Posts Tagged ‘fertile window’

What Women Know, And What They Want To Know About Their Fertility Status

October 10, 2009

There: What Women Know

Despite the many BBT charting apps and some BBT monitors, and despite the urine analyzing (or the saliva testing) products on the market, here is a fundamental fact:

There is no device in the marketplace today that would tell you, in plain English, “today is your fertile day 1” – meaning that sex today is likely to lead to pregnancy.  And from our clinical trial results you will know that the pregnancy conceived on this first of the fertile days is likely to be a male fetus, a boy. There is no device out there that would detect (not just guess at) ovulation, which will enable you to try to conceive a girl, if that is what you wish for.

There is no such device on the market that would subsequently confirm the pregnancy within a day or two – when, after ovulation on fertile day 3, you or rather your Ovulona device for you – will no longer register the usual follicular waves. Your Ovulona device will interpret that as pregnancy detected, because that is how the biology works.

There is no device out there that would identify the only 3 days in each menstrual cycle during which – and only during which – pregnancy can result from insemination, whether natural or artificial. The commercially available fertility monitors cannot detect either delayed ovulation (which happens due to stress) or when ovulation does not occur at all. Because they do not detect ovulation, they just guess at it.

Because the currently marketed fertility monitors (ovulation predictors) cannot detect ovulation, they merely assume its occurrence due to the particular hormonal marker-predictor of their choice (usually LH, in some cases estrogen, in one case both). But no single hormone, even if it were detected with the accuracy of laboratory methods, determines the fertile window. It’s much more involved than that.

For more on this, go to The post on 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/

Here: What Women Want To Know

Only scarcity of funds keeps us from marketing a device doing all those things not available today.

Our personal self-diagnostic device, the Ovulona™, will tell the woman user in plain English (or any other language) whether today is one of the three days when she can become pregnant.

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/ovulona-single-slide-3-day-fertile-window.jpg

Ovulona - single slide 3-day fertile window

How? We’ll have the woman monitor at home the process that causes menstrual cycles and is fundamental to women’s health (folliculogenesis). The use of the Ovulona device is very simple, just like a tampon, except that it is inserted for only a few seconds (about 20) to obtain the result, with an instant display of the result.

The Smart Ovulona will display the results electronically interpreted, presented in plain language such as FERTILE DAY 1 while the raw data is stored within the device for optional use by healthcare professionals.

Primary use is for personal reproductive management – that is aiding the achievement of pregnancy, and also aiding fertility-awareness based non-invasive birth control.

But there is much more, including an automatic screening for cervical cancer, management of PMS/PMDD and management of hormone therapy, to name just a few of the applications that will come with the core technology.

We show below the working of the prototyped product using the graphs of the measurement results plotted against the days of the menstrual cycle – and compared with the woman’s basal body temperature for reference. The graphs of the measurement data produce cyclic profiles descriptive of the nuances of the monitored menstrual cycles. None of the old techniques can do that.

These cyclic profiles have important characteristics:

1. The menstrual cyclic profile has numerous repeatable features. It is an electronic signature of the menstrual cycle, which is the female 5th vital sign.

2. The range of measurement values is the same in different cycles and, importantly, also in different women.

3. The profile features are interpretable, and are due to the biological process that causes the menstrual cycle phenomena (folliculogenesis).

The significance of these menstrual cycle profiles goes beyond reproductive management.

To wit: Ours is a unique and disruptive technology.

https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/biozhena-corp-single-slide-3-day-window.pps Click the link or the image for a better view – an animated slide.

Fertile window for birth control

Fertile window for birth control

For a better insight, visit the other posts on this blog [https://biozhena.wordpress.com/ ], and check out http://www.linkedin.com/in/vaclavkirsner.

Before you go, see this, to get some sense of what is going on here:  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/wealth-of-information-in-menstrual-profile-signature.jpg The link opens a larger version of the slide snapshot image.

Better still, click the next link for the animated and narrated slide:  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/single-slide-narrated-best-wealth-of-info-in-menstrual-cycle-profile-signature.pps

wealth-of-information-in-menstrual-profile-signature

Note the planned use of the follicular waves for early pregnancy detection (the waves disappear; the right term for this is “instant pregnancy detection”), and monitoring for early pregnancy loss (in that unfortunate eventuality, the waves come back; it is advisable – by certain recent medical findings – that the couple should not delay trying to conceive again).

Refer to the following for more about said recent findings: original medical publication in BMJ http://to.ly/9WtG; BMJ editorial comment http://to.ly/9WtI; CNN.com article “Miscarriage? Try again ASAP, study suggests” http://ht.ly/2mlwb; bioZhena’s post http://to.ly/802p “Instant detection of pregnancy and of Early Pregnancy Loss, EPL – the adversary of Trying To Conceive, TTC – especially after age 25”.

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A party with an interest relevant to bioZhena Corporation can be provided with more confidential information upon request (email: vaclav@biozhena.com).

Visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/vaclavkirsner/ .

The Ovulona is not another ovulation kit, my dear

October 6, 2008

@bioZhena‘s reply to Jennifer K. who wrote: How is this different from the other ovulation kits on the market today? It seems very similar to products I have seen before. QUOTE UNQUOTE

Actually, Jennifer, you are mistaken. There is no such thing available to you in the marketplace today.

This blockquote is added in April 2017

Ovulona - single slide 3-day fertile window

ovulona-single-slide-3-day-fertile-window-forexs.pps

None of the ovulation kits – which the Ovulona™ is not – or any other fertility-status monitors on the market today have the required ability to determine fertile day 1, fertile day 2, and fertile day 3 (= ovulation, the last day of the fertile window).

All the existing techniques merely guesstimate the approach of ovulation, and none of them can detect ovulation separately from predicting it. They detect neither the first day nor the last day of your brief fertile window – so, they declare the fertile window to be wider than it actually is.

Let’s try to illustrate this with the following graphical comparison of the Ovulona 3-day fertile window versus the fuzzy and much wider, uncertain window indicated by one of the old techniques. (In this case depicted here it was the so-called Peak mucus method but LH kit and BBT yielded similarly wide and fuzzy fertile periods, that is the days on which intercourse resulted in pregnancy.)

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

Ovulona 3-day fertile window versus one of the old methods

Because in the Old Method ovulation was only guessed at, a fuzzy fertile period obtained.

Fuzzy and long. Wrong.

There is no device in the marketplace that would tell you, in plain English (or in Spanish, Chinese or maybe even in Czech!), “today is your fertile day 1” – meaning that sex today is likely to lead to pregnancy. And from our clinical trial results you will know that the pregnancy conceived on this first of the fertile days is likely to be a male fetus, a boy. We base this expectation on the results of other people’s studies, referenced below.

The rationale, briefly, is this: The male sperm live long enough to be available for fertilization when ovulation releases the ovum (egg) from the ovulating ovarian follicle. Whereas the female X-chromosome bearing spermatozoa have a chance to produce a baby girl only if intercourse takes place on the day of ovulation, because of their short lifespan. With the Ovulona, the rationale will have a chance to be tested and/or utilized in real life…

No such powerful tool out there

There is no device that would – subsequent to determining the days of the fertile window – confirm the pregnancy within a day or two. When, after ovulation on fertile day 3 (indicated in the graph here as day 0), your Ovulona would no longer register the usual follicular waves – and the device would interpret that as pregnancy detected, because that is how it works.

In gynecological convention, days of the menstrual cycle are counted from the first day of menstrual bleeding, but the researchers involved in studying the prediction of ovulation use also another counting system. In that counting system, the day of ovulation is day 0 (zero). This is to allow for comparisons of different cycles, because cycle lengths as well as the phases of the menstrual cycle vary from month to month and also, of course, from woman to woman.

Because the sperm can remain viable for several days but the egg can be fertilized only for several hours after ovulation, there are several fertile days before ovulation. Should the egg remain viable for fertilization longer than the believed 12 to 24 hours, there would be also one fertile day after the day of ovulation. Delayed ovulation will have this effect and this is discussed below. Only our menstrual cycle tracking technology can detect delayed ovulation, a very important attribute.

We believe that published evidence from clinical studies of this problem leads to the conclusion that there are only 3 days of high probability of getting pregnant, and that the ovulation day is the last day of this narrow fertile window.

3-day fertile window vs. old method e2

For more on the foundation of this hypothesis (i.e. for the working hypothesis of the 3-day fertile window), see https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2007/12/03/fetal-sex-preselection-%E2%80%93-illustrated/ where we show the outcome of the France et al. study of fetal gender pre-selection superimposed on the menstrual cyclic profile generated by our device in a small clinical trial. This indicates how baby gender pre-selection works or rather how it will work when the Ovulona™ is launched in the marketplace.

This is how come that, in the illustrations above including this one, the days of the fertile window are counted back from ovulation, and hence their negative signs in the graph. Day -2 on this time scale is the first day of the fertile window. It is clearly discerned in our menstrual cyclic profile signature, as shown in the first illustration of this post.

How prior art products and methods fail

If you only detect the ovulation day with your LH kit, it is too late for the previous 2 fertile days. Similarly, if you detect an elevated BBT temperature, which rises and remains elevated after ovulation, it is also too late. The timely determination of the pre-ovulation fertile days has always been THE key problem for NFP [Natural Family Planning] and generally for the Fertility Awareness Based Methods of reproductive management.

There is no device out there that would determine the only 3 days in each menstrual cycle during which – and only during which – pregnancy can result from insemination, whether natural or artificial.

The other fertility monitors – including the more recent smart phone apps – cannot detect delayed ovulation (which happens due to stress) despite the LH hormone signaling that ovulation should go ahead. Neither can the various other monitors warn you when ovulation cannot occur because of the failure of dominant follicle maturation in the present menstrual cycle.

There is no other device that would enable you to avoid the expense and hassle of trying to become pregnant with the help of the costly Artificial Reproductive Technologies when your dominant follicle maturation is not happening – which is only detectable with our folliculogenesis-tracking little device for home use.

Your gynecologist, your family doctor – or your psychiatrist if you suffer badly with PMS (diagnosed as PMDD) – does not have the benefit of the folliculogenesis cyclic profiles stored in the Ovulona memory for better diagnosis and better treatment than you can get today. They do not as yet have the benefit of systematic longitudinal recording of your menstrual cycle vital sign signatures, to facilitate better diagnosis of a health problem such as you may have.

There is no other technology that would – automatically and without bothering you at all – keep track of whether your cervical tissues are healthy, and would issue a warning only when detecting tissue aberration several months in a row – to spare you the anxieties and expenses associated with the Pap smear cervical cancer tests’ frequent false positives. Yes, this too is a functionality planned for the Ovulona in the future.

There is no technology as yet available to all women worldwide with these empowering features at a perfectly affordable cost.

oh yeah

oh yeah

Read also the 2012 article https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors.  Don’t let them lead you by the nose with likely this and probable that! You need to know for sure. Day 1, day 2, day 3. Simple.

Should you want to look deeper into this, do check out the  Home Page of bioZhena’s Weblog

Contact me via email at vaclav@biozhena.com

Stress and fertility

December 22, 2007
Please click through to the 2019 revision of this post at
https://biozhena.wordpress.com/stress-and-fertility-fertile-window-ovulation/

How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

Stress can do unwanted things to a woman and her menstrual cycle. In a nutshell, stress can make a woman completely infertile in this menstrual cycle (e.g., LPD, see below), or it can change the timing of her fertile window (the time of ovulation included) within the menstrual cycle. Any of this can cause problems and lead to more stress…

The medical term is stress response, and it refers to the overall reaction of the organism to any adverse stimulus, whether it be of physical, mental or emotional kind, internal or external. The purpose is to adapt to challenge, and this goes on all the time. (C’est la vie! Real life is a never-ending series of stress responses.) Should the compensating reaction of the organism be inadequate or inappropriate, a pathological disorder may result.

The HPA axis, the immune system and the sympathetic nervous system are involved in the stress response. Don’t get stressed by some undecipherable abbreviations or unknown words — look up The Alphabet of bioZhena, you may find it or them in there!

Just remember, this is no Alphabet of Ben Sira!

( /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/)

021r from The Book of Urizen

Stress and the menstrual cycle

“It is a matter of conventional wisdom that perturbations in the external or internal environments – that is stress – can interfere with the normal course of the menstrual cycle.” To further quote the expert, “disturbances in the menstrual cycle occur in response to exercise and physical demands, stress and emotional demands, and diet and nutritional demands” [citation below, ref. 17].

As Michel J. Ferin writes, with reference to the brain component of the female reproductive control system, “with minimal reduction in (GnRH) pulse frequency, small undetected defects in the follicular maturation process may occur, whereas with a higher degree of pulse inhibition the follicular phase may be prolonged, and luteal phase deficiency, anovulation, and amenorrhea may develop.”

A micro-glossary: The follicular maturation process is also called folliculogenesis. GnRH is a brain-produced hormone involved in folliculogenesis. A maturing follicle is a small, protective sac, gland, or cluster of cells in the ovary, in which an egg (ovum) develops towards ovulation, in order to have a chance to be fertilized.

 

What is folliculogenesis - like EKG

 

And here is for you a baseline picture of how our folliculogenesis-in-vivo technique captures the course of folliculogenesis in baseline subjects (healthy and chemically clean i.e. no medication, less than 35 years old). Take your time to study the wealth of information particularly in the right-hand part of the image (use the linked slide):

 

 

For better legibility, click on the image. For more detail (presented in a PDF of 3 slides better viewed – incl. presenter notes – in Firefox, not in Chrome), go to:  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/wealth-of-info-elucidation-silent-3-slides-animated-ed.pdf .  For the animation and narration of the first two slides, go to: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/wealth-of-info-elucidation-3-animated-slides-2-narrated.pps (again, Firefox works while Chrome does not, at least here for me).

As for the scientific background of our work:  https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/what-is-stress.pdf is an ad hoc selection of a few abstracts from my files in (or before) 2007 on papers addressing ovulation, reproduction, folliculogenesis and stress. I referred to said area of biomedical science as psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology. Your perusal of the material with my markings (highlights) will help you understand the significance of the bioZhena technology for women’s healthcare and self-care. (The footer in the document shows obsolete email and physical addresses.)

Stress and the OvulonaTM

As introduced above, our electrochemical sensor of the ectocervix, the OvulonaTM, is a smart tissue biosensor for women’s reproductive self-help. It records menstrual cycle vital sign  signature data for OBGYN, PRIMARY CARE, RE and other healthcare providers’ use when needed.

Results obtained with our Ovulona prototypes lead to the conclusion that the technique appears to detect such phenomena as referred to by Dr. Ferin.

This is not merely the detected different rates of follicular maturation in different menstrual cycles, but even more significantly the delayed ovulations in those cycles where it takes longer than 1 day to reach the ovulation marker trough (minimum), as observed in some non-baseline subjects’ cyclic profiles. And the unprecedented  detection of the absence of dominant follicle maturation, which makes the woman infertile in the present menstrual cycle. Click on the composite image below for a better resolution of the contents.

Short luteal phase and LPD examples of the Ovulona(TM)'s diagnostic power

Here (in the upper image) is the detection of Ferin’s “minimal reduction in (GnRH) pulse frequency, small undetected defects in the follicular maturation process may occur”.

Whereas (lower image), “with a higher degree of pulse inhibition the follicular phase may be prolonged, and luteal phase deficiency [LPD], anovulation, and amenorrhea may develop” – and, indeed, we have seen the LPD, the extended follicular phase and short luteal phase, and other aberrations in the cyclic profiles of different women over the years.

bioZhena’s technique is basically detecting non-pathological stress responses in menstrual cycles through monitoring cervical end-organ effects. Pathological stress responses are captured as well.

Abnormal cyclic patterns of the end-organ effects may serve as an early warning of pathological disorders. This remains to be systematically investigated. Anecdotal evidence in non-baseline cyclic profiles is compelling.

For a hint of how this came about, including samples of data from two pilot studies by independent investigators testing our prototypes, refer to these five  slides (they take a few moments to open; some browsers such as Firefox seem better for it): Five slides selected for bioZhena weblog

The five slides are as old as the text of the original blog post, so perhaps a recent more detailed explanatory illustration (clickable for better legibility) might be in order:

 

Ovulona detects delayed ovulation

 

For better legibility of the contents and for links to the references, see the PDF of the slide shown in the image: https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/single-slide-ovulona-detects-delayed-ovulation-w.-links.pdf  (You can enlarge the contents using the browser zoom, or use the PPS slide show version of the slide (it takes a few moments to open): https://biozhena.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/single-slide-ovulona-detects-delayed-ovulation-w.-links.pps)

In general, the non-baseline cyclic profiles present certain quantitative deviations from baseline: e.g., their post-ovulation (luteal) phase can be not of the normal length of about 14 days (12 to 16) as in one of the illustrated cycles above. In such abnormal cycles with short luteal phases (<11 days, observed more often in older women), there is a lack of synchrony due to a mismatch between the ovarian steroids and the pituitary peptides [S.K. Smith et al., J. Reprod. Fert. 75:363, 1985].

Here is an example of a non-baseline cyclic profile of a woman with a short luteal phase (8 days); for comparison, the woman’s BBT profile in the same cycle is also shown:

Short luteal phase cyclic profile

A woman’s history of amenorrhea and/or of ovarian cysts is pertinent to the case of abnormally short luteal phase, but so is stress and its effect on the GnRH hormone generator in the hypothalamus of the brain, which affects the output of the pituitary peptides.

For example, it is known in a general way that norepinephrine and possibly epinephrine in the hypothalamus increase the GnRH pulse frequency. Conversely, the endogeneous opioid peptides, the enkephalins and beta-endorphin, reduce the frequency of the GnRH pulses. These interactions are particularly important at the time of the “mid-cycle” LH surge, affecting its timing and intensity [W.F. Ganong, Review of Medical Physiology, 17th edition, Appleton & Lange, 1995, Chapter 23].

The slow rate of descent of the Ovulona signal – seen in slides 1 and 2 of the 5 slides  above – descent from the short-term predictive peak to the ovulation marker trough (minimum) is a useful diagnostic feature that is indicative of an extended period of time required for the two “clocks” (the circhoral and the circamensual) to become synchronized as a precondition of ovulation.

Activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis by physical, chemical, and psychological perturbations is known to result in elevated levels of serum corticosteroid hormones. Corticosteroids are the principal effectors in the stress response and are thought to be responsible for both adaptational and maladaptational response to perturbing situations. They have profound effects on mood and behavior, and affect neurochemical transmission and neuroendocrine control.

Stress double whammy

Cortisol, the predominant corticosteroid in primates, is often regarded as the “stress hormone” and consequently serves as a marker of stress. Cortisol can be measured in blood, urine, and saliva. For information about the adrenal gland and stress, go to http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/adrenal/index.html .

We logically mentioned stress in the post on Sub-fertility (or Reduced Fertility), in the following reminder. The endocrinologist professor Brown may be quoted:

“Failing to conceive when wanted is stressful and therefore favours infertility. It should be remembered that, apart from a few conditions such as blocked fallopian tubes, absent sperm and continued anovulation, most couples will conceive eventually without help. However, the modern expectation is one of immediate results, and the main function of assisted reproduction techniques is therefore to shorten the waiting time for conception.”

To which we would add that bioZhena aims to offer a more affordable and safer alternative to the A.R.T. approach. Besides offering to women’s healthcare providers the diagnostic technique with the capabilities outlined in the foregoing.

References as excerpted from our White Paper:

[17] Michel J. Ferin, “The menstrual cycle: An integrative view”, Chapter 6 in [2], pages 103 – 121.

[2] Eli Y. Adashi, John A. Rock, and Zev Rosenwaks, editors, “Reproductive Endocrinology, Surgery, and Technology”, Lippincott – Raven, 1996.

Terminology reminder:

Luteal phase is the phase after ovulation. Follicular phase is the phase before ovulation. Referencing the phases of the menstrual cycle. Amenorrhea = abnormal absence of menstrual bleeding. GnRH = gonadotropin releasing hormone. See The Alphabet of bioZhena at /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/


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