No reliable worldwide statistics currently exist about the number of malformed children resulting from pregnancies induced by fertility drugs (Clomid in particular), but it is believed to be in the tens of thousands annually. When, however, a child with birth defects is born to you, that child is not a statistic. It is a personal situation laden with grief for you, your family, and the child that is born. That’s why The Price of Ovulation, just published by Terry Mix (www.TendrilPress.com) is such an important book. The author believes that many malformations could be prevented with a simple solution: the addition of dietary cholesterol (yes, cholesterol, not anti-cholesterol, medication) in the form of tablets prescribed for pregnant women during the first eight weeks of pregnancy. The purpose of his book is to alert the medical profession to that possibility and also to the fact that drugs like Clomid, once taken, have a long “shelf life” in the body.
Mix is not a doctor. He is a trial lawyer, now retired, who for twenty-five years has successfully won birth defect suits against large pharmaceutical companies he believes have falsified clinical tests, deceptively labeled, and unheeded warnings by the FDA to conduct needed studies, and dragged their feet when something is wrong. He also faults some FDA clinical investigators for turning a blind eye because of past association with the pharmaceutical companies or future ambitions to return to them.
It is known that in 2004, about 750,000 women used fertility drugs to conceive in the U.S. alone, and that many of them were able to achieve their dreams and deliver healthy children. However, it is also known that many prospective mothers that use fertility drugs or assisted reproduction technology (ART) methods are “older,” and that older mothers are at greater risk for babies with birth defects. So there are many factors to consider, as Mix did as a responsible trial lawyer, in pinpointing (and eliminating) causes for malformation in the cases he represented.
While The Price of Ovulation contains a great deal of technical material and detailed descriptions of clinical studies, much of Mix’ justification for the use of dietary cholesterol to prevent birth defects is based on clinical trials with animals. Still needed are studies conducted with human beings and accurate testing in regard to the required dosages of cholesterol supplements.
It might be a good idea for anyone about to undertake fertility treatments to take a look at this book (I had an advance review copy, but The Price of Ovulation should be available now), and to make your doctor aware of what Mix suggests as a preventative measure for potential problems. Fertility doctors who already recognize that statins should not be taken during pregnancy may not realize that dietary cholesterol supplementation has the potential to greatly reduce the incidence of birth defects. Over the course of history, “aha!” moments, like the discovery of gravity or electricity or penicillin, have provided simple solutions. Simple, that is, after you have thought of it!