Age & Fertility

Female fertility is affected by age. Age is thus a major fertility factor for women.

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How foul air may affect fetal heart development

Apart from ensuring healthy food choices, good prenatal care, and regular medicines, there are other factors also that affect the health of a developing fetus. One such environmental factor is exposure to microparticles in air pollution. According to a recent study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Toxicology, exposure to particulate matter in the air may damage the healthy development of the cardiovascular system of a fetus. Researchers have found that exposure to microscopic particulates in early pregnancy or in late pregnancy, significantly impacted the development of the fetal heart. This means that pregnant women, those undergoing fertility treatment, or of child-bearing age should avoid going out in high pollution areas and should also consider monitoring the quality of indoor air. Even a single incident of exposure likely to cause damage The growth and development of the fetus are affected by what the mother eats, drinks and even breathes. Therefore, when she inhales these nano-particulates in the air, it affects her circulatory system, constricting her blood vessels and restricting the blood flow to the uterus. This lack of blood flow leads to a lower supply of oxygen and nutrients to the child, hampering its growth. Further, restricted blood flow may also lead to other pregnancy complications like intrauterine growth restriction. For the purpose of the study, the researchers exposed a group of pregnant rats to nano aerosols of titanium dioxide a single time during all three trimesters and observed its effects. These effects were then compared with the development of milestones in pregnant rats exposed to highly filtered air. The study findings revealed that exposure to these particulates in early pregnancy significantly impacted the development of the main artery and the umbilical vein in the fetus. Further, exposure during the late third trimester affected the growth of the fetus, distressing fetal size. This happened because of decreased nutrients and vitamins reaching the uterus during the third trimester. The researchers also found that the restricted blood flow to the fetus during pregnancy continued to affect the child in adulthood. Non-pregnant animals also affected Exposure to these nano-particles of titanium oxide damaged the function of uterine arteries even in non-pregnant animals. While nanotechnology has led to major advances in the sciences, its impact on humans at different stages of development is yet unknown. It is estimated that by 2025, the annual global production of nanosized particles of titanium dioxide will reach 2.5 million metric tonnes. In addition to being found in the air, these nanoparticles are also used in personal and beauty care products like face powders and sunscreens. Though the impact of air pollution on the general health of the population is well-known, there is relatively little research on how it affects fetal development. More research is being undertaken in this regard, but it would take some time for scientists to understand the complete implications of air pollution on fetal growth and development. Featured Image Source

Causes and prevention of varicose veins during pregnancy

Varicose veins, also known as varicoses or varicosities, occur when your veins become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood. Varicose veins typically appear swollen and raised, and have a bluish-purple or red color. They are often painful. The condition is very common, especially in women. Around 25 percent of all adults have varicose veins. In most cases, varicose veins appear on the lower legs. Causes of varicose veins Varicose veins occur when veins aren’t functioning properly. Veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the veins rather than continuing toward your heart. The veins then enlarge. Varicose veins often affect the legs. The veins there are the farthest from your heart, and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward. Some potential causes for varicose veins include: Pregnancy Menopause Age over 50 Standing for long periods of time Obesity Family history of varicose veins Symptoms of varicose veins The primary symptoms of varicose veins are highly visible, misshapen veins, usually on your legs. You may also have pain, swelling, heaviness, and achiness over or around the enlarged veins. In some cases, you can develop swelling and discoloration. In severe cases, the veins can bleed significantly, and ulcers can form. Diagnosing varicose veins Your doctor will likely examine your legs and visible veins while you’re sitting or standing to diagnose varicose veins. They may ask you about any pain or symptoms you’re having. Your doctor may also want to do an ultrasound to check your blood flow. This is a noninvasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves. It allows your doctor to see how blood is flowing in your veins. Home remedies Measures can be taken at home to improve pain and prevent varicose veins from worsening. These measures include the following given below:  Exercising Losing weight Raising the legs Avoiding prolonged standing or sitting There are also many over-the-counter natural treatments, usually topical creams and emollients. These can help soothe pain, and improve comfort and they may improve the general appearance of varicose veins. Prevention: To reduce the risk of developing varicose veins you need to do the following:   Exercise regularly  Maintain a healthy weight Avoid standing still for too long Do not sit with the legs crossed Sit or sleep with your feet raised on a pillow Anyone who has to stand for their job should try to move around at least once every 30 minutes  Content source Featured image source  

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Common Causes of Infertility

Some women want children but either cannot conceive or keep miscarrying. This is called infertility. Lots of couples have infertility problems. About one-third of the time, it is a female problem. In another one-third of cases, it is the man with the fertility problem. For the remaining one-third, both partners have fertility challenges or no cause is found. Some common reasons for infertility in women include: Age – Women generally have some decrease in fertility starting in their early 30s. And while many women in their 30s and 40s have no problems getting pregnant, fertility especially declines after age 35. As a woman ages, normal changes that occur in her ovaries and eggs make it harder to become pregnant. Even though menstrual cycles continue to be regular in a woman's 30s and 40s, the eggs that ovulate each month are of poorer quality than those from her 20s. It is harder to get pregnant when the eggs are poorer in quality. As a woman nears menopause, the ovaries may not release an egg each month, which also can make it harder to get pregnant. Also, as a woman and her eggs age, she is more likely to miscarry, as well as have a baby with genetic problems, such as Down syndrome. Health problems – Some women have diseases or conditions that affect their hormone levels, which can cause infertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) rarely or never ovulate. Failure to ovulate is the most common cause of infertility in women. With primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a woman's ovaries stop working normally before she is 40. It is not the same as early menopause. Some women with POI get a period now and then. But getting pregnant is hard for women with POI. A condition called luteal phase defect (LPD) is a failure of the uterine lining to be fully prepared for pregnancy. This can keep a fertilized egg from implanting or result in miscarriage. Common problems with a woman's reproductive organs, like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease can worsen with age and also affect fertility. These conditions might cause the fallopian tubes to be blocked, so the egg can't travel through the tubes into the uterus. Lifestyle factors – Certain lifestyle factors also can have a negative effect on a woman's fertility. Examples include smoking, alcohol use, weighing much more or much less than an ideal body weight, a lot of strenuous exercise, and having an eating disorder. Stress also can affect fertility. Unlike women, some men remain fertile into their 60s and 70s. But as men age, they might begin to have problems with the shape and movement of their sperm. They also have a slightly higher risk of sperm gene defects. Or they might produce no sperm, or too few sperm. Lifestyle choices also can affect the number and quality of a man's sperm. Alcohol and drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality. And researchers are looking at whether environmental toxins, such as pesticides and lead, also may be to blame for some cases of infertility. Men also can have health problems that affect their sexual and reproductive function. These can include sexually transmitted infections (STIs), diabetes, surgery on the prostate gland, or a severe testicle injury or problem. When to see your doctor You should talk to your doctor about your fertility if: You are younger than 35 and have not been able to conceive after one year of frequent sex without birth control. You are age 35 or older and have not been able to conceive after six months of frequent sex without birth control. You believe you or your partner might have fertility problems in the future (even before you begin trying to get pregnant). You or your partner has a problem with sexual function or libido. Happily, doctors are able to help many infertile couples go on to have babies. Infertility treatment Some treatments include: Drugs – Various fertility drugs may be used for women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the drug to be used. You should understand the drug's benefits and side effects. Depending on the type of fertility drug and the dosage of the drug used, multiple births (such as twins) can occur. Surgery – Surgery is done to repair damage to a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Sometimes a man has an infertility problem that can be corrected by surgery. Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also called artificial insemination – Male sperm is injected into part of the woman's reproductive tract, such as into the uterus or fallopian tube. IUI often is used along with drugs that cause a woman to ovulate. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) – ART involves stimulating a woman's ovaries; removing eggs from her body; mixing them with sperm in the laboratory; and putting the embryos back into a woman's body. Success rates of ART vary and depend on many factors. Third party assistance – Options include donor eggs (eggs from another woman are used), donor sperm (sperm from another man are used), or surrogacy (when another woman carries a baby for you). Finding the cause of infertility is often a long, complex, and emotional process. And treatment can be expensive. Many health insurance companies do not provide coverage for infertility or provide only limited coverage. Check your health insurance contract carefully to learn about what is covered. Some states have laws that mandate health insurance policies to provide infertility coverage. Content Source Feature Image Source

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Cons of getting pregnant in your early 20's

When you're in your 20s, you may still be figuring out a career path and establishing yourself professionally. If you take time out to have a baby, it can be hard to get back on track. Even if a woman goes right back to work after having children, statistically she'll earn significantly less than her childless counterparts. Women who have their children later in life have higher lifetime earnings and a wider range of opportunities than younger mothers. And having a child in your 20s may not be financially optimal. College loan debt is such a problem for young people today – it's a noose around their necks. And as they struggle to pay it off, it's very easy to slide into credit card debt. Having a child can also be tough on a young couple's marriage. Young people often don't have the life experience to realize that the early period of life with a new baby is only temporary. The young mother is likely to feel depressed and overwhelmed, and the father may feel abandoned by his wife, who is suddenly preoccupied with the new little being in her life. Ideally, a couple will support each other through this transition and become even closer, but many couples grow distant and alienated from each other, which can seriously damage the marriage. And many couples in their 20s are simply not ready to be parents. Raising children is emotionally and physically taxing, and many parents – especially young ones – aren’t completely prepared for the sacrifice and patience it requires. When you have kids when you're older, you're more willing to accept the changes that come with having a child. You may miss out on traveling or shopping with your girlfriends. Content Source Featured Image Source

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Pros of getting pregnant in your early 20's

If you're trying to get pregnant in your 20s, time is on your side and biology is, too. Your body is ready for pregnancy, and probably will be for a while if you decide to wait to start your family. That said, pregnancy at any age has advantages and disadvantages.  Pros Experts say the average woman's fertility peaks in her early 20s. So, from a strictly biological perspective, this is the best decade for conceiving and carrying a baby. Like every woman, you're born with all the eggs you will ever have about 1 to 2 million. By puberty, the number of your eggs about 300,000 to 500,000, but your ovaries release only about 300 during your reproductive years. As you get older, your ovaries age along with the rest of your body and the quality of your eggs gradually deteriorates. That's why a younger woman's eggs are less likely than an older woman's to have genetic abnormalities that cause Down syndrome and other birth defects. The risk of miscarriage is also far lower: It's about 10 percent for women in their 20s, 12 percent for women in their early 30s, and 18 percent for women in their mid to late 30s. Miscarriage risk jumps to about 34 percent for women in their early 40s, and 53 percent by age 45. Pregnancy is often physically easier for women in their 20s because there's a lower risk of health complications like high blood pressure and diabetes. You're also less likely to have gynecological problems, like uterine fibroids, which often become more problematic over time. Finally, younger women are less likely to have premature or low-birth-weight babies than women older than 35. In terms of fertility, it doesn't matter if you start trying to get pregnant in your early 20s or your late 20s, the difference in a woman's fertility in her early and late 20s is negligible. Once the baby comes, as a 20-something mom you're likely to have the resilience to wake up with the baby several times during the night and still be able to function the next day. You'll also have a lot of company as you chase your little one around the playground: when your own child has children of her own, odds are you'll still have the energy to be an actively involved grandparent. Besides the physical advantages, there are other pluses: You're more flexible in your 20s, which is good for your marriage and for the transition to parenthood. When people get married later in life, instead of "our way," there is often "my way" and "your way," which can make marriage and parenting difficult. Content Source Featured Image Source

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Early Pregnancy Symptoms

The most definitive first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed period, and by then you are technically around 4 weeks pregnant. That’s because the doctors deem that your pregnancy starts from the first day of your last period. However, there are some symptoms that can come before you miss your period and give you a heads-up. When you’re 2 weeks pregnant This is when your body is preparing for ovulation so right about now there is no way you can experience any symptoms as you won’t technically be pregnant. When you’re 3 weeks pregnant Around this time the fertilized egg travels up the fallopian tube and gets implanted on the uterus. Although there may be no symptoms at this time, some women experience “implantation bleeding” which may seem like a light period but is actually a sign of the egg being implanted on the uterus. In some cases, there could be early symptoms like fatigue, nausea, tender breasts, and more frequent urination. When you’re 4 weeks pregnant By this time, since your period should be due by now, a missed period will be the most definitive symptom of your pregnancy. This would be the perfect time to get a pregnancy test done to confirm that you are in fact pregnant. More women will find other symptoms like sore breasts, fatigue, frequent urination, and nausea creep in at this juncture. Yet many others will continue to feel nothing at all. That’s why a missed period is the most definitive symptom of pregnancy. Common early symptoms Here’s a list of most common early symptoms of pregnancy; which can appear just before or together with a missed period. While they are not enough to indicate pregnancy by themselves when they appear together or in conjunction with a missed period, it’s probably time to take a pregnancy test. Sore breasts- These happen due to an increase in progesterone and estrogen and can seem similar to the soreness that some women feel just before their period. Nausea and food aversions- This typically happens first thing in the morning though it can also last through the day. While it takes up to 6-8 weeks to appear for most women, in some cases it can appear as early as Week 3. Frequent urination- Increased pressure on the bladder and the frequent urge to pee, especially at night, is one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. Food cravings- Your body can start craving all kinds of rich and greasy foods, or even sour foods like tamarind and pickle, even before you miss your period. Cramps and backache- This may be confused for PMS by most women but it actually occurs when the egg is getting implanted on the uterus. Headaches- Many women get mild tension headaches during the first few weeks of pregnancy so if you have this symptom in conjunction with others, you might want to get a test. Nipple darkening- Pregnancy hormones actually affect the colour of the nipples and this may be one of the earliest indications that you’re pregnant. The easiest way to know either way is to take an at home pregnancy test. These home pregnancy tests use your urine to determine whether you’re pregnant in a matter of minutes. Although blood tests provide more accurate pregnancy results, they are generally avoided unless recommended by a doctor. However, the timing of taking a pregnancy test can be tricky to navigate. If taken too soon, there is a chance of getting a false negative. A positive result early on could also prove to be false as it may be a chemical pregnancy. Here’s what you should know about taking a pregnancy test in order to get the most accurate results. How can you avoid a false negative? Here are the common reasons why women test negative when they are actually pregnant. You test too early and your body has not started releasing HCG yet You test early and your levels of HCG are too low for your pregnancy test to detect. Pregnancy tests range in sensitivity from 10mIU/ml to 40 mlU/ml. If you are testing early make sure you use a more sensitive test. Drinking too much water or other fluids right before taking the test may dilute the HCG in the urine and result in a false negative. If you let the urine lie too long(more than 30 minutes) without taking the test, the results will not be accurate. How do you avoid a false positive? You may also get a positive result when you are not actually pregnant in some rare cases. Women who are getting fertility treatment may get a false positive result if they do a test within ten days of their last injection. Women who are perimenopausal, that is women who will soon reach menopause, can also get a false positive result as they have higher levels of circulating HCG. HCG may get released from your pituitary during your LH peak. This may result in a false positive. Sometimes, a miscarriage happens even before the date of the period. This is because pregnancy is not actually viable. Such a pregnancy is known as a chemical pregnancy. In such circumstances, taking an early test may show a positive result whereas the pregnancy was actually unviable. The fact is that most early pregnancy symptoms are often similar to PMS symptoms. Of course, you do know your body best and if you experience some of these symptoms in conjunction with a missed period then it’s best to get a pregnancy test as soon as you can. Featured Image Source

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11 Ways to get Pregnant with Twins

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Considerations for Choosing a Surrogate Mother

Whether you are a single man or woman or a couple, you may choose to use a surrogate to help bring your dreams of parenthood to reality. When you’ve decided to choose a surrogate mother to help you start a family, there are still further options to consider, like whether you’ll use traditional or gestational surrogacy. With a gestational surrogacy, the carrier becomes pregnant by means of in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the eggs of the intended mother or an egg donor. This means that the surrogate baby is not genetically related to the carrier. With a traditional surrogate, the surrogate’s egg is fertilized with sperm from the intended father or sperm donor through IVF or artificial insemination, making the carrier and the child genetically related. This form of surrogacy is less common than gestational surrogacy. Choosing a Surrogate If you do not already have a surrogate in mind, such as a friend or family member, you can contact an agency or fertility clinic who will help you find one. There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a carrier for your surrogate baby including: The surrogate’s medical history—this should include a genetic profile (traditional surrogates only), blood tests and obstetric history. The surrogate’s lifestyle choices including their history of drinking and substance abuse. The cost of the surrogacy process—this includes surrogacy compensation, health and life insurance, legal fees, agency fees, psychological screening and monitoring, travel costs, medical expenses, and egg donation compensation and expenses (if applicable) . The legal issues—the laws on surrogacy vary from state to state, so the location of your surrogate is an important issue to consider. What kind of relationship you wish to have with the surrogate after the child is born—you may wish the surrogate to remain an integral part of your child’s life, or have the relationship complete upon delivery. When you are looking for a surrogate with whom you can entrust the first nine months of your baby’s life, you will want to find someone who will treat the pregnancy as if it were her own. If you do choose to find your surrogate through an agency, ask them about their screening process for surrogates, what they are like and why they do this to determine if the agency is able to provide you with the right surrogate for you. Ultimately, the key to making the right choice, is finding a surrogate that you can trust completely and with whom you can feel at ease. content source

Factors responsible for infertility

Some people with fertilityproblems never even know it until they try to have a baby. That’s because oftentimes infertility issues don’t have symptoms. So whether you’re actively trying to have children or just planning to in the future, it’s good to know if anything you or your partner are doing might reduce your chances of getting pregnant. While you can’t control everything that might affect your fertility, there are some things you can. Risk Factors for Infertility Men and women are equally at risk for fertility problems. In about one-third of cases, both partners have issues, or doctors can’t find the cause. Some of the factors that affect a couple’s ability to have a baby include: Age. A woman is born with a set number of eggs. That number drops as she ages, making it harder for her to get pregnant after she reaches her mid-30s. By 40, her chances of getting pregnant drop from 90% to 67%. By age 45, it’s just 15%. A man is less fertile after age 40. Can you lower your risk? Sort of. When you’re ready to have children, don’t wait. The younger you are the better. Smoking. If you smoke tobacco or marijuana, you’re less likely to get pregnant. Tobacco and marijuana can increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage, and decrease sperm count in men. Smokers also hit menopause about 2 years earlier than non-smokers. It can also cause erectile dysfunction(ED). Can you lower your risk? Yes. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products of any kind. Drinking alcohol. Doctors now say there’s no safe amount of alcohol women can drink during pregnancy. It can lead to birth defects. It may also lower your chances of getting pregnant and drinking heavily can decrease sperm count in men. Can you lower your risk? Yes. Men and women should avoid alcohol when trying to conceive. Weight. Women who are overweight can have irregular periods and skip ovulation. But women who are extremely underweight can also have problems -- their reproductive systems can shut down completely. Men who are obese can have lower-quality sperm or ED. Can you lower your risk? Yes. Talk to your doctor about how to exercise and eat to maintain a safe weight, especially if you’re over age 40. But don’t overdo it and strainyour body. Mental health. Both depressionand lots of stress can affect the hormones that regulate your reproductive cycle. Women dealing with these issues may not ovulate normally and men may have a lower sperm count. Can you lower your risk?- Yes. Try to reduce the stress in your life before and while trying to become pregnant. STDs. Having unprotected sex puts you at risk for STDs. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fallopian tube infections in women, and epididymis blockages that can lead to infertility in men. Can you lower your risk? -Yes. Use a condom every time you have sex to reduce your chances of getting certain STDs. Environmental factors. There may be factors in your everyday life that are reducing your chances of getting pregnant -- especially if your job involves toxic substances or hazards. Some dangers include pesticides, pollution, high temperatures, chemicals, or heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer can affect both sperm and eggs, too. Her Risks There are certain things that apply only to women. Any one of the following could cause problems with ovulation, hormones, or your reproductive organs: Endometriosis Fallopian tube disease Chronic disease like diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension, or asthma Two or more miscarriages History of irregular periods Early menopause (before age 40) An abnormally shaped uterus Polyps in your uterus Leftover scar tissue from a pelvic infection or surgery Uterine fibroids or cysts Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) His Risks Some factors are male-only, as well, and could affect sperm count, sperm health, or sperm delivery, including: A repaired hernia Testicles that haven’t descended An inflamed or infected prostate Mumps any time after puberty Prescription medications for ulcers or psoriasis Cystic fibrosis Premature ejaculation or a blockage in your testicles Enlarged veins in your testes content source