Is there a better season to have an IVF procedure done?

Ahhhh Springtime, that magical time during the year (at least here in the mid-atlantic region of the U.S) that plants come back to life, temperatures rise to thaw us all out and according to some research: people become more active or frisky. It also appears to be the best time for a female to have oocyte retrieval after stimulation for IVF with ICSI.

A recent study was completed in Brazil on whether or not the time of year affected the fertilization rate during an IVF cycle. What the study found was quite interesting, Spring IVF procedures with ICSI had higher fertilization rates than any other season by approximately 4+% more depending on the comparison season. The rates were specifically:

Spring- 73.5%

Summer- 68.7%

Autumn- 69.0%

Winter-67.9%

There were approximately 1900 participants and they were organizaed into groups based on when they would have their oocyte retrieval. What was interesting in the study was that while the oocyte retrieval was higher in Spring, it did not effect the pregnancy rates, which remained at 33% for all seasons nor did the study take into consideration how the male’s sperm was affected by season.

The full article can be read here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303644004577524824251585782.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories

Male fertility and seasons:

There have been a variety of research studies throughout the past few years on the effect of the seasons on both males and females sexual activity. Previous studies have looked into how the seasons change a male’s sexual activity and sperm count.

Studies in 2009 showed that sexual activity appears to be low in Spring, but high in late summer/early autumn. According to some studies, the male hormone testosterone is higher in the end of summer resulting in more sexually active males in the fall. Another study found that male sperm counts are higher in spring due to less sexual activity and higher temperatures.

What we do know from studies is that when there are warmer/not hot, but “agreeably-warm” temperatures and periods of longer daylight, both male and female fertility rates appear to be more successful. Will you be testing the circadian method this Spring?

Five Millionth IVF Baby Born!

July 2012 marks the date the five millionth baby was born through IVF. That’s an amazing number of babies born to people whom may have been unable to have a child on their own naturally (five million bundles of joy).  It also is the year that the first woman to have a successful birth from IVF passed away.  Louise Brown’s mother, Leslie Brown- the first woman who birthed Louise in July 1978 after conceiving through IVF, died this past June.

InVitro Fertilization has grown by leaps and bounds since 1978. The technology advanced to include more optimal treatments like ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection: injects the sperm directly into the cell wall of the egg to help optimize fertilization). IVF is one of a small number of assisted reproductive technologies available today to help couples trying to conceive that are having difficulties doing so naturally. While this year marks the birth of the 5 millionth IVF baby and over 40 years of advancing, this type of ART still has its risks: multiples, birth defects and higher risks to the mother. While many must go through IVF on their path to conception, it may not work for everyone. The success rates for any procedures decrease as we age.

There are other types of ART available as “first steps” before IVF: Artificial Inseminations: ICI (intracervical insemination) and IUI (Intrauterine insemination). Different treatments can help with different types of infertility issues such as IVF with ICSI for male infertility factors. For those with unexplained fertility issues (approximately 1/3 of those trying to conceive are not diagnosed with male or female issues) many will start the process with ICI or IUI both a fraction of the cost of IVF. Speaking with your doctor or Reproductive Endocrinologist early on when you feel there may be problems with trying to conceive can help set you on perhaps the right path to parenthood.

Here is to many more births with assisted reproductive technologies and many more years of advancements that may help ALL trying to conceive.

CNN: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/02/5-million-babies-born-so-far-thanks-to-ivf/

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18649582