The booming business of IVF
A week ago I found myself relaxing in front of the TV viewing a respected current affairs program ‘Four Corners’ that grabbed my attention because it looked at the booming business of fertility, where the industry pulls in more than half a billion dollars in revenue, and asks whether clinics are giving women clear, unambiguous advice about their chances of giving birth.
According to Gab Kovacs, Prof., Medial Director, Monash IVF, “Age. That’s what we keep saying. The chance of success by IVF is, by far, best dependant on your age. So it starts going downhill from 35 onwards. We’re using a medical treatment for a social problem. We need to educate a population that you’re meant to have children in your early 30s, not in your early 40’s.”
We know a female is born with all the eggs that she will ever make – around 2 million. During childhood, approximately half of her ovarian follicles are absorbed by the body. By the time a female reaches puberty and her menstrual cycle begins, only about 400,000 ovarian follicles are left to develop into mature eggs. And although only one egg usually fully matures during ovulation, somewhere between 10-20 follicles begin the monthly process of maturation. So age IS a factor.
Based on figures provided by the industry, a 43-year-old Australian woman, using her own 43-year-old eggs to conceive, has less than a three per cent chance of going home with a live baby. Put another way: she has a more than 97 per cent chance of failure every time.
“All our savings go to IVF … Then you get that negative pregnancy result. There’s another $6,000 gone.” Grace and husband Damien were $40,000 out of pocket after just 18 months and six rounds of IVF. Grace is one of the tens of thousands of Australian women who have put their faith in fertility treatments to help conceive a much longed for baby.
Journalist Sarah Dingle reports in the baby business, new treatments are introduced quickly: often without the gold standard of evidence to prove they actually help you have a child.
Last year a large-scale British study (Institute of Child Health) of more than 250,000 women found that those who had used fertility treatments were a third more likely to develop ovarian cancer. And researchers couldn’t rule out a link between the two. Further, a recent peer-reviewed Israeli study of more than 100,000 women (Ben Gurion University, Israel) followed over 25 years, found that IVF treatments “pose a significant risk of subsequent long-term ovarian and uterine cancer.”
Allie Anderson, Senior Solicitor at Catherine Henry Partners makes the point, “In my view, the fertility industry is a law unto itself because of the lack of regulation in this area and the lack of transparency and the lack of consumer protection.”
A major South Australian study found that, when compared with a naturally conceived baby, a baby born from fertility treatments is around twice as likely to be stillborn and twice as likely to die within its first month of life. That research was led by Michael Davies, Prof., Epidemiologist, University of Adelaide, “We found that there was a comprehensive disadvantage for the children born from assisted conception, in terms of their risk of extreme prematurity, extreme low birth weight; but also the catastrophic events of stillbirth and neonatal death.”
Getting off the IVF treadmill
Many of the key techniques in fertility, including frozen egg technology, were pioneered by Professor Rob Norman. Now he’s breaking ranks with the fertility industry.
After almost three decades, Prof Norman has reached a startling conclusion: “You may not need IVF in the first place. And there’s the phenomenon of an IVF treadmill: that you just keep running on it and you just can’t get off.” Prof Norman says some of the tens of thousands of women who are undergoing IVF, shouldn’t be.
My estimate is probably 40-50 per cent of people will get pregnant without IVF. And that is by understanding their fertility window; by tracking their cycle properly; by losing weight and exercise; or having ovulation induction.~ Prof Rob Norman, Medical Director, Fertility SA
Is progesterone for many women the missing link?
A staunch advocate and educator for women’s hormonal health for almost two decades, I’m absolutely convinced women in countries around the globe are unnecessarily enduring the devastation and heartbreak of repeat miscarriage, luteal phase defect, and infertility due to endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease, hormonal dysfunction, ovulation-related problems when it doesn’t have to be that way.
As professor Norman stated above, for many women the missing link may be more about understanding your menstrual cycle, determining when or if you’re ovulating, giving your ovaries a “rest’, and a whole bunch of tried and tested know-how which, once you become aware, you CAN take charge of your fertility and hold that yearned for baby in your arms.
Sarah & Baby Ruby
Baby Ruby arrived just in time for Christmas 2015. Her mum, Sarah, a trained midwife, couldn’t comprehend why, after successfully giving birth to son Jack 3 years earlier, her body failed to maintain her pregnancy beyond weeks 7-8 gestation. Three miscarriages later, Sarah invited me to coach her through the early stages of her next pregnancy using bioidentical progesterone supplementation. Progesterone proved to be the missing link … and six months on, mum and bubs are thriving.
For all Sarah’s medical training, she was totally unaware of the role progesterone played in getting and staying pregnant. She was totally unaware that, of all female hormones, progesterone is the one most essential for conception and to the survival of the fertilized egg and the fetus throughout gestation.
- Prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation
- Keeps the lining of the uterus thick which is necessary for a successful pregnancy
- Produces a rise in temperature after ovulation, which remains until menstruation occurs
- Creates a nutrient rich environment for the baby by increasing glycogen and arterial blood to the lining of the uterus
- Keeps the uterus from having contractions
- Causes the cervix to thicken and create a mucous plug which prevents bacteria from entering the uterus
- Influences the development of the breasts during pregnancy in preparation for producing milk after the birth
Taking responsibility for your reproductive health puts YOU in control
It’s true for many women, once they understand their reproductive cycle, the ebb and flow of their hormones each month, what to look out for, how to track ovulation, how to test hormone levels from home using saliva, how to top up their body’s low progesterone levels, the pieces of the puzzle come together pretty quickly, and a successful pregnancy can follow.
My two daughters Dominique and Cara were, over a decade ago, diagnosed with PCOS. Their chances of conceiving were, according to the medical professionals, bleak. And so it was for them I set myself on a path to learn all I could to help my daughters conceive. I now have five ‘progesterone’ grandbabies (aged from 4-7 years), all of whom I helped deliver via natural childbirth. So too did I stand by Cara’s bedside to help bring Baby Isaiah into the world who, at 24 weeks gestation, passed away in our arms (of renal failure). Baby Isaiah was Cara’s first born. She did not supplement progesterone while carrying Baby Isaiah. However, following Isaiah’s passing, and based on my research, Cara opted to follow mum’s advice and commenced progesterone supplementation. It didn’t take long for her to conceive, and give birth to sons Owen & Zavier.
Dominique pushed out three big babies all of whom are, years later, healthy, happy, thriving children. Dom continues to use progesterone each month to stay balanced. Her understanding of her body allows her to practices natural family planning, and she tells me she’s probably going back for her fourth baby – “I feel so in control of my hormones, mum, that I can pretty much predict I will be pregnant within 6 weeks of trying to have a baby!”
That’s powerful stuff coming from a 32 year old. And what a gift is this knowledge (of reproductive health) to our daughters!
I just wanted to let you know that I had my baby girl! The progesterone cream helped me to have a healthy baby all the way through. I had a super easy birth as well – only 1 hr of active labor. Thank you for all the advice you gave on progesterone cream. Thanks! ~ Kimberly, USA
My gift to you!
If you are suffering in silence, desperate beyond words to pull the pieces together but don’t know where to start, let me help you.
I’m reaching out to you today to offer you this one-of-a-kind ‘Making Babies’ Weekly Video Coaching opportunity.
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In love & appreciation,
Catherine P. Rollins
Founder & CEO
Ethically Supporting Women’s Choice of BHRT Since 2001
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