Archive for the ‘infertility’ Category

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.

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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).

Smoking affects the menstrual cyclic profile as captured by the Ovulona™, monitoring might help with smoking-cessation

February 21, 2012

80 percent of the 201,773 women who die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses each year began smoking while they were adolescents. Evidence shows that those young people, who begin to use tobacco, do not understand the nature of the addiction. They believe they will be able to avoid the harmful consequences of tobacco use. They don’t know that “some researchers feel nicotine is as addictive as heroin. In fact, nicotine has actions similar to heroin and cocaine, and the chemical affects the same area of the brain.”

As someone has written, when most girls begin smoking, they are usually caught up in the immediate experience of what appears to be a “cool”, “adult”, or even “glamorous” behavior. They are naive about the powerful addictive nature of nicotine, which, for some adolescents, takes hold after only a few cigarettes.  Among those who had tried to quit smoking, 82 percent were unable to do so.

The tobacco industry spends vast sums of money on persuading people to take up or continue smoking. In its own words, the industry is “a monster which has to be fed”. The industry sees women as a territory to be conquered, and a large portion of the total marketing expenditure is aimed in their direction.

Women appear to be more susceptible to the addictive properties of nicotine and have a slower metabolic clearance of nicotine from their bodies than do men. Women also appear to be more susceptible to the effects of tobacco carcinogens than men, including higher rates of lung cancer.

Girls and women are significantly more likely than boys and men to feel dependent on cigarettes, and more likely to report being unable to cut down on smoking. While various smoking-cessation treatments and strategies appear to work similarly for both sexes, women may face different stressors and barriers to quitting smoking, such as greater likelihood of depression, weight control concerns, and child-care and family issues.

It is estimated that about 30% of deaths from cervical cancer are caused by smoking. Smoking and taking the Pill in combination can increase the risk of heart disease by up to ten times.

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

Smoking is damaging to women’s reproductive health. It is associated with infertility, complications during pregnancy, and an earlier onset of menopause.

The estimated 20 percent of pregnant women who smoke during their pregnancies subject themselves and their fetuses and newborns to significant health risks, including miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term delivery, low birth weight infants, and higher rates of infant mortality.

Smoking while pregnant has serious effects on the health of the baby. Untold adverse consequences affect the lives of those children and the people around them. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk by 50 percent of having a child with mental retardation; this increased risk rises up to 85 percent among those who smoke a pack or more of cigarettes each day. The risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increases among infants who are exposed to intra-uterine smoke and to second-hand smoke after pregnancy.

The younger an adolescent is when she begins to smoke, the more severe her nicotine addiction is likely to be. Additional health effects of smoking are: respiratory problems (and decreased physical fitness), dental problems (including periodontal degeneration), coronary artery disease, mental health effects (including nervousness, depression, more high-risk behavior, etc.), health-damaging behaviors, and other negative effects on quality of life (bad breath, wrinkled skin, stained teeth, and other negative effects that influence how she looks and feels).

We have preliminary evidence on how the smoker’s lifestyle affects the FIV™ menstrual cyclic profile captured by the Ovulona™.

Non-baseline profiles flanking baseline subject's AM&PM profile

Baseline cyclic profile of a healthy 30-years old non-smoker woman (who, as a baseline subject, is not taking any medication or contraception) shown here between two cyclic profiles of a smoking mother. The baseline profile was taken twice a day, morning and evening, and the AM and PM records show not only the reproducibility but also how the post-ovulation follicular waves develop between the morning and evening hours. The smoker’s consecutive profiles are similar to the baseline but exhibit significant differences. Cycle 4 record captured a delayed ovulation and short luteal phase. Cycle 5 shows also a short luteal phase, an abnormality (the luteal phase should be about 14 days long, give or take a day or two).

Image file URL: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/smoking-affects-the-menstrual-cyclic-profile-as-captured-by-the-ovulona-which-might-help-with-smoking-cessation/non-baseline-profiles-flanking-baseline-subjects-ampm-profile-t/

We can imagine that a young woman trying to quit smoking may be helped in her effort by the Ovulona device. The Ovulona could be prospectively proffered for that purpose as a kind of biofeedback tool.

It is envisaged that tobacco interference with the fertility cycle will be recognized and accepted as a powerful motivator in the hard battle with the extremely strong addiction. “Is appearing ‘cool’ worth the resulting difficulty in getting pregnant, having a healthy baby?”

With public health education, the healthcare providers will be able to use the FIV cyclic profiles of the addicted patients to point out the affected features, and to monitor effects of treatment. “We really want to see this part of your cyclic profile to look more like this…”

Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s

December 18, 2011

Regardless of what contraceptive proponents tell you

On this day when Vaclav Havel passed away. In this post, I come out explicitly with an argument against the use of contraceptive pills and related agents (all Endocrine-Active Compounds [EACs]), because of the serious consequences of the sex steroid chemicals for women’s health. I start with evidence from Google statistics.

It is possible to examine the English-language literature for the frequency of addressing certain topics over a period of time. I already did this in the recent post “Seven billion people – after half a century with the Pill”.

Let’s look at data from Google Ngram Viewer about the statistics of the occurrence of certain topics (such as difficult birth) in all books published in English. The data is obtained via http://books.google.com/ngrams/info – for anyone to examine.

Briefly, when we enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how frequently those phrases occurred in a corpus of books (here English-language books) over the selected years (here 1900 to 2000). The data is normalized by the number of all books published in each year.

Here we have a comparison of statistics of three phrases:

pregnancy complications (blue),

difficult birth (red), and

trying to conceive (green).

Ngram 6: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, trying to conceive

Ngram 6: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, trying to conceive

The topic of difficult birth exhibits an almost linear growth over the century, even though there are discernible steps in the early years such as the step that followed the plateau (flat portion) lasting from about 1915 to just before 1930, when it “shoots up to catch up with” the overall trend. And, overall, the red curve grows steadily from 1900 to 2000.

In contrast, the blue curve of pregnancy complications and the green curve of trying-to-conceive both shoot up only after 1960, the decade of the introduction of the contraceptive pill. The steep rise in pregnancy complications books (blue) starts soon after 1960. The rise in the number of books about trying-to-conceive (green) starts in mid-1970s and is also distinctly faster than the steady growth over the century of books on difficult birth (red), although it is slower than the pregnancy complications that started going up some ten years earlier.

Of course, the green trying-to-conceive curve is not uninteresting in the early decades of the century, either, if only because it appears that the late Victorians had a significant interest in the topic, much higher than in the other two and especially as compared to pregnancy complications (blue). I’ll leave any discussion of the trend there to others, although the downward trend in the first half of the century would seem consistent with the rise of the birth control movement and with the consequences of two World Wars, and the Great Depression in between.

Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of War, c. 1628

Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of War, c. 1628

Those two generations had it tough but, on the other hand, their health, the health of humankind, was not yet assaulted by the sex-steroid chemicals that were introduced in the 1960s.

In a previous bioZhena’s Weblog post, you can see evidence that oral contraceptive use directly and negatively impacts the cervical crypts, which brings about the difficulty to conceive. The bottom line is this: “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 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.”

This is a serious problem because, according to medical literature, most American women, “approximately 85% of U.S. women will use the OC (oral contraception) for an average of five years.1 However, women’s OC use, similar to other chronic medications, is often inconsistent and transient.2 Reported six-month OC discontinuation rates vary from 18% to 50%.3,4,5 Unintended pregnancy often follows OC discontinuation” END OF QUOTE. (Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 April; 196(4): 412.e1–412.e7)

These data can be read and understood as the double-whammy put on or dealt to American reproductive and public health. That is the high prevalence of trying-to-conceive problems (sub-fertility and infertility) and at the same time the very high rate of unintended pregnancies.

Lion_Hunt_Mosaic in Pella

Lion_Hunt_Mosaic in Pella

zb.jpg

zb.jpg

While many proponents of chemical contraception minimize or gloss over the side effects of contraceptive chemicals, it is known that “OCPs (oral contraceptive pills) have several known metabolic effects including increased production of clotting factors resulting in increased risk of venous thromboembolism, increased gallstone formation during the first year of use, and increased risk of liver adenomas (Speroff and DeCherney 1993)” – cited from Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 October; 4(5): 905–911 (paper from University of Vermont College of Medicine and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Women’s Health Care Services)

That said, studies mainly focus on side effects such as amenorrhea, the incidence of breakthrough bleeding and spotting, compliance, discontinuation rates or patient satisfaction, headaches, genital irritation, tiredness, bloating, and menstrual pain.

To cite from said medical publication “Evaluation of extended and continuous use oral contraceptives”, Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 October; 4(5): 905–911 QUOTE [emphasis mine]:

In a normally menstruating woman who is not taking contraceptive hormones, progesterone is only present in appreciable quantities during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle [meaning: after ovulation], after the development of the endometrium. When combination OCPs are administered, the effect of the progestational agent takes precedence over the estrogen component in the reproductive tract, and the endometrium demonstrates this progestin effect (Moyer and Felix 1998). The result is a thin, decidualized (transformed) endometrium with atrophied glands that is not receptive to embryo implantation. Progestins also cause thick, impermeable cervical mucus, preventing sperm from reaching the uterine cavity, and also decrease tubal mobility, altering the movement of sperm and oocytes through the fallopian tube (Johnson et al 2007; Rossmanith et al 1997) END OF QUOTE.

This is consistent with the Erik Odeblad findings about the fine structure of the cervical tissues. http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/9/1782

Edward_Burne-Jones_Maria_Zambaco_1870

Edward_Burne-Jones_Maria_Zambaco_1870

Further to the examples of studies about the mainly short-term effects of chemical contraception, here are examples of published findings about the harmful long-term effects of the sex steroid chemicals administered to healthy women. This is not a systematic review, merely a couple of examples.

BONE HEALTH:

The conclusion of “Effects of Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate and 20 μg Oral Contraceptives on Bone Mineral Density” [Obstet Gynecol. 2008 October; 112(4): 788–799]is as follows:

QUOTE Use of very low-dose OCP (Oral Contraceptive Pill) may result in a small amount of bone loss. DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) use results in greater bone loss, but this is largely reversible at the spine. Use of very low-dose OCPs after DMPA discontinuation may slow bone recovery.

As a result, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2004 advising women to limit its use to ≤2 years.

Oral contraception (OC) containing only 20 μg ethinyl estradiol (EE) may also adversely affect bone health, especially if used during adolescence. END OF QUOTE [emphasis mine].

HEART HEALTH:

According to J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 November 9 (Published in final edited form as: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 August; 92(8): 3089–3094), “whether OCP use in healthy young women is associated with increased CV (cardiovascular) risk is controversial. However, a recent meta-analysis of 14 studies showed that current use of low-dose OCPs increased the risk for myocardial infarction by 84% (37). More data are available regarding CV risk associated with estrogen/progestin use in older women… The Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study showed an early increase in events and no benefit overall in women with known CV disease, and the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial demonstrated an increase in CV events in healthy women (38, 39).” END QUOTE.

René Boyvin, The rape of Europa, c. 1545-55

René Boyvin, The rape of Europa, c. 1545-55

In Greek mythology Europa (Greek Ευρώπη Eurṓpē) was… seduced by the god Zeus in the form of a bull, who breathed from his mouth a saffron crocus[14] and carried her away to Crete on his back… and so see Wikipedia for the whole story. Oh, and should this not be clear, the metaphor here pertains to the man-made OCP [Oral Contraceptive Pill] accomplishment…

Max Beckmann, The rape of Europa (1933)

Max Beckmann, The rape of Europa (1933)

Returning to Odeblad’s results on the consequences of the Pill for the cervix uteri, that is on how contraceptive chemicals make it difficult to conceive later – and reiterating the take-home message put forward previously in “About atrophy, reproductive aging, and how it’s really not nice to fool Mother Nature – or with”:

Natural aging of cervical S crypts (= cervical aging of a woman never pregnant and never on the Pill):

S crypts, which are needed for conception, are down to 20% at 40 years of age, at the natural aging rate -2% per year. Here you have the reason why a too mature age leads to sub-fertility and to infertility. My remark: The optimal age for motherhood has always been and always will be the early twenties of a woman’s life.

Atrophy acceleration effect of 10 years on the Pill:

S crypts are down to mere 10% at 40 years of age. Here is why it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, why it’s not good to mess with her design. Fertility is drastically reduced. The Pill is an archetypal anthropogenic Endocrine-Active Compound [man-made EAC]. It was brought up previously in this blog how there are very many of these EACs, all insulting the female body and health; some – like chemical contraceptives – by design. Having invoked the design, I am reminded that the original designers of the Pill had no idea about contraception – they were pushing the frontiers of steroid chemistry… (not this particular application of one kind of steroids).

Atrophy slow-down or beneficial effect of pregnancies:

S crypts only down to 40% at 40 years of age. Here you see Mother Nature’s design in action. Pregnancy slows down the inherent rate of natural cervical aging (atrophy, deterioration). The effect of 4 pregnancies was measured in the Odeblad research. This is not to argue for 4 pregnancies per lifetime – it’s merely how the difference between with and without was made more “easily” measurable in the very difficult studies.

And again, the bottom line is this: “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 since the movement of sperm cells up the canal is reduced.” END QUOTE.

In case you’d like to view the Carlo Adelio Galimberti picture accompanying the concluding words, please re-visit the cited earlier post. The concluding words were and still would be: While the story of Laodamia and Protesilao is touching, I merely want to ask that girls, ladies and their physicians do not moon the messenger.

P. S.

Vaclav Havel would smile at the image of “mooning” Laodamia. I smile at the thought of his riding the children’s scooter (kolobezka) along Saint Peter’s heavenly corridors (looking for Olga? Since Pani Dagmar remained down there?). He reportedly did that scooter-running in the “labyrinthine” corridors of Prague Castle…

STOP PRESS

And now, go and check out the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/

Trying to conceive, #ttc, or the frustration of sub-fertility & infertility

November 9, 2010

Existing approaches to TTC, Trying To Conceive, are not satisfactory – and cannot be, without FOLLICULOGENESIS IN VIVO™

Here is the premise: To #conceive a #pregnancy the couple must absolutely do their #TTC in the woman’s #fertile time, which is a window of 3 days: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/difficult-conception-tied-to-pregnancy-complications-addressed/ . The unspoken corollary is that advancing age does not help, and neither do things that pollute our life, that is all those various stressors.

Besides which, you need to know not only when your ovulation is approaching but also that it actually occurs. No guessing, no mere assuming that it does, or that it did.

Human ovulation caught on camera by Dr Donnez

Human ovulation caught on camera by Dr Donnez

This photo of the ovulation event is unique, and it clearly cannot be the answer to the necessity of knowing that ovulation occurs in the menstrual cycle of interest to you. Also unique is that the Ovulona™ will do the determination of ovulation for you automatically – in your hands, at your convenience, with no discomfort. It’s one part of the FOLLICULOGENESIS IN VIVO™ simple self-monitoring procedure with the Ovulona™. In doing so, you’ll gather and automatically store in the device data of diagnostic significance to your healthcare providers. Your physician’s decisions should be guided by the folliculogenesis cyclic profile. Yours, too.

Here now, how #ttc people need our Ovulona: Disgusted with peeing on a stick, writes stressed out, frustrated, messed up @socalledttclife: “On to IUI #4 we go” [IUI = Intra Uterine Insemination procedure], http://ow.ly/351yf .

She blogs: “…Progesterone supps suck. No, really, Crinone is now numero uno on my most hated list right there behind peeing on a stick and betas. It totally MESSED with my head this cycle. It made me crampy, it gave me headaches, it delayed my period—ALL of the things that are usually early pregnancy symptoms. Damn you, Crinone!”

This is one example and one reason why a month ago the following tweeting dialog took place: RT @resolveorg What’s the one thing you wished the public knew about #infertility?

bioZhena’s answer = Before #fertility #drugs, try right timing http://to.ly/5dUR . Definitely! Read on.

Quite apart from the fact that even the artificial reproductive procedures such as said IUI have to be performed at the right time in the patient’s cycle to have a chance succeeding. Before undergoing the “heroic procedures” of Artificial Reproductive Technologies [ARTs], explore the normal natural approach, and – naturally – you need a reliable timing tool to know when exactly your 3-day fertile window occurs. Good thing you are still this side of 35, although it would be much better if you were this side of 25. Or 30, at least. But that’s water under the bridge… unfortunately.

Water under the bridge… How many bridges?

Water under the bridge… How many bridges?

Per Google Alert, Today’s #TTC Trying To #Conceive forum has 4 results that are symptomatic of the TTC world – and how that world needs our Ovulona diagnostic tool with essential folliculogenesis data for the physicians:

1. Conceiving in our 20s http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?p=16007861

2. healthy excersise while TTC – TTC- Trying to conceive Group so im a gymaholic… Before I go to my GP again with yet another silly question, what do you girls think, with your experience and knowledge, about my standard work out ‘plan’ below? Is this too much while TTC? … Thoughts? Please don’t make me not do it 😦

social.kidspot.com.au/topic.php?topic_id=8490

3. First time TTC with clomid and really nervous, any suggestions?? Forum · PCOS Treatments and Conditions · Infertility and Trying to Conceive; First time TTC with clomid and really nervous, any suggestions? …
www.soulcysters.net/showthread.php?t=317229&page=2

4. Pregnancy Forum UK : UK Pregnancy Forum Parenting and Baby forum …
hey all i had a positive opk on fri am but this morning days later had twinges on left hand side which feel like op is it possible that i have only just …
178.19.113.123/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=114228&view…

#PCOS patients should monitor folliculogenesis & the effects of any treatment on it. See http://to.ly/MJU , and for what it is go to http://to.ly/757m , and see how an obgyn physician related to the technology even early on when it was still in a rather crude prototype form: http://to.ly/vG0 .

As we expressed earlier in this blog:

It is advisable – and safer – to go about TTC, Trying To Conceive, without the use of chemicals, especially man-made chemicals, and note that herbal preparations are chemicals too. Monitoring (measuring) the effects of anything you ingest is basically a must, if you do not play “Russian roulette” with yourself, your offspring, your family.

#Obese peri-pubertal girls may have hyperandrogenemia which can be forerunner of #PCOS: http://to.ly/6PrK .

Not all #women with #PCOS have difficulty achieving #pregnancy, but anovulation is a common problem: http://to.ly/5mjs .

#PCOS problems are more about #prevention of diseases due to PCOS = #endometrial #cancer #diabetes #heart disease #strokes: http://to.ly/5mjs . Per @JoshGitalis : Insulin resistance is an underlying biochem. imbalance in not only type 2 #diabetes, but #CVD, #hypertension, #PCOS, and colon/breast cancer.

RT @kevinmd Too many young children are medicated with powerful #drugs http://goo.gl/fb/xXu5q – Too many #women too. Will this ever be seen as abuse?

Durer, Albrecht - The Temptation Of The Idler (or The Dream Of The Doctor)

Durer, Albrecht – The Temptation Of The Idler (or The Dream Of The Doctor)

Difficult #conception is tied to #pregnancy complications: http://to.ly/4Fih #fertility #TTC #conceive #womenshealth . Read also: http://to.ly/6ahN .

#Natural vs. #Clomid in Dr. Randine Lewis: From #Infertility to Motherhood, http://to.ly/60v6 . Wrote the #medical doctor:

“I was experiencing hormonal problems. My joints ached, I had lower back and knee pain, I had to urinate frequently, I had night sweats, I was experiencing hair loss and my periods were extremely irregular and sometimes nonexistent.

A medical work-up revealed my estrogen and progesterone levels were alarmingly low, resulting in my inability to conceive. The doctor recommended that I take Clomid, a drug designed to hyperstimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce more eggs, thus increasing the chances of pregnancy. This advice seemed wrong to me; what about the underlying problem? Was it not unwise to hyperstimulate my ovaries when the problem obviously resided in my whole hormonal system?”

Now, put that in context with More About Clomid, Serophene, Clomiphene citrate or Clomifene, http://to.ly/5dUr . Why popping pills is not the best.

Is #ovulation enough to #conceive? http://to.ly/4Fih . Not really. You have to satisfy 4 factors, 4 prerequisites:

1. good health,

2. right insemination timing,

3. fertilization works,

4. embryo lives, is not lost to early embryonic mortality.

#Stress can do unwanted things to #women & #menstrual cycles: http://to.ly/yBk . Check this out. Sub-fertility can result.

30% of women or couples cannot get pregnant

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. See why.

STOP PRESS

And now, for a more explicit and detailed info, go to the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/

About atrophy, reproductive aging, and how it’s really not nice to fool Mother Nature – or with

June 27, 2010

I have taken it upon myself to popularize Prof. Erik Odeblad’s classic findings about the biophysics of the tissues and secretions of cervix uteri, and how they translate into reproductive physiology and hence to reproductive medicine – at home and in the doctor’s office.

Emeritus Professsor Erik Odeblad

  Emeritus Professor Erik Odeblad    “The cervix is a precision organ as complex as the eye”

My ulterior motive is that I want to be understood when harking back to the British commercial’s exclamation that warned about too arrogant an attitude towards Mother Nature. Or, maybe I aim at the wisdom of the saying (“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”) to be appreciated particularly within the given field of endeavor and/or endeavour – that is, reproductive management. Even if it were only in a segment of it.

In the Alphabet of bioZhena (which is no Alphabet of Ben Sira, though we model on it somewhat), https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/aaee-the-alphabet-of-biozhena.pdf , there is an entry about Atrophy and what it does to a woman as years go by, how “atrophy of mucosal surfaces takes place, accompanied by several problems.”

Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius) Says Farewell to...

Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius) Says Farewell to…

In this blog post I focus on aging – and thus atrophy – of the cervix, leaving aside the inevitable corresponding phenomena in other parts of the reproductive system.

The focus on the cervix is due to bioZhena’s focus on the cervix… which in our scheme of things is the supreme monitor of the complex reproductive goings on that Mother Nature designed in order to cope with all that complexity. After you’ve read the Alphabet article on atrophy, you might scroll down to the entry there about the cervix, which will take you also through cervical cancer and cervical mucus, besides a couple of other things cervical. That will or would be a nice preparation for, or introduction to, what follows.

Prof. Erik Odeblad's sketches from www.woombeuskadi.org...4_erik_odeblad(secrecion_cervix).pdf 13 February 2008

Two sketches by Emeritus Professor Erik Odeblad to illustrate his saying, “The cervix is a precision organ as complex as the eye”. Click (right-click) on the image to see the details. And read on about the details. The fine structure of the cervical canal wall, schematized on the right, is based on examination of mucus samples obtained with a suction syringe from the various parts of the cervical canal of human volunteers for physico-chemical examination.

When, at the inception of the project, we decided to focus on the given part of the anatomy, Erik Odeblad’s work logically and inevitably became a part of the background. He used the NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) technique of physical chemistry to perform the complicated investigation of cervical mucus, and he produced the classical evidence for the difference between the “fertile” mucus macromolecules that allow the passage of the sperm, and the “infertile” cross-linked glycoprotein molecular network that does not. (To this day I remember his usage of “undulations”…)

In fact, this early information, which involved the thiol-disulfide (sulphydryl-disulphide) redox couples in the glycoprotein macromolecule, had much to do with our early hypothesis of the mechanism of our measurements. Never mind that his work was in the context of the subjective self-examination used in NFP, which did not work for the female member of the team! Had it worked for her, there would probably not be any Ovulona™ for monitoring folliculogenesis in vivo (FIV™ – which has utility well beyond fertility status determination)!

With atrophy being the general biological aspect of aging (and with the initially very large number of ova or eggs in the young female’s ovaries decreasing as she matures and ages), the cervix similarly “undergoes a natural process of development and aging. The surface area of the cervix that is given over to the mucus secreting glands [“crypts”] gradually diminishes with age.”

Odeblad defines three types of the (endo)cervical glands, which he (and others too e.g. Embryology.CH and Eurocytology.EU since at least the 1970s) calls the “crypts”:

  • S crypts produce S mucus, which forms string-like channels and provides transport (“swimming lanes”) for sperm cells. (“Produces a wet, lubricative sensation at the vulva.” That’s for the NFP sympto-thermal method use, the Billings method and/or the Creighton Model NaProEducation Technology method, the classical NFP or FAM – the latter, Fertility Awareness Method, publicized by Ms. Toni Weschler’s 2002 book Taking Charge of Your Fertility .)
  • L crypts produce L mucus, which eliminates low-quality sperm and provides a structure to support what he calls the S and the P mucus. P is a reference to the so-called Peak mucus of NFP or FAM.
  • G crypts produce G mucus, which is “an impenetrable gestagenic mucus formed in the lowest cervical crypts. Prevents sperm entry to the cervix and is part of the immune system which protects the woman’s reproductive system from infection.” A remark from dictionary.com: gestagen (jěs’tə-jən, -jěn’) n. A substance, such as a steroid hormone, that affects the uterus in a manner similar to progesterone. And a remark from a scientific commentator: This G mucus is characterized by the oxidized state of the mentioned redox couples, causing cross-linking in the glycoprotein mucin, which prevents microbes including sperm from entering. Visualize this as closed -S—S- gates (as opposed to the open gate form -SH   HS- of the “reduced” state of the redox couples; “reduced” meaning “electronated and hydrogenated”, the opposite of “oxidized”).
Mondrian_Evolution

Mondrian_Evolution

There are three fundamental principles at work.

1. Natural baseline aging, and this is fundamental – a more or less linear decrease in the number of all three kinds of these glands or crypts, at somewhat different rates: S the fastest, L somewhat slower, G slower still.

2. Slow-down of the aging atrophy by pregnancy.

3. Acceleration of the aging atrophy by the Pill [and/or by other endocrine-active compounds, EACs – this is a logical extrapolation, speculative, but must be assumed].

Now, then.

1. Natural baseline aging, fundamental – a more or less linear decrease in the number of all three kinds of these glands or crypts:

“The number of S crypts decreases from teen age. They are first replaced by L crypts starting at the base of the cervix. Later G crypts replace the L crypts.”

Thus, from Odeblad’s graph [rate reckoned from 15 yrs old to 40 yrs old]:

S crypt baseline decrease or diminution (or atrophy) rate:

50% / 25 years = 2% per year.

At 50 years old, S crypts are at some 10%.

Profile crypts baseline never pregnant never on the Pill

Profile of cervical crypts of a baseline woman – never pregnant & never on the Pill

Representative profile of cervical crypts

(percentage of cervix occupied by active crypts)

for a woman who goes through life without pregnancy or use of the Pill.

This is a baseline profile.

Here is Erik Odeblad’s schematic of the crypts on the surface of the cervical canal:

Cervix of a 20 year old virgin

Carefully mapped lateral wall of the cervix of a 20 year old virgin           (reported by Emeritus Professor Erik Odeblad, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Umeå, S-90187, Umeå, Sweden)

This is Professor Odeblad’s artist’s impression of cervical mucus secretions:

Mucus secretions

Schematics of cervical mucus secretions

Key to colors:

Blue         = S mucus

Yellow     = L mucus

Red          = G mucus

Green      = P mucus of which there are several sub-types

Pink         = Z granules

Professor Odeblad’s explanatory notes:

Z granules – the enzyme in the Z granules combines with the P mucus to create a liquefying effect.

P mucus – there are a number of sub-types of this mucus, the most relevant for fertility are P2 and P6. P2 could be present as early as the beginning of the fertile phase possibly having a role in liquefying the G mucus. P6 is mostly confined to the upper part of the cervix, occurring close to the Peak of fertility, and having a role in conveying sperm. It creates a very wet and lubricative sensation at the vulva.

F mucus – comes from the cells scattered throughout the length of the cervical canal and has no known special function.

For a recent evidence of four different morphological mucus types, namely L, S, P and G, see “Morphological characterization of different human cervical mucus types using light and scanning electron microscopy” by M. Menárguez, L.M. Pastor and E. Odeblad, Human Reproduction, Vol. 18, No. 9, 1782-1789, September 2003 –  http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/9/1782

Citation: “The distribution of crypt zones in the cervix depends on age, number of pregnancies and use of contraception. In a non-pregnant woman, aged 25–30years and not having used contraception, the cervix averages 22 mm in length and 6 mm in diameter at ovulation. The crypt distribution starting from below and moving upwards is as follows: the G crypts dominate in the lowest 4–5 mm; then there is a zone of L crypts occupying the next 9–10 mm; this is followed by the S zone, for 5–6 mm; and the highest 3–4 mm contains the P crypts.”

When you read the paper, you detect that he has a very special knack for sampling the respective mucus types from the said crypts. Hat off! Work with human experimental subjects is no stroll in the park, to put this mildly.

2. Slow-down of atrophy aging by pregnancy:

Profile crypts 4x pregnant

Profile of cervical crypts of a 4x pregnant woman

Representative profile of cervical crypts

(percentage of cervix occupied by active crypts)

for a woman who goes through life with four pregnancies and no use of the Pill.

Pregnancy – S crypt diminution rate from Odeblad’s graph

[4 pregnancies, no Pill, rate reckoned from 15 yrs old to 40 yrs old]:

30% / 25 years = 1.2% per year.

At 50 years old, S crypts are at some 20%.

3. Acceleration of atrophy aging by the Pill [and/or by other endocrine-active compounds, EACs – a logical extrapolation]

Profile of cervical crypts of a woman on the Pill

Representative profile of cervical crypts

(percentage of cervix occupied by active crypts)

for a woman who goes through life without pregnancy and uses the Pill for 10 years

Pill – S crypt diminution rate from Odeblad’s graph

[no pregnancy, Pill for 10 years (18 to 28 yrs old), rate reckoned from 15 yrs old to 40 yrs old]:

60% / 25 years = 2.4% per year.

At 50 years old, S crypts are at some 5%.

This includes the slow down of the diminution gradient during the last 12 years of no Pill.

Compare this with diminution/atrophy rate during the 10 years on the Pill:

65% – 25% = 40% / 10 years = 4% per year.

This is double the baseline rate of cervical atrophy.

It’s more than 3 times higher than the pregnancy-slowed atrophy rate.

Three concluding remarks by Prof. Odeblad:

“Regression when taking the Pill is different for estrogen-dependent crypts (L and S) and progesterone-dependent crypts (G) which may in part overdevelop.”

“The study of the effects of contraceptive pills on the cervix is a difficult task. A considerable amount of work is required for each patient and the time required spans many years, up to 10 years or more. Many women also want to change to other pills or to other methods of contraception, or perhaps now want to become pregnant. It also happens that some pills are withdrawn from the market. To these difficulties are added the normal age changes in the cervix and the dynamic processes which are of constant occurrence. 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.” (“Some Notes on the Cervical Crypts”, Dr E. Odeblad, Bulletin of the Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia, Vol 24 No 2 June 1997, p31)

Citations and graphics reproduced from http://www.billings-ovulation-method.org.au/act/cervix/ageing.shtml .

“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 oestrogens, 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.” He also wrote: “After 3 to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced … A pregnancy rejuvenates the cervix by 2-3 years, but for each year the Pill is taken, the cervix ages by an extra year.” Web reference:  http://www.billings-ovulation-method.org.au/act/pill.html .

Comment on implications for treatments of certain symptoms

For example, the suggested method [Weschler, Toni (2002). Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Revised ed.). New York: HarperCollins. p. 52] of thinning cervical mucus to help achieve pregnancy by taking the OTC expectorant drug guaifenesin, which is thought to act by increasing the volume and reducing the viscosity of secretions.

The drug is also used to treat the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea [severe uterine pain during menstruation ] where another treatment of choice is combined oral contraceptives [COCs]. Such treatments are administered to adolescents as well as to mature women because dysmenorrhea is a very common and serious problem (25% of women and up to 90% of adolescents ).

In both cases, the expectorant and the contraceptives are administered without knowledge of their mechanism of action in the given problem. Focus is on treating symptoms, not the underlying causes. The patient is the detector of any effect. How does the expectorant drug use correlate with the secretions of the different types of cervical mucus on the one hand, and with the folliculogenesis cyclic profile on the other? Is there any connection? If not, what does the drug do to the different crypts? And what the COCs do to them?

Is the expectorant so selective that it might do the right thing? Reduce type G? Enhance type S mucus? Does oxidation of the guaifenesin help reduce the cross-linked mucin type G in the cervical canal? As simple and pretty as that? (Even prettier if guaifenesin were not to be an EAC, an endocrine-active compound … which inactivity does not look likely – http://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/en/ch3.pdf .)

Would it not be nice to have a rationale for how the small guaifenesin molecule can have a good effect on both sub-fertility/infertility and dysmenorrhea?

Could it be that guaifenesin works bioelectrochemically in the same oxidation-reduction (redox) manner on the enzyme cyclooxygenase in the prostaglandin cascade, which is a cascade of redox reactions – producing an anti-inflammatory effect that translates as suppression of pain? (On a personal note, why not capitalize here at least conceptually on our ancient Wellcome Research Labs work, even before receiving – presumably – the first pension money from Glaxo Smith Kline?)

It’s easier to contemplate in general the effect of the contraceptive drug, which will presumably depend on the contents of the estrogenic and gestagenic components (modeling on Odeblad’s findings)…

Is there a connection between pain, cervix and ovaries, ovarian reserves? Maybe an abnormal depletion of, via ovarian cysts? Will the number of follicular waves and/or other features in the Ovulona cyclic profile – and correlated with ultrasound and MRI – show any such abnormality? Might the Ovulona be useful for diagnosis here, convenient, simple (inexpensive)? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Is cyclooxygenase inhibition detected by the cervix, does it show in the cyclic profile? Does said prostaglandin synthesis inhibition alter the number of follicular waves – while reducing the pain?

Answers to questions like these are needed. Keep in mind that ovulation is an inflammatory process, and since we detect it in the cyclic profile, it is reasonable to pose the above prostaglandin theory questions about the COX-2 (cyclooxygenase) inhibition.

Summarizing Odeblad’s results and the take-home message:

Baseline outcome of cervical S crypts aging: S crypts down to 20% at 40 years of age. Here you have the reason why mature age leads to sub-fertility and to infertility.

Atrophy slow-down effect of 4 pregnancies: S crypts down to 40% at 40 years of age. Here you see Mother Nature’s design in action. Pregnancy slows down the inherent rate of cervical aging (atrophy, deterioration). Naturally, this is not to argue for 4 pregnancies per lifetime – it’s merely how the effect was made measurable.

Atrophy acceleration effect of 10 years on the Pill: S crypts down to 10% at 40 years of age. Here is why it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, why it’s not good to mess with her design. The Pill is an archetypal anthropogenic Endocrine-Active Compound [man-made EAC], and it was brought up in the previous post how there are very many of these EACs, all insulting the female body and health, some – like chemical contraceptives – by design.

While the story of Laodamia and Protesilao is touching, I merely want to ask that girls, ladies and their physicians do not moon the messenger.

Laodamia

STOP PRESS

And now, go and check out the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/

More About Clomid, Serophene, Clomiphene citrate or Clomifene

June 25, 2010

Why popping pills is not the best. This chemicalization of life is a form of enslavement.

Expanding on the previous post, I reiterate what I left off with. It is advisable – and safer – to go about TTC, Trying To Conceive, without the use of chemicals, especially man-made chemicals – and note that herbal preparations are chemicals too. Monitoring (measuring) the effects of anything [any drug] you ingest is basically a must, if you do not play “Russian roulette” with yourself, your offspring, your family.

There is no such thing as a “magic bullet”, and every drug has side effects. It is advisable – and safer – to go about TTC by mastering the natural “right time” approach. The medical establishment has approved of it for birth control, even if not all medical schools teach it. (Go figure.)

Of course, this is the era of popping pills, but it might also be the tail of the era, if web 2 social networking and all that is really here to stay… (Please don’t say, “you wish” about the tail!) The pressure of big pharma advertizing is what makes for said era. In the Middle Ages, they who were accessible to the then lobbying pressures, had things like the Crusades, witch-hunts, and stuff like that. Now, there are different pressures and more customers accessible to them…

An Angel Leading the Crusaders to Jerusalem - Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883)

An Angel Leading the Crusaders to Jerusalem - Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883)

But, back to Clomid, clomiphene, now spelled clomifene. This http://www.early-pregnancy-tests.com/clomid.html is one of the many websites about the drug. It warns that “…in the case of clomid and FertilityBlend/FertilAid, the product makers do state that clomid should not be taken with herbal products…”.

Looking at the chemistry of the non-steroidal ovulatory stimulant Clomid (or clomifene), http://to.ly/5dn2, and keeping in mind the inevitable occurrence of metabolic biochemistry (drug transformation in the body of the patient), one finds this title:

Stilbenoids: Resveratrol, Tamoxifen, Diethylstilbestrol, Combretastatin, Pterostilbene, Clomifene, Stilbenoid, Combretastatin A-4, Kobophenol A – at http://to.ly/5dm1.

Simply put, these medicinal compounds are differently substituted stilbenes (http://to.ly/5dQa = chemically modified stilbenes [stilbene being an ethene double bond with phenyl groups on both carbon atoms of the double bond]). Here is the pharma business in a nutshell: The different substituents (or modifiers attached to the stilbene molecule) impart different electronic, electrochemical, biochemical and physiological activities. That’s what the pharmaceutical industry explores in or with their products.

Albrecht Durer - Christ among the Doctors. 1506.

Albrecht Durer - Christ among the Doctors. AD 1506.

Then, we have a search for triphenyl ethylene stilbene http://to.ly/5dkt . Some of the search results are as follows – with particular reference to the fourth one below the recumbent woman (where anthropogenic means “caused or produced by humans”, and endocrine, of course, pertains to an endocrine gland or its secretion into blood or lymph):

OESTROGENS AND PRO-OESTROGENS RELATED TO STILBENE AND TRIPHENYLETHYLENE http://joe.endocrinology-journals.org/cgi/content/abstract/3/1/168 . “It has recently been shown [Emmens, 1941, 1942] that oestrogensmay be divided into two classes—those which act directlyor with changes that can be effected locally…” (Yes, shown in the forties.)

Estrogens and antiestrogens I: physiology and mechanisms of action …, Volume 1 (1999) http://to.ly/5dkx . “The most prominent drug amongst these compounds is tamoxifen…”

1993: RU 486—A Decade on Today and Tomorrow http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=2203&page=71 . “The development of RU 4861 (Figure B1.1), the first efficient antiprogestin, may be seen as a result…this meeting, which merged science (hormone research) and the cause des femmes… it became clear that the available contraceptive methods did not completely meet the needs of women and their families; nor would they alone have a sufficient demographic impact… Mifepristone (RU 38486)…”

Albrecht Durer - Draughtsman Drawing a Recumbent Woman. 1525. Woodcut.

Albrecht Durer - Draughtsman Drawing a Recumbent Woman. 1525. Woodcut.

Chemistry of Natural and Anthropogenic Endocrine-Active Compounds http://to.ly/5dkG . “…endocrine active compounds comprise both naturally occurring substances and man-made chemicals, and their chemical structures are surprisingly diverse… Phytoestrogens, Industrial Chemicals… The stilbene-type agents diethylstilbestrol (DES), E,E-dienestrol and meso-hexestrol were synthesized in the late 1930s and are among the first man-made estrogens used for human treatment… banned today…  The phenolic A ring of steroidal estrogens has long been considered a prerequisite for estrogenicity… also of paramount importance for the high estrogenic activity of DES and other stilbene-type compounds… it has been observed that numerous other phenols exhibit hormonal activity… potential endocrine disruptors, viz., alkylphenols and bisphenols… prototype of bisphenols is bisphenol A (BPA, Fig. 12), used in large amounts for the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins… Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are among the most persistent and ubiquitous environmental pollutants. Whereas the PCBs themselves have no or at best marginal estrogenicity, significant hormonal activity may be entailed to these molecules by hydroxylation [22].”

Albrecht Durer - The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand. AD 1508

Albrecht Durer - The Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand. AD 1508

To help make some sense of the above, let the editor of Annals of Internal Medicine (http://to.ly/5dnr ) say this: “…in the field of synthetic substitutes for the female sex hormones, the essential point is the establishment of the fact that estrogenic activity is not exclusively a property of compounds structurally similar to the natural hormones [that is, possessing the phenanthrene nucleus]… a number of simpler substances having estrogenic properties…”

So, again, there is no “magic bullet”, there are inevitable side effects, associated with lack of specificity (the scientific term for “no magic bullet”).

Specific Clomid warnings are, for example, at emedzone site (.com/clomid-brand-tabs-aventis-pharma-p-149.html). To cite: The regimen in which Clomid should be used depends on the individual condition… and if HCG was used mid-cycle or not.

Albrecht Durer - The Dresden Altar. AD 1496

Albrecht Durer - The Dresden Altar. AD 1496

Clomid Warnings

Clomid can cause disturbed vision and blurred vision and therefore should be used with caution…

For those women who are planning to get pregnant, be warned that taking Clomid may result [in] multiple births and this may be harmful to the mother and to the fetus as well. (Note: Multiple births are also a very big problem for public health.)

Clomid may also be not advised for patients with the following medical conditions (note: these are conditions that may have caused the difficulty to conceive in the first place):

  • Endocrinal disorders
  • Thyroid problems
  • Live[r] diseases
  • Ovarian cysts and enlargement
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Any other chronic illnesses
  • Endometrial carcinoma
  • Vaginal bleeding

If you have any of the above-mentioned diseases, your doctor may advise you not to take Clomid or will significantly alter your dosage.

Clomid is also not advised for pregnant women as it is a drug in the pregnancy category X and may cause birth defects when taken by pregnant women.

Clomid is also not advisable for nursing mothers as it passes into the breast milk and may cause harm to the nursing infant. END QUOTE.

Albrecht Durer - Durer's Wife Agnes

Albrecht Durer - Durer's Wife Agnes

In addition, the use of fertility drugs may be associated with an increased chance of developing ovarian cancer, although there is an ongoing controversy over this: http://to.ly/5dmf , http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Ovarian_cancer .

Such are the reasons why popping pills is not the best. Not to attack big pharma, but all this chemicalization of life is a form of enslavement. More insidious than the slavery that was abolished centuries ago, more subtle. First, make them buy a drug that causes such and such side effects including the least spoken of, the premature aging of the cervix http://to.ly/5dMb ; the ensuing problems are then tackled with other drugs (like clomifene), and on and on it goes.

Let’s contemplate with Albrecht’s wife Agnes why it should be that too many pregnancies were the problem before chemical contraception, whereas today… Today, sub-fertility and infertility are on the up and up, while contraceptive failure statistics are in the picture, too, showing that about half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and that mature population of America uses surgical sterilization for birth control.

This is a man-made problem. See the next post about accelerated atrophy of vital cervical tissues (crypts) due to the man-made problem called the Pill (About atrophy, reproductive aging, and how it’s really not nice to fool Mother Nature – or with). And see the December 2011 post about Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s (this article reiterates and simplifies the take-home message put forward in the atrophy – aging – Mother Nature post; and two paintings of the Rape of Europa are showed there, too…).

About Clomid, Serophene or, generically, clomiphene citrate. A critical look, part 1.

June 23, 2010

In relation to folliculogenesis, the mechanism of menstrual cycling, which we monitor in vivo – to get away from drugs as much as possible.

Last night I re-tweeted this:

RT @FertilAidAmy What is Clomid…? http://blog.fairhavenhealth.com/ = it’s NOT recommended to take it for >6 cycles, and it causes decreased fertile mucus

Then I found that there is no entry about Clomid in the Alphabet of bioZhena. Yet, Clomid is a very frequently administered medication for women with difficulty conceiving, “prescribed to women that are trying-to-conceive to induce ovulation. Clomid is often prescribed to women with irregular cycles that either experience irregular ovulation or don’t ovulate at all” (http://blog.fairhavenhealth.com/ ).

30% of women or couples cannot get pregnant

Clomid was also involved in a peculiar episode when a business-incubator director took me once to a local hospital’s young lady gynecologist thinking that, because she was written about in the local newspaper, she was just right for bioZhena Corporation’s quest for good people and/or “strategic allies”. Instead, the take of the young physician, who took several calls from upstairs during the “interview”, was something along the lines, “I don’t see what’s in it for me with your technology. When they [subfertility sufferers] come to us, we put them on Clomid, and that’s that…”.

dali - longlegs_large

Dali - Longlegs

Well, let’s look at what the “that’s that” is about. The referenced tweet mentioned, within the allowed 140 characters, two features. One, that Clomid should not be taken for more than 6 menstrual cycles. And two, that it is known to reduce the amount of the all-important fertile mucus, which is the cervical mucus form occurring only during the run up to ovulation. This essential temporary change is for the purpose of opening the cervical canal for the penetration of the sperm and, in fact, for what is called the capacitation of the sperm. At all times outside of the fertile window, the fertile mucus is replaced by the protective type of cervical mucus, which prevents the entry of microbes including sperm into the uterus and beyond.

For a concise overview of this essential mucus, read the article Cervical mucus (under C) in the Alphabet of bioZhena, at  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/aaee-the-alphabet-of-biozhena.pdf . There we cite a noted expert on the subject, Dr. Erik Odeblad, and the gist of his message is: “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.”

You can imagine that this will have something to do with the reason why the woman becomes a patient and is now prescribed the fertility drug.

One other thing about the drug is the issue of the official “10-per-cent possibility that Clomid could produce twinning”, described by a physician’s blog post at KevinMD.com about “one of the largest malpractice awards in Canadian history. At issue is how the patient understood the discussion of the risks of Clomid”: http://to.ly/5cE7 .

Sublime moment by Salvador Dali, 1938

Sublime moment by Salvador Dali

Clomid is the brand name for the fertility drug clomiphene citrate. Clomiphene citrate may also be sold under the brand name Serophene or as the generic version called clomiphene citrate (http://to.ly/5cIc ).

Here is a bit more scientific take on how it works, cited from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clomifene ):

Therapeutically, clomiphene is given at day 2 of menses [menstruation]. By that time, FSH level is rising steadily, causing development of a few follicles [in the ovary].

Let’s interject a clarification: This timing is called the recruitment stage of folliculogenesis, during which LH induces an “angiogenesis” factor from the theca cells, increasing the blood supply and estrogen synthesis by the recruited cohort of follicles.

The term “selection” indicates the reduction of the recruited group of follicles down to the species-characteristic ovulatory quota, which in women and related primates is one. Selection is the culmination of recruitment on day 6 ± 1. “Typically only one of the two ovaries sponsors recruitment and selection of the single dominant follicle, which is destined for ovulation.” We detect the selection stage as the first marker in our ovulographic™ (or folliculogenesis in vivo™) cyclic profile. Refer to the bioZhena tech pitch page http://to.ly/xE6 and/or to http://to.ly/MJU , http://to.ly/MWl .

Back to the language of the Wikipedia article: Follicles in turn produce the estrogen, which circulates in serum. Clomiphene acts by inhibiting the action of estrogen on the pituitary [gland, or hypophysis, in the brain]. [It] binds to estrogen receptors and stays bound for long periods of time.

This prevents normal receptor recycling and causes an effective reduction in hypothalamic estrogen receptor number. As a result, the body perceives a low level of estrogen… Since estrogen can no longer effectively exert negative feedback on the hypothalamus, GnRH secretion becomes more pulsatile, which results in increased pituitary gonadotropin (FSH, LH) release. Increased FSH level causes growth of more ovarian follicles, and subsequently rupture of follicles resulting in ovulation. END OF QUOTE.

Dali - Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (1943)

Salvador Dali - Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man

From another Wikipedia article, about GnRH (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GnRH ):

At the pituitary, GnRH [Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (synthesized and released from neurons within the hypothalamus )] stimulates the synthesis and secretion of the gonadotropins, (that is) follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These processes are controlled by the size and frequency of GnRH pulses, as well as by feedback from androgens and estrogens. Low-frequency GnRH pulses lead to FSH release, whereas high-frequency GnRH pulses stimulate LH release. …the frequency of the pulses varies during the menstrual cycle, and there is a large surge of GnRH just before ovulation.

To reiterate, Clomiphene acts by inhibiting the natural action of estrogen on the pituitary gland in the brain, interfering with – or, shall we say, altering, manipulating – the process of folliculogenesis. Women’s health revolves around folliculogenesis and its complex control mechanism by the brain and by the ovaries.

To give you a sense of said complexity of the biology we are working with when we monitor folliculogenesis in vivo, we cite the specialist, Dr. Ernst Knobil: “The mechanism is believed to involve the circhoral* clock of the hypothalamic GnRH pulse generator, on which the circamensual** ovarian clock is obligatorily dependent”. [*Occurring cyclically about once an hour, pulses from the brain; ** about once a month.] From Knobil’s memorial lecture The Wisdom of the Body Revisited, available online at http://physiologyonline.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/14/1/1 .

Sleep by Salvador Dali, 1937

During the reproductive years, pulse activity is critical for successful reproductive function as controlled by feedback loops. Cited in conclusion from the Wikipedia GnRH article referenced above. (The Wikipedia also has an article about the cervix and cervical mucus, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cervical_mucus#Cervical_mucus .)

15- Word(le) greetings from bioZhena's follicular waves

15- Word(le) greetings from bioZhena's follicular waves

A wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text.

In this case the entire bioZhena’s Weblog as it was in November 2009 — 15 most prevalent words.

It is advisable – and safer – to go about TTC, Trying To Conceive, without the use of chemicals, especially man-made chemicals, and note that herbal preparations are chemicals too. Monitoring (measuring) the effects of anything you ingest is basically a must, if you do not play “Russian roulette” with yourself, your offspring, your family.

The above wordle, the “greetings from bioZhena’s follicular waves”, is a reminder that, before resorting to the chemical route, the innocuous “right time” approach is indicated (because it does not go against – it goes with – the natural biology of the body).

Have you noticed that the powerful Clomid is an estrogen agonist/antagonist? (Acting like estrogen or against estrogen. Tricky, yes? You bet. Or play roulette…)


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