Archive for the ‘1’ Category

MedTech Investor: Check Out the Assumptions of Our Minimum Viable Product Scenario

August 2, 2016

Warhol, Andy, Dollar Sign, 1981Some time back, I published here a blog post titled “The Ovulona is not another ovulation kit, my dear” in response to a Jennifer K. who had written: How is this different from the other ovulation kits on the market today? It seems very similar to products I have seen before. At the time, my blog posts were addressed to all the fertility info-seeking Jennifers (and Jeffreys, too) out there in the social networks but not particularly to the women’s healthcare technology investors.

Now it’s the latter I am reaching out to.

And I refer to Home Page of bioZhena’s Weblog to be reviewed in connection with the business assumptions. (Or Reproductive Health IQ Does Matter, a LinkedIn post.)

In the present post, we present the bioZhena Business Assumptions. This is to draw attention to the big picture that emerges even in the Minimum Viable Scenario (MVS), the detailed assumptions of which have been worked from bottom up (with due attention to the TAM, SAM and the SOM). bioZhena Corporation’s goal is to implement the Full Value Scenario that was constructed based on the MVS. More on this in the closing paragraph of this post.

Here is a summary of the MVS, the Minimum Viable Product Scenario:

SUMMARY OF MINIMUM VIABLE SCENARIO’S SERVICEABLE AVAILABLE MARKET IN THE U.S. ALONE

US Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC mean cost of $2,600 p.a.) is $21,320,000,000

US Trying-To-Conceive Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC minimum cost of $200 p.a.) is $1,640,000,000

US Initial Off-Label Birth Control Serviceable Available Market (SAM) $$ is $82,492,000

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Projection: FIRST PRODUCT SALES IN MONTH 16 POST FUNDING (first product application already FDA-cleared)

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Summary Comparison of Minimum Viable Scenario (MVS) with Full Value Scenario (FVS)

FVS compared with MVSClick on the image for better legibility

(the URL is: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/comparison-mvs-cf-fvs.pps )

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And now for the assumptions – with pictorial embellishments for dividers between the market segments.

Listing sources of market data (with some comments) followed by the resulting numerical USD market size assumptions.

‘Satyre et Bacchante’ by Jean-Jacques Pradier, marble, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille.

‘Satyre et Bacchante’ by Jean-Jacques Pradier, marble, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille.

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Birth Control (BC) Market

CDC 2014 survey: 61.7% of the 60.9 million US women ages 15-49 practice contraception (= 37.6 million contraceptors), and of these 48.1% use the most common methods (the pill, sterilization, condoms, and long-acting reversible contraceptives). That leaves 38.3% or 23.32 million non-contracepting women.

un.org Trends in Contraceptive Use Worldwide 2015 Report, Annex Table II: Number of US married or in-union women using contraception = 28,600,000. Number of US women who have an unmet need for family planning = 2,560,000. Worldwide number of women using contraception is 758,000,000 and the number of women who have an unmet need for family planning is 142,000,000 (these are median data as of 2015). Couples often desire to control not just the number of children, but also the timing. We address this desire or need by design.

Next, per Guttmacher Institute 2016 fact sheet, nearly half (45% or 2.8 million) of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended in 2011 (and 42% of those ended in abortion). Contraceptive failure rate plays a big role in this. Meaning that, for 2.8 million of the 37.6 million contracepting women, their method fails (and they seek a solution). 43 million US women were at risk of unintended pregnancy in 2008. (Public expenditures on unintended pregnancies nationwide were estimated to be $21.0 billion in 2010.)

For this Minimum Value Scenario, the conservative assessment of the number of US women in the birth control market is to choose between the 43 million at risk in 2008 and the 2.8 million of unintended pregnancies in 2011 plus the 2,560,000 who have an unmet need for family planning. We choose the latter, which is much smaller, i.e. 2,800,000 plus 2,560,000 = 5,360,000 as the number of US women in the family planning (BC) market segment for our Serviceable Available Market. Indisputably conservative.

US costs of personal birth control average $1,006/year (Health Aff (Millwood) 2015 and americanprogress.org 2012). Since average ACA saving was 20%, then 100% = $ 251.5 times 5 = $ 1,257.50.  So, $ 1,257.5 – $ 251.50 = $1,006. (ACA = Affordable Care Act.) Double-check the reasonableness via this tweet.

Hence Our Birth Control (BC) Numerical Assumptions For the Minimum Value Scenario Are:

Number of US Women in the family planning (BC) market is 5,360,000

US Serviceable Available Market (SAM) $$ is $5,392,160,000

Worldwide Number of Women in the family planning (BC) market is 758,000,000

Worldwide Total Available Market $$ is very large even with only the unmet-need number of 142,000,000 women

E.g. if the estimate is based on the above US cost average, TAM is $142,852,000,000

Oh joy  Found on poodlefuzz.tumblr.com

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Initial Off-Label BC Market Upon the Ovulona Launch Assumed At 1%

Commercial market research compendium reports: The Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) tests are utilized for the unauthorized off-label use of aiding women’s natural birth control practice.

Quote: “About Half Who Use Tests Do Not Want Pregnancy”.

(http://www.marketresearch.com/Packaged-Facts-v768/Home-Medical-Tests-143386/).

Here we assume only 1% of the 8,200,000 US Fertility-Impaired Women Ages 15-44 (see below the CDC data on the TTC market), which is 82,000 women, translating at the assumed mean annual BC cost of $1,006 into an off-label $82,492,000 SAM upon the Ovulona launch into the TTC Market. To reiterate, we assume that 1% of those in the market for a tech tool aiding conception are in fact in the market to help themselves to avoid pregnancy by fertility awareness and will be off-label Ovulona users as soon as the Ovulona becomes available in the marketplace.

This is a reasonable conservative assumption in view of the 69.5 million US Catholics (the largest religious body in the United States) comprising 22% of the population[1] as of 2015. The assumed 82,000 women represent a mere 0.1% of the Catholic population. See an example of unsolicited expression of interest in the Ovulona from a US Catholic. Ovulona market research with 5,000 US women revealed that 70% of those who would buy the Ovulona would switch from their present contraception method.

The assumed SAM number of $82,492,000  represents 30.5% (but read on) of the annual retail sales of ovulation prediction kits (OPKs or LH kits) in the U.S. as they were reported in 2008/2009 when OPKs outpaced the annual sales of home pregnancy tests. The NYT article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/business/media/02adco.html?_r=2 cited the annual OPK sales data of $270 million from IRI (Information Resources, Inc.). They derived it from in-store scanners at the retailer level for all of their major CPG clients (Consumer Packaged Goods companies) except for Wal-Mart. This info courtesy of Edward Saettone (via Linkedin Answers).

At annual growth rate of over 10% for personalized diagnostic tools (per PricewaterhouseCoopers), this suggests a SAM over $560,000,000 in 2016, and the assumed off-label SAM of $82,492,000 then represents ~15% of this documented and extrapolated figure for annual sales of OPKs in 2016. The SAM percentage (~15%) will be further reduced by the sales of the electronic ovulation predictor tests that have entered the market in the last decade or so.

For the worldwide assumption we take as base 6% of the worldwide number (758,000,000) minus the number in least developed countries (60,800,000) because: 1.  Only 6 per cent of married or in-union women worldwide used rhythm or withdrawal in 2015 (per un.org …/trendsContraceptiveUse2015Report.pdf), and 2. it is well known that especially this sub-population of women (and men) keep looking for a better tool to help them practice fertility awareness/natural family planning.  6% of 697,200,000 = 41,832,000.

Hence Our Numerical Assumptions For the Minimum Value Scenario Are:

Number of US Women off-label users upon device launch into the TTC Market segment (below) is 82,000

US Off-Label Serviceable Available Market $$ is $82,492,000

Worldwide Number of Women off-label users upon device launch is 41,832,000

Worldwide Total Available Market $$ is very large

E.g. if the estimate were based on the above US cost average, TAM is $42,082,992,000

 pregnant 2

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Trying-To-Conceive (TTC) Market

CDC PUBLIC HEALTH GRAND ROUNDS 2015, slide 36 titled “Impact of Lack of Insurance on Decision-Making”: Non-ART: $200 – $5,000 (and IVF: $10,000 – $15,000). Out-of-pocket costs can be substantial and impact patient decision-making and risk-taking – referring particularly to the IVF. (ART stands for Artificial Reproductive Technologies such as IVF, In Vitro Fertilization). We take $2,600 as the mean annual cost of TTC (Trying-To-Conceive, non-ART).

CDC Reproductive Health data last updated 2015: Number of US women ages 15-44 with impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term: 6.7 million or 10.9%. Number of US married women ages 15-44 who are infertile (unable to get pregnant after at least 12 consecutive months of unprotected sex): 1.5 million or 6.0%. The sum of the primary and secondary infertility sufferers in the U.S. is 8.2 million women.

NIH Analysis of 277 Surveys 2012: Worldwide in 2010, 48.5 million couples were unable to have a child, of which 19.2 million couples were unable to have a first child (primary infertility), and 29.3 million couples were unable to have an additional child (secondary infertility, and the figure excludes China). Due to population growth, the number of couples suffering from infertility has increased since 1990, when 42.0 million couples were unable to have a child. Also, from WHO Evaluation Of Surveys 2004: More than 186 million ever-married women of reproductive age in developing countries were maintaining a “child wish”, translating into one in every four couples or 25%. We note this but opt for the NIH data, above.

Hence Our TTC Numerical Assumptions For the Minimum Value Scenario Are:

Number of US Fertility-Impaired Women Ages 15-44 is 8,200,000

US Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC mean cost of $2,600 p.a.) is $21,320,000,000

US Serviceable Available Market $$ (at the TTC minimum cost of $200 p.a.) is $1,640,000,000

Worldwide Number of Women Who Are Unable to Have a Child is 48,500,000

Worldwide Total Available Market $$ is very large

E.g. if the estimate were based on the US non-ART cost average of $2,600 (see above), TAM is $126,100,000,000

Boatswain is piloting the Eagle to the dock

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In closing, the reader is reminded that the above are the Assumptions for the bioZhena Minimum Value Scenario (Minimum Viable Product Scenario), which scenario represents the proverbial “low hanging fruit”. This is because our core product’s first application has FDA 510k clearance for aiding conception & generating diagnostic menstrual profiles for physicians. Our goal is to pursue the Full Value Scenario of the bioZhena Business Plan because of the potential of the bioZhena technology – summarized in the single slide here (the URL is https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/single-slide-biozhena-technology-potential-on-white-background1.pps ). Aiming to go well beyond personal reproductive management (which is, admittedly, where it all started, as evident from the whole bioZhena’s Weblog and other web presence).

And for Investors – PPM at https://www.equitynet.com/profile.aspx

Might check out first  Home Page of bioZhena’s Weblog

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bioZhena venture

July 9, 2015

A 2017 update.

bioZhena’s technology platform is bound to revolutionize women’s healthcare with diagnostic tools for women and their doctors & payers.

Empower women with clear menstrual cycle data vs. drugging healthy women & the iatrogenic consequences. That is the first (reproductive management) front, opened along with providing a superior (meaning: definitive) tool with which to tackle the ever-growing difficulty of getting pregnant when planned. And using the same tool for hormone-free, non-interventional, pregnancy avoidance.

Also unprecedented and important for public health is our way of monitoring cervical health at home. This will work in the background of the primary process, not bothering the user unless a tissue aberration is detected consistently several months in a row. This way of screening, and its affordability, should significantly improve on the Pap smear screening test.

Transforming Female Reproductive Health Management prt scr

Explore the few slides including the links in some of them: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/new-mostly-narrated-slides-2017-03e2.pps

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But perhaps – especially if you are a male reader – you may feel that a daily (or almost daily) insertion for the quick self-check is too much to expect of a woman keen on knowing her daily fertility status plus the additional benefits of the routine?

Then our next generation telemetric cervical ring iteration of the same smart sensor is the answer for you. She and her doctor will have a choice.

See the image of a slide and click it to view the slide, grasp the significance:

Friendly Technology - with cervical ring & Ovulograph

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/single-slide-friendly-tech-with-cervical-ring-ovulograph.pps

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My gynecology colleague would argue that the other major healthcare front is even more important. Namely, our way of providing to the women’s healthcare professionals access to the menstrual cycle vital sign longitudinal records, which she likened to the cardiologists’ ECG recordings but with the important advantage of being affordably and routinely generated by patients at home.

This other major front is providing to the healthcare system the means of obtaining a handle on the management of gynecologic and obstetric medical issues that require better diagnostic evidence for more effective and preventative therapies. In short, we are answering the call and challenge to “Improve the methods and criteria to assess ovulatory dysfunction” (per R.S. Legro MD, 2013).

Current modalities to diagnose preterm labor cannot detect the early biochemical changes of the cervix which result in dilation that leads to preterm births. Once the advanced signs of preterm labor are found, remedies to stop it are often futile and always costly for the healthcare system ($26B annually in USA alone), and frequently have adverse long-term consequences for the prematurely-born child and the family.

Abstract of Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012, 207(5), 345–354

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/impedence-beyond-cervical-length.pdf

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The bioZhena technology will alert the women-users and their healthcare providers on a timely basis to the onset of pregnancy-related conditions such as normal and preterm labor. And the detection of pregnancy, whether intended or unintended, is automatic with the primary routine use of the home-use smart sensor.

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And here is now the financial pro forma aspect of bioZhena’s breakthrough non-interventional approach to women’s healthcare.

5-year pro forma assuming $6M funding (Business Plan Summary Financial Projections)

Or

10-year projections:

Minimum Viable Product Scenario (MVS) and Full Value Scenario (FVS)

FVS compared with MVS

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/comparison-mvs-cf-fvs.pps

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bioZhena’s pitch on EquityNet:

Women’s personal sex management for the Information Age.

Generating diagnostic vital-sign profiles for doctors and payers. This first app of proprietary cervical sensor has FDA clearance.

Income from it will support further breakthrough applications.

The gist of the bioZhena women’s healthcare breakthrough is this:

We monitor the brain – sex organs feedback loop.

Nobody else does.

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See the illustration below. Grasp the significance: The market offers you anything other than what’s needed, which is the monitoring of the feedback brain – ovary interactions.

“To mitigate the startup investment risk, the first app is an already FDA-cleared electronic fertility monitor for women at home…

Our electronic technology platform is bound to revolutionize women’s healthcare with diagnostic tools for women and their doctors & payers.

… will provide for non-interventional reproductive management, aiding conception and natural birth control without hormones, and automatically detecting pregnancy – planned or accidental. …

We will offer early detection of cervical cancer and other STDs as a built-in screen performed innocuously in the privacy of one’s home – automatically in the background of the primary monitoring…

Ovulona™ tracks the female reproductive cycle via the end-organ effect of the brain-ovary feedback loop on the uterine cervix. Numerous benefits ensue…”

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For a fuller description of the project, go to https://www.equitynet.com/c/biozhena-corporation

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HPG slide 4 screen shot from 5 slide show

This is a screen shot of slide 4 from a 5-slide set https://lnkd.in/ed9yXUX

– one of the materials provided in the EquityNet posting.

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Contra Nescience Contra Insouciance (SM 2015)

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And yours truly bioZhena founder seeks a well-matched management partner of either gender.

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women’s health, reproductive management | Scoop.it

April 4, 2015
chagall_nativite_nesign.jpg

chagall_nativite_nesign.jpg

For a scoop of my 2015 blog posts on LinkedIn and a couple of other social media, click here: women’s health, reproductive management | Scoop.it.

If my Good Friday philippic denouncing the Pill and its consequences https://lnkd.in/bPZVWKV makes you wonder how all this could be possible, think of the history of the Pill development and use.

History: The Great Bluff That Led To A ‘Magical’ Pill And A Sexual Revolution http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/07/354103536/the-great-bluff-that-lead-to-a-magical-pill-and-a-sexual-revolution.

Development & use: Why too many young and not so young ladies could NOT receive flowers on Mothers’ Day: Why so many trying-to-conceive, why so much infertility https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/why-too-many-young-and-not-so-young-ladies-could-not-receive-flowers-on-mothers-day-why-so-many-trying-to-conceive-why-so-much-infertility/

The short URL above, https://lnkd.in/bPZVWKV, stands for http://biozhena.tumblr.com/post/113125522418/recap-2-reason-why-a-non-hormonal-birth-control  Recap #2 reason why a non-hormonal birth control option is a good idea: It’s not all in the head – the bad effects of the Pill.

And the motto in my profile is Contra Nescience Contra Insouciance. It stands for Against Ignorance Against Indifference.

bioZhena & Women’s Fertility Watch(ing)

March 3, 2015

bioZhena & Women’s Fertility Watch(ing)

Let’s bring women’s personal management of sex life (“can I conceive today?”) into the Information Age.

And provide diagnostic vital-sign menstrual profiles to doctors & payers along the way.

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/ovulona-quick-intro-4-slides1.pps

Lovers (Mr. and Mrs. Hembus) - Kirchner

Recapping why a non-hormonal birth control option for women is a good idea because of the drug’s brain effects

Serious health consequences of delaying pregnancy, and the need for prevention of impaired fertility also known as subfertility and infertility

January 2, 2013

Simply put: We must talk prevention versus treatment of this health condition, which is not inevitable. On the present large scale, impaired fertility is anthropogenic – where anthropogenic means “caused or produced by humans”. When trying to conceive, it is highly advisable not to delay baby making beyond the optimal age of early 20s, and in any case to practice “focused intercourse”. In that connection (with said focus), “anthropogenic” acquires a positive connotation – even if my introduction is no longer exactly simply put!

Absolute Must: Focus on Fertile Window

The said focus on focused intercourse is an absolute must, and you save yourself a lot of grief that way because there can be no conception outside of the fertile window, whether subfertile or not. This should really be in your mind and in your heart when you are trying to conceive. And if you are, unfortunately, past the optimal age of early twenties, just try and don’t delay pregnancy any longer – for a good reason (or rather for several good reasons)!

To expand on this, let the scene be set by excerpts from a review in a medical journal written already 10 years ago by a consultant in reproductive medicine (director of an assisted conception unit in London): “ABC of subfertility. Extent of the problem”, BMJ 2003 August 23; 327(7412): 434–436 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC188498/).

QUOTE: One in six couples [17%] have an unwanted delay in conception. Roughly half of these couples will conceive either spontaneously or with relatively simple advice or treatment.

Most couples presenting with a fertility problem do not have absolute infertility (that is, no chance of conception), but rather relative subfertility with a reduced chance of conception… so that only 4% remain involuntarily childless. As each couple has a substantial chance of conceiving without treatment, relating the potential benefit of treatment to their chances of conceiving naturally is important…  END QUOTE.

Encouraging (isn’t it?)

This is rather encouraging, isn’t it? The cited reproductive medicine specialist states further that spontaneous conception has about a 30% conception rate in the first month of trying, and the chance then falls steadily to about 5% by the end of the first year. Such statistical pronouncements are just that. The following citation is unarguably meaningful – and we do not gloss over the “timing of intercourse during the natural cycle”.

“The likelihood of spontaneous conception is affected by [= is dependent on] age, previous pregnancy, duration of subfertility, timing of intercourse during the natural cycle, extremes of body mass, and [any] pathology present. A reasonably high spontaneous pregnancy rate still occurs even after the first year of trying. A strong association exists between subfertility and increasing female age. The reduction in fertility is greatest in women in their late 30s and early 40s. For women aged 35-39 years the chance of conceiving spontaneously is about half that of women aged 19-26 years.” QUOTE UNQUOTE.

These things have been covered in the various earlier posts of this blog, with appropriate emphasis on said timing of intercourse during the natural menstrual cycle. That’s because, even if you did have a previous pregnancy and you do NOT have an extreme body mass and/or a pathology causing the difficulty to get pregnant, you (and anyone else) can only conceive during the short fertile period, the so-called fertile window.

… but: “Be a young mother!”

And, I go again as far as urging you, “Be a young mother!” As I said, this earnest recommendation is for a good reason. Because, in addition to what I have told you about before (e.g. in https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/the-perils-of-ivf-of-arts-of-giving-birth-at-old-age-part-2/ ), now see and grasp this:

Serious health consequences of delayed conception are beginning to appear in medical literature; that is, serious consequences for the mother, for the would-be mum.

For example, in a paper titled “Subfertility and risk of later life maternal cardiovascular disease” published in Hum. Reprod. 2012 Feb;27(2):568-75 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22131387). The authors gave this background: “Subfertility shares common pathways with cardiovascular disease (CVD), including polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS], obesity and thyroid disorders. Women with prior no or just one pregnancy are at an increased risk of incident CVD when compared with women with two pregnancies.”

They concluded that subfertility among women who eventually have a childbirth is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. As if we all did not know that even without subfertility adding to it, heart disease is the leading cause of death among women [see http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Gender_matters_Heart_disease_risk_in_women.htm or literally millions of other web pages].

Anderle - Bestia triumphans II

Jiří Anderle / Jiri Anderle
Bestia triumphans II
lept, měkký kryt / etching, vernis mou
1984, opus 271, 65 x 95,5 cm
http://www.galerieart.cz/prodej_anderle_2.htm
For the “triumphant beast” and Giordano Bruno’s story see http://twitpic.com/8r5lyi

More reasons to prevent subfertility

But there is not just the cardiovascular risk, as if that were not enough! Concerns about cancer risk in connection with subfertility have been raised in medical literature already about a decade ago, such as in the paper “Cancer risk associated with subfertility and ovulation induction: a review” – published in Cancer Causes Control 2000 Apr;11(4):319-44 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10843444).

However, there “the only consistent association observed is an increased risk of endometrial cancer for women with subfertility due to hormonal disorders. While positive findings in some studies on fertility drugs and ovarian cancer risk have aroused serious concern, the associations observed in most of these reports appear to be due to bias or chance rather than being causal.”

So, as always, more investigations are needed but the health concern does not go away. The paper concluded: “To discriminate between the possible carcinogenic effects of various ovulation induction regimens, subfertility disorders, and reproductive characteristics associated with subfertility, future studies should include large populations of subfertile women with sufficient follow-up time.”

Well, the truth is that my purpose – and the purpose of bioZhena Corporation – is to make the population of subfertile women as small as possible, by helping every one of you to determine in every menstrual cycle the very narrow fertile window for your focused intercourse, the fundamental requirement for getting pregnant.

This fundamental requirement you already know, I trust. If not, explore the bioZhena’s Weblog for clarification (you can use Table of Contents at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/table-of-contents-links-to-biozhena-posts/ or try searching the blog by means of the widget in the margin on the home page, shown as Search bioZhena’s Weblog – enter keyword, hit Enter). It is frustrating that one of my recent blog pieces had to be on the subject of only the best that you can do for your fertility awareness in the absence of the Ovulona™ – because our Ovulona is not yet available to you due to our lack of financing (see https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/end-of-the-year-and-trying-to-get-pregnant/ ).

Anthropogenic, iatrogenic

Meanwhile, here is another medical-literature paper, this time about cancer risk of drugs that the healthcare industry uses to help women get pregnant – after helping women to prevent pregnancy with another (the big P) drug, the anthropogenic cause of what experts have called the epidemic of impaired fertility: “Ovulation inducing agents and cancer risk: review of literature” published in Curr Drug Saf. 2011 Sep 1;6(4):250-8 (find the abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22129320).

The authors give the following summary: “Over the past decades, the use of ovulation inducing drugs has been increasing. A possible causal link between fertility treatments (especially [the widely used] clomiphene citrate and gonadotrophins) and various types of malignancies, including cancers of female reproductive system, thyroid cancer and melanoma, has been postulated. The majority of the available studies on this subject suffer from methodological limitations, including the small number of outcomes, short and incomplete follow-up, and inability to control for potential confounders.

Concerning ovarian cancer, while early studies led to the suggestion of an association between ovulation inducing agents and increased risk of malignancies, the majority of data do not support a causal link.

An increased risk was recently observed in women giving birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF), but it appeared to be consequential to the infertile status rather than the effect of fertility drugs. More controversial are the results concerning breast cancer with some investigations suggesting an increased risk after exposure to ovulation inducing agents, especially clomiphene citrate, whereas others not supporting this concept. A possible trend towards an increased risk has been reported by some authors for endometrial cancer.

Altogether, current data should be thus regarded as a signal for the need of further studies rather than being definitive in them.” END QUOTE.

After introduction of the anti-conception Pill

I must emphasize and impress on you the fact that subfertility and infertility became a societal problem of increasingly large proportions only after the introduction of the anti-conception Pill. “After 3 and up to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced.” The S crypts of the endocervical canal are needed for conception.

To further cite Professor Erik Odeblad : “Complications arising from the use of the Pill are very frequent. Infertility after its use for 7-15 years is a very serious problem. S crypts are very sensitive to normal and cyclical stimulation by natural estrogens, and the Pill causes atrophy of these crypts. Fertility is impaired since the movement of sperm cells up the canal is reduced. Treatment is difficult.”

You can find more on this in my earlier post, Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s. (Regardless of what contraceptive proponents tell you.)

MARINA RICHTEROVÁ - Golgota, Hommage a P. Bruegel, 1998 and The Juliet, 2000

MARINA RICHTEROVÁ – Golgota, Hommage a P. Bruegel, 1998 and The Juliet, 2000

(Picture from https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/the-perils-of-ivf-of-arts-of-giving-birth-at-old-age-part-2/marina-richterova-golgota-hommage-a-p-bruegel-1998-and-the-juliet-2000/ )

Ignored. Now, the consequences

I am reminded of an insight expressed on the floor of the US Congress after the Pill made a big impact on society in the 1960s. In 1970, Dr. Hugh J. Davies of Johns Hopkins University told the US Senate in the Nelson Hearings about the contraceptive Pill: “Never before in history have so many people taken such powerful medication with so little information as to its actual and potential risks. …With the introduction of such active ingredients, we are actually setting up a massive endocrinological experiment with millions of healthy women.”

Well, decades later we are reaping the consequences of the massive experiment. Said millions of healthy women are not quite so healthy, are they? It is high time to fix this man-made problem.

In an earlier post I wrote: Iatrogenic medicine kicking Hippocrates where it hurts the most. Was it in the blog piece last-linked above?

How baby-making late in life evolved into subfertility and infertility, difficult conception, too long TTC

December 28, 2012

Way back, in the pre-contraceptive Pill days, the difficulty to become pregnant was not a widespread phenomenon, and mums were  younger than many are nowadays. If you want to see graphical proof of how the phenomenon came about in the previous century, review the attached paper Google evidence of increasing prevalence of subfertility. Should you not be a subfertility or infertility sufferer, and therefore not familiar with the acronym, TTC stands for Trying To Conceive.

The evolution of subfertility and infertility (as a big-time societal phenomenon) in the U.S. can be summarized based on data from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005074.html#ixzz2GBMSkUKy  [Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc.] as follows.

In 1940, births to mothers over 29 years old (30 to 49) were apparently almost as numerous as births to mums of the optimal fertility age 20-24: The ratio of 30-49 years old to the optimal-age group was 0.91 [here referred to as ratio a) =  data for 30–34 plus 35–39 plus 40–44 plus 45–49, this sum divided by data for 20–24], and the number of births in the most fertile age group of mums represented 31% of all births in the U.S.

In case you did not check out the above-linked attachment https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/google-evidence-of-increasing-prevalence-of-subfertility.pdf : The high number of 1940 births to older mothers [high ratio a)] is not so surprising in view of the growing number of books on subfertility and infertility in the 1940s, as seen in the respective Google Ngrams shown here and discussed in the attached PDF paper.

Ngram 3: infertility and contraception

Ngram 3: infertility and contraception

In the present analysis of the historical birth rates, the age group of 25-29 is considered kind of neutral (neither optimal nor too old) whereas the 30-34 years old group is included among the too old ages for optimal fertility. This inclusion could be disputed – if we did not face the subfertility/infertility phenomenon, in which age is a significant factor. In any case, excluding the 30-34 age group from the aged-motherhood definition only delays the trend reversal – observed below in 1980 – by a decade.

I interject here a citation from the post referenced and linked at the end of this post, so that you’ll be well aware of the link between conception difficulties and advancing age, and of the adverse effect of the use of the Pill.

QUOTE: People have a hard time accepting that getting pregnant is not as easy as expected, when they finally decide to want a baby – usually way too late, and after her use of the Pill. The drug makes healthy young women in their best years to postpone family- and baby-making, it damages their cervical S-crypts thus causing difficulty to conceive and, by encouraging promiscuous sex life, it has caused an enormous increase in the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases that also lead to infertility. Not just a double whammy, a triple whammy on womankind.  Sad, sad, sad. … Advanced age of the would-be Mum works against her on account of the Mother Nature’s Probabilistic Rules and Regulations of Baby-Making… END QUOTE.

An obgyn’s article on female subfertility in the Lancet invokes “two main factors that determine subfertility: duration of childlessness and age of the woman”. It is not likely that an obgyn would be as critical of the Pill as yours truly, although there have been exceptions. No further comment on this is needed or offered in this blog post. Instead, I share that another medical article from Britain reported that “the incidence of infertility was 0.9 couples per 1000 general population. The average age of women was 31 years, and the average time attempting conception was 18 months… At 12 months, 27% of all couples in the study achieved a pregnancy spontaneously and a further 9% with treatment.”

Here are the 1940 US birth statistics data from the referenced infoplease.com source:

Year

Total

Under 15

15–19

20–24

25–29

30–34

35–39

40–44

45–49

1940

2,558,647

3,865

332,667

799,537

693,268

431,468

222,015

68,269

7,558

And this is the calculation for the present analysis of the data:

a) 729,310/799,537 = 0.912

(ratio a is the sum of births to age groups from age 30 to age 49 divided by births to age group 20 – 24)

b) 799,537/2,558,647 =  0.312

(ratio b is births to age group 20 – 24 divided by total births in 1940)

By 1950 and 1960, the trend was good because ratio a) declined from 0.91 to 0.86 and then to 0.80 while the number of optimally aged young mothers rose slightly to 32% and then to 33.5%. These pre-Pill years were good years from this perspective, and the trend continued – even after the contraceptive Pill was introduced (in the 1960s), at least initially.

In 1970, there was a drop in the total number of births from the total of 1960 (4,257,850 births) and a dramatic drop in the number of births by aged mothers [ratio a) was 0.47] – and the births by the most fertile age group were up to 38% of all births. As though the contraceptive Pill worked in this sense (but only if we do not look at the significantly increased births by underage girls, especially the under 15)… Here is the 1970 data from the above source:

Year

Total

Under 15

15–19

20–24

25–29

30–34

35–39

40–44

45–49

1970

3,731,386

11,752

644,708

1,418,874

994,904

427,806

180,244

49,952

3,146

Unfortunately, in 1980 – that’s some 20 years after the Pill was introduced – the trend started to reverse while the total births continued to drop (and underage births dropped, too): Ratio a) of the number of aged mothers’ births to the most fertile age group’s births rose to 0.58 and births by the most fertile 20-24 year old mums represented now only 34% of total US births. The bad trend toward older-age motherhood continued.

By 1990, there were even more births to aging mothers than births to the most fertile age group, with ratio a) standing at 1.15 and the number of births to mothers of the optimal age group having dropped to a mere 26%.

The bad trend continued so that in 2000 advanced-age mothers exceeded the optimal-age group with ratio a) at 1.45, and with the optimally aged mums at 25% of total births. The trend continued further so that in 2009 advanced-age mothers exceeded the optimally aged mums by a factor of 1.53 [= ratio a)] and the optimal age group’s births dropped to 24% of total births. Data for 2009 are the most recent available data.

Tamara de Lempicka Quattrocento, 1937

Tamara de Lempicka Quattrocento, 1937

Is the difference between way back and now the reason for one other elevated readership statistic here on bioZhena’s Weblog? It is intriguing to see that during the months of the highest numbers of US births/deliveries (late summer and autumn, well before the year-end Holiday Season), a highly viewed post this year was the one published around the time of Mother’s Day: Why too many young and not so young ladies could NOT receive flowers on Mothers’ Day. Why so many trying-to-conceive, why so much infertility = https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/why-too-many-young-and-not-so-young-ladies-could-not-receive-flowers-on-mothers-day-why-so-many-trying-to-conceive-why-so-much-infertility/ Say thank you to the social and medical advances of the twentieth century – primarily those of chemical birth control, the Pill.

What do you think of all this?

End of the year, and trying to get pregnant

December 14, 2012

The best you can do for your fertility awareness and natural family planning in the absence of the Ovulona™ when you want to conceive a pregnancy. (Not valid for pregnancy avoidance.)

Now, at the end of the year, …

"...Josef Lada did far more than illustrate the Hasek's Good Soldier Svejk novel, and his idealized paintings of carol singers and family gatherings are, for many in this country, an enduring symbol of Czech Christmas." http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/josef-ladas-paintings-an-enduring-symbol-of-czech-christmas/pictures/obrazy/lada-josef/vanoce.jpg

“…Josef Lada did far more than illustrate the Hasek’s Good Soldier Svejk novel, and his idealized paintings of carol singers and family gatherings are, for many in this country, an enduring symbol of Czech Christmas.” http://www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/josef-ladas-paintings-an-enduring-symbol-of-czech-christmas/pictures/obrazy/lada-josef/vanoce.jpg

…the stat counters monitoring the visits to the posts of bioZhena’s Weblog show something that I want to share with you. Namely: The most visited blog posts at this time of the year are those addressing the issues involved in trying to conceive (the flip side of natural birth control). Those blog articles exhibit distinctly higher viewing statistics than the stats of the posts on other topics of reproductive health – whereby some of those topics exhibit a different seasonality of increased interest.

If you wish to put this in context and review the situation out there, outside of bioZhena’s Weblog, read the attached paper Google evidence of increasing prevalence of subfertility.

A couple of examples of the bioZhena’s Weblog titles most visited at this time of the year:

The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors = https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/ Don’t let them lead you by the nose with likely this and probable that! You need to know for sure.

Critique of birth control efficacies in NFP as published by Marquette University researchers = https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/critique-of-birth-control-efficacies-in-nfp-as-published-by-marquette-university-researchers/ Comments on a report of two studies http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/cmr_winter-spring09.pdf – they report on what we will call peri-ovulation methodologies.

Some women email me, while some “like” certain Ovulona pages or bioZhena’s Weblog posts.

Citing from one such email: “I am a 41 year old nulliparous woman in good health (with a few minor issues). I have been TTC for 1 year without success and came across Ovulona by accident during a Google search for how to optimise my fertility.”  TTC stands for Trying To Conceive, a standard acronym in the community of sub-fertility sufferers. Or even infertility sufferers – those who have not conceived while trying for longer than a year. (Re: Medical definitions of sub-fertility and infertility.) Nulliparous means no children, medical adjective for women having no previous births.

You know, my dear reader, that the optimal age for conception and motherhood is 20 to 24 years, after which fertility starts declining, and it drops a lot after 35 years of age. Should this be news to you, read The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old maternal age . “About epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice+ before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!”

And from another reader’s email: “Please let me know if there is any way to buy an Ovulona or to use one for trial purposes.”

In response, I can only explain – apologetically, suppressing frustration – that we do not have any Ovulona units available because we have not yet manufactured the marketable product, due to lack of capital. Then, attempting a little more positive note, I remind the would-be Mums about what some experts call “focused intercourse” – that is focusing on trying to hit the fertile window. In the absence of the Ovulona, this must be done preferably with more than one of the several available methods (several, because they are unreliable, inaccurate – don’t rely on any one of them alone). And I urge you to also avoid stress…

Although the old imperfect methods (including instrumental monitoring of urine samples and/or of the BBT) give only inaccurate estimates, they should help to focus on the right time when the probability of conception exists. Outside of the fertile window you don’t have a chance to conceive.

Here is to illustrate two such imperfect methods in comparison with ours (where our Ovulona not only anticipates but also detects ovulation, which detection is all important): https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2007/12/16/cervix-uteri-and-seven-or-eight-related-things/marquette-comparison-with-lh-kit-and-peak-mucus-2/ .

In this record of a 42-years old woman, our device detected delayed ovulation on cycle day 17, while two other methods estimated ovulation from day 16 to day 18. This lack of precision and accuracy is not at all good for natural birth control and/or for trying to achieve fetal gender pre-selection (= trying to conceive either a boy or a girl). But, with such inaccurate methods, which are available now before we bring the Ovulona into the market, you can see here that you might be fortunate and hit on at least a part of the fertile window. In this example, the LH-indicated days 16 and 17 were fertile days because the sperm are viable for about 3 days. Perhaps even day 18 may have been a fertile day, if the ovum (egg) lived long enough, and depending on when exactly on day 17 the detected ovulation occurred. Such uncertainties will be removed by properly designed experiments with the Ovulona.

In this record of a 42-years old woman, our device detected delayed ovulation on cycle day 17, while two other methods estimated ovulation from day 16 to day 18. This lack of precision and accuracy is not at all good for natural birth control and/or for trying to achieve fetal gender pre-selection (= trying to conceive specifically a boy or specifically a girl). But, with such inaccurate methods, which are available now before we bring the Ovulona into the market, you can see here that you might be fortunate and hit on at least a part of the fertile window. In this example (because of the ovulation delay), the LH-indicated days 16 and 17 were fertile days because the sperm are viable for about 3 days. Perhaps even day 18 may have been a fertile day, if the ovum (egg) lived long enough, and depending on when exactly on day 17 the detected ovulation occurred (morning or evening?). Such uncertainties will be removed by properly designed experiments with the properly designed Ovulona.

This record from a comparative study shows how the old ovulation prediction methods are unreliable, because the two used here predicted ovulation for 3 different days – but the record may also serve to illustrate for you that (and how) you may be lucky and hit at least one of the fertile days. Here, in this record, ovulation was detected – not merely anticipated – by the Ovulona prototype. It was detected on the day of the second urinary LH indication, which is here one day before the esoteric Peak mucus of NFP aficionados; they did not use the BBT in this study. None of the old techniques detects ovulation: they predict it or, in the case of the BBT, indicate that ovulation has occurred.

There are only 3 days in each menstrual cycle during which pregnancy can occur, and it will if you are fortunate. The 3 fertile days are the day of ovulation plus the two days immediately before ovulation.

I’ll now write a long sentence full of the word “trying”, with several connotations. Repeat after me (and grasp what follows): Trying to determine the 3 days of the fertile window without the Ovulona is pretty much impossible, but trying for it – or at least some of it – is better than trying completely in the dark.

That’s because the 3-day fertile window varies, it does not stay put on certain days of the menstrual cycle from one cycle to the next. Check out this earlier bioZhena post for evidence that this is so. See evidence generated by other experts years or rather decades ago – when they hoped that microcomputer-assisted basal body temperature [BBT] monitoring would solve the problem.

From a graph such as the one above, it is evident that to determine the fertile days before ovulation is more difficult than estimating the last fertile day, which is the day of ovulation. This difficulty is a well recognized fact, and it’s not a matter of whether ovulation is or is not delayed by stress of one kind or another. The stress-caused delay (or even complete suppression) of ovulation is one of the things that complicate management of reproductive life.

Now for the encouragement: Maybe, the idea of not being completely at the mercy of chance when trying to conceive a baby, might even help you to be less stressed out about it at a time when celebrating the end of the year (and looking back and looking forward – along with all that Christmas rush) leads to an increased level of stress anyway.

Josef Lada’s idyllic take on Christmas activities in the countryside and in the city, that is to say, in Czechoslovak towns of his day. There, a fish meal on Christmas Eve was and still is one of the traditions, although the country is now two (and good friends). The fishy thing was apparently based on the belief that fish scales symbolize the prospect of money next year to the eater. Maybe some of us should not have turned our nose up about this fish thing… Then the capital for the Ovulona might not have been so slow in coming! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Josef Lada’s idyllic take on Christmas activities in the countryside and in the city, that is to say, in Czechoslovak towns of his day. There, a fish meal on Christmas Eve was and still is one of the traditions, although the country is now two (and good friends). The fishy thing was apparently based on the belief that fish scales symbolize the prospect of money next year to the eater. Maybe some of us should not have turned our nose up about this fish thing… Then the capital for the Ovulona might not have been so slow coming! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Perhaps the focus idea may help you not to be stressed out about the thing which is supposed to be pleasurable and not a chore. Suppose that between now and some time in January/February (in the course of the long winter evenings, “za dlouhych zimnich veceru”) you’ll get your focusing organized. You surely will get over the holidays, too… Then, with a bit of happiness, relaxation and luck, come next October you will have the kind of happiness you wish for! And you’ll thus contribute to the birth/delivery statistics for October…

Josef Lada's calendar illustration for October (c. 1940s)

Josef Lada’s calendar illustration for October (c. 1940s)

In this picture, Josef Lada illustrated, long time ago, the characteristics of the month of October. Among them is the rut of the elk, which had given the month its name in the artist’s language. Way back, in those days – the pre-contraceptive Pill days, years and centuries – the difficulty to become pregnant was not a widespread phenomenon, and Mums were  younger than many are nowadays.

The evolution of subfertility and infertility (as a big-time societal phenomenon) in the U.S. is summarized based on data from http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005074.html#ixzz2GBMSkUKy  [Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc.] in the next post.

Why too many young and not so young ladies could NOT receive flowers on Mothers’ Day: Why so many trying-to-conceive, why so much infertility

May 14, 2012

Say thank you to the social and medical advances of the twentieth century – primarily those of chemical birth control, the Pill.

Yes, chalk it to the great advancements! Sarcasm aside, indisputable developments in society and in medicine have resulted in the present state of affairs.

Incidentally, “Mothers’ Day (with the plural) is how it was spelled in the U.S. congressional resolution first recognizing it, 9 May 1908”. That was before all this started, before Margaret Sanger wrote “What Every Girl Should Know”, before she started a radical feminist monthly “The Woman Rebel”, and released 100,000 copies of “Family Limitation”. It was before “her confrontational style attracted even greater publicity for herself and the cause of birth control.”

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger
http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/secure/aboutms/index.html
She wanted to liberate women.

Some years later, in the late 1920s – early 1930s, the Japanese Dr. Kyusaku Ogino (Professor at Niigata, Japan) and Dr. Hermann Knaus in Austria (University Women’s Clinic in Graz, Austria) independently discovered that women can conceive only during a brief period “in the middle of the menstrual cycle” [The Eugenics Review: Volume 28, 1936]. But – while this was the fundamental discovery of the menstrual cycle – pretty much right away there was the similarly fundamental criticism that “the so-called safe period of Knaus and Ogino offers very small protection indeed”.

That was because, for reproductive management, “the theories of Knaus and Ogino have not yet been proved sufficiently reliable for us to recommend the so-called safe period as a method of contraception…” although, “if the theory is correct, there will be more likelihood of impregnation at this time.”

Ngram 11 Number of books about Knaus and Ogino versus years 1900 to 2008

Ngram 11 showing the number of English-language books with the phrase Knaus and Ogino between the years 1900 and 2008 (the latest year of available data; at smoothing 3 )
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=Knaus+and+Ogino&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3
The second, higher, peak is indicative of the relationship between the practical failure of Ogino and Knaus and the inception of the oral contraceptive pill, which provided the answer to the failure.              (For the record, the following 2008 books give good reviews of the Ogino-Knaus story in the history of reproductive management: http://books.google.com/books?id=sqwMrennRsQC&pg=PA205&dq=%22Knaus+and+Ogino%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=39uzT5uYKeWq2QXGmrDpCA&ved=0CEgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22Knaus%20and%20Ogino%22&f=false     AND     http://books.google.com/books?id=RmpMZ7K2L3YC&pg=PA142&dq=%22Knaus+and+Ogino%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JsiyT6zXCKbM2AXf3-DpCA&ved=0CEIQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Knaus%20and%20Ogino%22&f=false   —    found via   https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Knaus%20and%20Ogino%22&tbs=bks:1,cdr:1,cd_min:1997,cd_max:2008&lr=lang_en)

Then again, “there is a good deal of evidence to prove the existence of these fertile and sterile periods”, and an author in 1945 “gives his opinion that the period during which the mammalian egg is susceptible to fertilization may be measured”. It was eventually recognized that the extent of the fertile period should be only 3 days, and that the basic practical problem was the variability of the menstrual cycle, essentially of the follicular (“proliferative”) phase, the one before ovulation.

However, we were not around with the Ovulona™ to measure the fertile period, and Mrs. Sanger’s zeal took her in the direction of a “magic pill”. In view of the failure of the first effort at natural approach to reproductive management, the so-called rhythm method, her direction is not too surprising because it was the time of great pharmaceutical advances. The chemists had the bandwagon of steroid chemistry to ride and Dr. Gregory Pincus had pioneered in vitro fertilization in the rabbit, for which he was not admired but more or less ostracized.

“In 1953, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick (a heir to major millions of dollars) confronted Pincus with the idea of creating an oral contraceptive”, and the rest is history – of the Pill. History of the oral contraceptive pill and the ensuing sexual revolution. Do check out under P (Pill, the) in the Alphabet of bioZhena, and don’t miss also under M the article about “Mysterious conceptions (OR THE NONEXISTENCE THEREOF)”.

And then – now – there are the consequences of the Pill, one of which translates as the absence of the mother status in the lives of many women desiring motherhood. Those who are unsuccessfully trying to conceive, and so the bouquets of Mothers’ Day are only for their Moms.

Look how there was no infertility and no IVF before contraception. See the blue curve of infertility in the bottom graph, and the green curve of IVF in the top graph of books plotted against the years of the 20th century. See how they go up only years after the rise of contraception (bottom) and after birth control and family planning (top).

Ngrams 12 and 3 together

Ngrams 12 and 3 together showing the number of English-language books with the phrases birth control, family planning and IVF (Ngram 12, top) and contraception and infertility (Ngram 3, bottom)
between the years 1900 and 2008 (the latest year of available data; at smoothing 3 )
Ngram 3 data from http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=birth+control&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3 , and Ngram 12 data (note: twice as high amplitude, top graph) from http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=birth+control%2Cfamily+planning%2CIVF&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

I have discussed the consequences of the steroid chemical contraception technology in several posts in this bioZhena’s Weblog. The consequences are numerous because of the far-reaching significance of tinkering with reproductive physiology – consequences for women’s health, and for public health.

Check out the Table of Contents = links to bioZhena posts. See, for example:

About atrophy, reproductive aging, and how it’s really not nice to fool Mother Nature – or with (For people outside of NFP [Natural Family Planning] because NFP people know this already)

The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old maternal age. (About epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice+ before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!)

Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s (Regardless of what contraceptive proponents tell you)

Along the way to the unfortunate consequences of the anti-ovulation, anti-conception Pill and its modifications (modified methods of delivery of the chemicals into the female organism) there has been the effort to replace the calendar or rhythm method with different means of prediction of the ovulation day. I am referring to Natural Family Planning (NFP) and/or to the somewhat more recently labeled Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs), one of which is the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) itself. Fertility awareness (as opposed to the calendar) is key.

Some proponents will include NFP within FABMs and, of course, define NFP as requiring sexual abstinence during the fertile phase (fertile window) of the menstrual cycle; as opposed to FAM, which is defined as the use of a barrier method of contraception (such as a condom) during the fertile phase (fertile window).

Either way, the extent of the fertile window has always been THE major issue or rather the issue has always been the need for accurate and reliable determination of the fertile days. Only our Ovulona can determine the mere 3 fertile days due to the lifetimes of the sperm and of the ovum, egg. No other technique can.

Natural Family Planning or more broadly the FABMs cannot win if they continue to rely on what we have called (politely) the peri-ovulation methods of guesstimating the fertile window. Whether used to assist conception or to avoid it, ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating hormone detectors will not do. Scientific Fertility Assessment™ based on Follliculogenesis In Vivo™ is the only way to stop the unhealthy chemicalization of reproductive health management.

Gil Bruvel, Relative Time (1993)

Gil Bruvel, Relative Time (1993)
http://www.liveinternet.ru/tags/surrealism/page7.html
An interesting title. Each woman has her own biological clock, which responds to her circumstances in every individual menstrual cycle. That is why there is no such thing as cycle regularity (despite the long-held simplistic belief to the contrary).
In 1970, Dr. Hugh J. Davies of Johns Hopkins University told the US Senate in the Nelson Hearings about the contraceptive Pill: “Never before in history have so many people taken such powerful medication with so little information as to its actual and potential risks. …With the introduction of such active ingredients, we are actually setting up a massive endocrinological experiment with millions of healthy women.”

Natural family planning was a significant refinement of the fundamental discovery of Ogino and Knaus, developed as an alternative to the artificial chemical contraception. For decades the NFP proponents, along with OBGYNs and birth control advocates, erred on the (off-putting) long side of guesstimating the fertile window from various signs of the approach of ovulation.

Before it was officially – and incorrectly – decided in 1995 that there were 6 fertile days (all before and including the ovulation day), the period of abstinence required by NFP was advocated as at least 10 or 13 days long. A bit too much, to say the least – and, naturally, without monitoring the variable pre-ovulation phase to quantitatively anticipate ovulation, the failure rate was too high for birth control.

Logically, the same goes for “the other side of the coin”, for conception and pregnancy achievement. Again, please see certain other posts in this blog for more – you’ll recognize the pertinent articles in the table of contents.

One example of such a post is “Major studies decades ago revealed variability of menstrual cycles” (But people are still naïve about the basic cause of the difficulty to achieve pregnancy).

The NFP and FABM approaches to birth control have managed to avoid being nicknamed “the Vatican roulette” – unlike the rhythm/calendar method of Ogino and Knaus, the pioneers of the fertile and sterile periods who discovered the menstrual cycle. However, without our Ovulona™ the NFP and other fertility awareness methods are not reliable and, despite the NFP popularity in numerous countries, they are not any more suitable for birth avoidance than “the Vatican roulette”. Without the definitive determination of the fertile days, they are not approved for avoiding conception, and tend to be utilized for aiding conception.

That’s because, in the proceptive use (promoting conception), the methods’ lack of reliability only translates into an extended time of trying to conceive rather than into an unwanted pregnancy. Only! Fertility awareness tends to be utilized for aiding conception by focused intercourse because of the high prevalence of the difficulty to conceive. And focus is about all that those methods do, which helps (even if at least half is misfocused, if you take my meaning, if you see what I mean). The probability of conception increases with focus on the fertile window of opportunity. That’s fundamental, too.

People have a hard time accepting that getting pregnant is not as easy as expected, when they finally decide to want a baby – usually way too late, and after her use of the Pill. The drug makes healthy young women in their best years to postpone family- baby-making, it damages their cervical S-crypts thus causing difficulty to conceive and, by encouraging promiscuous sex life, it has caused an enormous increase in the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases that also lead to infertility. Not just a double whammy, a triple whammy on womankind.  Sad, sad, sad.

The underlying principle of the predicament of unfulfilled yearning for a baby is highlighted in the second half of the caption or legend accompanying the Toyen painting just below – an image of futile waiting. (Highlight extracted as the briefest of summaries from https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/difficult-conception-tied-to-pregnancy-complications-addressed/.)

Toyen, Spící (1937)

Toyen, Spící (1937)
http://kultura.idnes.cz/podivejte-se-jak-vypada-marne-cekani-od-toyen-ktere-se-drazi-za-20-milionu-1ak-/vytvarneum.aspx?c=A090312_102133_vytvarneum_jaz
The painting’s title means Sleeping. The title of the referenced source, a media article, says : Look what futile waiting by Toyen looks like…
See Description of the image file for more about Toyen: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/why-too-many-young-and-not-so-young-ladies-could-not-receive-flowers-on-mothers-day-why-so-many-trying-to-conceive-why-so-much-infertility/toyen-spici-1937/
It is not likely that Toyen would have had this in mind, but I present her art to highlight the predicament of unfulfilled yearning for a baby.
To highlight this:The chances of becoming pregnant are critically dependent on whether the insemination (natural or artificial) occurs at the right time, within the fertile window. This is because the probability of pregnancy is a combination of four individual probabilities: 1. Probability of being in good health, 2. of successful insemination, 3. of not miscarrying the conceptus (early embryo), and 4. the probability of correct timing of the baby-making intercourse. For example, a 60% success rate of correct timing brings the overall probability of pregnancy down to a mere 36%, and this goes down to a mere 30% if correct timing probability is only 50%, in healthy fertile couples – assuming the probability #3 (not miscarrying the conceptus) at an optimistic 75%. Even if the probability of determining the insemination time correctly were 90%, the resulting probability of successful pregnancy from any one particular insemination event would be only 55%. Get this! Only 55% under perfect ideal conditions, which include a young healthy unstressed woman. 

Advanced age of the would-be Mum works against her on account of the Mother Nature’s Probabilistic Rules and Regulations of Baby-Making: Good health and successful insemination probabilities are degraded whereupon the strict Natural Eugenicist suppresses the conceptus. So that, most often, the hCG pregnancy marker does not even have a chance to be detected – after the nerve-wracking 2-week wait – by the not-so-young Mum-candidate’s HPT [Home Pregnancy Test]. Needless to say that, all the more the not-so-young motherhood aspirant needs to enhance the fourth element of the equation, the probability of correct timing of the hoping-for-baby sex.

And all this because the young lady used the Pill during the years best suited for baby-making, and as a consequence she is not-so-young any more. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature! Or with…

Therefore, I conclude this blog post by disputing the positive and admiring message in the concluding paragraph in the above-cited article “The Birth of The Pill”. They write: “Margaret Sanger dreamt of the idea of a birth control pill since she was a young woman. If she wasn’t confined to the boundaries of her time, she and McCormick could’ve researched and funded The Pill without the help of any male doctors or scientists. Unfortunately, the society that they lived in would not allow them to do so; they did go as far as they could. Many of their achievements go unnoticed, but both women were really the leading forces behind the development of The Pill.” QUOTE UNQUOTE.

Yes, indeed, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick were the leading forces in the inception of chemical contraception. Driven by a social, political agenda (with “can do” in lieu of needed biomedical insight), they imposed on women, and hence on humankind, a simple-minded solution “as simple as taking an aspirin”. But, then… the consequences … among them an enormous increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections, contributing to the epidemic of infertility.

And that’s only for openers, as the saying goes. Referring to https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/the-perils-of-ivf-of-arts-of-giving-birth-at-old-age-part-2/: Detrimental effects on the offspring and – via epigenetics – on the health of future generations. Iatrogenic medicine kicking Hippocrates where it hurts the most. Also, therefore, quite the opposite effects with respect to the eugenic vision of Mrs. Sanger. Ironic, isn’t it.

The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old age – part 2

April 18, 2012

Tidbits from a debate at LinkedIn group The Life Science Executive Exchange, about DANGERS OF IN VITRO FERTILIZATION. Since many of you will not be members of said group, I make bits from the discussion available in this way, for the interested reader. And I offer Google Ngram evidence for why I was justified to exclaim, “Damn the bloody Pill”.

Politely put as: Perish the Pill! The drug (aka Oral Contraceptive Pill, OCP, and its various modifications) created the problem that too many solve with IVF and other ARTs (= In Vitro Fertilization and other Artificial Reproductive Technologies). People debate hotly burdening future generations with debt – but we don’t seem to care about burdening them with health consequences of the daft but so prevalent postponement of motherhood until it’s too late.

In January 2017 it is appropriate to add one other angle to the concern about as yet unproven but possible consequences of artificial reproduction. When “sperm are injected directly into an unfertilized egg, [the ART procedures] are bypassing nature’s way of eliminating defective sperm…” Dr. Gagneux told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. “The concern is that by by-passing female choice (or filter) at the level of sperm selection, we might produce embryos that contain risk factors that we would otherwise not have.”

Thus reported in popular media (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/ivf-use-could-be-storing-up-health-problems-biologist-warns-a6875876.html?platform=hootsuite), while in one of their scientific publications Eillen Tecle and Pascal Gagneux write in specialist language about “female choice, whereby females actively select more advantageous sperm… based on the glycocalyx variability as a metric of sperm quality… Evidence exists for selective processes by cervical mucus…  retention of sperm with compromised chromatin in the cervical mucus… remains to be formally investigated” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mrd.22500/full).

And now back to the LinkedIn debate about the epigenetic concern regarding IVF and other ARTs.

Vanya Loroch:

“…our behavior impacts directly the health of our descendants. Not much to do with Darwin, by the way (for those who do not know what epigenetics is all about). …

The issues we face today in our world are often so complex that lay people CANNOT blindly trust experts (IVF protocols or FUKUSHIMA are two very different examples… but maybe not that different, come to think about it). If we want a better world for our children, it may be absolutely essential to build a trans-disciplinary knowledge and society where lay people are educated ENOUGH to throw the right questions at the experts and make informed decisions together.

Agnes Boulloche - L'Education

Agnes Boulloche – L’Education

WE NEED REAL UNIVERSAL LIFE SCIENCE EDUCATION FOR ALL (what 99% of the people are getting is a sad joke). If we fail to achieve this, utter irrationality (e.g. the GMO debate in Europe) or worse (unnecessary suffering) are bound to happen, again and again.”

Patrick Courtney:

“Why is the GMO debate in Europe utter irrationality?”

Vanya Loroch:

“…I have a very short answer. When European citizens are asked whether a tomato contains DNA, the majority (65%, I believe) answer NO – ref. below. These frightening numbers are going down but very slowly… If the GMO debate is a citizen debate, as IT SHOULD BE, 65% of the citizens cannot be rational about it because they lack even the most basic understanding of the workings of a living cell. …”

References:
1. Eurobarometer survey. See for example: http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD021020.html
2. A wealth deferred: the politics and science of Golden Rice. Erin Baggott . Harvard International Review/Fall, 2006

Paul Stinson:

“What rubbish. Are you telling me that Swiss scientists in 2011 studying IVF results (from what years?) are being taken seriously? I am familiar with a couple that had IVF treatment in Johannesburg in 1991 and their twin sons are today Varsity Squash team members in an Ivy League school. Vascular dysfunction? I doubt it.”

Vanya Loroch:

“If it is rubbish, it is peer-reviewed rubbish and it took several years to peer-review it.

And the outcome is that the publisher (Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association – Impact factor almost as good as the impact of Science[top US journal]) took the study and the results seriously enough to publish it. 65 healthy kids born thanks to IVF + lab model on mice all show the same issues: epigenetic alterations + abnormal vascular structure and function, similar to what some type I diabetics have (or worse). Maybe rubbish to you, but data are always data. By the way, vascular dysfunction doesn’t mean one can’t excel in sports. It’s a risk factor, not a disease!

If interested, read the paper or at least the abstract, eg. Conclusions: Healthy children conceived by ART display generalized vascular dysfunction. This problem does not appear to be related to parental factors, but to the ART procedure itself. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/03/13/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.071183.abstract?goback=.gde_72923_member_103918763

And remember that hydrogenated fats were promoted by the medical experts in the seventies and eighties as a healthy alternative to animal fats. To err is human….”

[My added comment: The royal physicians of the British King George V recommended cigarette smoking as a healthy and useful activity – in second decade of 1900s. How many decades before the change of heart?]

Romer A. Gonzalez-Villalobos:

“I personally think that it is too early to jump into any conclusions. Science is self correcting; let’s wait and see if other studies support these findings.”

Vanya Loroch:

“I agree that we certainly don’t have the full picture, but the mouse IVF model the team developed replicates faithfully the epidemiological findings in the children.

The vascular damage in IVF can be fully prevented by including melatonin during the in vitro step.

This vascular damage is passed on to F1 mice. The methylation of promoter regions in key genes needed for vasculogenesis and arteriogenesis was shown to be altered, and butyrate fed to the IVF mice prevented the transmission of the dysfunctional artery phenotype to the offspring.

Agnes Boulloche - Dessins

Agnes Boulloche – Dessins

In other words, very different experimental techniques to characterize the phenomenon all say the same thing: epigenetic alterations at the time when gametes/early embryo are suspended in synthetic media, in vitro.

Science is self-correcting, but that is not necessarily true for human health. For me (and I have no potential conflict of interest with anyone or anything), the results of the human and mouse studies are more than enough to declare an immediate moratorium on IVF and ICSI until this issue of epigenetic alterations is solved. Of course this is unlikely to happen. I only hope that the health of all the IVF kids will not be adversely affected by what has been seen.”

My comment: He has an omission in the above statement in that the concern – about the epigenetic consequences for health of subsequent generations of the offspring – is not expressed. It’s not merely or even mainly about the IVF kids. Do see the BBC movie to grasp this – referenced in part 1: The Ghost in your Genes (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toRIkRa1fYU ). 5 video clips of some 9 minutes or so each. The epigenetic consequences last for generations.

Meanwhile, here is evidence for how it all came about, why the problem arose in the first place. Before the introduction of the contraceptive Pill, IVF did not exist. Are you familiar with the word iatrogenic?

Ngram 9 in vitro fertilization, IVF, the Pill, OCP

Ngram 9: in vitro fertilization, IVF, the Pill, OCP
http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=in+vitro+fertilization%2CIVF%2Cthe+Pill%2C+OCP&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=5
When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how may times those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (here English-language books) over the selected years (here 1960 to 2008). The N numbers (or the number of phrase occurrences relative to all books) for the four topics are on the same scale indicated on the vertical axis. The graph shows that the number of books about the Pill (green) goes up after the Pill launch in the early 1960s and, after leveling off in late 1970s, it starts declining. Meanwhile, the number of books on OCP (Oral Contraceptive Pill, yellow curve) grows as the OCP term becomes more and more used in medico-scientific literature, leveling off in the 1990s and then declining (similar to the green curve of the Pill). The number of books on IVF (red) has grown well above the book numbers on the other terms or phrases, including “in vitro fertilization” (blue), which was understandably at first somewhat more frequent than “IVF” but from early 1980s “IVF” has been the preferred term and thus the number of books about IVF by far exceeds those on the other three terms/topics.
Whether ”IVF” or “in vitro fertilization”, it is clear from this Ngram that books on the subject did not exist before chemical contraception was introduced in the 1960s.
This is possibly seen more easily below in Ngram 10, which only shows the data for books on IVF (blue) and for books about the Pill (red), same as in Ngram 9. Books about the Pill appear and grow in numbers in the 1960s while IVF books only appear and their volume grows fast some 10 years later. Another decade later, the IVF book numbers far exceed those about the Pill. Also significantly, the IVF book volume does not exhibit a declining trend.

Ngram 10 IVF and the Pill

Ngram 10: IVF and the Pill

The Pill was never a good medication, if only because pregnancy is not a disease. It’s always been a drug of convenience, and we don’t even have to go into the eugenic intentions of Mrs. Sanger, without whom her “magic pill” of a drug would not have come about. A drug of convenience is akin to recreational drugs.

Instead of messing with women’s reproductive biochemistry and physiology, healthcare and public health should have focused, and should focus now, on behavioral reproductive management. (As in: You want to feel good? Go for a run, raise your endorphins and burn some calories – but don’t do drugs. Same difference with the Pill. Don’t bust up your cervical physiology with the Pill, making for your infertility. You won’t need to worry about Clomid, IVF etc. if you watch your age, too.) But now back to the discussion of Dangers of In Vitro Fertilization.

Heber Hammon:

“This was a very interesting and sobering article. I have been surprised at the reaction of the medical profession regarding it. I think the epigenetic system needs to be studied closely. I suspect the recent autism epidemic is caused to a high degree by malfunction of the epigenetic processes. We have learned that nutrition plays an important role. I follow IVF from the perspective of animal science. I have not seen any health issues resulting from embryo transplanting either from embryo flushing or implanting after IVF. The discussion here is informative on many levels.”

Mike Kelly:

“As a follower of IVF science for many years I do not understand how you can make a statement that melatonin will alleviate the symptoms discovered. I sense some lack of scientific verity.”

Vanya Loroch:

“Mike, this is not a “statement”, it is an experimental finding made by the team in their mouse IVF model. They were the first ones to be surprised.

The finding is the following: the inclusion of melatonin in the culture media (the in vitro step) normalized DNA methylation of the embryos; it prevented in particular the dysmethylation of the promoters of genes needed for arteriogenesis, and it also prevented mesenteric endothelial dysfunction and arterial hypertension.

This finding is in mouse IVF so far. Extrapolating to humans is the usual issue.

Melatonin *is known* to play an (important?) role in regulation of ovarian function, it plays a favorable role in oocyte maturation and it improves fertilization rates. This is well documented. A Pubmed search (“melatonin in vitro fertilization”) or even Google will point you to the relevant literature.

My comment for you here:

For confirmation see search http://isearch.avg.com/search?cid={6AE0129D-5975-485B-BB40-4646A7CCE716}&mid=a0d3a7b6b0f32c95be0fb17758cc560e-b42e229379060869383d6811e0f2b34960104ea5&ds=AVG&lang=us&v=10.2.0.3&pr=fr&d=2012-02-14%2019:21:29&sap=dsp&q=melatonin+in+vitro+fertilization

Citing from the first search result (J Pineal Res. 2000 Jan;28(1):48-51): Melatonin increased the fertilization rate significantly… Furthermore, a significant increase in the rate of embryos reaching the four-cell stage, the eight-cell stage, and blastulation, was observed. [Quantitative data are omitted by me here.]

From a related citation (Endocr Res. 2010 Jan;35(1):17-23): Melatonin is capable of improving the developmental capacity of ovine, porcine and bovine embryos in vitro. … The in vitro development of mouse two-cell embryos significantly benefited from treatment with melatonin in a concentration-dependent manner…

Derek Donohue:

Plenty of facts and data exist to support this finding.

I’d encourage everyone to look at this from a standpoint of a discipline with a longer history and larger dataset – horse breeding. Fact is people pay far more to breed a champion racehorse than they do to breed a human. Yet this high dollar industry, far pre-dating the human fertility industry, is fraught with failure and error. Only a handful of legacy champions have ever been bred in countless attempts.

Furthermore, issues surrounding sperm and egg viability have yet to be overcome by even the most modern science.

We are only now coming to full understanding of the scope of genomic function occurring within sperm, including their genetic expression to environmental stressors. The experts in that field agree this is likely at the root of historically disappointing fertilization rates from frozen equine sperm. But we’ve only just begun to even look at it. [Interjecting my comment: With our technology, they could avoid semen freezing and bring the stallion to the mare at the right time in her estrous cycle, even trying for the desired fetal sex.]

With this in mind, I am fully open to believing that we don’t have the full understanding of the entire topic of human fertility that we like to believe we do.

Which of you can tell me how frozen human sperm samples are thawed? In the equine world it is dunked in a 50C water bath for up to 5 minutes. This, despite the fact that millions of years of evolution have put the testes outside of the body because even temps of 37C are stressful to sperm. This common mammalian attribute has remained constant ahead of many other evolutionary changes in countless species. Yet, despite this glaring evidence, this egregiously unscientific practice is the widely accepted standard in a discipline with a six figure buy in.

Can any of you really vouch for the quality of donated human sperm when half million dollar equine sperm is handled so haphazardly? Does anyone really claim to already know that donor sperm is not similarly genetically compromised by environmental stressors even when we are just now realizing that the possibility exists? Resting in self assurance of that which is known, while ignoring all that is not known, that is not the way to advance scientific understanding.

We’ve barely just started looking at the genetic impacts of IVF practices inside of eggs and sperm despite long understanding that we are asking them to function the same under totally foreign conditions.

Keep in mind, the question is not can you put an egg and sperm together in a dish and get a viable offspring. The question is can you produce the same quality offspring at the same rate as the real thing. To be convinced that we can, when we’ve only begun exploring the most fundamental factors, that is not a rational or fact based position. Especially when we cannot even follow nature’s multimillion year example of how to handle sperm.

I’m willing to accept these results, encourage further study, and endeavor to understand the how and why in the interest of improving outcomes. END QUOTE

MARINA RICHTEROVÁ - Golgota, Hommage a P. Bruegel, 1998 and The Juliet, 2000

MARINA RICHTEROVÁ – Golgota, Hommage a P. Bruegel, 1998 and The Juliet, 2000
From http://www.gallery.cz/gallery/en/Vystava/1999_01/Ramec_V.html

This concludes the selection from the referenced LinkedIn discussion at The Life Science Executive Exchange, titled DANGERS OF IN VITRO FERTILIZATION.

I close with the words with which I opened part 1 of this topic about epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and mainly before you think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!

The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old maternal age

April 15, 2012

About epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice+ before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!

I lighten up this very serious topic by announcing that an unusually early hummingbird scout has arrived here in the Front Range of northern Colorado Rocky Mountains yesterday morning! And the tiny hummie is here today, too! In fact, two of them, the green-back variety!

But on Friday, it was a sad coincidence when, after I “shared” on Facebook the picture of a certain baby in need of a heart transplant, later in the day I happened on a related news. And I tweeted the allowed 140 characters thus: #Infertile #TryingToConceive Warning & clear explanation http://to.ly/cTP3 #IVF protocols seriously flawed – induce epigenetic damage.     

Sarah Christie, Facebook - Share this! If she gets 1,000 shares she gets her heart transplant for free.

Sarah Christie, Facebook – Share this! If she gets 1,000 shares she gets her heart transplant for free.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=388139167870098&set=a.318579008159448.96351.100000220538357&type=1&ref=nf

In the above-linked summary of a Swiss study about children born by Artificial Reproductive Technology [ART] procedures, “ART children were found to have … a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease at a young age.”

Note: “Vascular dysfunction is related to ART per se rather than to parent-related factors. Oxidative stress may represent an underlying mechanism”. Cited from: “Systemic Vascular Dysfunction in Children Conceived by Assisted Reproductive Technologies” http://spo.escardio.org/eslides/view.aspx?eevtid=33&id=976 by Rimoldi SF, Sartori C, demarche SF, Stuber T, Garcin S, Duplain H, Germond M, Scherrer U, Allemann Y.

See also: “Systemic and Pulmonary Vascular Dysfunction in Children Conceived by Assisted Reproductive Technologies”, Circulation 2012; CIRCULATIONAHA.111.071183 published online before print March 20 2012 by Urs Scherrer et al. – http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/03/13/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.071183.abstract : “…children conceived by ART display generalized vascular dysfunction. This problem does not appear to be related to parental factors, but to the ART procedure itself.”

This Circulation 2012 online article also summarizes the background, as follows: “Assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves the manipulation of early embryos at a time when they may be particularly vulnerable to external disturbances. Environmental influences during the embryonic and fetal development influence the individual’s susceptibility to cardiovascular disease raising concerns regarding the potential consequences of ART on the long-term health of the offspring.”

And it is apparently even worse.

According to a position statement by European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), http://www.eshre.eu/binarydata.aspx?type=doc&sessionId=2zn3zp4523tjjg45tnjhaev1/Birth_defects_position_papers.pdf QUOTE:

“Children from couples who get pregnant after assisted reproduction techniques (ART), like IVF/ICSI, have a 40-50% increased risk for a birth defect.

A similar increased risk has been reported for subfertile couples who get pregnant spontaneously after a prolonged time period. This increased risk seems thus mainly be due to parental characteristics from the infertility status and not to the treatment given. A recent case-control study from USA has confirmed these findings.” END QUOTE.

Vanya Loroch, PhD is the author of the summary referenced in the tweet above, in the opening sentence about epigenetic damage due to IVF. Readers will benefit from watching his last listed reference, The Ghost in your Genes (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toRIkRa1fYU ).  As Dr. Loroch writes, it is a fascinating BBC show on the topic of human epigenetics. I would say, the movie should be a mandatory infotainment (viewing) material for all teenagers and young adults.

Vanya also provides a micro-primer on epigenetic alterations, which I recommend. It is at the mentioned http://www.loroch.ch/blog/public/danger-ivf-summary-findings (= the above-cited tweet’s short URL: http://to.ly/cTP3 ).

As one of the scientists there contemplates, in the last part of the film, this new epigenetic insight will make you think about being a guardian of your genome – for the sake of the future offspring of your offspring, not just for your own health’s sake. The environmental impact on the health of future generations (yes, in plural) is demonstrated there in a clear way, with very little scientific jargon and much BBC quality.

Incidentally, how the in vitro in IVF causes the epigenetic switch (damage) is shown there, too. Highly recommended. They don’t even mention uniparental disomy (UPD) as I do, below! After you’ve watched the movie, you’ll put it in context, for sure. Especially you, the female “uniparent”!

I’ve written previously about delayed parenting or, rather, mothering: Every year past the optimal fertile age of early twenties is making things harder – on would be Mom, on Baby, on healthcare system, on humankind. Consequences of conception difficulties should not be taken lightly (ref.: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/difficult-conception-tied-to-pregnancy-complications-addressed/ ). “High-risk pregnancies are more likely in women who have difficulty getting pregnant, with or without help from hi-tech fertility treatments.” That’s citing a specialist medical authority.

In my Facebook Note, titled “Bestia triumphans II and the International Women’s Day. A heresy?”, I put it rather mildly:

Ironically, the consequences of the sexual revolution [i.e., the introduction of the Pill in the 1960s] can only lead to the deterioration of the health of the human lot. The offspring of all those older mothers (and fathers) can hardly be expected to carry an improving human gene pool.

Anderle - Bestia triumphans II

Jiří Anderle / Jiri Anderle
Bestia triumphans II
lept, měkký kryt / etching, vernis mou
1984, opus 271, 65 x 95,5 cm
34.000,- Kč / CZK
http://www.galerieart.cz/prodej_anderle_2.htm
For the “triumphant beast” and Giordano Bruno’s story see http://twitpic.com/8r5lyi or click for the image Description

One of the references behind this statement is: Am J Med Genet. 2000 Dec 18; 95(5):454-60, “The contribution of uniparental disomy to congenital development defects in children born to mothers at advanced childbearing age”: This study confirms the hypothesis that uniparental disomy is a not negligible cause of congenital developmental anomalies in children of older mothers. QUOTE UNQUOTE.

Brief clarifications:

Uniparental disomy (UPD) occurs when a newborn receives two copies of a chromosome, or part of a chromosome, from one parent and no copies from the other parent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniparental_disomy ).

Maternal Age: Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Therefore, when a woman is 30 years old, so are her eggs. … Errors can crop up in the eggs’ genetic material as they [the eggs, ova] age over time. Therefore, older women are more at risk of giving birth to babies with chromosome abnormalities than younger women. Since men produce new sperm throughout their life, paternal age does not increase the risk of chromosome abnormalities (http://www.genome.gov/11508982 ).

Jiří Anderle, Láska za lásku / Love for Love

Jiří Anderle
Láska za lásku / Love for Love
lept, pastel / etching, pastel, 1996
opus 535, 13 x 17 cm 7.400,- Kč / CZK
http://www.galerieart.cz/anderle_vystava_2011- 1990-1999.htm

Heresy or not, I exclaim in the vernacular used during my early adult years in Britain: Damn the bloody Pill!

And, from my even younger years in the “Old Country”, I recall the sadly funny outcry, Lide jsou blbe!, which translates – albeit without rhyming – as: People are imbecile! (daft, idiotic, …). These days, I would not use such language, of course. Not even to those whose job it is to look after healthcare.

The reasons for why I swear at the Pill and other Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals have been discussed previously in this bioZhena’s Weblog. See, for example, Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s (Regardless of what contraceptive proponents tell you) . You need the gist of the bad Pill effect, here and now? This is the bottom line: “After 3 and up to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced. … S crypts are very sensitive to normal and cyclical stimulation by natural estrogens, and the Pill causes atrophy of these crypts. Fertility is impaired…” and people wait with having kids until it’s too late.

While the Pill- and other drug-making and the various artificial reproductive technologies are a big business (much like war-making), I continue to try and clarify that natural reproductive women’s health management is a must. Gentlemen, we do have the technology for that. Ladies, quite a few of them, already know. Or at least a few of them do – globally. Look at the Blog Stats and the Flag Counter, on the right margin (of home page or of about page).


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