Chlamydia-can it affect male fertility ?

I was browsing through the Times online Fertility File and found this interesting article about Chlamydia and male fertility.

It is well known that Chlamydia can affect female fertility adversely by causing infection in the female urogential tract and blocking the fallopian tubes. Chlmaydia can also be a cause of recurrent miscarriage if untreated.

Here is an extract from the article

Chlamydia, the sexually transmitted infection (STI) carried by one in ten sexually-active young British adults can make men infertile by damaging the quality of their sperm, new research has shown.

While the condition, which usually passes undetected, has long been known to threaten female fertility, scientists from Spain and Mexico have now established that it presents similar risks for men.

Men with chlamydia have three times the normal number of sperm with genetic damage that can impair their ability to father children, the study found.

Antibiotic treatment can reverse the effect, and preliminary results indicate that it may dramatically enhance pregnancy rates when couples are trying for a baby. But the discovery suggests that the prevalence of the disease may be contributing to infertility across an entire generation of young adults.

Click here to read the full article

Click here for information or to buy home male fertility tests

Can your breakfast choice affect the sex of your baby ?

Just read this really baffling article online in the Times Fertility File. It is by I have previously scanned it, but not really thought about it until today

However it was brought home to me recently how many of my friends have 3 boys. My friends are all of healthy weight and eat breakfast every day- a high energy breakfast cereal. Could their dietry choices have produced all these boys I wondered as suggested by the article ?

The article  discusses the findings of a recent study by the universities of Oxford &  Exeter invloving 740 pregnant women ,which found that eating a high energy breakfast cereal increased the chances of the baby being a boy.

Here is an exert from the article:

Breakfasting on Shredded Wheat or cornflakes has been found to increase dramatically a woman’s chances of having sons instead of daughters. Up to 59 per cent of women who get pregnant after eating high-energy breakfasts end up giving birth to a son.

By contrast, researchers have found, only 43 per cent of women who always skipped breakfast before conceiving managed to produce boys.

When food consumption is considered across the whole day the pattern is repeated, with 56 per cent of women eating high-energy food having sons. Of the women on low-energy diets, only 45 per cent had boys.

The findings, the first direct evidence that what is on the menu can influence gender.

Fiona Mathews, of the University of Exeter, said eating high-calorie breakfasts seemed to be the best guarantee of influencing the gender of a baby in favour of boys before conception. Getting into the routine of eating breakfast cereals seemed to be more influential than which brand was consumed, she said.

“Those women who eat the most are the ones who are most likely to have male babies,” she said. “Cereals seem to be one of the key food groups.”

Access Diagnostics UK fertility site

Exercise and Male Fertility

Decided to research how fertility is affected by different kinds of exercise. Found a really interesting article which has some advice on how mens sperm count can be affected by over exercising amonst other things.

It seems, for example, that marathon running or long-distance cycling, can affect mens sperm counts & motility. Cyclists should wear padded cycling shorts (to avoid scrotal damage) and avoid prolonged times in the saddle and excessive jolting.

Click here to read the full article-recomendations from Zita West

Male home fertility test kits and fertility products

Exercise for women-combatting osteoporosis

I have decided it is time I started looking after my bones. I have been exercising for years but not with any great emphasis on bone strength. I have concentrated on general fitness and cardiovascular fitness. I do a little exercise with weights-more to tone my arms than anything. I have always resisted jogging.

Recently I have been getting a lot of general aches and pains so thought it was a good time to review my exercise regime, and maybe start thinking about my bones and joints.

While researching I read a really interesting article about which exercises are most benficial for our bones. I have always known that weight training is good for bone strength, but have often thought I could neglect it in favour of fat burning exercise. I had not realised how important high impact exercise such as jogging was for the bones until I read this article-I may have to rethink on the jogging-just got to get a really good sports bra first !

I have just started taking a vitamin and mineral supplement, as  I have been trying to lose some weight.

Click here to see a range of vitamin and mineral supplements suitable for when trying to conceive or pregnancy

I think I may give jogging a go and start using that gym membership I am paying for-twice weekly seems to be the recomended level for my age. Just another really good related article by same author on exerciseing do’s and dont’s for pregnant women. Think this may need to be a topic for another blog post.

Home FSH Fertility Tests -an update

Just repeated my home FSH urine test as could not wait until Thursday, and this time it is negative. Am unsure what this means-does it just mean I have ovulated very late this month ? I will repeat it again on Thursday-luckily I have a pack of ten tests. I’ve been doing lots of research on FSH levels and their significance. I will post some useful links later.

My FSH level is elevated-what does this mean ?

I have just checked my FSH level using a home urine FSH test, and it is elevated.

I did it about a year ago and it was negative. Howver I am 45 years old and have been having some flushes, which I had put down to stress. Now I am wondering if it is my hormones changing.

The test instructions say to repeat the test in 7 days, and if this is elevated this is significant. I will let you know how I get on. I have put it in my diary for next week. The test was very easy to perform and the result appeared within minutes.

After getting this positive result I decided to research FSH levels and their significance

First thing I found out is it could just mean I’m ovulating-phew. FSH rises sharply to stimulate the ovaries to release an egg-hence Follicle Stimulating Hormone.

As I did not write down my LMP (last period) I do not know if this is the case , although it does seem ages ago and I thought I was pre-menstrual, as have been quite snappy !

Other possible causes I found are that my FSH levels may be elevated due to declining ovarian reserve (not many eggs left in my ovaries). In this scenario the FSH is elevated in an attempt to kick start the ovaries-in my case it could be flogging a dead horse. MY cycle has been fairly erratic recently which is why I stopped writing them down.

Click here for more information on home FSH tests or to buy

Study shows coffee can reduce your chances of getting pregnant

Read this article online from this summers Telegraph newspaper that thought was interesting-the headline certainly grabbed my attention as I love a good cup of coffee or three.

A study published recently, has shown that drinking more than 4 cups of coffee a day, may significantly reduce a womans chances of getting pregnant. Good news when your not trying to conceive but not so great when you are. It seems a heavy caffeine intake may be as bad for womens fertility as being obese or heavy drinking.

Here is an extract from the article:

The findings, published at the European Society for Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE) conference in Barcelona, suggest that drinking large amounts of coffee can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant by a quarter. Researchers looked at more than 8,000 women who had IVF treatment between 1983 and 1995 in the Netherlands. More than 16 per cent of the women went on to conceive naturally in the following years. When the scientists analysed the women’s lifestyle they found marked patterns in the birth rates. Women who drank four cups of coffee a day were 26 per cent less likely than average to have conceived naturally, the findings show.  Click here to read the full article

Paradoxically a previous study into male fertility suggested that coffee could increase sperm mobility, raising a man’s chances of getting a woman pregnant, but that is a subject for another blog.

Visit Access Diagnostics UK Fertility site

Can work related stress affect your fertility ?

I Just read this very interesting article online about work related stress, and how it affects women. The article is from September 21, 2008

Here is an extract of the article, explaining how stress can affect fertility:

Risking infertility

One in seven couples in the UK now struggles to conceive and, for many women, prolonged stress and anxiety could be the root cause. Professor Sarah Berga of Emory University in America is a leading proponent of the link between chronic stress and compromised fertility. She has shown that stress often triggers a cascade of events that result in reduced levels of two hormones that are crucial for ovulation, and that women with hectic jobs on top of busy lives are most at risk. One of her studies, published two years ago, showed that women who didn’t ovulate had excessive levels of the stress hormone cortisol present in their brain fluid.

“Your brain is hard to fool,” says Berga. “If you are undereating, overworking and overexercising, then the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that controls the release of hormones — keeps a running tally of what you are doing.”

For many women, stress-related infertility can be reversed. Berga found that ovulation was restored in seven out of 10 women who underwent “talking therapies” such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

I Froze My Eggs-From The Sunday Times October 12, 2008

Pending Mr Right’s arrival, I had my eggs frozen. But will putting a baby on hold be worth it?

 

 

Balance Activ Gel from Clearblue treats & prevents Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

What is Bacterial Vaginosis I hear you ask

Vaginosis is the medical term used to describe an imbalance in vaginal flora, an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria leads to the imbalance of the normal healthy bacteria. Symptoms can include abnormal discharge, embarrassing odour and discomfort. This condition is known as Bacterial Vaginosis or BV, it is not vaginitis as it does not cause inflammation.

BV is the most common type of vaginal infection in women of childbearing age. Experts estimate that at least 1 in 3 women, and perhaps most women, will develop BV at some point in their life.

balance activ is a vaginal gel that immediately neutralises embarrassing odour and effectively relieves abnormal discharge and discomfort.  These symptoms can occur when the natural balance of the vagina is upset.

It can also be used to maintain the natural balance of the vagina and prevent recurrence of symptoms.

Balance Activ has been launched by Inverness Medical the makers of Clearblue pregnancy and ovulation tests as well as the Clearblue Fertility Monitor

balance activ vaginal gel is a unique product containing both lactic acid, to effectively restore the natural pH of the vagina, and glycogen, to promote the healthy growth of the normal bacteria. With normal pH and nutrients, the protective lactobacilli grow and the natural vaginal balance is restored.

balance activ vaginal gel is easy to use. The gel is contained within a disposable tube; the woman twists off the top, inserts the tube into her vagina, and squeezes out the contents. Then the tube is simply removed and discarded.

It has been tried and clinically tested to be safe and effective. The product has been used to redress vaginal imbalance in Sweden for more than 10 years.

Many women experience recurrent symptoms, for example around the time of menstruation, or when taking antibiotics. balance activ vaginal gel can also be used to maintain the natural pH of the vagina and prevent recurrence of BV.

balance activ vaginal gel for the rapid relief of embarrassing odour, abnormal discharge and discomfort.

Access Diagnostics UK fertility site

 

Self-help measures for improving healthy sperm production

  • Avoiding hot baths
  • Wearing boxer shorts and loose trousers
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding stress

Oh if only life was that simple-lol

Male fertility test kit for use at home

Men who smoke marijuana (cannabis) may be impairing fertility

Men who smoke marijuana (cannabis) frequently have significantly less seminal fluid, a lower total sperm count and their sperm behave abnormally, all of which may affect fertility adversely.

The Study was first conducted at the department of reproductive physiology at the University at Buffalo 2003.

Marijuana contains the cannabinoid drug THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is its primary psychoactive chemical, as well as other cannabinoids.

”The bottom line is, the active ingredients in marijuana are doing something to sperm, and the numbers are in the direction toward infertility,” said Lani J. Burkman, Ph.D., lead author on the study. Burkman is assistant professor of gynecology/obstetrics and urology and head of the Section on Andrology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. UB’s andrology laboratory also carries out sophisticated diagnosis for infertile couples.

Men involved in actively trying to concieve a child should avoid THC, probably for at least a month prior to TTC.

You can buy a Cannabis drug test kit here to see if the cannabis is out of your system.

Male fertility test kit for home use

Does Obesity Affect Male Fertility ?

I was doing some research on this subject this morning, and came across this online news article about male fertility, which I wanted to share with you.

Diabetes and obesity are linked to male infertility From Times Online July 9, 2008
Mark Henderson, Science Editor, in Barcelona

The obesity epidemic could be contributing to falling sperm counts and increasing male fertility problems, according to research that shows that both excess weight and diabetes can reduce the quality of a man’s sperm.

Men who are obese or overweight are significantly more likely to produce abnormal sperm and low volumes of semen than those of healthy weight, and those with diabetes — which is commonly triggered by obesity — are more likely to have sperm with genetic damage, two British studies have found.

You can read the full story at Times Online.

Male fertility tests for home use and male fertility products are available to purchase online in UK at Access Diagnostics fertility site

Home test kits for diabetes may be purchased online in the UK from Valuemed

 

Does accupuncture help women having fertility treatment to have babies ?

A friend of mine who has recently been undergoing IVF has been having accupuncture to aid conception. When she told me I was initially surprised and maybe a tiny little sceptical, but I have since been researching it and found quite a lot of support for this alternative therapy.

A recent study at University of Southampton has discovered that one in three women given accupuncture alongside their IVF treatment successfully conceived. The success rate for those who did not combine fertility treatment with acupuncture was one in five.

When I read this the first question I asked was :How many women were in the study ?

The answer : more than 2000 women.

To me that seems a fairly significant number. The study discovered that the chance of the embryo implanting successfully & triggering pregnancy, increased if the patient was treated with acupuncture at about the same time as the embryo transfer. However if the acupuncture took place days after the fertility treatment the benefit was lost.

And how does the accupuncture help ?

No-one really knows how the accupuncture helps conception. One idea that has been put forward is that it may help to reduce the stress that the women is going through, and help her to cope with the treatment. Acupuncture appears to reduce stress by releasing endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that the body releases that suppress pain naturally, as well as affect hormones that influence the menstrual cycle.

One thing is for sure in my opinion, anything that improves the outcomes from fertility treatments has to be a good thing. And the really good news is, my friend conceived in her first cycle of IVF coupled with accupuncture.

This subject has been covered quite a lot in the national press-here are some links below

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/health/3042006/Acupuncture-helps-women-have-babies.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/sep/21/medicalresearch.health/print

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1059549/Acupuncture-helps-IVF-women-babies.html

Here is some older research finding on the same subject

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1933901.stm

http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/archives2002/jul/07ivf.html

Anti-depressant drug may affect fertility, says study

Just read this very interesting article online and wanted to share it with you.

 It is by Ian Sample from The Guardian Thursday September 25 2008.

 Antidepressant drugs taken by tens of thousands of British men may damage sperm quality and harm fertility, researchers at the Cornell Medical Centre in New York have found.

The doctors examined the effects of paroxetine (Seroxat) on men taking the drug over five weeks. Four weeks into the trial, tests revealed the men had sperm showing more than twice as much genetic damage as at the start of the study.

The findings remain tentative but pose a problem for GPs, who fear patients benefiting from anti-depressants may stop taking the drugs. NHS figures show that during 2006 GPs in Britain wrote nearly 2m prescriptions for paroxetine and the brand Seroxat.

The research team, led by Professor Peter Schlegel, showed that the amount of genetic fragmentation in sperm rose from an average of 13.8% before the trial to 30.3% after a month of the drug. The trial results will be presented in November at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in San Francisco.

Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the results should not cause alarm: “Patients shouldn’t stop their antidepressants, but those who are depressed and experiencing fertility difficulties may wish to discuss this with their GP.”

Click here to read the rest of the article online

How much sex is enough sex when your trying to conceive, & when am I most fertile ?

Whenever I am trying to conceive I try and make sure we have lots of sex just before , during and after ovulation. Generally this has meant we have unprotected sex 2-3 times over a 3 day period in order to maximise our chances of conceiving.  I read that it is best to have some sperm waiting for the egg as it is released, which is why we do it just before ovulation, as well as during and after.

 I am lucky in that for most of my life I have had a fairly regular cycle of about 27-28 days and find it easy to predict when I will ovulate. This is not as easy if your cycle is erratic.

On a very regular cycle you usually ovulate about 14 days before your period is due 

ie

 if your cycle is 28 days long you ovulate around day 14

if your cycle is a very regular 34 days you ovulate around day 20

if your cycle is a very regular 24 days long you ovulate around day 10

You get the general point

 Unfortunately many of us have erratic cycles & lifestyles ! My cycle has been different at different stages of my life.

In my twenties when I was young and carefree, it was a very regular 27-28 days every month. In my early thirties (before kids) it went down to a very short but thankfully regular 24 days. It was as if my body was trying to increase the chances of me conceiving. Three pregnancies later and in my forties, my cycle is now erratic & anything between 24 days and 34 days. I don’t even bother to write it down any more. It is so unpredicable now.

Fertility Advice-when do I ask for help ?

At what point do I ask for help, is a common question amongst women trying to conceive. I have been researching this, and the common consensus seems to be, that if a couple have been trying to conceive for 12 months without success, they should seek the advice of their doctor.

 However I have also found that there are some exceptions to this-the age of the women is very significant-how long should we leave it if the mother is over a certain age and what is the age ?

From my research, the consensus seems to be, that if the women is over 35 years, and the couple have been trying for 6 months without success, it is advisable to see the GP.

If possible go to see your GP as a couple, and book an appointment for each of you. GP’s are usually quite happy to discuss fertility concerns.

The Sex Education Show-did you see last Tuesdays ?

Episode 4

First shown on 30th Sep 2008, Channel 4.

Anna has a fertility test

37 year-old presenter Anna Richardson came off the contraceptive pill 2 years ago. Despite her relatively clean-living lifestyle, she and her partner haven’t yet conceived a baby. Anna visits fertility and pregnancy guru Zita West for advice and a fertility test.

 Click here to watch the feature on fertility if you missed it

Meet the Babymaker

This is an old article I read online last year, but a very good one well worth reading, and also a very worthy cause whose fund raising efforts have now saved the baby unit.

 Meet the Baby-Maker-The Times 3rd November 2007

‘Professor Lesley Regan who is a consultant obstetrician and the head of the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic (RMC) at St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, West London.

Who is she?

Professor Lesley Regan is a consultant obstetrician and the head of the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic (RMC) at St Mary’s Hospital, in Paddington, West London.

She is also the first woman to hold a chair in obstetrics and gynaecology in the UK.

She has written several books on pregnancy and miscarriage including Your Pregnancy Week by Week, and Miscarriage: What Every Woman Needs to Know.

The RMC is the largest clinic of its kind in the world and it deals with more than 1,000 new cases each year, with a success rate of 80 per cent.

Click here to read the full story

 Click here to read more about the Recurrent Miscarriage Units future plans

‘Home pregnancy test will tell mothers when they conceive’ The Telegraph

Just read this article below from telegraph newspaper about the new Clearblue digital pregnancy test with conception indicator.

Revolutionary kit takes just three minutes to tell a woman both if she is expecting and when she fell pregnant.

The test by manufacturers Clearblue could end bitter paternity disputes by identifying the number of weeks since conception.

Women use the Conception Indicator in the same way as a normal pregnancy test.

A sensor in the test stick can detect the pregnancy hormone hCG from women’s urine samples.

A digital screen displays either ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not pregnant’. For positive tests, it also tells users whether they are one to two weeks, two to three, or over three weeks pregnant.

Laboratory trials have shown that the test is 99 per cent accurate in identifying pregnancy and 92 per cent accurate as to time of conception.

Clearblue’s Dr Jayne Ellis said: “As a company, we pride ourselves on providing women with innovative products and solutions that address the issues that are important to their health and well-being.

“This will offer women more valuable information about their pregnancy as soon as the ‘pregnant’ result is confirmed.”

 Click here to buy Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator Online in UK

Click here to see our full range of Clearblue pregnancy tests & ovulation tests

Clearblue digital with conception indicator

Caesarean rates worryingly high say midwives-from the Guardian Friday September 26 2008

Caesarean section rates show no signs of coming down, according to official statistics, in spite of concern that they are too high.

The NHS Information Centre said yesterday that just under a quarter of deliveries, 24%, were caesareans in 2006-7, as they were the year before. About half of those were emergencies and the rest pre-planned. Efforts to persuade more women and their doctors to attempt a normal delivery seem to have had little impact. The UK rate is considerably higher than the World Health Organisation’s target for no more than 10-15% of deliveries to be by caesarean section.

The Royal College of Midwives said the rate was “worryingly high” and linked it to a shortage of midwives. “There is clear evidence that some caesarean sections are unnecessary and put women and babies at risk,” said Cathy Warwick, general secretary designate of the RCM.

The National Childbirth Trust agreed the rate was too high. It was also concerned by figures from the NHS Information Centre showing women were going home sooner after caesareans – just over a quarter spent four days or more in hospital, compared with just under a third in the previous year. “Women who are recovering from caesareans will need more help and support and guaranteed midwife home visits, especially if they have had previous health problems,” said chief executive Belinda Phipps.

Listening to your unborn baby’s heartbeat is easy now with a fetal doppler

When I was pregnant with each of my children I was very anxious, and worried a lot. I used to worry that the baby had died, which resulted in several trips to hospital to be reasured by hearing the babies heartbeats. My other half was very patient throughout as there was no other option at that time.

In the last couple of years fetal dopplers have become available for home use and at very reasonable prices. I just wish they had been available when I was last pregnant-would have saved us a lot of trips to hospital.

A work colleague of mine whose daughter is pregnant has been using the Angelsounds Fetal Doppler and has found it very good. It has also meant that family members can also listen to the babies heartbeat.

Click here  to buy pregnancy products in UK 

Instead Cups-have you heard of them before ?

Just come across this product. Not tried them myself yet.

Instead Cup (Softcup) holds rather than absorbs menstrual fluid, you should be able to wear the Softcup twice as long as a tampon up to a maximum of 12 hours.

INSTEAD Cup (Softcup) has a flexible circular rim which is approximately 7cm in diameter. When compressed for insertion, INSTEAD is about the same size as a tampon – approximately 1-2cm wide and 9cm long. One size fits nearly all women for excellent leakage protection, even on heavy days.

Just read online that some women are using Instead Softcups to aid conception. They are inserting the instead cups after intercourse to help keep the sperm close to the cervix. They combine this with laying down after intercourse. That’s certainly lateral thinking. I will research and see how successful it is.

Click here to buy home ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, fertility lubricants, home fertility tests and other fertility products to aid conception online in UK 

 

Fertility Issues-useful web pages

Just found these useful webpages from the BBC website on fertility issues. Covers such issues as assisted conception, fertility facts, ethical issues in fertility treatments, specialist advice. You can even have fertility advice sent straght to your mobile phone !

Click here to visit the BBC Fertility Pages

Visit Access Diagnostics UK fertility site

New Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test With Conception Indicator

Clearblue has launched a new digital pregnancy test with a conception indicator showing how many weeks it is since conception. The test can also be used up to 4 days before your period is due. For most accuate resuts the first urine of the day should be used. easy to read results appear in the window within 1-3 minutes.

Click here for more info or to buy Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator

Information from the manufacturer below

Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Conception Indicator is a unique innovation in pregnancy testing – the only test that answers the first two questions women ask when they think they might be pregnant. Am I pregnant? And when did I conceive?

It provides an unmistakably clear result in words – ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not Pregnant’. And if the result is ‘Pregnant’ it also provides the additional benefit of displaying how many weeks ago you conceived – ‘1-2’, ‘2-3’ or 3+’.

The new test is easy to use, and the ‘Pregnant’/’Not Pregnant’ result is over 99% accurate when used from the day your period is due. It provides reassurance throughout the testing process by displaying clear symbols on the digital Display, showing test progression and any error messages.

Click here to see the full Clearblue range of home pregnancy tests, ovulation tests & the fertility monitor

More ultra early pregnancy tests are available from Access Diagnostics UK fertility site

The Sex Education Show Channel 4 Tonight-Dont Miss It

Episode 3 of 6

Time 8pm Tuesday

I have watched the first 2 episodes with great interest, and found them to be highly informative and very graphic (you have been warned)

Childbirth is the subject of tonights show with Anne Richardson visiting the maternity ward at The Countess of Chester Hospital to reveal the realities of the delivery room. Gordon Ramseys wife Tana, mother of 4, also describes her personal experiences of childbirth.

 Previous episodes of The Sex Education Show may be viewed online here

What Foods Should I Eat & Avoid When I’m Pregnant ?

This weekend I went out to dinner with a friend who is newly pregnant. It is a much longed for pregnancy after many years of TTC.

I was talking to her about which foods she has to avoid and realised how much more complicated the whole issue had become since I was last pregnant. I decided to do a little research on the subject and found this great webpage that I wanted to share with you all

It is a very comprehensive and imformative guide to which foods to avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding from the Food Standards Agency, and is presented in an easy to follow question and answer format. You also have the option to e-mail questions in and have them answered if you can not find the answer to your question there.

Click here to visit Food Standards Agency Pregnancy Page

Pregnancy products UK

 

Why is Folic Acid Important When Trying To Conceive ?

Folic acid supplementation is very important in early pregnancy & when trying to conceive
Folic acid( a B vitamin) is the only vitamin supplement that is recommended to be taken before pregnancy for women who are otherwise eating a balanced diet.

Folic acid is needed for the development of healthy red blood cells. An adequate intake of folic acid in the mother also decreases the chance of her baby being born with a defect of the neural tube, where the baby’s brain and spinal cord are formed. One well known example of a neural tube defect is spina bifida, where an area of spinal cord is not properly enclosed. This can cause problems such as paralysis of the legs and lack of control of bladder and bowels. The baby’s neural tube is completely formed by the fourth week of pregnancy – when many women have not even realised they are pregnant.

It is therefore important to start taking folic acid supplements while preparing for pregnancy or as soon as you realise that you are pregnant. 400 micrograms (mcg) is the recommended daily dose, which is over and above the usual recommended dietary intake of 200 micrograms. Folic acid occurs naturally in fresh dark green vegetables such as broccoli, peas, green beans and spinach. Many breakfast cereals are fortified with folic acid and it is also found in wholemeal bread. You should continue to take folic acid tablets for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy even if you eat a good diet.

A higher dose of folic acid is recommended for some women. It is very important that women who have previously had a baby with a neural tube defect, or who have epilepsy or diabetes, consult a GP about folic acid supplementation before trying to conceive.

Click here to see a range of leading brands supplements all containing the recomended dose of folic acid and ideal when trying to conceive

Keeping the Romance Alive When Trying to Conceive

Last night I went out with a group of girls, and the talk turned to men and relationships as it often does when groups of women get together with no men, no kids and lots of alcohol. We were discussing how important it is to keep the romance alive, when you have been together for a while.

Trying to conceive can be a fun and exciting time for many couples-for many it is the first time they have been able to have sex without using contraception-the novelty of this alone can add to the romance, let alone the excitement of creating a new life. If conception occurs quickly ie within 3-4 months the whole process is fairly stress free, but when conception takes longer it can become a cause of stress and disapointment for some couples, which may start to take the fun out of it.

When I was trying to conceive my first child I assumed wrongly that as soon as we stopped using contraception I would conceive, after 3-4 months of trying I was starting to get anxious and insisted that my partner took a male fertility test (with hindsight I did rush him into a bit-but being an obliging chap he took it, and it came back normal much to our relief !) We then carried on with the serious business of making babies while having fun at the same time.

Last night my friends and I talked at length about keeping the romance alive in a relationship, and the importance of ‘dating your partner’

Plan a date with your partner ideally at least once a week-take the time to be together, just the two of you, as if you were on a date. You do not actually need to go out. We have had many date nights at home which have been just as good and a lot cheaper. Here are the some suggestions for dates:

  • Meal out in the evening-just the two of you-get dressed smartly, do your make-up etc, make it special
  • Watch a film together-choose something you both like, either at the cinema or on dvd/video. Make a proper date of it. If you have kids get them to bed first or get a babysitter if you are going to cinema. We like to have popcorn or chocolates-sometimes both but I’m just greedy !
  • Cook a meal together at home. If you have kids feed them and get them settled 1st. Choose something nice and easy to cook but that is a bit special-in our house steaks are always a favourite for a date night meal, served up with a really large salad and a glass of wine. Cooking together in a relaxed way can be very bonding. Make an effort with your appearance as you would do if you were going on an outside date.
  • Go on a walk together, just the two of you-ideally somewhere beautiful and on a sunny day if possible-really lifts your spirits, as well as being great exercise-a proven stress buster
  • Sit out on a sunny evening togther, maybe with a glass of wine-just the two of you and chat about your passions, fun things you have done together and stuff you would like to do together
  • Go to a posh coffee bar for lattes/ cappucinos-whatever your favourite tipple is, and chat and just watch the world go by together
  • Meet for lunch somewhere nice & talk about all the good things in your life
  • On a clear night go outside and stare & wonder at the stars together
  • Take up a hobby together-ideally something that you can both be passionate about-it gives a shared interest & something to you can talk about together when you are on your dates ! As they say ‘variety is the spice of life’

These are just a few of the suggestions we came up with, I’m sure you can all come up with lots more

Home fertility tests, ovulation tests, ultra early pregnancy tests, fertility friendly personal lubricants and lots of fertility products are available from Access Diagnostics UK fertility site

What is Natural Procreative Technology ? (NPT)

I’ve just found the original published research article from The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine which makes fascinating reading. Click on the link below to read it-I promise its not a long article, fairly concise and to the point for a medical research article IMO

http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/short/21/5/375

These quotes are from the article above  it seems NPT is a ‘systematic medical approach for optimizing physiologic conditions for conception in vivo’

‘couples were taught to identify the fertile days of the menstrual cycle with the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, and most received additional medical treatment, including clomiphene (75%)’

Next question-what is the Creighton Model FertilityCare System ?

To predict you fertile time you can also use ovulation predictors

Natural fertility methods better than IVF

I just read this really interesting and slightly controversial article online

It is taken from From September 14, 2008

A Dublin- based  study carried out by Utah University in America has questioned the effectiveness of IVF

Natural fertility treatment is more effective than in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), according to new research by the University of Utah in America.

It found that one in four of the 1,100 couples treated with natural methods in a clinic in Galway had successful pregnancies using natural procreative technology treatment (NPT). This compares with the most recent European success rates of 18.4% for IVF.

The research, published last week in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, has been disputed by Tony Walsh, director of the Sims Fertility Clinic in Dundrum, Dublin. He claimed the study was not scientifically sound and did not constitute proof that NPT gives comparable live birthrates to IVF. The clinic has sent a letter to the journal outlining its argument.

But the study is being hailed as a landmark paper by supporters of NPT, as it is the first research into the effectiveness of the method to be published in a peerreviewed medical journal. It also found that the number of multiple births resulting from NPT was significantly lower than using artificial methods, with only 4.6% of women becoming pregnant with more than one child.

This compares with multiple birth rates of 34% recorded in a recent American study of couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Joseph Stanford from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, the main author, said that he hoped the research would help overcome the “current information deficit” surrounding NPT.

“Many GPs and obstetricians are not aware of NPT because of a lack of published studies,” he said. “Now physicians can inform themselves of this treatment approach and hopefully recommend it to their patients.”

Read the rest of the article here  http://www.timesonline.co.uk

I have not heard of NPT before so I am now going to look it up and post what I find. If anyone knows more please feel free to comment.

Visit UK fertility site Access Diagnostics for ovulation tests, ovulation microscopes, fertility thermometers to help you predict when you are most fertile.

Male Fertility Tests | Male Fertility Test Kit | Fertility Test for Men

MALE FERTILITY TEST-an increasing number of men are checking their fertility by using a male fertility test kit at home.

Home Male Fertility Test Kit-What should we do if the result comes back low?

First thing to say is don’t panic. A low sperm count does not mean you can not conceive it may just make it more difficult. However you do need to go and see your doctor now for examination & further sperm tests-this is very important.

Some of the following factors may be worth considering while you are waiting for the appointment to see the doctor.

1) Was the sample ideal? Did you follow the instructions precisely? It may be worth repeating to check this. Cooling the sample or a delay in performing the fertility test can alter the number of active sperm, and give a false result.

2) High testes temperature. Sperm are made in the testes which are in the scrotum. This is the body’s way of keeping the testes slightly cooler than the rest of the body which is best for making sperm. It is often advised for men who have a low sperm count to wear loose fitting underpants and trousers and to avoid very hot baths, saunas, etc. This aims to keep your testes slightly cooler than the rest of your body, which is thought to be good for sperm production. It is not clear whether these measures improve a sperm count, but they seem to be sensible. Also best not to let him sit with his laptop on his groin !

3) Smoking can affect the sperm count. If you smoke, you should stop completely for optimum sperm production.

4) Alcohol. More than 16 units per week (equivalent to about 8 pints of normal strength beer or 16 small glasses of wine) may interfere with optimum fertility.

5) Drugs and medicines. Most do not interfere with sperm production, but some may do. These include: sulphasalazine, nitrofurantoin, tetracyclines, cimetidine, colchicine, allopurinol, some chemotherapy drugs, cannabis, cocaine, and anabolic steroids. They are always finding new drugs that can affect sperm. If you have a low sperm count, tell a doctor if you take any drugs or medicines regularly

More information or to buy Fertilityscore home male fertility test kit