Blood type can affect fertility?

Have you seen this new study? They are saying that women with the blood type O, which is the most common and almost half the population has, have fewer eggs and the eggs they have are lower quality. Blood type A has the best eggs (fat lot of good that did me!).  The study used FSH levels to determine this. FSH hormone levels increase in women with fewer eggs, as the hormone encourages egg production. This is one reason why older women have a higher chance for twins, as high FSH levels mean that more than one egg can be released.  Women with blood type O had higher FSH levels than normal for their age group.

You can read more about this study here.

What to think? Obviously more research needs to be done. But if you have blood type O, you may want to look into getting your FSH levels checked!

Infertility Blogs

I recently found an interesting site on fertility called Fertility Authority. It's chock full of interesting articles, blogs, and information. Here are a few blogs that I picked out as being especially interesting:

The Fertility Doc: Dr. Kreiner
Recent posts include acupuncture, donor eggs/sperm, PCOS and stress and infertility.

Eating to Conceive: The Fertile Kitchen
Recent posts include top three fertility foods, eating meat, sticking to a fertility diet, and eating to improve the uterine lining.

Fertile View: Dr. Joseph Hill
Recent posts include genetic causes of recurrent miscarriage, thrombophilia and recurrent miscarriage, infertility evaluations, environmental and lifestyle factors linked to loss, immunilogic causes of recurrent miscarriage, and tons of other information on recurrent miscarriage.

The Fertile Future: Dr. Levens
Recent posts include lifestyle tips for couples with infertility, nutritional supplements and fertility, and PCOS and miscarriage.

Hopefully you'll find some of this interesting and helpful!

Progesterone and TTC

We often hear about low progesterone levels, or women taking progesterone supplements. What exactly is progesterone, though, and how does it affect a pregnancy? Check out tons of information in the below article from JustMommies.com:

Signs of Low Progesterone
By Rebecca Pillar

The body is an amazing miracle in action. Every second, millions of reactions are taking place to maintain a perfect balance. People spend years of their lives studying how the body functions and they still don’t know everything there is to know about human life. One aspect of humanity is reproduction. For some women, becoming pregnant seems as easy as simply thinking about a baby. For others, becoming pregnant and maintaining a pregnancy is a very frustrating experience. The hormone progesterone is responsible for several reactions that must take place for a healthy pregnancy to occur. If progesterone is not present in the body at a proper amount, a woman is most likely going to be dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss.

The female menstrual cycle is a complicated “dance” that takes place within the female body. Each cycle varies from woman to woman with an average length of 28 days. Hormones secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain stimulate the ovaries to secrete the hormones estrogen and progesterone at different intervals. Of course, this process is much more complex than described here.
Progesterone is an important hormone as it is responsible for preparing the lining of the uterus for implantation. Progesterone is also responsible for maintaining a pregnancy. Progesterone is secreted from the ovary after ovulation by a mass called a “corpus luteum.”  The corpus luteum is maintained by the hormone hCG until the placenta is capable of taking over progesterone production. HCG is the hormone detected in blood and urine in a pregnancy test. If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum begins to die, progesterone levels plummet and a woman starts her menstrual cycle over again with menstruation. It is easy to see how important progesterone is and why it is commonly referred to as “the pregnancy hormone.”

Low progesterone symptoms:

The problem with progesterone imbalances is the symptoms typically mimic those of other disorders. Besides infertility and pregnancy loss, low progesterone symptoms can include:
Mood swings
Depression
Insomnia
Appetite changes
Weight changes
Irritability
Lack of concentration
Anxiety
Fatigue
Frequent menstruation
Irregular menstruation
Low sex drive
Migraines
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Vaginal dryness
Painful intercourse

Causes of low progesterone:

Low progesterone levels can be caused by several known factors or unknown factors.  Due to the complexity of hormones, some women may have no difficulty getting pregnant but for some reason, the placenta does not create the proper levels when it should.  Researchers believe that high levels of stress, poor nutrition and lack of exercise can contribute to low progesterone levels. Certain medications can also interfere with the body’s ability to produce progesterone.

Treatment for low progesterone:

Diagnosing low progesterone can be done by a blood test that measures your level after ovulation and by ovulation charting. Progesterone is responsible for the spike in body temperature after ovulation. If there is no increase in body temperature, progesterone levels may be low. Women should never attempt to self diagnose or self treat a suspected hormonal imbalance as low progesterone symptoms mimic symptoms of other disorders.

Progesterone creams, shots and vaginal suppositories are available once a diagnosis is made. Generally, a progesterone supplement is taken right after ovulation to boost progesterone levels. Many times, when a woman is supplemented with progesterone, it is taken until 12 weeks or so but sometimes, is taken for the duration of the pregnancy.

The most important thing to remember is talk to your doctor about your fertility and pregnancy loss concerns. There are many reasons why couples may have difficulty becoming pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy aside from progesterone. If are concerned that you have low progesterone talk to your doctor.

Let's Talk Sperm

We focus on our own bodies so much on TTCAL: charting, Vitex, cervical fluid...well, what about that OTHER oh-so-important fluid that is needed for babymaking? Yes, I'm talking SPERM.

Below is an article from Just Mommies all about those little swimmers.


Sperm 411: 7 Little Known Things That Can Affect Sperm


When it comes to making babies, both the quantity and quality of sperm your partner produces matters. An average ejaculation contains about 180 million sperm (about 66 million per ml). When semen is analyzed doctors look at more than just how much semen is ejaculated. The amount of semen produced per ejaculation can vary quite a bit, anywhere from 1-6 ml of semen per ejaculation is considered normal. Likewise, the amount of sperm produced during an ejaculation can vary greatly. The quantity of sperm in a semen sample – or sperm count – is measured per ml; 20-150 million sperm per ml is considered normal. A sperm count below 20 million per ml indicates a low sperm count and could result in infertility.

While your guy may produce millions of sperm during an ejaculation only a handful of them – about 200 sperm – are hardy enough to make it past the cervix and travel far enough up the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some things that can affect a man’s sperm.
Some basic info about sperm:

* Sperm are produced in the man’s testes, mature in the epididymis, and finally travel through the vas deferens and out through the urethra during an ejaculation. This process takes about 75 days.
* Sperm makes up only a small percentage of what is ejaculated.
* Healthy sperm can live up to 5 days inside the woman’s vagina.
* 20 million sperm per ml (or higher) of semen is considered normal.
* Some abnormal sperm are usually found in most semen samples. As long as 40% or more are shaped correctly, this is considered normal.
* They don’t call sperm swimmers for no reason. A normal sperm moves in a forward direction. A man is most likely fertile if at least half of his sperm are forward moving “swimmers”.

Things that can affect a man’s sperm

You probably know about some of the biggies like smoking, alcohol, illicit drug use or hot tubs impairing a man’s fertility but here are a few things you may not know about:

1. Morning sex = higher sperm count: If you are trying to conceive, time intercourse when his sperm count is at its highest. Researchers have found that men generally have a higher sperm count in the mornings. Men’s sexual interest may be higher in the mornings as well.

2. His weight matters: Women are not the only ones who have weight related fertility issues. Men who are overweight or underweight are more likely to have problems with infertility. Having too much or too little body fat may affect a man’s hormone levels. Scientists in one Finnish study found that a 20 lb weight gain may increase a man’s chance of being infertile by 10 percent.

3. Have more sex, not less: Men with low sperm counts are often advised to abstain from sex in order to improve their sperm count, but new research suggests that while this may improve sperm count, too much abstinence can damage the DNA of the sperm that is produced. Australian researchers have found that having daily sex actually improves the quality, if not the quantity of sperm. The thought behind this is that regular ejaculations get rid of the old sperm and make way for newer healthier sperm.

4. Folic acid: Not only good for the goose, but it is also good for the gander. Most women know that taking a folic acid supplement is important during childbearing years because it can prevent certain birth defects. You may not have known that it is also important for men to eat a diet containing folic acid. A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Berkley found that men who had lower levels of folic acid (or folate) in their diets had a higher rate of chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm.

5. Avoid soy products: A recent study published by Oxford University Press’s online publication Human Reproduction, suggests that eating a diet high in soy foods could cause men to have a lower sperm count. According to the study, men who ate soy foods were more likely to have lower sperm counts (although not necessarily abnormally low) than men who did not eat soy.

6. Skip the lubricants: Lubricants can impede the movement of sperm. A woman’s cervical mucous is designed to help transport sperm, but many commercial lubricants have the opposite effect. Lubricants like KY Jelly, baby oil, or petroleum jelly have been shown to slow down or damage sperm. Saliva can also damage sperm. One lubricant that is okay to use is Pre-seed. According to one study in the ASRM’s journal of Fertility and Sterility, Pre-seed was not shown to harm or slow down sperm.


7. Watch out for cell phones and lap tops: There have been a few studies that have shown that excessive use of lap tops or cell phones can cause sperm damage. Lap tops, if placed on a man’s lap, get hot over time. The increase in scrotal temperature may have a negative effect on a man’s sperm if he keeps a lap top sitting on his lap for extended periods of time. Similarly, cell phone emissions might also cause sperm damage. Keeping a cell phone in a close proximity to a man’s scrotum could potentially cause a decrease in sperm quality, according to a small research study from the Cleveland Clinic.