Entries in Miscarriages (2)


Egg Yolk, Soybean Oil Drip to Treat Infertility?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Four rounds of in-vitro fertilization couldn’t help Sara Conyers conceive, according to the U.K.’s  Daily Mail.

But the fifth time was the charm for Conyers, 33, who now has twins. Conyers says the only way she could get pregnant was with the help of an experimental fertility method called intralipid infusion, Conyers, who lives in the U.K., told the Daily Mail.

The procedure, more commonly used in the U.K. than in the U.S., is used to supplement another fertility treatment, such as in-vitro fertilization.  The woman is intravenously given a fat solution consisting partly of soybean oil and egg yolk.

Some experts who tout its success say it can prevent miscarriage by limiting activity of overactive so-called natural killer immune cells found in the body that would otherwise destroy the embryo.

But many fertility experts in the U.S. are not so sure about its effectiveness, since there are no definitive studies to suggest that the method works or is even safe.

“Before I can endorse this theoretical therapy for my patients, I need at least some evidence,” said Dr. Michael Murray, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Northern California Fertility Medical Center.

This procedure is one of many that some of Murray’s patients ask him about, who are “grasping at straws for a solution to their recurrent miscarriages,” he says.

And some experts agreed, comparing the fertility-boosting procedure to others that are seemingly inexpensive with unknown risks for side effects, such as herbal supplements.

Previous studies done on animals or in lab dishes have found conflicting results about whether intralipid infusion works. Studies are also conflicted about the role that natural killer cells play in fertility.

“Most of the time when IVF fails, it is due to the quality of the embryos that were transferred and not the immune environment in the uterus,” said Dr. Tamer Yalcinkaya, section head of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

If the scientific evidence supported the claims, intralipid infusion may benefit women with good quality embryos who have undergone previous IVF cycles but haven’t yet been able to conceive, said Yalcinkaya.

As for Conyers’ multiple unsuccessful IVF tries followed by one supplemented by intralipid infusion that worked, some experts say it’s hard to tell what part of that equation turned out to be the tipping point for Conyers.

“Success of a repeat IVF cycle may be a chance event and does not necessarily indicate that the need of an intervention was the cause of that improvement,” said Yalcinkaya.

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

ABC News Radio