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IVF Clinics Near Me and Artificial Insemination in San Francisco

Introduction

Struggling to get pregnant can be a frustrating and confusing experience, as is deciding when to pursue assistance in treating whatever is causing your fertility challenges. It’s important to recognize that you are not alone in this process – as many as 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving, and our providers and staff of fertility experts are here to help.  As treatments for infertility have advanced, so has our ability to assess and correct a number of different causes of infertility and fertility challenges. Identifying what may be preventing you from conceiving and, when possible, treating that underlying cause, can increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Fertility is generally broken down into two basic categories: primary and secondary.

Primary infertility refers to couples that have not been able to successfully conceive after trying for a year or more of unprotected intercourse.

Secondary infertility refers to couples who have successfully conceived in the past, but are unable to achieve another pregnancy.

If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for six months to a year or more (or if you are a single woman struggling to conceive while using donor sperm) you may be experiencing medical challenges caused by one or more of the factors listed below.

If you are a single woman or part of a non-heterosexual couple, some of your fertility challenges may be based more in logistics than infertility. You can find out more about family planning HERE and the types of procedures we perform at Laurel Fertility Care HERE.

San Francisco Fertility Clinic and Freezing your Eggs

Hormonal Issues

For both men and women, issues with fertility can often be traced back to an imbalance of hormones. This can cause anything from ovulation disorders to low production of sperm and testosterone. Below are some fertility challenges that can arise from hormonal issues.

Ovulation Disorders

About 25% of women experiencing fertility challenges have problems with ovulation. Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the ovaries. Ovulation that occurs at the right time in a woman’s menstrual cycle allows for fertilization, implantation, and pregnancy to occur. A woman who has regular periods every 25 to 35 days is probably also ovulating monthly. It is possible to have uterine bleeding unrelated to monthly ovulation and menstruation, and there are also reasons that a woman may ovulate less frequently or not at all.

Assessing whether an ovulation disorder is the cause of your infertility or an effect of some other underlying issue can help us create a treatment plan that will most accurately and efficiently assist in your fertility treatments.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects 4-18% of women of reproductive age. Though a relatively common condition, more research into the cause and treatment of PCOS is needed. Based on current research, the main cause of PCOS seems to be related to elevated androgens – male hormones including testosterone – which are made in the ovaries and the adrenal glands (as well as in the testes in men).

Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Menstrual cycle irregularities, including heavy or prolonged bleeding, infrequent periods or no periods at all
  • Increase in weight
  • Insulin resistance
  • Skin irregularities including severe acne
  • Multiple follicles in ovaries
  • Hirsutism – excessive growth of body hair, including on the face
  • Hair loss

PCOS is usually diagnosed by performing an ultrasound and identifying the inflamed and multiple follicles on the ovaries. Treatment for PCOS usually involves lifestyle changes –specifically weight loss – as well as medical treatment, often in the form of hormonal birth control pills. Some women are able to make those changes without much medical intervention, but depending on the severity of the PCOS and the age of the woman, a more aggressive treatment plan may be needed.

Fertility Care and San Francisco Fertility Clinic

Damaged or Irregular Reproductive System

Sometimes due to injury or past illness, the reproductive system of one or both partner can be damaged. There are also certain anatomical irregularities that can affect you or your partner’s ability to produce eggs or sperm, deliver sperm to the uterus, or conceive.

Endometriosis and Fertility Care in San Francisco

Endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when the layer of tissue that normally covers the inside of the uterus grows in other parts of the body. This is most commonly found on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, but in rare cases can be found on the bowels, liver, lungs, diaphragm, or even the brain. Up to 35-50% of women experience fertility challenges as a result of endometriosis.

Endometrial tissue growing on the ovaries can prevent ovulation, while tissue growing on the fallopian tubes can prevent eggs from being fertilized or reaching the uterus. Another symptom of endometriosis can be pain during ovulation as well as during your period, and depending on the location of the endometrial tissue throughout the pelvic cavity, pain during bowel movements, urination, exercise, and intercourse.

Treatment options will vary. Before you are ready to try to get pregnant, symptom management is usually the most recommended course of action. When you are trying to get pregnant, minor surgery may be recommended to clear away the endometrial tissue from your reproductive organs.

Fertility Clinics in San Francisco and IVF near Me

Blocked or Damaged Fallopian Tubes

When the fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, it is difficult for fertilization to occur and for the fertilized egg to reach the uterus. Irregular fallopian tubes can be caused by:

  • Endometriosis
  • Past ectopic pregnancy
  • Uterine fibroids (non-cancerous growths in the uterus)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the embryo attaches outside of the uterus. 90% of the time this happens in the fallopian tubes, but embryos can also attach to the ovary, cervix, or in the abdomen. These pregnancies are not viable and will be quickly removed when discovered. If the ectopic pregnancy has not caused the tube to burst, the embryo can usually be removed and the tube repaired laparoscopically.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous smooth muscle growths in the uterus. Fibroids can cause bleeding, miscarriage, or prevent embryos from attaching, but contribute to infertility in only about 3% of women who develop them.

Scarring from pelvic inflammatory disease can contribute to difficulties conceiving. This frequently affects the fallopian tubes (and may be a factor in ectopic pregnancies) but can also occur in the uterus and ovaries.

 

Uterine Malformation

Fertility Treatments in Bay Area

Unusual shape or development of the uterus may cause complications in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy. The most common uterine malformation is a uterine septum; this occurs when the uterus develops with a full or partial partition down the middle. Minimally invasive hysteroscopy surgery can be used to identify and repair many uterine abnormalities.

 

Cancer Treatments

Unusual shape or development of the uterus may cause complications in conceiving or carrying a pregnancy. The most common uterine malformation is a uterine septum; this occurs when the uterus develops with a full or partial partition down the middle. Minimally invasive hysteroscopy surgery can be used to identify and repair many uterine abnormalities.

Fertility Treatment Costs in San Francisco and IVF Clinics Near Me

Lifestyle

There are many lifestyle factors that can affect your fertility. These can range from exercise and eating habits to smoking to age.

Some aspects of your lifestyle that may be affecting your fertility are:

  • Weight
  • Age (both maternal and paternal)
  • Smoking and alcohol

Both obesity and being underweight can increase fertility challenges. Obesity or being overweight may be an indication of polycystic ovary syndrome, but if PCOS is not at play being outside of a normal weight range can cause other types of hormonal imbalances that may impede your ability to conceive. Being severely underweight – either from disordered eating, over-exercise, or both – can disrupt normal menstruation and in some cases stops periods entirely. A balanced diet and appropriate exercise are an important part of any healthcare plan, and fertility treatments are no different.

Advancing age, in both women and men, can contribute to fertility issues. Egg and sperm quality decreases with age and can increase genetic defects in any embryos produced. Freezing eggs and sperm for future use can prevent some of those issues.

It is now well known that smoking and drinking during pregnancy is detrimental to the fetus, but some studies show that women who smoke and drink heavily while trying to conceive may have a harder time than those women who do not (any amount of drinking between zero drinks per week to moderate alcohol consumption had no effect).  Smoking is also associated with increased likelihood – up to four times according to some studies – of ectopic pregnancy. If you are a frequent smoker or drinker and are struggling to get pregnant, reducing your consumption may help.

Some lifestyle factors are more in your control than others, but there are opportunities to remedy many of these factors and increase your chances of conceiving.

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Male Factor Infertility

While there are many potential causes of fertility that are specific to women, men can also contribute to the cause of infertility within a couple. In fact, up to 40% trace their infertility at least partially to the male partner. Sperm motility – the movement of the sperm – and sperm morphology – the shape and formation of the sperm and its DNA – are both common factors.

Male factor infertility can include:

  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm health
  • Vas deferens blockage

A healthy sperm count is considered to be 20 million sperm/mL or greater. Anything less is considered low and can affect fertilization.  Normal size, shape, and ability to move of the majority of the sperm can also be measured

Low sperm count, the absence of sperm, or poor sperm health can be a result of some or a combination of the following reasons:

  • Poor lifestyle choices
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Damaged reproductive organs
  • Previous or current illness such as cancer of the organs near the groin which have been treated with chemotherapy
  • Problems with the pituitary glands that reduces the body’s ability to produce testosterone and sperm

Having low sperm count does not necessarily mean you will have poor sperm health and vice versa. If male factor infertility is suspected, we can test your semen for sperm motility and morphology, with recommendations for next steps. For some men, and for various reasons, sperm is not identified with ejaculation. There can be many causes for a lack of sperm in ejaculate, including absence or blockage of the vas deferens, non-reconstructed vasectomy, or azoospermia, a condition where the semen contains no sperm.  In this case, there are procedures to extract sperm directly from the testicles, which can then be used to fertilize eggs, either through intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.

Fertility Challenges and IVF Clinics Near Me

Unexplained Infertility

Perhaps one the more difficult results to hear is that there really isn’t an explanation for your current fertility challenge. Simply put, unexplained infertility is the term used when we have exhausted all tests and procedures and still can’t determine why you have not been successful in becoming pregnant. Unexplained infertility is not the most common conclusion, but it is certainly not unheard of – up to 15% of couples seeking fertility treatments and assistance receive this news.

Whatever your diagnosis, we will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan, keeping your budget and pregnancy timeline in mind.  A diagnosis of any type of infertility, explained or unexplained, does not mean that you will never get pregnant, and with our expert guidance and results driven treatment, we will do everything we can to create the family of your dreams.

 

Multi-Factorial Infertility

For many couples struggling to conceive, there is a combination of more than one of the above factors at play. While this is more complex than a single identifiable cause of infertility, our providers and fertility experts will guide you through the process of treating each of the multiple causes of your infertility

Fertility challenges are deeply personal, and unique to each individual or couple. For many people trying to conceive, there is a combination of more than one of the above factors at play. Whatever the cause or causes of your infertility, our providers and fertility experts will guide you through the process of building and enacting a treatment plan.