Wellness Wednesday: Let’s talk about Dolce and Gabbana

Dr Sonya Kashyap comments on the Dolce and Gabbana IVF scandal

When I first saw the headline “Victoria Beckham supports Sir Elton John and ‘beautiful IVF babies after Dolce & Gabbana criticism,” I was surprised. As I went on to read the entire article, I was shocked. Children born through IVF or other forms of reproductive technology are not fake or “synthetic”—they are human beings, with thoughts and feelings and people who love them, just like any other child.

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Wellness Wednesday: Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening & Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Genesis Fertility Centre is committed to fertility patient care, and screening for chromosomal abnormalities can help reduce the probability of a failed cycle, miscarriage or abnormal pregnancy from an IVF cycle. At our clinic, we offer both comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS; Table below) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

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Genesis pregnancy rate for CCS patients of all ages (2014).

What is Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening?

CCS, also known as preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), allows fertility specialists to identify a chromosomally balanced embryo for transfer with 98% certainty. Screening embryos prior to implantation can help achieve higher success rates and fewer pregnancy losses, particularly for women over 35 years old, patients with multiple-failed IVF cycles, implantation failures or repeated miscarriages.

For women under age 35, more of their embryos will be balanced (euploid). Nevertheless, there are some younger patients who prefer CCS. An example would be unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss or previously chromosomally abnormal pregnancies.

Due to age-related infertility, for women over age 38, most of their embryos will be abnormal (aneuploid) and CCS can help reduce the time needed to successfully conceive by avoiding the transfer of an abnormal embryo.

What is pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and how is it different than CCS?

PGD is a test offered to patients who have a high risk of transmitting a known single-gene defect to their child, such as Tay-Sachs disease, haemophilia and cystic fibrosis.

If you would like to speak with one of our nurses about CCS or PGD, please call us at 604.879.3032

Wellness Wednesday: Easy Ways to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Schedule

By: Jennifer Deane

exercising for fertility health

From stress management to activating your feel-good endorphins, there are numerous benefits to adding exercise to your daily routine. For those trying to conceive, exercise is a great way to keep healthy and happy during a stressful time, though it is important to consult with your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen.  As for those who have recently given birth, you will be stronger when your baby arrives and you’ll have a smoother postpartum recovery when you incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

I think of the 2,500-year-old legend of Milo when I see parents carrying babies and sleeping toddlers back to their car after a long day in the park.  “The Tale of Milo and the Bull” encapsulates the core principles of strength training.

It is said that Milo built his incredible strength through a simple, but profound strategy.  One day, a newborn calf was born near Milo’s home. Milo decided to lift the small animal up and carry it on his shoulders. The next day, he returned and did the same. Milo continued this strategy for the next four years, hoisting the calf onto his shoulders each day as it grew, until he was no longer lifting a calf, but a four-year-old bull.

As a new parent, you will be re-living Milo’s tale.  Why not start your strength journey today in preparation!

8 simple tips to help you add fitness to your daily routine:

1. Make it fun!  

Think of your exercise sessions as treat time for yourself. Your inner thoughts about activity makes all the difference for staying on track.  If you approach your fitness as a chore, it will be a chore. If you approach it with the attitude that you are going to have fun, it will be fun!

2. Keep a Fitness Journal

Studies show that people who keep a fitness journal are more likely to reach their health and wellness goals.  Pick up a journal and start recording your daily activities. Write down everything you do, include walking, cycling and even staircases at work.  If you ever feel discouraged on your progress, you can look back and see what you have done and how much you have improved!

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How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience: Part Two

This is part two of our “How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience series. For part one, please click here.

How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience

By: Holly Yager, M.Ed., RCC, CCC
Well Woman Counselling, Vancouver, B.C.

Increase Intimacy

One of the dangers of a life that is overly fertility-focused is that of intimacy — both the emotional and the sexual kind — can become depleted. If you have been trying to conceive for any length of time, you are likely familiar with the concept of ‘sex on demand’ or doctor-prescribed sex, where intercourse is planned and takes place even when the couple is not ‘in the mood’. Sex can feel like work! If you are using fertility medications, the pressure can really be on to perform on-demand. And if you are using in vitro fertilization (IVF), some couples just say ‘why bother’ with sex?

You can keep the romance and spontaneity alive during the infertility journey by making an effort to connect sexually not just to conceive, but also on non-fertile days. This allows sex to become less about a ‘means to an end’ and more about the experience. The key here is to connect purely for the sake of pleasure.

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Wellness Wednesday: How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience: Part One

This is part one of two blog posts that detail how couples can support each other during infertility. Part two will be posted on September 24, 2014.

How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience

By: Holly Yager, M.Ed., RCC, CCC
Well Woman Counselling, Vancouver, B.C.

Infertility has been described by many couples as one of the most stressful times in their lives. In fact, infertility has been reported to be just as distressing as a diagnosis of a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one. It is an experience that can affect nearly all aspects of life – health, emotional well-being, career plans, finances, and relationships.

Many couples notice that infertility changes their relationship… but these changes do not have to be for the worse! You can get through infertility with a stronger, more solid relationship by knowing how to support one another through the most common infertility experiences.

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Stress and its effects on male fertility

By: Dr. Spence Pentland

stress and fertility

Management of stress plays a significant role in optimizing fertility.

In my clinical practice, it is abundantly clear that the management of stress plays a significant role in optimizing fertility.

There is a growing body of evidence that correlates psychological stress such as anxiety and depression to reproductive hormonal imbalance, production of subfertile sperm and poor IVF outcomes.

On a daily basis, I see this type of research confirmed but after an acupuncture session, men leave the clinic with a sense of calm. They tell me that it provides an overall sense of well-being, which is reflected in all aspects of their life from relationships to increased productivity and better sleep.

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Should people in their late 20s & early 30s worry about their fertility?

fertility in your 20s and 30s

Jessica Napier recently took to her “She Says” column in Metro to raise a question many women start to ask themselves as they approach or enter their 30s: should she be starting to worry about her fertility?

Most women who want to become pregnant in their 30s and beyond do not know that they are born with a finite number of eggs that deplete as they grow older. Specifically, women at birth have between 1-2 million eggs, by puberty that number has decreased to 300-400 thousand, and at 37 most women have around 35,000 left.  Not only do women lose eggs, but the eggs they do have age: the mitotic spindles which organize chromosome separation during cell division function less well as women grow older, leading to more abnormal eggs and therefore more infertility and miscarriages.

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Wellness Wednesday: Female Sexuality and Infertility

By: Susan Lockhart, PhD, MBA, BScN and Director of Clinical Operations at Genesis Fertility Centre

Infertility can have an impact on female sexuality.

Infertility can have an impact on female sexuality.

Female sexuality is influenced by multiple factors: culture, religion, ethics, and individual personality traits all contribute. There are numerous scientific reports regarding how female sexuality is affected by the impact of cancer, surgeries such as hysterectomies, and menopause. But what about infertility? Research findings report the impact of infertility on sexuality for women can result  in decrease of sexual arousal, loss of desire for sexual activity, and negative feelings experienced during sex. In clinical practice, women experiencing infertility report that sex has become an activity with a purpose rather than a pleasure. A woman’s sexuality is particularly affected during investigation, diagnosis and treatment of infertility. For women and their partners fertility treatments can create feelings of intense invasion of sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as loss of control.

So, if you are experiencing issues related to your sexuality, what can you do? There are many benefits of sexual activity related to your well being:  heightened emotional awareness, increased immunity, and analgesic effects have all been reported in the literature. Increased self esteem and self  worth have also been noted as benefits of positive sexual relationships. Sexual healing can begin with you and your sexual partner. Renewed intimacy can happen by something as simple as pretending you are dating again. This can help by reintroducing romance to your relationship. Exploring tantric sex or other similar sexual techniques  can recreate sexual activity as a pleasure rather than a function.

There is also professional help available. Medical intervention may be helpful for vaginal dryness or painful intercourse. Whereas, psychological intervention can help with loss of sexual desire or negative thoughts during sexual activity. Organizations such as IAAC (Infertility Awareness Association of Canada) and Resolve provide support for those experiencing infertility.  Don’t be afraid to seek help and support.  If infertility has negatively impacted your  sexuality, you are not alone!


Wellness Wednesday: Trying to Conceive? Here’s What Not To Do

By: Dr. Spence Pentland

Trying to Conceive? Here’s What Not To Do

To increase fertility, try to limit your diet to organic foods.

Everyone talks a lot about what to do to increase your chances of pregnancy but if you’re doing everything right and conception is still stalled, you might want to look at what not to do.

Toxins in our environment disrupt hormonal balance and may be contributing factors in infertility, preterm birth, irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCO/PCOS), endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, recurrent pregnancy loss, anxiety and of course cancer of all kinds.

Nowadays the food and drug industry is big business and you really have to look out for yourself. Be sure to read labels and go organic when possible. Some women have had success by going vegan but if that seems too extreme try your best to eat only free-range, organic fed animal products. When you can buy locally, by all means do. Not only are you getting fresher, less processed food, you are supporting the local economy and sending a message to the large corporations that care more about their bottom line than your health.

June 11, 2014 - Trying to Conceive Here’s What Not To Do

Obviously cigarettes, alcohol and drugs are a no-no. When we look to the not too distant past, smoking in places like maternity wards and airplanes was perfectly acceptable. We may shake our heads in disbelief but I imagine future generations will feel the same way about some of the things we put in our bodies.  From microwaving our food to drinking water from plastic containers and spraying perfume directly on our skin, I’m willing to bet that there will be a level of disbelief at our ignorance from future generations. The best advice really is to do your homework. If your doctor prescribes medication, ask about the side effects and take the initiative to read about them independently. If you see something on a food label and you’re not sure what it is, Google it. Knowledge is power!

By creating a clean environment in your own body you are making it more hospitable for a baby and increasing the health and well-being of your future child. That’s worth making some adjustments for, right? It may seem daunting at first, but start small and work your way up. When you have adjusted to changes, choose more to implement. Dedication to your healthier-living path will ensure you are doing your part in protecting your fertility.

Things to Avoid

Exposure to many toxins in our environment is inevitable, so whenever you can, minimizing exposure to the following is best:

  • Water that has been stored in a plastic container
  • Cleaning agents that contain artificial scent (laundry, body, hair, dish, household)
  • Dryer sheets and fabric softeners
  • Cosmetic lines that are not completely transparent about their ingredients
  • Food that has been microwaved– especially in plastic containers
  • Domestic home and garden pesticides
  • Canned foods (unless specified non-BPA lining)
  • Phthalates (used in cosmetics and to soften plastic)
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