A letter from a recipient to her donor

Dear Donor

I am so grateful to have been matched with you. You are special and unique, and God created you with a purpose. That purpose is to fill the emptiness and loneliness of the childless woman who is desperate and feels like a failure in life.

Being infertile is the most cruel and stressful experience. It eats you alive day and night.

I wish I could find more words to say thank you. I wish you good health and success in life. God bless you and your family.

Love your recipient

Nurture in the news: Real life story in Rapport newspaper

Sperm or egg donors to same-sex couples in the US could be liable to pay child support

Questions on whether or not sperm or egg donors could be liable to pay child support have been raised since a US judge ruled that a man must pay child support for the child of a lesbian couple who he donated sperm to, after they split up.

A Kansas judge recently ordered William Marotta, a sperm donor to a lesbian couple, to pay child support after they split up, raising questions of how the law protects sperm donors, reports Yahoo.

Mr Marotta and the couple he donated to did not use official channels, and instead met up using the website Craigslist, and they wrote up their own agreement.

Because the US state of Kansas did not have a legal way for same-sex couples to marry, when the couple split up, the Kansas Department of Children and Families sought out the biological father of the child for child support.

The department said that laws protecting sperm donors only if they follow state laws, such as using a registered doctor, and filling in the appropriate forms, which would normally exempt sperm donors from owing child support.

Laws in the state of New Jersey are similar to those in Kansas, said Bari Weinberger, a leading family law attorney, and managing partner of Weinberger Law Group.

He said that a judge could rule that any agreement made between a couple and a donor is null and void, unless they use official channels, and follow the appropriate laws.

He said: “In Kansas, as in New Jersey, sperm donation laws state that when artificial insemination takes place under the supervision of a licensed physician with semen donated from a man who is not the woman’s husband, the husband is treated as the child’s natural father under the law.

“The husband (and wife) both must consent to the procedure in writing which is then validated by the administering physician,” Weinberger explained, referring New Jersey Law.

Mr Weinberger went on to say that he beleived the case of Mr Marotta, could possibly highlight a grey area in the law, which needed to be updated.

He said: “New Jersey [sperm donor and artificial insemination] statute discusses husband and wife specifically, and is outdated. New Jersey now recognizes civil unions and many states are now recognizing same sex marriages, so perhaps this issue is ripe for litigation or legislative updating,”

Some states, including New Jersey, recognised “psychological parents”, such as the step-parent of a child, who could be liable to pay child support as the result of a couple breaking up.

Mr Weinberger said that these definitions, and the liability of people in relationships with children in their care to pay child support, needed to be updated and clearly laid out.

Via Pinknews

1.7 million embryos created for IVF have been thrown away, and just 7 per cent lead to pregnancy Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255107/1-7-million-embryos-created-IVF-thrown-away-just-7-cent-lead-pregnancy

Millions of human embryos created for IVF pregnancies have been thrown away unused, figures have revealed.

They show that for every woman who conceives a child through in vitro fertilisation, 15 embryos are made, and almost half of them are discarded during or after the process.

More than 1.7 million embryos prepared with the aim of helping women become pregnant have been thrown away since records began 21 years ago, according to the new breakdown.

The scale of rejection of human embryos was made public in response to questions from peers about the level of waste generated in hospitals and fertility clinics.

Crossbench peer Lord Alton said embryos were being created and thrown away in ‘industrial’ numbers. He added: ‘It happens on a day-by-day basis with casual indifference.

‘My understanding is that you can carry out fertility treatments these days without creating large numbers of embryos to destroy them. That is where technology needs to move.’

The figures on the use of human embryos were gathered by the fertility industry regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which has recorded IVF processes since 1991.

Embryos are created from female eggs and male sperm during the IVF process. Some are then introduced into the womb of the prospective mother. Others, however, are put into storage, discarded as unwanted, or, in some cases, used in scientific experiments.

The figures released by Health Minister Lord Howe show that 3,546,818 human embryos have been created since August 1991. These have produced only 235,480 ‘gestational sacs’ – evidence of successful implantation.

As a result, 93 per cent of all embryos created – more than 3.3 million in all – are never used to generate a pregnancy. Of the embryos created, 839,325 were put into storage for future use and 2,071 were stored for donation to others. A further 5,876 were set aside for scientific research.

In all, 1,388,443 embryos were implanted in the hope of beginning pregnancies. Just under one in six resulted in a pregnancy. Of the rest, 1,691,090 were discarded unused and a further 23,480 were discarded after being taken out of storage.

The figures do not show how many of the successful implants resulted in pregnancies that went to term. Lord Alton said: ‘This sheer destruction of human embryos – most people would not know that it took place on such a scale.

‘Most people wouldn’t have any idea about the numbers of embryos being created in that process and would also feel very uneasy about them being experimented on as well.’ The HFEA said that one in 50 babies in Britain were now born through IVF treatment.

A spokesman said: ‘Over the 20 years since the HFEA was established, more than half a million people have had IVF treatment and around 200,000 babies have been born to couples who would not otherwise been able to have a family.
‘IVF involves the creation of more embryos than are transferred to the patient so that the best ones can be chosen to start pregnancy.

‘Those embryos that are discarded may no longer be needed by the individual or couple for treatment.

‘In these circumstances they can decide whether to donate the embryos to a research project, another couple or ask the clinic to destroy them.’
Embryos used for research purposes can be used only in projects regulated by the HFEA. The embryos are used to study infertility, miscarriage, embryo abnormalities or serious disease.

Couples usually pay £4,000 or more for a single IVF treatment, although costs can rise through repeated procedures in attempts to achieve a pregnancy.
Lord Howe said in a reply to Lord Alton’s written question that the fertility regulator ‘does not hold data in relation to embryos experimented upon’.
He added that it was for the HFEA to decide what information it should collect. Lord Alton said this ‘defies any kind of logic’.

Via Daily Mail

Nurture featured at London’s Fertility Show

Nurture’s Tertia Albertyn recently represented Nurture at The Fertility Show in London, which is in its fourth year. The show features alternative and complementary therapists, along with some of the country’s leading fertility specialists. There were also stands selling fertility-related products like CDs and supplements.

Highlights also included seminars that covered specific fertility problems and treatments, complementary therapies, adoption, donor treatment, surrogacy, as well as how to deal the emotional and practical aspects of infertility.

Says Tertia: “The Fertility Show in London is a great way to network with other fertility provides and also to present South Africa as a preferred destination for medical tourists. Every year we have many international patients come to South Africa for fertility treatment – our medical care is excellent, our doctors are some of the best in the world and through Nurture, patients have access to a large database of multi-ethnic egg donors”.

“The great thing about the show is that you have mainstream and complimentary fertility services exhibiting side by side – there are large international IVF clinics who have exhibition stands next to ‘alternative’ providers like the very fascinating Fertility Astrologer Nicky.”

“Nurture is always looking to expand its service offering both locally and abroad and the Fertility Show in London was a great platform to reach clinics and patients from all around the world”

Extra info via BioNews

The sign that predicts how long you’ll stay fertile

Waiting for the right time to have kids? First, consider your mom’s biological clock. New research suggests that your mother’s age of menopause may predict when your fertility will decline, according to an article published in the journal Human Reproduction.

Swedish researchers divided 527 women into three groups based on their mother’s age of menopause. Then, they assessed each daughter’s fertility by measuring a certain kind of hormone in the blood and by counting the number of antral follicles, the egg-containing cell clusters in the ovaries. Researchers found that both measures of fertility (also known as ovarian reserve) declined faster among the women whose mothers experienced menopause before the age of 45, compared to women whose mothers entered menopause after the age of 55.

Women’s eggs decline in number and quality as they age, but the study results suggest that the speed of this decline may be genetic. Meaning: If your mom experienced menopause early (i.e., before age 45) there’s a chance that you could experience an early decline in your fertility, and subsequent early menopause, also.

That said, your mom’s biological history isn’t an exact blueprint for your own fertility future. “We have always been aware that there might be a relationship between maternal age of menopause and your own, but it’s not necessarily a black-and-white relationship,” says Cynthia A. Stuenkel, MD, clinical professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who is affiliated with The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). “Don’t feel like, ‘if this happened to my mother, this will happen to me’. Other factors may have been at play in the mother that are unknown to her daughter.”

Thyroid disease, radiation, and heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, type 1 diabetes, and elevated blood glucose are suspected to contribute to early menopause. And while there’s no guarantee that a healthy lifestyle will contribute to a later menopause, your lifestyle factors (i.e., smoking), and your mother’s lifestyle factors (i.e., smoking while she was pregnant with you) could potentially impact your reproductive age. Also, don’t forget that half your genes come from your father. There’s been no data that links paternal side age of menopause to early reproductive aging, says Stuenkel.

“This study is just a call to action if you’re on the fence about having a family,” Stuenkel says. “If you seriously want to conceive, talk to your doctor about whether your ovarian reserve should be tested, based on your age, family history, and existing health conditions.” An infertility doctor may be able to estimate how many years you have left before menopause by using hormone measurements and an ultrasound to assess your antral follicles.

Via Women’s Health

“Lie back and think of the beach to get pregnant”

Lying back and thinking about the beach – or wherever else one finds relaxing – can increase the chance of getting pregnant, claim researchers.

Crane Beach at Crane Beach Resort, Barbados

Researchers found that women who actively took part in stress management therapy, including visualisation techniques like imagining being on a beach, significantly increased their chances of pregnancy 

 

Researchers found that women who actively took part in stress management therapy, including visualisation techniques like imagining being on a beach, significantly increased their chances of pregnancy.

In a small study of Israeli women undergoing IVF, 88 per cent of those who committed to a ‘talking cure’ therapy programme became pregnant, compared to just 60 per cent who were not on it.

Jo Czamanski-Cohen of Ben Gurion University in Israel, said many women undergoing IVF convinced themselves they would never become pregnant as a self-defence mechanism.

They told her “I’m never going to be a mother,” she said.

She commented: “I think a lot of the negative thinking is preventing disappointment for them. It’s to stop them being disappointed if it does fail.”

The sessions involved breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and ‘guided imagery’ techniques such as imagining oneself in a relaxing place.

“Eighty percent of the people I work with use the beach,” she said.

Dr Alice Domar, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, said becoming less fertile was an evolutionary response to intense stress, as being pregnant during times of high stress – such as famine – endangered both woman and child. Managing that stress could therefore help them become more fertile, she reasoned.

Via The Telegraph

Creating a baby from stem cells? Research suggests it’s possible

Research performed on mice to create sperm and eggs from stem cells raises possibilities for humans, with big implications for same-sex couples.

A breakthrough in fertility research lays open the possibility that gay and lesbian couples could someday have children who are completely their own, genetically speaking.

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have created eggs from stem cells in mice and used them to produce healthy offspring,NPR reports. They first used embryonic stem cells, then repeated the results stem cells created from adult cells, such as blood or skin. The same team previously created sperm from stem cells. “Stem cells can morph into any cell in the body,” observed NPR reporter Rob Stein.

If the results from mice could be duplicated in humans — a far-off possibility, granted, but scientists say mice are sufficiently similar to humans that it could happen — same-sex couples could create their own sperm and eggs and join them to have a child.

“There are lots of lesbian and gay couples who would be very excited about the possibility for the first time of being able to have children who are genetically their own,” Hank Greely, a bioethicist at Stanford University, told Stein.

Such a breakthrough could also help women who have passed their childbearing years or who are infertile for medical reasons. It raises some questions, though, about the ethics of the procedure, scientists said. For instance, could prospective parents create a child with certain desired traits, and would it be morally acceptable for them to do so?

“It’s like any other technology,” said Daniel Sulmasy, a professor of medicine and ethics at the University of Chicago. “Whatever we’ve done in humankind — whether it’s discovering fire or creating the wheel — you can use these things to do lots of good and you can use them immoral ways.”

The Kyoto University study was published in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

Via advocate.com

New research: The link between stress and infertility

Does stress cause infertility? It depends on which study you read. Some studies show a relationship and others do not.

WebMD wrote dramatic advances in infertility treatments — particularly in the past decade — pushed aside stress as a factor in infertility.

Now, however, some doctors are once more looking to the idea that stress may actually play a role in up to 30 percent of all infertility problems.

About.com wrote that according to some sources, stress affects the body in many ways, such as altering the neurochemical makeup which can affect the maturation and release of the egg.

Stress can also cause spasms in the fallopian tubes and uterus, affecting implantation. In men, stress can affect sperm count, motility and lead to erectile dysfunction.

All of this can factor into infertility.

While the exact link between fertility and stress remain a mystery, some researchers believe hormones like cortisol or epinephrine — which rise and often remain high during times of chronic stress — play a key role, said WebMD.

Psychology Today discussed research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility which said that women who stopped using contraceptives took longer to become pregnant if they had higher saliva levels of the enzyme alpha-amylase which is a biological indicator of stress.

Specifically, women with the highest concentrations of alpha-amylase were 12 percent less likely to become pregnant each month than those with the lowest levels.

Slate.com said that while the study in Fertility and Sterility found a connection between stress and lower fertility, another article refuted it. Pointing out the link isn’t so clear, since caffeine, food intake, and exercise can also make that biomarker rise.

When Danish researchers reviewed 31 studies on whether stress, anxiety, and depression played a role in whether infertility treatments worked. Their conclusion was that the influence of psychological factors appeared to be “somewhat limited,” reported Slate.com.

In research published in the journal Human Reproduction, doctors compared pregnancy rates in couples that reported being stressed and those who were not, said WebMD.

They found pregnancy was much more likely to occur during months when couples reported feeling happy and relaxed. It was less likely to occur during the months the couples reported feeling tense or anxious.

In Psychology Today, Alice Domar, of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at the fertility center Boston IVF, cited research has shown women who participate in mind/body programs in conjunction with medical treatment have significantly higher pregnancy rates than women who receive medical treatment only.

About.com concurred, saying that several studies show a dramatic decrease in infertility when couples are treated psychologically as well as physically.

What’s causing the decline in fertility rates? (infographic)

What’s Causing the Decline in Fertility Rates?