In the paper, which appears in the American Journal of Public Health, the authors say that restoring the health of oceans should not just be the priority of marine scientists but also the medical community and the public more broadly.
The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and is crucial not only for environmental health but also for the health of humans.
However, human actions have significantly damaged the health of the world’s ocean. The issues that it currently faces include:
According to the researchers behind the present article, as well as damaging the health of the world’s ocean, these issues also negatively impact human health.
The researchers highlight that around the world, swimming in polluted seas is linked with over 250 million cases of respiratory illness and gastroenteritis each year.
Furthermore, Arctic indigenous peoples have become exposed to a build-up of organic pollutants. Coastal communities are exposed to indirect damage to their health when fish stocks collapse, restricting access to food and severely reducing livelihoods.
The researchers argue that responding to this damage to ocean health will also improve people’s health. However, oceans can also promote human health in their own right.
The scientists point out that seafood provides a key source of omega-3 fatty acids, while extracts from marine organisms can play a role in medical treatments. Additionally, “blue spaces” — locations near water — also have links with improvements in people’s physical and mental health.
Are you looking for ways to increase chances of a successful treatment?
It’s a reality that as we grow up, we are often taught how not to get pregnant! So, the first tip is to learn as much as you can about your body, reproduction, and the basics of IVF.
When you start treatment, there are also a lot of acronyms and it can almost seem like you are speaking in a foreign language. But as you read articles or watch videos and webinars, you will learn about this new language. Soon, the words IVF, ICSI, PGT-a and blastocyst culture will not seem so foreign to you!
It’s also useful to identify what treatment options are more adequate to your individual circumstances. Whether you may consider having treatment with your own eggs, with donor eggs or surrogacy for example.
There is a lot of information online, and it’s not always reliable. Remember to choose trustworthy sources of information, like HFEA, ESHRE, BFS or ASRM. Joining patient support groups can also be a good way of learning about fertility and treatment.
Ahead of the initial consultation, there are a few things you can do to prepare for it, and make sure you are taking as much as you can of that moment with the clinicians. You can start by collecting all relevant medical files about your and your partner’s health, medical and surgical history, sexual and menstrual health etc.
If you are monitoring ovulation or have done any basic fertility tests like AMH testing, pelvic ultrasound scan, tubal assessment or semen analysis, remember to bring these to the examination. The more information you have about yourself and your history of trying to conceive, the better the clinicians will be able to help you.
Optimizing your chances of success with treatment is also about making sure your body, mind and soul are ready for what’s come. You can improve your nutrition, to make sure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to thrive, practice moderate exercise, seek fertility coaching, psychological support etc. It’s also important to take essential vitamins supplements, like folic acid and vitamin D.
Take your time to explore and decide on the options that are available to you. Reflect on the type of treatment that might be more suitable, for example IUI, IVF, ICSI, egg or sperm donation, surrogacy.
Consider the location where you’d like to have treatment. Different countries have different regulations that may be more fertility friendly to the treatment you need. You may want to have local NHS treatment, or local private treatment, or you may prefer to go a bit further way nationally or even have treatment abroad. To help you explore and decide, you may be able to visit clinics either physically or digitally. You may also be able to have online consultations.
Finally, once you have made your decision, trust the chosen clinic and the team. They are there to support you and guide you in your treatment. Mutual trust is essential for a great experience and for safety and success!
In cooperation with Enhanced Fertility Programme
by Dr Elias Tsakos * MD, FRCOG
Scientific Manager of EmbryoClinic Assisted Reproduction Unit, Thessaloniki
Dr. Elias Tsakos’ article on personalized medicine in fertility was selected for publication by:
Personalized Medicine opens a new chapter in fertility, increasing the probability of success of treatments, but also their safety. In fact, with this approach, the couple actively participates, is trained and empowered through a scientifically sound and at the same time human contact with the specialized fertility team.
But what exactly does personalized Medicine mean and how is it applied? Individualized or personalized or absolutely precision Medicine is applied in a specialized way for each patient individually, taking into account his absolute personal characteristics and recognizing his uniqueness. This term first appeared in the early 2000s and was originally related to the study of drug metabolism in the context of Pharmacogenomics.
Fertility is one of the fields of Medicine that in recent years has applied the personalized approach, aimed at improving safety and the success of treatment. The individualized treatment of fertility focuses on the unique characteristics of each couple separately – such as genetic, biological, anatomical, functional, psychological, moral and mental – but also on its particularities and adapts the diagnostic and therapeutic protocols accordingly.
The combination of the personalized medical approach with the advancement of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, the accumulated scientific experience, the high technology and the evolution of the diagnostic means and the Pharmacology is a guarantee for the highest levels of safety and success.
Thorough recording of the couple’s medical history is the field from which the individualized approach to the diagnostic stage of fertility begins, as data from individual and family history can provide information on possible factors that require further investigation. For example, a history of infertility, miscarriage, cancer, thrombosis or diabetes and thyroid disease is a valuable source of information for further personalized investigation and prevention.
Also, data from the individual history of the woman, such as dysmenorrhea (painful period), menorrhagia (bleeding during the period), short menstrual cycles, atypical abdominal pain, etc., form a clearer picture. Respectively, the individual and family history of the man is especially important.
The control of the hormone AMH, the control of the microbial flora, the assurance of the health of the cervix with a Pap test and the control of the breasts are some of the necessary examinations for the woman before the Infertility treatment. Additional tests, such as hysteroscopy, genetic testing for cystic fibrosis, karyotype testing and thrombophilia testing, provide additional valuable information about a woman’s specific characteristics and guide us to the appropriate medical protocols that are appropriate in each case. Of course, the fertility tests also include those prescribed and defined by law, such as hysterosalpingography, genetic and infectious disease testing, hormonal testing, and ultrasound.
In the case of the man, his general health, but also the condition of his genetic material, are evaluated with examinations -beyond the classic sperm diagram- such as the microbial examination of the sperm, the control of the fragmentation of the sperm DNA (DFI test), the hormonal control and karyotype and cystic fibrosis control. In fact, in special cases, the assistance of a specialized urologist-andrologist is necessary, so that the evaluation is complete and the conditions before the IVF treatment have been optimized. Personalized diagnosis addresses all those factors that lead to increased safety and effectiveness of treatment.
Fertility treatment can include a wide range of interventions, for example drug treatment of ovulation, correction of hypothyroidism, removal of endometrial polyps, etc., which either alone or in combination can offer maximum success with maximum safety.
With the individualized approach, the correct choice of the type of treatment is made, e.g. insemination, in vitro fertilization, etc., the ideal medication protocol for each case, the appropriate ancillary support (medical, pharmaceutical, psychological, etc.) and the overall strategy and schedule are planned.
Also, with the appropriate diagnosis and correction of infertility factors, natural fertility is increased, with the result that in some cases there is no need to apply assisted reproduction and IVF methods.
The personalized approach to fertility is also suitable for unmarried women, from 18 to 49 years old, who want to know, explore, maintain and improve their fertility, as well as for unmarried women who want to have children, as provided by Greek legislation and is supported by the State and the Scientific community.
* Dr Elias Tsakos MD, FRCOG
Dr. Tsakos has 30 years of medical experience, is an internationally recognized doctor and is one of the pioneers in Hysteroscopic, Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery in Greece. He is:
EmbryoClinic Green continues its actions with its active participation in the tree planting that took place in the former Kodra camp. An initiative of we4all with the participation of many people of all ages for a healthy environment for all of us!
Fertility is about the future, and the future depends on the environment!
Let us all set the achievable goal of planting one tree a year!
We thank our team for its participation and the organizers who gave us this opportunity!
To organize our green program and create an environment-friendly facility and operational routine, we formed a green team!
Embryoclinic’s green team is responsible for weekly meetings to set goals and make sure these procedures towards sustainability are implemented.
The areas we focused are waste management, energy saving and selection of environment friendly products.
For every step an educational session for all staff members is organized and weekly reminder tips are send to everyone.
The team also aims to positively influence our patients towards a healthier lifestyle through social media posts.
Stay tuned for more action towards a lifestyle with respect to the environment.
Embryoclinic proudly participated at The Fertility Conference 2021 and presented a poster in cooperation with some well-respected fertility specialists: Barriers and breakthroughs starts today! Check out our poster about Worries and concerns of patients and their ability to cope with stress and emotions before starting fertility treatment.
One of the findings is that patients are mostly concerned about the uncertainty of their reproductive future and stress at work/outside home. Despite perceiving support as adequate, patients still reported low ability to cope with stress and emotions.
Women and couples embarking on fertility treatment may be more likely to require emotional support as the impact of the confounding factors is greater than what can be expected. In recent times, the coronavirus pandemic could be one of those confounding factors.The full results and conclusion are available at the conference.
The Fertility Conference 2021 – the joint annual conference of the Association of Clinical Embryologists, British Fertility Society and the Society for Reproduction & Fertility – is the largest UK educational forum focusing on fertility and reproductive medicine.
Embryoclinic is proudly sharing the great experience of fertility care for international patients and is joining forces to highlight Greece as the perfect fertility destination. Every team member is dedicated and experienced to provide high standards of care and uninterrupted communication and support to all our international patients, irrelevant of their country of residence.
We aim at making the journey to parenthood a wonderful experience for all, while making their best of their stay in our wonderful country.
Warm Mediterranean climate, tempting blue sea, impressive beaches, amazing historical sites and great food – this is what we all know Greece for. However, not all of us may be aware of the fact that one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world plays also a very important role on the medical tourism map. It turns out that Greece has a lot to offer in terms of in vitro fertilisation and reproductive medicine in general. If you have been considering IVF treatment abroad and wondering whether Greece is a right choice for you, we’ll say: yes! Here are some reasons why.
It is in Greece where you will find some of the world’s top IVF clinics, combining high-quality services and reasonable rates. These units, mostly located in Athens, Thessaloniki and Crete, apply best practices and are staffed with both state-of-the-art technological equipment and trained specialist doctors. The clinics are certified by internationally acclaimed organisations, which assure not only innovation but also safety and quality of clinical, surgical and laboratory procedures.
What is more, all the IVF clinics in Greece operate under license from the Greek National Authority of Assisted Reproduction. It is a national body that makes controls, gives suggestions, collects data and keeps records of every single case related to assisted reproduction in the country. And finally – what’s probably most important from a patient’s point of view – first class fertility treatment is offered in Greece at a much lower cost than in other top European fertility destinations.
Greece has surely a lot of advantages over other countries in terms of infertility treatments and services – one of them is its liberal IVF legislation. Issued in 2005, it allows most IVF methods (e.g. intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), egg/sperm donation, frozen embryo transfer), surrogacy arrangements and genetic testing options (such as PGT-A and PGD). The age limit for women undergoing IVF treatment is 50 years old and there are no exceptions in terms of marital status. It means that all the procedures are available to both married and unmarried heterosexual couples, single women and women in lesbian relationships. In case of the latter, it is only required that one partner states she is going through treatment as a single woman and signs a notarial deed.
Greece is one of the countries that allow anonymous egg and sperm donation. According to the Greek IVF law, information on a patient and the child conceived via donation will not be disclosed to an anonymous donor – and vice-versa. Donor anonymity translates into a lot of advantages: the development of egg/sperm banks, large pools of donor candidates and the lack of waiting lists for donation treatments. The latter will surely be considered as a great asset by advanced-age patients who find time very precious and cannot allow themselves to wait months for the treatment to start.
Feeling convinced? We suppose so! However, if you are still not sure whether your IVF treatment should be performed in Greece, we encourage you to follow the campaign Greece – Fertility Destination 2021 that commences on October 1, 2020. In the upcoming 6 months, the campaign will make you familiar with all the available treatment options in Greece and some of the most acclaimed IVF clinics that accept international patients.
The campaign’s online events will present you with a unique chance to get to know some of Greece’s leading fertility specialists and trusted IVF coordinators who will share some useful advice on fertility treatment in our country. And who knows, maybe you will find your future fertility team among them?
The campaign is organised by eggdonationfriends.com and fertilityclinicsabroad.com – two well known websites for patients seeking IVF treatment options abroad. It is also supported by more than 30 ambassadors worldwide and special Patron from Greece – ELITOUR – Greek Medical Tourism Council.
Read more about Greece – Fertility Destination 2021
The suspension of fertility treatments due to the COVID-19 pandemic has had a variety of psychological impacts on women whose treatments were cancelled, but there are several protective factors that can be fostered to help in the future, according to a new study by Jennifer Gordon and Ashley Balsom of University of Regina, Canada, published in September in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
One in six reproductive-aged couples experiences infertility, and many turn to treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), which require many in-person appointments to complete. On March 17, 2020, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society announced their recommendations to immediately and indefinitely suspend all in-person fertility treatments in the United States and Canada due to COVID-19.
In the new study, researchers used online social media advertising to recruit 92 women from Canada and the U.S. who reported having their fertility treatments suspended to participate in an online survey. The women, who were aged between 20 and 45, had been trying to conceive for between 5 and 180 months. More than half had had an IVF cycle cancelled and approximately one-third had been in the middle of IUI when treatments were suspended.
Overall, 86 per cent of respondents reported that treatment suspensions had a negative impact on their mental health and 52 per cent reported clinically significant depression symptoms. Neither age, education, income or number of children were correlated with the effect of treatment suspension on mental health or quality of life. However, other factors were found to positively influence these outcomes: lower levels of defensive pessimism (r=-0.25, p<0.05), greater infertility acceptance (r=0.51, p<0.0001), better social support (r=0.31, p<0.01) and less avoidance of infertility reminders (r=0.23, p=0.029) were all associated with a less significant decline in mental health.
The authors add: “This study highlights how enormously challenging the COVID-19 pandemic has been for women whose fertility treatments have been suspended. At the same time, it points to certain factors that may help women cope during this difficult time, such as having good social support.”