Keep hope alive

It’s important to stay hopeful during fertility care, as these patient comments show.

“We feel much more at ease after meeting with Dr. Ziegler. We feel hopeful and confident we chose the right doctor.”

“I left your office with a newfound hope that having another baby will happen for me.”

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‘Reassuring’ news on the research front

A large study of nearly 10,000 women who underwent infertility treatment in the United States between 1965 and 1988 and were followed for 30 years has found “reassuring” news: There is “little evidence” that the use of conventional fertility drugs increases the long-term risk of breast, uterine or ovarian cancers.

In general, the use of gonadotrophins—follicle-stimulating hormones—was not associated with increased cancer risk, except in women who remained childless after undergoing fertility treatment, the investigators found.

The findings were presented in July at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Munich, Germany.

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Thanks for the kind words

A patient writes:

“I think your office staff is great! So sweet and friendly!! I always get a return phone call from Allie whenever I have a question.

Dr. Mann is very comforting, and so far my husband and I are very pleased! Let’s hope I get pregnant!”

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Tour de health?

With the Tour de France in full swing this month, men who enjoy cycling may be interested in a new study published in the English Journal of Men’s Health. Data collected from more than 5,000 cyclists debunks the common belief that riding a bike too much can lead to erectile dysfunction and infertility.

“This is good news for male cyclists, as there is no association between cycling time and erectile dysfunction and infertility,” said study author Dr Mark Hamer. This should allay concerns raised by previous studies about alterations in sperm characteristics in cyclists.

This study, the largest to date looking at cyclists, did uncover one troubling health risk. Cycling for as little as half an hour every day doubles the risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer in men over 50. In men who cycled for eight hours and 45 minutes or more each week, the risk jumped six times.

The researchers theorized that men who cycle frequently may be more health conscious, and are having more regular check-ups, leading to a greater chance of being diagnosed. But they said they could not rule out that cycling itself may be to blame because of increased pressure on the prostate. “It’s tricky to interpret,” added Dr. Hamer, and warrants “further investigation.”

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Praise for the office

We’d like to share some comments from our patients about our office. We thank them all for their kind words.

“Nicest nursing/reception staff! This is very rare nowadays. Very pleasant experience. I felt very comfortable at the office.”

“Thanks for making my initial appointment an informative and positive experience.”

“From the billing staff, scheduling staff, nursing and doctors, my experience has been very positive. Thank you all.”

“One of the most professional offices I’ve ever been to.”

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With sperm, it’s age before beauty

A recent study on sperm has revealed a startling result. Contrary to earlier evidence suggesting that sperm quality declines as men age, this study found that a sperm donor’s age doesn’t affect the chances of a live birth resulting from fertility treatments using donor sperm. Instead, “It’s sperm quality rather than male age that matters,” said principal investigator Dr. Meenakshi Choudhary of the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

These researchers analyzed more than 39,000 first fertility treatment cycles with donated sperm that were performed in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 2012. The treatment included either in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or donor insemination.

The live birth rate from IVF was about 29 percent among women ages 18 to 34 and about 14 percent among women over age 37. However, there was no link between the live birth rates in these two age groups and the age of the sperm donors. Similar findings were made for donor insemination, according to the study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.

“Our results suggest that, up to the age of 45, there is little effect of male age on treatment outcome, but sperm donors are a selected population based on good sperm quality,” Choudhary said in a society news release. “Our study shows that we are good at selecting the right sperm donors with the right sperm quality—and that’s why we found no difference in live birth rate despite the increasing age of sperm donors. This confirms the view that a man’s age doesn’t matter in achieving a live birth provided his sperm quality is good.”

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You’re welcome!

A patient writes:

“Everyone has been wonderful—from the billing/front desk staff to the doctors to the nursing staff. You have all made me feel very comfortable and you all are extremely knowledgeable.

“Thank you!”

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Men, don’t go to ‘pot’

Marijuana is being decriminalized in many parts of the nation, and pot smoking is much more acceptable in general than is has ever been. But that doesn’t mean it’s without risks. In fact, younger men who use it may be putting their fertility at risk, says a study in the medical journal Human Reproduction.

In the world’s largest study to investigate how common lifestyle factors influence the size and shape of sperm, a research team from two English universities found that men under age 30 were nearly twice as likely to produce ejaculate with less than 4% normal sperm if they had used cannabis in the three-month period prior to ejaculation.

“Our data suggests that cannabis users might be advised to stop using the drug if they are planning to try and start a family,” said lead author Dr. Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield.

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Kudos to our ‘sensitive staff’

A patient of ours has this to say:

“The staff is sensitive to the nature of the patient visit, and is great at making the patient feel welcomed and comfortable. They return calls promptly and answer all your questions.

“Dr. Ziegler anticipates patient questions and answers them before they are asked. He even helps alleviate anxiety by giving reliable websites to read more info.”

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Do cell phones damage sperm?

Yes, says a team of researchers from the University of Exeter in England. Men who keep a mobile phone in their trouser pocket could be inadvertently damaging their chances of becoming a father, according to a study published in the journal Environment International. The reason: radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by the devices can harm sperm.

Researchers reviewed findings from 10 studies, including 1,492 samples. Participants in the studies were from fertility clinics and research centers, and sperm quality was measured in three different ways: motility (the ability of sperm to move properly towards an egg), viability (the proportion of sperm that were alive) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen).

In control groups, 50–85% of sperm have normal movement. The researchers found this proportion fell by an average of 8 percentage points when there was exposure to mobile phones. Similar effects were seen for sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were less clear.

This builds on previous research, which has suggested that RF-EMR can have a detrimental effect on male fertility.

“Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified,” Dr. Matthews said. “This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population.”

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