GENOME’s CME on ‘Fertility Preservation in Cancer Patients’

Reproduction is the art of nature in which life is the new colour.

No one wants to get deprived of such a beautiful phase of life.

Cancer or to be more specific cancer treatments can affect the delicate process of reproduction and hence reduce the chances of successful childbirth. While there are different types of cancer treatments, their effects are variable. Here are some common infertility problems seen among men and women who have got a medical history with cancer.

  • Chemotherapy drugs can cause egg damage thereby risking fertility in females
  • Cancer patients should avoid getting pregnant during the treatment tenure of cancer as it can disturb foetus development and cause birth defects
  • In males, cancer can cause damage to endocrine glands thereby reducing the body’s ability to make new sperms, decrease or even stop the production of semen

According to The National Cancer Registry, the annual number of patients who develop cancer in India is set to rise from about 9.79 lakh in 2010 to 11.4 lakh in 2020. And a staggering 30-75% males and 40-80% females will possibly face infertility as a result of their chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Amidst all such risks and negative impacts of cancer, medical researchers have come up with new hopes on preserving fertility in cancer patients.

While the focus is not only extending life but also improving the quality of life in cancer patients, Genome conducted a CME on the topic ‘Fertility Preservation in Cancer Patients‘ at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute in Thakurpukur, Kolkata on 20th April 2017.

The team from GENOME including Dr. Kausiki Ray (MBBS DGO DNB Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Israel), Dr. Indranil Saha (MBBS MD Obs & Gyn MRCOG, UK) and Ms. Atreyee Chatterjee (MSc, Chief Embryologist, Genome The Fertility Centre) joined our CME. Dr. Bimal Chakraborty and Dr. N.R. Mondal were the chairpersons of the CME. Dr. Arnab Gupta the Director of Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre & Research Institute was among the dignitaries present.

The team of specialists from GENOME discussed on the introduction of vitrification technology, improved oocyte cryopreservation techniques and Assisted Reproductive Technology that have given them an opportunity to help men and women with infertility to bask in sunshine!

The discussion spread into a highly engaging interactive session, gave an insight on the new age technologies and treatments that will resolve the issue of infertility among cancer survivors. The discussion was followed by Q&A session where attendees asked questions relevant to the discussion topics. GENOME specialists explained all the queries put forward by the attendees with in-depth insights. The CME concluded with felicitating the reproductive medicine specialists of GENOME by the two chairpersons.

Since awareness is the key to a happy life, we thank our doctors for sharing their valuable knowledge and spending their precious time to make this CME a grand success.

 

Depression & Infertility- Symbiotic Sisters Obstructing Pregnancy

Infertility & depression are symbiotic and often go together. We have come across different cases of depression during pregnancy & post pregnancy which are very more common amongst women with a history of infertility treatment. However, many of you may not know that women who experience depression can also be the prey of infertility.

It is absolutely natural to feel sad or depressed while dealing with infertility. Any woman facing it might hit with the blues when her period comes, when her fertility test shows a negative report, when fertility treatments fail or when her friends have their second child. Women who are unable to bear child often feel incomplete from inside and the pressure from their family and society, lead to acute depression & isolation.

In our country where family status especially childbearing is considered overly important and valuable to stabilize the family and increases marital satisfaction which otherwise results in marital problems such as divorce or even second marriage, making the situation worst for women with infertile issues.

Depression Causes Infertility

Though, it is yet to be proved that depression is directly associated with infertility, but some researchers from Central Asia & USA have found a correlation between depression and increased rate of infertility. Depression interferes with the process of conception. During this period, you should try to stay relaxed, happy and tension free. Depression affects the functioning of the hypothalamus, a gland in the brain that regulates your feelings or emotions & appetite, as well as the hormones that dictate your ovaries to release eggs. If you’re depressed, you may ovulate later in your cycle or not at all. Therefore, if you’re having sexual intercourse around the 14th day, thinking that you’re about to ovulate, you may miss your opportunity to conceive.

According to the report of Lapane et al (1995), “Depression affects infertility treatment, follow-up and hope for the future. It may also influence the intensity and longevity of relationship of the affected couple. Therefore, depression could also have role in the pathogenesis of infertility.” Infertility is often associated with mental crises and emotional tensions like anxiety, interpersonal problems, subdued anger, unsatisfactory sexual intercourse, frustration, inferiority feeling, rejected feeling, unconscious guilt feeling and all these feelings lead to mild to severe depression amongst women. The couples who have experienced failures in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures developed personality maladjustment mainly in the form of depression which affects the treatment in future.

According to the results of an Iranian study conducted in 2006, depression is more common among infertile couples than fertile couples (p<0.015) and among infertile women 37% had depressive symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), which was twice as common as in the control group. Nelson CJ et al, in 2008, used Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) for depression reports that “19% of women with moderate and 13% with severe depression face infertility issues.”

This condition generally arises due to overlap of hormonal issues involved in both infertility & depression. Furthermore, depression may trend towards change in lifestyle like overeating or lack of appetite and being over or underweight have negative impact on fertility.

Treat Depression Before Treating Infertility

 Depression often occurs due to lack of attention. Family members especially the spouse should understand the mental health and try to resolve symptoms of depression, including persistent sadness, guilt, sleep & appetite disruption, absence of pleasure etc. Mental health of the couple is of vital importance. In case they are planning for conceiving, it should be placed at the top priority during the treatment for infertility. Thus, couples should avoid caffeine, which can cause anxiousness, they should also avoid alcohol, which may worsen depressive symptoms and have ample sleep, since sleep disturbance is a common symptom of depression.

In India where mental disorder is often associated with lunacy, couples hesitate before getting treatment for depression. Situation worsens when depression & infertility coexist. Many couples believe that antidepressants can’t be taken while trying to conceive.

It is true that some antidepressants have negatively impact on fertility, but not all drugs are associated with it. In fact, some studies have revealed that treatment of depression involving counseling, talk therapy, support groups, mind-body therapies & antidepressants had increased the pregnancy success.

Whatever be the situation, consult your doctor in case you’re experiencing depression while going through infertility. Genome offers counseling or support groups to deal with such cases for a successful pregnancy. Since fertility drugs can aggravate depression and causes mood swings, talk to your doctor who will adjust your fertility medications and recommend the ones that are less likely to affect your mood.

You can consult with our psychological counselor in the panel in order to determine what mood disturbances you are experiencing and they will certainly help you to address negative thought patterns and challenge feelings of helplessness.

Treatment of depression is crucial for a variety of reasons

  • Depression can affect sex life
  • It can have negative impact on relationships with spouse, friends and family, and even the moral, confidence & spiritual beliefs
  • Women suffering from depression are more likely to drop out of infertility treatment, thus limiting their chances of conceiving
  • Depressed Women have lower chances of conceiving, even with IVF

Treatment of depression impact on Fertility

There is a direct impact of happiness on fertility. According to the National Institute of Infertility Association, “almost 78% of couples get pregnant post-depression treatment.” It is also observed that couples with severe infertility issues have conceived post adoption of child. This is because the new child in their life had made their life happier & stress free.

Since Depression & Infertility are intermingled, it is advised to couples who are planning to conceive or undergoing infertility treatment to have faith in the treatment and support each other in every possible way. This year on 7th April (World Health Day) the World Health Organization (WHO)’s theme was bringing awareness to the oft-neglected illness called depression! Lack of support for people with depression or Mental Health conditions, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent access to treatment. GENOME encourages persons affected by depression to start by talking to their partners, families, friends and doctors/ fertility counsellors. Let’s Talk – after all, it’s the starting point for cure of depression and infertility!

Endometriosis Awareness Is the First Step to Cure

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Global Statistics indicates that between 2-10% women in their reproductive age gets afflicted with Endometriosis. In terms of severity, endometriosis renders 30-40 % of all affected women- infertile, making it one of the most common causes of female infertility. Thus, it has become necessity today that women should be seeking the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of endometriosis at the earliest hint of any symptom. The first and foremost thing to do in such a condition is to talk to parents, siblings and close friends and then obviously taking it forward by seeking consultation from a gynecologist or a reproductive medicine specialist. At Genome – The Fertility Centre we support the global pledge to raise awareness on Endometriosis. We wish to address everyone about endometriosis – what is it, how it is caused, what are the different stages of this disease, symptoms, treatment, and so on. Read on to learn more on Endometriosis and feel free to share the post in your social circle to help raise awareness about this disease.

Endometriosis – Definition

Endometriosis is a female disease in which the tissue that forms the lining of uterus, endometrium, grows outside of the uterine cavity. These endometriosis implants forms the lining of the abdomen and pelvis, causing infections that may spread to the inner lining of the area between vagina and rectum, causing severe pain & infertility. Moreover, these implants might develop scar tissue and form cysts which in rare cases may even turn into cancer.

Endometriosis – How It Is Caused

The hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle affect the endometrial tissue. The tissue tends to grow, thicken and eventually breaks down and over a period of time these broken down tissues gets deposited in the pelvic organs and causes irritation, scar formation, adhesions which results in severe pain during menstrual periods & may even raise fertility issues. In a word, endometriosis is one of the main causes of infertility in women and carries a huge personal and societal burden for the sufferer. It is high time to raise awareness of the disease that affects women in their most productive years. But one thing all women must know that endometriosis is a common gynecological condition usually affects women between 25 & 40 years of age and you’re obviously not alone if you’re diagnosed with this disorder. Endometriosis has affected an estimated 176 million women worldwide. Learning and spreading awareness about this disease is the first step to its cure. (more…)

6 Tips for Women to Cope with Infertility Challenges

Motherhood brings completeness to a woman’s life. Even women who don’t necessarily want to become mothers are often affected by society’s expectations to become a mother. The pressure to find an ideal partner and raise a family can be enormous, and women who are unable to or choose not to, can be made to feel alienated as though something must be deeply wrong with them. In India, be it from urban to rural societies, a girl child is raised with the assumption that they’ll become mothers someday and bring joy to their families.

From baby dolls to baby showers, girls and women are influenced by images and expectations from parents, in-laws, peers, religion, advertising and the media almost subconsciously pushing them for motherhood. Thus, once a woman is diagnosed with infertility or fertility-related problems, which pose a barrier in the way of their motherhood, stress and even psychological symptoms creep in. These factors can take a toll on her mental and physical health, causing further challenges to fertility treatment and outcomes. Stress can hinder fertility in both men and women.

Furthermore, there is some evidence that extreme stress may negatively affect outcomes of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) in some individuals. GENOME helps in enabling couples to cope with stress due to infertility. Managing stress through reproductive counselling is in fact an indispensable aspect of GENOME’s treatment at all its Fertility Centre units spread across Eastern and Central India.

In this article our specialists have offered 6 tips to help women struggling with infertility challenges cope with their situation in a better way.

  • Acknowledging Is the Key to Coping with Infertility 

Due to the age-old perceptions prevailing in the society regarding infertility being mostly a female problem, it is often women who receive brick bats for not being able to conceive. However, today it is a known fact that men are equally responsible for infertility among couples. Woman facing infertility challenges should realize that it’s normal to feel sad and grief. It’s absolutely fine of the woman to take time to cry or express her feelings. (more…)

Genome’s Participation at ISAR Bengal Conference & Workshop – A Report

This year GENOME is celebrating 11 years of catering successful fertility services. Our Mission, since day one, has been “supporting and facilitating the process of conception through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for couples facing fertility-related issues and also in furthering the cause of fertility services by way of implementing extensive Research, Training and Development exercises in this field.” At GENOME, we actively participate in Fertility Congresses, Exhibitions and Workshops all over India, all around the year.

The month of February 2017 was special to us! We have been honoured to be an associate in organizing the 4th Annual Conference of ISAR (Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction), Bengal. This year’s conference was organized at The Bengal Club, Kolkata, from 10th February to 12th February. The 3-day mega event consisted of –Pre-Congress Workshop on Day 1 while the Main Congress  spanned Day 2 and Day 3, both.

The Pre-Congress Workshop kicked off on the 10th Feb with IVF Workshop conducted by GENOME -The Fertility Centre. The workshop was hosted by GENOME consultants Dr. Anuradha Sarkhel and Dr. Rutvij Dalal. While the clinical session was conducted by our revered reproductive consultants – Dr.Aindri Sanyal on ‘USG guided Egg collection technique’, Dr. Kausiki Ray on ‘USG guided embryo transfer’, Dr. Shefali Bansal Madhav on ‘Patient selection and pre-IVF investigations’ and Dr. Prasenjit Roy on ‘Stimulation protocol’. The clinical session was followed by actual video demonstration of OPU and ET.  The Embryology session of the workshop was conducted by our chief embryologist Ms. Atreyee Chatterjee on the topic ‘the IVF ICSI procedure – Present & Beyond’. As part of the workshop – the actual video demonstration of IVF-ICSI in the Embryology lab of GENOME as well as semen preparation for IVF at the Andrology lab of GENOME were shown to the attendees and received praises from the audience. Both sessions of the workshop was followed by Q&A sessions where our specialists answered the queries of the audience. GENOME’s IVF-ICSI Workshop at ISAR Bengal conference was highly appreciated by the attending dignitaries from the medical fraternity. Also other workshops on Ultrasound and Endoscopic surgery were organised as part of the Pre-Congress workshop .

The theme of the Main Congress for Day 2 and Day 3 (11 & 12 Feb) respectively was entitled “An International CME on Reproductive Health”, and rightly so, this year the conference saw the attendance of some of the most renowned dignitaries of international fame, in the field of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) at the ISAR Bengal Conference. For the first time, an international level conference of such stature was organised in Kolkata, attended by luminaries in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technology like- Prof. Dr. Paul Devroey – The Pioneer of ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)  in the World from Belgium, Dr. Foad Azem – The World Famous Expert of fertility preservation from Israel, Prof. Dr. Baidyanath Chakravarty – one of the Pioneers of IVF in India, Prof. Dr. Abha Majumdar – one of the foremost practitioners of IVF in India, among several other renowned reproductive medicine specialists who attended the conference. (more…)

How Does The Egg Donation Process Work?

In an egg donation process, an oocyte, commonly known as an egg, is removed from a fertile woman. This egg is then donated to another woman so that she is able to conceive. Egg donation is part of what is known as Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Typically, donated eggs are fertilized in a lab with the sperm of the intending father, after which the resulting embryos are prepared through a procedure like IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) or ICSI and are transferred into the uterus of the recipient either intending mother or surrogate. In other cases, all or some of the embryos may also be frozen for future use.

Steps for Egg Donation Process

There are steps that need to be undertaken in the process of egg donation to ensure that you are qualified to donate your eggs.

Phase 1 of Donor Qualification – Initial Screening: If you are a first time donor or have donated before, but not cycled for some time, an initial screening visit to the infertility specialist will be scheduled. If the fertility Centre is located in another area and you need to travel for the cycle, some of your pre-testing visits may be done at a local fertility clinic that your infertility consultant will find for you. Protocol differs with each doctor, but typically, the standard testing order includes the following:

  • Your blood will be drawn for hormone tests on the second or third day of your menstrual cycle and it may be necessary for you to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound.

  • If you get optimal hormone test results, you will need to undergo a psychological screening, which will take about 3 to 4 hours.

Phase 2 of Donor Qualification – Medical Screening Process: If you get optimal pre-testing results and have cleared your psychological screening, you will meet the cycling doctor for the first time so that their own genetic and medical screening can be conducted. (more…)

5 Fertility Myths Debunked

When you are trying to conceive yet without any sunshine even after repeated remedial measures, it can be depressing and frustrating in equal measure. They may cause you to believe some of the myths that are floating around about fertility. It is important that you learn to differentiate fact from fiction so that you do not end up trying something that stymies your chances of pregnancy. So, without much ado, here are five fertility myths that you should be aware of.

Myth 1: Women cannot get pregnant while menstruating

Fact:  This is quite a widespread myth and an old wives’ tale. Most women are aware that they need to have intercourse a few days prior to and during ovulation. However, what most women do not know that it is quite possible to get pregnant while they are still in their menstrual cycle. Sperms has the ability to survive in the uterus for up to five days; if you have intercourse as your period is approaching its end, the surviving sperms can fertilize an egg that is released during ovulation. While this is rare, it can happen to women who have less than 28-day menstruation cycle. It all depends on what is the cycle duration of the woman & varies from individual to individual.

Myth 2: It will take you a long time to get pregnant after you stop taking the pill

Fact: Believing anecdotal stories and the widespread misinformation on the Internet is an egregious mistake. Sometimes, women assume that once they stop taking birth control pills, it will take them anywhere from 6 to 12 months to get pregnant as that is the time needed by their body to regularize the menstrual cycle. (more…)

3 Step Guide to Prepare for Frozen Embryo Transfer

Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) is a boon to couples who are struggling with infertility and fertility related problems. In the last decade FET has emerged as one of the choicest means for conceiving among women who are unable to conceive naturally. Moreover, the success rate of FET is almost equal to those from fresh embryo transfer cycles.

Females are born with a definite number of eggs in their ovary. From puberty onwards during each period (menstruation cycle) the number of egg diminishes and after the age of thirty five the count of eggs drastically falls which in turn risks the chances of unsuccessful pregnancy and enhances the possibility of miscarriage and other fertility related problems. However, with our modern socio-economic outlook to marriage, most couples are in their mid-30s when they decide to have a baby. But a women’s biological clock ticks according to nature’s own terms and so she faces the crucial challenge of struggling with getting pregnant owing to fewer number of healthy eggs in her ovary and other physiological obstacles barring her from conceiving. FET or Frozen Embryo Transfer comes across as the wonderful solution.

What is FET or Frozen Embryo Transfer?

By definition, FET is a cycle in IVF process (an Assisted Reproductive Technology procedure) in which frozen embryos (cryopreserved) are transferred to the uterus of women to initiate pregnancy. Usually, during an IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) cycle patients have additional embryos which they can opt to preserve (cryopreservation) for future. These thawed embryos or frozen embryos are used to initiate pregnancy again when the incumbent wishes to have another baby sometime in the future. Moreover, at times the IVF cycle may not be successful at one go. For them, the frozen embryos act as a backup and without going through the IVF procedure again, the thawed embryos produced during the previous IVF cycle are used again. Thus FET minimizes the effort of both the patient and the doctors as well as increases the possibility of pregnancy among older couples.

You might be wondering what FET has got to do with young couples? Well, honestly speaking, even if you are in your best fertile health right now it is inevitable that your fertility window will close after a certain age. And if you choose to have a big family as you go along the myriad shades of conjugal life, you may wish to have a new family member some years from now. What then? (more…)

Understanding Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – A Personal Account

On a rainy Monday in mid-July we received a call from a lady from our neighboring county – Bangladesh, asking for help! She wanted to talk to our reproductive specialist about her case. Also, she informed us (to our delight) that she has full faith in our treatment procedure as a close relative of hers had conceived earlier with IVF done at our Fertility Centre in Kolkata. Yes, the nature of her approach made our reproductive counselor sanguine that hers was a case to be dealt with much more cautiously. Why? Because, the lady was in her borderline (aged 35 at that time) and had already underwent two successive miscarriages and she even disclosed that she had underwent a rehab owing to the deep psychological trauma she faced. She sounded desperate over the phone, to have a baby, as soon as she could. We suggested an appointment with our senior reproductive medicine specialist at the earliest. We extended all our assistance for the couple to obtain the medical visa and in a month’s time she came over to our Fertility Clinic in Kolkata with her husband for consultation. Her past medical reports showed that the lady had problems with fibroids in her uterus which blocked smooth pregnancy earlier. Surgically removed, surprisingly she was in good shape to conceive. Yet, our reproductive medicine specialist suggested not to take any further risk.

IUIAs with all women, her biological clock was ticking faster towards menopause and she had only a handful of eggs left. So the best ways suggested for her was IUI and IVF. IUI or Intrauterine Insemination was something alien to her at first although she knew about IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization.  She was briefed amply about IUI. Our specialist made necessary tests (more…)

MAITREE 2016 : Strengthening The Pillar of Nursing

On 8th November 2016 at Kalamandir, the Neotia Academy of Nursing proudly celebrated “MAITREE” – its Annual day programme and lamp lighting ceremony with all the students, their guardians, the staff along with distinguished guests of honour and reputed healthcare leaders from various hospitals and health educators from various institutions.

Like every year Maitree is based on a well thought out theme. This year “Knowledge and Compassion” is the theme which is the pillar of nursing. Knowledge combined with compassion brings enlightenment. This enlightenment is best reflected in the positive change in health & behaviour of the students to transform them to the divine profession of Nursing.

ANNUAL LECTURE SESSION

Among the guest who have addressed the annual lecture session there was Prof. (Dr.) Bhabatosh Biswas – Vice- Chancellor, The West Bengal University of Health Sciences as chief guest, Mrs. Bandana das – Principal, Neotia Academy of Nursing, Prof. M Venkat – Principal, Career Nursing College, Bhopal as Guest of Honour, & Dr. Sudip Chakravarty, Member, Governing Council, Neotia Academy of Nursing. Mr. P.L. Mehta, Member, Governing Council, Neotia Academy of Nursing was among the dignitaries present.

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In the annual lecture session Prof. Dr. Bhabatosh Biswas praised the initiative of the Academy in taking the Nursing education forward in this region and also stressed upon the role of clinical exposure to training more than theoretical knowledge, Mrs. Bandana Das talked about the journey & achievement of the Neotia Academy of Nursing which presently has 400 students, Prof. M. Venkat highlighted the need for  Compassion is essential in nursing fraternity to promote empathetic care to the patient which further increases the interpersonal relationship and decreases hospital stay. (more…)