While any diagnosis of infertility is challenging, unexplained infertility can be one of the most devastating. After going through rounds of tests and various procedures, your dream family may feel out of reach. Despite the challenges with this type of diagnosis, there is still hope.
Fertility Support and Family Planning Counseling Blog
Topics: infertility support
Though there has been a lot of progress in recent years, even now, not all fertility clinics are accepting and inclusive of non-heterosexual couples. This comes from a long history of discrimination, often codified by national institutions. For years, the “fertility industry [has been] a largely unregulated field” with recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration and American Society for Reproductive Medicine that have often been used to discriminate against the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities.
Endometriosis is a fairly common condition, but one that is still often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Up to 35% - 50% of women with endometriosis experience fertility challenges as a result. Because every person experiences endometriosis differently, it is often misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed at all until fertility challenges arise. As such a common factor in infertility, it is an important element to consider if you’re struggling to get pregnant.
For many people, the first treatment that comes to mind when they think of fertility care is in vitro fertilization. Although IVF has revolutionized fertility medicine since the first successful IVF pregnancy in the 1970s, there are many other treatments that might be more appropriate, especially as the cause of infertility is determined. One such treatment is intrauterine insemination or IUI.
Deciding to start or grow your family now or in the future is an important and very personal choice. If you are preserving your eggs or embryos because you are not quite ready to start a family, or because you are facing a diagnosis or medical treatments that may compromise your future fertility, preserving your ability to have a family later can simplify difficult decisions. There is also an element of trust in this process - trust in the freezing of your eggs and embryos, and trust that they will be preserved. Protecting your future family plans is a responsibility we do not take lightly. That is why we do everything we can to keep our facilities, our procedures, and the eggs and embryos in our care as safe as possible.
You may have heard news over the weekend about tank failures at a San Francisco area fertility clinic affecting some of the frozen eggs and embryos stored at that facility. We wanted to take a moment to assure you that Laurel Fertility Care was not the facility reported.
In vitro fertilization is the process of fertilization outside of the body. The name comes from the Latin “in vitro” which means “in glass” referring to the petri dish where the eggs and sperm are brought together. Successful IVF in humans began in the 1970s and the popularity and success rates of this treatment have only increased since that time. IVF is used by couples who want a biologically related child, men with low sperm count or motility, and women who want to carry their own pregnancy despite challenges in getting pregnant.
While menopause limits a woman’s ability to conceive later in life, many men of advanced age continue to have the option to father a child due to continued sperm production. Despite frequent male fertility challenges, paternal age at time of conception has been steadily increasing over several decades, and very often, the popular culture media reports on male celebrities having children in their 70s or later. However, this may not be the case for most men, but solutions to fertility problems exist.
Semen volume, sperm motility (how fast sperm swim), sperm morphology (normal shaped sperm) all decline with age and can negatively affect natural conception and/or success rates with assisted reproduction. Erectile function also declines with age, making conception attempts difficult. Factors contributing to this decline include increased weight, decreased muscle mass, decreased sexual activity, medication side effects and other medical conditions. Testosterone is often used by older men to improve sexual function but usually results in decreased sperm production and should not be used in men trying to conceive.
Persistent inequities for Black Americans have been captured by the phrase “Black Lives Matter” which began inauspiciously—a hashtag on Twitter following the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The phrase is provocative by design, and its use conveys both urgency and frustration with the status quo. What is notably absent, with the exception of three isolated commentaries, is the use of the phrase in medical literature. Given similar inequities in medicine with glaring evidence, there is a need for outrage and frustration with the status quo in the medical field.
Black women are less likely to be using the most effective contraceptive methods. For those trying to conceive, Black women are more likely to be infertile after adjustment for socioeconomic position, and risk factors for infertility. Even when Black women attain equal access to IVF, Black women have lower live birth rates and higher miscarriage rates. They are also more likely to die a pregnancy-related death than White and Hispanic women, and less likely to receive critical chemotherapy for ovarian and uterine cancers.
Topics: Social Justice
What do we need from the people we love?
We frequently talk about what we don’t need from our family and friends when it comes to their commentary or prodding questions about infertility. We talk a lot less about what we do need from them when we feel stress or pressure while we're trying to conceive. Sometimes people refrain from sharing their experiences about infertility with their family and friends, not because they don’t want them to know, but because they don’t know how to broach the subject.
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