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OvuSense Handheld Ovulation Fertility Monitor

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OvuSenseOvuSense  – A breakthrough in ovulation monitoring by a British medical company will be presented at ASRM in Boston on 13th October 2013

A remarkable new technical development by a British medical company is set to have a major impact on the burgeoning cost of fertility treatment which is being met by public health services, insurance companies and individuals all over the world.

The developer is Fertility Focus Ltd, a company pioneering new technologies for fertility. The product is OvuSense – an advanced ovulation fertility monitor and fertility tracker that delivers an unprecedented 99% sensitivity and 99% accuracy over 24 hours. OvuSense predicts the onset of ovulation, detects the exact ovulation date just three days after it occurs, and provides all this information in real time on the screen to the user. This performance, for the first time, puts the certainty of ultrasound in a handheld ovulation monitor.

The financial implications of OvuSense are significant as CEO of Fertility Focus, Robert Milnes, explains: –

“We see very positive benefits for clinicians and patients. For clinicians, real-time data on the timing of ovulation will enable better patient management and the more efficient use of ultrasound resources. Many patients who enter infertility treatment with ‘unexplained infertility’ will have a better chance of conceiving more quickly by understanding their cycle properly, and by their early treatment being monitored more closely.

This certainty in ovulation detection also enables accurate prediction of the fertile window for each successive cycle. The fertile window is the period of 5-6 days in which it is possible for a woman to get pregnant if egg and sperm are able to meet. This information is extremely valuable to women struggling to get pregnant because it helps with planning, and reassures them that they are getting on with the solution. It is equally valuable to clinicians committed to providing the best possible diagnosis and treatment pathway for their patients.

Many methods of predicting the fertile window have been developed and some are heavily marketed but, for a variety of reasons, all fall short of the accuracy and convenience provided by the OvuSense app.

Fertility Focus is a company with an interesting ability to adapt concepts from other fields into its chosen specialist area. The OvuSense story began at Bristol Veterinary School, one of the world’s leading animal science centres, where breakthroughs in bovine fertility research by two veterinary scientists led to the identification of the OvuSense concept for human fertility.

Fertility Focus was incorporated in 2005 to carry forward the ideas and a patent for intra-vaginal temperature measurement from Bristol University. Initial start-up capital from angel investors enabled the company to begin three years of intensive product development and the development of the further vital intellectual property which sets OvuSense apart from previous inventions in this area. This investment resulted in initial prototypes by 2008 and initial trials in 2009, achieved in close consultation and cooperation with clinicians, patients and investors.

Invaluable support was received from Norgenix and the UK regional venture capital company, Midven. Norgenix is the women’s health subsidiary of South Carolina-based J.M. Smith Corporation, a privately-held conglomerate focussed in the areas of pharmacy distribution, healthcare and technology.

In 2009, Fertility Focus won the ‘Best Entrepreneur and Investor Partnership’ award from the SWAIN investor group, the original regional angel investors in the UK, and underlined a successful and ‘investor-friendly’ development programme with the “Medtech Investment of the Year” award from the British Business Angels Association in 2011.

Full clinical trials in Birmingham, England followed. The trials confirmed the scientific accuracy of the development by using direct comparison with ultrasound results and helped create a stratified results database. This database also confirmed the variability and unpredictability of the fertile window and, with excellent trial results, Fertility Focus presented a poster on the first iteration of OvuSense at ASRM 2012.

Reproductive science supports the OvuSense approach. There is a body of peer-reviewed research which dispels the myth of the regular 28 day cycle. This is no more than a confusing ‘average’ relevant to less than 30% of the female population. In reality, the female cycle varies from as little as 21 days to as many as 35 and the timing to predict ovulation and the fertile window are rarely consistent within these different cycle lengths.

Determined to deliver even better quality information, Fertility Focus has undertaken further intensive R&D during 2013 which has led to the launch of the second generation OvuSense monitor just one year after launch. Work in 2013 has also resulted in two further clinical publications, one of which will be presented at this year’s ASRM, as well as the all-important 510(k) clearance allowing the product to be marketed in the United States. These are all vital milestones in this young start-up’s development.

Robert Milnes, goes on to describe the new development as “an incredibly exciting period in which we discovered trends in core temperature data which, because of our unique vaginal measurement technology, we believe we were the first people ever to see. These results enabled us to programme and patent a more advanced and more predictive algorithm using state-of-the-art techniques. Fertility Focus has chosen the most prestigious reproductive medicine conference, ASRM, combined this year with the IFFS meeting, to launch the second generation OvuSense”.

Ultrasound has emerged as the gold standard in the quest for understanding the fertile window, but it is only truly valuable if the scans are performed at the right time – and generally up to four scans are required per cycle, which presents an obstacle in terms of cost and patient convenience. OvuSense monitoring system, combined with a single cycle scan for tracking the number of follicles, now offers a real practical alternative.

The emergence of OvuSense just eight years after the initial idea means that, with unexplained infertility rising as a percentage of all diagnoses, as many as 20% of the 150,000 IVF cycles undertaken annually in the USA and over 500,000 cycles in Europe might be avoided by providing a greater chance of conception earlier in the patient pathway.

Mike Rackley, COO and senior Vice President of Norgenix, concludes: –

“This is a great moment for us. We have been involved almost from the very beginning and are delighted to be bringing this remarkable innovation to the USA where it will enable many thousands of women and their clinicians to shorten the time it takes to achieve the dream of pregnancy.”

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NEWS: Get access to adult photos of the Cryos sperm donors

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Adult Cryos Sperm Donors Photos

Viewing adult photos of Cryos sperm donors is now a reality. Visit dk.cryosinternational.com today and get access to the new feature.

At Cryos it is now possible to access adult photos of sperm donors on our website, thus adding another dimension to your search for the perfect donor.

The unique chance to see both childhood and adult photos of your sperm donor, provides you with a more comprehensive idea of who your sperm donor is and moreover of the features of your future child. We hope that this extra dimension will upgrade your experience making your decision of a sperm donor easier.

The 5-6 adult photos are taken by a professional photographer and are a part of the donors extended profile where you also have access to childhood photos, an audio recording of the donor’s voice, a handwritten message, an emotional intelligence profile, and finally our staff impressions of the donor, amongst other exclusive features.

The adult photos require special access on our website. Visit our website and find out more and get access to this new feature now.

Please note that the person in the photos is a model and not a Cryos donor.
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Fertility And Sex: Why Her Orgasm Matters

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Why her orgasm matters

For many couples, trying to conceive can make sex feel less fun and more pressured. Instead of being an intimate and enjoyable experience, baby-making sex can start to seem like a finely choreographed routine. Often, the female orgasm is one of the first things to go, but the maleorgasm is not the only orgasm that matters when it comes to fertility.

Before I dive into discussing the potential benefits of the female orgasm for fertility, it’s important to note that reaching climax is not technically essential for conception. If you never, or rarely, achieve orgasm, don’t worry, you can still get pregnant! Around 1 in 10 women don’t experience orgasm, ever. What’s more, the exact nature of the female orgasm remains somewhat elusive. Some experience orgasm through clitoral stimulation, some through vaginal intercourse, some through both, and others through something else entirely, or not at all.

Even without reaching orgasm, sexual arousal is itself beneficial to fertility. Like an orgasm, arousal is, first and foremost, a good indication that sex is enjoyable. Sexual arousal and climax causes significant changes in your levels of neurotransmitters including noradrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and serotonin. These ‘reward’ neurohormones help you bond to a sexual partner and make it more likely that you’ll have sex more often, thereby increasing your chances of conception.

Second, orgasm and arousal have a range of physiological effects that might aid conception, which I’ll discuss in a moment. And, third, sexual arousal and orgasms for everyone can help sperm-producing partners avoid feeling like they’re being used just for their sperm. In fact, some studies show that male partners who engage in cunnilingus prior to vaginal intercourse have greater sexual arousal and produce more semen!

HOW ORGASMS ENHANCE FERTILITY

The female orgasm can help relieve stress, and promote healthy circulation and balance in the body. Stress is a key cause of diminished libido and may also reduce the chances of conception by raising levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Conversely, good sex can help raise levels of oxytocin and the other neurohormones mentioned above. These help you to relax and bond to your partner.

Published in 1967, the author even went as far as suggesting that the increase in these hormones after orgasm help support conception by temporarily incapacitating you. Put simply, this ‘poleax’ effect means you’ll feel so relaxed that you’ll stay lying down, which may increase your chance of conceiving. Whether staying supine does make conception more likely is still under debate, but I’m all for promoting relaxation, so if this theory provides added motivation, go for it!

CERVICAL TENTING

There is some suggestion that orgasm affects the shape and function of the cervix. These effects, which may include cervical ‘tenting could enhance the likelihood of conception by promoting the movement of sperm into the uterus and beyond. If you are curious as to what your cervix looks like during different stages of your cycle, check out these photos.

THE ‘UP-SUCK’ THEORY

One of the main ways in which female orgasm has been linked to fertility is something called the ‘upsuck’ theory (or, sometimes, the ‘insuck’ theory). This theory proposes that the female orgasm causes uterine and vaginal contractions that actively draw semen up into the uterus and towards the fallopian tubes, thereby increasing the chances of an egg being fertilized.

Scientific evidence to support this theory is rather inconsistent, but there’s certainly no harm in trying! One proposed underlying mechanism of this theory is oxytocin-mediated uterine peristalsis, i.e. the same mechanism that causes uterine contractions during labour could be partially responsible for increasing the likelihood of conception. Indeed, some research has found higher pregnancy rates in women shown to experience this ‘insuck’ phenomenon.

SPERM RETENTION AND FERTILITY

More recently, one small study found that orgasm may increase sperm retention. This study involved women using a syringe to insert a sperm simulant (lube) prior to external stimulation to orgasm. As such, the study’s findings may be especially applicable to anyone undergoing artificial insemination (IUI).

The take-away: Chances are that if you orgasm 1 minute before or up to 45 minutes after insemination (whether artificial or otherwise), you will probably retain more sperm, which may increase your chance of conceiving.

IN CONCLUSION

To sum up, the female orgasm might enhance fertility in a variety of ways, but it isn’t essential to conception.

The take home message is that orgasm and sexual arousal itself have many benefits to fertility, partner relationships and stress relief. Don’t worry though, if you have a low libido, conception can still happen even in the absence of arousal and orgasm!

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What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that affects 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age across the world, and results in irregular or absent periods, acne, excess body hair and weight gain. It is also a major cause of infertility and yet is frequently misdiagnosed and often missed completely.

PCOS gets its name because under an ultrasound scan, the ovaries can look like a bunch of grapes, each one covered in what look like multiple cysts. In fact, these aren’t cysts at all, but are small, undeveloped follicles.

Symptoms

Not every woman with PCOS will get the same symptoms, but common signs to look out for include:

  • Few or no periods
  • Excess hair on the face or breasts or inside of the legs or around the nipples
  • Acne
  • Oily skin
  • Scalp hair thinning or loss (male pattern baldness)
  • Skin tags (known as acrochordons)
  • Skin discolouration (known as acanthosis nigricans) where the skin looks ‘dirty’ on the arms, around the neck and under the breasts
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Weight gain especially around the middle of the body
  • Difficulty in losing weight
  • Cravings and binges
  • Irregular or no ovulation
  • Difficulty in becoming pregnant
  • Recurrent miscarriages

PCOS creates a vicious cycle of hormone imbalances, which has huge knock-on effects throughout the rest of your body. With PCOS, the problem often starts with the ovaries, which are unable to produce the hormones they should, and in the correct proportions. But linked to this is the very common problem of insulin resistance. Women with PCOS very often have difficulties with blood sugar levels which can cause weight gain and the excess insulin can stimulate your ovaries to produce yet more testosterone. Half of all women with PCOS do not have any problems with their weight, yet they can still have higher insulin levels than normal.

How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosed?

The most widely accepted criteria for the diagnosis of PCOS says that you should have two out of these three problems:

  • Infrequent or no ovulation
  • Signs (either physical appearance – hirsutism or acne – or blood tests) of high levels of male hormones
  • Polycystic ovaries as seen on an ultrasound scan

The Seven Nutritional Steps to beat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Good nutrition is the foundation of your health and you should never underestimate how powerful it can be. It is the fuel that provides you with the energy to live your life and it gives your body the nutrients it needs to produce your hormones in the correct balance. The better the supply of those nutrients, the more healthily your body will function.

The fundamental aim of my nutritional approach to PCOS is to target a number of areas simultaneously so that you get the maximum effect in the minimum amount of time.

Here’s how:

  1. Switch to unrefined carbohydrates (eaten with protein) and never go more than 3 hours without food to keep your blood sugar levels balanced
  2. Eat oily fish and foods rich in Omega 3s to help your body to become more sensitive to insulin so it can overcome insulin resistance
  3. Cut out all dairy products for 3 months to bring levels of male hormones under control
  4. Eat more vegetables and pulses to which helps control male hormones
  5. Cut right back on or cut out alcohol for 12 weeks to allow your liver function to improve
  6. Cut down on caffeine to give your adrenal glands a rest
  7. Cut down on saturated fats and eliminate trans fats to help control the potentially damaging inflammatory processes PCOS causes in the body

PCOS Symptons

Best Supplements for PCOS

The use of certain vitamins and minerals can be extremely useful in helping to correct Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, along with a good diet.

Chromium

Chromium helps to encourage the formation of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which is required to make insulin more efficient. A deficiency of chromium can lead to insulin resistance.  It also helps to control cravings and reduces hunger. Can help to reduce insulin resistance associated with PCOS

B vitamins

The B vitamins are very important in helping to control the symptoms of PCOS. Vitamin B2 helps to burn fat, sugar and protein into energy. B3 is a component of GTF which is released every time blood sugar rises, and vitamin B3 helps to keep the levels in balance. Vitamin B5 has been shown to help with weight loss and B6 is also important for maintaining hormone balance and, together with B2 and B3, is necessary for normal thyroid function.

Zinc

Zinc helps with PCOS as it plays a crucial role in the production of your reproductive hormones and also regulates your blood sugar.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral for dealing with PCOS because there is a strong link between magnesium levels and insulin resistance – the higher your magnesium levels the more sensitive you are likely to be to insulin.

Co-Enzyme Q10

Co-Q10 is a substance that your body produces in nearly every cell.  It helps to balance your blood sugar and lowering both glucose and insulin.

Alpha lipoic acid

This powerful antioxidant helps to regulate your blood sugar levels because it releases energy by burning glucose and it also helps to make you more insulin sensitive. It also has an effect on weight loss because if the glucose is being used for energy, your body releases less insulin and you then store less fat.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids taken in supplement form have been found to reduce testosterone levels in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Amino Acids

Certain amino acids can be very helpful for PCOS as they can improve your insulin sensitivity and also can have an effect on weight loss.

N-Acetyl cysteine

In women with PCOS this amino acid helps reduce insulin levels and makes your body more sensitive to insulin. Study using NAC in women who were clomiphene resistant and had ovarian drilling.  After ovarian drilling, the women given NAC compared to a placebo showed a significantly higher increase in both ovulation and pregnancy rates and lower incidence of miscarriage.

Arginine

Arginine can be helpful in reversing insulin resistance. In one study, a combination of both arginine and N-acetyl cysteine were given to women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  The two amino acids help to improve blood sugar and insulin control and also increased the number of menstrual cycles and ovulation with one women becoming pregnant on the second month.

Carnitine

Carnitine helps your body break down fat to release energy and can help improve insulin sensitivity.

Tyrosine

Tyrosine is helpful for women with PCOS who are overweight as it helps to suppress the appetite and burn off fat.

Glutamine

This amino acid is useful for helping with sugar cravings as it can be converted to sugar for energy and so takes away the need to eat something sweet.  It also helps to build and maintain muscle which is important for fat burning.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs include three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are important in PCOS because they help to balance blood sugar and having good levels of these BCAAs can have a beneficial effect on your body weight

Inositol

A study used inositol (2,000mg) in combination with NAC (600mg), a significant increase in ovulation rates.

Having a good diet, regular exercise, controlling stress and taking key nutrients will help in getting your hormones back in balance and reducing the negative symptoms associated with PCOS.

More information can be found on www.naturalhealthpractice.com

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