Stress associated with fertility issues in women

Female rats exposed to a scream sound may have diminished ovarian reserve and reduced fertility, according to a small animal study published in the Endocrine Society’s journal, Endocrinology.

Ovarian reserve is the reproductive potential left within a woman’s two ovaries based on the number and quality of eggs. A woman is born with a finite number of eggs and her body cannot create any more. Diminished ovarian reserve is the loss of normal reproductive potential in the ovaries due to a lower count or quality of the remaining eggs.

“We examined the effect of stress on ovarian reserve using a scream sound model in rats,” said Wenyan Xi, Ph.D., of the Second Affiliation Hospital of Xi’an Jiao Tong University in Xian, China. “We found that female rats exposed to the scream sound had diminished ovarian reserve and decreased fertility.”

The scream sound decreased the rats’ estrogen and Anti-Mullerian hormone levels. Estrogen is a group of hormones that play an important role in growth and reproductive development, and Anti-Mullerian hormone is a hormone made by the ovaries which helps form reproductive organs. The scream sound also lowered the number and quality of the women’s eggs and resulted in smaller litters.

“Based on these findings, we suggest stress may be associated with diminished ovarian reserve,” Xi said. “It is important to determine an association between chronic stress and ovarian reserve because doing so may expand our appreciation of the limitations of current clinical interventions and provide valuable insight into the cause of diminished ovarian reserve.”

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Overturning Roe could impact IVF treatments, fertility experts warn

“News that the Supreme Court is on the cusp of overturning Roe v. Wade is sounding alarms for an unexpected part of the population: people looking to get pregnant and the doctors who are helping them,” according to an article on CNN.

With the conservative justices preparing to give states the full power to determine abortion policies within their borders, these experts say that could “open up the legal terrain for states to interfere with the fertility process known as in vitro fertilization, in which a sperm fertilizes an egg outside the body.”

CNN spoke to doctors in the fertility field and academics who study the legal landscape around it. They say there is “grave uncertainty – both about how abortion laws already on the books will be interpreted and about how lawmakers and local prosecutors may seek to push the envelope, freed from the precedents that have effectively shielded the fertility process from government meddling. That lack of clarity, it is feared, will affect the treatments doctors are willing to offer IVF patients and the decisions people will have to make about how to pursue growing their families.”

You can read the entire article at CNN.com.

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RESOLVE program reaches 1 million lives covered by insurance

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association celebrates one million covered lives through its Coverage at Work program. This free program empowers people, whose health insurance is provided by their employer, to talk to their HR benefits managers about adding benefits and coverage that help them build their family.

This program launched in 2016, and since then RESOLVE has tracked more than 45 companies who because their employee used RESOLVE’s program, have added family building benefits, the biggest being insurance coverage for medically necessary treatments like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The total number of these employees with new or expanded healthcare benefits for family building options reached 1 million in April 2022.

Employees and employers can easily download a free toolkit to get the conversations started about how to add these important, inclusive benefits.

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RSCNJ offers ‘kind and gentle’ care

Our patient Kayla had this to say about her care at RSCNJ:

“Dr. Ziegler is kind and gentle and takes the time to listen, explain and really be honest and upfront at each step. He’s been relentless in helping us in our journey and we can feel how invested he is in our success. The facility is always clean and the staff sweet and comforting.”

Thank you so much for your kind words, Kayla. You can read more reviews of RSCNJ at our web site.

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High BMI linked to sperm cell irregularities

Single-cell analysis of autopsied human testes suggests that abnormalities associated with aging sperm cells might be exacerbated by elevated body mass index (BMI). The research appears in the journal Developmental Cell.

Even though it is well established that older men display reduced reproductive health, testis aging remains poorly understood at the molecular and genomic level. Moreover, it has not been clear whether lifestyle or environmental factors affect this decline.

“Aging may confer a combination of modest molecular changes that sensitize the testis for additional dysregulation, with pronounced dysregulation caused when aging is combined with additional factors such as obesity,” says co-senior author Bradley Cairns of the University of Utah School of Medicine.

To address this gap, researchers sequenced more than 44,000 cells obtained from autopsy testis samples from four young men and eight older men. The older donors were screened for having offspring as young adults to ensure early-adult fertility.

Notably, BMI emerged as a critical factor among older individuals. The results reveal possible molecular mechanisms underlying the complex testicular changes associated with aging, and their possible exacerbation by concurrent chronic conditions such as obesity.

The study reveals potential biomarkers for diagnosis of testis aging and directions for potential treatment of aging-related subfertility, the researchers say. It also serves as a foundational dataset for the scientific community to study how human testis and fertility respond to aging.

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New podcast covers pelvic pain, endometriosis and fertility

Endometriosis affects about 7 million women in the United States. It impacts the fertility of reproductive-age women, and can cause back and pelvic pain.

In our latest podcast, Dr. Alan Martinez discusses the many contraception choices available, the right way to use them, and whether they’ll affect your ability to get pregnant in the future.

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Nanoparticles help locate, remove endometriosis lesions

Scientists have developed a new nanotechnology approach for locating and removing the painful and dangerous lesions associated with endometriosis, a common gynecological condition in women of childbearing age.

The research, led by Oleh Taratula of the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy and Ov Slayden of the Oregon National Primate Research Center at Oregon Health & Science University, involves magnetic nanoparticles — tiny pieces of matter as small as one-billionth of a meter.

The animal-model study, published in the journal Small, shows that the iron oxide nanoparticles, injected intravenously, act as a contrast agent; they accumulate in the lesions, making them easier to see by advanced imaging such as MRI.

And when exposed to an alternating magnetic field, a non-invasive procedure, the nanoparticles’ temperature soars to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, high enough for lesion removal via heat.

“Endometriosis is a debilitating, systemic disease, and the need for an efficient, non-surgical method of removing the lesions is urgent,” Taratula said. “We invented targeted nanoparticles with extraordinary heating capabilities that enable the use of magnetic hyperthermia for the safe and efficient elimination of endometriosis lesions.”

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Dr. Ziegler leads remarkable fertility success story

When our patient, Lisa Mehler Ackerman, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 34, she feared two things: that her illness could be fatal, of course, but also that it might stop her from her lifelong goal: to become a mother.

But thanks to Dr. William Ziegler of RSCNJ, a team of clinicians and her own sister, the Brick, New Jersey woman successfully had her eggs harvested and fertilized, and her sister become Lisa’s gestational carrier. Lisa’s dreams of motherhood came true in July 2021, when baby Madison Ackerman was born.

You can read this remarkable story at HackensackMeridianHealth.org.

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Fertility benefits a ‘major weapon in the war for talent’

According to an article in Fortune magazine, more and more companies are beefing up their employee benefits programs in an effort to attract the best workers. And fertility benefits are becoming a “must-have.” A Harris Poll commissioned by Fortune found that nearly half of workers (45%) say these types of benefits are important when considering a new job.

Job benefits are just one way to help cover the cost of fertility care. In addition, there are many financing options that patients can take advantage of. To learn about some of them, please visit our financing options page on our web site. If you have questions, contact one of our offices for a consultation

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‘Get social’ and support NIAW

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is the perfect time to join in the electronic fun and educate others about infertility, share your story, advocate for the infertility community, and support those who are going through the journey. Remember, NIAW is about empowering you and changing the conversation.

What does “change the conversation” mean? Ever talk to a friend or family member and their idea of what infertility is seems so different than reality? Wish your employer understood your request for insurance coverage? Want to change a policy in your state that makes access to care possible? We need your help to raise awareness and change the conversation around infertility.

Share your infertility advocacy story on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform you prefer. Your story alone is something that will move hearts and will allow opportunities to educate people on this disease.

For tips, tools and ideas, go to the NIAW’s Get Social web page.

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