Posts

15
Oct

Observing National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

by

candleToday, October 15th, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.  As a living memorial for the children who have passed, and a symbol of support for the many parents who are grieving their losses, we will join in the Wave of Light by lighting a candle at 7pm.
When a child passes away, there is often a silent grief that is felt by the parents.  Miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, and death of a newborn are all very real, and very traumatic.  However, these are losses that are often not spoken of.  We want you to know that you can speak about them here.  You can use the words, tell your story, and never fear that we will minimize your experience or silence your grief.
We welcome you to share your story with us, whenever you need to.  We also have a few support articles, covering Understanding the Grief Process, and Honoring a Miscarriage, available to you.  We also openly and freely talk about loss during our Circle of Hope Support Group sessions, and we welcome you to our next meetings.  You can find our full calendar of events, here.
Finally, did you know that we started  new Private Facebook Fertility and Pregnancy Groups for current clients?  Here, you can find a safe and secure space to share with other women and men facing similar challenges and grief.  If you are interested in joining, please message Lisa Stack within the Patient Portal
 
{{hrule}}
If you are interested in a more private one-on-one support situation, Lisa Stack is our CNY Fertility Center Support Coordiator, she offers her services as a lay support person and can be contacted by email at lstack@cnyfertility.com if you are not yet a client or via the Patient Portal if you are a current client.
 

23
Jan

Near Brooklyn? Join The AFA and Brooklyn Community Pride Center for a Family Planning Event

by
LGBT couples build their family with CNY FertilityOn Thursday evening, January 31st, 2013, The American Fertility Association and Brooklyn Community Pride Center will host an evening for gay women interested in becoming moms through donor insemination. If you live near Brooklyn consider attending and be sure to RSVP to Corey Whelan via email corey@theafa.org.
 

Learn the Do’s and Don’ts About:

  • Sperm Donors – Who and How?
  • Getting Pregnant at Home
  • Getting Pregnant at the Doctor’s Office
  • Legal Aspects That May Affect You, Your Partner and Your Baby
  • Your Fertility

A stellar faculty will include:

A light dinner will be served and educational gift bags given to all attendees.

 

This event has been graciously underwritten by California Cryobank

28
Dec

Folic Acid Supplementation for Women and Men

by

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folate for women of childbearing age should be taking at least 400 mcg of folate per day.  Folic acid (also known as folacin) is the B vitamin that is in foods and folic acid is the synthetic supplement given to ensure adequate dosage.  It is strongly recommended to begin supplementing at least three months prior to conception for optimal results, but the sooner the better.  Some studies show that taking it a year prior to conception can help to decrease early deliveries.
Folic acid is often found as an additive in things such as cereal, pasta, and rice.  However, those who are challenged with PCOS or gluten allergies are advised to either greatly reduce or eliminate these products; therefore, supplementation becomes essential.
Of course, there are other ways to get folate and some of those sources include:

  • Asparagus
  • Dark salad greens like spinach, kale, and mustard greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbage
  • Citrus fruit, especially oranges
  • Lentils, beans, chickpeas, navy beans
  • Avocados
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Seeds and nuts

Folic acid supplementation in women has been shown to significantly reduce the chances of neural tube defects, such as Spina bifida as much as 70 percent.  It’s not just important for women, however.  A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that sperm quality and motility in men greatly improved when they took folic acid.   Adequate consumption is necessary to produce the genetic materials DNA and RNA, not only of the egg but also the sperm.  Folic acid helps the body produce and protect cells which is extremely important to cell division and the conception process.  It also has been shown to help improve blood flow throughout the body, which helps the reproductive organs.
Request Consultation or Appointment
If you are a new patient and would like an initial fertility consultation, click here to request a phone or in-office visit, or call us toll free with your questions at 800-539-9870.
 
 
 
 

25
Feb

Be Informed: Lead, Lipstick & Infertility

by

There have long been rumors that lipstick contains lead and but since cosmetic producers are not mandated to release the ingredients of their products, this fact remained hidden for many years. Back in 2007 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics [r1] sent 33 brands of lipstick to an independent lab for testing and found that 61% tested positive for up to 0.65 parts per million of lead. What’s more they found top selling brands—including one that sold for $24 each—had the highest lead content! They reported their results to FDA and were promised an investigation.
It took the FDA two years and a letter from 3 US Senators to perform a follow up study. They found lead in every brand that they tested[r2] . Some of the brands had four times more lead in them then the Campaign study results. Despite these findings, the FDA did not take any action to protect consumers. More recently, an expanded analysis found lead levels as high as 7.19ppm. Even more surprising 5 of the top 10 most heavily contaminated brands were made by a one manufacturer[r3] , Loreal USA. Why aren’t consumers being made aware that something as toxic as lead is being sold to apply to their lips? That’s a hard question to answer.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there is “No safe blood level for lead.” Lead is a neurotoxin. It accumulates in the body and it can even cross the placenta to harm a developing fetus. That’s why the only effective strategy against heavy metal poisoning is to minimize your risk of lead exposure. The effects of lead are well known and include lower IQ scores, behavioral problems, aggression and learning (especially language) disabilities.
More recently, a study demonstrated that high levels of lead can also contribute to infertility. In this study[r4] —conducted by the National Institute of Health—they found that women and men with higher levels of the heavy metals lead and cadmium experienced a nearly 30% reduction in their chance of conceiving. Although their study considered cigarettes to be the primary source of exposure to these toxic metals; their study was completed before the high lead levels in lipstick were revealed. Be a smart consumer and check out your personal care products and cosmetics before you apply: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/lipstick .

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

23
Feb

Beauty Products & Hormonal Imbalances

by

Below is an article published at Conceiveonline earlier this month.
Everyone likes to look and smell their best. But what is the real cost of that silky smooth skin and shiny hair? Cosmetics and personal care products contain various combinations of nearly 11,000 chemicals; only 11% of which have been evaluated for their safety. Maybe more concerning is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set any premarketing standards for testing these products or disclosing the results when problems are detected. With the exception of California—which passed the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005 (Senate Bill 484)—the production of cosmetics is a self-regulated industry that generates over $50 billion annually. One easy (but inaccurate) way of trying to put consumer’s minds at ease by these companies is by promoting the notion that beauty products are applied externally and therefore have minimal opportunity to impact internal physiology.
Even though personal care products are applied topically, they are absorbed. How much they are absorbed depends upon several factors, such as: are they are applied near an opening (lipstick and eyeliner, for instance, gain entry to the internal body easily); are they applied to a part of the body that is shaved (making for easier absorption); is it a moist or covered area (boosting the amount that penetrates the skin) and how often is it applied or how long does it linger after application (dose). Another important aspect of a cosmetic’s ability to penetrate has to do with fragrance; the simple rule is if you can smell it, it is getting into your body and often into the bloodstream.
Let’s consider the example of phthalates. These chemicals are plasticizing agents that add flexibility and a moisturizing sheen to products like nail polishes/nail hardeners, fragrances, mascara, lotions, shampoos/conditioners and sunscreens. If they appear on labels—not all cosmetics reveal ingredients—they are named for their specific chemical, like DEP, the most commonly used; DBP, used widely in nail polish; and DMP, which is becoming more popular among manufacturers. They are well-known for their ability to cause hormonal imbalance in both people and animals. They have been linked to early onset of puberty in girls, genital malformations in boys born to women exposed during pregnancy, and now there have been several studies linking them to an elevated risk of obesity. Most troubling of all, they aren’t even a necessary ingredient.
Nail products tend to be one of the greatest sources of exposure for women. Although one would not think a product could be absorbed through the nail, DBP is water-soluble, so slight amounts leach out each time the nail is wet. As a result, it can be absorbed by the skin or taken in orally if the leaching takes place during food preparation. In fact, the reason that nail polish becomes brittle and chips over time is due to the loss of DBP, which is used to keep polishes flexible. Rest assured, there are phthalate-free products available now, and consumers have the right to be educated about why avoiding such hormone disruptors is important to their reproductive health.
The simplest way to reduce exposure to phthalates is to buy products that don’t contain them. By doing so, you’re also supporting manufacturers that are making more responsible decisions. If you’d like to check out your favorite brands, as well as get some leads on healthy alternatives, go to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. They have the lowdown on over 69,000 products.

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

12
Feb

Health Benefits of Optimism

by

*Excerpt from Dr. Robert Greene’s book, PERFECT BALANCE[r1]
Optimists see the glass as half-full, and it stands them in good stead. Between 1962 and 1965, a group of investigators from the Mayo Clinic performed personality testing on nearly five hundred study participants. They recently followed up on them some thirty years after the original test and found not only that the “pessimists” has lower overall scores in terms of their health, but that over the three intervening decades, the “optimists” had about a 50% higher survival rate. Other studies have had similar results. Psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor, has shown that the way we assess various situations changes how effectively we accomplish our goals. And a positive outlook wins every time.
__

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

1
Feb

Egg Donation Radio Ad Airing in Syracuse, NY

by

During the months of February, March and April 2012 you will likely, at some point, hear our new radio ad airing on the following stations in the Syracuse, NY area: WKRL FM (K-Rock at 100.9FM and 106.5FM) and WZUN FM (Sunny 102 at 102.1 FM). Click on the arrow below to listen to it now.
CNY Fertility Egg Donation Testimonial – Radio Ad
We are excited to share this touching testimonial of the “woman to woman” giving aspect that embodies our Egg Donation Program here at CNY Fertility Center. Please spread the word with your friends and family about egg donation with us. It truly is a gift of life to couples that may otherwise not have been able to conceive.
Interested egg donors start here – http://cnyfertility.com/become-an-egg-donor-start-here/

8
Jan

Trying to Conceive? Consider the effects of Environmental Toxins

by

**About a week ago, Dr. Robert Greene submitted this post to Conceive Magazine Online [r1] for publication. The very next day, another study [r2] came out finding an increase in sperm DNA abnormalities in men exposed to higher amounts of PCB’s. Although he mentions other studies below with similar findings, we wanted to include this recent and compelling data.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, there are 80,000 industrial chemicals currently in use, with another 700 added each year. Oftentimes it takes years or even decades to discover if or how these products influence our health. Worse still, many of these chemicals are classified as “hormone-disrupting agents,” meaning that they can trigger a hormone imbalance if you’re exposed to them. The hormonal chaos that results can cause infertility, miscarriages, birth defects and may even contribute to certain types of cancer.
You can take an active role in reducing your exposure to these potentially toxic agents by actively taking steps toward achieving hormone balance. Get informed and create a diet and lifestyle that can reduce your exposure to specific chemicals that have been linked to problems. A great place to start: Consider what you can do to reduce your contact with polychlorinated biphenyls; commonly known as PCBs.
PCBs were banned from use in the United States in 1979 due to their toxicity. Even though three decades have passed since they were widely used in construction and insulation, these hormone-disrupting chemicals persist in our environment. Today our primary exposure to PCBs is through contaminated water, polluted air, and the consumption of high-fat foods made from fish or animal products.
Since PCBs are stored in fat cells, switching to a low-fat diet can dramatically reduce your risk. For example, endometriosis is a problem commonly associated with infertility. Several studies have demonstrated that women with high levels of PCBs are three to four times more likely to develop endometriosis. One interventional study indicated that women with endometriosis can reduce their risk of reocurrence by 40 percent or more simply by reducing their consumption of beef and ham and replacing these calories with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Making these healthy choices can also improve male fertility: A 2009 study found that men exposed to water pollutants (including PCBs) were at higher risk of infertility. These toxins can disrupt male hormones as well as interfere with sperm production. Rather than worry about the impact that water may be having on you, check out the database created by the Environmental Working Group. Not only do they report on pollutants that may be present in your tap water, they also provide links to simple water filtration systems that you can use to improve your health and that of your family.
If you needed even further proof that PCBs may be affecting your chances of becoming pregnant, a study published in 2010 found significant levels of this toxin in the fluid surrounding eggs that is collected during IVF cycles. More recently, U.S. research found that not only did a woman’s PCB level impact her chance of becoming pregnant, but it also may increase her risk of having a miscarriage. So clearly it is in your best interest to minimize your exposure to PCBs. Here are some simple steps that you should consider:

  • Eat low fat—in particular reduce your consumption of beef and ham while boosting your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid farm-raised salmon and catfish since these have been shown to be prime sources of PCB exposure.
  • Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water, which can often contain a variety of hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • If you live in an older home with hard-wood finished floors, consider having them professionally treated with safer products.

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

2
Jan

Vitrification and Fertility Treatments: To Freeze or Not to Freeze

by

To freeze or not to freeze; that is a question faced by many couples going through fertility treatments.
One of the most vexing problems encountered during fertility treatment is how best to optimize the pregnancy rate will we also minimize the risk of triplet (and higher) pregnancies. Since we can’t currently tell which egg has the greatest potential to become a healthy baby, the most common strategy used by IVF centers is to produce as many eggs as possible. Attempts are then made to fertilize each one and let them grow to identify those that are most likely to be capable of implanting and becoming a healthy baby. Generally speaking, around 10-30% of eggs have the ability to complete this initial development in the lab. For those couples fortunate enough to have more than one or two healthy embryos; the question arises about what to do with the rest. Transfer them and risk experiencing a multiple pregnancy or freeze them?
The first pregnancies resulting from frozen and thawed embryos were delivered in 1984. Since that time, hundreds of thousands more have followed. In 2009 for instance—the most recent year with statistics available—there were nearly 22,000 frozen embryo transfers in the USA and about a third resulted in a successful pregnancy. It’s also noteworthy that once frozen, embryos retain their potential to result in the birth of a healthy child. A report in 2010 demonstrated this when a couple that conceived through IVF in 1990, donated their remaining embryos and one implanted resulted in the birth of a healthy baby after being frozen for nearly 20 years. One large European study found that pregnancies conceived with frozen embryos may have a lower risk of medical complications than those resulting from a fresh embryo transfer. So although cryopreservation is not fail-safe, it is viable option to reduce the risk of multiple births. The most common question is how many embryos survive the process of freezing and thawing.
Human embryos are at risk of thermal injury if not frozen carefully. Initially, they were typically frozen at a controlled rate while a substance called a cryoprotectant was added to reduce damaging ice crystal formation—a process now referred to as the “slow freeze” or “conventional” method. Once frozen the embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196⁰C.  Typically, most centers report that about 70% of the embryos survive the freezing and re-warming process using this technique.
More recently, many centers have adopted a new and very rapid freezing technique called “vitrification.” The advantage of this new rapid freeze technique is it occurs too rapidly for ice crystals to form therefore reduces the risk to the embryos. As a result, very few healthy embryos are damaged through this process. In fact, this technique is now being applied to freezing unfertilized eggs as well; an even greater challenge than freezing embryos. Several recent analyses published in the August issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility predict that this technique will rapidly become the standard although currently not all clinics have switched to vitrification at this time.
So when considering how many embryos you wish to receive in an embryo transfer, consider the risk of multiple pregnancy as well as the success of frozen embryo transfer. It’s worthwhile to talk to your clinic about their freezing technique and their experience. It could make a world of difference you and your family.
Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

12
Dec

Correcting Hormone Imbalance Improves Fertility AND Reduces Cancer Risk

by

Most people have accepted the role of reducing insulin resistance in order to improve fertility and reduce miscarriage in women with PCOS. The question that often comes up is what is the most strategy to achieve this goal. True there are many dietary and lifestyle modifications that can improve insulin sensitivity. The problem is that each person needs a different combination of recommendations tailored to their unique situation. That’s why having a simple and well researched medication to prescribe is such a bonus. Metformin meets these needs.
Not only has metformin been shown to improve fertility; it has also been linked to a reduced risk of miscarriage as well. Now there is a growing body of evidence that metformin can reduce the risk of various cancers.
Many studies have shown the type II diabetes—the most severe form of insulin resistance—is associated with elevated risks of various types of cancer. So it has long been hoped that the types of medications that can reduce insulin resistance should also reduce cancer risks. Better still; the data that has emerged with the use of metformin has also been associated with a reduced risk of endometrial (uterian) cancer and breast cancer.
So if you’ve got insulin resistance and want to become pregnant, there is even more compelling reasons to consider metformin as part of your treatment regimen.

Success Stories

15
Oct

Observing National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

by

candleToday, October 15th, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.  As a living memorial for the children who have passed, and a symbol of support for the many parents who are grieving their losses, we will join in the Wave of Light by lighting a candle at 7pm.
When a child passes away, there is often a silent grief that is felt by the parents.  Miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, and death of a newborn are all very real, and very traumatic.  However, these are losses that are often not spoken of.  We want you to know that you can speak about them here.  You can use the words, tell your story, and never fear that we will minimize your experience or silence your grief.
We welcome you to share your story with us, whenever you need to.  We also have a few support articles, covering Understanding the Grief Process, and Honoring a Miscarriage, available to you.  We also openly and freely talk about loss during our Circle of Hope Support Group sessions, and we welcome you to our next meetings.  You can find our full calendar of events, here.
Finally, did you know that we started  new Private Facebook Fertility and Pregnancy Groups for current clients?  Here, you can find a safe and secure space to share with other women and men facing similar challenges and grief.  If you are interested in joining, please message Lisa Stack within the Patient Portal
 
{{hrule}}
If you are interested in a more private one-on-one support situation, Lisa Stack is our CNY Fertility Center Support Coordiator, she offers her services as a lay support person and can be contacted by email at lstack@cnyfertility.com if you are not yet a client or via the Patient Portal if you are a current client.
 

23
Jan

Near Brooklyn? Join The AFA and Brooklyn Community Pride Center for a Family Planning Event

by
LGBT couples build their family with CNY FertilityOn Thursday evening, January 31st, 2013, The American Fertility Association and Brooklyn Community Pride Center will host an evening for gay women interested in becoming moms through donor insemination. If you live near Brooklyn consider attending and be sure to RSVP to Corey Whelan via email corey@theafa.org.
 

Learn the Do’s and Don’ts About:

  • Sperm Donors – Who and How?
  • Getting Pregnant at Home
  • Getting Pregnant at the Doctor’s Office
  • Legal Aspects That May Affect You, Your Partner and Your Baby
  • Your Fertility

A stellar faculty will include:

A light dinner will be served and educational gift bags given to all attendees.

 

This event has been graciously underwritten by California Cryobank

28
Dec

Folic Acid Supplementation for Women and Men

by

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of folate for women of childbearing age should be taking at least 400 mcg of folate per day.  Folic acid (also known as folacin) is the B vitamin that is in foods and folic acid is the synthetic supplement given to ensure adequate dosage.  It is strongly recommended to begin supplementing at least three months prior to conception for optimal results, but the sooner the better.  Some studies show that taking it a year prior to conception can help to decrease early deliveries.
Folic acid is often found as an additive in things such as cereal, pasta, and rice.  However, those who are challenged with PCOS or gluten allergies are advised to either greatly reduce or eliminate these products; therefore, supplementation becomes essential.
Of course, there are other ways to get folate and some of those sources include:

  • Asparagus
  • Dark salad greens like spinach, kale, and mustard greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Cabbage
  • Citrus fruit, especially oranges
  • Lentils, beans, chickpeas, navy beans
  • Avocados
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Seeds and nuts

Folic acid supplementation in women has been shown to significantly reduce the chances of neural tube defects, such as Spina bifida as much as 70 percent.  It’s not just important for women, however.  A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that sperm quality and motility in men greatly improved when they took folic acid.   Adequate consumption is necessary to produce the genetic materials DNA and RNA, not only of the egg but also the sperm.  Folic acid helps the body produce and protect cells which is extremely important to cell division and the conception process.  It also has been shown to help improve blood flow throughout the body, which helps the reproductive organs.
Request Consultation or Appointment
If you are a new patient and would like an initial fertility consultation, click here to request a phone or in-office visit, or call us toll free with your questions at 800-539-9870.
 
 
 
 

25
Feb

Be Informed: Lead, Lipstick & Infertility

by

There have long been rumors that lipstick contains lead and but since cosmetic producers are not mandated to release the ingredients of their products, this fact remained hidden for many years. Back in 2007 the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics [r1] sent 33 brands of lipstick to an independent lab for testing and found that 61% tested positive for up to 0.65 parts per million of lead. What’s more they found top selling brands—including one that sold for $24 each—had the highest lead content! They reported their results to FDA and were promised an investigation.
It took the FDA two years and a letter from 3 US Senators to perform a follow up study. They found lead in every brand that they tested[r2] . Some of the brands had four times more lead in them then the Campaign study results. Despite these findings, the FDA did not take any action to protect consumers. More recently, an expanded analysis found lead levels as high as 7.19ppm. Even more surprising 5 of the top 10 most heavily contaminated brands were made by a one manufacturer[r3] , Loreal USA. Why aren’t consumers being made aware that something as toxic as lead is being sold to apply to their lips? That’s a hard question to answer.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that there is “No safe blood level for lead.” Lead is a neurotoxin. It accumulates in the body and it can even cross the placenta to harm a developing fetus. That’s why the only effective strategy against heavy metal poisoning is to minimize your risk of lead exposure. The effects of lead are well known and include lower IQ scores, behavioral problems, aggression and learning (especially language) disabilities.
More recently, a study demonstrated that high levels of lead can also contribute to infertility. In this study[r4] —conducted by the National Institute of Health—they found that women and men with higher levels of the heavy metals lead and cadmium experienced a nearly 30% reduction in their chance of conceiving. Although their study considered cigarettes to be the primary source of exposure to these toxic metals; their study was completed before the high lead levels in lipstick were revealed. Be a smart consumer and check out your personal care products and cosmetics before you apply: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/browse/lipstick .

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

23
Feb

Beauty Products & Hormonal Imbalances

by

Below is an article published at Conceiveonline earlier this month.
Everyone likes to look and smell their best. But what is the real cost of that silky smooth skin and shiny hair? Cosmetics and personal care products contain various combinations of nearly 11,000 chemicals; only 11% of which have been evaluated for their safety. Maybe more concerning is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set any premarketing standards for testing these products or disclosing the results when problems are detected. With the exception of California—which passed the California Safe Cosmetics Act of 2005 (Senate Bill 484)—the production of cosmetics is a self-regulated industry that generates over $50 billion annually. One easy (but inaccurate) way of trying to put consumer’s minds at ease by these companies is by promoting the notion that beauty products are applied externally and therefore have minimal opportunity to impact internal physiology.
Even though personal care products are applied topically, they are absorbed. How much they are absorbed depends upon several factors, such as: are they are applied near an opening (lipstick and eyeliner, for instance, gain entry to the internal body easily); are they applied to a part of the body that is shaved (making for easier absorption); is it a moist or covered area (boosting the amount that penetrates the skin) and how often is it applied or how long does it linger after application (dose). Another important aspect of a cosmetic’s ability to penetrate has to do with fragrance; the simple rule is if you can smell it, it is getting into your body and often into the bloodstream.
Let’s consider the example of phthalates. These chemicals are plasticizing agents that add flexibility and a moisturizing sheen to products like nail polishes/nail hardeners, fragrances, mascara, lotions, shampoos/conditioners and sunscreens. If they appear on labels—not all cosmetics reveal ingredients—they are named for their specific chemical, like DEP, the most commonly used; DBP, used widely in nail polish; and DMP, which is becoming more popular among manufacturers. They are well-known for their ability to cause hormonal imbalance in both people and animals. They have been linked to early onset of puberty in girls, genital malformations in boys born to women exposed during pregnancy, and now there have been several studies linking them to an elevated risk of obesity. Most troubling of all, they aren’t even a necessary ingredient.
Nail products tend to be one of the greatest sources of exposure for women. Although one would not think a product could be absorbed through the nail, DBP is water-soluble, so slight amounts leach out each time the nail is wet. As a result, it can be absorbed by the skin or taken in orally if the leaching takes place during food preparation. In fact, the reason that nail polish becomes brittle and chips over time is due to the loss of DBP, which is used to keep polishes flexible. Rest assured, there are phthalate-free products available now, and consumers have the right to be educated about why avoiding such hormone disruptors is important to their reproductive health.
The simplest way to reduce exposure to phthalates is to buy products that don’t contain them. By doing so, you’re also supporting manufacturers that are making more responsible decisions. If you’d like to check out your favorite brands, as well as get some leads on healthy alternatives, go to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. They have the lowdown on over 69,000 products.

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

12
Feb

Health Benefits of Optimism

by

*Excerpt from Dr. Robert Greene’s book, PERFECT BALANCE[r1]
Optimists see the glass as half-full, and it stands them in good stead. Between 1962 and 1965, a group of investigators from the Mayo Clinic performed personality testing on nearly five hundred study participants. They recently followed up on them some thirty years after the original test and found not only that the “pessimists” has lower overall scores in terms of their health, but that over the three intervening decades, the “optimists” had about a 50% higher survival rate. Other studies have had similar results. Psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor, has shown that the way we assess various situations changes how effectively we accomplish our goals. And a positive outlook wins every time.
__

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

1
Feb

Egg Donation Radio Ad Airing in Syracuse, NY

by

During the months of February, March and April 2012 you will likely, at some point, hear our new radio ad airing on the following stations in the Syracuse, NY area: WKRL FM (K-Rock at 100.9FM and 106.5FM) and WZUN FM (Sunny 102 at 102.1 FM). Click on the arrow below to listen to it now.
CNY Fertility Egg Donation Testimonial – Radio Ad
We are excited to share this touching testimonial of the “woman to woman” giving aspect that embodies our Egg Donation Program here at CNY Fertility Center. Please spread the word with your friends and family about egg donation with us. It truly is a gift of life to couples that may otherwise not have been able to conceive.
Interested egg donors start here – http://cnyfertility.com/become-an-egg-donor-start-here/

8
Jan

Trying to Conceive? Consider the effects of Environmental Toxins

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**About a week ago, Dr. Robert Greene submitted this post to Conceive Magazine Online [r1] for publication. The very next day, another study [r2] came out finding an increase in sperm DNA abnormalities in men exposed to higher amounts of PCB’s. Although he mentions other studies below with similar findings, we wanted to include this recent and compelling data.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, there are 80,000 industrial chemicals currently in use, with another 700 added each year. Oftentimes it takes years or even decades to discover if or how these products influence our health. Worse still, many of these chemicals are classified as “hormone-disrupting agents,” meaning that they can trigger a hormone imbalance if you’re exposed to them. The hormonal chaos that results can cause infertility, miscarriages, birth defects and may even contribute to certain types of cancer.
You can take an active role in reducing your exposure to these potentially toxic agents by actively taking steps toward achieving hormone balance. Get informed and create a diet and lifestyle that can reduce your exposure to specific chemicals that have been linked to problems. A great place to start: Consider what you can do to reduce your contact with polychlorinated biphenyls; commonly known as PCBs.
PCBs were banned from use in the United States in 1979 due to their toxicity. Even though three decades have passed since they were widely used in construction and insulation, these hormone-disrupting chemicals persist in our environment. Today our primary exposure to PCBs is through contaminated water, polluted air, and the consumption of high-fat foods made from fish or animal products.
Since PCBs are stored in fat cells, switching to a low-fat diet can dramatically reduce your risk. For example, endometriosis is a problem commonly associated with infertility. Several studies have demonstrated that women with high levels of PCBs are three to four times more likely to develop endometriosis. One interventional study indicated that women with endometriosis can reduce their risk of reocurrence by 40 percent or more simply by reducing their consumption of beef and ham and replacing these calories with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Making these healthy choices can also improve male fertility: A 2009 study found that men exposed to water pollutants (including PCBs) were at higher risk of infertility. These toxins can disrupt male hormones as well as interfere with sperm production. Rather than worry about the impact that water may be having on you, check out the database created by the Environmental Working Group. Not only do they report on pollutants that may be present in your tap water, they also provide links to simple water filtration systems that you can use to improve your health and that of your family.
If you needed even further proof that PCBs may be affecting your chances of becoming pregnant, a study published in 2010 found significant levels of this toxin in the fluid surrounding eggs that is collected during IVF cycles. More recently, U.S. research found that not only did a woman’s PCB level impact her chance of becoming pregnant, but it also may increase her risk of having a miscarriage. So clearly it is in your best interest to minimize your exposure to PCBs. Here are some simple steps that you should consider:

  • Eat low fat—in particular reduce your consumption of beef and ham while boosting your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid farm-raised salmon and catfish since these have been shown to be prime sources of PCB exposure.
  • Drink filtered tap water instead of bottled water, which can often contain a variety of hormone-disrupting chemicals.
  • If you live in an older home with hard-wood finished floors, consider having them professionally treated with safer products.

Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

2
Jan

Vitrification and Fertility Treatments: To Freeze or Not to Freeze

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To freeze or not to freeze; that is a question faced by many couples going through fertility treatments.
One of the most vexing problems encountered during fertility treatment is how best to optimize the pregnancy rate will we also minimize the risk of triplet (and higher) pregnancies. Since we can’t currently tell which egg has the greatest potential to become a healthy baby, the most common strategy used by IVF centers is to produce as many eggs as possible. Attempts are then made to fertilize each one and let them grow to identify those that are most likely to be capable of implanting and becoming a healthy baby. Generally speaking, around 10-30% of eggs have the ability to complete this initial development in the lab. For those couples fortunate enough to have more than one or two healthy embryos; the question arises about what to do with the rest. Transfer them and risk experiencing a multiple pregnancy or freeze them?
The first pregnancies resulting from frozen and thawed embryos were delivered in 1984. Since that time, hundreds of thousands more have followed. In 2009 for instance—the most recent year with statistics available—there were nearly 22,000 frozen embryo transfers in the USA and about a third resulted in a successful pregnancy. It’s also noteworthy that once frozen, embryos retain their potential to result in the birth of a healthy child. A report in 2010 demonstrated this when a couple that conceived through IVF in 1990, donated their remaining embryos and one implanted resulted in the birth of a healthy baby after being frozen for nearly 20 years. One large European study found that pregnancies conceived with frozen embryos may have a lower risk of medical complications than those resulting from a fresh embryo transfer. So although cryopreservation is not fail-safe, it is viable option to reduce the risk of multiple births. The most common question is how many embryos survive the process of freezing and thawing.
Human embryos are at risk of thermal injury if not frozen carefully. Initially, they were typically frozen at a controlled rate while a substance called a cryoprotectant was added to reduce damaging ice crystal formation—a process now referred to as the “slow freeze” or “conventional” method. Once frozen the embryos are stored in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196⁰C.  Typically, most centers report that about 70% of the embryos survive the freezing and re-warming process using this technique.
More recently, many centers have adopted a new and very rapid freezing technique called “vitrification.” The advantage of this new rapid freeze technique is it occurs too rapidly for ice crystals to form therefore reduces the risk to the embryos. As a result, very few healthy embryos are damaged through this process. In fact, this technique is now being applied to freezing unfertilized eggs as well; an even greater challenge than freezing embryos. Several recent analyses published in the August issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility predict that this technique will rapidly become the standard although currently not all clinics have switched to vitrification at this time.
So when considering how many embryos you wish to receive in an embryo transfer, consider the risk of multiple pregnancy as well as the success of frozen embryo transfer. It’s worthwhile to talk to your clinic about their freezing technique and their experience. It could make a world of difference you and your family.
Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
CNY Fertility Center
e-mail me at rgreene@cnyfertility.com
Call our toll-free number at 800.539.9870 or request a consult here.

12
Dec

Correcting Hormone Imbalance Improves Fertility AND Reduces Cancer Risk

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Most people have accepted the role of reducing insulin resistance in order to improve fertility and reduce miscarriage in women with PCOS. The question that often comes up is what is the most strategy to achieve this goal. True there are many dietary and lifestyle modifications that can improve insulin sensitivity. The problem is that each person needs a different combination of recommendations tailored to their unique situation. That’s why having a simple and well researched medication to prescribe is such a bonus. Metformin meets these needs.
Not only has metformin been shown to improve fertility; it has also been linked to a reduced risk of miscarriage as well. Now there is a growing body of evidence that metformin can reduce the risk of various cancers.
Many studies have shown the type II diabetes—the most severe form of insulin resistance—is associated with elevated risks of various types of cancer. So it has long been hoped that the types of medications that can reduce insulin resistance should also reduce cancer risks. Better still; the data that has emerged with the use of metformin has also been associated with a reduced risk of endometrial (uterian) cancer and breast cancer.
So if you’ve got insulin resistance and want to become pregnant, there is even more compelling reasons to consider metformin as part of your treatment regimen.