Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Comparative Genomic Hybridization - huh?

In a press release by the Sher Institute, they discuss comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) - a method in which DNA derived from a small egg chromosomal structure known as the first Polar body (PB-1), located immediately below the egg surface is tested. This testing aims to identify and then selectively fertilize only those eggs that are chromosomally normal and were thus deemed highly likely to be capable of developing into chromosomally normal embryos.

The results they report are good - a 74% live birth rate from a single cycle. In addition, they only transferred a maximum of two embryos, significantly reducing the risk of higher order multiples.

The same press release also mentions egg freezing using CGH and vitrification (a new method of rapid freezing of the ova, without causing damage to them) to freeze top-quality eggs for future use. 95% of the eggs frozen in the study thawed successfuly and 60% developed into viable embryos.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Double congratulations to Robbie who gave birth to twins this week! I have a special place in my heart for twins, especially boy/girl twins... People tend to think twins run in our family, since I have boy/girl twins & my younger brother has 2 sets of boy/girl twins (2-1/2 years apart, no less). Two of my mothers' cousins also have twins, but one of them is adopted and the other is a step-cousin... No matter which way you look at it, it's a coincidence, but a nice one :-)

Anyway, I just wanted to send a big Mazal Tov to Robbie & Ezra (their blog names) and to wish them a lot of happy times with their new babies!

Expecting soon in the blogosphere are Beth, suffering a horrible pregnancy with HG (she explains it well on her blog) and ElectricLady, with a unicornate uterus. Know any other IF bloggers who are expecting soon? Happy news makes my day :-)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Embryo Donation - Should we?

I got the following letter today:

"Hi there. I'm from Australia and wondering if anyone can help. My husband and I conceived two beautiful girls through IVF and then had a gorgeous son naturally. We are now in the unenviable position of having embryos we cannot use. We are thinking of donating them to a childless couple but are unsure. We would love to hear some stories from people who have donated embryos before. We have heard lots from recipients. Thanks"

Got a story or thought to share?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Endometriosis & Uterine Transplants

Kudos to Julia Bradbury, a presenter on BBC1's Watchdog who told her story of endometriosis just to help raise awareness. I admire her willingness to share something so personal.
Uterine transplants are in the headlines again. Dr. Sherman Silber doesn't see it as being realistic due to all the 'normal' problems associated with organ donation. Personally, it seems so science-fiction to me that I can't even think clearly about it... He brings up some interesting points, so if you're interested in the issues, read the article.
Special thanks to Nomi, my 9-1/2-month-old baby, who has now slept for more than 7 hours straight two nights in a row. Her sleep makes this blogging possible...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ovarian Transplants

Stacy sent in the most incredible story - at 25 she was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure & her FSH was over 100. She was told she would never be able to have children of her own. Fortunately, Stacy had a trick up her sleeve. She is an identical twin, so she asked her sister to donate eggs & went through IVF with the eggs that would hopefully give her and her husband children that, genetically, would be identical to those she should have been able to have naturally. But the IVF failed & Stacy and her sister were devastated, until they heard about ovarian tissue transplants.

Ovarian transplant is currently only available to identical twins and as far as I can tell, it's only being done at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The most famous case is of Stephanie Yarber, who is the first woman to have delivered a baby after ovarian transplant (includes a video of the doctor who delivered the baby), but since then, at least 4 others have delivered healthy babies.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

IVF babies become parents

I was shocked to see this article (2 articles about the same birth) today. Not because it is shocking that the world's first IVF baby, Louise Brown, has become a mom, but because earlier today I was thinking that there must already be a second generation after IVF... Louise's sister, Natalie was the first IVF baby to become a mom. Pretty cool.

After dealing with all the "is she normal?" questions about my daughter, it feels like another reassurance that there isn't anything different about being a test-tube baby. (And believe me, I get the weirdest letters about the effect of light on the embryos in the lab.)

Congratulations, Louise :-) and a special congratulations to her parents who worked so long & made such an effort to have her & by doing so proved that it was possible.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I'll need a double room

Womb, actually, that is... A woman with a double womb gave birth to triplets - a pair of identical twins in one womb and another baby in the other. Hannah Kersey, who's just 23 is now a mom to 3 girls born in September, 7 weeks early by c-section. This is the first reported case of triplets born from two uteruses in the same woman. Apparently, separate or partially joined wombs are more common than I thought - about 1/1000. As for City Girl, (with a unicornate uterus) she and Bat Girl are hanging in there, nearing 35 weeks now :-)

I've written about uterine transplant before and I find the continued research very interesting. They write that "The researchers point out that the transplant of organs that are not needed to preserve life raises ethical issues." I'm guessing that they are referring to the danger of major surgery and of rejection by the recipient, because there are organs that are donated to improve the quality of life (e.g., cornea transplants).

This article, last week about the first baby born after the Katrina embryo rescue brought tears to my eyes. I can only imagine what the couples with frozen embryos were going through - not only were their houses and their city being destroyed, but possibly their future children too. Some stories do have happy endings :-) Thank you, Eema, for sending me the link!

There was an interesting article recently about infertility in Orthodox Jews (from the Jewish Press). I may have heard it before, but still found it surprising that IUI is sometimes permitted even at times when the couple is not allowed to be intimate. Considering the large number of phone calls I've had from short-cycled women who are having trouble trying to conceive (let me know if you'd like an explanation as to why), this may not be a fun solution, but it at least is another option to taking drugs to postpone ovulation.

If you're interested in what's happening in the infertility field and would either like to post a guest post or join this blog, feel free to write me.