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Unwanted Childlessness and Stress

What do we know about the links existing between them?

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Illnesses, environmental pollutants, ageing are, inter alia, factors which may impair fertility. Unwanted childlessness is often due to a combination of several causes. To date, we know far too little, for example, about the role played by psychological strain. Couples wishing to conceive are usually under great pressure and are often exposed to high stress.
A number of questions arise at this point:

If this stress is caused by the unfulfilled desire to have children, then what about couples who have not been diagnosed with fertility disorders?

Is it possible that in both cases stress can reduce the chances to conceive a child? Read more…

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“If the stork needs a little help”

Sequence of IVF treatment using donor eggs

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There are many reasons why women cannot achieve a pregnancy with their own oocytes. In addition to medical reasons (e.g. cancer treatment, genetic diseases, premature menopause etc.), today, there is an increasing number of cases where socio-economic causes are at the root of the problem. Women often delay having children beyond the age of 35. From age 40, it is getting more and more difficult to achieve a pregnancy.
In situations of this kind, egg donation could be an opportunity for the infertile couple to overcome unwanted childlessness. The relevant legislative framework conditions vary from one State to another.

But how does an appropriate treatment actually look like? Read more…

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“About Experts, Nutrition and Expectant Parents”

What we should know about our diet

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Nutrition also plays in the fulfillment of a wish for a child an important role and is a key factor in maintaining good health (for more information, see our BLOG post “You are what you eat”).
In a recent interview with the American nutrition expert, David L. Katz (Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine) published in the ZEITmagazin, the subject has been discussed at length.
How we can grow old in good health can be summarized under a few headings:

Anyone who has a poor diet, does not take physical exercise, is overweight and is a smoker lowers their chances of leading a long and active life.

This might be compared to the chances of conceiving a baby, since unhealthy lifestyle patterns may impair fertility both in women and men. An example: When it comes to sperm quality, oxidative stress is mainly responsible for damages to the sperm cells (25-60 % of DNA damage).
Smoking, infections or alcohol consumption have a triggering effect on this kind of stress. The formation of oxidative stress can be counteracted by a healthy lifestyle, physical fitness and the right diet, thus improving fertility. Read more…

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Heart’s desire: Having a Child

Variety of treatment options as an opportunity for infertile couples

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“How many times have we discussed this matter and have spent endless nights browsing the internet to find firsthand reports by other couples dealing with unwanted childlessness. Now it is about time to give luck a bit of a boost. The decision is made: Tomorrow we are going to call the IVF center and make an appointment.”

Such thoughts occupy many couples before they have their first consultation. Their wish to have a child remained unfulfilled, despite many years of endeavoring to achieve a pregnancy. In the same way as the underlying causes are different, so are the treatment options that are available today for use in reproductive medicine. The couples should gather comprehensive information on the subject, since the legal provisions vary from one State to another.

Read more…

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“A chance, that a child may arise”

Psychological support for couples with unfulfilled desire for children – Part 2

Fertility-Treatment BLOG interview with clinical psychologist Mag. Karl-Heinz Brandt:

(Click here to read the first part of the interview)

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Mag. Karl-Heinz Brandt(l) | Rene Winsauer(r)

Mr. Brandt, the IVF Centers Prof. Zech offer their patients the possibility to have access to psychological counseling. We have already talked about situations in which this option may prove to be very important. Now I will address in greater detail the social environment and how it may impact patients dealing with fertility issues.

Buzzword: “world wide web”. How do the couples concerned deal with information from the Internet, for instance information provided by community forums?
Mag. Brandt: Let me start with a comparison: The proverbial other side of the coin can also be observed with respect to Internet fora. Firstly, the positive side: Forums usually offer useful tips and competent assistance, and in addition give the couple the feeling that they are not alone with their concerns: “We are not the only ones being treated for this“. Exchanging experiences and information with others concerned may become very important, especially for women. The reason for this is that it is often hard for them to talk about the issue with the people in their surroundings. As their husband/partner is the only person to whom they can talk about the matter, it is often too much for him to handle. Such forums offer a valuable platform for discussion and exchange of experiences, in which women console, support and advise one another.

Let us now turn to the negative side: Theme forums may seem confusing at times, because users post their individual experiences with a strong personal and emotional touch, leaving out important aspects of the very complex issue of unwanted childlessness. Such statements can be perceived as “suggestive truths” by the readers. In this way, women can drive themselves “crazy” – which may very well be carried to extremes.

How would you describe the influence exerted on the couple by their immediate social environment, for instance by family and friends? Read more…

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“It is NOT in my blood…”

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The saying “It is in my blood“ usually refers to character traits that are inborn or inherited and/or correspond to our “inner nature”.
Again and again, scientific findings in the field of genetics have been highly praised by the media – including a study from 2011 which assumed that women with blood group 0 have a two-fold greater risk of diminished ovarian reserve compared to women with blood group A or AB. Serum FSH level tests served as the basis for fertility assessment.

Does this mean that women with blood group 0 have to worry more about their family planning than women with non-0 blood groups?

In order to shed light on this question, we have conducted a retrospective single center study at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech – Salzburg involving 1889 IVF cycles that were analyzed with respect to blood groups and evaluated according to the different age groups (for more details on the respective study, click here). We did not investigate the serum hormone levels but the number of oocytes retrieved during follicular puncture, the mature oocytes (metaphase II oocytes) as well as the fertilization rate and the pregnancy rate. Study outcome: Read more…

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“Why do all the others get pregnant but I don’t?”

Psychological support for couples with unfulfilled desire for children – Part 1

Fertility-Treatment BLOG interview with clinical psychologist Mag. Karl-Heinz Brandt:
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Mag. Karl-Heinz Brandt(l) | Rene Winsauer(r)

Mr. Brandt, the IVF Centers Prof. Zech offer their patients the possibility to benefit from psychological assistance, if desired.
What does this assistance look like in detail?

Mag. Brandt: The support is geared to issues of particular concern to the couple. These, in a nutshell, are the key issues:

• The fear that a pregnancy test comes back negative for the first time or once again
• Reducing tension during the waiting period
• Disturbances related to the personal surroundings
• A suspected psychological block
• Providing support through hypnosis
• Coming to terms with traumatic experiences relating to pregnancy / birth
• Coming to terms with traumatic experiences encountered during their life, and which are still seen as a burden
• Stresses and strains at the workplace
• Fear of needles and injections


The psychological support itself involves 1-5 sessions, depending on how complex the subject is. To this end, however, there are no fixed rules. We are flexible to determine how best to proceed to meet the requirements of the patients.

In what situations do couples seek your assistance? Read more…

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“Bringing new Life to Love”

For 30 years the guidelines and motivation of a family – Promoting family happiness in more than 30.000 cases

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Since the clinic has been founded by Prof. Herbert Zech in Bregenz in 1984, the IVF centers of the same name are characterized by the highest standards in terms of certified quality, innovative technologies and passionate commitment.

Together with his family and his team, the passionate specialist in reproductive medicine strives to help involuntary childless couples by assisted reproductive technologies.

Long-standing experience

With the experience of over three decades of successful fertility treatment leading to the birth of more than 30.000 children, the
IVF Centers Prof. Zech are today among the worldwide leading specialists in the field of reproductive medicine.

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140 employees at seven locations

From a regional focus towards an international orientation or – put another way – from originally three to currently more than 140 employees at seven sites in Europe and numerous cooperation partners throughout the world – the development of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech is a success story.

Innovations

Then as now, key innovations are decisive for the work of the IVF Centers Prof. Zech. These include for instance:

  • the first systematically performed blastocyst culture worldwide
  • pioneering achievements in the vitrification (innovative freezing technique) of oocytes and embryos
  • the world’s first standardized IMSI was performed at the IVF Centers Prof. Zech in Bregenz
  • and many more…
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    Read more…

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    Ultrasound Scan

    Part 3 of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«

    by | Published on 9. January 2015, in Treatment.
    [← article overview of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«]
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    Dr Maximilian Murtinger | Medical director
    IVF Centers Prof. Zech Bregenz

    With ultrasound scan you normally associate a pregnancy and the happy parents sharing the first ultrasound pictures of their baby with friends and family. But even before pregnancy occurs, ultrasound diagnostics play a key role, especially in fertility treatment.

    In fertility treatment, ultrasound examinations are performed both during the gynecological assessment of the patient’s medical situation which forms part of the initial consultation and during ovarian stimulation. Ultrasound scanning during ovarian stimulation aims at monitoring the number of growing follicles (prevention of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) and precisely determining their size in order to be able to choose the optimal moment to trigger ovulation.

    Read more…

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    Ovarian Stimulation

    Part 2 of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«

    [← article overview of the topic-series »Fertility treatment process«]
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    They are closely associated with human growth and are essential for the metabolism. Human reproduction processes are mainly controlled by them. Hormones: messenger substances, thus playing a crucial role at the beginning of each IVF treatment. Hence, following the initial consultation, the woman provides a decisive boost by undergoing hormone therapy (ovarian stimulation).

    About the background:

    What is the nature of ovarian stimulation?

    Since in the “natural” menstrual cycle of a woman several oocytes start to ripen, on average about 10 follicles (containing the maturing oocytes) compete for dominance each month. Only ONE follicle becomes the so-called dominant follicle containing the mature oocyte. The other follicles stop developing. This is exactly where hormonal stimulation comes into play:
    The woman needs to take appropriate hormone medication (e.g.: gonadotropins = pituitary hormones) in order to induce as many of these follicles – that would otherwise loose the battle for dominance – to grow further and produce a mature oocyte. This requires a targeted and exactly timed approach. Read more…