Monthly Archives: July 2015

IVF for Endangered Species

As the world’s first “Test Tube Baby,” Louise Brown celebrates her 37th Birthday, we are reminded of how far reproductive medicine has come and where its beginnings can be found. white-rhino2 (1)

Many medical techniques are refined and practiced with the help of our mammalian counterparts.  Within our own field, the newest breakthrough in egg freezing, Vitrification of oocytes, was developed for use with Tigers and successfully helped bring several of their subspecies back from extinction.

Now I share my passion for fertility and I am turning my knowledge toward the assistance of decimated species, like the North African White Rhinoceros.  Down to only 5 animals left, the remaining White Rhinos consist of 4 aged females, who’s age significantly diminishes the quality of their eggs (and who might not be able to support the natural mating patterns of Rhinos), and one male, who’s sperm quality is low.  This is the end of the species.

But conservationists are retrieving eggs and sperm and we are going to use ICSI to create and then mature embryos.  Within 5 years, while the remainders of the species might not survive, we expect to have created at least one baby White Rhino.  Currently we are looking to retrieve more sperm for a better selection and more possible embryos.  Then Rhino IVF/M will be performed.  IVF/M is also known as ‘in vitro maturation” or IVM.  This means that the embryo will be matured outside of the uterus to ensure health and stability before being re-implanted.  In humans, this also typically means fewer stimulating hormones.  After the maturation of the Rhino embryo’s, they will be transferred back into the females.  But the transfer techniques still need some sorting out.  The transfer is complicated by the Rhinoceros physiology.  Among other complications, the Rhino cervix is much longer and more curved than a human.  So special techniques are being practiced for maximum effect.  There are even discussions about using Southern White Rhino’s as surrogates to carry the babies to term.

Humanity doesn’t live in isolation but in an ecological balance with all other species.  As the top wrung on the food chain, we are burdened with being most responsible for change on a global level.  It is too short sighted to believe that what we do won’t have ramifications across the globe, to the environment, to ecosystems, and to each other.

Every life counts, and that isn’t limited to people.  The technology that I study and employ, the techniques that we use daily to help people discover the joys of family, may also be able to save a multitude of species around the globe.   I kindly thank all people involved in this project and who support endangered species.  Further, I encourage everyone to find ways to support it, even if it is solely through word of mouth.   Awareness is the beginning.


The Importance of Getting Exercise When It Comes To Your Mental Health

Stress management is extremely important for a person’s overall mental health.  It is especially important during fertility treatment, when emotions often run high.  Unfortunately, many people use unhealthy ways of coping with stress including overeating, withdrawing from friends, or having a drink.  These habits can all negatively impact fertility and should not be utilized while trying to conceive.  Instead, consider using exercise as a way to reduce stress and improve your mental health.Enjoying the sun

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise releases endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that are responsible for feeling pleasure.  These pleasurable feelings can help to address minor issues with depression.  For these individuals, exercise can both prevent bouts of depression and can prevent having recurring feelings of depression. Furthermore, stress and tension often manifests physically.  Individuals who are experiencing stress may have strained muscles, bad posture, and other physical signs of their stress.  Endorphins can also address these physical symptoms by helping muscles to relax.

Positive Effects of Exercise

There are a number of mental and physical benefits of exercise that can directly impact your fertility:

  • Improved sleeping habits
  • Increased sex drive
  • Increased endurance
  • Relief of stress
  • Improved mental state and mood
  • Improved energy
  • Increased alertness
  • Obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Improved overall health

Viewing Exercise Differently

Despite understanding the health benefits, many people do not like to exercise.  It can be thought of as a chore and often people use being busy as an excuse not to exercise.  As with all things, people make time for the activities that are important to them.  Thankfully, it is not necessary to exercise for hours on end.  You can make a substantial difference in your health with as little as 20 minutes a day.  Also, staying focused on your end result – a happy baby – can provide just the motivation you need.

While mild to moderate exercise is crucial for mental health, extreme amounts of exercise can negatively impact your health.  Be sure to speak with your fertility care team to understand what activities you’re able to partake in while undergoing fertility treatment.  While under a doctor’s care, it is important that the fertility team is aware of any actions that can impact fertility.

Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676.  Thank you.

How Genetic Screening Prevents Disease in Infants

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) may be done as a part of fertility treatment and can virtually eliminate the chance of having a child with a genetic disease. This is a step parents can take in order to help prevent diseases in their child.

Preimplantation Screeningtimearticle2

During IVF treatment, eggs are fertilized in a laboratory setting.  The resulting embryos are then monitored as they develop before being transferred into the mother or frozen for use during a subsequent cycle.  During this stage, the number of cells present within the embryo continues to increase as the embryo develops.  One or two cells may be removed from the embryo via microsurgery and analyzed.  This process does not harm the embryos.

There are two methods of analysis.  One is to verify the presence of the correct number of chromosomes.  Humans should have 23 pairs of chromosomes.  One of each chromosome is donated from each parent.  If the pairs do not link correctly, genetic abnormalities result, which are often detrimental for the embryo’s development.  Embryos that are found to have genetic abnormalities are not transferred.

The second method is to look for the presence of a particular disease.  This testing process can be particularly useful for individuals who are carriers of a particular disease. Should the disease be found in an embryo, it will not be used during transfers.

Prenatal Testing

While the testing process is extremely accurate, it is not 100%.  Therefore, it is important to have prenatal testing during pregnancy to ensure that your child has the best healthcare they can receive.  This process can also help to identify other issues that may not have been identifiable via preimplantation screening.

For additional information on the use of PGS during pregnancy, contact the New Hope Fertility Center team today.  Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676.  Thank you.

What is ICSI and How Can It Help?

Male fertility issues can manifest in a number of ways.  Thankfully, when sperm motility, sperm morphology, or sperm count is an issue, ICSI may be used to increase the odds of fertilization.

What is ICSI?2015-15

ICSI is short for intracytoplasmic sperm injection.  ICSI may be used in tandem with IVF treatment.  With traditional IVF protocols, eggs are harvested and are fertilized in a laboratory setting.  To do this, the mature eggs are placed in a dish with sperm and fertilization takes place as it does naturally.  ICSI takes a more direct approach.  During ICSI, a single sperm is injected into the middle of an egg.  Then, the egg is watched for development and signs of fertilization.  This process may be used for a number of reasons including:

  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm motility
  • Poor sperm quality
  • Low fertilization rates during previous IVF cycles

How does ICSI help during fertility treatment?

In order to become pregnant, sperm must penetrate and fertilize an egg.  If the sperm is unable to make the journey to the egg, or is unable to penetrate the egg, fertilization cannot take place. ICSI directly addresses these issues by delivering the sperm directly into the egg.  This process can significantly improve fertilization rates and the overall likelihood of a healthy pregnancy.  The success rate of fertilization is as high as 80 percent when ICSI is used.  Ultimately, the chance at a healthy pregnancy is determined by the health of both the egg and the sperm.  The higher the quality, the better the chance for a healthy baby.

Is ICSI right for me?

It is important to speak with your fertility care provider about ICSI and its use during your fertility treatment.  While there are no rigid lines for the use of ICSI, some medical issues can benefit more from this treatment than others.  Your medical history will determine if ICSI is right for you.

Receive personalized information on ICSI and how it may be used as a part of your treatment plan by contacting the New Hope Fertility Center team today.  Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676.  Thank you.


Top 5 Male Infertility Myths Debunked

Fertility is often thought of as a women’s issue.  Women are more likely to speak with their doctor about their fertility concerns and more likely to have a support system to help them deal with fertility issues.  Because of this, there are many myths about male fertility.  Breaking them down to their truths can help a couple seek help and to get treatment.

Myth #1 – Men don’t have fertility issues young-happy-pregnant-couple

The truth is male factor infertility is just as likely to be causing a couple’s trouble trying to conceive as female factor infertility.  Generally speaking, a third of issues can be directly attributed to the male, a third to the female and the final third is either unknown fertility issues or a combination of both partners.

Myth #2 – Your laptop can interfere with your fertility 

This myth is true.  In oder to function properly, a man’s testicles must be kept at a temperature that is lower than the rest of his body.  This is why the testicles are strategically located outside of the body.  Holding a laptop in your lap directs heat to the exact place where it is not wanted.  To avoid this issue, place laptops on tables when using them.

Myth #3 – Men can get a woman pregnant at any time 

This is false.  Pregnancy requires the meeting of a sperm and an egg.  A woman only ovulates once per month and that egg can only survive 24 hours unless it is fertilize.  Outside of that time, conception cannot occur.  However, sperm can live in the body for up to five days.  It is possible to provide the sperm that results in pregnancy days before she actually ovulates.

Myth #4 – If a man doesn’t have sperm in his semen, he doesn’t make sperm 

This is false.  Sperm are produced in the testicles.  However, they must move out of this area and join with semen in order to be present in the ejaculate.  Blockages along these pathways can prevent sperm from being present in semen, even if they are produced.  This condition is treatable in a number of ways.

Myth #5 – A man’s weight doesn’t matter 

Just like women, a man’s weight plays a large role in his overall health.  Men who are overweight or obese are more likely to have fertility issues.  Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best ways to maximize fertility.

Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676.  Thank you.


FSH Levels and How They Play a Role in Fertility

A woman’s hormone levels play a large role in her fertility.  Having hormone levels that are too high or too low can cause fertility problems. FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, is one of the key players in fertility.  This hormone is responsible for the growth and maturity of eggs within the ovaries.  The level of FSH in a woman’s body varies based on her age and the point in her cycle.shutterstock_104367062

High FSH Levels 

As a woman ages and moves toward menopause, the amount of FSH in her body increases.  Women who have a low egg reserve or who have declining egg quality will have high FSH as well.  Women with high FSH levels will find trying to conceive difficult without assistance.

Thankfully, world class fertility treatment centers have a number of tools available to address the issues caused by high FSH levels.  Oe such options is to supplement DHEA.  DHEA is a hormone that has proven to improve egg quality when taken as a supplement.  After several weeks of treatment with DHEA, eggs retrieved have a quality that is similar to those of women without high FSH levels.

Treatment for High FSH Levels

Unfortunately, many fertility centers turn away women with high FSH levels.  They believe that treating these women will be difficult.  In order to protect their success rates, these clinics will decline to treat women with high FSH levels.  The experts at New Hope Fertility Center realize this treatment philosophy is flawed.  It is possible to successfully provide fertility treatment to women with high FSH levels.  By focusing on holistic treatment options and tailoring treatment to each woman’s specific needs, New Hope Fertility Center is able to provide world class treatment to women with a variety of medical concerns.  The team at New Hope does not turn away patients based upon their FSH levels or their ability to produce multiple eggs during a cycle.

Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676.  Thank you.