Saturday, April 21, 2007

Aromatherapy: the Sweetest Way to Boost Fertility Naturally

Author: Kristen Hart

If you are trying to conceive naturally and find that it isn't happening quickly you may be feeling a little anxious. Would you be happy if there was a way to lower your anxiety symptoms and
Increase your fertility? There is - aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is growing more and more popular and for a good reason. It's simple and non-invasive. You use essential oils, which are distilled and purified from various plants. Aromatherapy is simple to use at home and very safe. Just remember never to take essential oils internally.

There are several oils that are reported to help increase fertility. The first is Clary sage, a golden yellow oil. This earthy oil is said to help calm nerves and reduce stress. It is also considered to have aphrodisiac properties. Rubbed into the skin over the reproductive organs it is said to help balance estrogen levels and remedy infertility.

Rose essential oil is another great choice to increase fertility. It has a pleasing, soothing scent. Like Clary sage, it is said to have aphrodisiac properties. Rose is excellent for enhancing both male and female fertility. Have your man take warm (not hot) baths with several drops of rose oil in the water. You can do the same. This will increase sperm count in him and help enhance reproductive health in you.

Rosemary was traditionally woven into bridal headdresses because it was believed to grant fertility to young brides. The essential oil of rosemary is also seen to have fertility enhancing properties. Rosemary oil, diluted in gentle carrier oil, can be rubbed between the hip bones to help sooth inflammation in reproductive organs, or to help open blockages. Men may also find this helps.

Finally the versatile and ever pleasing lavender oil is useful for increasing fertility. Lavender is soothing and has slight aphrodisiac effects, both of which help to make lovemaking more pleasurable. This pleasure allows for the right temperature, lubrication, and alkalinity for conception to be present in the body. Lavender oil is wonderful equalizing oil and is gentle enough to be used right on the skin or as carrier oil for drops of other fertility enhancers.

Exploring aromatherapy for fertility enhancement is just plain fun. You will love to surround yourself with the luscious and pleasing scents. Cool oils also feel good rubbed into your skin. The relaxing properties of oils will help ease your mind, and of course aphrodisiac effects will help the baby-making events happen a little easier.

About the author:
Kristen Hart owns http://www.getting-pregnant.com a site devoted to helping families get started naturally. Be sure to visit and subscribe to Getting-Pregnant.com's full natural fertility article series to learn more about fertility enhancement.
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  • posted by Fertility Goddess at 8:54 AM 0 comments links to this post

    Basic Tips for Getting Pregnant


    Author: Heather Barnard

    Many people write to me desperate to become pregnant but under the impression that all they have to do is to have unprotected sex a few times and you will become pregnant. These couples soon find out that this is not the case; many begin to wonder if there is something wrong with them and start to wonder if they have a fertility problem.

    A little investigation into the process of becoming pregnant will show us that the woman ovulates only once a month and that the ovum will only last about 12 hours before it dries up and becomes unable to be fertilized. This little fact alone puts into perspective the timescale a little and when you think that you have been having unprotected sex for 3 months and that to
    you seems like ample time to become pregnant then think again about the percentage of the total time in those three months that you could actually conceive and you will begin to understand why it is actually a close to a miracle that anyone becomes pregnant at all under the best of circumstances.

    We have so much fear of getting pregnant drummed into us as teenagers that we really believe that simply having unprotected sex a few times will undoubtedly result in pregnancy and when it doesn't we begin to wonder if we are infertile or not.

    Simply arming yourselves with a little knowledge of how the process of pregnancy occurs and how the male and female bodies react can dramatically improve your chances of becoming pregnant.

    Little facts like how to tell when you are about to ovulate, how the man can increase or decrease the potency of his sperm and knowing what foods are congenial to conception can all increase
    your chances of becoming pregnant and raise your hopes so you do not sink into a depression about not becoming pregnant which can also have a detrimental effect on the conception process.

    Here are a few very general tips I give out to the many people who regularly write to me the very same question... 'I have been trying to get pregnant for three months and can't... Please help me';

    * The basic key is to keep a healthy mind and body... i.e., health eating, no drinking, smoking or drug taking (including prescription drugs where possible - consult your doctor).

    * Smoking not only causes damage to the fetus in the first few days of existence but also greatly lowers the chances of getting pregnant for both the male and female.

    * The use of cannabis or marijuana acts as a natural contraceptive slowing the sperm's ability to travel by up to 50%.

    * Are you aware of when you ovulate?

    * In an ideal situation you should aim to make love a few hours  before ovulation actually occurs.

    * Repeated ejaculation dramatically lowers the male sperm count. To retain a healthy sperm count you should make no more than once every 2 or 3 days.

    * Avoid the use of tight male underwear

    I have presented you with a few basic tips which you may or may not have already known. You may also benefit from reading my ebook 'The No Nonsense Guide To Getting Pregnant' which can be found here: http://www.pregnantaid.com/guidetogettingpregnant.html

    Check out our website for more information and tips and if you feel that you are still doing all the right things and have tried everything then you may want to consult your doctor to see
    if there is an obvious medical problem as a large percentage of fertility problems do have a solution.

    About the author:
    NoneHeather Barnard -
    Author of the No Nonsense Guide To Getting Pregnant - Complete guide to getting pregnant
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  • posted by Fertility Goddess at 8:53 AM 0 comments links to this post

    Stopping the Biological Clock

    Author: Bradford Kolb, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.,

    Oocyte Crypreservation- Stopping The Biological Clock by Bradford Kolb, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., Board Certified, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Christy Jones, CEO, Extend Fertility

    For decades, sperm and embryos (fertilized eggs) have been successfully frozen for the purposes of fertility preservation and donation for men and couples. Although both sperm and embryo cryopreservation have become commonplace, the freezing of unfertilized oocytes (or eggs) for similar applications in women has not historically delivered the acceptable success rates necessary to drive adoption across the board.

    Unlike sperm and embryos, oocytes did not survive the freeze/thaw process well, primarily because the egg is the largest cell in the human body and comprised mostly of water. The water inside the cell forms ice crystals that destroy the egg during the traditional freezing process. Prior to 2002, the success rate of live births from frozen eggs was 1-3% globally, with few babies born from frozen eggs over decades of attempts.

    Fortunately, a number of advances in our knowledge of oocyte physiology and laboratory techniques are rapidly changing this dream into a reality.

    The ability to preserve unfertilized oocytes is profound if one looks at the potential benefits and some of the controversies surrounding reproductive medicine. Egg-freezing should appeal to a broad range of women. Ultimately, the common factors that link all of these women are the strong desire to have a family and the willingness to take proactive steps to give themselves the best odds possible.

    1. While some couples are comfortable with the concept of embryo freezing, many have moral and ethical dilemmas regarding this issue. For those that believe that life is created at the moment of conception, each frozen embryo represents a life and, if unused, a life unfulfilled. Oocyte cryopreservation, like sperm cryopreservation, presents us with the possible opportunity to preserve one's fertility while avoiding these ethical dilemmas.

    2. Oocyte cryopreservation provides young women facing chemotherapy or irradiation for treatment of life-threatening disease, such as cancer, the opportunity to preserve their
    fertility. The importance of this cannot be understated. Treatment regimens for many of the malignancies faced by adolescents and young adults result in the destruction of their gametes (sperm or eggs). The advancements in cancer treatments are also ensuring that many of these cancer survivors are living long, productive lives. Thus, the opportunity to preserve their ability to have children later in life is critical.

    3. The professional and personal opportunities for women have exploded over the past 30 years, encouraging many women to postpone motherhood. Unfortunately, the biology of female eggs hasn't kept pace and women often face challenges starting their families later in life. Women, who are born with a limited supply of eggs, start to experience diminished fertility rates in the late twenties and this rapidly accelerates as they reach their mid-thirties. Childlessness is one of the biggest concerns for professional women. Studies show that the majority of the 33% of high-achieving women that are childless at ages 41-55 did not choose to be childless. In fact, more than a quarter of high-achieving women in the 41-55 year old age group said they would still like to have children. For women in this category, the ability to preserve their eggs (and thus their future fertility) gives them more flexibility as to when they can start their families.

    4. Oocyte cryopreservation will allow those who need to resort to egg donation (the use of someone else's eggs due to the diminished fertility potential of their own eggs) more
    affordable treatment options. Today, when a couple chooses to use donor eggs, they must bear the cost of the entire donor's IVF cycle alone. The ability to use only the limited number of eggs necessary while freezing the unused eggs will allow couples using donor's eggs to cut their expenses dramatically. This will allow individuals who were unable to afford such services the opportunity to pursue having children.

    Techniques Given the magnitude of the need, clinicians around the world have raced to develop a technique for successful egg-freezing, and beginning in 2002, promising results ranging from 20-40% successful pregnancy rate (on par with a woman's natural peak fertility rate) were published. The key difference over previous techniques was the change in cryoprotectants used to protect the egg during the freezing process. Cryoprotectant acts as an "antifreeze" to protect the delicate egg as the temperature drops.

    Before attempting to understand how our ability to cryopreserve unfertilized eggs has been achieved, it is important to understand how sperm and embryo (fertilized oocytes) cryopreservation has long been commonplace. The major problem faced in freezing a cell is to minimize damage to the membranes induced by ice crystal formation. Intracellular ice formation is dangerous because it may rupture the cell membranes causing cellular destruction. The smaller the cell, the less likely ice crystal formation will occur.

    Sperm cells are about 180th the size of a mature egg and thus can be easily preserved. Embryos, which are eggs that have been fertilized, are approximately the same size as mature eggs, but are much more likely to survive the freezing/thawing cycles.

    This is due to the fact that the eggs' membranes undergo dramatic changes during fertilization, making them more likely to tolerate the stresses associated with freezing. The use of cyroprotectants and highly controlled freezing/thawing rates have dramatically improved the survival rates of frozen sperm and frozen embryos. In many ways, the lessons learned from freezing sperm and embryos are being applied to freezing oocytes. However, the unique nature of the female egg has required additional study and technological developments.

    A number of approaches have been taken in order to maximize the survival rates of frozen oocytes. The greatest success has been achieved with protocols that use slow freezing/rapid thaw protocols. Critical to any freezing protocol is the use of cryoprotectants.

    Cryoprotectants act by a variety of means to reduce the amount of water that crystallizes within the cell and protects the cell during the freezing process. Common cryoprotectants include an alcohol (1,2-propranediol), a carbohydrate (sucrose) and a solvent (DMSO). The concentration and the duration of exposure to most cryoprotectants (alcohols and solvents) are critical, as exposure to high concentrations or exposure for prolonged periods of time can result in damage to the cell. We have found that increasing the concentration of sucrose (a relatively safe cryoprotectant that works by pulling water out of the cell) results in significantly improved survival rates, fertilization rates and pregnancy rates for frozen oocytes.

    We also have found that the removal of the cryoprotectant with progressive dilution is a critical step in the thawing process. If oocytes are placed directly in a medium without cryoprotectant after thawing, they can swell and burst. The use of nonpermeating molecules (molecules that do not enter in the thawing cell) such as sucrose, act to oppose the inflow of water into the cell and thus prevent the membrane from bursting.

    Others have recently undertaken investigations using a process called vitrification; a process that utilizes ultrarapid freezing techniques. While some pregnancies have been achieved utilizing this technique, it has not been shown to be more efficacious than slow freeze/rapid thaw protocols and is more susceptible to human error.

    This process exposes the egg to potentially damaging levels of cryoprotectant and direct exposure to liquid nitrogen. Exposure to liquid nitrogen is a critical factor in this age of concern over infectious agents. The infectious agents, while rare, can result in life-threatening illnesses. This is a critical concern as the cryopreserved cells are stored in common tanks and a single tank may contain thousands of cells.

    Regardless of the freezing technique, the oocyte goes through a number of changes that make it less likely to fertilize using standard co-incubation techniques (the mixing of eggs and sperm together).

    The understanding that the zona pellucida (an exoskeleton that covers the outside of the egg) undergoes changes due to the premature release of the cortical granules (these are normally released at the time of fertilization and prevent multiple sperm from fertilizing the egg) is an important factor that has lead to improved success with frozen eggs.

    This has led to changes in how frozen oocytes are fertilized. With the introduction of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), the results for fertilization, embryo development, and for implantation rates (attachment of the embryo to the uterus) are approaching those obtained with fresh embryos.

    Conclusions

    We are just reaching a time where it is becoming feasible to preserve unfertilized, mature oocytes. These are harvested after taking fertility medications to induce the maturation of a number of oocytes. Women of this generation want more options and power when it comes making life decisions and plans. This is an exciting next step in the long line of developments in the field of women's reproductive health - on par with the introduction of the birth control pill.

    Dr. Bradford Kolb is a reproductive endocrinologist and OB/GYN at Huntington Reproductive Center in Pasadena, CA Phone: (626) 440-9161 or Toll Free (866) HRC-4IVF Website: http://www.havingbabies.com

    Christy Jones is the CEO and founder of Extend Fertility in Boston, MA Phone: (800) 841-7197 Email: info@extendfertility.com Website: http://www.extendfertility.com

    REFERENCES:
    U.S. Census Bureau. "Distribution of Women by Average Number of Children Ever Born, by Race, Age, and Marital Status." Fertility of American Women Current Population Survey (June 2000).

    National Parenting Association. "Groundbreaking Study Exposes A Crisis Among Successful Women: The Survey Behind Sylvia Ann Hewlett's 'Creating a Life.'" National Parenting Association Web site.



    About the author:
    Bradford Kolb, MD, F.A.C.O.G.

    Undergraduate -University of California, Irvine Medical School
    University of California, Irvine

    Residency Obstetrics & Gynecology-Northwestern University

    Fellowship Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility-University
    of Southern California

    Board Certifications-Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
    Obstetrics and Gynecology
    http://www.havingbabies.com/staff_kolb.html
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  • posted by Fertility Goddess at 8:51 AM 0 comments links to this post