Friday, August 17th, 2012
A set of quintuplets were born in Texas this week–5 babies in as many minutes–and are in “stable condition,” CNN.com is reporting:
The quintuplets — among the first set delivered nationally so far this year — were in stable condition after being born Thursday to missionaries Carrie and Gavin Jones at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Three boys and two girls — Will Edward, David Stephen, Marcie Jane, Seth Jared and Grace Elise — remained in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Paul University Hospital, part of the medical center.
While in stable condition, the siblings likely will remain hospitalized for several months until they reach weight, post-birth age and health markers.
“The five babies are doing quite well right now,” Dr. Gary Burgess, medical director of the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, said Monday. “They’re doing as expected. We always have little issues in the first week of life with these infants. … They’re very stable right now.”
The five ranged in weight at birth from 1 pound, 12 ounces to 2 pounds, 11 ounces and in length from 12.5 inches to 15.5 inches.
“For all the anxiety that a quintuplet pregnancy generates, Carrie and Gavin are the perfect couple of have held it together,” said Dr. Patricia Santiago-Munoz, who delivered the babies in less than five minutes, according to the hospital. “A birth like this takes a village.”
That it did — a team of more than 50 specialists, nurses, therapists and technicians assisted Santiago-Munoz, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
Though the couple used injectable medications to help them achieve a pregnancy, they did not undergo in vitro fertilization. The couple has an 8-year-old son, Isaac.
Image: 5 ducklings, via Shutterstock
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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.
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Thursday, July 5th, 2012
The number of babies born worldwide via in-vitro fertilization and other methods of assisted reproduction has reached 5 million, a report by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology has found. Yahoo! News has more:
“It means that this technology has been highly successful in treating infertile patients,” David Adamson, director of Fertility Physicians of Northern California, said in a statement. “Millions of families with children have been created, thereby reducing the burden of infertility,” said Adamson, who is also ICMART chairman.
In the United States alone, some 10 percent of women (6.1 million) ages 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But infertility isn’t just a woman’s issue. A 2002 CDC study found 7.5 percent of all sexually experienced men (about 3.3 to 4.7 million) had sought help having a child at some time during their lifetime; of the men who sought fertility help, 18.1 percent were diagnosed with a male-related infertility problem, including sperm or semen problems.
The biggest drawbacks to assisted reproductive technologies have been the time they take, the costs involved and the possibility of multiple births. A 2009 report detailed in the journal Human Reproduction suggests multiple births associated with ART have been on the decline, with Europe and Australia-New Zealand leading the way in the reduction of multiples.
(Multiple births, rather than being seen as a success, are considered a serious medical complication with potentially harmful effects for both babies and mom; these include pregnancy complications, premature births, low birthweight babies and even infant death, according to the CDC.)
Recent research has found that ICSI, in which a single sperm is injected into an egg, was associated with a higher risk of birth defects, not all of which could be explained by factors such as maternal age. Nevertheless, many babies born from assisted reproductive technologies turn out healthy.
“The technology has improved greatly over the years to increase pregnancy rates. The babies are as healthy as those from other infertile patients who conceive spontaneously,” Adamson said in a statement.
Image: Embryologist in lab, via Shutterstock
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Monday, May 7th, 2012
A new study conducted by researchers in Australia is investigating the question of whether women who experience infertility and undergo medical treatments to become pregnant face a higher rate of birth defects–and if so, whether the heightened risk is due to the drugs used during treatment or because of the underlying causes of the infertility itself. ABCNews.com has more:
Australian researchers looked at medical records nearly 300,000 babies born in Australia — more than 4,000 of whom were conceived through an assisted fertility method — to see if babies born using the various assisting methods were more likely to have birth defects than babies who were conceived naturally.
Eight percent of the babies conceived through assistance were born with birth defects such as heart, genital, kidney, lung and muscle problems, compared to nearly 6 percent of babies who were conceived naturally, the study found. Those conceived through fertility assistance were also more likely to have cerebral palsy.
The study found that the most elevated risk was in patients who had a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a single sperm is injected into an egg. In vitro fertilization (IVF) patients did not appear to have an elevated risk.
“The fact that the patient has had a problem getting pregnant only slightly increases the risk to having a healthy pregnancy, but going through IVF isn’t going to raise that risk any further,” Dr. James Goldfarb, director of the Fertility Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland told ABC.
Image: Embryology lab, via Shutterstock.
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