Archive | September, 2010

IVF influences baby’s sex: study

29 Sep

Australian researchers have show that assisted reproductive technology influences gender ratios.

I’ve always been keen to have a boy and now it looks like the odds could be in my favour.




Egyptian sperm are really strong swimmers ?

28 Sep


Lawsuit of the Day, Pregnancy / Paternity, Sex, Travel / Vacation

Lawsuit of the Day: Egyptian sperm are really strong swimmers

I’m trusting my intuition this time

27 Sep

I spent the last two years with an erratic menstrual cycle. Actually, I’m not sure you could call it a cycle at all. If I was lucky, I would get my period every 2 weeks but mostly I couldn’t count on any regularity. It just happened when it happened and I had no control over it.

I know the more stressed I would get about it the more I was inhibiting my healing. But it’s not so easy to remain calm and carry on when your hormones are peaking all over the place – so I forgive myself here.

Finally, through what I think was a combination of good alternative health advice, shiatsu and personal development I started having a normal full cycle. For the last 2 months I enjoyed what most women take for granted. YAY – a normal period! I love a normal menstrual cycle!! I never thought I would want to yell that from the roof tops. With this regularity I also felt terrific. The first time for – I can’t remember – I felt healthy and fighting fit.

Of course, I told my new fertility doctor in Canberra how my cycle used to be over the place but I also told him that it had stabilized. He suggested that I take the contraceptive pill anyhow, before I start the IVF treatment. He wanted to be guaranteed the regularity. So I took it.

7 days later and I felt terrible. Bloated, bad indigestion, constipated, really tired and generally uncomfortable in my body. I also started getting bad pimples. It all happened so soon. I am generally quite a healthy person. I eat well and am active so I think I am more in tune with my body than most people are. 

I felt like my body was screaming at me “this is not right”. I had worked so hard to get my body back to some regularity and I was pumping it with hormones again and confusing it. I know that doctors swear to how safe the contraceptive pill is – but this didn’t feel right for me. My doctor is on holiday at the moment. So, I am going to trust my intuition this time and stop taking it.

We have all heard of women’s intuition. Have you ever heard yourself say one thing in your head and end up doing another only to regret the decision later on? I have plenty experiences like that under my belt, especially in regards to my health.

I’ve had issues with my hormones for several years and every time I thought something didn’t feel right, I ignored it and simply trusted the doctors because I thought they knew best. Usually, I was worn out and desperate for help so I would have done anything they said.

Not this time though – this time I am going to go with my gut. Worse case scenario – I lose a month. Big deal!! I’m sick of all the pressure to hurry with this anyway.

So, why don’t we listen to and follow our intuition on a more regular basis?

I think it is because with intuition you don’t really know where you are getting the information from. It seems like magic. And our western society paints magic for fools.

But I don’t think it is magic at all. Most people see it reasonable to consider that there are four different levels of human experience – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Carl Jung, the noted psychologist, describes intuition as one of the four basic psychological functions, along with thinking, feeling, and sensation. This makes perfect sense to me.

The problem with talking about intuition stems from the fact that we have to rely on the verbal, logical, and conscious part of our brains to describe it – impossible.

So how do you know when you have it right? I suspect you won’t unless you give it a chance. The trick though is to remember that intuition is not a substitute for reason. Rather, it is the part of your intellect that allows you to see the whole picture.

I’m just going to go with it this time and I am sure I won’t be disappointed.  🙂

The eyes have it

23 Sep

Fortunately, I committed to restricting my search for donor sperm to four sperm bank websites only. The idea was to tackle one website at a time, choose two donors from each website and work down from there. By the time I got through the second website my short list was looking more like the great wall on China.

ARGH!! Help! Time to phone a friend. I just couldn’t do it alone – I was being hopelessly indecisive. My lovely friend came over last night for pizza and we knuckled down to get to a real short list before the night was out. 

The time had also come to move beyond the personality profiles. Too many donors sounded way too nice and how do you choose one nice personality over another? In the real world, the chemistry usually sorts it all out. But sperm banks don’t provide the option to purchase a squirt of sex pheromones to evaluate primal attraction. That’s a terrific idea though!

One website provided a short donor audio interview. Okay, so this would help for sure – adding another human element to the donor. Of course they all sounded brilliant. Great, that wasn’t helpful at all.

The only way through this was to look at the baby photos. In fact, after talking it out we decided that this served as a brilliant way of culling. We would only consider those donors who were wiling to supply a baby photo.

We figured it also says something about someone who is willing to supply a baby photo along with their sperm. I mean, if you are donating your sperm for altruistic reasons then wouldn’t you want to give the parents a glimpse at what the biological father of their child was like. 

My initial idea was to focus on the donor and choose someone I would ordinarily find attractive and naturally copulate with. I know I said that it is personality that I am usually attracted to in a person – but we are not dealing with a person here – we are dealing with a series of answers to questions and it is just so damn impersonal. I was wrong. In the absence of a real person, energy and chemistry, I really have no choice but to peek at the physical.

I hate the idea of putting an expectation on what my baby may look like – but in all honesty my baby may be the splitting image of me or a throw back to either side of the genetic pool. It’s the sperm donor I am trying to get a glimpse of here not my future child.

So, photo’s being purchased – the anticipation in opening the files was surprising. It was helpful in a couple of cases but really it was still too hard.

And then it came to me – I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. The eyes have it! I am very short sighted. Miss Myopic. I am the only person in my family who has this defect and I hate it. So why wouldn’t I try to give my child the best chance of not inheriting this? I also then realised that I have only ever had one boyfriend in my whole life who wore corrective glasses.

And then there was three. I found it difficult to part with two of these, so they have been parked. Today I sent an email to the sperm banks asking them to confirm whether the sperm from these donors is definitely available, just to be sure.

Two more websites to go. We have traction!

Thank you lovely darling friend – I couldn’t have done it without you.

If you can’t rely on your sperm donor coordinator

21 Sep

Chances are that you have at some point been diagnosed by a medical practitioner and simply have trusted their opinion. After all they are rigorously trained in medical science and dedicated to professional ethics.

We don’t trust our mechanics in the same way though and they are highly trained in their field. Is it because historically people have viewed medicine as sacred and therefore are reluctant to challenge those who practice it. Or is it simply that we are generally vulnerable when we seek advice of this nature. Whatever the reason, it is important to remember that medical professionals are only human and, as humans, they make mistakes or can be simply incompetent.

I’ve experienced first hand the mistakes, misjudgments and oversight of doctors. So I should know better than to expect all the relevant information be handed to me on a silver platter…

I’m sure I have mentioned how overwhelming choosing donor sperm has been for me. So many choices. Naturally, after visiting the websites which I was referred to, I would have questions. And who better to answer these questions than my sperm donor coordinator girl. Or…. 

Anyway, all of the websites which I have been searching on have CMV status against all donors, either negative or positive. CMV is Cytomegalovirus, a member of the herpes virus family that includes chicken pox, cold sores, and infectious mononucleosis.

Here is what it says about CMV on one of the sites:

CMV is a virus that most American adults have been exposed to and have immunity to. In healthy adults and children it produces mild cold or flu like symptoms for 1-2 weeks. If a woman who has never had CMV becomes infected with the virus during pregnancy, the child is at risk for developing severe medical problems, such as mental retardation, deafness and seizures. You can be tested to determine if you have been exposed to CMV. If you are CMV negative, you should consider restricting your selections to CMV negative donors, to prevent the small chance of developing CMV during pregnancy and passing it the developing child.

Okay, so statements such as “severe medical problems”, “mental retardation” and  “seizures” are rather alarming. One would think it was a good idea to ask for more information and advice here. The response from my sperm donor coordinator was “I don’t know about CMV. Don’t worry about it, it should be fine”. Hmmpf. I can’t imagine why this made me a little tense. The good ole Aussie attitude of “She’ll be right mate” is just not going to cut it in this case. We are talking about the health of my unborn child after all.

I have had chicken pox, twice actually, and I have been known to get the odd cold sore so I guess that means that I have immunity. But is it too much to ask for some certainty from the people who are meant to know?

I have also discovered over the last few days that because I am doing IVF I don’t need to order as much sperm as someone having donor insemination. Yep, she could have told me that too. I have been overlooking donors who are listed at risk of having a ‘low supply’ when they probably had enough for IVF use. And she mispalced my treatment plan!

I really wanted to embrace my sperm donor coordinator and become friends, despite my first impression of her being 12 years old. But now I really am sorry that I didn’t think to ask her “Now what aren’t you telling me that I should know?”. Oh well, I’m sure she will serve her purpose in doing the actually ordering.

I’m doing lots of extra research tonight – primarily on all the questions I need to think of to ask my doctor tomorrow in regards to donor sperm.  Then I can confirm my short list. There is no point in doing so until I have all the information I need.

A stupid act entails doing the work twice over.~ Burmese Proverb

Flashier Great Tit Birds Produce Stronger Sperm

17 Sep

Flashier Great Tit Birds Produce Stronger Sperm.

If only it was so obvious in our own kind!

Peace Is Power

16 Sep

I work full time as a fundraising manager at a disability charity. Like most charities we are understaffed and overworked. A new general manager has just started and he wants to prove himself and make his mark which means we are extra busy right now.

I’ve built a solid career within the fundraising industry and the only thing I am interested in right now is winding down. I want to focus on my passions – documentary film making, reading, writing, having a baby…

Deadlines are looming and I am feeling stressed. This concerns me. Some studies have suggested a strong link with high stress and poor outcome for IVF. And quite frankly, who wants to be stressed anyway!? 

Fortunately, I have also come across a recent study in the journal Human Reproduction (January 29, 2009) which shows that symptoms of anxiety don’t reduce the chances of getting pregnant for women undergoing fertility treatments. 

But there is the period of pregnancy to consider as well. All in all, I am pretty sure it is better to avoid stress if at all possible. And there is the stress that is almost inevitable during IVF in any case. Some research indicates that women undergoing treatment for infertility have a similar level of stress as women dealing with life-threatening illnesses. WOW! Fortunately, I really don’t feel like that. However, I do understand that the stress levels during IVF treatment may impact my work life and social relationships. 

IVF treatment involves frequent blood tests and almost daily injections or nasal sprays of hormonal drugs. Basically, the initial treatment puts you into an artificial and temporary state of menopause. It therefore stands to reason that women are likely to experience menopausal symptoms during this part of the treatment cycle. These symptoms may include hot flushes, headaches, and mood swings. 

How on earth is this going to go down at work in an already tense environment – yikes!

Ultimately, it would pay to tell my colleagues what I am doing so they understand what I am going through but I’m not sure that is wise. I don’t think that my employer would be thrilled with my plans. And I really need my job right now. 

So I need to manage the stresses at work, make time for my yoga practice, at all cost, and accept that I may not make any friends in the near future. In fact, I may very well lose a few. (Can’t wait for those mood swings!) PEACE IS POWER!

I found this article about managing stress and I am going to start applying this now:

Seven Top Tips to help you maintain as much balance as possible during IVF and maximize your chances of becoming pregnant.

Tip 1: Put yourself first

Your health and peace of mind are paramount during your treatment. Learn to say “No” instead of stretching yourself to meet others’ needs and demands. You can always say, simply; “This is necessary for me right now. I hope you understand.”

Tip 2: Establish priorities

Priorities are based upon your needs, values and responsibilities. Rate each task from 1 to 10. Forget the “should”s and “ought-to”s and strike off anything you don’t need or want to do. Stay on top of your core responsibilities and offset medical down-time with self-nurturing time, good company and other treats.

Tip 3: Re-frame your tasks as goals

A task can feel like pressure, while a goal is a personal and positive choice. A smart goal is written, specific, achievable, backed up with resources and time-framed. So, re-write each task along those lines. (i.e. I will have brought the 2 bags of unwanted clothing to the charity shop by closing time on Tuesday, the 10th of X month).

Tip 4: Ensure that you have what it takes

Estimate how much time and energy each goal requires. Remember that during IVF, your medications and appointments are often strictly set. Fluctuating hormones can also affect your energy level. Give each goal a realistic time frame, specifying any strict deadlines, to avoid stress.

Tip 5: Impose some order

Remember the domino effect. Fulfilling one goal can make another one easier. For example: clearing the clutter in your inbox could pave the way to reconnecting with old friends and explaining the fertility journey you are taking. This may lead to a resurgence of your friendships, social life and support network.

Tip 5: Reach out for support

Do you need to do each task personally in order to fulfil your goal? Perhaps someone else can help out, exchange services with you or be paid to do what you cannot. Make your needs known.

Tip 6: Daily reminders

Revisit your list of goals daily to remind you about what you have achieved and what still needs doing. This will help you avoid a pile-up of unfulfilled goals and the anxiety that could accompany it.

Tip 7: Reward yourself

With so much focus on the IVF, you can forget other needs. Rewards are important, both as motivation and as validation. How about a bubble bath, a bunch of fresh flowers, a girls’ night out or dinner out with your partner? You will benefit from the light-hearted, relaxed time or pretty touch.

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