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PRC is pleased to offer Saturday appointments

Call 866.423.2645


What is Femara Infertility?

Femara (letrozole) is an effective drug that is thought to be better for helping women become pregnant who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A study by the National Institutes of Health found that PCOS affects around 7% of reproductive age women, and is one of the most common causes of female infertility.

Femara infertility drug is utilized to increase the probability of pregnancy in women with fertility issues. While Clomid is known to last longer, letrozole is helpful in inducing an egg to develop and be released. Fertility rates with letrozole are similar to those seen with Clomid, but older patients have a reduced chance of success when compared ot younger persons.

 

Femara InfertilityWhat is PCOS?

Women with PCOS produce an excess of male hormones (androgens), which affect and interfere with ovulation. With PCOS, the ovaries become enlarged and contain multiple cyst-like structures. These cysts are immature ovarian follicles that produce androgens. Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance, and researchers have found that treatment with letrozole assists these women with ovulation.

For women with PCOS, lifestyle changes can facilitate conception. Losing weight is one of the best things a person can do to improve fertility. Your fertility specialist may recommend that you attempt to lose weight, and this will restore ovulation and improve pregnancy rates. In a recent clinical study involved 11 women with PCOS, who lost more than 5% of their initial weight. Out of 11, nine of these women became pregnant or had a regular menstrual cycle.

 

What are the Side Effects of Letrozole?

Letrozole is an aromatase inhibitor, which means it increases intraovarian hormones. This will increase follicular sensitivity to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). By augmenting FSH receptors and stimulating insulin-like growth factor, FSH promotes follicular growth. This may result in pelvic discomfort, breast tenderness, and bloating. Letrozole has some benefits over Clomid. It keeps the feedback mechanism intact and is short-acting.

Letrozole is currently used as a breast cancer treatment for women who have gone through menopause. It inhibits the production of estrogen, which in turn, influences the brain’s hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This results in ovarian function. The side effects of letrozole include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Increased risk of birth defects

 

Letrozole Fertility Success Rates

In an NIH study, the chief of Fertility and Infertility, Dr. Legro, found that letrozole given on day 3 of the menstrual cycle, and taken for five days, would improve chances of successful ovulation. Of the women who received letrozole in the study, 28% had a live birth, which was compared to 19% of those taking clomiphene. The letrozole group ovulated 688 times out of 1,425 cycles (a 49% success rate).

According to a recent review of studies, letrozole is being used for adenomyosis and endometriosis as “off-label” treatment. In addition, letrozole has been studied for anovulatory conditions. In controlled trials, the ovulation rate was higher in the letrozole group and was found to be better than anastrozole in ovulation and pregnancy rates. For ovarian stimulation for intrauterine insemination (IUI), women who took the drug had higher pregnancy rates.

 

Resources
Kar S (2013). Current evidence supporting “letrozole” for ovulation induction. J Hum Reprod Sci, 6(2), 93-98.
National Institutes of Health (2014). New treatment increases pregnancy rate for women with infertility disorder. Retrieved from: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-treatment-increases-pregnancy-rate-women-infertility-disorder

How Fast Does Clomid Work in Severe Infertility Cases?

Clomid is a fertility drug used to stimulate eggs that form in and are released from the ovaries. The drug has been known to result in multiple pregnancies, but 90% of couples who use this have singletons (one baby). Clomid is truly a miracle medication for couples who have severe infertility issues.

Severe Infertility CasesGetting Pregnant with Clomid

Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is a well-known fertility drug. This medication is taken by mouth once a day for five days before ovulation. Clomid is only available by prescription, and fertility tests are first done to determine if a woman’s infertility is related to lack of ovulation. Clomid stimulates the ovaries to produce more egg follicles, which are located in the ovaries. This will increase her chances of getting pregnant. Due to an increase in numbers of eggs released, multiple pregnancies are likely.

Despite the popularity of Clomid, it has many side effects. These range from mild to serious. The doctor who prescribes Clomid is a fertility specialist, and he will give you details about the side effects. Mild side effects are treated at home. These include flushing, feeling warm, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches, and spotting.

 

How Fast Does Clomid Work

One cycle of Clomid can result in pregnancy. For women under age 35 with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Clomid can increase pregnancy success rates. This drug also will improve ovulation and egg maturation when used appropriately. Be sure to take it as prescribed. If you do not become pregnant after the first cycle, the fertility specialist will have you continue taking the drug for several months.

While it is not common to get pregnant after the first cycle of Clomid, it does happen. However, it usually takes 2 or more cycles to achieve pregnancy. Clomid only is one component of a successful pregnancy. Live birth rates depend on other factors, such as the progesterone levels. Be sure you consult with a fertility specialist regarding your entire treatment and available options.

 

Success Rates of Clomid

So, what are your chances of getting pregnant on Clomid in the first month? Clomid has a high success rate, so it remains a very popular fertility medication. Clomid results in 92% single births, 7% twin births, and around 1% triplets or multiples. When using Clomid, multiple pregnancy rates are much higher than natural multiple conception rates. In normally-conceived pregnancies, the percentage of women who conceive twins is only 1%, so Clomid greatly increases these chances.

Clomid is often prescribed for other health and fertility problems. When given for male fertility, Clomid helps men with low sperm and/or poor sperm mobility. Clomid stimulates the glands to produce heartier sperm but does not increase chances of multiple births when the male uses it.

 

Severe Infertility and Clomid

Clomid is known to work within the first 3-6 cycles. However, some women must take it for a year or longer. Extended treatment with this drug is not recommended. For severe infertility, such as in women with PCOS, the fertility specialist may use metformin in combination with Clomid. Metformin facilitates normal ovulation by correcting insulin levels and lower male androgens.

Clomid works by facilitating ovulation, so it does not result in a high number of eggs. In fact, once ovulation occurs regularly, there is no need to increase the dosage. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the ovaries directly, so doses of this are monitored carefully when it is used in fertility treatment.

How to take Clomid for Twins and when to take it Properly?

take clomid for twinsClomiphene citrate (Clomid or Serophene) is a type of medication commonly used for infertility treatment. This drug is used to induce ovulation in women that do not develop and release an egg through ovulation on their own. Women who are anovulatory (do not ovulate without medications) often have medical conditions that alter hormone production, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In certain cases, the use of Clomid increases the number of eggs released. Clomid works through an anti-estrogen” mechanisms that trick the brain into believing estrogen levels in the body are low. The drug does this by binding to estrogen receptors in the brain, blocking the ability of estrogen to bind and work. The brain, believing the body has low estrogen, releases GnRH hormone, which goes to the pituitary gland, stimulating the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone stimulates the development of a mature follicle (egg structure) in the ovary.

 

How to take Clomid for Twins

If you are considering Clomid twins, the average ovulation occurs on days 10 through 14. This occurs after completing a course of Clomid pills. This varies a bit, depending on whether the woman ovulates regularly or not. Some women will ovulate before 10 days and some after 14 days. The protocol for taking Clomid is different for women who do not ovulate and those who have regular menstrual cycles.

After taking Clomid for twins, you should consider the best time for intercourse. Ovulatory kids are available at supermarkets and drugstores, and they are urine tests that women do at home. These ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) are designed to detect the presence of a woman’s LH surge. This surge begins around 36 hours before ovulation. The prediction kits are done once a day, and when positive, then sex should be that day or the following morning.

 

Best Days to take Clomid for Twins

The best days to take Clomid are 7-14 days after the medications begin. The ovulation prediction kit test is done each day. The egg lifespan is around 12-24 hours, and the woman has a 32-day cycle on Clomid, then she will ovulate around day 18. Ovulation occurs 14 days before the onset of the next menstrual cycle. The sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for 3-5 days, but the egg’s lifespan is only 12-24 hours. Therefore, intercourse a day or two before ovulation is fine, but sex 24 hours after ovulation will not help.

A typical Clomid cycle is day 10-14 of the cycle (five days before anticipated ovulation). However, when the woman has a 32- to 36-day cycle, this could be extended to days 10-18. Clomid cycles are usually monitored using follicle ultrasound scans and blood hormone levels. The blood hormone levels are done to determine the timing of intrauterine insemination (IUI) or sexual intercourse.

 

Clomid Twins

What is the percentage of conceiving multiples or twins on Clomid? In a large clinical study involving women taking Clomid, researchers found that 92% of pregnancies resulted in singletons (one baby), but 7% resulted in twins. The chances of having triplets was less than 1%, and quadruplets or more were very rare.

Clomid has an 80% success rate for ovulation, but only half of these women become pregnant. The limits of Clomid success involve altered endometrial effects and cervical mucus changes. However, taking Clomid increases a woman’s chances of having twins. According to statistics, Clomid can increase the chance of twins by 10%.

 

Is the IVF Procedure Painful? Is it Worth a Try?

Many couples turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) for treating infertility. IVF has helped thousands of individuals and couples achieve pregnancy and start families. The procedure has a good success rate when done by a licensed, experienced fertility clinic. In the United States, IVF treatment success rates are around 42% for younger women.

 

in vitro fertilization IVF Procedure painfulWhat is IVF?

In vitro fertilization treatments consist of cycles. Treatment begins with suppression of the menstrual cycle so the fertility specialist can control timing and implantation of embryo outcomes. The process involves egg retrieval, fertilization with partner’s (or donor’s) sperm in the laboratory, and placement of embryo(s) into the uterus.

Couples who have not had success becoming pregnant with other fertility treatments may turn to IVF to conceive. Women with tubal issues often benefit from IVF, as IVF is a procedure that bypasses the fallopian tubes entirely. Because of this, women can get pregnant who have had tubal pregnancies that scarred the tubes. However, IVF is not for everyone. If you are 38 years of age or older, you may need to use donor eggs to increase your chances of conception.

 

IVF Procedure Phases

 

The phases of IVF include:

  • Preparation phase – To suppress the hormone release and menstrual cycle, the doctor prescribes Lupron or a similar drug. The female will inject the medication at home. This drug tells the body not to ovulate so the fertility clinic can retrieve eggs at 14 days after Lupron begins.
  • Egg retrieval – This involves retrieving eggs from the ovaries using a specific tool. Specialists use hollow needles that are easily inserted through the cervix into the uterus.
  • Fertilization – The retrieved eggs and sperm are combined in Petri dishes in a controlled setting. After embryos form, one or more are graded by a fertility specialist. The best embryos are chosen for transfer.
  • Embryo transfer – The formed embryos are placed into the uterus using a special catheter device. This process involves entering the uterus via the cervix and strategically placing the embryos.

 

Is IVF Procedure Painful?

What causes the pain associated with IVF? With this understanding of the IVF steps, you can see that the process involves insertion of tools into the female’s body. The most painful part of the entire process is injecting with the medication. The other sterile catheters and tools are not painful but may cause some mild cramping and discomfort.

During the egg retrieval process, small hollow needles are inserted into the uterus and ovaries, which may produce some pain. During retrieval, you may feel mild cramping, which can persist for several minutes to hours afterward. The embryo transfer process also produces some bloating, cramping, and mild pain.

 

IVF Treatment Success Rates

In the United States, IVF success is measured by the live birth rate. The live birth rate for each IVF cycle is:

  • 41-43% for women age 35 and younger
  • 33-36% for women ages 35 to 37
  • 23-27% for women ages 38 to 40
  • 13-18% for women ages 40 and older

Women in their late 30s and those older have a better chance of conception with IVF if they use donor eggs. Use of donor eggs increases a woman’s chances of live birth by 50%, particularly when there are implantation problems. However, older women still have a greater chance of miscarriage.

 

Resources
American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2014). Gamete and embryo donation: Deciding whether to tell. Retrieved from: https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Gamete_Donation_Deciding_Whether_To_Tell/
Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority. (2014). IVF – What is in vitro fertilization (IVF) and how does it work? Retrieved from: http://www.hfea.gov.uk/IVF.html
Human Fertilization & Embryology Authority. (2014). Risks of fertility treatment. Retrieved from: http://www.hfea.gov.uk/fertility-treatment-risks.html

Early Treatment of PCOS Can Help Preserve Fertility

Fertilization process - PCOS conditionPolycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a prevalent condition in girls of adolescent age and women of reproductive age that is a prime causative factor of female subfertility. Millions of women around the world suffer from the devastating health and fertility effects of PCOS, but things are about to change in the near future.

A new study found out that the early diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS may help prevent a later decrease in a woman’s fertility.

PCOS and Infertility

Women and girls with PCOS often have an abnormal amount of liver fat and abdominal visceral fat. Bringing down the amount of fat to normal levels restores ovulation and counters the symptoms of androgen excess, thereby possibly preventing future subfertility, as found in a new research from Spain. The findings of this study have been presented in Orlando Florida USA during ENDO 2017, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

Professor of pediatrics Lourdes Ibáñez, M.D., Ph.D at the Institut de Recerca Pediàtrica Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, in Barcelona, Spain, the study’s lead author said that PCOS is the main cause of female subfertility in women and girls diagnosed with it. She stated that if women and girls with PCOS are prescribed a low-dose combination of insulin-sensitizers and an anti-androgen such as SPIOMET, their ovulation would be restored following a reduction in ectopic fat. This return of ovulation can prevent future fertility issues and have to resort to expensive and time-consuming fertility treatments just to conceive.

Spanish Study Sheds New Light on Infertility Related to PCOS

Ibáñez and her colleagues picked out 36 young women with PCOS averaging 16 years of age, not sexually active, and not obese and enrolled them in their treatment plan. The study subjects had had their menstrual cycle for at least 2 years, and irregular menses and their excess body hair could not be linked to specific causes. 34 of the 36 girls completed the study.

The study respondents were randomized to receive one of two different drug combinations used for the study daily. One group was given a combined oral contraceptive pill containing 20 mcg ethinylestradiol plus 100 mg levonorgestrel and another group of study respondents was given SPIOMET, a combination of spironolactone 50 mg, pioglitazone 7.5 mg, and metformin 850 mg. The respondents were then encouraged to eat a Mediterranean diet and engage in regular exercise. They took the medications for a full year followed by another full year without medical intervention.

Researchers pored over the respondents’ weekly measurements of salivary progesterone and menstrual diaries. They counted the ovulations that occurred between 2 and 6 months after treatment and did it again at between 9 and 12 months after treatment. The researchers also assessed and noted circulating androgens, body composition, cholesterol and insulin, amount of abdominal fat, carotid artery thickness, and visceral and hepatic fat.

Results Can’t Be Ignored

The authors found out that prior to treatment, the respondents had more visceral and hepatic fat than age-matched controls, had altered markers of cardiovascular health, and had higher levels of androgens and insulin.

During treatment, those who took SPIOMET had a more normalized cardiovascular health, insulin and androgen levels, and lower levels of visceral and abdominal fat as compared to those who took the oral contraceptive combination.

The scientists also found out that those who have been taking SPIOMET had a 2.5X higher ovulation rate and 6X prevalence of normal ovulation as compared to those who were on the OCP medication. They had a higher prevalence of their menstrual cycles getting back to normal and staying within normal parameters for researchers to deduce that they have better fertility.

Scheduled for Hysterectomy? Study Shows You May Not Need It!

Hysterectomy is the second most prevalent type of surgery that women of reproductive age undergo in the USA because it can address a number of female medical conditions as the last resort; however, new research says that about a fifth of all hysterectomies performed in the US may no longer be necessary for the future.

Hysterectomy - Female Reproductive Organ SurgeryHold the Surgery!

In a study that was recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, data showed that 20% of hysterectomies done as treatment to non-cancerous medical conditions may have alternative treatments and are not necessary. The study also suggests that alternative therapies and treatments are underutilized.

A 20% reduction is significant because it is projected that 1 in every 3 American women will have a hysterectomy by the time they reach age 60. This figure remains true although figures have fallen from 680,000 in 2002 to just around 434,000 in 2010.

Melissa Goist, OB-GYN and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus shared that a hysterectomy is a serious surgery that entails the surgical extraction of the uterus (sometimes including the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes) that can pose a serious risk of injury because major organs and blood vessels are moved around during the procedure.

Because of the above, complications following a hysterectomy can include bleeding and blood clots in the deep veins of the body, damage to internal organs such as the bladder and bowels, complications with anesthesia use, and infections. More so, because the uterus is taken away, a woman who’ve had a hysterectomy will no longer be able to get pregnant and will no longer have menstrual periods.

Who Are Candidates for Hysterectomy?

The above is not to say that the risks of having a hysterectomy outweigh the benefits. In cancerous conditions and other life-threatening medical issues, taking out the diseased organ is an absolute necessity to save the woman’s life.

Hysterectomies are used as a surgical intervention for cancers affecting the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, and ovaries. It is also used to treat uterine prolapse, chronic pelvic pain, severe endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. It should be noted that the majority of hysterectomies are performed to those diagnosed with benign conditions.

Women’s health specialist and OB-GYN Sheryl Ross says that she isn’t surprised by the findings but thinks that women should be given alternatives therapies prior to being told to undergo a hysterectomy. She further added that alternative treatments such as the use of hormones can treat benign gynecological medical conditions and that doctors are underutilizing them.

Alternatives to Look Into

Ross shared that women diagnosed with fibroids can ask their doctors about uterine artery embolization that may help shrink the uterine masses. Myectomy can also be an option instead of taking out the entire uterus, thus preserving fertility. For those with severe and chronic bleeding, endometrial ablation might be the answer and that the use of a pessary and Kegel exercises may help support the uterus of women with uterine prolapse.

Ross further added that those who are truly in need of a hysterectomy are women who’ve already tried and failed non-surgical options. Goist agreed to this and recommended that women should be pro-active in asking their doctors regarding alternative treatments. After all, a gynecological surgeon’s primary responsibility is to give the patient the best possible treatment.

Egg Donation – Should You Donate Your Eggs Or Not?

A few years ago, egg donation was often viewed as a cringe-worthy topic that few would dare speak out about in public. The stigma is not because it is a taboo topic but more of a by-product of inadequate information regarding it. Things are changing nowadays.

Human Egg Donation for infertilityWhat is Human Egg Donation?

Human egg donation is a medical process that usually begins by stimulating a young, healthy woman’s ovaries to produce extra eggs. The eggs are then retrieved and then made available to women who are struggling with infertility.

A huge percentage of egg donors are women who donate their eggs to close friend and family, however, some women are recruited by egg donation agencies or fertility clinics to join a registry for anonymous egg donors. Couples who are seeking healthy eggs are able to select from the registry whose eggs they will be used to produce a healthy child.

Who Will Benefit From an Egg Donation

It is not just women who have primary infertility that will benefit from a donor’s gracious egg donation. Many women these days are delaying childbearing and may become ready to be mothers when the quality of their eggs no longer match the ability of their uterus to bring a child to term. This further increases the demand for egg donors, a fact supported by a statement from Michelle Purcell, a nurse at Shady Grove Fertility who shared that about 15,000 women apply to be egg donors in their facility every year.

Are You Ready to be An Egg Donor?

If you are thinking of being an egg donor, you need to understand that there is the possibility of rejection and that your future child may not even know who you are. Below are some things to check to determine if you are indeed ready to donate your eggs.

Research on Your Eligibility

Most fertility clinics in the US have an egg donor approval rate of about 3%. This is because egg donors have a rigid screening method wherein the women’s age, physical location, health status, smoking history, sexual history, and familial history of diseases and disorders are taken into consideration.

Find Out What to Expect

Becoming an egg donor is not easy. There are lengthy applications to fill up, detailed physical and psychological exams to undergo, genetic testing to be done, and other tests to be completed.

Know that the entire process will take months because once you are selected as a donor, your menstrual cycle will have to be adjusted to match your egg’s recipient and that you will be given medications that will spur your egg production (this is partly why donors have to undergo psychological evaluation).

Understand the Risks

Because the process of egg donations means that the donor will be given fertility drugs and will have to undergo an invasive procedure to extract the eggs, it comes with certain health risks (this is why the first step was to screen for health issues, to begin with) that the doctor will talk to you about. It is just easier to know them beforehand.

Are You Doing It with the Right People for the Right Reasons

The right facility to donate eggs to won’t jump at any donor available. They will be careful with regards to every aspect of the egg donation process. They will make sure that you have a full understanding of what the process entails and will have specialists to support you medically, legally, and psychologically. They know that being selected as an egg donor is worth a lot more than the compensation of several thousand dollars. They want you to appreciate that egg donation is about choosing to share the gift of life.

Ovarian Tissue Freezing VS Egg Freezing, What is the Better Option?

Egg freezing for the preservation of a woman’s biological capacity to have a child has long been applied to some medical cases, but what if a woman’s special health condition won’t allow egg freezing to be an option for fertility preservation?

What if a woman wants to preserve hormonal function and not just fertility? Will ovarian tissue cryopreservation be the answer? Is it a better option than egg freezing or is it not?

Ovarian Tissue FreezingNew Study on Ovarian Tissue Freezing Gives Hope

Ovarian tissue freezing has been an experimental procedure with limited data available in the past, but a new study published in a SAGE Publishing journal, Reproductive Sciences, showed that it enabled almost 4 out of 10 women (or 37.7% of women) who’ve had the procedure to have children later on – a statistical figure that is giving hope to many affected individuals.

Highly Encouraging Results

The scientists involved in the study, Dr. Kutluk Oktay (the same person who did the first ovarian tissue freezing in 1999) and Dr. Fernanda Pacheco, his colleague and study co-author, examined 17 years’ worth of existing data from 1999 to 2016 to determine the procedure’s success rate. Their documentation shared the following information:

  • 84 births plus 8 pregnancies that went beyond the first trimester resulted from 309 ovarian tissue freezing procedures.
  • In the 113 cases that recorded the women’s ages at the time when their ovarian tissue was frozen, the procedure reversed menopause and restored the reproductive functions of nearly two-thirds of the women (a figure of 63.9%).
  • Women in the study either resumed having natural fertility, ovarian follicle growth, or menstrual cycle using their cryopreserved ovarian tissue. It is also recorded that women who conceived have an average age of 27 years.
  • In the majority of cases in the study, natural fertility was restored resulting to 1/3 of those women (37.6%) needing IVF to get pregnant and 2/3 (62.3%) being able to conceive naturally.

Is Ovarian Tissue Freezing Superior to Egg Cryopreservation?

Dr. Oktay stated that his findings show that ovarian tissue freezing is a superior fertility preservation compared to egg freezing because it does not only save a woman’s eggs but also reverse menopause and restore natural fertility.

Dr. Oktay says that the next step following this study is to find out how this can help delay childbearing in healthy women and not just women with medical conditions such as various cancers.

Possibilities Abound

Doctors Pacheco and Oktay wrote that the procedure is still in the experimental realm despite clinical progress being made (and available) in the last 17 years. They also shared that the data they have may help women who are considering delaying childbearing and preserving their fertility until much later in life.

The doctors stated that given the results of their study, ovarian tissue cryopreservation should be seen as a viable means to preserve fertility.

We say that the above information just shows that we live in a very exciting time. Here’s to more positive reproductive health and fertility news!

Drug Found to Prevent the Damaging Effects of Chemotherapy to Fertility

It is already known that standard chemotherapies have a negative impact on women’s fertility; which is why some of those who have to undergo chemotherapy choose to have their eggs preserved prior to treatment. A positive development regarding this has come to light as a drug that is currently being used to slow down tumor growth was also found to be capable of protecting the ovaries from the damaging effects of chemotherapy.

ChemotherapyHappy News

In a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers shared that the ovaries of mice given the drug prior to being exposed to chemotherapeutic compounds were protected from expected damage.

The research team led by scientists from NYU Langone Medical Center found that the drug everolimus protected ovaries from the effects of cyclophosphamide – a chemotherapeutic agent usually used in the treatment of breast cancer but was also known to cause the depletion of egg cells needed to achieve conception.

After their treatment, female mice that were treated with chemotherapy and everolimus were found to be able to produce twice as many offspring as mice that were only given chemotherapy.

The study authors say that studies with strong results with an already available drug (such as this) may have a speedier process of applying for permission to test in premenopausal human cancer patients.

Clinical Significance Abound

Kara Goldman, MD, the study’s author and NYU Langone reproductive endocrinologist said that their findings with the use of everolimus may represent a cancer treatment that does not affect fertility in the future. She added that this can be used to complement the freezing of embryos and eggs that are doubtless valued methods but have quite a few cons such as being too expensive, too time consuming, not protective of ovarian function, and is less effective with age.

Goldman entered into research fellowship after a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology because she wanted to identify drugs that can address the gap she sees in her practice as a fertility specialist. She added that patients need more options and should not have to face devastating life choices wherein they have to choose between preserving their ability to have children in the future and getting treated for cancer.

A Positive Beacon for Those with Ovarian Issues

Goldman’s current study revolves around the ovaries, the female reproductive organ with a limited supply of eggs that give rise to a baby. Although women begin puberty with around 300,000 primordial follicles that can develop into egg cells, fertility specialists realized that women who’ve undergone chemotherapy treatments have a markedly reduced ability to conceive because the treatment shrinks ovarian reserves.

The research team expressed their commitment in answering questions as to whether their findings will be applicable in general fertility. They do acknowledge that a medication that can protect and extend ovarian function would be valuable not just for cancer patients but also for women who have other health conditions that cause irreversible depletion of their ovarian reserve.

Licorice May Reduce Fertility by Reducing Sex Hormone Production

You’ve probably heard of licorice root being used for the relief of menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes) and to possibly fight cancer, but you’ve probably never heard that it may pose negative implications for women’s fertility as found in a new study that licorice may reduce fertility.

Not A Sweet News About Licorice

In a study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, researchers shared that exposure to the compound isoliquiritigenin in licorice is related to a decreased production of female sex hormones. They found out that isoliquiritigenin reduce the expression of genes associated with female sex hormone production thereby reducing the production of estrogen.

University of Illinois researcher Jodi Flaws and her colleagues did not go into the effect of reduced sex hormones in reproductive health in the study; however, they stated that said reduction in sex hormones may have serious implications in human fertility.

Licorice May Reduce FertilityA Backgrounder on Licorice

Commonly known as a form of chewy candy, licorice has been used as part of traditional and alternative medicine for centuries. The licorice root used in sweet concoctions and medicine is from a perennial plant that is native to many parts of Asia and Europe. It is often used as a sweeter because the root contains a compound that is about 50X sweeter than sugar.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the medicinal properties of licorice in the past. It has been scientifically proven to help prevent peptic ulcers, reduce hot flashes, relieve indigestion, treat coughs and colds, and even minimize the risk of some cancers. At present time, the compound isoliquiritigenin in licorice is being used as a tobacco flavoring agent and is often added to teas and herbal supplements.

Rewarded Curiosity

According to the research team, previous studies using animal models have shown that botanicals such as isoliquiritigenin may interfere with sex hormones, particularly estrogen. This piqued their interest and they wanted to find out whether isoliquiritigenin will have the same effect.

The team found out that aromatase gene expression was halved after exposure to isoliquiritigenin in the antral follicles of female mice that were exposed to the compound for periods of 48 to 96 hours. The test subjects’ antral follicles (a part of the ovary that expresses genes associated in the production of various hormones particularly estrogen) were exposed to either the isoliquiritigenin compound or a control compound during the study.

The study gathered that a reduced expression of genes associated with sex hormone production was observed when the mice’s antral follicles were bared to high levels of isoliquiritigenin. The most significant finding is that they identified a 50% reduction in gene expression for aromatase, an enzyme that turns testosterone to estrogen.

Why This Deserves Scientific Attention

With the above findings making its way to the scientific community, the research team stresses that their findings are only preliminary and that studies in live subjects are warranted. With this said, they also state that their early findings strongly suggest that exposure to the licorice compound isoliquiritigenin has a real potential to cause health issues and reproductive problems.

It is to be noted that lower sex hormones can pose a threat to general health because hormones are tied up with so many other processes in the body. In the case of estrogen, it is important for healthy bones, healthy brains, and healthy cardiovascular system. A 50% reduction in aromatase means a 50% reduction in estrogen production that can pose fertility issues and other health problems.