Fertility

It refers to the natural capability to produce an offspring.

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What is Infertility Sadness?

Most of us who have grappled with infertility will readily admit to hours of sadness, days of feeling rotten and even periods of being emotionally overwhelmed. We may believe that those feelings go with the territory of infertility. Given the built-in stress of infertility, some sadness is inevitable. Our dreams of parenthood have been up-ended and deferred. We may be on hormones that affect our mood. We now have an unanticipated lurch in our relationship with our partner that makes us both walk on eggshells, first trying to comfort and next suppressing our painful emotions. Many of us find our sad feelings are episodic, perhaps relating to our menstrual cycle, to hormone treatments, to test outcomes or to toxic situations such as baby showers or announcements of a friend's pregnancy. So on the continuum of sadness, situational sadness is the least serious, and profound depression is the most serious. However, the issue of sadness/depression reminds us that our psyches need more attention that they are getting. In that spirit, let me mention a few things to consider as you resolve to make your mental health a high priority during your treatment for infertility. This is especially urgent if you have symptoms of depression, including persistent sadness, guilt or irritability, sleep and appetite disruption, and the absence of pleasure. Depression is not only a mental disorder, so in addressing some of the physical symptoms you will want to be careful about what you eat and drink (avoid caffeine, which can make you anxious; avoid alcohol, which may worsen depressive symptoms). Since sleep disturbance is a common symptom of depression, it is critical to get an ample amount of sleep. So what if you are attentive to all of these things and your sadness/depression does not abate? Now is the time to alert your infertility specialist to the ways in which your mood is disrupting your functioning and your life satisfaction. If you receive infertility treatment in a clinic that employs mental health professionals on its staff, hopefully, you can consult with them. In addition, your infertility specialist may be able to change your hormone treatments to have a less disruptive effect on your mood. If your infertility clinic does not have mental health professionals on staff, it still is possible they can suggest names of people whom their patients have used. You will want to have a consultation with a psychiatrist, in an effort to determine what mood disturbances you are experiencing; it also is the time to identify a therapist who is skilled in strategies of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is future-oriented, teaching mental skills that address negative thought patterns and challenge feelings of helplessness. Content Source: Feature Image Source:

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Common Causes of Infertility

Some women want children but either cannot conceive or keep miscarrying. This is called infertility. Lots of couples have infertility problems. About one-third of the time, it is a female problem. In another one-third of cases, it is the man with the fertility problem. For the remaining one-third, both partners have fertility challenges or no cause is found. Some common reasons for infertility in women include: Age – Women generally have some decrease in fertility starting in their early 30s. And while many women in their 30s and 40s have no problems getting pregnant, fertility especially declines after age 35. As a woman ages, normal changes that occur in her ovaries and eggs make it harder to become pregnant. Even though menstrual cycles continue to be regular in a woman's 30s and 40s, the eggs that ovulate each month are of poorer quality than those from her 20s. It is harder to get pregnant when the eggs are poorer in quality. As a woman nears menopause, the ovaries may not release an egg each month, which also can make it harder to get pregnant. Also, as a woman and her eggs age, she is more likely to miscarry, as well as have a baby with genetic problems, such as Down syndrome. Health problems – Some women have diseases or conditions that affect their hormone levels, which can cause infertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) rarely or never ovulate. Failure to ovulate is the most common cause of infertility in women. With primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a woman's ovaries stop working normally before she is 40. It is not the same as early menopause. Some women with POI get a period now and then. But getting pregnant is hard for women with POI. A condition called luteal phase defect (LPD) is a failure of the uterine lining to be fully prepared for pregnancy. This can keep a fertilized egg from implanting or result in miscarriage. Common problems with a woman's reproductive organs, like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease can worsen with age and also affect fertility. These conditions might cause the fallopian tubes to be blocked, so the egg can't travel through the tubes into the uterus. Lifestyle factors – Certain lifestyle factors also can have a negative effect on a woman's fertility. Examples include smoking, alcohol use, weighing much more or much less than an ideal body weight, a lot of strenuous exercise, and having an eating disorder. Stress also can affect fertility. Unlike women, some men remain fertile into their 60s and 70s. But as men age, they might begin to have problems with the shape and movement of their sperm. They also have a slightly higher risk of sperm gene defects. Or they might produce no sperm, or too few sperm. Lifestyle choices also can affect the number and quality of a man's sperm. Alcohol and drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality. And researchers are looking at whether environmental toxins, such as pesticides and lead, also may be to blame for some cases of infertility. Men also can have health problems that affect their sexual and reproductive function. These can include sexually transmitted infections (STIs), diabetes, surgery on the prostate gland, or a severe testicle injury or problem. When to see your doctor You should talk to your doctor about your fertility if: You are younger than 35 and have not been able to conceive after one year of frequent sex without birth control. You are age 35 or older and have not been able to conceive after six months of frequent sex without birth control. You believe you or your partner might have fertility problems in the future (even before you begin trying to get pregnant). You or your partner has a problem with sexual function or libido. Happily, doctors are able to help many infertile couples go on to have babies. Infertility treatment Some treatments include: Drugs – Various fertility drugs may be used for women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the drug to be used. You should understand the drug's benefits and side effects. Depending on the type of fertility drug and the dosage of the drug used, multiple births (such as twins) can occur. Surgery – Surgery is done to repair damage to a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Sometimes a man has an infertility problem that can be corrected by surgery. Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also called artificial insemination – Male sperm is injected into part of the woman's reproductive tract, such as into the uterus or fallopian tube. IUI often is used along with drugs that cause a woman to ovulate. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) – ART involves stimulating a woman's ovaries; removing eggs from her body; mixing them with sperm in the laboratory; and putting the embryos back into a woman's body. Success rates of ART vary and depend on many factors. Third party assistance – Options include donor eggs (eggs from another woman are used), donor sperm (sperm from another man are used), or surrogacy (when another woman carries a baby for you). Finding the cause of infertility is often a long, complex, and emotional process. And treatment can be expensive. Many health insurance companies do not provide coverage for infertility or provide only limited coverage. Check your health insurance contract carefully to learn about what is covered. Some states have laws that mandate health insurance policies to provide infertility coverage. Content Source Feature Image Source

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How Cervical Mucus Helps Predict Your Most Fertile Days?

There are many ovulation predictor kits on the market, but there’s one inside every woman that’s absolutely free. Cyclical changes in the secretions produced by the cervix provide a simple, easy way for women to monitor their cycles–and their most fertile times. As opposed to the change in basal body temperature that occurs after ovulation, the change in cervical mucus (CM) occurs several days prior to ovulation, giving women the opportunity to time intercourse for conception. For most of the cycle, CM acts as a barrier to sperm. It protects the cervix chemically–with white blood cells fighting foreign bodies–and mechanically–acting as a plug and closing the cervical canal. But during the fertile phase, the consistency and composition of CM changes. Instead of being a barrier, CM now aids and accelerates the sperms’ passage through the cervix. CM during the fertile phase also extends sperm longevity, allowing them to live for up to five days within the female body. The CM even acts as a quality control device, screening the sperm and catching any with irregular or curved swimming. By observing CM pinpoint the fertile phase, women can help increase their chances of conception. Changes in Cervical Mucus Changes in CM will indicate the days leading up to ovulation, and sexual intercourse during this time will ensure that sperm—nourished by fertile phase CM—will be present when the egg is released. What to Look For A woman can monitor her CM by feel or appearance. The sensation of CM in the vagina–dry, moist, or wet–is one clue to follow for detecting impending ovulation. The color (white, creamy, cloudy or clear) and consistency (sticky, or smooth and slippery) are others. Women can see and feel CM when it moistens their underwear, or when they wipe themselves with toilet paper. Bearing down (such as with a bowel movement) or releasing the muscles following a Kegel exercise may release more mucus. Women can also conduct a “finger test.” To do this, a woman should first thoroughly wash her hands, then carefully insert a finger into the vagina. When the finger is removed, she can observe and note the color and consistency of the CM by stretching it out between two fingers. Because it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish between CM and semen, it’s best to test CM before intercourse or wait for a while afterward. Cervical mucus can also be altered by vaginal infections, medication, and birth control. The chart below gives information for de-coding CM to detect ovulation. Phase Sensation CM Appearance Pre-ovulatory Dry No visible mucus. Fertile Moist or sticky White or cream-colored, thick to slightly stretchy. Breaks easily when stretched. Highly Fertile Slippery, wet, lubricated Increase in amount. Thin, watery, transparent, like egg white. Post-ovulatory Dry or sticky Sharp decrease in amount. Thick, opaque white or cream-colored. Content and Feature Image Source

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