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How To Be Supportive to a Loved One Struggling with Infertility

Infertility Resources & Support

How To Be Supportive to a Loved One Struggling with Infertility

Infertility is a disheartening experience for those who want to build a family. And since infertility is a common health issue affecting all genders, you likely know someone dealing with it. After all, as many as 15% of couples, and about one in five women between ages 15-49, cannot conceive after a year of trying. 

A variety of factors can cause infertility. But whatever its cause, infertility is a difficult journey. On top of that, no two fertility stories are alike. If someone you care about struggles with infertility, you may wonder how you can best support them. In this article, we'll look at ways to be there for a friend or family member struggling with infertility.

6 Ways to Support a Loved One Struggling with Infertility

Naturally, you want to be there for the people you love. Yet, infertility can be a sensitive topic, and you may be afraid to do or say the wrong things. 

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to be a safe space for your loved one as they cope with infertility.

1. Offer a Listening Ear

Friend listening to friend that has infertility to show support

One of the best things you can do is just be there for your friend. Everyone needs to feel supported, heard, and validated, especially during a difficult time. 

Living with infertility can feel like a lonely path. Your friend may not know who they can talk to, even if they're in a relationship. This is because everyone experiences infertility differently; their partner is likely dealing with their own complex emotions. 

It helps to have an outside person to lean on. You can support your loved one just by letting them know you're always available if they need to talk. Some people may not want to discuss their infertility, while others do. Therefore, it's important not to pry or assume anything. Still, just knowing you're there for them can mean a lot to your friend.  

2. Don't Give Unsolicited Advice

It may be tempting to offer your own opinions and advice — but it's unhelpful in supporting your loved one. 

For example, your gut reaction might be to say things like, "you can try again next month," "maybe you should adopt," or "why don't you try IVF?" However, statements like these can feel like you're minimizing the situation or judging your friend's choices. 

Not only that, but not everyone wants to pursue fertility treatments or adoption. So instead of offering up advice, try saying things like, "I'm sorry you're going through this," "how can I help?" or "I wish I could fix it...I'm here if you need to talk." 

This way, you can provide a supportive, non-judgmental space for the person you care about. 

3. Be Mindful 

It's essential to lead with compassion and mindfulness when supporting a friend with infertility. Understand that it may be difficult for them to attend certain events, like baby showers, while they struggle to start a family themselves. Be mindful of this and let your loved one know it's okay if they don't want to attend such events. 

On the other hand, don't feel like you can't invite them to your baby shower or kid's birthday party. It may mean a lot just to be invited, even if they don't feel up to attending. Besides, your family is a huge part of your life — it would probably feel more uncomfortable if you refrain from talking about them in front of your friend. 

What matters the most is your consideration of your friend's feelings. For instance, if you're about to announce your pregnancy, you might tell your friend in private first. This way, they'll have time to quietly process any emotions. 

4. Educate Yourself on Infertility

Infertility looks different for everyone, and well-meaning friends and family often have many questions. It can be exhausting for your friend to answer these similar questions repeatedly when they're struggling with infertility. 

Educating yourself about infertility and fertility treatments is a great way to be supportive. Instead of asking for details from your friend, you can find tons of valuable information online. 

This way, you're prepared to have a meaningful heart-to-heart about any treatments your friend is undergoing. Then, they can talk freely with you on level ground rather than having to explain their medical choices. 

5. Don't Minimize What They're Going Through

friend showing support to family member that has infertility

Infertility can be profoundly heartbreaking on multiple levels. It's also a significant health issue, even if it's not life-threatening. Avoid comparing infertility to other medical conditions or minimizing your friend's experience. 

Statements like "at least you don't have cancer" or "at least you can sleep in" don't help your friend feel supported. Instead, let them know you understand how difficult it is to struggle with infertility.

6. Find Concrete Ways to Help Out

There are many ways to be supportive besides talking it out. For example, you could help your friend with things like watching their other children while they attend fertility appointments. Or help them find a support group in the area. 

Going through fertility treatments can be physically and emotionally draining. Offering to clean your friend's house after treatment could mean a lot to them! Sending cards, flowers, or home-cooked meals are all thoughtful ways to show your support. 

The bottom line is that there are many simple ways to show heartfelt care to a loved one struggling with infertility. Most importantly, you approach them from a place of love and understanding.

At Advanced Fertility Care, we strive to help couples and individuals achieve their family-building goals through cutting-edge technology and patient-centered care. We're always here to answer any questions about infertility or fertility treatments that you may have. Contact us today to learn more.


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Prenatal Vitamins to Boost Your Fertility: What Works and What Doesn't

Infertility Resources & Support

Prenatal Vitamins to Boost Your Fertility: What Works and What Doesn't

There's no doubt that a healthy diet holds many benefits, from lowering heart disease risk to supporting mental health. Nutrition also plays a role in fertility and reproductive health. 

While you may not have control over some of the factors involved in fertility — like your age or a medical condition — several vitamins may help boost fertility when you're trying to conceive.

Six Vitamins and Nutrients to Help Boost Fertility

In recent years, much research has been done on the relationship between diet, nutrition, and fertility. Let's look at critical vitamins and nutrients that could benefit people who want to build a family.

Folate (Folic Acid)

woman buying leafy greens to boost fertility

Folic acid is commonly found in prenatal vitamins. Pregnant women should take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy since adequate B vitamin levels can help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida

Research suggests folic acid may also increase the likelihood of getting pregnant. Folic acid supplementation may help increase progesterone levels and support regular ovulation, which can bolster fertility. 

Folate, or vitamin B9, is the vitamin form that occurs naturally in food. When you take a folic acid supplement, your body converts it into folate so it can be used. 

Where to get it:

Folate is naturally present in dark leafy green vegetables, beans, sunflower seeds, fresh fruits, whole grains, and eggs. You'll want to take a folic acid supplement if you're pregnant or trying to conceive. Folic acid is found in most prenatal vitamins. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats the human body can't produce. This means we must get omega-3s from our diets. Omega-3 fatty acids have numerous benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and supporting brain health. 

Although it's unclear what role omega-3 fatty acids play in natural fertility, some research suggests that omega-3 supplementation may increase an infertile woman's probability of pregnancy following in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Where to find them:

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and several other fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Some plant foods also provide them, such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts. There are many popular over-the-counter supplements available as well.

CoQ10

woman taking prenatal vitamins to boost fertility

Sperm function and motility can play a role in infertility. According to an analysis of several studies, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) significantly increases sperm concentration and motility.

Studies suggest that CoQ10 may also benefit women trying to get pregnant through IVFWomen who took CoQ10 for two months before undergoing IVF had higher egg quantity, improved ovarian response, and more high-quality embryos. However, it's unclear if CoQ10 is helpful for women who are trying to conceive naturally.

Where to find it: 

CoQ10 can be taken as a dietary supplement or obtained from foods like salmon, tuna, organ meats, and whole grains.

Selenium

Selenium is another nutrient that's excellent for male infertility. One study determined that supplementation with this important trace element improves sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm quality in men. 

It's unclear whether selenium benefits fertility in women. However, another study suggested that selenium deficiency could increase a woman's risk of luteal phase deficiency. This can affect the ovulation cycle and uterine lining, putting her at risk of infertility. So it could be worth supplementing.

Where to find it: 

Besides over-the-counter supplements, selenium is present in foods like brazil nuts and seafood.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is important for healthy bones and helps the body retain calcium and phosphorous. Some research suggests vitamin D may play a role in reproductive health. For example, vitamin D may impact hormone levels in men and women and affect semen quality. 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a chronic health condition that can cause infertility. Vitamin D supplements may help with menstrual frequency and metabolic issues in women with PCOS who are vitamin D deficient, potentially boosting fertility. However, it's unclear if vitamin D improves fertility generally, especially if a person is not deficient. Still, it doesn't hurt to up your vitamin D intake, especially if you live with PCOS.

Where to find it: 

Your body makes vitamin D with sun exposure, but it may be hard to get enough sun, especially during winter in colder climates. There aren't many foods with vitamin D, so it's a good idea to supplement or eat foods fortified with vitamin D. 

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that helps with cell function, immunity, healing, and metabolism. According to some research, zinc may also play a part in egg quality, and zinc deficiency could contribute to male infertility. 

Where to find it: 

Zinc is found in dietary supplements, as well as chicken and red meat. 

Things to Avoid When You're Trying to Conceive

woman exercising and getting nutrients to boost fertility

Ultimately, there isn't one single vitamin or supplement that will guarantee fertility. 

But some other dietary factors could affect your chances of getting pregnant. For example, one study found that women who ate more fast food and less fresh fruit took longer to get pregnant. Interestingly, another study found that replacing animal protein sources with plant protein may lower the risk of ovulation-related infertility. 

The bottom line is that a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables promotes overall health and well-being. Regarding fertility and reproductive health, a wholesome diet is essential for people of all genders. It can also help maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and reduce stress if you're trying to conceive. 

Support Your Fertility and Grow Your Family

Of course, infertility happens for many reasons, and your diet and nutrient intake may or may not be a factor. If you've been trying to conceive for more than a year or experiencing infertility due to a medical condition, speak to a fertility specialist.

At Advanced Fertility Care, our dedicated and experienced team will answer any fertility questions and support you on your journey to becoming a parent. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Top Frequently Asked Questions About PCOS

Infertility Resources & Support

Fertility Treatments

Top Frequently Asked Questions About PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is a common disorder that can contribute to infertility and long-term health risks. If you think you may be dealing with symptoms of the disorder, you're certainly not alone. In fact, as many as 12% of women of reproductive age in the U.S. live with PCOS. 

If you have PCOS, you may have many questions about the condition, its treatment, and what it might mean for your chances of getting pregnant. In this article, we'll answer some common questions about PCOS.

What Is PCOS?

PCOS is a multi-system disorder affecting many women of reproductive age. The cause of the disorder is unknown, but people with PCOS commonly exhibit imbalances in certain reproductive hormones, such as androgens. As the name implies, people with PCOS often have large numbers of follicles which are the small egg-containing cysts found in the ovaries. During a normal menstrual cycle, your ovaries mature and release an egg every month. Due to the effects of PCOS, your ovaries may be unable to make or release an egg regularly. This can result in infertility issues.

What Are the Symptoms of PCOS?

Woman talking to doctor about PCOS signs and symptoms and risk level

PCOS symptoms vary between individuals and can range from mild to severe. Many people may experience irregular periods, erratic ovulation, infertility, oily skin, extra hair on the face or body, hair loss on the scalp, and weight gain. More recently, PCOS has been linked with depression or mood disorders. Some people with PCOS are overweight, although people who are not overweight can have it also. Being overweight can make the signs and symptoms of PCOS worse. 

A common problem in people with PCOS is insulin resistance (more on this below). People with insulin resistance can often find darkening of the skin along creased areas like the groin or neck can occur, as well as the development of skin tags.

Who is at Risk for PCOS? 

The condition affects women of all ethnicities and can develop at any time during reproductive years or any time after puberty. The precise cause of PCOS is unknown. However, you may be at higher risk if you have a family history of the disorder.

As noted above, people with PCOS often have insulin resistance. People with insulin resistance can make insulin, but their cells don't respond to insulin as they should. As a result, insulin levels in the body may increase. This can cause the ovaries to produce higher levels of a group of hormones known as androgens which causes some of the symptoms of PCOS like unwanted hair growth. 

In addition to PCOS, other factors can contribute to insulin resistance such as being overweight, having an unhealthy diet, or a family history of diabetes. These people can see a worsening of their symptoms of PCOS. It's important to take action if you have high insulin or blood sugar levels since this may increase your risk of developing diabetes. 

How Is PCOS Diagnosed? 

Since PCOS is a syndrome with many different signs and symptoms, not all experts agree on the criteria to diagnose PCOS. The three most commonly used criteria are seen here.

As you can see, some criteria rely on blood tests, others rely on ultrasound, and still, others emphasize signs and symptoms. Therefore, your doctor may perform an exam and discuss your medical history to diagnose PCOS. They may perform a pelvic ultrasound to examine your ovaries and do blood tests to determine your hormone levels. These exams and tests will help rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms. 

How Is PCOS Treated?

There is no total cure for PCOS. But fortunately, you can take steps to manage or improve your symptoms. Getting adequate exercise, managing your weight, and eating a healthy diet can all help. You may also be able to take medication to lessen physical symptoms, like hair growth and acne. Making lifestyle changes can lower your long-term risks like type 2 diabetes. 

It's not easy to hear that you may have PCOS, but you can talk to your doctor about how to lessen your symptoms. Some simple lifestyle changes may improve things.

Can You Get Pregnant if You Have PCOS?

Woman with PCOS with positive pregnancy test smiling

It's possible to get pregnant if you have PCOS. While PCOS can cause infertility struggles, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of pregnancy. 

Having irregular ovulation will make it harder to track the fertile phase of your menstrual cycle. Even so, you could still be able to get pregnant naturally. If this doesn't happen, there are fertility treatment options available. 

Can Fertility Treatments Help You Get Pregnant With PCOS?

Absolutely! If you're having trouble getting pregnant, one possible option is in vitro fertilization (IVF). During this advanced fertility treatment, a doctor extracts your eggs, fertilizes them in a laboratory with collected sperm, and transfers the fertilized egg into your uterus. IVF bypasses the fallopian tubes, enabling a fertilized egg to be placed directly into your uterus, where it can implant. IVF can be an effective choice for many people, including those with PCOS, endometriosis, or damaged fallopian tubes.

However, many patients don't require IVF to get pregnant. 

Reducing insulin resistance by lifestyle changes or medication can often result in more regular ovulation and pregnancy. Another alternative is ovulation induction with intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI). For this procedure, you take fertility drugs to induce ovulation before having intercourse or undergoing artificial insemination so that your eggs can become fertilized.

Does Having PCOS Increase Your Risk of Pregnancy Complications? 

If you have PCOS, there can be some increased risk of certain complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia during pregnancy. However, this does not always happen, and you can reduce your risks by maintaining a healthy weight and making sure your blood sugar levels are normal before trying to become pregnant. 

No matter your situation, the team of caring professionals is here to support you on your fertility journey. We would be glad to answer any questions you may have about PCOS, infertility, and fertility treatment options. Explore our website or schedule a consultation with our experts today if you'd like more information.

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Infertility in the U.S.

Infertility Resources & Support

Infertility in the U.S.

Who Faces Fertility Issues?

More than 48 million couples struggle with infertility worldwide. In the U.S., one in eight couples faces fertility issues.

Who Is Using Fertility Services?

Fully one-third of Americans have either used fertility services themselves or know someone else who has.

How Long Does it Take to Get Pregnant with Fertility Treatment?

With treatment, 85% of couples will succeed in getting pregnant within the first year and 7% during the second year.

What’s the Average Age to Have a Baby with Fertility Treatment?

The odds of conceiving depend on various factors, including underlying causes and treatment types. For IVF, the age range with the greatest success is age 30 to 33.

Need help? Contact us today.

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Everything You Need To Know About Fertility Evaluations (Including When to Get One)

Infertility Resources & Support

Everything You Need To Know About Fertility Evaluations (Including When to Get One)

Those experiencing fertility challenges while trying to build their family may have many questions about fertility. One common question is about fertility testing and the evaluation process. Without the correct information, couples or individuals may delay consulting an infertility specialist for a fertility evaluation. We compiled specific details in this guide to help you make the proper decisions and get started with a fertility evaluation. You will learn more about the fertility evaluation process, what to expect, and the tests involved.

What is Fertility Evaluation?

A fertility evaluation assesses fertility health and involves reviewing medical history, a physical examination, and diagnostic testing. The fertility evaluation process differs for men and women. Through a fertility evaluation, are productive medicine physician can diagnose possible causes of infertility and aid decision-making. After assessing your needs, your fertility physician will recommend the most appropriate treatment plan to reach your family-building goals.

When Do You Need a Fertility Evaluation?

The reasons to seek a fertility evaluation can differ from person to person. The presence and or persistence of these symptoms are typically an indication for a fertility evaluation.

For women, here are some signs you may need a fertility evaluation:

  • If you’ve been actively trying to conceive without success for one year (or six months if you’re over 35)
  • history of uterine or tubal disease
  • irregular periods or no menstrual periods
  • endometriosis
  • history of pelvic inflammatory disease
  • history of having had cancer treatment(chemotherapy or radiation treatment, especially if directed to the abdomen andpelvis)
  • history of multiple miscarriages
  • If you’re 37 or older and want to get pregnant
  • history of genetic diseases that run in your families

Here are some indications for fertility evaluation in men:

  • a history of testicular trauma
  • history of surgery for an undescended testicle or hernia
  • treatment with chemotherapy drugs
  • history of infertility with a previous partner
  • if you’ve been actively trying to conceive without success for one year (6 months if your partner is over age 34)

What to Expect From a Fertility Evaluation?

During your first visit to a fertility clinic, the fertility physician will start with a detailed clinical history to collect your personal health information and identify your unique health needs. The fertility physician may ask you (and your partner) the following:

  • history of medical illnesses, including STDs and past pelvic surgery
  • medication uses
  • sexual history
  • duration of infertility
  • use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs

 For women, the doctor will typically ask about:

  • your last menstrual period
  • menstrual cycle length and frequency
  • birth control methods
  • past pregnancies and their outcomes.

While for men, here are some questions the fertility physicians may ask:

  • history of childhood trauma to the testis
  • history of infections such as orchitis or mumps
  • prior childhood disorders like cryptorchidism
  • history of infertility

After the clinical history, your fertility doctor will perform a physical examination.Clinical history details help direct the physician to examine particular organs. For example, males with testicular symptoms may require further urologic examination.

To aid the accuracy of clinical diagnosis, your doctor may recommend a series of diagnostic tests.

What is Fertility Testing?

A fertility specialist uses your medical history obtained when consulting with you to help choose the most suitable diagnostic tests that fit your personal situation. Hence, consulting with a fertility specialist early in the process may save you time and money and keep you from having any unnecessary testing.

Fertility testing involves a combination of laboratory tests and imaging studies to try to identify an explanation for your struggles to conceive. The results of these tests often point to a cause of your infertility, though it is important to know that at least 20% of the time, there is no explanation identified becauseall of the tests come back normal. The testing results will help your fertility provider know what treatments are available to you and will also help them know what treatment they would recommend as the most appropriate.

Fertility testing procedures are obviously different for men and women and best requested by fertility physicians.

Fertility Testing for Women

Female fertility testing entails using specific tests and radiological procedures to assess the ovarian function of your fallopian tubes and the integrity of the uterine cavity. Here are specific tests often performed in a complete fertility evaluation:

Assessment of Ovarian Function and Reserve

Ovulation— the release of a mature egg from the ovaries occurs at a specific time point in the monthly menstrual cycle. Ovulation testing helps to determine if a female is ovulating or not. It involves hormone testing on specific days in the menstrual cycle.

Ovarian reserve testing— women, lose the ability to get pregnant as they get older due to a decline in their ovaries and egg quality. Testing of your ovarian reserve is performed using a combination of blood testing of reproductive hormones and ultrasounds assessing what is referred to as your follicle count. 

Follicles are fluid sacs with an egg, which are visible on ultrasound early in your cycle. The number of follicles you have represents the number of eggs available to your body for ovulation that month. Typically, women start with a relatively large number of follicles, even if they ovulate only one egg at a time.

Hormone testing is another important part of evaluating ovarian function. These blood tests assess the level of hormones such as follicle stimulating hormones( FSH), antimullerian hormone (AMH), and estrogen levels in the blood.

Most of these ultrasounds and hormonal blood tests must be performed on a particular day of your menstrual cycle. AMH testing, however, can be done at any time in the menstrual cycle.Your fertility physician interprets the results from these hormone tests and determines if the ovarian function and reserve are within normal range.

Assessment of the Uterine Cavity

There are different methods for assessing the uterus. Typically, fertility experts use imaging tools to inspect the uterine cavity for abnormalities such as congenital uterine defects and adhesions. In addition, fertility doctors typically use a hysteroscope (a long lighted, flexible tube) to visualize the interior layers of the uterus. The procedure is called hysteroscopy. 

There is also a specialized ultrasound that is performed at the same time saline is instilled into your uterus to better determine if there is anything abnormal that may be keeping you from getting pregnant.This is known as a saline sonohysterogram.  Your physician will determine which of these tests is/are most appropriate.

Assessment of the Fallopian Tubes

Fallopian tubes are typically assessed in the clinic with a procedure known as a hysterosalpingogram or HSG. This fertility test aims to inspect the fallopian tubes for occlusions or blockages.The fallopian tubes can become blocked due to prior pelvic infections, endometriosis, or prior pelvic surgeries.  

An HSG involves using X-rays and X-ray contrast to outline the fallopian tubes and uterus. This test is typically done in the week or so after your period ends but before ovulation occurs so that there is no chance you are pregnant when you have it performed.

Laparoscopy (an actual surgery) is another method your fertility physician may decide to use to assess the fallopian tubes. However, it is invasive and not often the first choice.

Fertility Testing for Men

Semen analysis is the primary method of male fertility testing. The andrologist analyzes the semen for various characteristics such as the quality and quantity of sperm cells. Before the test, you or your partner will be counseled to abstain from sexual activity for 2-5 days. Your fertility doctor interprets the semen analysis result to determine the impact.

Here are the specific components of a semen analysis test.

Sperm Count

What most people refer to as a “sperm count” is technically a measure of the concentration of sperm in the ejaculate. It is reported as the sample's number of sperm cells per milliliter. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the normal sperm cell count should beat least 15 million cells per milliliter. If the sperm cell count is below this level, the fertility doctor will typically assess the possible causes and recommend the most suitable therapeutic intervention.

SpermMotility

Sperm motility evaluates the movement pattern of sperm cells in the ejaculated semen.A sperm sample should have at least 40% progressive sperm motility, which does mean that it can be normal if over half of the sperm in the sample is “dead.”

Unlike conventional laboratory evaluation of sperm motility, computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) uses digital technology to provide an in-depth kinetic analysis of sperm cells. CASA provides details on the sperm head motion patterns and a quantitative overview of the sperm cell kinetics.

Sperm Morphology

The word morphology means the shape, and so when your sperm is assessed as part of the analysis, we take a look to see what percentage of your sperm looks normal in every respect. Here the concept is that it is only normally shaped sperm that are capable of fertilizing an egg. 

Any defects or abnormalities in the sperm head, neck, body, or tail typically affect sperm quality and increase the risk of male infertility. A normal semen analysis should have at least 4% sperm cells with a normal shape.

Other features assessed in a semen analysis include:

  • pH:Normal range is 7.0-8.0
  • Volume:Normal should be at least 2 mls per ejaculated semen
  • White blood cells: White blood cells are typically absent in semen. The presence of white cells indicates an infection.
  • Sperm viability: Some of the sperm ejaculated are simply dead. The viability assay helps determine if there is too high of a percentage of sperm that are dead when ejaculated.

Do You Need a Fertility Evaluation?

Fertility evaluation involves a review of your medical history, a physical examination, and specialized diagnostic tests. This process helps a fertility physician to evaluate your fertility status and offer solutions to any fertility problems.

Getting a fertility evaluation starts with consulting a fertility expert and choosing a fertility clinic with a team of professional fertility experts with a proven track record of helping couples or individuals start and expand their families. The proper fertility evaluation is essential to move you towards achieving your dream of starting or growing your family.

The first step in your fertility journey to parenthood is an initial consultation with one of our fertility specialists at Advanced Fertility Care. We have dedicated fertility professionals who assess our patients using the most recent reproductive technology solutions. We provide personalized fertility evaluations and testing that fits your unique health needs. Schedule your initial consultation today to get started on realizing your dreams of parenthood.

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Understanding Male Infertility: Diagnosis and Treatment

Infertility Resources & Support

Understanding Male Infertility: Diagnosis and Treatment

Starting and expanding a family is a dream come true for many couples. Unfortunately, infertility impacts one in eight couples in the U.S. and many who desire to start a family or expand their family size may face challenges in conception. Male factor infertility is responsible for about 20-30% of infertility cases. Genetic and acquired medical conditions that affect the reproductive tract in males are responsible for male infertility.In this article, we discuss the common causes and diagnosis of male infertility as well as the therapeutic interventions available.

What is Male Infertility?

Man upset and worried struggling to conceive

Male infertility occurs when male reproductive factors cause an inability to conceive. Inherited or acquired defects in the male reproductive tract can cause male infertility. Abnormalities may occur at various sites in the male reproductive tract and affect the chances of achieving conception. For instance, male infertility occurs when medical conditions destroy sperm-producing cells in the testis or hinder sperm transport.The clinical symptoms and therapeutic interventions in male infertility differ based on the underlying causes. For example, the therapy for individuals with a primary disorder in the testis is different from those with sperm transport disorder. Resolving male infertility starts with an accurate diagnosis of the cause.

Causes of Male Infertility

There are various causes of male infertility, but unfortunately, in a large percentage of patients, we are unable to identify the exact cause. Fertility experts classify these causes into groups for clinical management purposes. Here is a classification of the common causes that we can identify.

Genetic Causes

Genetic disorders account for 15-30% of male infertility cases. Genetic disorders could result from alterations that disrupt the structure and number of chromosomes (the cellular structure that contain the genes for sperm production). Males with a genetic or sex chromosomal defect are prone to male infertility.These genetic disorders affect the hormonal regulation and quality of sperm produced in the testis. An example of this would be a "microdeletion" of a part of the Y chromosome responsible for sperm production that can lead to very low or even absent sperm numbers. Males with genetic causes of infertility may also have a collection of other co-existing medical disorders. This is called a medical syndrome. Examples are Klinefelter syndrome, Young syndrome, Kallmann syndrome, etc.

Hormonal Causes

Hormones from the pituitary gland and testosterone influence sperm production in the testicles. Medical conditions that alter the blood concentration and balance of testosterone and pituitary hormones cause male infertility. Oftentimes, when these medical issues are addressed, sperm production normalizes.Examples of such conditions are iron overload syndrome, head trauma, intracranial radiation, hyperthyroidism, etc. Included in this category would be problems in sperm production caused by men taking testosterone supplementation. If men take regular testosterone injections or use testosterone gels or creams, sperm production often ceases completely. We, therefore, recommend any man interested in getting pregnant with his partner should not be taking testosterone or other steroids.

Undescended Testis

Typically, during fetal development, the testes descend from the abdomen into the scrotal sac. However, in some individuals, one or two testicles do not fully descend into the scrotum. Males with undescended testes are more prone to infertility, especially if the undescended testicle is not brought down into the scrotum surgically at a very young age.

Blockage in Sperm Transport Tubules

The testicles have tubules that transport sperm after production in the testis. When these tubules are blocked, it leads to infertility. One situation that everyone knows about that fits into this category is having had a vasectomy. Sperm cells are still produced but are unable to enter the ejaculate because the vas deferens (the tube that connects the testicle to the penis) have been interrupted.There can be genetic reasons for this too. Some men who are carriers of Cystic Fibrosis are actually born without vas deferens leading to infertility. Common risk factors of acquired blockages are physical trauma, prior pelvic surgeries, and infections. Chronic infections cause prolonged inflammatory changes that damage men's health and may produce car tissues that block these tubules.Poorly treated sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most common causes of blockage in sperm transport tubules. Thus, if you suspect you could have a sexually transmitted disease, consult your doctor for prompt treatment.

Medical Disorders

Apart from infections, some health conditions cause male infertility. For example, swelling in the veins located in the testis. These are known as "varicoceles." These swollen veins alter the blood supply to your testes. Consequently, impaired blood flow affects sperm production and the quality transported in the tubules. In addition, some immunological disorders and tumors may damage the regulatory hormone-producing glands. Examples are tumors in the testis and pituitary glands.

Medications

Some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs or steroids, affect sperm formation and increase male infertility risk. Discuss therapeutic options with your doctor if your medications adversely affect your fertility.

Exposure to Environmental Toxins

Persistent exposure to Industrial chemicals and radiation disrupts sperm formation in the testis. This results in a reduction in sperm count if unchecked. Periodic health screening in a fertility clinic is beneficial if your profession exposes you to heavy metals and radiation.

Unhealthy Lifestyle and Habits

Young man exercising to boost fertility and combat male infertility

Self-care is critical to your reproductive health. Stay active, eat healthily and avoid unhealthy habits such as alcohol and tobacco intake. We also recommend that you not smoke or use marijuana frequently if you are attempting pregnancy with your partner. Neglecting these self-care practices raises your risk of male infertility. An unhealthy lifestyle may affect the formation and quality of sperm produced.

Symptoms of Male Infertility

Although the male infertility symptoms vary depending on the cause. Much of the time, there are no symptoms that you would be able to notice. However, here are some signs you may notice:

  • Sexual dysfunction such as difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection.
  • Reduced fluid volume ejaculated.
  • Pain or swelling in your testis.
  • Abnormal breast growth.
  • Decreased facial or body hair.

If you notice any of the symptoms above, consult your doctor for further clinical evaluation.

Diagnosis of Male Infertility

Your doctor typically starts with a thorough clinical history and physical examination before conducting further investigations for diagnosis. During the clinical history, your doctor will take an exhaustive history to understand your unique health needs. Your doctor will ask questions related to your family history, sexual history, social history, and medical history to identify possible risk factors.During the physical examination, your doctor inspects your body for visible signs of defects or features that suggest hormonal imbalance. Also, your doctor may examine your genital for any abnormalities.

Tests You Can Expect for Male Infertility

Semen analysis is the major test for diagnosing male infertility. For your doctor to get the best results, here are some tips:

  • Observe between two and five days of sexual abstinence.
  • Submit semen samples within 30 minutes of collecting the semen.

Sometimes, your physician or laboratory may request you submit two semen samples at an interval of no sooner than one month. Your semen is analyzed for the following:

  • volume
  • pH
  • presence of white blood cells.
  • "Sperm count" or concentration
  • Sperm motility
  • Sperm morphology (shape)

In addition to semen analysis, the clinical findings from history taking and physical examination guide your doctor on the type of investigations to conduct. For example, suppose there is a history of multiple sexual partners with signs of a sexually transmitted infection (S.T.I.). In that case, your doctor may request blood and urine tests for S.T.I diagnosis.If your semen analysis results are significantly abnormal, or if your medical history indicates that you need more intensive assessment, you may be referred to a male infertility urology specialist.Other possible investigations are:

  • Scrotal ultrasound scan
  • Testicular biopsy
  • Hormonal profile.

Your Options for Male Fertility Treatments

Man at doctor for infertility fertility testing

The specific treatment for male infertility depends on the underlying cause. If you have an unhealthy lifestyle, your doctor may recommend adjustments such as weight loss, physical activity, stoppage of alcohol and tobacco smoking, and intake of supplements. Here are some male fertility treatments that could put you on the path to parenthood.

Hormonal Therapy

This is the therapeutic option for males with hormonal causes of infertility. Your doctor may prescribe these medications to normalize the blood concentration of hormones that affect sperm production. Examples of these medications are aromatase inhibitors or Clomid.

Surgical Intervention

There are various types of surgical interventions. For instance, males with varicocele (distended veins in the testis) may benefit from a surgical repair. Also, individuals with obstruction along the transport tubules in the male reproductive tract are sometimes candidates for surgical correction.

Antimicrobial Therapy

These are medications for treating infections caused by microbes. Males with underlying sexually transmitted infections will benefit from antimicrobial therapy.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

This is a procedure in which sperm cells are injected into the egg for fertilization outside the body. This occurs in conjunction with an IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment with your partner. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends intracytoplasmic sperm injection for couples with male factor infertility. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is safe and effective and can often overcome even the most significant male factor.

Assisted Reproduction Technology

The American Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) defines assisted reproduction technology as fertility-based treatments in which the eggs or embryos are manipulated to aid conception. This is what is commonly known as IVF. Here are the stages of an assisted reproduction technology procedure:

  • Stimulation: This involves using medications to boost egg production in the female.
  • Egg retrieval: Here, the fertility doctor conducts a minimally invasive procedure to retrieve eggs in the female.
  • Insemination and fertilization: This step involves placing sperm cells and selected eggs under favorable conditions for fertilization.
  • Embryo culture: After successful fertilization, the fertilized egg undergoes cellular divisions in a regulated environment to become an embryo from the 5th day.
  • Embryo transfer: The doctor retrieves the embryo and transfers it into the uterus for implantation.

Do You Need Help Starting a Family?

Male infertility occurs due to various factors such as genetic or acquired causes such as untreated sexually transmitted diseases, physical trauma, or the use of some medications. If you notice symptoms such as erectile dysfunction, painful swelling in your testis, or abnormal breast growth, see your doctor.As part of men's health awareness, regular clinical screening and checks will aid the early diagnosis of medical conditions that may cause infertility.Your doctor will typically diagnose male infertility after conducting a clinical history, examination, and semen analysis. A fertility expert decides the most effective therapeutic option based on clinical findings and test results.At Advanced Fertility Care, we want to help you start a family. Our fertility experts use evidence-based best practices combined with innovative technology, which increases your chances of conceiving and fulfilling your dreams of being a parent. To join other happy parents who have used our services, take one step today by contacting us.

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Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being During Infertility

Infertility Resources & Support

Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being During Infertility

Whether you are trying to conceive (TTC) or pursuing in-vitro fertilization (IVF), infertility can become a serious strain on your mental health and emotional well-being. In this article, we look at the reality of the strain of infertility and ways to cope during this time.  

Infertility: A Common Challenge

If you are having difficulty conceiving, you are far from alone. With over 6 million pregnancy-challenged couples in the U.S., this is a well-traveled -- if sometimes bumpy -- road.

young couple going through fertility challenges and struggling emotionally

Fortunately, medical advancements and practices have made it possible for many people to overcome infertility and achieve the family of their dreams. Assisted reproductive technology has moved light-years forward in the past few decades, delivering the miracle of life to over 10 million babies. Also, mainstream awareness of infertility as a commonmedical challenge has improved dramatically.Despite these progressions, one study suggests that the psychological impact of an infertility diagnosis is comparable to a diagnosis of cancer. It is typical – and perfectly normal -- for anyone to have a difficult emotional reaction to infertility.

The Challenge of Waiting and Uncertainty

Battling infertility can bring physical challenges, such as pregnancy losses, failed cycles, medications, and medical procedures. There may be a gauntlet of tests, calendars, doctors, and pills.Yet most people feel that it is really the uncertainty of infertility that presents the greatest challenge. Infertility can involve long periods of waiting combined with the ultimate fear of not being able to build your family or provide for your partner. You may have to sit with this discomfort for long and indefinite periods of time. It is common for those struggling with infertility to grapple with depression and anxiety.

Mental Health and Infertility

Infertility and Depression

One U.K. study found that 90% of people facing infertility reported experiencing depression.You may be experiencing  clinical depression (also known as major depression) if you exhibit at least five of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:1. Depressed mood2. Loss of interest/pleasure in everyday things3. Weight loss or gain4. Insomnia or hypersomnia5. Psychomotor agitation or retardation6. Fatigue7. Feeling worthless or excessive/inappropriate guilt8. Decreased concentration9. Thoughts of death/suicideDepression can be a painful condition in which your perception changes. You may begin to feel helpless and have a harder time seeing the possibility of ever conceiving. Infertility may seem like a life sentence rather than a temporary challenge.Depression also leads to changes in behavior. These can negatively impact your self-care, relationships, work, outlets, and other areas of life.

When to Contact Your Doctor

The onset of depression is not a medical emergency. In the U.S., over 10% of the population will experience major depression in a given year. 1 out of 6 Americans will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression brought about by life circumstances (like infertility) tends to resolve itself with time.If you have experienced five of the DSM-V symptoms listed above, you should mention this to your doctor. They can walk you through your options to find support and help monitor any worsening of your condition.If you are thinking about hurting yourself or suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak to someone who can help.

Infertility and Anxiety

woman experiencing anxiety and depression from infertility issues

Anxiety is another common source of discomfort when trying to conceive. Anxiety and depression occur together so commonly that clinicians call them “two sides of the same coin.”A common complaint among those struggling to grow their family is that their thoughts become dominated by infertility to the point of becoming overwhelming. This type of fixation and these intrusive, troubling thoughts can cause both depression and anxiety.

The Problem of Stigma

Infertility is not limited to women: male factor infertility accounts for about one-third of infertility cases. This is most often due to low sperm count.   Regardless of gender, everyone faces the challenge of stigma – both perceived and actual – because of fertility issues.Perceived stigma may be internalized from a young age. For women, entrenched, historically-based stereotypes suggest that they are primarily valued for their child-rearing ability. There may also be a complex about sexual inadequacy.Actual stigma only exacerbates these existing insecurities. A loved one that always asks, “When are you having children?” can make a family holiday a source of dread and fear.Stigma can lead to low self-esteem, guilt and shame. Even though both are patently untrue, those struggling with infertility may begin to think that there is something “wrong” with them or it is “their fault.”Another pervasive effect of stigma is for people to self-isolate and suffer insilence. Many fear being judged, invalidated, or embarrassed and are less likely to share what they are going through.

Does Depression Reduce Fertility?

The short answer is “no.”  While individuals may experience depression in relation to their infertility, several studies have concluded that depression and anxiety do not significantly impact the success of assisted reproduction.However, depression can have secondary effects on one’s behavior that could influence pregnancy attempts. Feeling helpless or shameful can discourage someone – perhaps even subconsciously- from pursuing all available fertility options. For those TTC, the tendency to isolate may reduce physical intimacy.Depression and anxiety can also bring about lifestyle changes, like overeating, missed sleep, or difficulty in being productive or active. These can all contribute to a cumulative deterioration of health and overall well-being. If you are not feeling physically healthy, it may be harder to find the courage and resilience to help you get through the trials of assisted reproduction.

Side Effects of Fertility Medications

Though far less serious than the aforementioned concerns, you may also experience some side effects if you are taking fertility medication. The most common are:·   breast tenderness·   hot flashes·   headache·   upset stomach·   bloating·   mood swingsFertility drugs may also involve health risks, most notably:·   Multiple pregnancies·   Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)These effects will vary significantly by the drug taken, the dosage, and the individual. Your doctor can walk you through medication considerations.All of these potential side effects and health risks are not welcome news to anyone already managing anxiety and other infertility-related health concerns. However, these medications are all FDA-approved and have a proven track record of successfully helping achieve pregnancy. The benefits are considered to outweigh far the potential side effects and risks of these medications.On the other hand, fertility medications may offer a subtle boost to your mental well-being: they can provide peace of mind that you are doing everything possible to achieve conception.

Finding Infertility Support

Research has shown that participation in counseling that teaches coping tools for managing infertility-related stress is associated with significantly reduced emotional distress and even increased pregnancy rates in response to fertility treatment.  

Finding Personal Support

Couple struggling with infertility seeking mental health support for depression and anxiety

Professional one-on-one counseling can help you become more aware of your mental state and develop strategies for dealing with difficult emotions. A counselor with experience and specialized training in helping with fertility challenges is the ideal type of therapist to help, though many different types of therapeutic professionals can help. These include psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and life coaches. One-on-one therapists are particularly useful when you feel withdrawn or are having trouble communicating what you are feeling.

Group Support

Connecting with others is the best way to beat the stigma, secrecy, and isolation that so often make infertility painful.Research has consistently shown that group therapy – sharing your experience in a safe, non-judgmental forum – is one of the most effective forms of therapy available. Some groups may be led by professionals, while others are organized by members. In a cohort of people with the same fertility struggles, participants are typically eager to share their experiences and pool together information, including how they have coped with various infertility-related challenges. Within these support groups, powerful, lasting relationships are often formed.

Partner Support

If you are in a relationship with a significant other,  support from your partner is critical throughout this process. Depression and infertility-related stress can result in distancing and reduced communication. Couples therapy is a healthy way to improve communication in a constructive, mediated space.Some are surprised to find that their partner may be feeling helpless, worried, or upset – yet doesn’t feel like they should keep this to themselves so they can be “strong” for you. Even more of a surprise may be that your partner wants to better support you -- but doesn’t always know how. Therapists can help identify the best ways for partners to support one another.When someone we care about is experiencing difficult emotions, our first instinct may be to try to “fix” the situation. But often, what most people need most in these times is empathy - to be heard, without judgment, by someone who cares.A therapist can help you practice empathic listening. This can help partners validate one another’s feelings without trying to change them. Simply listening to your partner can be the best medicine of all.

Web Resources

A good starting point to learn more about support options is this fact sheet from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.The National Infertility Association offers a wealth of coping techniques and practical tips, such as scripts that can help you prepare for – and no longer fear – conversations with family members about future children.

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When Should I Opt For IVF

Infertility Resources & Support

When Should I Opt For IVF

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is a procedure in which male infertility is addressed in an exceptionally direct manner: the sperm is placed directly into the woman's uterus, making sperm motility problems irrelevant. The effect is to remove the factor of the sperm's having to swim any significant distance to fertilize the egg. It's such a straightforward act of engineering that it would be easy to imagine that nothing would supersede it.

Today, however, there is a procedure that has gained a foothold over IUI. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) isn't exactly new, but it has long passed the stage during which it seemed more like a science experiment than a convenient, cost-effective way to boost male fertility. In IVF the egg is oxandrolon removed, allowing fertilization to take place in a controlled environment under the watchful eye of the fertility doctor. Upon fertilization, the embryo itself, rather than simply sperm, is introduced into the woman's uterus.

The procedure is only moderately more invasive than IUI and offers significant advantages by having the actual fertilization take place outside the body. One of these advantages is price. IVF is typically more expensive than IUI but the controlled environment facilitates the creation of extra embryos that can be stored and used at a later time. This way, the procedure doesn't need to be repeated each time the couple wants to attempt to have a child.

Before attempting any such procedure, it's best to exhaust all "natural" ways to improve the chances for a successful pregnancy.

Boosting Fertility

Men, in particular, should reduce their intake of tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs - including prescription drugs where possible. These substances have been shown to have impair sperm motility and sperm count. As difficult as it can be for many of us to cut out the cigarettes, weed, booze, or pills, it's always easier to try this before scheduling a round of visits to the fertility specialist and paying several thousand dollars.

Men should look to increase their levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and reduce their levels of estrogen. Several foods, including some that are often categorized as "health foods." These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Soybeans and soybean-derived foods, including tofu and tempeh.
  • Sesame seeds.
  • Cruciferous vegetables.
  • Wheat bran.
  • Dried fruit.
  • Peaches.
  • Berries, including strawberries, cranberries and raspberries.
  • Wheat bran.
  • Garlic.

Many of these foods are known to be so nutritious that they might seem indispensable to your personal diet. Even the phytoestrogens they usually contain are often full of vitamins and minerals the body needs - vitamins and minerals that, considered in isolation, are actually good for reproductive health. But those phytoestrogens do enhance the production of estrogen in ways that inhibit fertility.

Beyond Diet: IUI vs IVF

Since reducing their presence in your diet is far less expensive and less invasive than any therapy, it's worth giving it a try first. But if this isn't enough, it's good to know that more direct therapies are available. This is the point at which you should evaluate the respective virtues of IUI and IVF.

IUI retains several advantages. It is typically less chemically invasive, and can be performed without any medication whatsoever. Some medication, such as fertility drugs clomiphene or Gonadotropin, may be used to stimulate ovulation. Doing so increases the number of eggs, which, in turn, increases the chances for successful fertilization.

IUI can be a simple procedure, but with that simplicity comes a reduced chance of conception. At its most optimal - "optimal" meaning a young , healthy prospective mother, the use of more drugs, more visits, and more expense - the chances are a mere 20%. This is at the low end of the 20%-25% range for natural conception.

The release of more eggs into the relatively uncontrolled environment of the womb also means that there's no way to influence the number of eggs that end up being fertilized. This means that with IUI, there is a significantly increased chance of twins, triplets, and even more multiples.

One of IVF's advantages is precisely that it's apparent disadvantages, respective to IUI, are so often mitigated by other factors. IUI can be performed without the use of fertility drugs and their occasional side effects - but only by lowering the chances of conception to well below 20%. IUI can be less expensive - but IVF often creates extra embryos for future children without having to go through treatment again, lowering cost ultimately.

Meanwhile, IVF is the procedure of choice for those who cannot be "optimal" simply because the woman who provides the eggs might be somewhat older. Further, with greater clinical control comes a reduced chance of multiples.

The great advantage of IVF is its 40% conception rate. For a growing majority of couples seeking conception, this is the factor that matters. IVF is the choice for those whose highest priority is a successful conception.  

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8 Essential Things You Should Know About STDs and Fertility

Infertility Resources & Support

8 Essential Things You Should Know About STDs and Fertility

Especially when a person or couple is trying to conceive, efforts to be as healthy and fertile as possible are often made into consistent habits. Things like eating healthy, making sure exercise is a priority, and staying away from alcohol and smoking are often lifestyle changes and precautions that are taken early on, to help maintain optimal health throughout the pregnancy process.

However, as around 13% of couples find out, conceiving a baby can often be much more difficult than previously thought. For some of these individuals and couples facing fertility challenges, this could be due to issues (or previous issues) with sexually transmitted diseases. For many, these are often unknown to the individuals and, unbeknownst to them, can carry consequences far after an STD was passed on to them. 

So, what are some things that you need to know about sexually transmitted pillole ritardanti infections and you (or your partner’s) fertility? 

There are not always symptoms:

Especially when it comes to STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, symptoms are not always obvious or present at all. In fact, these particular STDs are two of the leading causes of infertility in the United States, often because the diseases went undetected. In cases like these, the disease can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing other issues like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and making it difficult to get pregnant in the long run.

While both of these are easily treatable with antibiotics, it’s when they’re left untreated or undetected that the majority of problems come into play, and can lead to infertility.

When symptoms are present, they’re important to recognize:

In general, it’s important to monitor your sexual health so that you’re in-the-know when it comes to your own body. With this in mind, it’s just as imperative to get the opinion of a doctor if you feel something could be amiss. If you’re sexually active and have any of the following symptoms, it’s probably time to get checked out by a physician:  

  1. Sores or bumps on genitals or rectal area
  2. Pain during sex
  3. Unusual discharge from the penis or vagina
  4. Pain in the lower abdomen
  5. Unusual vaginal bleeding 
  6. Painful urination
  7. Rash on the hands, feet or trunk

At the end of the day, remember— It’s better to be safe than sorry.

STDs are Preventable:

Although fertility can certainly be affected by sexually transmitted diseases, the good news is, they’re definitely preventable. Although the only way to be 100% sure is the abstain from sex in the first place, there are a number of precautions that you can take, before you’re looking to conceive a child, in an effort to maintain your sexual health. These can include: 

  1. Condoms
  2. Frequent testing
  3. Getting vaccinated for eligible diseases (such as HPV) 

Ensuring you wash thoroughly before and after intercourse.

STD infertility can affect men, as well as women:

Although when the subject of infertility is brought up, it’s often women’s issues that come to mind, conception issues caused by STDs can affect men directly as well. In fact, when it comes to chlamydia and gonorrhea, for example, men can suffer repricutious similar to women. In males, these diseases can even result in something called epididymitis, or a painful swelling and inflammation of the tubes attached to the testicles. When untreated, this can lead to sexual health issues, as well as infertility in extreme cases.

Testing is Imperative:

Even if you’re not actively trying to conceive a child, chances are, you may at least want the option in the future. This makes it absolutely essential that, if you’re sexually active, you get tested often and regularly. Not only can this help to catch diseases before they become more serious, but it can also help you to identify any issues that may not be producing any symptoms. This can help to protect your fertility in the long run, as well as prevent you from spreading an STD that you may not know you have.

Staying in close communication with your doctor is essential:

According to the CDC, there are about 20 million new STD infections every year. Especially if you do get diagnosed with an STD at some point, it’s important to maintain clear and open communication with your doctor. When it comes to fertility, you’ll want to ensure that you know any and all repercussions, risks, and options that you have for the future. 

Conceiving a child, especially when fertility is proving itself to be an issue, can drum up a number of emotions. However, what’s important is to stay educated on the things that could potentially affect your fertility, know signs and symptoms to look out for, and stay in close communication with your doctor. Not only can this help you to get past any obstacles you may be facing, but it can also help you to make the right decisions for you and/or your partner moving forward.

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5 Ways to Boost Male Fertility & Increase Sperm Count

Infertility Resources & Support

5 Ways to Boost Male Fertility & Increase Sperm Count

While conceiving a child can be unplanned, quick or easy for some couples, for others, it can be a difficult process. In fact, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for every 100 couples in the US, about 12 or 13 have trouble becoming pregnant. This can be due to a number of different factors, related to both female and male fertility issues.

According to the HHS, “about one-third of infertility cases are caused by fertility problems in women, and another one-third of fertility problems are due to fertility problems in men. The other cases are caused by a mixture of male and female problems or by problems that cannot be determined.”

For men, many of these fertility issues can be due to a lowered sperm count and, in general, lower overall fertility— both important factors when it comes to creating a viable pregnancy. However, there are a number of different ways that men can increase their chances of conceiving a child with their partner.

 

  1. Avoid Smoking and drug use

    When it comes to ensuring sperm are strong and active, avoiding smoking, vaping and drug use is a must. A number of studies have actually shown that smokers have a lower overall sperm quality than non-smokers. LIkewise, in studies focused on drug use with substances like marijuana, cocaine, steroids and even prescription drugs, their use has been linked to Bodybuilding motivation - SACRIFICE brand mecleods epic bodybuilding motivation changes in certain levels of hormones within the male body, impairing sperm production, sperm’s motility, and overall fertility.


  2. Get enough Vitamin D

    Being in the great outdoors can be a huge mood elevator, but it can also give a big boost when it comes to male fertility. The primary way that most people get vitamin D is by being outside and exposing themselves to sunlight. When the sunlight hits your skin, vitamin D synthesis begins, a process that helps humans with bone, muscle and even mental health.

    However, even with outdoor time, most people are actually vitamin D deficient. This is why many physicians recommend a supplement of at least 25,000 IUs per week, for both men and women.

    When it comes to male fertility in particular, vitamin D has been shown to increase the levels of calcium found in sperm. This, in turn, makes sperm more active, mobile, and thus, more likely to result in fusion with a woman’s egg.


  3. Limit soy consumption

    Soy sauce, tofu and soymilk might all seem like healthy additions to a man’s diet, but when it comes to boosting sperm count, soy products may be something to avoid. Soy has been linked with estrogen production, a hormone that could affect overall sperm production. In fact, according to one study, “men who ate the most soy had 41 million fewer sperm per milliliter of semen compared with men who did not eat soy foods. Normal sperm counts range between 80 million and 120 million per milliliter.”

  4. Eat foods rich in antioxidants

    A healthy diet is imperative when it comes to increasing the chances of a couple having a child. Not only is this great for overall health, it can substantially help to boost the number of active sperm a man produces. Even more specifically, foods that are high in antioxidants can be particularly helpful. Antioxidants are special compounds that can help to slow cell damage caused by free radicals.

    Some foods high in antioxidants can include:

    — Green vegetables
    — Nuts
    — Dark chocolate
    — Artichokes
    — Apples
    — Broccoli
    — Strawberries
    — And many more.


  5. Limit alcohol

    Having a beer after a tough day, or sipping on a nice glass of scotch on the weekend is something that many men look forward to. However, too much alcohol can have a negative effect on sperm count and fertility. Alcohol has been shown to increase estrogen levels and decrease testosterone, which can both be detrimental when a couple is trying to get pregnant. Likewise, too much booze can lower sperm count, play a role in sperm morbidity, and can damage overall quality.

 

5 Ways to Boost Male Fertility & Increase Sperm Count
There are a large number of factors that can each play their own roles when it comes to getting pregnant. By exercising, eating right and getting enough vitamins, men can better their chances of conceiving a child with their partner by increasing their sperm health and count. By making healthy choices as much as possible throughout the process, men can help to increase the chances of their partner conceiving quickly, and having a healthy pregnancy.

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Four Toxic Chemicals That Can Impact Fertility

Infertility Resources & Support

Four Toxic Chemicals That Can Impact Fertility

The road to pregnancy can be a happy, joyous time. For others, it can be one of the most trying times of their lives, testing their patience in a roller coaster of emotions. In either scenario, it’s not rare for people to make sure they’re making good choices to be as healthy as possible, helping them to increase their fertility and the likelihood of becoming pregnant.

While everyone is exposed to a number of different chemicals every day, when trying to get pregnant, these chemicals can have a negative impact on overall fertility and conception efforts. What’s even more tricky is that these chemicals aren’t always easily identifiable. Often, they’re lurking in the air, in the items we use on our bodies, and even in our food, all unknowingly. While it’s easy to avoid the toxins that are obvious, some of these hidden compounds can be much more difficult when it comes to steering clear.

There are a number of toxic chemicals that can have a negative impact on conception and fertility, but there are a few that can be particularly harmful and, unfortunately, common throughout our homes and environment. These include:

  • Bisphenols (BPA)

    You may have heard of BPAs over the years, but not know exactly what they are or where they’re found. Bisphenols are compounds that are used in a variety of plastic products, and often, can even spread into food if it’s stored within a container made with it. BPA is utilized to help with corrosion and/or reactions between containers and food, but has been linked to male impotence, fertility issues, and even heart problems. To avoid BPA, look for plastics that specifically label themselves as “BPA free”, or glass containers.

  • Parabens

    Parabens are preservatives that are typically an ingredient in a variety of different products, including cosmetics and hair care. They can even be found in foods like jellies, jams, processed vegetables, and pickles. Although parabens are widely present, across a large number of different products and brands, they can be detrimental when it comes to fertility and conception. Parabens have been linked with allergies, breast cancer, rashes, blisters, and when exposed during pregnancy, to infant weight gain that can lead to adulthood obesity.

  • Pesticides

    Although pesticides can be found in places as common as a household garden, they are often used in much larger capacities. Pesticides are used to deter pests from damaging crops, and are often present on foods, like produce, that are purchased from the grocery store. They can also be difficult to get off of produce, as a simple wash with water doesn’t always completely rid fruits and veggies of their traces. Pesticides have been linked with a reduction in fertility, and when a woman is pregnant, have even been thought to lead to miscarriages.
  • Heavy Metals

    Some examples of heavy metals can include lead, arsenic and aluminum. These can often occur in the air that we breathe, in contaminated foods, household products, and even cigarettes. Studies have shown that too much exposure to these metals can lead to trouble conceiving due to pregnancy delay, reduced sperm count, and even reduced sperm mobility.

Although toxins are found all throughout our world, when trying to conceive a child, it’s important to avoid these as much as possible. While avoiding them completely may not always be an option, by limiting one’s exposure, the chances of negative impacts can be greatly reduced.

When trying to maximize your fertility, there are a number of different ways that one can limit their exposure to these chemicals. These can include quitting smoking, using only filtered water, ensuring your home is free of lead paint, and educating yourself on other dangerous chemicals that could be present throughout your environment.

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Drinking and infertility - How Alcohol Affects Fertility

Infertility Resources & Support

Drinking and infertility - How Alcohol Affects Fertility

If you’ve been thinking about starting a family but have been having trouble conceiving, infertility may come to mind. While some factors are beyond your control, there are lifestyle choices that have a serious impact on your fertility. Alcohol and infertility have been proven to go hand in hand.Read on to learn more about the effects of alcohol on fertility:

What is Female Fertility

As a female, your fertility is your biological ability to conceive a child. Both you and your partner may question your fertility if you’e been trying to get pregnant. If you’ve been trying for over at least one year, or at least six months if you are over 35, there could be an underlying fertility issue. But what if you live a healthy lifestyle? You eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise regularly and only indulge once in a while? Enjoying an occasional cocktail usually doesn't cause infertility. However, alcohol and fertility can be the reason you're not able to conceive. In addition, you should know that insurance might not cover it.

Alcohol and Infertility in Females

If all underlying medical conditions known to cause infertility have been ruled out, you need to start looking at your lifestyle choices. While it's true that having an occasional glass of wine may actually be beneficial, exceeding the recommended guidelines can cause infertility. There is a direct link between consuming and alcohol and female infertility.Many studies now show that having even one drink a day can lower your fertility levels. If you’re consuming more than 10 drinks per week, your chances of becoming pregnant are even lower. Alcohol and infertility rates triple when one or both partners are heavy drinkers, not to mention the other medical problems you are at risk of developing.If you fall into this category, the effects of alcohol on fertility are staggering. Knowing how much is too much is key.The ongoing affects of alcohol and infertility in females is far deeper than simply abstaining for a few days. Since many women don't find out they are pregnant until a month or two after conception, the CDC recommends completely eliminating alcohol for at least four to six weeks before trying to conceive. If not you can inadvertently cause damage to the fetus and possibly even miscarry.

Alcohol and Male Infertility

Keep in mind that it’s not only female fertility that’s affected by alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol intake can significantly lower testosterone levels and sperms quantity and quality in males. It can also reduce libido and even cause impotence. If your partner is a heavy drinker, it can negatively impact your ability to conceive. However, the reduction or elimination of alcohol consumption can quickly reverse the ill-effects of alcohol.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Heavy drinking can also impact your fertility indirectly. Women who drink even moderate amounts of alcohol are at higher risk of ovulation disorders. Moreover, the indirect damage done to the liver and other internal organs have a direct link to alcohol and fertility levels. Finally, alcohol and male infertility is usually considered taboo to talk about. Women are the ones who carry the baby, so why do men need to abstain? Simply put, the overall health of their sperm and themselves counts on it.

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Pregnancy After Miscarriage - How to Get Pregnant Again

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Pregnancy After Miscarriage - How to Get Pregnant Again

If you've already had a miscarriage, you might be concerned about conceiving another child. While this is a concern that troubles many women, you shouldn't let that get in the way of your desire to have a family. By understanding more about pregnancy after miscarriage, you'll be better prepared to have a more successful pregnancy.

Does One Miscarriage Mean You'll Have Another?

The causes of a miscarriage vary and, in many cases, the cause is left undiscovered, but this doesn't necessarily mean you'll have another one. In the most general terms, a miscarriage is the loss of a baby before the 20th week, which is the result of an abnormally developing fetus. In almost half of the instances, the miscarriage results from chromosomal problems in the fetus, which has little to do with the genetics of the parents. Since it's more a matter of chance, there's no reason to suspect that getting pregnant after miscarriage will result in another failed pregnancy. Getting professional help can improve your chances of a successful pregnancy.

A Closer Look at the Odds

In fact, research shows that less than 1% of women who have previously miscarried will have a second miscarriage. While your doctor or fertility specialist can speak to your specific situation, there's a 14% of having a second miscarriage. That rate rises to 26% for a third miscarriage with women who have previously had two miscarriages. While your chances of getting pregnant after miscarriage drop with a history of miscarriages, you should not be overly concerned about having a second miscarriage. So, while the question of can you get pregnant after a miscarriage may change with additional miscarriages, you shouldn't let one miscarriage sway you from trying to conceive.

How Soon After a Miscarriage Can You Get Pregnant?

The answer to this question largely depends on you and your partner. Before discussing the medical restrictions, it's important to note that feelings of grief, loss, and anger may play a part in determining when you'll be ready to try again. From a physiological standpoint, your doctor or fertility specialist will probably advise you to abstain from sexual activity for at least the first two weeks following the miscarriage. This is to prevent infection. It should also be noted that it can take up to six weeks for your menstrual cycle to resume and you can conceive through this period.

When Should You and Your Partner Try Again?

If you're still nervous about how long to get pregnant after miscarriage, it may help to know that it essentially comes down to a personal choice. However, research has found that women who conceive within six months of their miscarriage experience fewer complications than those who wait. While you may ask your doctor how long after miscarriage can I get pregnant, he will likely recommend trying again as soon as you feel up to it. However, if you have had more than one miscarriage already, your doctor may recommend fertility testing and other exams to ensure you're healthy and capable of carrying a pregnancy to term.

Getting Tested May Be a Wise Precaution

If you have had two or more miscarriages or if you're concerned about passing on genetic defects, it may help to get tested by a fertility specialist or your OB/GYN caregiver. A simple blood test is one way to identify hormonal problems that can affect your ability to have a successful pregnancy. Additionally, you and your partner may be asked to undergo chromosomal tests. These tests will determine if either of you are passing genetic defects on to your child. Other exams can also be conducted to determine if there are physical abnormalities in your body, which may affect your ability to conceive and carry a healthy baby.If you have had a miscarriage in the past, there's no reason to assume you cannot have a baby. Once you and your partner decide to try again, the first thing you should do is discuss your hope of having a baby with your doctor. Your physician can guide you and offer recommendations to improve your chances of having a healthy baby.

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Infertility is Killing My Marriage: Break the Curse

Infertility Resources & Support

Infertility is Killing My Marriage: Break the Curse

Infertility can be extremely difficult on a marriage. There are strong emotions that come with such brutal news that cause infertility issues marriage. Luckily, there are things that you can do to handle the news properly and make your marriage better than ever.

1. Find a good fertility clinic

Find a good fertility clinic in Scottsdale. You probably have questions, so you can get all of the answers that you need. If you think "infertility is killing my marriage", you can learn do you have to be married to get fertility treatment? If you want to move forward, the advanced fertility clinic can help you move over.

2. Artificial insemination

One of the popular options today is artificial insemination. Clinics can grow an embryo successfully for up to five days. In this time, the doctors can determine which embryos have the greatest likelihood of success. Talk to your doctor to see if this is an option for you!

3. Surrogate

Many people decide to hire a surrogate who can carry the baby for them. This can be an expensive option, but a fertile woman would be able to carry your baby safely and successfully for you. You could post an ad to interview potential candidates and find one that you are comfortable with.

4. Decide not to have children

One of the possibilities is to cope with the idea of not having children. If having children was always part of the plan for you, this might not be an option. However, it's something to consider.

5. Foster children

There are older children in the foster system who need a place to live. Many of these children have gone through some trauma, and they could really use stability and a safe home. Be prepared for the children to only stay with you for a small amount of time, though.

6. Adoption

Many people have children that they can't care for. These children need someone with a big heart and room in their home to care for them. Not only will you be doing a great thing for the child, but it can give you the child that you've always wanted.

7. Counseling

Everyone can use counseling. It's extremely helpful during such a stressful time. Keep an open mind and actually give therapy a chance. This is especially useful when you and your partner cannot come to an agreement on how to handle the situation.Having children is one of the great joys in the world. However, it's not for everyone. The best thing you can do is get educated and come to an agreement with your partner on how to move forward.

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10 Myths About the Causes of Infertility

Infertility Resources & Support

10 Myths About the Causes of Infertility

Help is available to couples who have trouble conceiving, and our fertility clinic Phoenix AZ helps people overcome infertility with a very high success rate. The first step to conquering infertility is often simply developing a better understanding of it. Here are 10 common myths about what causes infertility.

1. The woman is the problem.

Women and men both experience fertility problems. When helping couples conceive, doctors don't just look for signs of infertility in women. Both partners should visit the doctor.

2. Age causes infertility, so we should be fine.

Fertility decreases with age in both men and women, but young couples can and do have trouble conceiving. In fact, a woman's odds of getting pregnant start to decrease slightly around the age of 27.

3. He just needs different underwear.

Excessive heat such as that found in a hot tub can decrease a man's sperm count. Research has conclusively proven, however, that briefs and tight underwear that hold the testicles close to the body have no impact on male fertility. A man who prefers briefs to boxers is not damaging his sperm, which will still be viable for both traditional conception and use in artificial insemination.

4. You're just too stressed out to conceive. Relax.

Stress is not one of the signs of infertility. High stress levels can interfere with hormones and delay the release of an egg, but it doesn't cause infertility. A delayed egg release can make timing a bit trickier, but that's all it will do.

5. You're having trouble because you stayed on the pill too long.

Birth control pills use hormones to prevent ovulation. When a woman stops taking the pill, her hormone levels return to normal and the ovaries again begin releasing eggs. Birth control pills don't interfere with fertility, no matter how long you take them. Most women can conceive about a month after stopping the pill.

6. Lifestyle choices don't cause infertility. It's simply luck of the draw.

Women who are extremely underweight or overweight with a BMI of 30 or more often have trouble conceiving. Overweight men, too, often experience fertility problems. A healthy weight and balanced diet will help you conceive. So can quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and refraining from illicit drug use. Medications and medical conditions like diabetes play a role too, so talk to your doctor. Restoring fertility is sometimes as simple as a medication change.

7. You waited too long to have children.

Fertility does decrease with age, but people have healthy babies well into their forties and sometimes beyond. Even if age makes natural conception difficult, older couples often have great success turning to affordable IVF.

8. You just don't have sex enough.

More sex does mean more opportunities to get pregnant, but you need not force the issue or have sex every day to conceive. Healthy sperm in viable cervical fluid can survive up to five days, and women can get pregnant up to five days before and two days after ovulating. Sex every other day is a good idea when trying to conceive, but all the sex in the world won't solve fertility issues.

9. Vasectomy reversals never work. You just can't have a baby now.

It's true that The longer a man waits to have a vasectomy reversed, the lower the odds are that the procedure will work to restore fertility. A vasectomy reversal can provide a more than 50 percent chance of fathering a child, however, so never assume a vasectomy ruined your fertility forever.

10. Infertility is genetic, especially in men.

This myth is common but illogical. There are some genetic conditions that affect fertility, but if infertility were always genetic, you probably wouldn't be here today. Infertile families would fail to produce any heirs and the genetic traits that cause infertility wouldn't be passed on, eventually phasing out of the gene pool.

Conclusion

Whatever the reasons for infertility, many people believe that seeking the help of a fertility clinic always results in multiple births or IVF. These beliefs are myths too, however. Your options for treating infertility vary greatly and may include IVF. Other options are plentiful, however, and include lifestyle changes, artificial insemination and even embryo adoption. Getting help may also cost less than you fear if you find a cheap gynecologist who is more interested in helping infertile couples than getting rich off of them. If you're struggling with infertility, reach out and learn about all the options available to you. You may be pleasantly surprised.

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