Breastfeeding can lower mom’s diabetes risk

Women with gestational diabetes can lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes after delivery by 40% with one simple solution: breastfeeding.

A team of scientists in Germany studied the metabolism of women with gestational diabetes after giving birth. They found that breastfeeding for more than three months brings about long-term metabolic changes that reduce the risk of developing diabetes within the next 15 years. The research findings were published in the journal Diabetologia.

The scientists examined almost 200 patients who had developed gestational diabetes. The participants received a standardized glucose solution and gave a fasting blood sample beforehand, and during the test. The scientists then compared the samples on the basis of 156 different, known metabolites. On average, the women had given birth three and half years earlier.

“We observed that the metabolites in women who had breastfed for more than three months differed significantly from those who had had shorter lactation periods,” first-author Dr. Daniela Much said. The metabolites involved were linked in earlier studies with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the authors say.

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Fertility rate higher among over-40s than under-20s?

The Guardian of Britain is reporting that the fertility rate of women aged 40 and above is higher now than that of women under that age of 20 for the first time since 1947. Data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that women over 40 years old had the largest percentage increase (3.4%) in fertility rates in 2015. In that same time frame, the younger age group (20 years and younger) had the largest percentage decrease (7.1%), continuing a decline that has been taking place since 1999.

A statistician for the ONS, Elizabeth McLaren said: “The trend for women to have babies at older ages continued in 2015. Over the last 40 years, the percentage of live births to women aged 35 and over has increased considerably. Women aged 40 and over now have a higher fertility rate than women aged under 20. This was last recorded in the 1940s.”

The report went on to explain the trend of women having children later in life: In most developed countries, women have been increasingly delaying childbearing to later in life, which has resulted in rising fertility rates among older women. This may be due to a number of factors such as increased female participation in higher education and the labor force, the increasing importance of a career, the rising costs of childbearing, labor market uncertainty and housing factors.

This content was originally published by Creating a Family, the national adoption & infertility education nonprofit. Read the full story here

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Dr. Ziegler offers expert commentary to the New York Times and NJTV

Two lesbian couples in New Jersey are suing the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, claiming discrimination against their sexual orientation. The couples were denied coverage because of a mandate that requires most women under age 35 to demonstrate their infertility through “two years of unprotected sexual intercourse.”

Both The New York Times and NJTV covered the story and called on our own Dr. Ziegler to comment. He told the Times that the mandate is “a double standard.” In his NJTV interview, he added that “insurance companies need to readdress the definition of how they define infertility because our society is changing and they need to change with it.”

He had more to say about this issue in both stories. You can read the New York Times article here, and the NJTV article here. After you do, let us know your thoughts on this important topic.

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3 in 10 women conceive naturally after infertility treatment

Everyone has heard a story in which a woman who once needed infertility treatments later is able to conceive and give birth naturally. It turns out that this is more common than you might think. Women who have IVF/ICSI infertility treatments have a 29% chance of conceiving naturally within six years of the cessation of treatments.

These are the findings of an Internet survey in the United Kingdom conducted by a group of gynecologists presented in the journal Human Fertility. Lead author Samuel Marcus said “regardless of the outcome of IVF and ICSI treatments, whether the patients conceived or not, there is about a 30% likelihood of conceiving over a 6-year period.”

In the study, the authors found that 87% of the spontaneous conceptions occurred within two years of finishing the infertility treatments, and over the six-year period following treatments 22% delivered a live baby. Professor Allan Pacey, editor in chief of Human Fertility said “This is really useful information that doctors can use to counsel patients about their chances of pregnancy after undergoing assisted conception. It certainly suggests that there remains a reasonable chance of spontaneous pregnancy after IVF or ICSI has been attempted.”

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Our compassion and support are ‘unmatched’

A big thank you to the patient who posted this review on Reputation.com recently.

“I cannot speak highly enough about Dr. Martinez and all the staff at Reproductive Science Center. They are knowledgeable and highly skilled at what they do. But more importantly, their compassion and support during each and every step of the process is unmatched by any doctor’s office I’ve ever been. They are always available, to answer questions or just provide a shoulder or kind word. I am eternally grateful for all they have done for my family.”

You can read more reviews on our web site.

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New podcast discusses PGD

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) allows for the detection of life-altering genetic abnormalities prior to embryo transfer during IVF. The procedure can also help patients suffering from certain fertility challenges as well.

The PGD procedure is an evaluation of chromosomes, thread-like structures found in all human cells except red blood cells. The PGD process starts after the embryo is fertilized and allowed to grow, when an embryo biopsy is performed. This procedure involves removing either a polar body, which is half of the maternal DNA, or a blastomere, which is a cell from the embryo that contains its DNA.

In our latest podcast, Dr. Alan Martinez can help you better understand PGD to identify genetic defects in embryos created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) before pregnancy. Click here to view the podcast.

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Call your Congressperson!

A U.S. House of Representatives committee recently passed a bill making it harder—and potentially more dangerous—for active-duty troops and veteran couples to receive some federally funded fertility treatments, according to an article on the website military.com.

The article states that injured troops still on active duty currently can receive infertility treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), through the Defense Department. A measure to extend the same benefit to veterans treated through the Department of Veterans Affairs for service-connected infertility received bipartisan support in recent legislation, but was blocked from passing after a dispute between Senate Democrats and Republicans over Zika virus research funding attached to the bill.

Now, an amendment included in a Labor and Health and Human Services spending bill would block the federal government from funding IVF unless “such treatments do not result in the destruction of viable human embryos before embryo transfer,” according to a committee summary.

Erin Kramer, director of government affairs at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, told military.com that the amendment would force federally funded doctors, including those at the VA and DoD, either to implant all embryos at once or to freeze and store the remaining embryos indefinitely, with no chance at a second implantation attempt should the first one fail. “It actually makes the practice of IVF dangerous, and it would actually preclude the cryopreservation and thawing process,” Kramer said. “Nobody plans to be infertile. Nobody ever expects to be infertile. … Here you have active-duty service members and veterans who are infertile because they served.”

RSCNJ urges you to call your U.S. representative and voice your opposition to this amendment.

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Can pregnancy cause obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Perhaps. A new British study has found that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety as men, and people in North America and Western Europe are more prone to anxiety disorders than those from other parts of the world. And obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is an anxiety disorder, may sometimes only affect women during pregnancy and after giving birth, the researchers found.

Only one in 100 in the general population is affected by OCD. But, among pregnant women, the number is doubled and slightly higher than that among women right after giving birth, the review showed.

In North America, nearly eight of 100 people suffer from anxiety — the most in the world. In East Asia, it’s fewer than three in 100 — the lowest, the review authors noted. “Anxiety is important and shouldn’t be overlooked,” said lead researcher Olivia Remes, at the University of Cambridge’s Strangeways Research Laboratory. “Sometimes people think that anxiety is just a part of their personality or that there’s nothing they can do about it, but there is. There are treatments, including psychological treatments and medication, and other things people can do to help their mental health, such as physical activity, meditation and yoga.”

If you’re feeling anxiety during pregnancy, contact your doctor immediately.

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Is a chlamydia vaccine at hand?

Researchers have made progress toward the first ever vaccine for chlamydia, after revealing how a novel antigen reduced symptoms triggered by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis - the most common cause of the disease.

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States, with nearly 3 million infections occurring every year. The infection often presents no symptoms, and many people do not seek testing. As a result, most individuals with chlamydia are unaware they have it, so the infection often goes untreated. But untreated chlamydia can have serious health consequences, particularly for women. It may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, and it can cause irreversible damage to the reproductive system, resulting in long-term pelvic pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy.

Currently, the only ways to reduce the risk of chlamydia are to use a condom during sexual intercourse or to avoid sexual contact completely. Now, researchers in Canada believe they are well on the way to developing the world’s first widely protective vaccine for the disease, as they reported in the journal Vaccine.

The researchers plan to conduct further testing of different vaccine formulations to see how they fare against different strains of chlamydia.

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IVF does not increase breast cancer risk

A new study should ease concerns of some women considering fertility treatment: in vitro fertilization (IVF) does not increase the risk of breast cancer. A Dutch study of more than 25,000 women found no “significant increase in the long-term risk of breast cancer among women treated with these IVF regimens.”

Earlier data reveals that certain hormones, including estrogens and progestogens, can affect breast cancer risk, and IVF procedures do cause levels of some of these hormones to rise or drop temporarily. This was thought to perhaps affect breast cancer risk.

To study the risk, researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam followed more than 19,000 women who underwent IVF between 1983 and 1995 and compared them with 6,000 women who had not had IVF. The risk for breast cancer among the women who had IVF (3%) was similar to the risk of women who didn’t have IVF (2.9%), the researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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