Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Science is a wonderful and crazy thing! After multiple miscarriages and shelling out a whopping $50,000 on in vitro fertilization treatments that nearly bankrupted them, British couple Mark and Suzanne Harper were running out of options. They wanted a baby desperately, but all cards seemed to be stacked against them. Mark had two bouts of testicular cancer that left him with a sperm count of zero. But Mark’s low sperm count wasn’t the couple’s only fertility problem. They tried artificial insemination and three rounds of IVF before doctors realized Suzanne’s immune system was producing cells that would attack her embryos, making her pregnancies unviable.
After the couple’s sixth ICF attempt that resulted in a miscarriage six weeks in, CARE Fertility Nottingham, where they were receiving treatment, then suggested something pretty bizarre. Suzanne was to be treated with a concoction of a yolk from a hen’s egg and soy oil, known as intralipid. The fatty acids in the combo are thought to prevent the cells from attacking the embryo, therefore leading the way to a successful pregnancy.
The Harpers were surprised by the main ingredient. “But we were willing to try anything to try and have a baby,” Suzanne told the New York Post.
The intralipid, in conjunction with their eighth IVF attempt, brought them their daughter Libby, born in December 2009. When the couple tried to conceive again, they used the yolk technique along with IVF, and on their fourth attempt their second daughter, Connie, was born in December 2013. “And it’s all thanks to egg yolk,” said Suzanne.
TELL US: Would you be willing to try the intralipid technique to get pregnant?
Image of egg yolk courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Friday, June 28th, 2013
Men have biological clocks too! While we just learned that women shouldn’t panic about their eggs shriveling up and dying by age 35 (what a relief!), men actually do have to worry about their sperm taking a nosedive in numbers—and actually mutating—once they hit the big 3-0.
Testosterone levels drop about one percent per year after age 30. The older a guy gets, not only is his sperm count lowered (which can lead to a higher risk of cancer), but the sperm cells divide more and more, causing higher genetic abnormalities that can create autism or other health issues in children.
According to New York City-based urologist Joseph Alukal, who is now known in the industry as “The Sperm Whisperer,” (ha!) more men than ever are choosing to freeze their sperm in an effort to make sure they can father healthy babies later in life. Page Six Magazine, which interviewed Dr. Alukal, reports that this involves “cryobanking,” and costs roughly $500 to start, with annual storage fees ranging from $450 for one year to $2,550 for 10 years.
This preventative measure is pricy, so don’t let your guy’s age get you own. To quote the dearly departed R&B singer Aaliyah (RIP), “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number.” No matter whether your guy is 20, 30 or 40, there are things he can do—for free—to ensure he’s producing strong swimmers. A healthy lifestyle can help you delay the aging effects that lower fertility.
Regular exercise and a low-fat diet are key. If your man’s overweight or underweight, it can kill your chances of getting pregnant. If he’s a smoker, help him quit, because it can also decrease sperm count and cause sperm to move more slowly, making sure they never make it to the egg to fertilize it. He should also limit drinking to weddings, reunions and really important sporting events (those are my words, not a professional’s—doctors say to avoid alcohol, but you can’t take away all his fun!).
Stress levels can also increase abnormal sperm and reduce its concentration. So getting enough sleep and taking time to relax can really make a difference for him in the bedroom. And as silly as it sounds, don’t let him get overheated! Time spent in saunas, Jacuzzis and steam rooms should be limited to 15 minutes no more than twice a week since sperm production thrives in a cool climate. This even means he shouldn’t spend all night on his laptop either!
I bet when you were getting all of those lectures in Sex Ed, the 16-year-old you had no idea how complicated the science of having a baby really is!
TELL US: Are you worried about male infertility? Would you ask your husband to freeze his sperm?
Image of sperm courtesy of Shutterstock.
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