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Expectant mothers often have strange musings.
After naturally conceiving my daughter at 44—buoyed up in ignorance by the joyful effervescence of my success—I would playfully rub my belly and proclaim there was ‘a little alien’ growing within.
Little did I suspect the veracity of that statement—and that for some women it would become the painfully repetitive goad of unfulfilled motherhood.
Relatively recent and controversial innovations in fertility medicine postulate that, in certain pregnant women, the body’s immune system attacks the fetus as an ‘alien’ entity, resulting in serial miscarriages.
And—like the quest for the world’s oldest mother—the media’s appetite to fit a glass slipper on the mother with the most miscarriages before a successful birth is voracious, as today’s UK Daily Mail (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/femail/article-1252001/Woman-suffered-18-miscarriages-finally-gives-birth-little-miracle NULL.html) will attest.
What is big news, however, is the burgeoning press attention to the innovative treatment protocols pioneered by Dr. Alan Beer (http://www NULL.repro-med NULL.net/repro-med-site2/index NULL.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=15:dr-beer&catid=11:about-the-program&Itemid=17), who founded the Dr Beer Centre for Reproductive Immunology (http://www NULL.repro-med NULL.net/repro-med-site2/) in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003 after years of ground-breaking research.
Dr Beer—once professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and of Microbiology and Immunology for the Chicago Medical School (http://www NULL.rosalindfranklin NULL.edu/dnn/chicagomedicalschool/home/CMS/tabid/821/Default NULL.aspx)—was the subject of almost meteoric rock star fame (or infamy) in fertility medicine since experiencing a ‘Newtonian’ revelation during his humble observation of laboratory rats.
His discovery bears the trademark common to all genius—the appearance of simplicity. He noticed that the embryos of inbred mice were often rejected by the mother and that repeated losses also led to infertility.
His scientific journey led him to the study of Natural Killer cells and TH1/TH2 cytokine cells responsible for attacking foreign entities—the same culprits to come under the microscope during the 1980s reign of terror of the HIV virus.
From there, like the king of rock, he got together with the reigning über-talent in town for the fertility gig of the century.
First studying under Rupert Billingham—who collaborated with Nobel Prize winner Peter Medawar in transplantation research—he then joined forces with renowned immunopathologist, Dr. Edward Winger (http://repro-med NULL.net/repro-med-site2/index NULL.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=11), who contributed to the early evolution and FDA approval of HIV medicine.
“My meeting with Dr. Beer changed the course of my professional career” says Dr. Winger, who is now Director of the Dr. Beer Center (http://www NULL.repro-med NULL.net/repro-med-site2/) after the untimely death of its Founder in 2006.
“Heretofore, the ‘strange’ relationship that exists between a mother and her internally-growing fetus had never been closely questioned.”
Immunologically, however, since the fetus contains genetic material from the father, as well as the mother, “understanding at the time would have suggested that the mother would not tolerate the presence of this ‘foreign parasite’ and reject it” continues Dr. Winger.
“The great paradox” he says, “is that most mothers tolerate the fetus perfectly well.”
This was the bio-maternal conundrum that Dr. Beer sought to resolve through his alliance with Dr. Winger and the development of the earliest laboratory studies of Natural Killer and TH1/TH2 cytokine cells in the birth of reproductive immunology.
It was a marriage that made medical history in what is arguably the most important realm of human medicine: reproduction, the perpetuation of the human race.
And, as the fans of Dr Beer’s fertility medicine miracles flock to the Bay Area facility, medical practitioners in other countries—including the United Kingdom (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/health/article-464381/My-body-tried-kill-baby NULL.html)—have adopted his protocols, despite the harshest of critics.
Jane Reed, a mother from Eugene, OR—who eventually co-authored a book, Is Your Body Baby Friendly? (http://babyfriendlybook NULL.com/), with Dr. Beer and Julia Kantecki—married at 20, had six children before 30, and inexplicably began to suffer from serial miscarriages from the age of 31.
After her fifth miscarriage into what Reed calls her “journey into the recurrent miscarriage world”, she was “emotionally and physically drained” and yet, her doctors could not explain her repeated losses.
With nowhere else to turn, Reed sought help from Dr. Beer.
“Within weeks of sending him my blood samples, I was on the road to answers” says Reed, who had a successful pregnancy after using Dr. Beer’s immunotherapy protocols.
“I became a strong advocate of Dr. Beer’s medicine” she continues, “and during the last eight years of his life, I helped him track his data and manage the Reproductive Immunology Support Group (http://health NULL.groups NULL.yahoo NULL.com/group/immunologysupport/).
And Reed is not alone in her faith and support—the movement grows.
Nicole Klieff—UK-based author of Baby Next Time (http://www NULL.babynexttime NULL.co NULL.uk/1 NULL.html), a book which documents her 9-year journey through “unexplained infertility” and miscarriage—finally gave birth at 44, after receiving Dr. Beer’s treatment.
Klieff says that her book is intended to “help couples avoid the wasted years of suffering” that she endured.
Despite the glowing success stories of previously infertile mothers finally able to cradle their miraculous bundles of joy, critics from the IVF medical field regard Dr. Beer’s treatments as dangerous “snake oil”.
Recently, Nicole Klieff was invited to attend an “IVF party” held by the BBC TV network, celebrating an upcoming series intended to air in the Spring, that includes an episode on IVF.
In attendance was a renowned—in fact, famous—expert on IVF treatment. When Klieff approached him to discuss the benefits of incorporating reproductive immunology testing into IVF, the expert denied knowing of Dr. Beer and told her “you got pregnant—end of story!”
When she insisted her pregnancy could not be incidental, Klieff says: “He then aggressively said ‘you will see that all what you had is coming to end, it is very dangerous’ and hastily walked away.”
Dr Winger—who, along with Jane Reed, published several clinical studies in 2009 supporting the efficacy of RI (see links)—says “such concerns have diminished greatly since we began publishing clinical results.”
Dr. Winger and Ms. Reed’s studies have demonstrated success rates in women who have previously miscarried 3 or more times as high as 79% and 73%, using various therapies.
“We are seeing a groundswell of support amongst physicians and investigators supporting the work that we are doing.”
Jane Reed has a more grass-roots riposte:
“Personal experience began my conversion process” she says. “Watching the experiences of others further convinced me that Dr Beer ‘onto something’.
“However, tracking his database of over 3,000 pregnancies has now convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this medicine is real and may offer hope to many women struggling to have a family.”
Links for this blog:
For a list of over 400 published studies in the files section of the Reproductive Immunology Support Group website listed at: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/immunologysupport/ (http://health NULL.groups NULL.yahoo NULL.com/group/immunologysupport/) .
In addition, there are many published studies listed on the Alan E Beer center website:
http://www.repro-med.net/repro-med-site2 (http://www NULL.repro-med NULL.net/repro-med-site2)/
Dr. Winger’s research:
1. Winger EE, Reed JL:A retrospective analysis of fondaparinux versus enoxaparin treatment in women with infertility or pregnancy loss. Am J Reprod Immunol 2009 Oct;62(4):253-60. Epub 2009 Aug 24. (http://www NULL.ncbi NULL.nlm NULL.nih NULL.gov/pubmed/19703143)
2. Winger EE, Reed JL, Ashoush S, Sapna A, El-Toukhy T, Taranissi M: “Treatment with adalimumab (Humira) and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) improves pregnancy rates in women undergoing IVF.” American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 2009; 61:113–120. (http://www NULL.ncbi NULL.nlm NULL.nih NULL.gov/pubmed/19055656)
3. Winger EE, Reed JL: Treatment with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors and intravenous immunoglobulin improves live birth rates in women with recurrent spontaneous abortion. Am J Reprod Immunol 2008; 60:8–16. Free full text article: Click here (http://www3 NULL.interscience NULL.wiley NULL.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/119881264/HTMLSTART)
About Jane Reed:
Jane Reed is a researcher with several published papers. She is the chief data data analyst for the Alan E Beer Center, see link: http://www.repro-med.net/repro-med-site2/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=11 (http://www NULL.repro-med NULL.net/repro-med-site2/index NULL.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=11). She has co-authored many reproductive immunology papers, included those published with Dr Winger. She is currently working several new studies, including new studies on Humira and IVIG with both the Beer Center and the ARGC. She is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Immunology (ASRI), the European Society of Reproductive Immunology (ESRI), a former member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Federal of Clinical Immunological Societies ( FOCIS). She has also been asked to review several prominant published RI papers.
Baby Next Time
By Nicole Klieff
http://www.babynexttime.co.uk/ (http://www NULL.babynexttime NULL.co NULL.uk/)
Is Your Body Baby-Friendly?
Unexplained Infertility, Miscarriage & IVF Failure – Explained
by Alan E. Beer, Julia Kantecki, Jane Reed
Publisher: AJR Publishing (October 28, 2006)
http://babyfriendlybook.com/ (http://babyfriendlybook NULL.com/)
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