Posts Tagged ‘ miscarriage ’

Fertility Rates Unchanged Despite Perception of Crisis

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

With many women waiting to get married and have children, the number of couples who pursue medical treatments to become pregnant seems to be growing exponentially.  But new data from federal researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the national infertility rate has remained virtually unchanged for the past 20 years.  More from NBC News:

“Infertility rates have come down a little bit,” says Dr. Anjani Chandra, researcher at the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That surprises people because they think it is going up. In fact, it really hasn’t been the case.”

Chandra and colleagues looked at data from the National Survey on Family Growth, in which more than 22,000 people were interviewed face to face between 2006 and 2010. The survey was also done in 1982 and 2002.

The surveys showed that 8.5 percent of married women aged 15 to 44 were infertile in 1982 – defined as having been married and having unprotected sex for 12 months without becoming pregnant. This fell to 6 percent of the same age group, married or unmarried, in 2006-2010.

When they added in women who could finally get pregnant but who miscarried before giving birth, the number rose to 11 percent

“Contrary to popular perceptions based on infertility service use and media coverage about biological clocks, we still don’t see that,” Chandra told NBC News.

It hasn’t changed for men, either.

“Some form of infertility … was reported by 9.4 percent of men aged 15–44 and 12 percent of men aged 25–44 in 2006–2010, similar to levels seen in 2002,” Chandra’s team writes in the report.

One obvious answer would seem to be increased use of fertility treatments. Since 1982, in vitro fertilization or IVF has been perfected, and more than 163,000 treatments were done in 2011 – just about double the number done a decade before. Federal law requires doctors and clinics to report fertility treatments and success rates to the CDC.

But this data doesn’t show whether 163,000 separate people were treated, and the new statistics suggest that in fact more people aren’t being treated. Instead, individuals may be undergoing more treatments in the same year, says Chandra.

That’s because the percentage of women who have ever gotten fertility services was the same in 2006-2010 as compared to 2002 – 11.9 percent in both times.

Dr. Richard Reindollar of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine said the findings were encouraging.

“Even though the ages at which women in the United States have their children have been increasing since 1995, the percentage of the population suffering from infertility or impaired fecundity has not increased,” Reindollar said in a statement.

Image: Fertility lab, via Shutterstock

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Gwyneth Paltrow Discloses Miscarriage

Monday, March 18th, 2013

The Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow suffered a miscarriage while trying to add to her family, she told The UK newspaper Daily Mail’s Sunday magazine in an interview.  Paltrow, 40, is married to to Chris Martin, the lead singer of the rock band Coldplay.  The couple has two children, Apple, 8, and Moses, 6.  PEOPLE.com has more:

“My children ask me to have a baby all the time. And you never know, I could squeeze one more in,” she says. “I am missing my third. I’m thinking about it.”

Without elaborating on when her pregnancy troubles occurred, she adds, “I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third. It didn’t work out and I nearly died. So I am like, ‘Are we good here, or should we go back and try again?’ “

However, Paltrow, who also recently told InStyle she was open to the idea of having more children, finds more certainty in the man behind her family.

“Regardless of what happens in our marriage, I chose the best father,” she says of her rocker husband. “He is so good to the children, and to know that you had kids with such a good man is like a real weight off you. We are committed co-parents, we make all decisions together, and we lean on each other for support as well.”

Image: Gwyneth Paltrow, via DFree / Shutterstock.com

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TV’s ‘The Little Couple’ Adopts Baby Boy

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

Bill Arnold and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Arnold, have adopted a little boy who was born with dwarfism, a condition that the Arnolds both live with and chronicle in their TLC reality show “The Little Couple.”  They had been attempting to have a biological child using a gestational surrogate, but their surrogate suffered a miscarriage in November 2011.  More from PEOPLE.com on the Arnold’s son, William, who is 3 years old and is from China:

“We are thrilled to announce that we have adopted a beautiful young boy from China,” the couple said in a statement to PEOPLE. “We are so proud to welcome William to our family and look forward to bringing him home.”

On their TV series last March, the couple explored adoption after their surrogate suffered a miscarriage.

“My entire life, even before I met Bill, I always thought, ‘Oh, I’d love to adopt a child who is another little person,’ ” Arnold said on the episode. “And Bill and I talked about it after we got married, and I think we both realized we both would like that.”

The new season of “The Little Couple” will premiere on April 30 at 10 p.m. EST.

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Family Sues Makers of Pregnancy Drug

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Four sisters who have all been diagnosed with breast cancer are suing the makers of a drug their mother took when she was pregnant in the 1950s.  More from The Associated Press:

The four sisters are now suing a former maker of DES, or diethylstilbestrol, in a case set to unfold in federal court on Friday, when it will become one of the first of scores of such claims around the U.S. to go to trial. The Melnick women are seeking unspecified damages.

The numerous pharmaceutical companies that made or marketed the drug argue that no firm link has been established between breast cancer and DES, a synthetic estrogen that was prescribed to millions of women from the late 1930s to the early 1970s to prevent miscarriage, premature births and other problems.

It was eventually pulled from the market after being linked to a rare vaginal cancer in women whose mothers used DES. And studies showed the drug did not prevent miscarriages after all.

All four Melnick sisters had miscarriages, fertility problems or other reproductive tract problems long suspected of being caused by prenatal exposure to DES. Then in 2008, one of the sisters read about a study reporting an increased incidence of breast cancer in the daughters of women who took DES during pregnancy.

‘‘That’s when we really started to say, ‘Wow, there really could be a link. It’s not just in our head,’’’ said Donna Melnick McNeely, a special education assistant from Las Cruces, N.M., who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 49.

The sisters, who grew up in Tresckow, Pa., say they have compelling anecdotal evidence within their family: Their mother took DES while pregnant with Donna, Michele, Andrea and Francine. All had reproductive problems and developed breast cancer in their 40s. But their mother did not take DES while pregnant with the oldest sister, Mary Ann. She did not have fertility issues and has not had breast cancer.

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New Prenatal Genetic Test Less Invasive, But More Expensive

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

A relatively new type of blood test that can detect genetic diseases including Down syndrome in pregnant women is making news because it is so much less invasive than amniocentesis, a procedure that carries a small risk of miscarriage, and can be conducted at 10 weeks gestational age. But the new test–three are currently on the market–is expensive, costing nearly $2,000, and is not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. More from The Washington Post:

“Tens of thousands of women have used them, according to the companies that sell the tests. But they are not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, and questions have been raised about a technology whose accuracy and role are still being assessed. As a result, no major insurance company has yet agreed to cover the tests, whose list prices range up to $1,900.

New medical technologies often challenge a health-care industry grappling with pressures to control costs. It’s not yet clear whether the new tests will cut costs and miscarriages by reducing invasive prenatal diagnostic procedures such as amniocentesis or inflate costs because they’re used by women who probably would never have opted for amnio because of miscarriage fears. (The established tests are performed about 200,000 times annually in the United States and cost roughly $2,500 in the Washington area.)

With the new tests, fragments of fetal DNA extracted from the mother’s blood sample are checked for increased amounts of material from chromosomes 21, 18 and 13, a sign that the fetus carries three instead of the normal two copies of those chromosomes.

In this case, more is not better. Having an extra copy of 21, a condition called trisomy 21, is the main cause of Down syndrome, while having a third copy of 18, a condition called trisomy 18, causes a less common disorder named Edwards syndrome. Trisomy 13 is also known as Patau syndrome. All three conditions are linked to serious developmental and medical problems.

Standard first-trimester screening for these genetic conditions can be performed as early as 11 weeks’ gestation. It consists of a blood test to check levels of pregnancy-associated proteins and hormones in the mother’s blood and an ultrasound to look for extra fluid under the skin at the back of the fetus’s neck. The results are usually available within a week.

Used together, the standard blood tests and ultrasound can detect about 90 percent of Down syndrome cases and an even greater proportion of trisomies 18 and 13. But there’s a false-positive rate of about 5 percent, and only amniocentesis or the much less commonly used chorionic villus sampling, another invasive test that can cause miscarriage, can provide a definitive answer.”

Image: Pregnant woman talking to doctor, via Shutterstock

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