pregnancy and plan for the delivery. Afterward it is a lovely keepsake. If you’ve had infertility or know someone who has because age became a factor, leave a comment below.

Infertility: The Child Who Might Have Been

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s hard to believe it has been 30 years since I performed the first in-vitro fertilization in Massachusetts, the third in the country. I wrote this poem then as a tribute to infertility patients and the invisible loss they experience.


Infertility: The Child Who Might Have Been


The simple union of man and wife

In love creates a brand new life

A child to cherish, play with and be

Their link with immortality


What bliss and joy they anticipate

Unless infertility becomes their fate

And buries dreams which die within

As they mourn their child who might have been

  © Mache Seibel, MD

Have you had infertility or know someone who has? Share this poem and post a comment below. Are you planning a pregnancy? You will enjoy this interactive planner and journal called Journal Babies. It provides tips on how to improve your chances for getting pregnant, what to expect during your pregnancy, questions to ask your doctor and afterwards, a keepsake of your experience.

Be Informed – Non-Stick Pans Pose Danger

I used a non-stick frying pan up until 4 years ago which is when I read a Dr. Mercola article on the dangers of non stick cookware.  I had no idea that Teflon or other non-stick coatings were dangerous to our health!

Non-stick cookware has become a norm in our world of ease and convenience, and has been around since 1938.  It is actually very hard to find a single frying pan that isn’t non-stick in stores.

Non-stick coatings on cooking pans contain highly poisonous chemical substances and can release very harmful gases and particles when heated during everyday cooking, according to research published by the Environmental Working Group.

What is Dangerous About Teflon and Non-Stick Cookware?

A synthetic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, and known as either PFOA or C8, is used in the manufacture of Teflon and non-stick pans.

When Teflon or nonstick pans are heated, the coating can break apart and release toxic particles and gases. DuPont, the manufacturers of Teflon pans, has released data which shows the temperatures required to release these gases. Their results show that:

  • Teflon begins to emit gases at around 464°F
  • At 680°F Teflon emits up to 6 toxic gases, including 2 carcinogens, 2 global pollutants, and MFA (a chemical deadly to humans at low doses)

A test published by the Environmental Working Group shows that a Teflon pan can easily be heated to above 720°F in five minutes during the normal process of pre-heating. Teflon and non-stick coatings become more harmful the older and more scratched they become.

The Impact of Teflon and Non-Stick Cookware

Although the long term impact of the chemicals and fumes released from Teflon are not fully understood, we do know that they pose a very real danger to birds, and that they can make humans ill.

‘Teflon toxicosis’ is a condition that occurs in birds when they are exposed to the gases released from Teflon. Their lungs hemorrhage, causing them to fill up with fluid which leads to suffocation. Bird owners should never use non-stick cookware or Teflon pans.

‘Polymer fume fever’ is a human reaction to the gases emitted by hot Teflon. Many people experience this condition without realizing it as its symptoms are very similar to influenza. They include fever, chills and nausea. We do not know the long term effects on humans of polymer fume fever or the exposure to Teflon coatings.

Dr. Mercola mentions that other unrelated studies have also found evidence of birth defects in babies from PFOA-exposed workers. In 1981, 2 out of 7 women who worked at a non-stick coating plant gave birth to babies with birth defects.  He also mentions that Teflon may cause infertility.

Alternatives to Teflon and Non-Stick Cookware

Rest assured there are plenty of alternatives to Teflon pans and non-stick cookware, and they’ll probably cook your food more effectively too.

A non-stick alternative to Teflon pans is ceramic cookware (Mercola.com has a good brand) which are inert, will last a lifetime, and can easily be washed in the dishwasher. Glass and stainless steel are great alternatives, which are all safe to use.

To your health,

Kim Duess

You Be Healthy






Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food


Doctors Warn: Avoid Genetically Modified Food

By Jeffrey M. Smith

On May 19th, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on "Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks."[1] They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food," including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, "There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation," as defined by recognized scientific criteria. "The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies."
More and more doctors are already prescribing GM-free diets. Dr. Amy Dean, a Michigan internal medicine specialist, and board member of AAEM says, "I strongly recommend patients eat strictly non-genetically modified foods." Ohio allergist Dr. John Boyles says "I used to test for soy allergies all the time, but now that soy is genetically engineered, it is so dangerous that I tell people never to eat it."
Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM, says, "Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions." World renowned biologist Pushpa M. Bhargava goes one step further. After reviewing more than 600 scientific journals, he concludes that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a major contributor to the sharply deteriorating health of Americans.
Pregnant women and babies at great risk
Among the population, biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that "children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems" related to GM foods. He says without adequate studies, the children become "the experimental animals."[2]
The experience of actual GM-fed experimental animals is scary. When GM soy was fed to female rats, most of their babies died within three weeks-compared to a 10% death rate among the control group fed natural soy.[3] The GM-fed babies were also smaller, and later had problems getting pregnant.[4]
When male rats were fed GM soy, their testicles actually changed color-from the normal pink to dark blue.[5] Mice fed GM soy had altered young sperm.[6] Even the embryos of GM fed parent mice had significant changes in their DNA.[7] Mice fed GM corn in an Austrian government study had fewer babies, which were also smaller than normal.[8]
Reproductive problems also plague livestock. Investigations in the state of Haryana , India revealed that most buffalo that ate GM cottonseed had complications such as premature deliveries, abortions, infertility, and prolapsed uteruses. Many calves died. In the US , about two dozen farmers reported thousands of pigs became sterile after consuming certain GM corn varieties. Some had false pregnancies; others gave birth to bags of water. Cows and bulls also became infertile when fed the same corn.[9]
In the US population, the incidence of low birth weight babies, infertility, and infant mortality are all escalating.
Food designed to produce toxin
GM corn and cotton are engineered to produce their own built-in pesticide in every cell. When bugs bite the plant, the poison splits open their stomach and kills them. Biotech companies claim that the pesticide, called Bt-produced from soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis-has a history of safe use, since organic farmers and others use Bt bacteria spray for natural insect control. Genetic engineers insert Bt genes into corn and cotton, so the plants do the killing.
The Bt-toxin produced in GM plants, however, is thousands of times more concentrated than natural Bt spray, is designed to be more toxic,[10] has properties of an allergen, and unlike the spray, cannot be washed off the plant.
Moreover, studies confirm that even the less toxic natural bacterial spray is harmful. When dispersed by plane to kill gypsy moths in the Pacific Northwest , about 500 people reported allergy or flu-like symptoms. Some had to go to the emergency room.[11],[12]
The exact same symptoms are now being reported by farm workers throughout India, from handling Bt cotton.[13] In 2008, based on medical records, the Sunday India reported, "Victims of itching have increased massively this year . . . related to BT cotton farming."[14]
GMOs provoke immune reactions
AAEM states, "Multiple animal studies show significant immune dysregulation," including increase in cytokines, which are "associated with asthma, allergy, and inflammation"-all on the rise in the US .
According to GM food safety expert Dr. Arpad Pusztai, changes in the immune status of GM animals are "a consistent feature of all the studies."[15] Even Monsanto’s own research showed significant immune system changes in rats fed Bt corn.[16] A November 2008 by the Italian government also found that mice have an immune reaction to Bt corn.[17]
GM soy and corn each contain two new proteins with allergenic properties,[18] GM soy has up to seven times more trypsin inhibitor-a known soy allergen,[19] and skin prick tests show some people react to GM, but not to non-GM soy.[20] Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50%. Perhaps the US epidemic of food allergies and asthma is a casualty of genetic manipulation.
Animals dying in large numbers
In India , animals graze on cotton plants after harvest. But when shepherds let sheep graze on Bt cotton plants, thousands died. Post mortems showed severe irritation and black patches in both intestines and liver (as well as enlarged bile ducts). Investigators said preliminary evidence "strongly suggests that the sheep mortality was due to a toxin. . . . most probably Bt-toxin."[21] In a small follow-up feeding study by the Deccan Development Society, all sheep fed Bt cotton plants died within 30 days; those that grazed on natural cotton plants remained healthy.
In a small village in Andhra Pradesh, buffalo grazed on cotton plants for eight years without incident. On January 3rd, 2008, the buffalo grazed on Bt cotton plants for the first time. All 13 were sick the next day; all died within 3 days.[22]
Bt corn was also implicated in the deaths of cows in Germany , and horses, water buffaloes, and chickens in The Philippines.[23]
In lab studies, twice the number of chickens fed Liberty Link corn died; 7 of 20 rats fed a GM tomato developed bleeding stomachs; another 7 of 40 died within two weeks.[24] Monsanto’s own study showed evidence of poisoning in major organs of rats fed Bt corn, according to top French toxicologist G. E. Seralini.[25]
Worst finding of all-GMOs remain inside of us
The only published human feeding study revealed what may be the most dangerous problem from GM foods. The gene inserted into GM soy transfers into the DNA of bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function.[26] This means that long after we stop eating GMOs, we may still have potentially harmful GM proteins produced continuously inside of us. Put more plainly, eating a corn chip produced from Bt corn might transform our intestinal bacteria into living pesticide factories, possibly for the rest of our lives.
When evidence of gene transfer is reported at medical conferences around the US , doctors often respond by citing the huge increase of gastrointestinal problems among their patients over the last decade. GM foods might be colonizing the gut flora of North Americans.
Warnings by government scientists ignored and denied
Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had warned about all these problems even in the early 1990s. According to documents released from a lawsuit, the scientific consensus at the agency was that GM foods were inherently dangerous, and might create hard-to-detect allergies, poisons, gene transfer to gut bacteria, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged their superiors to require rigorous long-term tests.[27] But the White House had ordered the agency to promote biotechnology and the FDA responded by recruiting Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, to head up the formation of GMO policy. That policy, which is in effect today, denies knowledge of scientists’ concerns and declares that no safety studies on GMOs are required. It is up to Monsanto and the other biotech companies to determine if their foods are safe. Mr. Taylor later became Monsanto’s vice president.
Dangerously few studies, untraceable diseases
AAEM states, "GM foods have not been properly tested" and "pose a serious health risk." Not a single human clinical trial on GMOs has been published. A 2007 review of published scientific literature on the "potential toxic effects/health risks of GM plants" revealed "that experimental data are very scarce." The author concludes his review by asking, "Where is the scientific evidence showing that GM plants/food are toxicologically safe, as assumed by the biotechnology companies?"[28]
Famed Canadian geneticist David Suzuki answers, "The experiments simply haven’t been done and we now have become the guinea pigs." He adds, "Anyone that says, ‘Oh, we know that this is perfectly safe,’ I say is either unbelievably stupid or deliberately lying."[29]
Dr. Schubert points out, "If there are problems, we will probably never know because the cause will not be traceable and many diseases take a very long time to develop." If GMOs happen to cause immediate and acute symptoms with a unique signature, perhaps then we might have a chance to trace the cause.
This is precisely what happened during a US epidemic in the late 1980s. The disease was fast acting, deadly, and caused a unique measurable change in the blood-but it still took more than four years to identify that an epidemic was even occurring. By then it had killed about 100 Americans and caused 5,000-10,000 people to fall sick or become permanently disabled. It was caused by a genetically engineered brand of a food supplement called L-tryptophan.
If other GM foods are contributing to the rise of autism, obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, heart disease, allergies, reproductive problems, or any other common health problem now plaguing Americans, we may never know. In fact, since animals fed GMOs had such a wide variety of problems, susceptible people may react to GM food with multiple symptoms. It is therefore telling that in the first nine years after the large scale introduction of GM crops in 1996, the incidence of people with three or more chronic diseases nearly doubled, from 7% to 13%.[30]
To help identify if GMOs are causing harm, the AAEM asks their "members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the effect of GM foods on human health."
Citizens need not wait for the results before taking the doctors advice to avoid GM foods. People can stay away from anything with soy or corn derivatives, cottonseed and canola oil, and sugar from GM sugar beets-unless it says organic or "non-GMO." There is a pocket Non-GMO Shopping Guide, co-produced by the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Center for Food Safety, which is available as a download, as well as in natural food stores and in many doctors’ offices.
If even a small percentage of people choose non-GMO brands, the food industry will likely respond as they did in Europe -by removing all GM ingredients. Thus, AAEM’s non-GMO prescription may be a watershed for the US food supply.
International bestselling author and independent filmmaker Jeffrey M. Smith is the Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology and the leading spokesperson on the health dangers of GMOs. His first book, Seeds of Deception is the world’s bestselling book on the subject. His second, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, identifies 65 risks of GMOs and demonstrates how superficial government approvals are not competent to find most of them. He invited the biotech industry to respond in writing with evidence to counter each risk, but correctly predicted that they would refuse, since they don’t have the data to show that their products are safe.

[2] David Schubert, personal communication to H. Penfound, Greenpeace Canada , October 25, 2002.
[3] Irina Ermakova, "Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies," Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4-9.
[4] Irina Ermakova, "Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards," Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels , June 12, 2007
[5] Irina Ermakova, "Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards," Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe , EU Parliament
Brussels , June 12, 2007
[6] L. Vecchio et al, "Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean," European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct-Dec 2004):449-454.
[7] Oliveri et al., "Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean," 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore ( Italy ), September 7-10, 2006.
[8] Alberta Velimirov and Claudia Binter, "Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice," Forschungsberichte der Sektion IV, Band 3/2008
[9] Jerry Rosman, personal communication, 2006
[10] See for example, A. Dutton, H. Klein, J. Romeis, and F. Bigler, "Uptake of Bt-toxin by herbivores feeding on transgenic maize and consequences for the predator Chrysoperia carnea," Ecological Entomology 27 (2002): 441-7; and J. Romeis, A. Dutton, and F. Bigler, "Bacillus thuringiensis toxin (Cry1Ab) has no direct effect on larvae of the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae)," Journal of Insect Physiology 50, no. 2-3 (2004): 175-183.
[11] Washington State Department of Health, "Report of health surveillance activities: Asian gypsy moth control program," (Olympia, WA: Washington State Dept. of Health, 1993).
[12] M. Green, et al., "Public health implications of the microbial pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis: An epidemiological study, Oregon , 1985-86," Amer. J. Public Health 80, no. 7(1990): 848-852.
[13] Ashish Gupta et. al., "Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh)," Investigation Report, Oct-Dec 2005.
[14] Sunday India , October, 26, 2008
[15] October 24, 2005 correspondence between Arpad Pusztai and Brian John
[16] John M. Burns, "13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002," December 17, 2002 http://www.
[17] Alberto Finamore, et al, "Intestinal and Peripheral Immune Response to MON810 Maize Ingestion in Weaning and Old Mice," J. Agric. Food Chem., 2008, 56 (23), pp 11533-11539, November 14, 2008
[18] See L Zolla, et al, "Proteomics as a complementary tool for identifying unintended side effects occurring in transgenic maize seeds as a result of genetic modifications," J Proteome Res. 2008 May;7(5):1850-61; Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, "Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison," Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May-June 2005): 210-216(7); and Gendel, "The use of amino acid sequence alignments to assess potential allergenicity of proteins used in genetically modified foods," Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 42 (1998), 45-62.
[19] A. Pusztai and S. Bardocz, "GMO in animal nutrition: potential benefits and risks," Chapter 17, Biology of Nutrition in Growing Animals, R. Mosenthin, J. Zentek and T. Zebrowska (Eds.) Elsevier, October 2005
[20] Hye-Yung Yum, Soo-Young Lee, Kyung-Eun Lee, Myung-Hyun Sohn, Kyu-Earn Kim, "Genetically Modified and Wild Soybeans: An immunologic comparison," Allergy and Asthma Proceedings 26, no. 3 (May-June 2005): 210-216(7).
[21] "Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton Fields-Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh" Report of the Preliminary Assessment, April 2006, http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp
[22] Personal communication and visit, January 2009.
[23] Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield , IA USA 2007
[24] Arpad Pusztai, "Can Science Give Us the Tools for Recognizing Possible Health Risks for GM Food?" Nutrition and Health 16 (2002): 73-84.
[25] Stéphane Foucart, "Controversy Surrounds a GMO," Le Monde, 14 December 2004; referencing, John M. Burns, "13-Week Dietary Subchronic Comparison Study with MON 863 Corn in Rats Preceded by a 1-Week Baseline Food Consumption Determination with PMI Certified Rodent Diet #5002," December 17, 2002 http://www.monsanto.com/monsanto/content/sci_tech/prod_safety/fullratstudy.pdf 
[26] Netherwood et al, "Assessing the survival of transgenic plant DNA in the human gastrointestinal tract," Nature Biotechnology 22 (2004): 2.
[27] See memos at www.biointegrity.org
[28] José Domingo, "Toxicity Studies of Genetically Modified Plants : A Review of the Published Literature," Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 2007, vol. 47, no8, pp. 721-733
[29] Angela Hall, "Suzuki warns against hastily accepting GMOs", The Leader-Post ( Canada ), 26 April 2005.
[30] Kathryn Anne Paez, et al, "Rising Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Chronic Conditions: A Ten-Year Trend," Health Affairs, 28, no. 1 (2009): 15-25


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What is Micro IVF?

Micro IVF in general can be described as taking either solely oral fertility meds with or without minimal use or injectable gonadotropins when going through InVitro fertilization. The process is the same as doing conventional IVF which entails egg retrieval, fertilization, embryo culture and embryo transfer. This process can diminish the risk of multiple births. Some center offer this procedure at a lower cost than conventional IVF plus there are additional savings from having to purchase less fertility meds.

Minimal Stimulation IVF. IVF over the past twenty years has evolved and been optimized from a point where pregnancy rates were at best quoted to be 10% to about 50% today. We have become better with our stimulation protocols and techniques over this time period and are continuing this trend. Nevertheless, this success has its unintended consequences being the possibility of an overproduction of embryos along with multiple embryos being transferred.

Minimal Stimulation IVF is currently being touted as a solution for this, and we all hope that it soon will. However, we currently lack good data from proper clinical trials to support its use without adequate patient consent when gonadotropins/IUI cycle may be appropriate for sub-fertility. In one of the better trials to date from Pelinck et al (Netherlands), they noted an 8% pregnancy rate, with a 20.8% pregnancy rate after three attempts with Minimal Stimulation IVF. It is well accepted that couples with Unexplained Infertility, the pregnancy rate for gonadotropins/IUI is 17%. Some authors have published success rates of up to 40% using Minimal Stimulation IVF, but these percentages may be influenced by bias and other study errors due to their retrospective design.

I welcome the use of Minimal Stimulation so long as the patient is fully aware of the option to use conventional dosing for IVF to achieve accepted pregnancy rates. Centers are touting the diminished cost when providing this service, but the patient should be aware that if this particular treatment it’s not right for them they could end up spending money on a treatment that won’t increase their chances of pregnancy. There will also be a significantly increased possibility of having frozen embryos for future use when undergoing conventional stimulation. With the use of gonadotropins agonists for an ovulatory trigger, the risk of OHSS development has been shown to be significantly diminished without compromising pregnancy rates.

More data needs to become available to truly assess the success of this procedure for different types of patients and all Fertility Specialists should follow this closely to assess whether or not it could be a solution for some of their patients while clearly providing all their available options with associated costs.

One should consider that it is generally accepted that IVF does slightly increase the risk of birth defects since our synthetic culture media and incubators may never be as good as the environment provided by a maternal womb. These are some considerations that should be taken before performing IVF routinely and without indication when other options are readily available.

Dr. Rudy Quintero is a Fertility Doctor in Los Angeles, founder of www.CareFertility.net

You can also read more information about fertility and ask experts online for free and find support, check www.FertilityTies.com


Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams!

For over 4 years, I walked around in the world thinking that I was likely infertile. One Sunday morning a few months ago, I prayed.

I thanked God for "bringing me to a place of peace in my journey, that if I was not meant to have my own children that I have at least found the beautiful children through my volunteering that I can mother." I continued, "If this is why I am here in the Dominican Republic then this is my destiny, I accept this and thank you because these children are so special and share with me so much love!"

The next morning I found out that I was pregnant! My dreams came true after 4 years! That was nearly 4 months ago…

Despite my joy at being pregnant and our decision to raise the baby in Canada, fear crept in and I became afraid about giving up on my career dreams. Then it occurred to me that I got exactly what I wanted, it just wasn’t happening in the order or the way I thought it would. I decided to focus on gratitude and quickly peace returned.
Don’t give up on your dreams! Especially if you believe they aren’t happening like you wanted or when you wanted.  "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." ~ Woody Allen

Being in the DR has been a rich and life-changing experience; I found true love and have had moments of true clarity and personal insight. I feel blessed for having had this experience exactly how it has happened.

It is time to let go and continue onward with what lies ahead. I am immensely excited for what is to come and to see how it unfolds. I want to share my positive affirmation that has taken me through dark times and times of celebration: I believe that I am exactly where I am meant to be and that goodness is constantly being sent to me.

 When you feel resistence to change: hold on to your dreams and visions for the future, find acceptance and gratitude of where you are in the journey; look for and embrace all of the opportunities that enter your life. These are the choices that will lead us toward greater experiences, our next life lessons and our true potential.
"Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly" ~ Langston Hughes

Embrace Your Life!

Kelly McIntyre M.Sc.
Life/Career Coach

Ready to make that change? Download the FREE Goal Setting Worksheet and get started today!

Read what people are saying about Kelly~Testimonials


National Infertility Awareness Week

For many generations, Infertility was thought of as being more of a curse, a state that a woman had all the blame, even though men comprised close to half of all cases. Medicine has significantly evolved since the Renaissance, from surgical techniques to the creation of antibiotics these past few centuries. Yet, only until recently did anyone truly bothered with Reproductive Medicine; this in part because few considered it more of a condition or something people simply had to deal with as part of life’s difficulties.. 

Fortunately, our governing body the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recently declared that Infertility is a Disease. This means that everyone (let alone insurance companies) should view infertility no differently than say Diabetes, Hypertension, or other chronic conditions that can be overcome with treatments. But unlike these diseases, infertility challenges an individual to the core making it difficult for many just to get through the day, let alone keep their relationships healthy. Many need a lot of support and encouragement to keep their TTC (Trying to conceive) journey going.
We commend those organizations that started out by organizing groups in the past to provide this support. But attending and joining still took much courage, excluding a majority who were still grappling with the acceptance of having reproductive difficulties. Many would also not be able to attend who would want to due to time constraints and geographical distances. 
The internet is now serving as a vehicle that allows users from around the world to seek all the support and information they need from the comfort and privacy of their home. An explosion of people have logged on and feel more comfortable meeting others undergoing similar difficulties that maybe no one around them would understand.  This awareness due to the media and now primarily the internet has also made it easier for many to talk about fertility issues without any associated stigma to friends and family regardless of which culture, creed or country one belongs to.
Despite all this new found awareness there’s still a long way to go with over 7.3 million Americans and around 80 million people around the world facing infertility. Also, in the light of the Octuplets being born earlier this year to Infertility treatments, and potential new regulations being talked about in various states it’s very important to maintain a united front when it comes to helping those millions of people going through infertility and continue to advocate for the patient and improve the options available to them.
FertilityTies.com would like to say to all of those going through Infertility that you’re not alone and to never give up on your Journey. For those of you who know someone who might be going through infertility always offer kind words and be extra supportive.
FertilityTies.com is an online community where you can find peer support and medical information and can ask Fertility Specialists questions online for free.
Dr. Quintero is a Fertility Doctors in Los Angeles and founder of CareFertility.net

What is Secondary Infertility and can it affect me?

Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after having conceived previously. 

There are a number of things that can cause secondary infertility. After undergoing a vaginal delivery or C-section, there can be remnants from the previous pregnancy left in the uterus which inhibit a new pregnancy from implanting.  There can also be a piece of debris blocking the fallopian tubes or a post delivery endometritis can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes. 

Age is probably the most common cause of secondary infertility.  Fertility decreases with age regardless of previous pregnancy history.  The most common cause of male secondary infertility is history of vasectomy.  The evaluation of secondary infertility is the same as that for primary infertility which is to check a cycle day 3 FSH and estradiol level, Thyroid stimulating hormone level, prolactin level, hysterosalpingogram, sonohysterogram and a semen analysis for the men. 

Treatments such as Artificial Insemination, Invitro Fertilization is commonly used for the treatment of Secondary Infertility and if you are younger that 35 years of age and have been trying to conceive after one year without success, or after 6 months if you’re over than 35 is best to consult a Fertility Specialist so that they can determine if you might be experiencing Secondary Infertility.

Learn more about Infertility, Trying to Conceive and IVF, check www.FertilityTies.com

To learn more about Dr. Rudy Quintero visit Fertility in Los Angeles

Check www.CareFertility.net

Understanding PCOS When Trying to Conceive

PCOS is a common condition affecting about 15 percent of reproductive age women. Women with PCOS have a higher risk than normal to develop diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer. Furthermore, PCOS women who get pregnant run the risk of developing gestational diabetes, fetal demise, and many other pregnancy related complications. It is therefore recommended that all women with PCOS undergo an evaluation prior and during pregnancy.

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a syndrome with symptoms that to date still creates much debate among academicians. For example, the criterion was recently changed to add the appearance of multiple cysts (antral follicles) in the ovary diagnosed by ultrasound. The diagnosis of PCOS, for now, is the exclusion of other conditions with two out of the following three symptoms present:

1. No periods or few periods in a year

2. Increased blood “testosterone” levels or the appearance of excess body hair growth

3. Multiple ovarian cysts (better stated as antral follicles less than 12mm)

Yet, many still argue that some of these patients aren’t true PCOS patients, in particular, those that skip periods and have these ultrasound cyst findings without the testosterone/hair elevation.

What causes PCOS?
There is a hereditary pattern associated with PCOS that has been recognized, predisposing some people to get PCOS more than others. In our overweight population, the increased fatty tissue primarily around the abdomen creates insulin resistance. The body needs to create more insulin then to override this resistance because insulin is needed to utilize the sugar/carbs we eat. No insulin equals no energy. This excess insulin now keeps the ovary from ovulating, stimulates it to produce more testosterone, and diminishes the liver’s production of proteins needed to “clean up” testosterone. If the resistance is severe and prolonged, the body will eventually stop making an adequate amount of insulin; sugar builds up in the blood and gets excreted in the urine (diabetes).

What are typical symptoms of PCOS?
The most common symptom noticed from PCOS is from the excess testosterone floating around the body. This will cause an increase in hair growth (hirsuitism) that will be present in the lower abdomen, a lateral extension of pubic hair, increased lower back hair, mild facial hair and acne. A Ferriman-Gallway criterion can be used to denote the severity of hirsuitism and is sometimes used by doctors to denote the severity of hair growth. Since the ovary is not able to ovulate due to the excess insulin, skipped or missing periods will also be noted. In more severe cases, a skin condition from excess insulin called acanthosis nigricans can develop on the back of the neck, breasts, under arms (axilla), and groin. The skin appears thickened and much darker in those areas than the rest of the body.

How does PCOS affect fertility?
A big cause for infertility in PCOS patients is their inability to ovulate, but even if ovulation is stimulated with Clomid, pregnancy rates are still lower than individuals without PCOS. This means there are other factors contributing to infertility than just not ovulating.

Can we measure insulin to diagnose PCOS?
A good diagnosis of insulin resistance remains elusive without the use of insulin clamps, which are costly, invasive, and time consuming. Currently, the best modality to assess insulin resistance is to check a blood fasting glucose/insulin level, followed by a 75gm glucose load with labs repeated two hours later. There is controversy as to what values would constitute insulin resistance, and only by talking with your doctor to asses the lab values can a determination be made.

What are other consequences from having PCOS?
When one doesn’t have periods because of PCOS, the endometrium (tissue inside the uterus) can convert into cancer. Not only that, one can eventually develop hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, heart disease, and a multitude of other health problems.

Will having PCOS affect my pregnancy?

The biggest risk one undertakes if conceiving with uncorrected PCOS is the acquisition of Gestational Diabetes, which in most cases would require a change in diet and/or insulin given in a shot form. Gestational diabetes can create an overweight fetus, which may create a difficult/traumatic delivery, breathing problems at birth, and in some cases fetal demise. Risk of gestational hypertension would also be present requiring premature delivery if it’s noted to be severe.

How is PCOS treated?
Weight loss to diminish the amount of extra fatty tissue is always the first and best recommendation that can be given. Indeed, even a 5 percent drop in some cases may be enough to restore one’s menstrual cycles. If weight loss is not an option and one is willing to undertake pregnancy risks, then ovulation induction can be performed. In a landmark study, Legro et al (NEJM 2/2007) reported a live birth rate of Metformin (8 percent), Clomid (22 percent), Clomid+Metformin (27 percent) when either was attempted for six months at most. The study demonstrated that sole Metformin use may not be an adequate treatment for fertility purposes in PCOS patients. This study also showed that miscarriages were higher in people who continued Metformin through their first trimester versus those who did not.

Injectable gonadotropins can also be used to stimulate follicular growth with a higher pregnancy rate than Clomid. Finding the “perfect dose” of gonadotropins however is always a challenge for the RE administering them. Give too little, and no follicles will grow. Give just a little too much, and too many follicles grow.

With IVF, multiple follicles can be created, but at the possible expense of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), creating another challenge for the RE. What is also sometimes noted in PCOS patients is that even though many eggs are extracted, a good proportion of the oocytes (eggs) will wind up being immature and not be perfect for fertilization, creating a diminished pregnancy rate; yet IVF is still superior to any other treatment modality for all patients seeking fertility treatment.

Can PCOS return?
Weight gain will cause PCOS to return. It is important, therefore, to always maintain a healthy diet and exercise.

To learn more about Infertility, or to find an Infertility Doctor, please visit www.FertilityTies.com

To learn more about Dr. Rudy Quintero check Fertility in Los Angeles

Does Diet and Weight Impact Fertility?

The answer is, of course it does. In the present time, a lot of research has been done on the impact of diet and weight on just about every health issue that exist and the findings for the most part have been that higher weight and poorer diet are associated with a number of health problems. Why should fertility be any different? After all, the fertility status of an individual is a reflection of that individual’s overall health. 

I tell all my patients to think of your body as a fruit tree. If that tree is unable to produce fruit or if the fruit that it produces is not good quality, then this is a reflection of the amount of water, nutrients, and the environment that the tree is trying to thrive in. Humans are really no different. We depend on vitamins, minerals, proteins, and a certain environment in order to keep our bodies in a healthy reproducing state. Therefore, we have to be very careful about what we put in and on our bodies and also how much weight we subject our bodies to carrying. 

How can fat affect menstrual periods?
Especially in women, body fat can have a definite impact on menstrual regularity and fertility. Even though the accumulation of body fat was initially meant as a survival mechanism for periods of starvation, in the present time where food is quite plentiful, this excess tissue can cause problems with metabolism, hormone secretion mechanisms, and subsequently with fertility. It turns out that estrogen is held in adipocytes, or the fat cells of the body. These cells randomly release estrogen, especially when it is in excess. 

Estrogen is a hormone that can suppress the secretion of hormones from the brain that are responsible for generating monthly egg development. Local release of estrogen from the fat cells causes the ovaries and uterus to become confused as to which signals to follow. Therefore, ovulation does not occur and subsequently progesterone does not get secreted. This is a big problem because it is the secretion and withdrawal of progesterone that causes menses to occur. Also, unopposed estrogen exposure can lead to diseases such as endometrial cancer. 

So how can this condition be treated? 
The best way of course is with diet and exercise. Consuming a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates and performing aerobic exercise three to four times a week for at least an hour may result in about 10 percent of total body weight loss, which for some women is enough to return them to regular menstrual cycles, allowing ovulation to occur and possibly pregnancy. On the other hand, some women are unable to lose the weight due to having a slow metabolism. For these women, they may need to take a tablet called clomiphene citrate in order to induce ovulation. Sometimes, these women also need to be on insulin regulating drugs such as metformin or rosiglitazone.

In a small number of cases, women who are not getting pregnant or who don’t respond to clomiphene citrate may need more aggressive therapy such as injectable gonadotropins or in vitro fertilization. When a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome is not trying to conceive, the best therapy is for her to take oral contraceptive tablets or birth control pills. These tablets release a steady amount of estrogen and progesterone, which helps to regulate menstrual cycles and increase sex hormone binding globulin, which will bind excess androgens.

What about having a low body weight—can this affect fertility?
The answer again is yes, of course … if your body feels that it is in a state of starvation, then it will secrete a hormone called corticotropin releasing hormone, which is a stress hormone. This hormone can block crucial reproductive hormone receptors in the body and cause anovulation, which is the absence of ovulation and subsequent amenorrhea or the absence of menstrual periods. Without development of a dominant egg and ovulation, natural reproduction cannot occur. So the pendulum swings both ways when it comes to weight and fertility.

How about obesity in men and how this relates to fertility? 
It turns out that there is a direct correlation between male obesity and decreased fertility as well. As mentioned above, estrogen is stored in adipocytes, or fat cells. This means that obese men have elevated estrogen levels. Obese men also have reduced male hormone levels and reduced sex hormone binding globulin levels. Therefore, men who suffer from obesity also have an altered reproductive hormonal profile, which has been associated with abnormal semen parameters and subsequent infertility. 

Other factors that may contribute to increased fertility issues in obese men are mainly due to having a larger size. Men with increased body mass index have altered retention and metabolism of environmental toxins and the excess tissue surrounding the testicles can increase the basal temperature in which the testicles are surrounded causing modifications in sperm morphology or shape. Unfortunately, there have not been many studies done to date on the reversibility of obesity–associated male infertility with weight loss. The recommended treatment for men with male fertility issues depends on the degree of abnormality in the semen parameters and can range from intrauterine insemination to intracytoplasmic sperm injection, which requires retrieval of the female partner’s eggs and manually injecting an individual sperm into the egg to promote fertilization. 

So to summarize, a person’s weight whether too high or too low can directly impact their fertility. The optimal body mass index for a female of reproductive age is between 19–24 and for men is between 20–26.


To learn more about Trying to Conceive, Infertility or find Infertility Doctors, please visit www.FertilityTies.com

Please visit www.CareFertility.net to learn more about Dr. Quintero, an Infertility Doctor in Los Angeles


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