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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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How to Decide Between IUI and IVF

Fertility Treatments

How to Decide Between IUI and IVF

Millions of Americans are impacted by fertility challenges each year. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that roughly 9 percent of men and 11 percent of women have had fertility problems of varying severity. These fertility struggles may get in the way of people’s dreams, and they can have a devastating impact, if left unaddressed, on both individuals’ and couples’ mental and emotional health. Fertility challenges may not be the only reason people consider fertility treatments. For example, many people who are single by choice, as well as LGBTQ+ couples, may see fertility treatments as their best road to building their family.

Fertility Treatments Are Available To You

If you’re struggling to conceive, the good news is that there are treatment options available that could help you realize your dreams of parenthood. Two of the most common treatment choices are intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization. In this article, we discuss these two fertility treatment options in greater detail and compare the pros and cons of each one while recognizing that patients’ ultimate decisions are highly personal.  

What is IUI?

Intrauterine insemination, also referred to as IUI, is an increasingly popular fertility treatment that can be used as an initial intervention when people have trouble trying to conceive. One of the selling points of IUI is that it is dramatically less expensive than a treatment like IVF. Even though IUI treatments often include medications, like Clomid, to encourage ovulation, many see it as a less intensive or invasive treatment than IVF. You may find yourself wondering what happens in IUI. The answer is quite simple. Washed sperm from a partner or a donor will be inserted directly into the uterus. This means that the sperm will have less distance to travel to meet a released egg, and hopefully, it means that the likelihood of a pregnancy increases. IUI is a common first step for many couples struggling to get pregnant, single parents by choice, or others using donor sperm.

Fertility Specialist consultation for IUI and IVF

Although you may not need a highly qualified reproductive specialist for a successful IUI, there are many reasons why you might consider working with one. This way, you will have an established relationship with a fertility physician if you need to consider other interventions down the road. A reproductive specialist can also provide any necessary testing to help you determine why you may be experiencing challenges on your fertility journey. Many find that an initial evaluation from a fertility specialist can provide a fuller picture of their fertility status and better understand their best options to move forward.

What is IVF?

IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a well-known type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that’s helped thousands of people worldwide have the family of their dreams. IVF involves fertilizing eggs in the laboratory and transferring created embryos to a uterus. The process involves extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and combining an egg and sperm in the laboratory to help fertilization and embryo creation.The first step in an IVF cycle is ovarian stimulation, which is where synthetic hormones are injected to stimulate the ovaries so that they can produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs mature, it’s time for follicular aspiration, also known as egg retrieval, when a needle is inserted into one or both ovaries to retrieve the eggs. After that, the egg is fertilized with sperm provided by a partner or donor. Once this has happened, medications are administered to the person planning to carry the pregnancy to prime the environment for a healthy pregnancy. The embryo is then transferred into the uterus. If any other embryos were created, they may be frozen and kept in storage for future use.

What Are the Main Differences between IVF and IUI?

There are multiple differences between in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination. A few of the  most significant differences are highlighted below:

#1 The Extensiveness of the Process

IVF is considered more involved and has more stages in the process than IUI. This includes egg retrieval, which can be uncomfortable or painful for the patient. Many of these steps happen in a laboratory before the embryo is transplanted back into the uterus.

#2 What Is Treated  

As we will explore in more detail below, there are some situations in which IUI may be appropriate, and there are others where providers may recommend IVF. Remember, everyone’s fertility journey looks different, depending on numerous factors, and there is no single perfect answer for everyone.

#3 How Much It Costs

The price of IVF and IUI may vary depending on where you live and various factors. IVF is usually costlier than IUI. Depending on the clinic you are using and the accompanying treatments you may need, IUI may cost less than $1,000 per attempt, and IVF is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $30,000 per attempt. This price differential explains, at least in part, why some doctors recommend starting with intrauterine insemination as an initial fertility treatment.

#4 The Length of the Process

There is no easy or perfect answer for how long it will take someone to get pregnant. Some medical experts suggest that your success rate with IUI will be about 15 to 20 percent per try. However, your odds jump significantly if you decide to go the IVF route. In this case, your likelihood of a successful overall outcome is between 30 and 60%, depending on the woman's age. The chance of a successful pregnancy from one round of IVF can vary depending on the underlying source of infertility. For example, advanced maternal age, which describes people over the age of 35 during pregnancy, may be one factor that significantly lowers the success rate. Although these factors impact many people's decisions when discussing their treatment options and plan, there is also a psychological and emotional toll to every cycle without a successful pregnancy to be carefully considered.

When Is IUI a Better Choice than IVF?

As stated above, IUI is less expensive than IVF treatment. However, there are two caveats here. First, the budget should never be the sole determinant of your reproductive health. It is important to talk to skilled fertility practitioners and see what they recommend for your unique circumstances. Second, the attractive prices quoted above were for a single round of IUI. However, given the relatively low success rate per cycle, many patients need to undergo multiple treatment rounds, and the cost can accumulate cycle after cycle.In addition to very valid cost considerations, some other factors could nudge you to consider IUI. If, after testing, doctors are still unsure about the source of your infertility, then this treatment option could be a good starting point. If it does not work, you can always move to another option, like IVF. It may be a good idea to discuss how many cycles you are willing to try before changing your approach with your provider ahead of time. This can help with future decision-making when in the midst of fertility treatment. Also, IUI can be a great option if the fertility challenges you're experiencing have been determined to be caused by sperm motility issues. The IUI process puts the sperm and the egg in much greater proximity, upping the likelihood of success. However, this may only be effective if the motility reduction is mild or moderate. More severe cases of sperm motility issues may require a greater amount of intervention, such as IVF or ICSI.

When Is IVF a Better Choice than IUI?

IVF successful pregnancy

Even though IUI is an excellent choice for many people, especially those with unexplained infertility, it may not help everyone achieve the family of their dreams. In these cases, it might be time to consider IVF. For instance, if fertility testing shows that the source of infertility is fallopian tube scarring, IVF might be a better choice. This creates an issue because the egg cannot make it to the uterus for fertilization. IVF treatment bypasses this issue by uniting the sperm and egg in the controlled environment of a laboratory dish. IVF treatment also allows for the opportunity to utilize genetic testing. With Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), medical professionals can test embryos for a wide range of genetic and chromosomal conditions and only implant the healthy embryos. In many cases, undergoing IVF with PGT can significantly increase the chance of having a healthy baby. Another reason why IVF may be a better choice is if sperm quality and/or motility are very low. The controlled environment of a lab with IVF may be the only way to achieve fertilization. However, even placing the sperm closer to the egg, like with IUI, may not be enough to achieve fertilization. In some cases, it may be recommended to utilize intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI. During ICSI, a single sperm is directly injected into the egg, which can greatly improve the fertilization rate. IVF may also be recommended for someone dealing with endometriosis or if the patient has experienced multiple miscarriages at any stage of pregnancy.  

Reach Out to Advanced Fertility Care

At Advanced Fertility Care, our highly qualified team of medical specialists prides itself on being the best at helping people realize their dreams of parenthood. Set up your initial consultation today to learn how our team can guide you in this journey. We understand that everyone’s fertility journey is unique, and we will work with you to set up a treatment plan that transforms your dreams into reality.

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How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby – Naturally – 5 Simple Steps

Surrogacy

How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby – Naturally – 5 Simple Steps

Choose The Sex of Your Baby The Natural Way

One of life’s biggest miracles has to be bringing a child into the world, and while many may argue that gender is not a factor, provided the baby is healthy, there are some couples who have their hearts set on having a little girl or boy. In saying that, however, is there a way to predetermine the sex of an unborn child? In this article, we take a closer look at this topic, examining what is real versus what is, by and large, wishful thinking.

How to Choose The Gender of Your Baby Naturally

According to rbmojournal.com, an online resource covering topics related to biological and clinical research on human reproduction, your diet can play a significant role in not only your baby’s health but also their sex. For example, it has been shown that diet rich in magnesium and calcium, while low in sodium and potassium, can increase your chances of having a girl. Similar findings were also shown amongst those who added acidic foods to their diet, primarily blueberries, pomegranates, and other fruits with have levels of acidity. As far as improving the odds of conceiving a baby boy, the study found that eating foods rich in potassium could put the odds in your favor. Along with potassium, foods containing alkaline were considered to be similarly beneficial with respect to choosing the sex of your baby naturally.

Pick Baby Gender With Creative Sex Positions

Although this may make many of us blush, studies have shown that specific sex positions, along with the time of intercourse, can play a role in whether we conceive a boy or a girl. It should be noted that there is no scientific data to substantiate these claims, but many believe that sexual positions and shallow penetration are the keys to conceiving a baby girl.

How does this work, exactly? It is believed that shallow penetrations will allow sperm to settle closest to the entrance of the vagina where acidity levels are highest. This combination has been said to improve the odds of having a girl over a boy. Conversely, deeper penetrations with sperm being deposited closer to the cervix can improve the chances of having a boy.

Is Choosing The Sex of Baby All About Timing?

While choosing the right position can increase the odds of having a boy or girl, the time that you have sex can be equally important. For example, having sex around ovulation can increase your chances of having a boy while having sex several days out from ovulation means you’re more likely to conceive a girl.

Can You Plan The Gender of Your Baby With Artificial Insemination

Artificial insemination may be the closest we can get to ever choosing the sex of a baby naturally; with nascent technology called “Micro Sort,” sperm cells are separated based on X and Y chromosomes, meaning couple now have more say in the gender of their baby. How does this new technology work? Once prospective parents pick from an assortment of X or Y chromosomes, the sperms cells are then inserted via in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination.

Fate Versus Choosing Sex of Baby Naturally

When it’s all said and done, there are things that we can do to stack the proverbial cards in our favor, but there is no definitive answer when it comes the age-old question of how to choose the sex of your baby naturally. It often comes down to luck and, maybe to a lesser degree, what the universe has in store for you. Can you plan the gender of your baby? As detailed throughout this article, the answer is yes and no; however, there is a lot that you can do to ensure your baby is born healthy. How to choose the sex of your baby is a question that will continually be asked until science catches up with our desire to be parents.

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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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Is Artificial Insemination (IUI) Painful

Fertility Treatments

Is Artificial Insemination (IUI) Painful

Even though building your family could be relatively easy for some couples, it could be a devastating process for others.  Based on the latest CDC statistics, in the United States, among heterosexual women aged 15 to 49 years with no prior births, about 1 in 5 (19%) are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying (infertility). Also, about 1 in 4 (26%) women in this group have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term (impaired fecundity).

Infertility and impaired fecundity are less common among women with one or more prior births. In this group, about 6% of married women aged 15 to 49 years are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying and 14% have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.  

In the US, approximately 5-20% of couples experience infertility.

When you and your partner face infertility issues, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone and you have options. If you seek the assistance of a fertility specialist, they can provide guidance on your individual situation, including the best treatment options for you. In many cases, a technique or treatment that is recommended is artificial insemination.  

During artificial insemination (also known as intrauterine insemination or IUI), a doctor or healthcare provider will insert washed sperm into your uterus or cervix. Most commonly, IUI is where sperm is directly placed in your uterus. An IUI can increase the chance of a successful pregnancy because it shortens the time a sperm takes to the fallopian tube, where sperm and egg must meet to hopefully fertilize. Moreover, the IUI technique can tackle various fertility problems associated with male infertility, such as low sperm count or lower motility (less sperm that can swim appropriately) to get to the fallopian tubes. Some gynecologists may perform IUI procedures in their offices; however, this is rare. Therefore, most people with infertility seek specialized fertility care in a fertility clinic such as Advanced Fertility Care.

IUI Treatment Procedure

Consumption of Prescribed Medication

When undergoing IUI treatment, you are likely to be prescribed one of two oral medicines, Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) or Letrozole (Femara) which both work to stimulate the ovary to mature up to 3 or 4 per attempt. The medication works by causing the brain to release more Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) than it normally would, and these two hormones are needed for egg maturation. In addition, you will likely be prescribed an additional hormone injection called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to induce ovulation. These medications, in most cases, do not cause patients any pain except occasionally very short-lived discomfort at the HCG injection site. Rare side effects of the oral medications are emotional lability, dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea.

Monitoring of Ovulation

Transvaginal ultrasound monitoring of the egg development and growth during the treatment cycle is performed to determine the appropriate time for the HCG trigger shot for ovulation induction and timing of subsequent IUI. Some clinics may choose to rely on ovulation predictor kits to determine when IUI should be performed.  In these situations, you would be performing home urine LH tests to predict ovulation and timing of IUI.

Sperm Collection and Preparation

Sperm is typically collected from your male partner (or a sperm donor) either at home or in the clinic. Once collected, the semen is washed in the fertility clinic lab to separate sperm from the semen (the fluid that nourishes the sperm). This process is quite essential since it ensures that only sperms are injected into your uterus for successful fertilization.

Sperm Injection Process

The sperm injection is the main procedure in the IUI treatment process. The process, which primarily takes place within 2-3 minutes, involves injecting the collected sperm sample into your uterus after the provider inserts a speculum in the vagina to visualize the cervix. The actual insertion of the very thin catheter into the cervix for the release of sperm into the uterus is painless. However, depending on the person, some find any speculum exam to be uncomfortable for various reasons. However, it is the identical process used to perform speculum exams during the annual gynecological Pap Smear examination at the Ob/Gyn’s office. In most cases, some form of progesterone vaginal suppository or pill may be recommended to help with implantation after the IUI.

Pregnancy Test

After 14 days (about 2 weeks), a pregnancy test is usually done to determine the effectiveness of the entire process. If the pregnancy test is negative, you would be instructed to stop progesterone if you were using it and notify your practitioner once your period starts if you wish to initiate another treatment attempt.

What Are the Pains Associated with The Procedure?

Before undertaking an IUI procedure, it is highly recommended that you seek professional advice on some of the procedure's adverse effects. Generally speaking, the IUI treatment is painless. However, patients might have different experiences, with some having mild discomfort during the speculum examination, ultrasounds, or insemination itself, while others experience none of these side-effects.

Cramping and Light Bleeding

In general, most patients who undergo the treatment for the first time might feel discomfort when the sperm is injected into the uterus. You may experience a very quick pinching sensation and cramping when the catheter passes through your cervix, but this is usually exceedingly rare.  

The procedure only takes a matter of minutes so typically the discomfort is short-term. Pain and cramping are not expected to be severe. There may be some leakage of sperm into the vagina after the procedure and occasionally spotting as well from manipulation of the cervix.

Hot Flashes and Pinching Pain

In rare circumstances, women taking one of the oral medications may experience temporary hot flashes as a side effect of the prescribed medicine. Moreover, when the speculum is inserted in your vagina, you might experience some pressure that usually goes away immediately once the speculum is withdrawn from your vagina.

Is IUI painful?

Although patients have reported having pain-free IUIs and others have expressed their procedures were painful, the consensus is that although there may be some amount of minimal discomfort associated with an IUI procedure, it is very tolerable and very short-lived.

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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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Gestational Carrier Q&A: What is it & How Does it Work?

Surrogacy

Gestational Carrier Q&A: What is it & How Does it Work?

When it comes to becoming a parent, the process can certainly be rife with challenges for many people. However, for most obstacles to building your family, there are solutions that can help. 

For many couples, difficulty conceiving a child naturally can lead down a path where you have to consider starting your family using a gestational carrier or “surrogate”.

Q: What’s the difference between a gestational carrier and a surrogate? 

A: While many people may be more familiar with the term “surrogate,” there are key differences between the two. Technically speaking, a “true” surrogate is someone who chooses to become pregnant and carry a pregnancy for an intended couple by being inseminated with the intended parent’s sperm in order to fertilize their own egg (not the egg of the intended parent). This process results in the surrogate being the biological parent of the baby that is delivered and is considered illegal in most states and no longer offered as an option.  However, most people still colloquially call their gestational carrier their “surrogate”.

A gestational carrier has no blood or DNA relation with the child she carries and delivers. This is accomplished through in vitro fertilization (or IVF), which involves gathering the eggs and sperm of the intended parents, combining them in the laboratory thus creating embryos, and then transferring one or two of the resulting best quality embryos into the carrier. When necessary, embryos can also be created using donor eggs or donor sperm as well.

Q: Who may need to consider a gestational carrier? 

A: There are many reasons for someone to need to use a gestational carrier. Some of the most common reasons include :

  • Women who have had a hysterectomy (for any reason)
  • Women whose medical conditions make it unsafe or life-threatening for her to get pregnant
  • Couples where one partner does not have a uterus
  • Congenital or other abnormalities of the intended parent’s uterus that make carrying a pregnancy to term problematic or impossible

Q: What is the process like when utilizing a gestational carrier?

A: Often, a couple has a friend or family member who offers to carry their baby for them. Other times, they use a professional gestational carrier they found online or through an agency. In either circumstance, there are details and legal issues that need to be worked out. Contracts and payment agreements are chief among the important details. Because of the complexity involved, many intended parents choose to work with an agency to help guide them through the entire process, including finding the best match for them on their parenting journey. This is obviously more expensive than having someone you know carry for you. 

Once a potential carrier is identified, she needs to undergo health screening to make sure she is a suitable candidate for pregnancy. This will involve physical exams, blood tests, and procedures to make sure her uterus is normal. Partners of the gestational carriers also need to be screened for infectious diseases. A psychological evaluation is also performed, often with both the GC and the intended parents together to discuss the upcoming pregnancy. 

To create the embryos, the woman undergoes stimulation of her ovaries that takes about two weeks and then a short procedure to harvest the eggs. Other times, the eggs have been collected from an egg donor using the same process. They are then fertilized in the laboratory with sperm. Over the course of 5-6 days, the embryos that are created are cared for and observed. Many of the embryos that start out don’t continue to develop. The embryos that do continue to develop are then available for what is called an “embryo transfer”. Sometimes the embryos are frozen (“cryopreserved”) prior to transfer, for example when the couple creates the embryos before they have found a gestational carrier or before they know they need to use one. 

The gestational carrier also undergoes a process to prepare her uterus for implantation. There are many different ways this can be accomplished. There are protocols that don’t involve many medications (“natural” cycles). However, most of the time, the GC will need to be first on a form of estrogen (patches, pills, vaginal pills, injections) followed by progesterone (injections, vaginal creams or pills). The transfer of the embryos to the uterus would not feel much different than a pap smear. The big decision is how many embryos to transfer. Most of the time, it is recommended to only transfer one embryo to minimize the risks of getting pregnant with multiples. These protocols typically give really good pregnancy rates. Once pregnant, the gestational carrier would be treated just as anyone else who got pregnant without assistance. The intended parents will then have full legal custody once the child is born.

Q: How much does a gestational carrier typically cost?

A: The price of utilizing a gestational carrier will vary widely based on the situation and from person to person, and agency to agency. If your family member or friend carries the pregnancy, the main costs will be the cost of the IVF to create the embryos. You would of course decide how to compensate them.  If you need to use a professional gestational carrier, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50,000 - $150,000. This typically includes an agency’s fees, the carrier’s fee, the cost of IVF, counseling, support, medical fees, etc. There are a number of different potential costs that should be thoroughly weighed before actually entering into a contract with a carrier or agency.

Q: Who can become a gestational carrier?

A: Most agencies or clinics have their own guidelines for who would be a good candidate to become a gestational carrier. While these can vary, some of the requirements often include:

  • Being generally healthy
  • A healthy BMI
  • Being between the age of 21 and 40
  • No past major pregnancy complications
  • Not currently taking antidepressants or antianxiety medications
  • No prior drug or alcohol abuse
  • Having been successfully pregnant before is not an absolute requirement but is preferred

Q: What rights does a gestational carrier have? 

A: In short, typically, no parental rights whatsoever. While every gestational carrier-intended parent relationship is individually assessed and has its own individual contract, this is something that’s ensured from the very start. Many times, even professional gestational carriers and the new parents maintain contact after she has delivered since she has been such an important part of their lives. Other times, there is no contact with the GC after delivery.

Summary:

If you are considering using or for sure need to use a gestational carrier, you’re bound to have a number of questions and concerns. The good news is that using a gestational carrier is not unusual or rare. It is something that fertility clinics should be very prepared for and able to help you with. Agencies can also be a great resource and help you navigate the process.  Remember to do your research, read reviews, and look for agencies that have impeccable recommendations. Use a fertility clinic that handles gestational carrier situations frequently.  Not only will this help you to have the smoothest experience possible, but it will also ensure that your path to becoming a parent starts off in the best way possible. 

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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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