Entries in Conception (6)


Vigorous Exercise May Delay Pregnancy; But Not for Overweight, Obese

Hemera/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Fertility experts say exercise is important, buy maybe not how you'd expect. Women trying to get pregnant should ease up on working out, new study findings published in the journal Fertility and Sterility say.
The study, authored by Lauren Wise, an associate professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, was based on a sampling of more than 3,600 Danish women age 18 to 40 who were trying to conceive. Researchers found that healthy women who do such high-intensity exercise as running, cycling, swimming and aerobics may be cutting down the odds of conception by overworking the body and preventing ovulation.
One exception, however, was found among overweight and obese women. High-intensity exercise was associated with a shorter time to pregnancy for this group.      
Such moderate exercise as walking and golfing was associated with shorter time-to-pregnancy, suggesting that all women seeking pregnancy may benefit from some exercise.

Though reseachers found no direct causal relationship between longer conception periods and intense exercise, they controlled factors which could justify the long delay to getting pregnant, such as caffeine or alcohol consumption, smoking habits, frequency of intercourse or other childbirths.
The message, Wise says, is if you're having trouble conceiving, you might try to lighten up on the heavy workouts and switch to lighter activity.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Acupuncture May Increase Odds of Conceiving

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Acupuncture may increase the odds of conceiving, according to medical experts.

HealthDay reports that the practice of inserting numerous needless at certain pressure points in the body could increase fertility in men and women. 

"Acupuncture has been around for almost 3,000 years. It's safe and there are no bad side effects from it," explained Dr. Lisa Lilienfield, a family practice and pain management specialist at the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Va. "It may not be the only thing that is done in isolation to treat infertility, but it helps get the body primed and maximizes the potential effects of fertility treatments."

Acupuncture not only relieves stress, but is proven to increase blood flow to a woman’s ovaries and uterus, and may stimulate a man’s sperm production, medical experts report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bates Family of 20 Says They're Praying for More Children

Creatas/Thinkstock(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- Despite already having 18 biological kids, one Tennessee couple says they are praying for more children.

The Bates family lives in a five-bedroom house outside of Knoxville, Tenn., with their 18 children. Zach is their oldest at age 22, and Judson is their youngest at 11 months.

"We never planned on having 18 children," Gil Bates, a 46-year-old tree surgeon, said.

"I feel like together, in marriage, we began to grow in this direction," his wife, Kelly Bates, added.

The Bates are evangelical Christians who do not believe in the use of birth control. Kelly, a 44-year-old stay-at-home mom, has been pregnant every year for the past 22 years -- which some might consider to be a medical marvel -- and doesn't shy away from the thought of having more children.

"Whatever the Lord desires," she said. "We decided, a long time ago, to let the Lord decide how many children we would have."

Kelly Bates has endured labor and delivery 18 separate times -- no twins and no C-sections. To top it off, 14 of those births were at home, meaning no epidurals or anesthesia.

With 20 people living under one roof, the Bates children have to share everything from their parents' attention to their bedrooms. But none of the kids mind -- in fact, they like it.

Today, the Bates brood includes Zach, 22; Michaella, 21; Erin, 20; Lawson, 19; Nathan, 18; Alyssa, 16; Tori, 15; Trace, 14; Carlin, 13; Josie, 12; Katie, 10; Jackson, 9; Warden, 8; Isaiah, 6; Addallee, 5; Ellie, 4; Callie, 2; and finally, Judson, 11 months.

"They are all so different," Kelly said. "No two are alike."

Although Gil and Kelly Bates say having any more children is in God's hands, there's no denying that the whole family wants more kids. Between Ellie and Callie (kids number 16 and 17) there was a short stint when Kelly wasn't getting pregnant. Kelly said the kids were scared of the thought of not having any more siblings and turned to prayer. The children wanted to have more babies so badly, Gil said, that they even asked if they could fast.

But Kelly's body has changed with age and she is heading into the outer reaches of her child-bearing years. She had two miscarriages before her last two successful births with Callie and Judson. A low progesterone level was making it more difficult to sustain a pregnancy.

"Conception takes place, but the uterus wall is not softened so the baby can implant," Gil said. "And so it was causing us to lose the baby."

Kelly started a hormone therapy to maximize her chances of carrying to term. They had Callie and then Judson, their youngest. Although they don't believe in using birth control to prevent pregnancy, Kelly said using medicine to help keep a pregnancy was a different matter altogether.

"For us, that would be like, that baby is already alive. It is a life," she said. "We don't try to prevent or to promote. We just want to trust God. But at the same time, if there's already a life living, we don't want to deny medical help to a baby that's in trouble."

All 18 births have gone smoothly without complications, except for one: Addallee, baby number 15.

"Addalee is our special little baby because she almost didn't make it," Kelly said. "Addallee stopped breathing and her heart stopped."

Little Addallee was rushed to the hospital after she was born prematurely and spent 17 days there -- a very expensive hospital stay.

"We didn't have insurance," Gil said. "We negotiated with the insurance, with the hospitals, and I said, 'I know insurance companies don't pay full price, could we set up a payment plan based on what you would feel is a justified -- a fair price.' They graciously worked with us."

Today, Addallee, whom everyone calls "Addee," has slight hearing problems but is otherwise healthy, and the Bates continue on without any health insurance.

"For the last 10 children, we have not had health insurance," Gil said. "When there's a medical emergency, we just go to the doctor and America's been the greatest health care in the world. When you walk in the emergency room, I don't care what your status of living, they give you the best care possible."

The Bates' pre-natal care is provided free of charge at a small Christian clinic, and earlier this year, they got the news they were pregnant with baby number 19.

But eight weeks into the pregnancy, the baby died -- a devastating loss for the family. Kelly's two previous miscarriages occurred just a few days after a positive pregnancy test, well before they could see a heart. The couple later named the baby Zion after the hymn "Marching to Zion."

It was six weeks before the couple was able to start trying again, a process that required careful medical guidance from their OB/GYN. Gil and Kelly say their main concern is being able to conceive again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sperm Donor's 24 Kids Never Told about Fatal Illness

Courtesy Rebecca Blackwell(FREDERICK, Md.) -- Rebecca Blackwell and her 15-year-old son Tyler were curious about his sperm donor father, whose identity had been anonymous since the moment of conception.  Through good detective work, they were eventually able to find "John" three years ago.

What they didn't expect to learn was that Tyler had inherited his father's medical condition -- a connective tissue disorder called Marfan's syndrome and a heart defect that could have killed him at any moment.

Tyler's father never responded to their letter to make contact, but just last year, John's sister found the Blackwells online building on a family tree and immediately told them that John had nearly died when his aorta ruptured at the age of 43, and that two brothers and Tyler's grandmother had the genetic disorder.

John had never notified any of the three sperm banks where he had fathered at least 24 children -- 50 percent of whom could inherit the disorder.

"Tyler had a time bomb ticking in his chest," said Blackwell, a 59-year-old special education teacher and single mother from Frederick, Maryland. "It didn't occur to anyone to tell us."

Tyler, now 18, had surgery in June after doctors found a defect in his aorta, but Blackwell wonders why the fertility clinic was never required to update them on John's medical history when so many lives were in the balance.

On Friday, Washington will become the first state to grant rights to donor-conceived people to gain access to crucial health information about their biological parents.  A new law requires donors to provide, "at a minimum," identifying information and medical history to the fertility clinic.  And their offspring can seek them out when they are 18, unless the donor has signed an affidavit of nondisclosure.

Until now, offspring were not entitled to any information about their donor and medical information was rarely updated or shared among donors and recipient families.  The law is not perfect, say advocates, but the new law opens the door to national recognition of rights for these children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researchers Detect Gestational Diabetes 7 Years before Pregnancy

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- The risk that a woman might develop diabetes during pregnancy could possibly be detected up to seven years before she becomes pregnant, according to new research from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

Looking at 580 women, researchers found that routine assessments of blood sugar and body weight in the years before conception could be a significant help in determining those at risk for diabetes, according to their report.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, states that gestational diabetes mellitus is a pregnancy complication that can cause an intolerance to glucose and raise the risk of preterm delivery.  The condition can also lead to long-term health issues for affected babies.

Those at higher risk for gestational diabetes were typically women who possessed risk factors for heart disease and high blood sugar, according to the report.

The study authors conclude that this research could lead to the diagnosis and prevention of gestational diabetes long before a woman conceives a child, and reduce the rates of unfavorable outcomes during pregnancy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News  Radio 


Study Says Stress Doesn't Reduce Female Fertility

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CARDIFF, United Kingdom) -- A new study published in the British Medical Journal brings good news for women having trouble conceiving children.

Analyzing data from more than a dozen previous studies, it casts doubt on the idea that stress undermines the effectiveness of fertility treatments.

Over 3,500 women undergoing fertility treatments were tested for pre-treatment anxiety or depression.  The authors found that women who were more anxious or depressed before treatment were just as likely to become pregnant as emotionally unstressed women.

The researchers concluded that "feelings of tension, worry or depression experiences as a result of their fertility problem or other co-occurring life events are unlikely to further reduce chances of pregnancy."

The study's findings, however, do not answer whether or not emotional distress lowers pregnancy rates in women who are not undergoing fertility treatments.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio