With our acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment, we’ve been able to help many patients ranging from ages 40 -45 to conceive naturally as well as countless younger couples aged from 25 to 39. However, our biggest achievement in infertility treatment was in aiding a fifty-one year old patient in conceiving and delivering two now healthy four year old identical twins at age 52.
This was not accomplished in brevity however.
The patient approached our office six years prior. In consulting both with the patient and spouse, the methods chosen to help induce fertility were acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. As directed, she faithfully followed suit and saw progress multiple times naturally but without result, as she unfortunately miscarried at ages 45, 46, and 49. The consistent incident of loss was soon discovered to be attributed to fibroids, which we did not realize until then. Regardless, she still pursued a child. With that, an IVF specialist was consulted and discovered her eggs were of poor quality and recommended she use a donor’s egg, which led her to have twins.
But if the above story happened today, the patient may not have needed to use the donor’s egg but her supposedly failed eggs instead. Dr. Renwang Xue, a professor at Stanford University, published an article in the Journal of American National Science Institute on September 30th, 2013 that explores a new method–In Vitro Activation (IVA) in treating patients with infertility issues between the ages of 40-45 as well as ovarian failure.
Generally speaking, each woman has 800,000 primary follicles in their ovaries from birth. However, only about 400 are fully developed within ones lifetime. Typically once a women has hit her 50’s, or as soon as menopause occurs, the development of these follicles will almost cease completely. The same odds are also a reality for those dealing with ovarian failure, as reproduction is highly unattainable, which is why most women cannot or don’t attempt to bear children post menopause. What they found was if they treat the ovary with a special procedure and then the primary follicles can continue to develop until it is fully capable of fertilization.
As previously stated, there are a vast amount of follicles located within the ovaries, however only a specific number are selected during the reproductive cycle. This limitation is caused by an enzyme known as the Phosphatase and Tensini Homolog (PTEN) gene, which acts as an inhibitor, causing the remainder of primary follicles to lay dormant. Liu etc. realized in order to increase the number of follicles selected, the PTEN gene must be genetically removed. Once the gene is terminated, discrimination among the selection of primary follicles is gone and the rate of fertility drastically increases.
Dr. Xue, building upon this discovery, figured instead of applying a genetic method of removing the PTEN gene, the same enzyme’s inhibitor can be manipulated to increase the amount of the primary follicle selected and still receive the same results. In this way, more matured follicles can be developed.
Based on the tested animal results, Dr. Xue then applied this idea to the human body. This new found method included activating the primary follicle and then placing them back into the ovaries, allowing them to grow for six months. After this, the fully matured follicle is taken out, and the method of IVF is applied. So far there has been a successful story.
Of course, the procedure is still very much so at the beginning stages. Nonetheless, it’s a promising start and a great hope for those formerly limited by their conditions and age.