Tag Archives: Artificial Insemination

The Perils Of Being Older Dads

Women with older partners may be at higher risk of suffering miscarriages irrespective of their own age, according to a study that has linked the increased chance of a failed pregnancy with men over the age of 40. Until now it was widely assumed that miscarriage rates largely increased with female age only, but a study into women undergoing artificial insemination with their partner’s sperm has found that it can also be linked with older men. Scientists also found that pregnancy rates fell as the male partner gets older. This may reflect a decline in sperm quality in men over 40 that affects both the chances of conception and the increased risk of a miscarriage, they said. It is the first time scientists have discovered such a strong paternal effect on rates of pregnancy and miscarriage, and they suggest that, in future, fertility clinics should look more closely at the age of men as well as the age of women when advising on treatment. Stephanie Belloc, of the Eylau Centre for Assisted Reproduction in Paris, said: “Until now … the message was to get pregnant before the age of 35 or 38 because afterwards it would be difficult. But now the gynaecologists must also focus on paternal age and give this information to the couple. ‘Fertility clinics should look more closely at the age of men’ “We suggest that there is a link between paternal age and DNA decay in the spermatozoa because we previously demonstrated that age is associated with increased sperm DNA fragmentation. So maybe there is a link between paternal age and DNA decay that are implied in the miscarriages. “I think it’s important to consider not only the woman, but both members of the couple in natural conception, but also in assisted reproductive technology [such as artificial insemination and IVF].” The scientists analysed data gathered at a fertility clinic that performs artificial inseminations directly into a woman’s uterus, a technique which improves the conception rate. They followed up 21,239 cases of these intrauterine inseminations to see whether the age of the man or the woman had any significant effect on the chances of conception and miscarriage. As expected, they found maternal age was a strong factor in pregnancy rates, with just 8.9 percent of women over the age of 35 getting pregnant, compared with 14.5 percent in younger women. ‘We also found that the age of the father was important in pregnancy rates’ “But we also found that the age of the father was important in pregnancy rates – men over 35 had a negative effect,” said Belloc. “And, perhaps more surprisingly, miscarriage rates increased where the father was over 35.” The study – the results of which were to be released at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona – found the miscarriage rate among women with partners aged between 35 and 39 was 18.1 percent, but 33 percent for the partners of men aged between 40 and 44. Couples undergoing assisted reproductive technology where the man is older than 35 or 40 should consider using the technique of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), for directly injecting single sperm into an egg, because then the best sperm could be chosen for fertilisation, Belloc said. “It’s the conclusion of my study that ICSI should be the [technology] of choice when paternal age is increasing because we can choose the best spermatozoa. “We can choose spermatozoa without DNA fragmentation, and DNA fragmentation is increasing with paternal age. So it is a way to be free of paternal age.”

Older dads

TV presenter Des O’Connor’s wife, the Australian singer-songwriter Jodie Brooke Wilson (35), gave birth to their son Adam in September 2004. O’Connor, then 72, claimed: “It felt like the right time.”picture-1

US presidential hopeful John McCain was 48 when he and his wife Cindy had their first child together, the now-award-winning blogger Meghan McCain. They have since had two more.picture-2

There were a few sleepless nights at the Playboy mansion in the early 1990s when a sexagenarian Hugh Heffner fathered sons Marston and Cooper by his fiancee Kimberley Conrad.picture-4

When Leo Blair was born in 2000, 47-year-old Tony became the first serving prime minister to have a baby in more than 150 years.picture-3

Actor David Jason became a dad for the first time aged 61 when his daughter, Sophie Mae, was born.picture-6

A 56-year-old Michael Douglas welcomed Dylan Michel into the world in 2000, then married the mother, Catherine Zeta-Jones, soon afterwards. The couple had a daughter three years later. picture-5

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Equal access to IVF for lesbian couples and single women

New laws that grant lesbian couples and single women equal access to IVF have been passed by MPs voting in Victoria’s Parliament. The Assisted Reproductive Treatment bill was approved by 47 votes to 34, in a three day debate that lasted in the early hours. It will now be debated in the Upper House before it can become law. 

MP’s were given a free conscience vote on the bill, which included measures to permit the posthumous use of gametes – such as using a dead partner’s sperm – with many opposing the bill on grounds of the welfare of the child. Labor MP Marlene Kairouz, who voted against the bill, told MPs: ‘Bringing a child into the world without ever having the opportunity to meet both its parents shows disregard for its wellbeing, its needs and dignity.’

The reform comes after a four-year review conducted by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in to the current artificial reproductive technology (ART) laws in Victoria contained in the Infertility Treatment Act, which the new bill will repeal. ‘This is about updating our laws, bringing them into the 21st century but ensuring that the interests of children born of these arrangements are absolutely paramount,’ said the Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, before last week’s debate. It will also mean Victorian laws meet federal discrimination legislation by ensuring all women have equal access to fertility treatment. At present, lesbians and single parents have to travel to other states to receive fertility treatment. The bill also give greater parental rights to gay couples and parents of surrogate children. 

Rainbow Families Council spokeswoman Felicity Marlowe expressed her support for the proposed measures. ‘What we’d be really wanting to see is that people understand that the spirit of this bill is that the rights and best interests of children are upheld and we believe that voting in favour of it in the upper house will ensure that our children are not second class citizens,’ she said. 

The Attorney-General dubbed the bill ‘good reform’. He said, ‘When we’re dealing with social reform and particularly, obviously, conscience votes there are always passionate views that are held on both sides of the house.’

Posted by: Goral Gandhi, MSc

                  Laboratory Director

                  Rotunda – The Center For Human Reproduction

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Many women would ask a male friend to father their child

A survey of 3,103 men and women, has found that 45 per cent of women surveyed would consider asking a male friend to father their child in the absence of a suitable partner.

The report by the company reveals that both men and women have concerns about fertility issues, with two thirds of the women polled that were not in current relationships expressing doubts over their ability to conceive naturally, and 26 per cent of men voicing similar concerns.

The most intriguing trend to come out of the survey was women’s willingness to consider alternative means to conception in the absence of a suitable partner. Women between the ages of 28 and 31 were most likely to entertain the idea of turning to a male friend in absence of a partner, while half of the single female survey respondents thought about meeting a partner on a frequent basis. Many women questioned also made it clear that they would consider a ‘second best’ option in the event that they were unable to find their ‘ideal’ partner.

Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos commented on the changing social norms of parenting, which were challenging the conventional nuclear family unit. She stated that ‘reconstituted families, same sex families, and single parents are much more prevalent these days, and rather than ascribing to the ‘norm’ it seems that women and men are more flexible with their definition of ‘family”.

Posted by : Goral Gandhi, MSc,

                   Laboratory Director,

                   Rotunda – Center for Human Reproduction (Pvt) Ltd

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The Guinness Moms

It would appear that the quest for motherhood is for some, a desire that fails to subside with age. Empowered by new technologies such as IVF treatments, women are increasingly seeking the assistance of fertility clinics to fulfil their aim of bearing a child when their biological clock has ground to a halt. For single women in Japan, however, this type of assistance is not so easy to come by. Strict laws in the field of surrogacy and artificial insemination are imposed due to the country’s traditional approach to human reproduction. As a result, fertility treatment is provided almost exclusively to married couples.
Undeterred, a single 60-year old Japanese woman has taken such restrictions into her own hands. The Times newspaper has reported this week that the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, is now in her fifteenth week of pregnancy after travelling to the United States for fertility treatment. She is believed to be the first and oldest single woman to conceive from a donated egg. The use of donated eggs is strictly limited to married couples under a Japanese medical guideline.
After a series of unsuccessful attempts to find a doctor in Japan willing to handle the pregnancy, Yahiro Netsu, a gynaecologist at The Suwa Maternity Clinic in Nagano, central Japan, has stepped in to help. Speaking to the Associated Press, Mr Netsu confessed that the decision had been a tough one, especially as her age and single status meant that the pregnancy was a high risk and an uncertain future for the child. The gynaecologist, however, was won over by the woman’s desire to bear a child in spite of her age. He said:’But she wanted a child, and I decided to do all I can to help her through expected difficulties’.
Although the pregnancy has yet to reach a happy conclusion, Mr Netsu and his patient should take heart from the birth of a healthy baby boy born last summer to a British woman, aged 62. Dr Patricia Rashbrook, a psychiatrist from Lewes, East Sussex, conceived using a donor egg after her fifth attempt at IVF. Her son, nicknamed JJ, weighed a healthy 6 pounds and 10 ounces. But with the trend for older mothers continuing, it would appear that even Dr Rashbrook has been usurped in the trophy for ‘The world’s oldest mum’. This accolade is believed to go to a 67-year old Spanish woman who gave birth to twin boys following IVF treatment last year. She is closely followed by Adriana Iliescu, from Romania, who had a daughter called Eliza Maria in January in 2005 at the age of 66.

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