Thursday, July 19th, 2012
A growing number of fertility specialists are questioning the practice of using high doses of hormone medications to help women become pregnant, calling instead for low-dose cycles of in-vitro fertilization that carry less of a risk of potentially serious side effects. The New York Times reports:
[Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)] is a little-known complication of fertility treatments that rely on high doses of hormones, which are standard in the United States and the United Kingdom; the syndrome is not the only health problem to be linked to in vitro fertilization. Fertility clinics in Europe and Japan have turned to a safer, low-dose form of IVF, but clinics here have largely resisted on the grounds that the success rates for low-dose IVF are not as high.
“Pregnancy rates are lower, and more cycles of IVF are necessary” with low-dose IVF, said Dr. Glenn L. Schattman, a fertility doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.
But some critics are urging the industry to reconsider.
“Mild stimulation is clearly much healthier for women,” said Francine Coeytaux, founder of the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles. “The reason hyper-stimulation happened is because these fertility clinics compete against each other by posting their success rates.”
In high-dose IVF, a woman is first given injections of a drug, often Lupron, to suppress her ovaries, causing temporary menopausal symptoms. Then the ovaries are stimulated with hormones, such as follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, in order to produce more eggs. The duration of stimulation is longer, and the hormone dose significantly higher, than in the low-dose programs common overseas.
Women normally generate one egg per cycle, but high-dose stimulation can help women produce 20 to 30 eggs, or even more. By contrast, women receiving mild, low-dose IVF produce 8 to 10 eggs. The ovaries are not suppressed at the outset, and there is no manipulation of the patient’s cycle.
Image: IVF shots, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
The owner of a British fertility clinic may have used his sperm to father 600 children from the 1940s to 1960s, a study relying on DNA testing has shown. The London Telegraph reports:
Bertold Wiesner and his wife Mary Barton founded a fertility clinic in London in the 1940s and helped women conceive 1,500 babies.
It was thought that the clinic used a small number of highly intelligent friends as sperm donors but it has now emerged that around 600 of the babies were conceived using sperm from Mr Wiesner himself.
Two men conceived at the clinic, Barry Stevens a film-maker from Canada and David Gollancz, a barrister in London, have researched the centre and DNA tests suggest Mr Wiesner, an Austrian biologist, provided two thirds of the donated sperm.
Such a practice is outlawed now but at the time it was not known that Mr Wiesner was providing the majority of the samples.
The same sperm donor should not be used to create so many children because of the risk that two of the offpsring will unwittingly meet and start a family of their own, which could cause serious genetic problems in their children.
Image: Lab pipette, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a new niche for lenders–fertility treatments including in vitro fertilization. So-called “fertility finance” companies are increasingly reaching out to women who are facing the expensive and often long road of medical fertility interventions, offering loans to cover the costs and enable women to start treatment before saving up all the money they will need. Critics say the companies are taking advantage, offering unreasonably high interest rates–as high as 22 percent.
From the Journal article:
At a time when many traditional lenders are struggling, companies that join forces with doctors to make loans for in vitro fertilization, egg harvesting and other fertility treatments say their business is thriving.
One reason: Fertility-finance companies are getting a boost from the banking industry’s retrenchment. For example, credit has become tight for home-equity loans and credit cards, two ways couples often have paid for fertility treatments that often top $20,000. Mike Gilroy, Springstone’s president, says business is robust because “if the time is right” to have a baby, “people want loans even in a sluggish economy.”
Amid a struggling economy, companies in the business predict that lending will grow this year as demand swells from couples desperate to have a baby but unable to afford fertility procedures on their own.
Despite the demand from would-be parents, the loans have generated criticism from some doctors, concerned that they take advantage of couples’ desire to have a baby at any cost. Some doctors won’t offer the loans. Others worry that doctors who invest their own money in fertility-finance companies will push the loans on patients.
Image: Couple signing papers, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Dr. Michael Kamrava, the Los Angeles fertility doctor whose 2009 in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure resulted in Nadya Suleman’s infamous octuplets, is asking for the California medical board to allow him to continue practicing medicine while he appeals the board’s decision to suspend his license.
Dr. Kamrava represented himself in court, according to The Associated Press, and claimed the state’s medical licensing agency “exceeded its jurisdiction and violated (his) due process right to earn a living” by revoking his license.
If the board upholds its decision, Dr. Kamrava can petition to have his license reinstated after three years. At that time, he would have to demonstrate considerable changes to the medical judgment that led him to transfer high numbers of embryos–12 in an early cycle of Suleman’s–into IVF patients.
What do you think of the medical board’s decision in this case? Should they uphold it?
Add a Comment