Archive for the ‘subfertility’ Category

Instant detection of pregnancy and of Early Pregnancy Loss, EPL – the adversary of Trying To Conceive, TTC – especially after age 25

November 11, 2010

Early Pregnancy Loss is also known as #stillbirth or #miscarriage, or Early Embryonic Mortality (EEM), and the Ovulona™ is a tool of evidence-based personalized medicine.

After the optimum fertility age of the early twenties, achieving motherhood gets more difficult. It becomes even more essential than before to know your three fertile days, during which – and only during which – conception can occur.

The simple basic principle is: Fertility status detection must be easy and reliable. PLUS early pregnancy detection is really important, and it should be built-in, an integral part of the conception-aiding tool.

Why? Because:

1) early in pregnancy the conceived baby would be harmed by some of the medications taken by the woman, e.g. by a psychiatric medication with teratogenic effect (harmful to the fetus, causing a congenital disorder);

and 2) because of the annual 600,000 miscarriages – per CDC statistics – out of the 6 million US births, which means that at least some 10% of pregnancies are lost to early pregnancy loss (EPL), miscarriage, stillbirth.

Many EPLs go unnoticed. The EPL is a part of the TTC [Trying To Conceive] or subfertility/infertility problem. Our Ovulona monitor of FOLLICULOGENESIS IN VIVO™ is the prospective solution for managing the problem.

The Ovulona™ detects the 3 fertile days for conception, and it will also automatically detect pregnancy immediately upon conception. Similar to early pregnancy loss — its detection is the inverse of pregnancy detection, which both involve the follicular waves. Like this:

Follicular waves disappear = pregnancy detected


waves reappear in early pregnancy =  early pregnancy loss detected.

Furthermore, the cyclic profile data captured by the Ovulona can be used by your healthcare provider to assess what is going on, and provide more effective help.

DIFFICULT USE OF EXISTING OPKs [Ovulation Prediction Kits] is shown in the following tweet by a @WannaBeMom: “1st month using opk. Do the lines usually start light and then get darker day by day or do they ever go back & forth b4 ovulation?”

Our electronic device will take the WannaBeMoms into a different world of baby-making. See = a pictorial “Pregnancy and birth control how-to by bioZhena”.

Honey is Sweeter than Blood by Salavador Dali, 1941

Honey is Sweeter than Blood by Salavador Dali, 1941

For a woman in her 30s who’s had a miscarriage or even two or three, “any delay in attempting conception could further decrease the chances of a healthy baby”, says CNN reporting on a medical study, .

Study: Women who conceive within six months of miscarriage reduce risk of another.”

November 2016 review and meta-analysis (data on more than a million women): “With an Inter Pregnancy Interval of less than 6 months, the overall risk of further miscarriage and preterm delivery  were significantly reduced.”

These are fundamental principles.

And another principle, not brought up by the CNN or by the study itself, is that a tool for monitoring the early stage of pregnancy for EPL is most desirable. We’d say, mandatory. The Ovulona device monitors (or tracks the process of) folliculogenesis in vivo, which includes the follicular waves that occur after ovulation. The waves disappear upon conception because the reproductive system does not go into another menstrual cycle – it’s pregnant.

In case of EPL, Early Pregnancy Loss (miscarriage), the waves will come back. Early Pregnancy Loss, or Early Embryonic Mortality, is quite a common sad experience of many of us.

The essential point made here is that the woman’s and her physician’s decisions should be guided by the folliculogenesis cyclic profile (and/or its distortion due to distress of any kind). The woman and her doctor should not make decisions or pass recommendations working in the dark, and the data, on which any decision should be based, must be personal to the given patient.

That’s what the Ovulona from bioZhena is for. Personalized medicine. Evidence based medicine. Should you be new to this, is an introduction.

Automatic pregnancy detection is inherent  in the Folliculogenesis In Vivo™ cyclic profile

Automatic pregnancy detection is inherent in the Folliculogenesis In Vivo™ cyclic profile (follicular waves disappear).

This is a screen shot of one of my narrated slides about “what’s going on here”, and you can view (and hear) the slide at

Note specifically that: The follicular waves, which occur after ovulation [when the body prepares for the next menstrual cycle], cannot remain in place after fertilization succeeds and conception takes place [because the post-ovulation regime change is even more profound]. That is the principle of instant detection of pregnancy. As opposed to the waiting for the HPT [Home Pregnancy Test] result.

HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin laboratory signature

HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin laboratory signature of the biomarker – detected in a pregnant woman’s urine about 2 weeks into her pregnancy by a HPT home-use urine test – as a color change (into which color the HPT reduces the illustrated complex lab signature)

Should the conceptus [product of conception, early embryo] be lost to EEM, Early Embryonic Mortality (miscarriage), the follicular waves come back to be seen by the Ovulona. That’s the principle of early detection of the miscarriage, and of detecting the return of the non-pregnant condition.

Trying to conceive again should be based on the personal FIV™ [FOLLICULOGENESIS IN VIVO] cyclic profile data generated by the patient, that is, by the woman trying to have a baby. This is a principle of evidence-based medicine. Personalized medicine.

Entre Les Trous De La Memoire by Appia

The Ovulona is intended to help people such as those writing in a forum as follows:

My partner and i started trying for a baby in jan And Concieved in the first month. Unfortunately in march at 8 weeks I had a miscarriage. We have been trying since with no luck. Could something be wrong. Please help this is really getting me down.

We got pregnant the first cycle with both my ds and dd. I am most likely moving to cycle #11 with this baby. We did conceive on the second cycle of trying with baby #3 but we miscarried a week later. Nothing since then. I’m not sure why this time is taking so much longer.

Can anyone advise? My daughter has been trying to get pregnant for several years. Her husband is fine. My daughter has now been asked to go for a scan which scared the life out of me (you automatically think something is horribly wrong). Can someone tell me what the scan is about – what sort of scan is it?

The information contained in the folliculogenesis cyclic profile, as illustrated in the slide captured above, is meaningful and can help the healthcare provider to answer questions such as these.


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), , 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 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 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”).


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 –

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 .

“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: .

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 – .)

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.



And now, go and check out the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at

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 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),, 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

Simply put, these medicinal compounds are differently substituted stilbenes ( = 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 . 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 . “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) . “The most prominent drug amongst these compounds is tamoxifen…”

1993: RU 486—A Decade on Today and Tomorrow . “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 . “…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 ( ) 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: , .

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 ; 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…? = 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” ( ).

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 . 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 about “one of the largest malpractice awards in Canadian history. At issue is how the patient understood the discussion of the risks of Clomid”: .

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 ( ).

Here is a bit more scientific take on how it works, cited from Wikipedia ( ):

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 and/or to , .

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 ( ):

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 .

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 .)

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…)

Critique of birth control efficacies in NFP as published by Marquette University researchers

March 23, 2010

Comments on a report of two studies – they report on what we will call peri-ovulation methodologies.


Michelangelo - The Drunkenness of Noah

Michelangelo – The Drunkenness of Noah

Excerpts from their first study:

The retrospective study involved 204 couples (i.e., women with a mean age of 28.6 and their male partners, with a mean age of 30.3) who were taught NFP (by health professionals, physicians and nurses) at four sites in the United States

Table 1. Twelve months total unintended pregnancy rate [number of unintended pregnancies out of the number of couples in given group using the indicated method of NFP]

BBT + mucus                                    5/76                     7%

Monitor + mucus                               4/69                     6%

Mucus only                                       1/29                      3%

BBT + mucus + monitor                     2/25                      8%

Monitor only                                      0/5

Second study excerpts:

The participants for this study came from the same four clinic sites as the previous study and involved 313 couples who were taught how to avoid pregnancy with the EHFM [Monitor] plus CVM [Mucus], and another 315 who used CVM only … The researchers found a total of 28 unintended pregnancies with the EFHM plus CVM group and 41 with the CVM only group… (during 12 months of use)

Monitor + mucus                          28/313                        9%

Mucus only                                  41/315                        13%

QUOTE: “both studies have limitations in that they were not randomized clinical trials”.

In their 2003 study report, they similarly noted study limitations, but there was also the following: “Of interest is the authors’ statement that only 1% of reproductive age women in the Netherlands use NFP as a means to achieve or avoid pregnancy. The respondents in this study were mostly women who previously used oral hormonal contraception. This seems to indicate that a new technological device such as Persona could attract new couples to use NFP.” QUOTE UNQUOTE.

Quite right. Their statement of what “this seems to indicate” is consistent with what we had found (without any financial backing by a large investor like Unilever) in a survey of 5,000 American women at about the time when the Persona was new to the market in Britain. Out of those who would purchase our self-diagnostic electronic device (which does NOT require any chemical reagents and daily peeing for in vitro diagnostic measurement with imperfect measures), 70% were users of artificial contraception – they would switch to our device. This outcome was separate from anecdotal evidence of numerous letters and later emails asking if they could purchase our device for their use in NFP.

With the above quote in mind, we would broaden the conclusion – about new technology attracting new couples – beyond NFP use, and we would refer instead (i.e. more broadly) to fertility awareness based methods.

Now, before someone should glance at the above reported outcomes of the two studies and quickly jump to a conclusion, we must make some common sense observations about those statistics. Some little words.

Wassily Kandinsky - Little Words

Kandinsky – Little Words

Should someone want to declare that the above Marquette University reported Monitor had a zero failure rate, then it must be noted that, unfortunately, this was zero out of merely 5 cases. Not comparable with anything else in their publication – and hardly very useful for that reason (and because of the small sample size, too).

Similarly: Table 1 might be read as showing that mucus only is better than BBT + mucus + monitor. This could be “legitimately” considered a valid conclusion since the sample sizes are sort of comparable – if “sort of comparable” were considered good enough (76 and 69, respectively, a 10% difference). But the sample size of mucus only (29) is significantly lower than the sample sizes of the BBT + mucus and of the Monitor + mucus groups.

While the unintended pregnancy outcome of the BBT + mucus + monitor group (8%) is sort of comparable to the outcomes of the two groups with the much larger sample sizes where mucus is accompanied by either BBT or by monitor (7% and 6%, respectively), the only really legitimate conclusion or comment is that sample size matters. That is, if we do not want to compare 25 apples with 72.5 oranges (+/- 3.5) and thus come to questionable conclusions.

If all the groups had sample size of 5 and the percentage outcomes were the same, then the conclusion would be fairly legitimate about the superiority of the monitor – except for the equally legitimate complaint that the sample size of 5 is too small.

Michelangelo - The Battle of Cascina

Michelangelo – The Battle of Cascina

Statistics are supposed to be about large numbers. At least about sufficiently large numbers. Sample size of 5 is hardly sufficiently large, although it would do for a proof of concept, which here the concept would be that Monitor alone is by far the best. I would go with that hypothesis BUT I WANT IT TESTED RIGOROUSLY IN PROPERLY DESIGNED CLINICAL TRIALS.

The outcomes of the second reported study contradict the outcomes of the first, with Mucus only now showing the highest failure rate of them all (13%), and, topping it off, Monitor + mucus is now even higher than in Table 1 (9% vs. 6%).

Since the sample size is now much larger than in Table 1 (313 vs. 69, i.e., 4.5 times larger) it is legitimately concluded that the second study carries more weight and therefore the failure rate of the Monitor + mucus methodology is more likely 9% than 6%. This is rather unsatisfactory but still better than Mucus alone at the whopping 13% unintended pregnancy rate. The 13% failure rate with 315 couples is more believable than the 3% failure rate with 29 couples in Table 1. About 10.862068965517241379310344827586-times more believable – to be light-hearted about it, per jocum dixi.

Then again, remotum joco: All this makes for a kind of arithmetic that should not occur in medical research.

The following is a graphical demonstration of how numbers can distort perception and understanding. The same Michelangelo’s Battle of Cascina (since he did not do any battle of statistics or technologies!) after an effect that allows the data on the periphery to dominate or simply affect disproportionally that which was in the center of focus.

See in the picture above the man looking intently toward us from the middle of the melee? Now (below) he is tiny compared to what’s around him; much like when – in a study of birth distributions as a function of the day of cycle on which conception took place – the data point outliers are doing the same to the high birth counts, because of inaccurate means of ovulation detection (actually mere estimations) employed in said study.

Michelangelo - The Battle of Cascina - Fish Eye effect -30

Michelangelo – The Battle of Cascina – Fish Eye effect -30

While such distortions happen with all imperfect measures of ovulation, the study by John France et al. was discussed in an earlier post at and in the document attached to that post, .

We subsequently showed, in, the effect of doing away with the outlier data points by means of the following diagram, which can be likened to removing the Fish Eye Effect -30 from the distorted Michelangelo picture just above to get back his undistorted Battle of Cascina (with all those naked Florentine soldiers surprised by the enemy while bathing).

Ovulona (FIV) fertile window vs. old (fuzzy ovulation estimate) methods

Ovulona 3-day fertile window versus old methods’ fuzzy estimation of the fertile period

Now, one more citation from the paper under discussion. QUOTE: The EHFM [Monitor] is a hand held device that reads a threshold level of urinary metabolites of estrogen (estrone 3 glucuronide) and luteinizing hormone (LH; on test strips) and provides the user with a low, high, and peak reading of fertility. The monitor is sold in the United States as a method to help couples achieve pregnancy but can be used as an aid to track fertility. QUOTE UNQUOTE

This statement reflects the thinking in those circles. But note: Because no single hormone determines the beginning and no single hormone determines the end of the fertile window (whether they know this or not) they have to speak of low, high and “peak reading of fertility”. We have previously referred to this as a fuzzy delineation of the fertile window [ ].

A little bit fertile, then more, and a peak? That is merely a reflection of not having the accuracy to determine the boundaries of the fertile phase.

Salvador Dali - Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Salvador Dali – Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Just like you cannot be only a little bit pregnant, you either can conceive today or not. No such thing as low fertility, only the uncertainty of “low reading”, and of all their readings – including their subjective self-observations. Subjective self-observations refer to the mucus appearance and feel in NFP practice – and if they used that too, the same limitation applies to palpating the cervix.

The most succinct word about all this is as follows:

The old approaches to detecting fertility status are to be referred to as peri-ovulation methods. Where the prefix refers not to the Peri of Persian folklore (earlier regarded as malevolent!) but to the Greek meaning of about, around, near or enclosing – in this case ovulation. Surely, peri-ovulation or peri-ovulatory is a more palatable word than fuzzy.


And now, go and check out the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at

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