« February 2008 | Main | May 2008 »

April 2008 Archives

April 22, 2008

Pacific Coast Reproductive Society Annual Conference

I recently attended the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society's (PCRS) annual conference in Palm Springs, Calif. There were two discussions that peaked my interest, both of which I would like to share with my readers.

First, it appears that acupuncture does play a role in improving In Vitro success. Over the years there have been studies exploring the connection between acupuncture and fertility, of which I have found very insightful. Stronger data now suggests that acupuncture has been beneficial in improving fertility. In my practice, when called for, we currently utilize acupuncturists in association with fertility treatments.

Secondly, on the PGD front, it appears that the technology is advancing to a point where we may be able to, in the near future, look at all 23(24) chromosomes in a single cell. As you know, the present technology for PGD allows us to safely look 12 chromosomes. However, these 12 chromosomes, either individually or in some combination, do make up 85% of all the chromosomal abnormalities that occur. If the technology allows us to evaluate 23(24) chromosomes, this technique will be even more beneficial.

All in all, it was a very successful meeting.

April 4, 2008

Newsweek just released an in-depth article about surrogates. The story follows several women who have helped other couples begin their own families. I wanted to share this with my readers, as the surrogates use IVF treatments in order to conceive.

Surrogacy is just another way fertility and IVF treatments can help families begin! Please enjoy.

The Curious Lives of Surrogates
Thousands of largely invisible American women have given birth to other people's babies. Many are married to men in the military.

Lorraine Ali and Raina Kelley


Updated: 2:55 PM ET Mar 29, 2008

Jennifer Cantor, a 34-year-old surgical nurse from Huntsville, Ala., loves being pregnant. Not having children, necessarily—she has one, an 8-year-old daughter named Dahlia, and has no plans for another—but just the experience of growing a human being beneath her heart. She was fascinated with the idea of it when she was a child, spending an entire two-week vacation, at the age of 11, with a pillow stuffed under her shirt. She's built perfectly for it: six feet tall, fit and slender but broad-hipped. Which is why she found herself two weeks ago in a birthing room in a hospital in Huntsville, swollen with two six-pound boys she had been carrying for eight months. Also in the room was Kerry Smith and his wife, Lisa, running her hands over the little lumps beneath the taut skin of Cantor's belly. "That's an elbow," said Cantor, who knew how the babies were lying in her womb. "Here's a foot." Lisa smiled proudly at her husband. She is, after all, the twins' mother.

It is an act of love, but also a financial transaction, that brings people together like this. For Kerry and for Lisa—who had a hysterectomy at the age of 20 and could never bear her own children—the benefits are obvious: Ethan and Jonathan, healthy six-pound, 12-ounce boys born by C-section on March 20. But what about Cantor? She was paid, of course; the Smiths declined to discuss the exact amount, but typically, surrogacy agreements in the United States involve payments of $20,000 to $25,000 to the woman who bears the child. She enjoyed the somewhat naughty pleasure of telling strangers who asked about her pregnancy, "Oh, they aren't mine," which invariably invoked the question, "Did you have sex with the father?" (In case anyone is wondering, Lisa's eggs were fertilized in vitro with Kerry's sperm before they were implanted on about day five.)

To read the rest of the article follow this link, http://www.newsweek.com/id/129594

America's First 'Test Tube' Twins Turn 25 - Time to Reflect

The Today Show recently aired a segment about the first set of twins born via IVF in the United States. Heather and Todd Tilton turned 25 this year and the show reflected on how IVF has evolved since their birth.

I too wanted to reflect on the changes of IVF both socially and medically. When the Tilton’s were conceived fertility treatments were still relatively new. The embryologist who performed the first procedure was condemned by the Vatican, calling the procedure “unnatural.” Today, the process is a one that many couples turn to when conception is not possible.

Medically, in 1982, the success rate was in single digits. Today, the procedure has a success rate of at least 30 percent per cycle. I am so glad to have been a part of the progress and to see first hand how IVF can help families.
Here is to another 25 successful years!

America's first ‘test tube’ twins turn 25
Siblings conceived in laboratory dish thankful to parents for never giving up
By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor
updated 7:33 a.m. PT, Tues., April. 1, 2008
Heather Tilton and her brother, Todd Tilton II, are ordinary siblings with an extraordinary message. The first twins born in America through in vitro fertilization, they want people to know that their parents’ refusal to take “no” for an answer is as relevant today as it was when they were conceived in a laboratory 25 years ago this month.
“We’re here to extend the message that there is hope,” said Todd Tilton, who appeared with his sister on TODAY on Tuesday.
“Throughout our lives, the message of ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ has resonated,” added Heather Tilton, who works for a New York financial firm.
With them was their mother, Nan Tilton, 56, who had been told that she and her husband, Todd Tilton, Sr., would never have children and should quit trying. She was 30 years old in 1982 and the couple had been married for eight years and been trying to conceive for six.
But her fallopian tubes were blocked and his sperm count was low, and even after five surgeries between the two of them, their chances of conceiving were still virtually zero.
“We tried every technique and were told we would never have a child,” she told TODAY’s Ann Curry. That news was, she said, “absolute heartbreak.”
A Quaker, Nan Tilton prayed for guidance and felt strongly that she should not surrender to medical opinion. “I felt very strongly that if we tried and never gave up, it would work,” she said.
There was one chance, and it was a slim one at the time. It was a new and controversial technology called in vitro fertilization that generated massive media coverage in 1978 when the first child, Louise Joy Brown, was born in England.
The embryologist who performed the procedure, Robert Edwards, was condemned by the Vatican, which called the procedure “unnatural,” a view shared by many commentators at the time.
But Nan Tilton thought it might be a way for her to have a child. Drs. Howard Jones and Georgeanna Seegar Jones, founders of the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Norfolk, Va., successfully performed the procedure for the first time in the United States in 1981, resulting in the birth of Elizabeth Jordan Carr.
Procedure common now
The Tiltons went to the clinic the following year, and on July 12, 1982, their twins were conceived in the Jones Institute. They would be the first twins born of the procedure in the United States and the third in the world after sets born in Australia and Canada.
Today, a week after the Tilton twins celebrated their 25th birthday, the procedure has a success rate of at least 30 percent per cycle, but, Nan Tilton told Curry, when she went to the clinic in 1982, the success rate was in single digits. Of all the women in the cycle she was in at the clinic, only she conceived.
There never was a test tube involved in the procedure; fertilization instead took place with medical assistance in a laboratory vessel called a Petri dish. But the offspring so conceived were dubbed “test tube babies” by the media and for years the name stuck.
Today, in vitro fertilization is just one of a number of procedures known collectively as assisted reproductive technology, or ART.
California leads the nation in such births, followed by New York.
In 1982, medical insurance did not cover in vitro fertilization and the Tiltons paid the $2,500 cost of the procedure from their own pockets. Today, one cycle of the procedure averages about $12,500, and a number of states require insurance carriers to cover the cost.
Today, in vitro births are so common they go without notice. But Todd and Heather were the focus of intense media coverage after their births and their parents even wrote a book about their experience.
Both twins said that their parents insulated them from the attention and the then-extraordinary means of their conception did not affect them while they were growing up.
Todd, a gifted, self-taught musician who is due to graduate from Fordham University in May with degrees in business and communications, said he and his sister aren’t special at all, but their parents are.
“I’m just thankful that my mother and my father both had the determination to go through everything they went through, being told no at every turn and still not relenting,” he said.

About April 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Dr. Werlin's Fertility World in April 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2008 is the previous archive.

May 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type Pro