New Hormone Test Helps With IVF Success: Brown University

In a new study, women with high levels of the hormone AMH produced more eggs for in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, and pregnancies were more likely to occur than in women with low levels. The finding could aid counseling and give doctors a new tool to adjust treatment.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Given how much patients invest in in vitro fertilization (IVF), both financially and emotionally, tools to inform couples about what they might expect during their treatment can be welcome. A study by researchers at Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital shows that as the IVF cycle is beginning, a blood test for levels of a hormone called AMH, or antimullerian hormone, can help predict the number of eggs that will be harvested.

“Clinicians can measure AMH before or during ovarian stimulation to counsel couples about their likelihood of success,” said Geralyn Lambert-Messerlian, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a researcher in the Division of Medical Screening and Special Testing at Women & Infants Hospital. She co-authored a paper that will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It appeared in advance online last month.

Lead author Andrew Blazar, a physician at Women & Infants’ Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, said the finding could be useful for adjusting IVF preparations on the fly, for instance by adjusting how much follicle stimulation hormone women are receiving in the week or so before eggs are extracted for fertilization.

“The main thrust of the paper is that you can do this test even after you have begun the preparations for initiating an IVF cycle, so it allows you to modify your treatment, at least in theory, so that your probability of success would be improved,” said Blazar, who is also a clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Alpert Medical School. “Though not proven, this approach seems like a logical way to use this new information.

“What I’m hoping is that eventually it will turn out that you can now do this test in the same cycle and not wait until you have to do another cycle, which would be a considerable advantage to your patient,” he said.

The research was partly supported by Beckman Coulter Inc., which makes the assay the team used for measuring AMH in blood samples.

AMH predicts eggs, pregnancy

AMH is made by small follicles in the ovary and helps regulate their growth. AMH levels in the blood are an indicator of how many follicles a woman has at the time of the hormone measurement.

In their research, Blazar and Lambert-Messerlian’s team measured AMH levels in 190 IVF patients, ages 22 to 44, both at the beginning and end of their preparatory course of follicle stimulation hormone treatment. They counted the eggs that were eventually harvested and then performed blood tests and later an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy.

The researchers found that women with low AMH levels in the first test (less than one nanogram per milliliter) on average yielded only about six eggs, while women who had more than three times as much AMH provided about 20 eggs on average.

In this study, AMH similarly predicted whether pregnancy became established. Only about a quarter of women with less than one nanogram of AMH were pregnant five to six weeks after the IVF procedure. Among women with more than three nanograms, three in five were pregnant at that stage.

Lambert-Messerlian cautioned that most other studies have not found an association of AMH levels and pregnancy success though delivery.

Blazar noted that because some women with low AMH levels were still able to establish pregnancies, he wouldn’t recommend that all such women necessarily forgo an upcoming IVF procedure.

In addition to Blazar and Lambert-Messerlian, other authors include Sandra Carson and Jared Robins, both professors at Brown and physicians at Women & Infants, and Stephen Krotz and Richard Hackett, physicians at Women & Infants.

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Baby Raffle: Washington Post

Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 07/06/2011

To Hatch, IVF charity in Britain, raffles off chance to have a baby

By Sarah Anne Hughes

A new lottery offers the chance to create a baby. (David Cook/blueshiftstudios ) Games of chance give lucky people the opportunity to win almost anything, from a goldfish at a carnival to millions of dollars. Now a charity in Britain is giving one couple the chance to have a baby.

To Hatch, a charity that offers fertility treatment advice, will sell £20 raffle tickets to couples who want a chance to win £25,000 worth of in vitro fertilization treatments. This controversial lottery, set to launch July 30, has been received with some criticism.

Anyone can enter to the contest and can give the prize to someone else if they win, according to the Telegraph.. If IVF treatments fails, then the charity will offer a surrogate, donor eggs or surgery.

To Hatch founder Camille Strachan said the lottery comes at a time when the National Health Service, Britain’s publicly funded health care system, has undergone budget cuts: “We hope the To Hatch Lottery can ease the burden on the NHS and reduce the stress slightly on some of those who are struggling.”

Josephine Quintavalle, director of the Comment on Reproductive Ethics, told the Telegraph the lottery “demeans the whole nature of human reproduction.” She also questioned the legality of the practice to Sky News.

“This latest initiative, turning the process of reproduction into a buy-your-ticket lottery, is absolutely unacceptable and quite possibly breaks European Law on the commercialization of human tissue,” she said. “It is in this area where an immediate investigation should be demanded. It is surely not legal to pay £20 to have access to another woman’s womb?”

The charity’s Web site was down Wednesday shortly after the announcement went viral. A message on the site read, “To Hatch is currently offline for site-wide maintenance, it will be up and running shortly.” It was later changed to, “Due to overwhelming demand the To Hatch website is currently offline for site-wide maintenance. It will be back up and running as soon as possible.”

By Sarah Anne Hughes  |  11:27 AM ET, 07/06/2011

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Baby Lottery? Win a Baby.

I am not convinced that this is a real thing, but it made me scratch my head.  What are your thoughts?

Britain’s Baby Lottery Begins This Month

Britain's Baby Lottery Begins This MonthAs of July 30, Britons will have the chance to win a baby through a scheme by the in vitro fertilization charity To Hatch, after the group was awarded a license from the country’s Gambling Commission to sell £20 lottery tickets with fertility treatments, donor eggs or a surrogate birth as a prize, according to the Telegraph.

That’s actually a pretty nice idea. And anyone can enter to win the once a month lottery — the olds, the gays, the singles, just about anyone! But of course not everyone is on board with the plan, and some say winning a baby through a lottery ticket purchased at a newsstand is unethical or something. After the announcement that To Hatch won the license, Josephine Quintavalle from Comment on Reproductive Ethics poo-pooed all over everyone’s fun, saying, “This demeans the whole nature of human reproduction.”

Whatever. Good luck everyone!

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New Reasons to Consider Consecutive Cycle IVF

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History of Infertility: 1884

In 1884, according to reports, a woman was inseminated in Philadelphia using sperm from the “best-looking” member of her doctor’s medical school class. The doctor informed her husband, but not the woman herself. When the doctor’s actions came to light years later, a public outcry followed and insemination stayed underground for decades.  From Searching for dad Their fathers were anonymous sperm donors. Now … …

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Does Caffeine Affect Fertility and Pregnancy?

One of the better articles I have seen about caffeine and fertility/pregnancy. It also gives you quanties of caffeine per beverage type.

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Current Event: Stress & Tension Do Not Stop Fertility Treatment from Working

ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2011) — Women undergoing IVF or other assisted reproduction therapy can be reassured that emotional distress caused by their infertility or other life events will not prevent the treatment from working, according to new research…….

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