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February 2008 Blog Archive

Friday, February 29, 2008
Importance of the Infertility Support Group
Infertility is more than just a condition; it's a community. People who are dealing with and overcoming infertility are handling specific situations that only others in the same position can really understand. For this reason, it is important to surround yourself with those people within the infertility community who can be there for you when the emotional aspect of coping with the situation becomes difficult.

A recent news article focused on one specific infertility support group which assists women and their partners in dealing with the feelings that surround fertility problems. It discusses the fact that this is a time of emotional ups and downs and a time when you really need to be not alone in your situation. In addition to emotional support, an infertility support group can provide you with information to improve your situation.

Ask your doctor or check online to find an infertility support group near you.

Question of the Day: What fears do you have about joining an infertility support group?

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Thursday, February 28, 2008
Acupuncture for Infertility
If you've tried everything else, you might be starting to look at alternative healing methods for treating infertility. And if that's the case, there's a good chance that acupuncture is on the table as one of the things that you might be thinking about trying.

Acupuncture is a method of healing that people have been using since ancient times. Reports indicate that more and more Western doctors are starting to take notice of this way of treating patients for various ailments. Some of them are even starting to incorporate or recommend acupuncture to their patients in conjunction with Western treatments.

People who have investigated the situation say that the results of acupuncture for infertility vary with great dependence on the cause of infertility.

"For example, acupuncture and herbs will not work to address tubal adhesions which can occur as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis. However, in this situation, an individual could still benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Additionally, it is shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining." (source)

You should always speak with your infertility doctor if you are considering attempting any alternative methods in conjunction with your treatment plan.

Question of the Day: What are your feelings about alternative healing treatments for infertility?

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Oldest Women to Give Birth
In vitro fertilization has done many things for many people. There are a multitude of reasons that a woman may be unable to get pregnant without IVF and the treatment provides her an option that she otherwise may not have had. For some women, IVF allows them to go back in time, reversing menopause and allowing them to get pregnant in their later years.

Here are some of the oldest women to give birth using IVF:

- Rosanna della Corte is a woman who had a series of ups and downs when it came to being a mother. First she gave birth naturally only to have her first child die in a car accident. As an older woman, she used IVF to get pregnant and conceived on the first try but then miscarried. The sixth attempt was successful and she gave birth when she was 62 years old.

- Adriana Iliescu. This Romanian woman gave birth to a child when she was 66 years old. However, some argue that her case doesn't really count because the child she gave birth to wasn't her biological child, IVF was used in a process that made her something similar to a surrogate. Would you really tell that to the child that she birthed and is raising though?

- Turkan Katicelik was one of the most recent older women to give birth. This happened last year in Germany when the mother was 64 years old.

Learn more about births over the age of 50 from Wikipedia.

Question of the Day: How old is too old to have a baby?

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008
In Vitro Fertilization, Pregnancy, and Menopause
One of the reasons that women turn to in vitro fertilization is because they have waited too long to have children naturally. These women have either entered menopause or are getting close to it and their bodies are no longer in the phase typically known as "the childbearing years". While infertility treatment options do allow these women to go ahead and have children, they should be aware that there are unique physical changes happening at this time which can impact the way that the pregnancy plays out.

A recent news article took a closer look at some of the menopause symptoms that can exacerbate the discomfort of pregnancy for these women. Just imagine that you're pregnant, bloated, achy and having morning sickness. Now top that off with hot flashes, mood swings and fatigue. You're having double the problems. Of course, many women find that getting pregnant is worth these extra troubles that they go through during the pregnancy.

Question of the Day: What is your biggest concern about having children close to menopause?

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Monday, February 25, 2008
Be Passionate About Your Infertility
Many women are ashamed of their problems with infertility. Others may not be ashamed but just consider it something that they have to deal with. The reality is that this is a big and important part of your life. Instead of dismissing it, you should embrace it and figure out how to be passionate about it.

One way that some women get passionate about their infertility problems is to begin working in the arena of raising infertility awareness. This may start because they find themselves explaining in vitro fertilization and other treatment options to concerned family and friends. It may lead to these women working with infertility organizations or starting blogs about the issue.

Another way that women may make something more out of their infertility is to start a career around it. It doesn't have to be specifically about infertility either. A news report recently detailed the work of a woman who got pregnant after struggling with infertility and found a desire to make maternity clothes; she's turned this into a successful business.

It doesn't matter what you do, just realize that infertility doesn't have to be something that you deal with and ignore. It can be integrated into the rest of your life in ways that make it more of a positive thing than a negative one.

Question of the Day: What would you suggest would be the best way to turn infertility into a positive experience?

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Friday, February 22, 2008
New Medical Treatment for Fibroids
There are many different causes of infertility. For some women, the cause is a problem called fibroids. These are non-cancerous tumors which wreak havoc in the body and can cause fertility problems if present during the childbearing years. Fibroids affect four out of every five women and so are an issue of grave concern. Luckily, there is a new non-surgical treatment which might help with this problem.

In the past, a major form of treatment for fibroids has been the hysterectomy.

"More hysterectomies are done because of fibroids than any other problem of the uterus. For many women with fibroids, symptoms are minimal and require no treatment. Also, the fibroids often shrink after menopause. But fibroids can cause heavy bleeding or pain in some women." (source)

Women who do not want to undergo hysterectomies have to work with their doctors for alternative solutions. One of thsoe solutions may now be a form of focused ultrasound that can destroy the fibroid. However, it is unclear at this time whether this would be useful for women who are interested in having children; it may be something that is used only in post-childbearing years. More research will need to be done to determine the treatment's relation to resolving infertility.

Question of the Day: Would you get a hysterectomy to deal with fibroids?

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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Egg Freezing Technology Advances
The San Francisco Bay Area is leading the way in advancing options for women with infertility issues. It was reported in October that a new grant was allowing for research into a new freezing-and-thawing technique for women's eggs that could change the playing field for infertility treatment. It has now been announced that a fertility center in the area has been highly successful in having patients conceive using eggs that were unfertilized before freezing, a new infertility method that opens the doors to new treatment options.

"A Pacific Fertility Center (PFC) patient, who underwent an embryo transfer with embryos created from vitrified and warmed donor oocytes (eggs), successfully delivered a baby in late October 2007. A healthy baby boy was born at term. Three other pregnancies are ongoing and are expected to deliver in 2008."

Historically, the woman's eggs had to be fertilized prior to freezing. However, the researchers at this facility have spent the past two years trying to provide women with the option of freezing unfertilized eggs for future use. This has been successful thus far and should lead to further exploration of this option by other facilities.

Question of the Day: How do you feel about the egg freezing process?

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Infertility and "Survival of the Fittest"
A news article available online makes a controversial point about infertility. In essence, it says that if we are choosing to treat infertility with medical options, then we are opting to go against the "survival of the fittest" mentality of evolution. Of course, this could be said of any modern medical treatment that we use so it's a very broad statement. But the fact that infertility concerns are so close to the heart for many couples makes this quite a touchy thing to report.

It is debatable whether the "survival of the fittest" way of thinking really pertains as directly to infertility treatment as this article suggests. This theory essentially says that the weakest of a pack will die off as a result of not being strong enough to survive. However, there's nothing about the infertility of a mother that suggests that her child will be the so-called runt of life's litter. Nevertheless, there evidence that infertility is increasing and we don't know the cause for that as of yet so it's possible that some would say that there is merit to this theory.

Question of the Day: Do you believe that infertility treatment is in opposition to the survival of the fittest mentality?

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Opening Blocked Fallopian Tubes
There are many different ways to treat infertility. As healers of all kinds work to solve the problem of infertility, new methods of treatment are regularly developed. One of the newest reported treatments is designed to assist women with blocked fallopian tubes in becoming unblocked through non-invasive manual physical therapy.

The study surrounding this new treatment shows that 61% of women who underwent the treatment had their tubes unblocked as a result of the procedure. Approximately half of those women went on to get pregnant. The treatment is designed to be a natural alternative to in vitro fertilization.

Learn more from WNKY news.

Question of the Day: Would you consider an alternative healing treatment for infertility?

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Monday, February 18, 2008
Fertility Experts to Speak at Gay Marriage Events
There are two major gay pride events happening in the days to come. These events are important for many reasons including the fact that they address the issue of parenting as a gay married couple. For that reason, adoption, fertility and surrogacy specialists will be available with information.

"On Feb. 23, the MEGA Family Project offers a workshop to explore options for prospective parents. Then on Feb. 24, the "Same Love, Same Rights Wedding & Planning Expo" returns to Atlanta for its fourth annual event showcasing local, gay-friendly vendors". (source)

The events reach out to many different types of people in the community. They work on providing professionals, such as infertility experts, with the tools and resources to meet the unique needs of gay parents. They also work on bringing information to the parents themselves.

The two events differ in that the first is mostly about offering information whereas the second is mostly about business and political issues in the gay community. However, both events are bringing important issues into the limelight to be discussed.

Question of the Day: Do you believe that fertility concerns of gay parents are the same as those of straight parents?

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Friday, February 15, 2008
Pros and Cons of Sex Selection
People who are getting fertility treatments have many decisions to make. One of the ones that is easiest for most people is the decision about whether or not to use sex selection in the treatments.

Sex selection literally allows the parents-to-be to choose the gender of their child. This is done through multiple methods include sperm sorting. (Follow the link above for additional information.)

There are pros and cons to making the choice to use sex selection. On the plus side, you get to choose and know the gender of your baby in advance which is an option many parents prefer. On the con side, you have to pay more money for the procedure and you may face negative comments from peers and family members.

Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to use sex selection is a personal one to be made between the patient and her fertility doctor.

Question of the Day: Are you for or against sex selection?

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Friday, February 15, 2008
Write a Valentine's Letter to your Baby to Be
Dealing with infertility is a really difficult experience. One of the ways to make it a more pleasant time of life is to start accumulating items that will be given as special gifts to your baby once that baby has finally entered your life.

On each holiday and during other important times throughout the year, you can celebrate your future family with a little addition to this accumulation. For example, starting today you can sit down and write a Valentine's letter to your baby.

This can just be a simple letter that says what you're feeling about the family situation today. There's no one that you're going to love more than the baby you finally have, no matter how that baby ends up coming to you. That makes Valentine's a perfect day to celebrate even if the baby hasn't yet arrived.

Question of the Day: What other Valentine's things can you do to create a special memory for the baby you'll have one day?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The Difference Between Egg Donation and Surrogacy
When you're just starting to learn about your infertility options, you may be overwhelmed by all of the information that's coming your way. The different choices that are available to you can all start to seem the same but of course they are very different and only one will be the right one for you.

For example, you might be deciding between egg donation and surrogacy. In egg donation, another woman donates her eggs to you so that you can get pregnant and carry a baby. In surrogacy, your eggs are implanted into the surrogate mother and she carries the baby for you. These are essentially opposites but can start to seem the same when you're facing too many different options.

Make sure that you speak with your doctor about all of your choices. Don't hesitate to call with questions if you get confused. That's what the doctor is there for!

Question of the Day: Given all of the options, would you be more interested in surrogacy or egg donation?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Infertility Considered in Animal Testing Issue
Animal testing is something that's a really uncomfortable topic for most people. On the one hand, you don't want to see animals being tested. On the other, it's hard to deny that the testing often results in significant medical advancements. A new plan is on the table which would allow for medical advances to continue being made while the use of animal testing is significantly reduced and improved.

The plan has many facets to it (which you can learn by following the above link) but one of the areas it touches on is how to find safe ways to reduce animal testing without compromising the safety of humans. One of the ways is to make sure that there is safe animal testing done on products that are identified as being potentially dangerous to human health. Listed among those products are products which are believed to cause problems with fertility.

Question of the Day: Do you support animal testing in cases where it can prevent infertility?

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Monday, February 11, 2008
Recommended Reading: The Starter Wife
The books that are recommended for women struggling with infertility are almost always non-fiction books. They are books which provide information about infertility options or they are books which tell the true story of another woman's struggle with infertility. However, the rare fiction book comes along that touches on the topic of infertility even though it's typically taboo in the world of novels. The Starter Wife is one of those books.

The book is a light-hearted fun read about a New York woman who begins dating a fertility doctor. It's by no means a serious look at the issues of infertility facing women today. However, for women who are seeking fun reading material that they can somewhat relate to during their infertility plight, this is a good one.

Read one positive and one negative review to get a balanced look at the book.

Question of the Day: What other fiction books touch on fertility issues?

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Friday, February 08, 2008
Book Recommendation: Grandma Tells Story of Cryo-Kid
It's hard not to be touched by the story of a grandmother who has watched her daughter struggle with infertility and who finally sees a granddaughter born through the use of cryogenics. It's particularly hard not to be touched when you know that the story is true and that it's told straight from the heart.

Corinne Heather Copnick has published just this book called Cryo Kid: Drawing a New Map. And there is more to it than meets the eye.

Although the book is written from the perspective of the grandmother, it also adds in the voice of the granddaughter (the girl who was born through cryogenics.) And surprisingly, it adds in the voice of the sperm donor who made her birth possible, touching on the fact that this girl has siblings out there in the world. More importantly, it takes a very real and human perspective at looking at the issue of infertility and the technological treatment options that are available today.

Anyone who has gone through the struggle of dealing with infertility will benefit from reading this book.

Question of the Day: What other books can you recommend to people interested in reading first-person accounts of infertility?

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Thursday, February 07, 2008
Infertility and Breast Cancer
There are many young women who face having to deal with a diagnosis of breast cancer. This alone is a difficult situation. However, it is made more difficult for women who are interested in having children in the future. The treatments for breast cancer can limit the fertility options for these women, causing difficult treatment decisions to become even harder to decide.

There are professionals in the industry working towards solutions to the problems that these women face. For example, a non-profit organization serving a network of hospitals in Ohio has just added a fertility specialist to its team of professionals. This is designed for the specific purpose of addressing the fertility concerns that face an increasingly younger generation of women who are dealing with breast cancer.

More and more women under the age of forty are coping with breast cancer. These women face early menopause, post-diagnosis pregnancy and other fertility issues that older women aren't facing. This is a relatively new issue in the medical community and one which is going to require solutions for a growing number of patients.

Question of the Day: What would be your biggest fertility concern after a breast cancer diagnosis?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Carrying Your Best Friend's Baby
They say it takes a village to raise a child. The idea is that a child needs a whole community of people around him or her to find the love, support, education and guidance that get them through childhood and into a productive adulthood. These days, the village is gone for most people and we rely on a small network for friends and service care providers to assist us in raising our children. But there are some people out there who are recreating the family village in a right-to-the-heart kind of way.

Take the case of Dana Lee Luke and Jane Phillips. These women have been best friends for about as far back as they can remember, the kind of friends that take care of each other and help support the families that one another has. More than that, they've helped create each other's families. Literally. Jane has recently given birth to twins after being the surrogate mother for Dana who was unable to have children of her own.

Jane, who is slightly older than Dana Lee, had already had two children of her own. She was getting into her late thirties and they all decided that now was the time if it was going to happen. Using money obtained from the assistance of a non-profit organization for infertility, they successfully harvested Dana's eggs, fertilized them and implanted them into Jane. The babies were recently born and are doing well.

Question of the Day: If you could, would you carry a baby for your best friend?

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Celebrity Infertility: Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman has a long history of trouble with infertility. While married to Tom Cruise, she struggled with infertility issues including multiple miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. She and current husband Keith Urban are now expecting their first child after successful use of fertility treatments.

Kidman's pregnancy and those of older celebrity women like hers have been a source of some controversy. There are people out there who believe that these women are setting a bad example for encouraging women to have children later in life. However, there are women on the other side of the debate who support Kidman's decision to wait until she was in a happy, stable marriage before moving forward with fertility treatments.

Question of the Day: Do celebrities have a right to pregnancy privacy?

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Monday, February 04, 2008
The Link Between IVF Twins and Heart Disease
There has been a significant amount of media attention recently to a Yale study which found that twins conceived by in vitro fertilization may have a higher chance than the general population of contracting a congenital heart disease. However, despite the importance of this research, it is not necessarily a cause for concern among women who are trying to conceive through IVF.

What the researchers have found so far is that the rate of congenital heart disease for children born via IVF is the same as that of the general population. However, the rate for twins born through IVF is higher. This suggests that the link is not necessarily the IVF but rather the multiple pregnancies. It is believed that the statistics are due in part to the fact that IVF leads to a greater chance of multiple pregnancies than would be seen in the general population.

What does this mean for you? Patients can work with their fertility doctors to reduce the likelihood of a multiple-birth pregnancy. This in turn could reduce the likelihood of congenital heart problems in the family, since the rate is the same for single-birth children conceived by IVF as for the general population. Discuss all concerns with your doctor to determine the course of action that is right for you.

Question of the Day: What health concerns most upset you regarding the use of IVF?

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Friday, February 01, 2008
Celebrity Infertility: Martie Maguire from Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks have been quite open with discussing their infertility issues. Both Martie Maguire and Emily Robison have struggled in the past to get pregnant. They both have started families thanks to in vitro fertilization. And Martie Maguire is happy to say that she's pregnant again as a result of IVF.

Maguire successfully had twins a little over three years ago after starting IVF treatments. Now that the years have passed, she decided that it was time to add to the family. She started an IVF cycle in August 2007 and is expecting the new addition to arrive late this summer. She jokes that she'll be happy to be carrying just one baby this time around!

Question of the Day: Were you previously aware of the Dixie Chicks' struggles with infertility?

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