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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Infertility hurts - and you are not alone !

This post ,  I found in a IVF support group ,  written by Sarah Marie ( Sarah Wu ). She is an herbalist and permaculture teacher , living in Costa Rica .

This is how people who go through infertility feel. She has poured her heart out. This post will help others who are in a similar situation as her's to realize that they are not alone. May her infertility journey have a happy ending , and so be all yours !

" I am asking only for an open heart and an open mind...
I need to get this off my chest, it weighs so heavy...
My life is wonderful and I am beyond blessed.
And I have done everything I can think of... And now I want to share, with my friends, family, community, allies, acquaintances, connections and the world...
I have cast spells, prayed to the Mother, prayed to the Father, called to my ancestors, I have lit candles night after night, I have had akashic karmic healing, past life regressions and energy work. I work with crystal, plant and animal medicines. I read tarot, medicine cards, runes and pendulums. I have done mikvahs.  I have burned, buried, drowned and blown away that which doesn't serve me. I gaze at the moon, sun and stars. I have died and been reborn with Ayahuasca. I have used blood magik. I have chanted and prayed to the Virgin Mary, Durga, Kwan Yin, Juno, Inanna and Diana. I never stop reading and researching. I use western and Chinese herbs. I follow diets and eat what I want. I have had and regularly receive Acupuncture, massage, reiki, kinesiology, cranial sacral, abdominal massage and guided meditation. I have been hypnotized and I lucid dream. Have had my Vedic and Western astrological charts read. I have a therapist, Drs., friends and family.  I read my Basal Body Temperature daily, weekly, monthly.  I have taken handfuls of supplements. I try to keep my weight up. I manage stress and work hard. Have had endocrine tests, blood tests, and sperm tests. Have had my tubes checked, multiple ultrasounds and endometrial biopsies. I have given myself so many shots in the stomach, ass and thighs that it doesn't scare me anymore. I have felt my ovaries swell and lost my mind to hormone overload. I have had three rounds of IVF, two IUIs, intravenous immunoglobulin treatments and paternal lymphocyte therapies. I had a hysteroscopy and a polyp removed from my uterus. My ovaries sometimes have cysts.
I know my body, mind and heart better than most people will ever know and I still don't understand.
I have felt my heart break more times than I thought humanly possible. I have felt incompetent, insufficient, depleted, hopeless, scared, ashamed, useless, pitied and like I wanted to die. I have felt bad for myself, jealous of others, angry, sad, depressed, alone and numb. I have felt empowered, brave, healthy, loved, supported, nourished, held and faithful. I feel alive, I feel strong, well, confident, I love myself and I love all life.
I ask why almost every day. Why me? What did I do? Who did this to me? Why is this my karma? What is the lesson? Will this help me to be a better person? A better woman? A better mother? A better friend, lover and wife? A better teacher and better healer? Will this help me to help others? Will it happen? When?
This is my struggle and pain... These are my lessons, my inspirations and reflections.
With every month, comes the bleeding of disappointment and sadness, comes the blood of empowerment and gratitude.
Will I give up one day? Will it happen? Will my biological child be the ultimate gift from the Goddess? Will she help me? Will we adopt? Will we?
I still don't know...
I will stay my course...  listen to my heart and keep trying... I feel my baby near...
In gratitude... "
Sarah Marie

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dr.Malpani's Blog: Book Release - Patient Safety - Protect yourself f...

Dr.Malpani's Blog: Book Release - Patient Safety - Protect yourself f...: Please do come to our book release - Patient Safety - Protect yourself from Medical Errors on July 19 at KEM Hospital at 2 pm. This will...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Detox your way to IVF conception

I went through a website which is very popular among infertile women. They offer nutrition and exercise advice ; sell imagery CDs - which they claim , " they are as powerful as fertility drugs " ; and moreover , they offer emotional support. So , it's a complete package - and , it's completely natural ! They call it as natural fertility treatment. How I wish I could start something like that - who doesn't want to earn money !
Their website is full of word play - you get nothing useful from there until you pay money. And even if you pay , I wonder , what you will get out of it ! But nevertheless , they are very famous and have many glorious testimonies to their credit !
Let me come to the point - how to detox your body ? Before that , let me ask you some questions :
1. Do you have a very stressful life ?
2. Don't you eat organic food ?
3. Do you eat genetically modified food ?
4. Do you use lots of chemicals at home - shampoos , cleaning and washing lotions , soaps , etc., ?
If your answer is 'yes' for the above questions , it clearly shows you have poisoned your holy body ! This is the reason why so many diseases exist in modern world - from cancer to infertility ! It's a punishment imposed on humans for going against nature. Your body has accumulated so much of toxins - as a result , your ovaries have stopped functioning properly ; your embryos haven't implanted because your uterus is not embryo friendly as a result of all the toxins it has accumulated over the years ! If you could get rid of these toxins , you get your fertility back !
On reading the above , how many of you feel scared ? How many of you feel guilty ? How many of you are wondering what I can I do to get rid of the toxins ? This fear and guilt you feel is the raw material for many peoples' business - and unfortunately , many fall as prey for such scams , yes , scams !
Why do people believe such scams ? The foremost reason is , they lack knowledge about how human body works. Next comes the glorious advertisements and testimonials they see , read and hear - and ,  when it comes from a friend or doctor they trust , they easily fall for it.  The third is , when they meet a person who claims that treatments like detoxification works , and sells it too , they get carried away by their bedside manners - their promises , concern , care , consideration , reassurance and sympathy can feel like an oasis in their desperate attempt to hold on to hope and faith. As a result , many turn out to be loyal customers even if the treatment doesn't lead to what they wanted - they will find ways to suppress their rational part of the brain , because , all they remember is how emotionally pampered they are when going through such treatments. They stay loyal forever irrespective of the outcome !
Our body has amazing ability to remove any harmful substances that enters in. Organs like liver , kidney , skin , lungs , etc ., work to remove all the waste products that form in our body as a result of digestion and metabolism. The detoxification programmes claim that they help your body to eliminate wastes ( toxins ) better by making your liver and kidneys function better. They sell several herbs  and supplements for the same - and , what attracts people most is the word ' NATURAL .' Unfortunately people fail to understand that natural doesn't mean it is without unpleasant side - effects ; natural doesn't mean it's free of harmful chemicals ; natural doesn't mean it's safe. Actually , the herbs , herbal cocktails , vitamins and other supplements sold by them doesn't have FDA approval. This means ,  they are not checked for the ingredients they claim that it contains ; they are not checked for appropriate dosages - and hence there is no guarantee for their safety or efficacy. As a result , they can actually prove to be much harmful than you might imagine ! You are in danger of not only loosing your hard- earned money but also your precious health. You can't enhance your liver or kidney's ability to clear wastes. If your kidney and liver function tests are normal , they are working just fine. Just because your liver and kidney cleans your body's metabolic wastes , doesn't mean they accumulate toxins and slowdown in function  ! You do not have to detoxify  them regularly in order for them to work properly.
Organic food doesn't means it's pesticide free. Produce that are not organic is perfectly OK to consume after washing them ( of course you have to wash the organic produce , too ) . By consuming them you are not accumulating toxins in your body ! Organic food is definitely not more nutritious - it is just more costly ! Genetically modified food is not poison. No one will get cancer by consuming them , nor do they carry toxins ! Genetically modified foods don't deserve the negative propaganda they are receiving by the people who really don't care to understand how genetic engineering works ! I have learnt from some infertility forums that some patients' IVF doctors have insisted that they go organic and remove all chemicals from their lives ! How unreasonable such suggestions are ! How easily doctors too fall for cognitive biases ! Or , is it a strategy they ploy to blame their patients' life style for the IVF failure ?
Just like , you can't detox your way to IVF conception , you can't use your visualization power to bring on a powerful ovulation ; you can't use imagery CDs to make your egg quality better ; you can't make your embryo stick by imagining that they are doing so ! If it works so , majority of us don't need an infertility doctor.
So , why so many patients swear by the efficacy of such unscientific practices ? The answer is simple , those websites provide enormous emotional support. They give you so much personal attention and reassurance , provided , you pay them ! When we are going through a difficult journey , we all need someone to hold our hands and say that all will be well and we can get through it ; we need real life examples , real life success stories ;. and moreover ,  we need someone with whom we can can confide our fears , insecurities , hopes and dreams. They offer all this ,  and much more. I feel they work like a cult with their own unscientific doctrines and principles. They know how exactly to brainwash their customers. Since , infertility is an emotionally  stressful and tiring journey , we easily fall for their promises. Infertility makes us emotionally vulnerable. Many of us lack proper support system when infertility strikes - it is still a taboo in many parts of the world. All these factor earns a lot of customers for such quacks.
When you find yourself getting lost in the stress of infertility , please try to do the following :
Educate yourself about your problem scientifically - this will help you to build realistic expectations , it will also strengthen your hope and make you confident.
Have an open mind and have alternate plans  - don't get desperate for success !
Build proper support system - your family ,  online infertility forums and your doctor can play a major role in keeping you sane and hopeful , amidst the enormous stress.
Please do not waste your emotional and financial energy by believing in quackery ! You can ask me , " If , what they offer makes me feel better , if I find solace there , why not follow it ? "  The problem here is ,  people who sell such ' alternative therapies ' claim that it can make you conceive or make you fit for conception , which is totally false. They are promoting something which is not scientific and trying to make a business out of it by playing with your emotions.  I understand that we need to find a middle path - but , middle path doesn't mean you need to mix delusion and reality and end up with heart ache when the treatment doesn't work ! Mixing placebo sugar solution and real medicine isn't going to enhance the medicine's effect , it can even make the medicine ineffective - that's not the real middle -path ! Many a time , alternative therapies distracts you from your real goal.  The real middle path is , understanding your problem , working on what you can really improve scientifically and let go of things what is not in your hands ( for example , if your ovarian reserve is exhausted and your ovaries are no more responding to drugs ! ) - instead of repeatedly hitting the dead end and wasting your physical , financial and emotional energy. When you hold on to false promises and hopes for support , when you fall , you fall really hard - the pain will be enormous. When you hold on to reality , even if it is bitter to accept , when you fall , you do so gracefully - the pain will be lot lesser and you will spring back to action very soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Elective Single embryo transfer ( eSET ) - is it for me ?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors :
1. Your age
If you are of young maternal age , the chance that more than one of your transferred embryos being genetically normal increases. Hence , it is wise to opt for single embryo transfer ( SET ). If you are less than 35 years of age , with good ovarian reserve and good quality embryos , you must consider transferring only one embryo.
2. Your ovarian reserve ( the number of embryos obtained in a particular IVF cycle )
If you get many eggs and embryos in your IVF cycle , it is better to grow them to blastocysts and do a SET.
3. Having good looking embryos
If the embryos that were created are of high grade , then doing eSET can be beneficial, provided , you are of young maternal age with good ovarian reserve.
4. Blastocyst transfer
If 40 % of your embryos develop into blastocysts , it shows that they are following a normal growth pattern. In such cases , elective SET can be beneficial.
5. Your clinic's success rate
If your clinic has high success rate for women of your age , then it is important to listen to your doctor's suggestion regarding how many embryos to transfer. You have high chance of having multiples if you transfer more than one embryo in a clinic which has high success rate.
6. When using donor eggs and embryos
Women who donate eggs are usually of young maternal age , so , the chance that many of the obtained embryos are genetically normal increases. Donor embryos are mostly got from couples who have completed their families using the same cohort of embryos. This is a sign that the remaining embryos may be good enough , too. And moreover , majority of the time , only couples who are of young maternal age will have ample embryos to donate  . So , when using donor eggs and embryos , it is good to go with single embryo transfer.
7. When using embryos which are tested for genetic competency
When using embryos which are tested using advanced genetic testing techniques ( for example , embryos tested using NGS ( next generation sequencing,  where all 23 pairs of chromosomes are screened )  , SET must be preferred.
In short , if you are of young maternal age ( ideally , below 35 years ), with good ovarian reserve ; if 40% of your obtained embryos grow to blastocysts and are of good grades allowing you to select the best ; if you use embryos which are tested for chromosomal normalcy ,  and if you are with a clinic which has high success rate , or , if you are using donor eggs and embryos , you must opt for SET - this will greatly reduce your chance of having multiples. 
Remember , a successful IVF cycle is not about getting a positive pregnancy test. Only when you take home a healthy baby ( healthy babies )  healthily , your goal has been achieved. Multiple pregnancies can be  disastrous , many a time.  Having premies in hand is heart - wrenching and losing healthy babies can break your heart. The chance of something going wrong in multiple pregnancies is several times higher when compared to singleton pregnancy. So , aim for eSET whenever possible - aim for a healthy IVF pregnancy.
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