It refers to all medical procedures that address infertility issues in men and women
Ask anything about assisted reproduction
Is implantation bleeding the same when you have IVF treatment?
Among the concerns of people undergoing IVF or any other assisted fertility treatment is the question of whether the symptoms of pregnancy will be the same in the event of successful embryo transfer and implantation. In a word, yes. Although some of the stages of IVF are stimulated by the administration of medication, and in spite of the fact that the actual joining of egg and sperm takes place in the laboratory, the end result is identical. Let’s look at a brief summary of the steps that lead up to the all-important embryo implantation. The first step is ovarian stimulation which causes the ovaries to produce a number of oocytes. Next, when the oocytes have reached a suitable stage of maturity, they are extracted so that they can be mixed in the laboratory with prepared sperm. This is the point at which fertilization takes place and embryos are formed. These are observed as they develop in the laboratory and undergo any tests which are necessary. The most sound and viable embryo are then inserted into the woman’s uterus. That, in a nutshell, is the end of the process. The implantation of the embryo into the wall of the womb, once it has been placed inside the woman’s uterus, is not part of the assisted reproduction process; it is something that occurs naturally in exactly the same way as in normal sexual conception. This final stage is not guaranteed to take place as a result of IVF treatment, any more than unprotected sex at a fertile time is guaranteed to result in pregnancy. This explains how, in terms of the symptoms that you can expect, including any implantation bleeding, they are exactly the same in the case of assisted reproduction. How heavy can implantation bleed be? Can implantation bleeding have clots? Usually bleeding which occurs as a result of the implantation of an embryo is either spotting or light bleeding. It is not normally heavy and does not have clots in the way that a normal period can. If you suspect you may be pregnant and do experience heavy bleeding or clotting, then you should get medical advice as it could signal a problem or even the start of an early miscarriage. On the other hand, if you have no other reason to suspect that you’re pregnant, this type of bleeding is much more likely to be simply the start of your period. Content Source Featured Image Source
What Should one Look For In A Surrogate?
Surrogates are generally caring, generous, family-oriented women who feel very strongly about giving others the gift of family. Most are responsible, conscientious woman who are very devoted to the process of surrogacy. The majority of surrogates come from medium to low-income households. The relationship status of surrogates varies from single moms to married women, and education levels vary from GED’s to advanced degrees. What should intended parents look for in a surrogate? Clearly, the primary concern of any intended parent should be the surrogate’s general health and lifestyle and pregnancy history. That being in order, here are some things every intended parent should take into consideration: • The support system the surrogate will have during the surrogacy (will she have the support of a partner, a parent, a roommate, her place of employment or a close friend)? • Her responsiveness to requests from the agency, e.g. whether she has followed through with appointments, etc. (You can ask your agency about that.) • How her partner, husband and/or family feels about the surrogacy? • Whether or not she plans on dating during the surrogacy (assuming she is single). • Whether you and she agree on issues such as reductions or pregnancy terminations. • How your surrogate feels about invasive procedures such as amniocentesis, etc. • How much involvement you want in the surrogate’s life during (and after) the pregnancy/birth (e.g. phone calls, Skype, emails, appointments, through agency only, on-going relationship, etc.) • How important a surrogate’s diet is during the pregnancy and how willing she is to follow requested guidelines. Also, don’t discount your own “Spidey Sense”. Sometimes you just get a vibe about someone, good or bad, and you should go with your instinct. What does an agency look for in a potential surrogate? As you can imagine, many factors go into deciding whether or not we should accept a potential surrogate into our program. Among the factors we consider are: • Health history • Criminal background check • Willingness to work with all types of families • Whether she responds to emails, calls, etc. in a timely manner • Her motivations for wanting to become a surrogate • Her level of openness about the surrogacy • Her ability to make it to her appointments (reliable car and/or form of transportation) • Her overall health, including: o BMI o non-smoker, drugs or alcohol o mental health o pregnancy history • Current living situation: o how many people she lives with and whom o whether her environment is safe and clean o whether her home is close to medical facilities o how her partner and children feel about the surrogacy You mentioned the potential surrogate’s motivations—can you elaborate? There’s no question that compensation is a big motivator for potential surrogates. The funds often help with down-payments on a house, college education, children’s college funds and other major expenses. Additionally, surrogates tend to be women who enjoy helping others and love being pregnant. How do you screen your surrogates? It depends how the surrogate finds or is referred to an agency, but generally the process is this: • The agency has an initial phone conversation with the surrogate to discuss general requirements like height, weight, why she wants to become a surrogate, etc. • Assuming she meets the basic standards of surrogacy, she is then asked to fill out an application which delves deeper into her medical/personal history, etc. At this time, most agencies ask her for permission to conduct a background check for any criminal history she may have. • If everything, including the background check, looks good, a home visit to check her living situation, meet her children and partner (if applicable) and get a general overall view of her lifestyle is conducted. • It’s at that point that an agency will formally admit her into their program and start sending her profile out to intended parents for consideration. content source
Considerations for Choosing a Surrogate Mother
Whether you are a single man or woman or a couple, you may choose to use a surrogate to help bring your dreams of parenthood to reality. When you’ve decided to choose a surrogate mother to help you start a family, there are still further options to consider, like whether you’ll use traditional or gestational surrogacy. With a gestational surrogacy, the carrier becomes pregnant by means of in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the eggs of the intended mother or an egg donor. This means that the surrogate baby is not genetically related to the carrier. With a traditional surrogate, the surrogate’s egg is fertilized with sperm from the intended father or sperm donor through IVF or artificial insemination, making the carrier and the child genetically related. This form of surrogacy is less common than gestational surrogacy. Choosing a Surrogate If you do not already have a surrogate in mind, such as a friend or family member, you can contact an agency or fertility clinic who will help you find one. There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing a carrier for your surrogate baby including: The surrogate’s medical history—this should include a genetic profile (traditional surrogates only), blood tests and obstetric history. The surrogate’s lifestyle choices including their history of drinking and substance abuse. The cost of the surrogacy process—this includes surrogacy compensation, health and life insurance, legal fees, agency fees, psychological screening and monitoring, travel costs, medical expenses, and egg donation compensation and expenses (if applicable) . The legal issues—the laws on surrogacy vary from state to state, so the location of your surrogate is an important issue to consider. What kind of relationship you wish to have with the surrogate after the child is born—you may wish the surrogate to remain an integral part of your child’s life, or have the relationship complete upon delivery. When you are looking for a surrogate with whom you can entrust the first nine months of your baby’s life, you will want to find someone who will treat the pregnancy as if it were her own. If you do choose to find your surrogate through an agency, ask them about their screening process for surrogates, what they are like and why they do this to determine if the agency is able to provide you with the right surrogate for you. Ultimately, the key to making the right choice, is finding a surrogate that you can trust completely and with whom you can feel at ease. content source
How Ayurveda Can Help In Conceiving When Everything Else May Fail?
With any fertility treatment, a failure is possible due to several reasons. Most couples are having a problem while conceiving a baby and seek various fertility treatments with hope. When things happen otherwise, and the treatment fails, they miserably suffer. What is IVF? IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is a fertility treatment where eggs are removed from the woman’s ovary and fertilized with retrieved sperms in a laboratory dish. The embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus. The treatment is said to have a success rate of 40 percent; which means that it can fail in 60 percent cases. Can it possibly fail? Though the success of IVF depends on certain predominant factors like age and overall health, there are two common reasons behind the failure of IVF, and they are: 1. An abnormal embryo- The most prevalent reason for a failed IVF is an abnormal or incompetent embryo. In most cases, this is due to an irregular number of chromosomes (aneuploidy) in the embryo. This might be because of an abnormal egg or abnormal sperm or when both gametes are abnormal. 2. Implantation failure- An underlying implantation dysfunction may prevent the embryo from attaching to the lining of the uterus. When the thickness of the endometrium is thin (less than 9 mm) at the time of progesterone administration, the implantation may fail. Implantation may fail due to surface lesions in the uterine cavity (due to scarring, polyps, or uterine fibroids) as well. Other reasons are poor ovarian response and pre-treatment stress. Make IVF a success with Ayurveda Ayurveda, the ancient system of healing, appropriately prepares you well-ahead of an IVF treatment. The three key aspects of this treatment are – Detoxification, Nourishment, and Lifestyle changes. 1. Detoxification The success of IVF is largely dependent on healthy eggs and sperms and proper implantation of the embryo. Thus, as the first step, Ayurveda suggests that the couple are to be cleansed with Pancha Karma treatment before conception. Known as Beejshuddhi and Sthanshuddhi, the detoxification procedure purifies ovum, sperms, and uterus. Along with these, other Pancha Karma procedures like Basti, Uttarbasti, Yoniprakshalana, Vamana, and Virechana are performed to improve the health of reproductive organs. Shirodhara helps in reducing the stress levels of the couple. 2. Nourishment Diet is an inherent component of Ayurveda treatment. Hence, a diet that increases fertility is advised to the couple. The couple is advised to stay away from certain foods as well. The fertility diet includes fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy proteins, Moong dal, soaked almonds and walnuts, dried fruits like figs, dates, and raisins, ajwain seeds, cumin seeds, and turmeric. You should refrain from spicy and salty foods and that containing artificial sweeteners, high-fat food, caffeine, alcohol, and excessive meat. Apart from the diet, certain Ayurvedic herbs are prescribed that strengthens the reproductive organs and improve immunity. 3. Lifestyle Changes Infertility has become one of the lifestyle diseases. Ayurveda insists that a healthy lifestyle is essential to conceive a baby. According to your body constitution, an Ayurvedic expert can guide you to make lifestyle modifications with Dinacharya and Rutucharya. Also, you must ensure adequate sleep and practice yoga (Surya Namaskar, Sarvangasana, Dhanurasana, Shalabasana, and Pranayama) regularly. When IVF treatment is failing frequently, you tend to lose hope. However, with Ayurveda, there is definitely hope for success in conception. Content Source Featured Image Source
Fertility test for women
If you and your partner are trying to have a baby but haven't been able to, you may start to wonder if you should get fertility tests. Experts say it's time to check with a doctor if you've had regular sex without birth control for 12 months if you are under the age of 35 and for 6 months if you are over 35. It's important for the two of you to go for testing together. When you see your doctor, he'll probably start by asking questions about your health and lifestyle. He'll want to know things about you and your partner like: Medical history, including any long-term conditions or surgeries Medicines you take Whether you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, eat or drink things with caffeine, or use illicit drugs If you had contact with chemicals, toxins, or radiation at home or work He'll also want to know about your sex life, such as: How often you have sex Your history of birth control use If you've had sexually transmitted diseases Any problems having sex Whether either of you had sex outside the relationship Your doctor will also have questions about things connected with your periods, such as: Have you been pregnant before? How often have you had periods over the last year? Have you had irregular and missed periods or had spotting between periods? Did you have any changes in blood flow or the appearance of large blood clots? What methods of birth control have you used? Have you ever seen a doctor for infertility, and did you get any treatment? Infertility Tests for Women There is no single best test for infertility. Doctors use a variety of ways to identify any problems that might help cause fertility trouble. You may get a Pap smear. It can detect cervical cancer, other problems with the cervix, or sexually transmitted diseases. Any of these can interfere with getting pregnant. To get pregnant, you need to release an egg each month -- called "ovulation." You may need tests that check for that. Your doctor may ask you to take a urine test at home for luteinizing hormone, or LH. This hormone shows up in high levels just before you ovulate. Your doctor also may check levels of the hormone progesterone in your blood. Increases in progesterone show that you are ovulating. On your own, you can check your body temperature each morning. Basal body temperature rises a bit just after ovulation. By checking it each morning, you'll learn your pattern of ovulation over several months. Your doctor may also run tests on your thyroid, or check for other hormonal problems, to rule out conditions that might cause missed or irregular ovulation. Tests of Reproductive Organs Before you can get pregnant, your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries all need to work right. Your doctor may suggest different procedures that can check the health of these organs: Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Also called a "tubogram," this is a series of X-rays of your fallopian tubes and uterus. The X-rays are taken after your doctor injects liquid dye through the vagina. Another method uses saline and air instead of dye and an ultrasound. The HSG can help you learn if your fallopian tubes are blocked or if you have any defects of your uterus. The test is usually done just after your menstrual period. Transvaginal ultrasound. A doctor places an ultrasound "wand" into the vagina and brings it close to the pelvic organs. Using sound waves, he'll be able to see images of the ovaries and uterus to check for problems there. Hysteroscopy. Your doctor puts a thin, flexible tube -- with a camera on the end -- through the cervix and into the uterus. He can see problems there and take tissue samples if needed. Laparoscopy. Your doctor makes small cuts in your belly and inserts tools, including a camera. This surgery can check your entire pelvis and potentially correct problems, such as endometriosis, a disease that affects the uterus. Other Infertility Tests A doctor may order other tests to check for fertility problems. You may get a blood test to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH, which triggers your ovaries to prepare an egg for release each month. High FSH can mean lower fertility in women. The FSH blood levels get checked early in your menstrual cycle (often on day 3). Clomiphene citrate challenge testing can be done with the FSH test. You take a pill of clomiphene citrate on the fifth through ninth days of your menstrual cycle. FSH gets checked on day 3 (before you take the medicine) and on day 10 (after). High FSH levels suggest you have lower chances of getting pregnant. Your doctor may also suggest a blood test to check for a hormone called inhibin B. Levels may be lower in women with fertility problems, but experts are divided about whether the test can predict infertility. Take this assessment to find out if there are other health care providers who can help with your symptoms. Another exam is called postcoital testing. Your doctor examines your cervical mucus after you've had sex. Some studies suggest it may not be so useful. Your doctor may also recommend an endometrial biopsy. In this procedure, he takes a sample of tissue from the lining of your uterus. But evidence is mounting that endometrial biopsy is not helpful in predicting or treating infertility. You may not need to have all these tests. Your doctor can discuss with you which ones are best in your situation. After the testing is done, about 85% of couples will have some idea about why they're having trouble getting pregnant. content source
Symptoms of infertility
Infertility is when you cannot get pregnant after having unprotected, regular sex for six months to one year, depending on your age. The main symptom of infertilityis not getting pregnant. You may not have or notice any other symptoms. Symptoms can also depend on what is causing the infertility. Many health conditions can make it hard to get pregnant. Sometimes no cause is found. Signs of Potential Infertility in Women In women, changes in the menstrual cycle and ovulation may be a symptom of a disease related to infertility. Symptoms include: Abnormal periods. Bleeding is heavier or lighter than usual. Irregular periods. The number of days in between each period varies each month. No periods. You have never had a period, or periods suddenly stop. Painful periods. Back pain, pelvic pain, and cramping may happen. Sometimes, female infertility is related to a hormone problem. In this case, symptoms can also include: Skin changes, including more acne Changes in sex drive and desire Dark hair growth on the lips, chest, and chin Loss of hair or thinning hair Weight gain Other symptoms of disorders that may lead to infertility include: Milky white discharge from nipples unrelated to breastfeeding Pain during sex Many other things can be related to infertility in women, and their symptoms vary. Signs of Potential Infertility in Men Infertility symptoms in men can be vague. They may go unnoticed until a man tries to have a baby. Symptoms depend on what is causing the infertility. They can include: Changes in hair growth Changes in sexual desire Pain, lump, or swelling in the testicles Problems with erections and ejaculation Small, firm testicles When to See the Doctor If you are under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant without success for a year, see your doctor. Women 35 and older should see their doctor after six months of trying. Blood, urine, and imaging tests can be done to discover why you are having trouble getting pregnant. A sperm analysis can be done to check a man's sperm count and the overall health of the sperm. Your doctor may refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist. That's a doctor who specializes in infertility. You will be asked questions about your infertility symptoms and medical history. Before you go to the doctor, write down the following information and take it to your next doctor's appointment: All the medications you take, including prescriptions, vitamins, minerals, supplements, and any other drugs bought without a prescription How often you have unprotected sex, how long you have been trying, and the date of the last time you tried to get pregnant Body changes or other symptoms you have noticed Dates of any surgeries or treatments in the past, especially those involving the reproductive tract. Any radiation or chemotherapy you have had How much you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, and any illegal drug use Any history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Any genetic disorder or chronic illness, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, in you or your family Listen to your body. Tell your doctor any time you notice a symptom. Early diagnosis of an infertility problem may improve your odds of getting pregnant. content source
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) - an overview
The first step in IVF involves injecting hormones so you produce multiple eggs each month instead of only one.You will then be tested to determine whether you're ready for egg retrieval. Prior to the retrieval procedure, you will be given injections of a medication that ripens the developing eggs and starts the process of ovulation. Timing is important; the eggs must be retrieved just before they emerge from the follicles in the ovaries. If the eggs are taken out too early or too late, they won't develop normally. Your doctor may do blood tests or an ultrasound to be sure the eggs are at the right stage of development before retrieving them. The IVF facility will provide you with special instructions to follow the night before and the day of the procedure. Most women are given pain medication and the choice of being mildly sedated or going under full anesthesia. During the procedure, your doctor will locate follicles in the ovary with ultrasound and remove the eggs with a hollow needle. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes, but may take up to an hour. Immediately following the retrieval, your eggs will be mixed in the laboratory with your partner's sperm, which he will have donated on the same day. While you and your partner go home, the fertilized eggs are kept in the clinic under observation to ensure optimal growth. Depending on the clinic, you may even wait up to five days until the embryo reaches a more advanced blastocyst stage. Once the embryos are ready, you will return to the IVF facility so doctors can transfer one or more into your uterus. This procedure is quicker and easier than the retrieval of the egg. The doctor will insert a flexible tube called a catheter through your vagina and cervix and into your uterus, where the embryos will be deposited. To increase the chances of pregnancy, most IVF experts recommend transferring up to three embryos at a time. However, this means you could have a multiple pregnancy, which can increase the health risks for both you and the babies. Following the procedure, you would typically stay in bed for several hours and be discharged four to six hours later. Your doctor will probably perform a pregnancy test on you about two weeks after the embryo transfer. In cases where the man's sperm count is extremely low, doctors may combine IVF with a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection. In this procedure, a sperm is taken from semen -- or in some cases right from the testicles -- and inserted directly into the egg. Once a viable embryo is produced, it is transferred to the uterus using the usual IVF procedure. content source
Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization
Today, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is practically a household word. But not so long ago, it was a mysterious procedure for infertility that produced what were then known as "test-tube babies." Louise Brown, born in England in 1978, was the first such baby to be conceived outside her mother's womb. Unlike the simpler process of artificial insemination -- in which sperm is placed in the uterus and conception happens otherwise normally -- IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus. IVF is a complex and expensive procedure; only about 5% of couples with infertility seek it out. However, since its introduction in the U.S. in 1981, IVF and other similar techniques have resulted in more than 200,000 babies. What Causes of Infertility Can IVF Treat? When it comes to infertility, IVF may be an option if you or your partner have been diagnosed with: Endometriosis Low sprem counts Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes Problems with ovulation Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus An unexplained fertility problem IVF is never the first step in the treatment of infertility except in cases of complete tubal blockage. Instead, it's reserved for cases in which other methods such as fertility drugs, surgery, and artificial insemination haven't worked. If you think that IVF might make sense for you, carefully assess any treatment center before undergoing the procedure. Here are some questions to ask the staff at the fertility clinic: What is your pregnancy ratio per embryo transfer? What is your pregnancy rate for couples in our age group and with our fertility problem? What is the live birth rate for all couples who undergo this procedure each year at your facility? How many of those deliveries are twins or other multiple births? How much will the procedure cost, including the cost of the hormone treatments? How much does it cost to store embryos and how long can we store them? Do you participate in an egg donation program? content source
Your age and fertility
Fertility starts to decline for women from about the age of 30, dropping down more steeply from the age of 35. As women grow older the likelihood of getting pregnant falls while the likelihood of infertility rises. Most women will be able to conceive naturally and give birth to a healthy baby if they get pregnant at 35. After 35 the proportion of women who experience infertility, miscarriage or a problem with their baby increases. By the age of 40, only two in five of those who wish to have a baby will be able to do so. The average age at which women have in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment is on the upward trend too. This reflects the increase in infertility due to age. However, the success rates of IVF treatment for women over 40 are low and have not increased much over the past decade. From a purely biological perspective, it's best to try to start a family before you're 35. Men can remain fertile for much longer than women. Even though male fertility also declines with age, it tends to happen gradually for men. While many men remain fertile into their 50s and beyond, the proportion of men with sperm disorders increases with age. The decline in male fertility is more gradual for men than women. The decline in male fertility can affect the health of the children they may go on to have. Content Source Feature Image Source