In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
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In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is where eggs and sperm from a couple are collected and joined together outside the body. For more information watch this video.
Transcript: Only five percent of couples with infertility problems have in vitro fertilization-but many of them are...
Only five percent of couples with infertility problems have in vitro fertilization-but many of them are rewarded with a baby. In vitro fertilization, or IVF, involves collecting eggs and sperm from a couple and joining them together outside the body. The embryos are then injected into the woman's uterus. IVF is expensive and invasive, and is not a first resort for infertile couples. However, if other treatment methods have not resulted in pregnancy, and your doctor decides that IVF is right for you, here's what you can expect. Your doctor will start by injecting you daily with fertility hormones. This will bolster your egg production. You will then be tested, either by an ultrasound or blood-work, to determine if your eggs are ready for retrieval. The eggs must be retrieved just before they emerge from the follicles in the ovaries. If the eggs are not taken out at the right time, they will not develop properly. When it's time for your egg removal, you will be at least mildly sedated. Your doctor will then use an ultrasound to locate and remove the eggs with a hollow needle. Immediately following the retrieval, your eggs will be mixed in a laboratory with your partner's sperm, which he will have donated shortly before. You will then go home to wait a few days for the fertilized eggs, or embryos, to reach a more advanced developmental stage. When the embryos are ready, you will return to your doctor to be injected with one or more of them. Luckily, injecting the fertilized embryos is less complex than harvesting your eggs. Your doctor will simply insert a catheter into your vagina and inject the fertilized eggs up into your uterus. Several hours later, you will be discharged to wait and see if the pregnancy has taken. To increase the chances of pregnancy, your doctor may recommend injecting up to four embryos at once. This can, however, result in multiple pregnancies, which may increase the health risks to both you and your babies. While age is a major factor in the success of IVF, about 35 percent of women under 40 who have the procedure will deliver a baby.More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-29 | Tags »
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If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, clomid may be able to help you. Watch this video to help you in understanding clomid.
Transcript: If you're having trouble getting pregnant, a drug called clomiphene may be your doctor's first recommendation.Clomiphene...
If you're having trouble getting pregnant, a drug called clomiphene may be your doctor's first recommendation.Clomiphene is a fertility medication sold under the brands Clomid and Serophene. This drug is usually prescribed for women who ovulate irregularly or not at all. Here's how clomiphene works for women: Several days into the menstrual cycle, you will take a pill every day for five days. The medication encourages your brain's hypothalamus to produce lutenizing hormone, which tells your ovaries to release eggs into your fallopian tubes. You'll generally ovulate between five and 12 days after you finish the last pill. During this time, your doctor will monitor you carefully to see whether your ovaries are preparing to release an egg. Clomiphene is quite effective at stimulating ovulation-in fact, 80 percent of women who take it ovulate within several cycles. (20) But ovulation does not guarantee conception, and only about 40 percent of women taking clomiphene actually get pregnant. Clomiphene can also help men who have a low sperm count or who have poor sperm quality. When a man takes Clomid, it encourages his pituitary gland to make lutenizing hormone, which tells the testicles to produce more testosterone, and possibly more sperm. Men take clomiphene in cycles that last from three to six months. Clomiphene is less expensive and invasive than other fertility treatments, and can be a good first line of defense against infertility.More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-24 | Tags »
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Trouble conceiving can sometimes lead couples to consider the fertility shot. Learn all about fertility shot facts and how it can help.
Transcript: If you're looking to kick-start your conception, you might want to know about the fertility shot. When...
If you're looking to kick-start your conception, you might want to know about the fertility shot. When you receive "the fertility shot," you are injected with gonadotropin, a drug which is often sold under brand names like Pergonal and Fertinex. Because the full name for gonadotropin is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, the fertility shot is sometimes called the "HCG" shot. Gonadotropins may be administered to a patient if the fertility drug clomiphene does not help her to ovulate. They may also be used prior to in vitro fertilization. Men who are experiencing problems with their sperm may also be given gonadotropins. Although each form of gonadotropin is a bit different, here is how it generally works. You will be injected with the medication three days after your menstrual cycle starts every day for seven to ten days. The medication contains follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, which will encourage you to produce several eggs instead of just one. During the time you receive injections, your doctor will monitor you to see when your eggs are mature. When this happens, you'll be given another injection of a slightly different medication,after which you will need to have sex or to be artificially inseminated. This treatment is more invasive and more costly than taking clomiphene, so it is a second recourse for conception difficulties.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-12 | Tags »
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As a woman ages, her chance of getting pregnant decreases. Watch this video to learn more about the correllation between age and fertility.
Transcript: Having a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby, becomes increasingly difficult with age. Why? A woman...
Having a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby, becomes increasingly difficult with age. Why? A woman is born with all of the eggs shell ever have. After puberty, she begins to ovulate and releases one of these eggs every month. As she ages, therefore, her supply of eggs dwindles. This reduces her chances of being able to conceive. As a result, the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant in any particular month, under optimal circumstances, is about 25 percent for a woman in her 20s, 15 percent for women in their early 30s, 10 percent in the mid-30s and just five percent for women over 40. Another difficulty with pregnancy later in life is that the number of genetically normal eggs that a woman has decreases with time. This leads to a higher rate of miscarriage and a greater chance for genetic abnormalities in babies of older women. In fact, the odds of a woman in her 20s having a child with Down syndrome are about one in 1,200. In contrast, among children born to women over 40, one child in 38 has a genetic abnormality. While this can be difficult for women trying to conceive after the age of 30, other fertility options, like using donor eggs, are quite successful in later life.More »
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Considering artificial insemination? Watch this video to learn more about how this procedure works.
Transcript: Many couples have difficulty conceiving, and artificial insemination is a commonly used method to help...
Many couples have difficulty conceiving, and artificial insemination is a commonly used method to help them to get pregnant. Artificial insemination, or intrauterine insemination as it is known today, involves inserting your partner's sperm directly into your uterus. This procedure may be used when a man has a low sperm count, or sperm that are weak swimmers. IUI may also be an option for a woman who has an abnormal uterine growth or endometriosis. Here's how IUI works: Your doctor uses a blood test to ensure that you're ovulating. Once it's confirmed that you're releasing an egg, your partner produces a fresh sample of sperm. The sperm are then "washed," a procedure that enhances the likelihood of fertilization by collecting the most active sperm. At this point, the sperm are placed in a catheter and inserted through the vagina into the uterus. This helps the sperm to bypass any possible obstructions, and makes it easier for them to reach your egg. This procedure won't take more than thirty minutes, and may feel similar to a Pap smear. After IUI is complete, you will be sent home to wait and see if you're pregnant. While artificial insemination is not successful for all couples, for some, it can be an effective way to conceive a baby.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-12 | Tags »
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If you were drinking before you knew you were pregnant, you may be concerned about your fetus's health. Learn more about the effect alcohol can have on your fetus.
Transcript: Your whole alcohol MO has to change once you're pregnant. But what if you were drinking before you...
Your whole alcohol MO has to change once you're pregnant. But what if you were drinking before you knew you had a passenger? Whether you're the daily cocktail type or you only imbibe on special occasions, you may accidentally consume alcohol during the early weeks of your pregnancy. If this happens, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself - after all, you didn't even know you were pregnant! Fortunately, it is usually the case that when you drink alcohol at this stage of the pregnancy, it's too early to negatively affect the fetus's organs. This is because there isn't a strongly established blood connection between you and your baby during the time when you ovulate and the end of the month. Of course, this "safe window," is short! Once you know you're pregnant, or even suspect that you may be, you should stop drinking. There is, after all, a risk of fetal alcohol syndrome when you consume any amount of alcohol during pregnancy. But don't worry, you'll have plenty of time for a glass of wine after the baby is born. If you are breastfeeding, though, you'll have to wait until the baby is no longer nursing to enjoy that cocktail.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-15 | Tags »
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Smoking during pregnancy will harm your fetus's health. Watch this video for details on cigarettes and pregnancy.
Transcript: Up to 13 percent of women still smoke during their pregnancies. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals,...
Up to 13 percent of women still smoke during their pregnancies. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, all of which enter the blood stream and head straight for your baby. Two of these in particularcarbon monoxide and nicotinenarrow the blood vessels in the umbilical cord. Since this is the babys source of oxygen, when this happens it becomes much harder for him to breathe. Oxygen deprivation in the womb can lead to stillbirth, premature delivery, low birth weight, learning disorders and a lower IQ. If youre a non-smoker, but your partner lights up, your baby is still subjected to serious risks. In fact, the CDC says that women exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20 percent greater chance of delivering underweight babies than women who arent exposed. Even women who spend a great deal of time around wood fires may experience similar negative effects due to inhalation of carbon monoxide. This risk, however, is smaller than the risk of smoking, and not something to be worried about if it occurs in moderation. If youre pregnant and cant stop smoking, talk to your doctor about quitting. If you can do so by week 14, youre about as likely as anyone to have a healthy baby!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-11 | Tags »
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Many women wonder what's safe to drink during pregnancy. Check out this video to learn about drinking dos and don’ts during pregnancy.
Transcript: You know that alcohol is a no-go while you're expecting, but what about your morning java jolt? With...
You know that alcohol is a no-go while you're expecting, but what about your morning java jolt? With a few exceptions, most pre-pregnancy drinks are also just fine during pregnancy. So have your fill of milk, water, juice, and decaffeinated sodas, coffees and teas. While some women worry that tap water isn't safe for a baby, this commodity is regulated by the government, ensuring chemicals are present in very trace amounts, if at all. Other moms-to-be are concerned about drinking milk from cows that have been given hormones. But the FDA asserts that these BVF hormones do not harm humans, particularly in the very teeny amounts found in milk. When it comes to drinking soda, some women worry about the artificial sweeteners found in diet brands. But aspartame, the sweetener used in diet drinks, is certifiably safe for fetuses. Most herbal teas are also fine, as long as you avoid those that contain ingredients with pharmacological uses, like kava and St. John's wort. Aside from alcohol, which is definitely not OK, caffeine is the most hotly debated drink during pregnancy. Until very recently, about 300 milligrams a day of caffeine were seen as being safe for baby-that's the equivalent of about three cups of coffee or five cans of soda. But a recent study found that pregnant women who had just 200 milligrams of caffeine were twice as likely to miscarry as women who didn't consume caffeine. While this knowledge advises caution, most doctors still believe that controlled amounts of caffeine are probably safe with baby on board.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-13 | Tags »
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Think getting pregnant is just a matter of having sex? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. Check out this video to learn more about natural fertility boosters.
Transcript: Ready to expand your family? While your most vigorous efforts will probably come in the bedroom, you...
Ready to expand your family? While your most vigorous efforts will probably come in the bedroom, you may want to invest some energy in the kitchen, too. While you're trying to get pregnant, both mom and dad can make some easy nutritional and lifestyle changes that will help improve your chances of conceiving. A. Because shark's fins were said to look like the male organ B. and figs like the female's, early civilizations encouraged eating them to boost fertility. Unfortunately though, there's no one magic food that will lure sperm to egg. Practicing all-around good nutrition, however, can help. The more natural your diet, the better off you'll be! Think bright reds, yellows and greens for fertility-boosting foods. Salad greens, peppers, carrots, mangos and oranges are particularly rich in the folic acid, Vitamin C and other nutrients your baby-making bodies need. Whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice are also full of folic acid. This mineral can help conception and lower the chances that your baby will develop neural birth defects like spina bifida. While trying to conceive, be sure to consume lots of calcium, a mineral vital for mom and her baby to-be. Milk, orange juice, salmon and edamame are all great sources of calcium. To fill dietary gaps, both mom and dad need to take a daily multivitamin. Look for one rich in folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc minerals that give fertility a boost. As with any supplement, never take more than the recommended dose. Doing so can actually make you less fertile. There are also some foods and drinks you should avoid. Alcohol decreases fertility in women and studies have shown that it increases the amount of abnormal sperm produced by men. Also, cut back on the caffeine. More than 300 milligrams, or three cups of coffee, daily can decrease fertility and even trigger a miscarriage. How you eat is as important as what you eat. To ensure healthy weight gain and proper delivery of nutrients for mother and baby-to-be, don't skip meals or go on a diet. A. Under pressure? B. Couples with extremely high stress levels may have more difficulty conceiving than C. their calmer counterparts. This is because, in women, stress causes extra uterine contractions which can delay ovulation and even prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Stressed-out men may experience reduction in both sperm count and sperm mobility. While no alternative therapies have been proven to increase fertility, there are certainly many that reduce stress-and that can help lead to conception. Finally, an excuse to get a couples massage. Yoga is another excellent way to de-stress and get your doctor-recommended exercise at the same time. Look for a fitness center offering classes in prenatal yoga. It can help to shop for aromatherapy candles and bath products scented with lavender, sandalwood or sage. These scents stimulate the release of relaxing melatonin. Preparing for pregnancy with diet and stress-relieving exercises can help ensure that it occurs! Remember, always consult your doctor if you're planning to become pregnant.More »
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Are you ready to begin a family? Keep in mind that preparing to conceive a baby may not be as easy as you think. Watch this video for more information.
Transcript: Congratulations! The decision to have a child is an exciting one. Surprisingly, prepping for the healthiest...
Congratulations! The decision to have a child is an exciting one. Surprisingly, prepping for the healthiest baby starts not in the bedroom, but with some lifestyle changes. It is vital to start by meeting with your ob-gyn for a preconception appointment. This checkup allows your doctor to uncover any health problems you may have that could affect a pregnancy, or your baby's development. At this appointment, your doctor will be looking for anemia, diabetes, kidney disease, genital infection, high blood pressure and immunity to rubella. Your doctor will also advise you of your optimal weight right now, and will discuss the amount you should gain during a pregnancy. If you are underweight, you are more likely to give birth to a low-weight baby, which can cause difficulties after delivery. If you are overweight, you are more likely to have complications, and you will have a higher chance of having a baby too big to pass safely through the birth canal, a condition known as macrosomia. Proper diet and nutrition are essential to your preconception health. You should never diet while trying to conceive, and always avoid eating undercooked meat and raw eggs. So, watch that ceaser salad dressing! Doctors also recommend taking prenatal vitamins prior to conception. This prepares your body for pregnancy and helps to fill in any dietary gaps you may have. Folic acid is arguably the most important prenatal vitamin for women. Folic acid can lower the risk that your baby-to-be will develop neural birth defects. And don't forget to exercise! Engaging in a cardiovascular activity that gets your heart pounding, like running or biking, will keep you fit and healthy, increase blood flow to the uterus, and will help prepare your body for conception. It is also recommended that you cease certain unhealthy habits before you conceive. Smoking, drinking, and recreational drug use are among these no-nos. It is also advisable to limit your caffeine consumption. Finally, be sure to ask your doctor about any prescription medications you take that could be harmful to your baby once you conceive, or which could make it difficult to conceive in the first place. Taking positive steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy (before it even begins) will help ensure a smooth ride for both you AND your baby-to-be. Remember to talk to your doctor before attempting to conceive!More »
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Think getting pregnant is just a matter of having sex? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. Check out this video to learn more about boosting fertility.
Transcript: Before you try to get pregnant, it will help to be familiar with your personal menstrual cycle. Believe...
Before you try to get pregnant, it will help to be familiar with your personal menstrual cycle. Believe it or not, you can ONLY conceive during your small fertile window, which occurs during each cycle, on the five days before, and the actual day of, ovulation. During ovulation, the ovary sends a mature egg through the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it can be fertilized by your partners sperm. Egg release typically occurs in the middle of your cycle. You can determine your cycle length by noting the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Keeping a menstrual calendar will allow you to know at a glance when your fertile window opens. In addition to watching your period, it can help to watch what you eat! A nourishing diet complemented with a multi-vitamin supplement increases your chances of conceiving by correcting any hormone imbalances you may have. Diet is important for other reasons, as well. Extra weight can cause the release of excess female hormones, resulting in a disrupted menstrual cycle and infrequent ovulation. For this reason, it can help to supplement your diet with a smart exercise regimen. Aim for thirty minutes a day, five times a week. Keep in mind, however, that weighing too little can lessen hormone production, with the same fertility-interfering result. So talk to your doctor regarding an ideal weight for you. Watching what you drink is almost as important as watching what you eat. Women who drink more than 300 milligrams (about three cups) of caffeine daily tend to have a harder time conceiving than those who dont. Youll also want to keep alcohol-intake to a minimum. More than two alcoholic drinks a day can impair fertility, because alcohol alters the levels of estrogen in your body, in turn, interfering with egg implantation in the uterus. Now is also a great time to cut out cigarettes. Toxins from the smoke can damage your eggs, alter the release of hormones, and decrease the ability of the embryo to implant. But there ARE fun parts about preparing to conceive. Get ready to relaxguilt free! Studies have shown that women experiencing psychological stress are less likely to conceive, because these feelings can alter your bodys hormone production. While youre relaxing, why not try some yoga? Its thought that certain yoga positions can increase your fertility by specifically targeting the reproductive organs and increasing the flow of blood to your pelvis, while other poses can stimulate your ovaries. Finally, make love! Of course, youre doing this already when youre trying to make a baby. But women who engage in regular intercourse have steadier ovulation patterns and increased estrogen production. Missionary is the best position to use if youre trying to conceive. Your partners penetration will be deeper and gravity will work in your favor, enhancing sperm movement towards the egg. Fertility experts also agree that lying down and elevating your hips for a few minutes after intercourse increases the chances of sperm reaching your egg. While many women have trouble conceiving, these tips can help. But remember to discuss any diet or exercise changes with your doctor before proceeding!More »
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Male infertility can be caused by a number of things--from low sperm count to exposure to toxins. Learn more about male infertility by watching this video.
Transcript: Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. Although...
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. Although both females and males can have problems that lead to difficulty conceiving, ninety percent of MALE infertility derives from a deficient sperm count. Because most sperm are destroyed before they even reach the egg, a count below 500 sperm per milligram can make conception very difficult. Let's look at some medical difficulties that can lead to infertility. A varicocele is an abnormally enlarged vein in the scrotum which occurs in 40 percent of infertile men. Varioceles can cause blood to pool in the scrotum, raising temperatures and killing sperm there. Testicular overheating, and consequential sperm death, can also be caused by high fevers and excessive hot tub or sauna use. In up to 70 percent of men who struggle with infertility, infection of the reproductive organs is a problem. This can stem from any number of issues, but is commonly a result of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia. Another medical problem that can lead to male infertility is hormone release. Low levels of the male hormone testosterone, or particularly high levels of the female hormone estrogen, can both lead to conception difficulties. Sometimes, infertility can be related to a man's environment. For example, emotional and physical stress can impair the production of sperm, lowering levels until they become almost non-existent. Exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals can further lower a man's sperm count. Because sperm are so vulnerable to the damage of free radicals like these, doctors have found sperm counts to be falling dramatically in the past few decades of increased pollution and industry. Another reason for decreasing sperm count relates to consumption. A diet deficient in the vital Vitamins E and C, and in the nutrients zinc and folate, can lead to low sperm count and infertility. Consumption of illegal drugs can play a role, too. Abuse of drugs like cocaine and marijuana temporarily reduce the quantity and quality of sperm by up to 50 percent. Cigarette smoking also impairs sperm movement and lowers fertility in men. A final factor that can adversely affect male fertility is...not surprisingly...aging. As a man grows older, he will experience a decrease in sperm movement, as well as an overall decline in the genetic quality of the sperm he releases. Because there are so many reasons that a man may be infertile, it is important to talk to your doctor if you are part of a couple that is having trouble conceiving. A variety of treatment options may be able to help!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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