From frozen ovaries to lab-grown babies: the future of childbirth

It is almost 40 years since the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born. While this amazing breakthrough was highly controversial at the time, IVF is today commonplace. So how is conception and childbirth likely to change over the next 40 years and beyond? The rapid pace of research in the areas of fertility and reproduction raises some mind-boggling questions about the future. Will we conceive and grow babies entirely in laboratories – making sex and pregnancy a thing of the past? And will all future babies be “genetically designed”? One of the real game changers will be women’s ability to preserve their fertility and have children later in life. The procedure of freezing eggs was once fairl

Study: For Obese Women Trying to Conceive, Infertility Treatment Is Best - Weight loss failed to hel

A lifestyle intervention for obese women struggling with infertility did not improve their chances of getting pregnant compared with a control group treated only for infertility, a small Dutch randomized trial found. An intent-to-treat analysis found that 24 months after randomization, a smaller portion of obese women with a BMI >29 who received lifestyle intervention had a vaginal birth of a healthy infant compared with a control group who received fertility treatments (27.1% vs 35.2%, respectively; relative risk 0.77, 95% CI 0.60-0.99), reported Meike A.Q. Mutsaerts, MD, of University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues. There was also a statistically significant difference in

Fertility Information Lacking for Young Women Who Beat Cancer

Many young female cancer survivors say they don't receive enough information about preserving their fertility, a new study finds. These women are at risk for early menopause because of their cancer treatment. If they want to have children but are not yet ready to start a family, they may be able to freeze their eggs or embryos after treatment, researchers explained. "The potential loss of fertility has been described in the literature as being almost as painful, if not more so, than the cancer diagnosis itself," said study leader Catherine Benedict, of Northwell Health on Long Island, N.Y. In the study, the researchers analyzed the results from an anonymous online survey of 179 women, averag

The ethically and legally fraught world of post-mortem sperm donation

There is a man waiting for the doctor and his time is running out. It is late evening, just over an hour after the doctor first groped for his ringing phone. “Can you help us?” the woman on the other end had asked, her voice breaking. Now, preparing for the procedure, the doctor is alert. He moves quickly. He scrubs his hands and arms with soap and snaps on his gloves. His assistant clinks down sterilised instruments onto a stainless steel table. The air is cool and heavy with the scent of disinfectant. The doctor sits over the patient ready to perform the surgery. He pauses, fixing a picture in his mind, then slices through the skin until he can see the organ’s outer layers. It glistens, mi

Many Fertility Apps & Websites Get It Wrong -- Study finds only 4 of 53 online calculators accur

Websites and apps that promise to calculate a woman's most fertile days may often be off base, a new study suggests. When doctors put 53 fertility calculators to the test, they found that only four accurately predicted a hypothetical woman's "precise fertile window." "I'd recommend that consumers be cautious, and not completely rely on these sites and apps," said lead researcher Dr. Robert Setton. He is an obstetrics and gynecology resident at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York City. Setton was to present the findings Sunday at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in Washington, D.C. Such research is considered

Vets Groups Rally Behind Bill to Let VA Provide In Vitro Fertilization

A dozen veterans groups and support organizations are rallying behind legislation that would enable the Veterans Affairs Department to offer in vitro fertilization services to veterans with wounds and injuries prevent them from fathering children. The measure, which has been championed for years by Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee last month and is now part of the omnibus veterans and military construction bill working its way through the full Senate. Backers want to make sure the legislation passes. "Much is said about honoring the sacrifice that veterans make for our families," the groups wrote. "With your vote, you can demo

Embryo protein may warn before miscarriage and pre-eclampsia

It’s a sticky business. Scientists have uncovered how embryos stick to the uterus in the first week of life. The discovery might one day help improve treatments for recurrent miscarriages and pre-eclampsia, a life-threatening elevation of maternal blood pressure. After a human egg is fertilised, it tumbles down the mother’s fallopian tubes and into her uterus. There it makes itself comfy by sticking to the wall of the uterus, then burying itself under the wall’s lining. Now, Harry Moore and Bikem Soygur at the University of Sheffield, UK, have shown that a protein called syncytin-1, produced by a gene that humans gained from viruses 25 million years ago, probably plays a vital role in this p

IVF treatments drop dramatically since Quebec funding cut 6 months ago

After six failed attempts to get pregnant using artificial insemination, Léa's doctor said her chances of conceiving without in-vitro fertilization are zero. But since last fall, the Quebec government no longer pays for the full cost of the procedure, leaving Léa and her boyfriend scrambling to find the money. Couples now have to pay about $10,000 up front for the procedure. They will get some money back, based on a sliding scale of tax credits, but regardless, it's a big investment. "My boyfriend will work extra time this summer to save more money," said Léa, who asked that her last name not be used. "We won't go on a vacation. We want to change cars, but we won't do that this year. " The

Endometriosis is linked to higher risk for heart disease

Endometriosis is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), especially among women aged 40 years or younger, according to a study published March 29 online ahead of print in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Lead author Fan Mu, ScD, and colleagues studied the association between laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis and subsequent CHD among 116,430 women in the Nurses' Health Study II (1989-2009), excluding women with a history of heart disease and stroke. A diagnosis of endometriosis was made using surgical examinations in 11,903 women by the end of 20 years of follow-up. When compared with women without endometriosis, the researchers found that w

Indian doctors raise IVF concerns after woman in her 70s gives birth

Doctors in India have raised concerns about IVF treatment in the country, after a couple in their 70s had their first child after 46 years of marriage. Daljinder Kaur, who does not have a birth certificate but is thought be in her 70s, gave birth to a boy last month after two years of fertility treatment using donor eggs at a clinic in the northern state of Haryana. There is no legal age restriction for couples who want to have IVF treatment in India, but the state-funded Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advises against implanting embryos in women over 50. Click here to read more.

Human-embryo editing now covered by stem-cell guidelines

The international society that represents stem-cell scientists has updated its research guidelines in the wake of dramatic progress in several fields — in particular in research that involves the manipulation of human embryos. The authors hope that the updated guidelines will allay various ethical concerns, and avoid the need for strict government regulations that could impede the progress of science. Read more:

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I am so excited to launch my new website: My goal is to help individuals struggling with infertility. Infertility impacts 1 in 7 individuals in the United States. That's about 15% of all couples. Remember that you are not alone. Seek help early and from the right professionals. You will have success!

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