How Much Sex Should You Have If You Want To Get Pregnant?

The announcement that sex leads to pregnancy is ten thousand-year-old news, but Indiana University scientists have given it a new spin by confirming the suspicion that sex throughout the menstrual cycle increases the chance of conception. Besides helping those struggling to conceive, the findings could have implications for wider understanding of the immune system.

“It’s a common recommendation that partners trying to have a baby should engage in regular intercourse to increase the womans chances of getting pregnant even during so-called ‘non-fertile’ periods although its unclear how this works,” said Dr Tierney Lorenzin a statement.

It sounds like anexcuse for people who really just want to have more sex look we need extra practice but Lorenz is the lead author of two papers released in the last month showing the advice has substance.

Sperm, and the fertilized egg, run the risk of being rejected by the mother’s immune system as foreign objects, so it makes evolutionary sense that there might be a trigger to make the body’s defenses less hyper-alert when pregnancy is a possibility.

Previousstudies have produced contradictory resultsabout changes to women’s immune systems during the menstrual cycle. Lorenz suggests this may be because they failed to ask about sexual activity. Certain changes might be expected, only in women who are reproductively active that is, regularly engaging in sexual activity, she and her co-authors write in Physiology and Behavior.

As part of the Kinsey Institute’s Women, Immunity and Sexual Health study Lonrenz tested biomarkers in two groups of women, half of whom were sexually active, throughout their menstrual cycle.

In Fertility and SterilityLorentz reports that the mix of helper T cells ratios changed during the luteal phase,immediately after ovulation. Helper T cellsmobilize the immune system cells responsible for killing material identified as foreign. Sexual activity increased levels of type 2 helper T cells (TH2)during this phase, while decreasing type 1 cells (TH1)relative to the rest of the cycle.

The Physiology and Behavior paper reports a similar change in the mix of immunoglobulin antibodies in saliva. Sexually active women had higher levels of the antibody IgG,common in blood. On the other hand levels of IgA,a different antibody the authors describe as the body’s first line of defense against invaders, were lower among those having sex most often.

The combined effect is to temporarily give sexually active women an immune system more open to conception.

Lorenz told IFLScienceThere were a number of very puzzling findings from her research that will need more work to unravel. Most notably, she is not sure why IgG rises with sexual activity. She noted that the study was done by testing saliva, and said, I do think we are seeing an example of immunoredistribution, when the immune system sends certain cells and antibodies to where they need to be, so when we look elsewhere we find them in smaller numbers. Thus an increase in antibodies in saliva may reflect a decrease in the vaginal tract, making it easier for the fertilized egg to survive.

The sample sizes, 32 in one study and 30 in the other, are also small enough that the results should be treated with caution, despite achieving statistical significance.

“The female body needs to navigate a tricky dilemma,” Lorenz said.”In order to protect itself, the body needs to defend against foreign invaders. But if it applies that logic to sperm or a fetus, then pregnancy cant occur. The shifts in immunity that women experience may be a response to this problem.”

“We’re actually seeing the immune system responding to a social behavior: sexual activity,” Lorenz added.”The sexually active women’s immune systems were preparing in advance to the mere possibility of pregnancy.”

Sexually active women experienced the same immune system changes when they used condoms, but to a lesser extent, leading Lorenz to suggest there might be multiple mechanisms, of which ejaculateexposureis only one.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/more-sex-gets-you-pregnant

Modern Fertility is offering a comprehensive fertility test for women who hope to be moms someday

There are a number of ways to find out more about your fertility these days including from several at-home fertility test startups that have started to pop up in the last few years.Modern Fertility hopes to soon operate in much the same way, but with a more affordable option for testing 10 key hormones affecting womens fertility.

Though Modern Fertilitys at-home test wont be available till later this year, you can pre-order it on their website for $149 though the price will go up after the pre-order at a yet-to-be determined date. Should you want to get started now, the startup also offers the comprehensive screening through a lab near you, though its not clear what the price is for that.

The kit includes checking your hormone levels for:

  • Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH)

  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

  • Estradiol (E2)

  • Luteinizing hormone (LH)

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

  • Free thyroxine (FT4)

  • Progesterone (P4)

  • Prolactin (PRL)

  • Free Testosterone (Free T)

  • Total Testosterone (T)

Modern Fertility competitor Future Family, a startup offering financing optionsfor egg freezing and IVF procedures, also sells two separate fertility tests you can take at home. The first test kit goes for $300 and includes the three most key hormone tests: AMH, FSH and E2. Future Familys second test, Fertility Age Test Plus, includes testing for the first three hormones and three tests for thyroid dysfunctions TSH, TPO (thyroperoxidase) and T3/T4. (triiodothironine andthyroxine levels) for a similar price.

Everlywell, a startup offering myriad home health tests, includes a similarly comprehensive fertility kitas Modern Fertility for $400, but with 11 hormone tests and not all of them are the same ones.

Half the price for more hormone testing seems like a deal. However, theres a hot debate among these startups over just how many of these hormone tests, and which ones, are necessary. Everlywell, for instance, doesnt include AMH because they consider that only necessary if you are about to undergo IVF. Future Family told TechCrunch only the three key tests are necessary unless you need thyroid testing, because the other hormone tests are widely accepted by doctors as not being true indicators of fertility.

How does each startup determine what is necessary? Everlywell and Future Family are staffed with a chief medical officer to guide them. Modern Fertility is currently in search of the same, but says it pulls its information from medical advisors and has held initial conversations with fertility doctors.

Obviously, ask your doctor which kit is right for you (or if theres another they suggest). The overall goal for all three is the same empower women with knowledge about their fertility.

Modern Fertilitys main target is young women who want a family someday, but not necessarily today.

Were building a test that makes this info accessible to women early in their lives,co-founder Afton Vechery said. We believe that information is the first step.

Vechery, who was a product lead at 23andMe before starting Modern Family, says she became interested in the space after doing some due diligence in the infertility space for a healthcare private equity firm earlier in her career.

Thats when I learned the emotional aspect of infertility. Its crazy to me that infertility is not seen as a medical condition in the majority of the U.S. and that such a small percentage of women get the education and services they need to start a family, she said. Thats the part that stuck with me.

She then went through some testing at a clinic to find out more about her own fertility. That was an impactful moment for her. That is, until she got the $1,500 bill in the mail.

As I started talking to more women it was clear there was a lot of anxiety over fertility but no way to afford to test it, Vechery said. Every woman should have access to this information that is a better predictor than just our ages.

Modern Fertility is currently in Y Combinators latest batch. You can catch them later this month at YC Demo Day.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/09/modern-fertility-is-offering-a-comprehensive-fertility-test-for-women-who-hope-to-be-moms-someday/

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