Confessions of a Fertility Doctor

March 28, 2015 14:50 by PrideAngelAdmin
Ever wonder why someone would work with eggs and sperm for a living? Or what funny things happen at the fertility clinic? Five reproductive endocrinologists reveal their behind-the-scenes stories.

“It’s someone’s job to stock porn!”

“We see patients at their best and their worst. I know if they stick with it, they’ll walk out with their family. The best part of my job is calling patients with positive pregnancy test results. I do the biggest fist pump in the world. But it’s not just inspiring moments like that—there are also some pretty funny moments too. I’ve had patients who wanted to lie down for three weeks after the procedure—they were afraid the implanted embryo would fall out! And let’s not forget the guys. Let’s put it this way: When you have eggs, you need sperm. The guys go in the ‘production room’ and everyone knows what goes on in there. We used to have DVDs and guys would invariably steal them and take them home. There was a series of Jenna Jameson videos I remember that had to keep getting reordered—and yes, there was one person whose job it was to keep porn in stock. The guys would take the disc and leave the case, so we had all these empty cases around. We changed over to streaming videos and solved that problem!” —Joshua Hurwitz, MD, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (pictured above, far left)

“No one wants to use donor eggs right away, but they come around.”

“One of the hardest things is telling patients their ovarian reserve is so low their only hope for pregnancy is to use donor eggs. That is devastating. If you think about it, most women, from the time they were young girls, wanted to have babies. Initially no one wants to use donor eggs. People come in saying, ‘I know how old I am but I know there’s one good egg in there and I want to find it.’ But women run out of eggs at a pretty rapid rate. When I tell them, they’ll say, ‘But I just read that a Hollywood star was 48 and had twins!’ Sometimes those [celebs] don’t say they used donor eggs because their publicist wants everyone to think they’re a superstar. A lot of times these women get upset with me and go see someone else. It’s like getting a cancer diagnosis in a way. They don’t want to accept it at first. They’re grieving the ability to have their own genetic child—they’ve got to go through a process. And often they’ll come back to me.

The amazing thing with donor eggs is that there’s no rejection. If you get a kidney transplant, there’s a 50 percent chance of rejection and you need to take anti-rejection medication. But there’s no need for that kind of medication with a donor egg. We don’t know why but they essentially work better than a woman’s own eggs. And no woman has come to me after using a donor egg saying she doesn’t think of the baby as her own. Some of them even say that sometimes they forget! We like to joke with our patients that we don’t have a return policy. But no one wants to exercise it anyway, so it all works out great.” —Kaylen Silverberg, MD, Texas Fertility Center (pictured above, second from left)

More from The Bump: Why It’s Harder Than Ever to Get Pregnant

“I think mental health and infertility have a similar stigma.”

“I have two daughters, and while I have no personal experience involving infertility treatment, I do understand what my patients are going through, just being married and being a father. I know how important the biologic need to have children and an offspring is. Next to food, it’s the most primordial urge you have. I look at fertility and I think there’s a stigma. Sort of how some people think about mental health—these are more taboo problems. They’re not quantified by, ‘I have pain, so something must be wrong.’ If you look at the statistics, you see that most people with fertility problems don’t seek help—only a small fraction do. In some cultures, fertility treatments might be frowned upon, or they might worry it could hurt their marriage, and that their partner wouldn’t accept them if they were infertile. Some people just don’t want to know there’s a problem because they see it as a personal weakness. But it’s uncontrollable of course. It’s just like if you had a broken arm, kidney damage or liver failure—you need medical treatment to help you overcome it, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. One thing we commonly hear when people finally do become pregnant is that their biggest regret is they didn’t start sooner.” —Jesse Hade, MD, Boston IVF - The Arizona Center (pictured above, center)

“It was a little awkward being pregnant while seeing patients.”

“I’m a mom and it’s a very interesting experience to be pregnant at the same time as helping others trying to get pregnant. When I was pregnant, I was very careful about not talking about it. Most of my patients didn’t say anything, but a few felt comfortable enough to ask about it, especially late in the pregnancy. I respect that some wanted to talk about it. Fertility treatment is really hard to go through. There are sometimes injections, and many times patients cry. I make sure they feel they can share everything or ask me anything. If they did bring up my belly, I’d just say, ‘Well, I’ll try to do the same for you!’ I always make it about the patient, not about me. The focus should never be on the doctor—only on the patient. As a mom, I understand the urgency of wanting to have a child for infertile patients. It’s a very interesting dynamic.” —Janelle Luk, MD, Neway Fertility (pictured above, second from right)

“I switched careers from music to medicine.”

“I had a very different experience than most people. I was not personally devoted to becoming a doctor early in life. I was a musician, [but] I realized making a career in music was a hazardous direction to go in, so I went to medical school. I was interested in the fine art of the little things that go a long way, like interaction with patients, so this is the perfect field for me. I get to make a lot of judgment calls about what is the right treatment for each patient. Everyone is different and I love figuring out that puzzle: What can I fix in each patient’s situation that’s going to solve the problem? I also love that this field is so advanced in technology. We’ve been riding the wave of technology for the past 20 years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. A lot of my patients work in the dot-com world and it’s great to help people who are into technology reach their goals using technology. The new chromosomal screening for IVF is a very valuable one that helps us find and use the healthiest embryos. It offers a pregnancy success rate of 70 to 75 percent, and people are able to save embryos for a future pregnancy. Egg storing has grown tremendously as well. Probably about twice as many people are doing it this year compared with last year. Facebook and Apple decided to cover the cost of their employees freezing eggs, and I look forward to taking care of those people and helping them through the process. It’s been wonderful helping patients build families. I’ve never had more fun than I’m having today.” —Philip Chenette, MD, Pacific Fertility Center

Article: 28th March 2015 www.yahoo.com/parenting/

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Boost your fertility - what foods to eat and why

March 23, 2015 20:08 by PrideAngelAdmin
diet for fertility An organic, plant-based diet could help keep hormones in check and boost women’s fertility, experts have said. Stephanie Karl, a nutritionist at the Dubai-based JTS Medical Center, added that “a normal low-glycemic eating plan” is a “good idea.”

The diet, based on foods that have a minimal change in circulating glucose levels, “reduces inflammation in the body, and gives the opportunity to eat all foods that have antioxidants to keep your liver functioning well,” said Karl.

“Inflammation is like a slow-burning fire - your body will always be stressed. As far as fertility is concerned, you don’t want that, as it can alter hormones and not just the reproductive ones.”

Whole-grain and high-fiber vegetables such as cruciferous kale, broccoli and cabbage, and other vegetables such as onion and garlic, are “supportive of the pancreatic function, liver, gallbladder,” and keep “inflammation down.”

These “processing organs” - the pancreas, liver and gallbladder - need to be kept healthy with the right food.

“Whenever a person comes to see me regarding fertility, I focus on getting digestion sorted,” she said, recommending “having a lot of sulfur-rich vegetables, good vitamin C, good oils and fats, and fiber.”

Kim Ross, a New York-based nutritionist, recommends the “optimal fertility” diet, which “for most people would consist of a whole-food natural diet that’s organic and plant-based.”

Ross, who helped on the nutrition side of “The Whole Life Fertility Plan” book released in January, said: “It doesn’t mean vegan or vegetarian, but means it’s mostly food from the earth such as fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and healthy fat such as avocado and nuts.” If it is meat, fish or dairy, they should be “organic and free-range.”

Women should avoid low-fat dairy products. A U.S. study published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2007 said eating low-fat dairy everyday can reduce a woman’s fertility by affecting ovulation.

The study showed that women who ate more than two portions a day of low-fat dairy were 85 percent more likely to be infertile due to ovulatory disorders than those who ate it less than once a week.

Karl described “nuts, avocado, coconut and olive oil as probably the best fats,” and recommended a “whole-food and plant-based diet” instead of sugars and carbohydrates.

Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.

“Oxidative stress in female reproduction has been associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. Needless to say, these pathologies negatively affect pregnancy rates and IVF outcomes,” read the article “Power of Proteomics in Linking Oxidative Stress and Female Infertility,” published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Endometriosis, PCOS and unexplained infertility are the most common diseases rendering large numbers of women infertile worldwide.

“Either way you try, whether by natural or alternatives methods such as IVF, nutrition plays an important role,” Ross said. Women’s weight should not be “too heavy or too thin. When they get to the appropriate weight with a healthy diet, they can conceive a very healthy baby.”

Hormones, PH

Keeping hormones in check is vital. One way to boost estrogen naturally is through peppermint tea. “A lot of research involves drinking peppermint tea, two cups a day, and taking a supplement called inositol, which used to be a vitamin but now is a stand-alone molecule,” Karl said, also recommending “fruits, vegetables, green tea, ginger, turmeric, and some spices and herbs.”

Sustaining a balanced body PH, including creating a friendlier cervical mucus, is also key. “There’s a balance between acidic and alkaline that we need to maintain. The standard American diet tends to be more acidic because of processed food,” Ross said. “People who eat a lot of animal products tend to have acidic bodies.”

Coffee, alcohol

Studies have linked too much caffeine with lowered fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. The general conception is that alcohol affects the baby only after a woman is pregnant, but it can also affect women’s fertility.

“There’s a link between drinking and fertility, although exactly how alcohol makes women less fertile isn’t understood clearly,” said Dr Anthony Rutherford, a consultant in reproductive medicine and chairman of the British Fertility Society. “Many studies have shown that even drinking lightly can have an effect.”

A 2009 study, done at Harvard University, of couples undergoing IVF showed that women who drank more than six units of alcohol per week were 18 percent less likely to conceive.

Stress, pollutants

“Not worrying, having time to de-stress is important. Often people with fertility issue are quite stressed,” Karl said, also recommending food that is as “unadulterated as possible, not salted, not roasted, not deep fried.”

Ross advised against “putting a laptop on one’s lap, or using creams or artificial chemicals because it goes directly in the pores.” She recommended house plants to clear the air.

“When you’re worried and too busy, that can affect fertility level. Meditate, practice yoga, do some visualizations, create a loving, calm, quiet space for a child to come in.”

Article: 24th March 2015 www.english.alarabiya.net

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Desperate couple who sold valuables to try for a baby won IVF

March 19, 2015 20:11 by PrideAngelAdmin
baby A couple sold ALL their valuables to fund costly fertility treatment - then 'won' a baby by simply writing a letter.

After almost a decade of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, Chris and Amanda Schlatter will celebrate their son Noah’s second birthday this week, thanks to the life-changing prize. The couple spent eight years trying to conceive naturally, and even experimented with fertility boosting yoga and hanging upside down after intercourse.

But after visiting a fertility clinic in December 2009, tests found Mr Schlatter had low testosterone levels and Mrs Schlatter was diagnosed with endometriosis, a polycystic ovary and a blocked fallopian tube.

The couple started IUI – intrauterine insemination – which involves separating out the fastest moving sperm and placing them in the womb. But the costly treatment meant they were forced to sell possessions in their home to cover the $10,000 (£6,000) cost.

“With each treatment I hoped we’d get pregnant,” Mrs Schlatter, 30, said. “And when each one failed we’d pin our hopes on the next. "We became so desperate to get pregnant we sold everything of value in our home, to fund the IUI. "But we had six goes and none of them were successful.

“I felt bitter that other people had children and felt sad and jealous when friends started having babies. “In the end our doctor said: ‘Any further treatment along these lines would be a waste of money’. “IVF became our only option after this, but we knew it would be expensive, and we’d run out of things to sell by this point.”

Amazingly, it was Mr Schlatter’s magical words that saw them get pregnant after they beat 99 other couples to win funding for IVF treatment. After researching treatment options online, the couple, from Nevada, USA, came across a charity, Baby Quest Foundation, which was granting struggling couples the funding for IVF.

So Mr Schlatter, 34, applied, explaining why he and his wife would make perfect parents, and should receive the help. “His letter was so heartfelt,” Mrs Schlatter explained. “He wrote about our struggle to conceive and about how heart-breaking it had been for us with every negative pregnancy test.”

Incredibly, two months later, in April 2012, the couple got the call to say they’d won the funding. And less than a year later, in March 2013, their son Noah was born. Mrs Schlatter said: “When the doctor said the words I never thought I’d hear – ‘you’re pregnant’ I couldn’t stop smiling.

Article: 19th March 2015 www.mirror.co.uk

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Pride Angel Journey - The Sleeper

March 14, 2015 21:02 by PrideAngelAdmin
Willow was a sleeper. For the first three months of his life, nobody saw much of him really, other than Sal, on whom and with whom he slept. He woke every two or three hours for a quick feed of course, but there was barely time for a swift change of nappy before he was back in the sling (daytime) or bed (nighttime) nodding off again.

I was enjoying the school holidays, chasing round the garden after fourteen-month-old Luna; ducking under the washing line sagging with soggy nappies – a full line of them every day now (how would we manage two children in cloth nappies through the winter?). ‘Boh!’ Luna would shout, spotting the football – a Brazil 2014 ball, complete with Armadillo mascot pictured on it. England had already been eliminated and our cheap ball didn’t bounce straight, but our little footballer wasn’t bothered and she tottered across the mossy lawn giving it little left-foot taps every so often. And Willow slept on.

‘Car’ was another of Luna’s favourite words. ‘Car, car!’ She’d exclaim excitedly as one went past. And another and another. She didn’t differentiate between vehicles – they were all ‘cars’ from motorised wheelchairs circling the pond in the park to articulated lorries hurtling down the M62. ‘Car, car!’ I walked through a car park with her one day and she labelled every single motor we passed in the same tone of surprise and joy: ‘car!’.

And Willow – well, Willow slept on. One day I would get to know this little boy who didn’t feed from me, didn’t sleep with me, didn’t come from my body, but who was my son. My Son, the sleeper.

Article: 14th February 2015 by Lindsey, West Yorkshire

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Low sperm counts in men with physically demanding jobs

March 11, 2015 21:33 by PrideAngelAdmin
Men with physically demanding jobs may experience more fertility issues, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health and Stanford University in California.

Researchers compiled data from 456 men with a mean age of nearly 32. Men who reported heavy exertion at work were twice as likely to have a low sperm count. Other work-related hazards – including heat, noise or prolonged sitting – did not appear to affect semen quality, according to an NIH press release.

Additionally, researchers found that men with high blood pressure had fewer normally shaped sperm, and medications lowered sperm counts.

“The good news is that these factors, if they are confirmed to have negative effects on male fertility, can potentially be modified by medical care or changing job-related behaviors,” lead study author and director of NIH’s Division of Intramural Population Health and Research Germaine Buck Louis said in the press release.

The study was published online March 9 in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Article: 11th March 2015 www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com

Check your sperm count using the Fertilcount Sperm Count Test

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Making the most of every conceivable way to create modern families

March 6, 2015 20:36 by PrideAngelAdmin
As reported by the Evening Standard on 19 Feb, gay Londoners are using all manner of inventive ways and means to conceive their children: surrogacy, adoption, donor insemination and co-parenting:

This isn’t news to me as most of my gay friends who’ve wanted to become parents now are. I’ve also been waxing lyrical on just this point to heterosexual couples and singles I know who are also struggling to conceive. Why? Well there still seems to be a somewhat linear view of parenting in some quarters.

As a lesbian I’ve known for a good while that one day I also want to be a mother, so, between my friends and I, we’re pretty clued up on all the ways and means - the best clinics, best websites, decisions about where the donor sperm comes from, how to find donors and co-parents, whether to involve the donor daddy – frankly, how and where to get a sterilised pot of the good stuff. *Actually conceiving DIY is another great area of theory – best saved for another blog…

Worried that there are still groups of people somehow limiting themselves to more traditional (medical-model) methods only, e.g. IVF using their own sperm and egg, I wonder if they’re perhaps ultimately missing out on the chance to be parents? Gay people, unrestricted by the trappings of tradition, conformity or expectation, seem to have cracked it - achieving the kinds of families we want, just as we want them.

You still hear stories of people ‘leaving it too late’ because they’ve had to wait around for the NHS to step in; older women (by no means ‘too old’) resigned to adoption over conception though they desperately want to give birth - but feel that not having a partner is an insurmountable barrier; couples where one is infertile yet they use their precious remaining reproductive years on rounds of IVF that sadly, fail.

So what’s stopping people? Stigma, fear of feeling different, not thinking outside the box or just plain insistence that because they are a man and a woman, or heterosexual woman, that their offspring should be biologically theirs or that they should have a partner? I don’t mean to sound harsh but really, your child is your child wherever it has come from.

Think like a gay person – be brazen in exploring every possible route to parenthood that works for them. If ‘what people think’ is going to be a barrier take heart from the cutting edge of gay-celeb parents – all these ways of having children are now pretty much the norm! And in how many contexts can you celebrate ‘normal’ as a good word? Best of all, the kiddies can grow up knowing it’s ok to have two mummies.

Article: 6th March 2015 Two excited mums to be www.prideangel.com

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Diet maybe the key to lifespan and fertility

March 3, 2015 22:14 by PrideAngelAdmin
It may be possible to live longer and increase fertility by manipulating diet, according to world-first research in mice from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre.

Researchers showed for the first time in mammals that there is an ideal balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) for reproduction and another, different ideal balance for increasing lifespan.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), calls into question the long-standing theory that animals are forced to trade-off between reproduction and longevity when resources are limited. According to the researchers, it is possible to manage diet at different life stages to both optimise fertility and extend lifespan, rather than sacrificing either.

"This study takes a very big step in explaining why trade-offs between reproduction and longevity are not inevitable in mammals," said Dr Samantha Solon-Biet from the Charles Perkins Centre, who co-led the research with Dr Kirsty Walters from the Charles Perkins Centre and ANZAC Research Institute.

"Rather than a trade-off, we now know that each evolutionary function has different nutrient requirements. That means that as our nutrient requirements change with our life stage, we can change our diet to suit our current requirements, for example by increasing our protein to carbohydrate ratio when in our reproductive prime and lifting our carbohydrate to protein ratio in later life.

"Animals don't have to choose between high fertility and a long life. By managing diet throughout our life cycle, we can have both."

The findings open the door for the development of dietary treatments for infertility in humans.

"As the findings based on insects are now shown to be true in mammals, we are hopeful that they will be equally true in humans," said Dr Solon-Biet.

"As women increasingly delay child-bearing, the demand for assisted reproductive technologies increases. With further studies, it's possible that instead of women with subfertility resorting immediately to invasive IVF techniques, an alternative strategy may be developed to change the ratio of dietary macronutrients to improve female fertility. This would avoid the need for medical intervention, except in the most severe cases."

The study is the most comprehensive nutritional trial ever conducted in mammals exploring the relationship between macronutrients, reproduction and lifespan.

Researchers placed 858 mice on one of 25 ad-libitum diets with varying levels of protein, carbohydrate, fat and energy content. At 15 months, they measured the male and female mice for reproductive function. In both male and female mice, they found that lifespan was enhanced on a high carbohydrate, low protein diet, and reproduction was enhanced on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.

Article: 3rd March 2015 www.medicalxpress.com

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Benefits of Reflexology treatments for Fertility

February 27, 2015 21:15 by PrideAngelAdmin
Reflexology has been used for centuries to benefit health and wellbeing and there is ancient evidence that it has been used to aid fertility and conception and it still is to this day.

There is a stage in life when we start to reflect about having a family and what it means to us to become a mother, a father and parent. To enter into that stage which society and culture has us believing is a natural rite of passage is not necessarily a straight forward path, made especially difficult when the reality dawns that falling pregnant is not that easy.

Reflexology for Fertility

For whatever reason unique to the individual couple the anxiety, worry and stress of an unmet desire can bring strain to relationships and even isolation from friends while the process of getting pregnant takes center stage. Reflexology has been used for fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood for as as long as humans have understood the therapeutic benefit of loving touch (Holt et al 2009). Reflexology assists in re-balancing the mind/body connection – enabling the recipient to regain homeostasis (Tiran 2010).

How Does Reflexology Work?

Using reflexology for fertilityReflexology is a massage technique that is applied by a reflexologist to specific acupressure points on the feet. The points on the feet correspond to a specific organ of the body. Applying pressure to these points on the feet stimulates movement or a release of energy/prana/chi to the corresponding organ. With time, a connection to your center and a deep therapeutic relaxation ensues. A treatment always provides solace and the space necessary for healing, allowing us to reconnect to our bodies within.

McCullough et al (2014) conducted a systematic review on the benefits of reflexology. Looking from a purely medical standpoint, which plotted quantifiable data, the findings displayed as inconclusive. However, from my experience as a reflexologist, I argue that the research needs to come from another angle; one which measures the oxytocin release during the reflexology session and the effect this has on the body. Extensive research has been conducted into the “fight and flight” system in the body, where high levels of the hormones cortisol and adrenalin are released during times of high stress. In contrast, research into the sense of “calm and connectedness” we feel as a result of the release of oxytocin and endorphins during a reflexology, massage or acupuncture session is limited.

Reflexology for Reproductive Health Problems

Polycystic ovaries, cervical problems, adhesions (more commonly known as scar tissue), pelvic inflammatory disease, premenstrual syndrome, hormonal imbalances, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis and menstrual problems have all shown improvement from reflexology (Holt et al 2009, McCullough et al 2014 and Tiran D 2010). Within a few sessions, improved health and wellbeing surface. In order to address fertility health, a reflexology therapist will work through the reflexology points specific to the clients area(s) of health concern, such as the:

•ovaries
•lymphatic system
•immune system
•uterus
•circulatory system
•neurological system (stress, anxiety, depression)
•endocrine system (hormone balance)
•liver (toxin release, hormone balance)
•kidneys (libido, fertility issues)

Reflexology works best when the client also ensures healthy lifestyle habits are in place. These include but are not limited to diet, exercise, relaxation, work/life balance.

Article: by Kristy Hawthorn 27th February 2015 www.natural-fertility-info.com

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Ways to boost your chance of conceiving

February 22, 2015 23:06 by PrideAngelAdmin
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes ... sometimes an empty baby carriage.

Life can be incredibly frustrating and equally heartbreaking for a couple who is struggling to conceive. Among weeding through feelings of anxiety and insecurity, couples often experience a loss each month a pregnancy test doesn’t show a positive sign.

But there is hope, and most couples have a high chance of conceiving.

“Nine times out of 10, it’s very easily treated with either diet and lifestyle adjustments or minor fertility medications to help promote ovulation,” said Dr. Shawn E. Gurtcheff, a physician specializing in Reproductive Endocrinology Fertility at Utah Fertility Center.

In the first couple months of trying, Dr. Gurtcheff and other doctors suggest couples consider the factors that affect fertility and try to boost their chances of conception on their own.

Weight and diet

What both men and women eat and how much they weigh can affect their fertility, experts say. “People who consume high doses of caffeine have lowered fertility,” Dr. Gurtcheff said. “Additionally, alcohol, in more than moderate doses, can negatively affect fertility.” Weight can also affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and a man’s sperm.

“Several studies have suggested that women who are overweight or underweight [struggle with] fertility,” Dr. Gurtcheff said. “Trying to maintain a healthy weight is very important.”

Extreme athletes, such as long distance runners, sometimes struggle with infertility because of their low body weight. When a woman stops having a monthly period because of excess exercise, it’s often referred to as exercise-induced amenorrhea.

In these cases, Dr. Saunders said, it’s smart for women to rethink their fitness routines for a few months. “Sometimes gaining just 10 pounds can help someone’s fertility,” he said.

Lubricant

In large studies, over-the-counter, water-based lubricants like KY Jelly and Astroglide have not been associated with lower fertility among couples who are fertile, according to Dr. Gurtcheff. But those lubricants have not been heavily tested in infertile couples, and in the lab, they have shown to be detrimental.

“We typically recommend for couples who are trying to get pregnant to avoid those types of lubricants,” she said. “There is a commercially available product called Pre-Seed that’s a water-based lubricant and has been tested in infertile couples and has not been shown to be detrimental.”

Timing

Studies have suggested that a couple’s highest fertility comes with daily intercourse, Dr. Gurtcheff said.

“Intercourse at least every other day is pretty much just as good,” she said. “If every day is stressful, I usually tell people every other day is fine.”

But no matter how much intercourse a couple has, they won’t be successful if they don’t have sex around the time a woman is ovulating.

If a woman has a regular, predictable cycle, she’ll usually ovulate between day 10 and 20 of her cycle, Dr. Gurtcheff said.

“It can be as simple as having regular intercourse during that week and a half,” she said.

But having intercourse before ovulation is usually even more beneficial than waiting until ovulation, Dr. Saunders said. That’s because sperm can live in a woman’s body for about five days while an egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours.

“A lot of people think they need to wait until they ovulate to have intercourse but that’s actually the wrong thing to do,” Dr. Saunders said. “I actually tell people to start having intercourse right after they have their period on day eight or nine. You can have intercourse on day nine, ovulate on day 14 and the sperm that’s been there since day nine can actually fertilize the egg. Those little sperm can live for a long time.”

There are multiple ways to track a woman’s ovulatory phase, including monitoring cervical mucus, basal temperature tracking and over-the-counter ovulation kits.

Position

Position generally doesn’t affect conception, Dr. Saunders said, but he acknowledges that it could if couples only have intercourse in gravity-defying positions, such as sitting or standing.

“For the most part I’d say it doesn’t matter,” he said.

The American Fork obstetrician does however recommend that after intercourse a woman lay on her back with a pillow under her buttocks to help keep the semen close to her cervix.

It’s not necessary but it could help, he said.

Stress levels and mind set

Relaxation, which is easier said than done, may help a couple boost their chances of conception. “There is some evidence that shows stress really does play a role in conceiving,” Dr. Saunders said.

There are methods that can help the vast majority of people conceive, both Dr. Saunders and Dr. Gurtcheff said. “It’s not a matter of are you going to be able to have a baby -- it’s what are we going to have to do to get you there,” Dr. Gurtcheff said.

Article: 22nd February www.heraldextra.com

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Co-parenting journey - Planning for the unplannable

February 18, 2015 21:53 by PrideAngelAdmin
Pinning down our co-parenting arrangement is proving tricky for me conceptually. Not least because we wrote our statements of intent before we’d even conceived. Five months into the pregnancy, after a few pre-Christmas sick days in which to dip into some co-parenting case law, it’s time to review what we thought we thought back then… it’s all about expectations, don’t you know!

All of us have been model co-parents so far - agreeable, co-operative and easy-going – and maybe that’s part of the determination we mummies feel to meet aspirations on all sides. But what happens when the baby comes?

We had decided against a formal legal document - the cost of a bespoke solution seemed out of our means and we questioned the usefulness of a (cheaper) template. It may have been legally binding, but perhaps just not meaningful to us without a lot of work – and maybe more money - to tailor it.

Feeling that our co-parenting circumstances were highly personal and very unique to us, we opted to agree a parenting statement between us instead. P and G wrote theirs, we agreed their points and made our written response which they then agreed (as mentioned in previous blog). Luckily it revealed shared parenting values and a plenty of consideration that the arrangement would need to ‘evolve’ – really the best we could all have expected, on paper at least.

So the next question is ‘how is the first nine months going to work?’ Our baby will need its mummies, the dads will want to see and be with him/her as soon as possible after birth, and we’ll all inevitably fall head over heels in love with our little baby. Just maybe, we’ll no longer feel so relaxed about the evolution of our arrangement. Hmmn, so many questions. And so many possible complications on the winding road ahead. But as each scan brings us closer to our baby – a clue as to just how much we’re going to love it when it finally arrives – I realise that is just the first big test for us all. The first of many many more to come.

Getting to the next stage is going to require more talking, thinking and planning (over a dinner of course). Sometimes that might involve saying no, compromise will feature strongly but certainly in the meantime, as we prepare for the birth, it will require the purchase of a sofabed.

Perhaps it’s just intangible without baby on the scene… or the pregnancy hormones talking, but now we’ve had a chat about it, trust in our arrangement is the order of the day. And in my lucid moments at least the doubts are giving over to a feeling of optimism - that this thing is really going to work.

Article: Two excited mums to be 18th February 2015 www.prideangel.com

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