The Hemp Connection + myoinositol

It pays to be a fertile turtle

I'm guessing the title of this post conjures up the story of the tortoise and the hare for many of you. Though it likely pertains, I would like to tell another reptilian story that this week's series of posts brought to mind.

Many moons ago, I traveled to Costa Rica with a couple of friends. It was egg laying season for the leatherback turtles, and one of the most important things we wanted to do while there, was to see this in action. So one night, in the middle of the night, Micki and Ginger and I took off for Playa Ocotal, where the locals told us we should go.

Soon after we arrived, a huge leatherback mama pulled herself out of the ocean, groaned and labored over dry sand for about 15 yards, dug a hole about 3' x 3' x 3' and deposited about 100 golf ball-sized eggs. It happened to be a full moon that night, and I will never forget watching this…midway through the event, mama released a tear that fully reflected the moonlight.

The Costa Ricans, famous for how they value and protect their natural wonders, had set up a protective net that kept us a safe distance from the action. It seems that turtle mamas sense the vibration of the waves crashing against the sand, and they use that to navigate their way in and out of the water. Too much foot action disorients them and interferes with the process.

The docents that evening were from a local Boy Scout troop, and they taught us more than I ever thought I would know about turtle babies. Years before, once scientists noted that babies hatching during the daytime almost never survived because they were easy prey for flying birds, they tried to help them out of that dilemma by standing watch for hatchlings. Only the babies that were manually picked up, walked to the water's edge, and deposited into the water, didn't survive, either.

From THAT experience, scientists learned that when the babies hatch, their shell bellies are not fully developed. It is the process of crawling across the sand, on their own, and some kind of interaction between shell and sand, that closes up that shell and renders the baby flotatious enough to survive. In bypassing this important process, the scientists were inadvertently drowning the creatures they so wanted to help.

So they learned, that the best that they could do, was protect, as much as possible, the environment and conditions that best supported reproduction and survival, so that the turtles could best do what they had done for eons.

Here is the little guy who appeared right between my feet while I was listening to the docents! Isn't he just precious?

I didn't even realize it at the time, but it was my first reminder that Mother Nature guards her complicated recipe for reproduction more closely than Cadbury guards its chocolate making. Mess with even one ingredient, and it may not turn out at all.

I hadn't thought of this night in a long time, but the research about myoinositol that I've been writing about brought it to mind.

Like the leatherback turtles, there are many, many steps in the process of bring babies to life and releasing them. And each of those steps, no matter how insignificant to the bystander it may seem, has an important purpose. Alter it, try to jump over it, try to convince the system that it's not necessary, and the chance of failure increases.

Every one of you seeking fertility is where you are at for a unique and different reason. It could be one step in the chain, several…your stories are as unique and varied as the pathways that go from brain to fertilized egg. It is clear, since more than 60% of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures do NOT result in a successful pregnancy, that ignoring all of the steps between your brain and fertilization and focusing on the endpoint, results in tremendous emotional, physical, and financial stress for a lot of anxious couples. It is important that attention be focused on how to maximize all of the processes occurring between brain and ovary, in order to enhance the success rate of IVF.

Some of it is lifestyle. Some of it is supplementation. None of it is a magic bullet that allows you to ignore any step along the way. Myoinositol will help those for whom myoinositol deficiency is an issue…but it won't help others with other reasons for being infertile. Removing that cluster of cases from the mix, however, will give reproductive scientists the next great step to discover and enhance.

The information I presented all last week was illuminating, but it still didn't generate a 100% success rate. We still have many questions to answer. I am excited about the new findings, and hope to be able to use the new Research Institute to help clarify the route to fertility that is best for each individual situation. As well as to gain better insight into who is most likely to benefit from myoinositol supplementation.

It's going to take a little more time to find these answers than it took to find Playa Ocotal, and it's going to require more than a roadmap and a flashlight! For that reason, I encourage all of you to do your very best to maximize the information we share about lifestyle (diet, stress management, activity), rather than waiting for science to find a miracle, or waiting for a supplement to become available in your country. It can't hurt, it might help, and your effort and the information it elucidates may generate observations important to solving the problem.

ADDENDUM: By sheer coincidence, as I was working on this post, CNN did a wonderful story on a special leatherback turtle. I know we have a lot of animal lovers reading this blog, so I'm including the link if you'd like to learn more about Clover and her very loving and unique method of assisted reproduction!

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It pays to be a fertile turtle + myoinositol