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August 2008 Blog Archive

Friday, August 29, 2008
Spa Treatments for Fertility Problems
If you are someone who likes to go to the spa then you may have started to notice that there is a new offer on the spa menu these days - spa treatments for infertility. Massage and detoxification services are being offered to women who are having trouble getting pregnant based on the idea that the infertility is caused by stress and toxins in the body.

It may not be a bad thing to get these treatments. They are designed to reduce stress and keep you healthy. This is something that is good for women dealing with infertility which is a highly stressful thing to go through. However, these treatments are sufficient alone to assist you in getting pregnant if you have fertility problems.

There is certainly a benefit to being a more relaxed and healthy person. However, this doesn't mean that you can rely on relaxation to help you get pregnant. Combining de-stressing techniques with a medical approach to dealing with infertility will be much more effective than trying to get pregnant with the help of spa treatments alone.

Question of the Day: What are the pros and cons of having "infertility treatments" offered at med spas?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008
Stress Causes Woman To Sue Over Delays in Infertility Treatment
There is a woman in the UK who is threatening to sue her fertility treatment doctor because of the fact that her treatments took longer than she had anticipated. Basically what happened was that a couple went in to get treatment for infertility because the male in the relationship was having sperm issues. The issues took time to resolve through appropriate treatment. By the time that they had been resolved, the woman had aged and she was now having problems with fertility.

In the end, the couple ended up deciding to go to a neighboring country and to use a surrogate to have a child. They are about to have their baby after waiting for more than five years. But now the woman is saying that she is afraid that she won't be able to love this baby as much as she should because the child isn't genetically linked to her. And she is saying that she thinks that she should sue the fertility treatment doctor because of the delay.

The fact of the matter is that fertility treatments sometimes take a long time (although they take much longer in the UK than in the U.S. most of the time). This woman is most likely having a highly emotional reaction to the long delays and the issues that come up for a woman who is using a surrogate to start her family. But is a lawsuit really the answer? Most people would say no.

Question of the Day: Should a woman sue her infertility treatment doctor for delays in the treatment?

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The Wrong Lube Could Cause Infertility
The thing that you are supposed to do when you want to have a baby is - when you boil it all down - to have sex. And many couples find that they need to use a lubricant to be able to have sex comfortably, especially if there's some added tension and pressure to the relationship because of the fact that the couple is having sex for the purpose of wanting to create a baby. But what many couples don't realize is that choosing the wrong lube could actually lead to inadvertantly causing infertility.

A majority of the products that are sold commercially as sexual lubricants today are actually toxic to the sperm that comes out of the man's body. The lubricant effectively kills the sperm and the couple can't get pregnant. Not all lubes cause this problem (and there's an increasing awareness about it so there are a growing number of non-toxic lubes being released) but you have to know what you are buying if you want to avoid this issue.

The good news here is that this kind of infertility is not permanent and it's easy to treat. Changing your lubricant is certainly a lot easier that getting in vitro fertilization! But you have to get informed about the issue to be able to resolve the problem. Get more information here.

Question of the Day: Would changing your lube change your luck with getting pregnant?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Celebrity Surrogacy: Katey Segal
How would you feel about being the surrogate mom to a famous actress? Celebrity surrogacy is actually not as rare as you might imagine it to be if you are someone who doesn't know a whole lot about celebrity infertility issues. Kelly Klein and Marissa Jaret Winokur are two examples of famous women who have had children through assistance by a surrogate. And now you can add Katey Segal to the list of ladies who have started their families this way.

Katey Segal was already fifty when she finally decided to get married to the current love of her life. Some women might still try and have kids at that age but most women know that the biological clock has ticked and tocked enough by then to not be in the best working order. Segal explored a number of different infertility treatment options and decided to go with celebrity surrogacy. She reportedly found the process to be easy breezy and is now raising a one-year-old child with the help of her surrogate.

Question of the Day: Who would you want to be a celebrity surrogate mom for?

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Monday, August 25, 2008
Infertility Treatment Slowly Coming to Africa
There is an interesting article in The Washington Post that takes a look at the situation of infertility treatment in certain parts of Africa. The areas looked at are areas of the world where women are devalued if they do not have children. Traditionally these have been areas where there was no such thing as treatment for infertility but slowly there are starting to be medical options for women here who want to have children but who can't for one reason or another.

Many of these places are villages where women still go to healers to cure them of ailments like infertility. Much of the treatment that is provided is based on superstitions about women who are unable to have children. The success rates of these treatments are not high. However, medical facilities offering infertility treatment are now starting to open up in these areas to the great relief of some of the women who have been suffering with the stigma of being unable to bear children.

There are many ethical issues raised when Western Medicine comes into an area that has traditionally practiced other forms of healing. But for the women who can now have children when they could not before, the benefit of the infertility treatment clinics opening up in Africa are clear.

Question of the Day: What are the pros and cons of bringing Western-style infertility treatment to remote areas of Africa?

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Friday, August 22, 2008
Share Your Infertility Stories
One of the things that you will discover when you are dealing with fertility problems and going through infertility treatments is that there are a lot of different things on your mind. There are questions that you have about infertility treatment options and the experience of dealing with fertility issues.

In addition to your questions, you'll just have a lot of thoughts. You'll have a lot of feelings. You'll have a lot of things to discuss. And now you can have a forum for sharing those thoughts - right here on this blog.

People who are dealing with infertility problems can feel free to discuss some of the things that are on their minds through sharing their stories in the comment section of the blog. Sometimes a story may inspire you to share a comment, an opinion or a link to additional information. Other times you just may feel like you want to say something.

Question of the Day: What other forums are there for sharing stories about dealing with infertility?

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Thursday, August 21, 2008
How To Get Fertility / Infertility News
Do you want to have the most up to date news and information that is available about the treatment and general topic of infertility? If so then you need to be staying on top of the news that is reported about this important issue.

Here are some tips for learning more about up-to-date fertility news:

- Learn to use Google News. You can enter keywords for the news like "fertility", "infertility", "IVF" and "surrogacy". This will bring up current news reports that deal with the topic.

- Start reading medical news. The research that is being done to improve upon existing treatments for infertility can be learned best by reading medical news related to this topic.

- Start reading legal news. There are a lot of legal issues surrounding the topic of infertility and there is news being published in law journals and online newspapers that can keep you up to date about this.

- Check out celebrity infertility gossip. This is a more frivolous side of the topic but it's still news.

- Read blogs like this one that are designed specifically to inform you about infertility issues and information.

Question of the Day: What are some other ways to get news about infertility information?

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Comfort In Talking About Infertility
One of the most difficult experiences that you are ever going to go through in your life is the situation of dealing with infertility. It makes sense, then, that this is going to be one of the most difficult topics you'll ever have to talk about.

Here are some tips for becoming more comfortable talking about infertility issues:

- Choose the people that you talk to wisely. You don't want to choose to discuss this issue with people who aren't going to be sensitive to the difficulty of talking about infertility.

- Don't talk about the issue when you don't want to. Just because you have talked about infertility with someone in the past (and may do so in the future) doesn't mean that you are required to talk about it at the current time.

- Don't be afraid to get emotional. Discussing infertility is an emotional experience and you shouldn't try to hide that fact to make someone else more comfortable.

- Be open about the way that you are feeling and try to be articulate in your explanations. This can help to spread awareness about infertility and will open the door to making it a topic that is easier for people to talk about.

Question of the Day: What other tips do you have for increasing the comfort someone has when discussing infertility issues?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Types of Books about Infertility
You have a lot of choices about where to turn to get information about infertility issues. You can discuss this with friends and family members who have gone through it. You can join an infertility support group. You can turn to the internet, look at medical news and talk the issue over with a doctor that specializes in infertility.

But even as you do all of these things, you should strongly consider reading books about infertility. Books are going to give you a different perspective on the issue than what you can get from other resources and they serve as a really important part of your arsenal of educational tools regarding infertility.

As you start to look for books about infertility, you will find that there are different types of books on this topic. There are medical books that provide great information but that can be difficult to read. There are self-help books designed to give you emotional support and psychological information for dealing with infertility. And there are memoirs from people who have dealt with this before you.

Question of the Day: What types of infertility books are the most useful for people who are dealing with infertility and seeking additional information about the topic?

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Monday, August 18, 2008
Do You Care If Your IVF Doctor is Male or Female?
Let's pretend that you need to get infertility treatments. Close your eyes and imagine the perfect doctor to treat you for the problem of infertility. Now open your eyes. Was the doctor that you pictured a man or a woman?

Although most people won't specifically choose a fertility doctor based on the doctor's gender, most people do have a preference between male or female doctors when it comes to choosing someone to assist them with their fertility issues.

The problem of infertility is a really tough one to deal with. It's emotionally draining and it goes right to the core of the person who is coping with it. This causes people to be particularly sensitive to the details of their care and this includes have a natural preference for working with either a male or a female regarding the treatment.

This doesn't necessarily mean that a majority of women prefer one gender of doctor over the other. In other words, you can't say that "most women prefer a female infertility doctor". Instead, the preference has to do with a lot of personal choices and pros/cons weighed by the individual patient based on biases and assumptions that have been built up over time.

Question of the Day: When choosing a fertility doctor, should you take the gender of the doctor into consideration?

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Friday, August 15, 2008
Three Sisters, One Child
There is a very unique case of infertility treatment between three sisters that was successful a few years back and is about to be repeated. One sister was infertile. She was incapable of getting pregnant and she was also incapable of donating eggs to a surrogate. Each sister contributed a part of that equation and the infertile sister was able to start her family. The child is now three and the sisters are going to help again so that the family can be complete.

This was an unusual case not only because there were sisters involved but also because there were three women involved in the situation. One sister donated the eggs, one sister carried the baby and the third sister is raising the child. The eggs were frozen the first time that the procedure was done so it was not necessary for the donating sister to give any more eggs. They just had to use the frozen eggs to allow the carrying sister to get pregnant again.

Read more about this unique case here.

Question of the Day: Is this the most unique case of surrogacy that has taken place?

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Thursday, August 14, 2008
Complications of Surrogacy
There is a really wild case of international surrogacy that has left a child sitting alone in a hospital due to the complicated emotions of the parents involved. A married couple found a surrogate mother in India to have the child. However, they divorced before the baby was born. Neither the biological mother nor the surrogate mother want the child. The father does still want to adopt the child but the law in India is that single men can not adopt children and therefore the child is hanging in limbo with her future uncertain.

There are a number of problems that can be seen in this case including the following:

- Complications of international surrogacy. It is not recommended that you travel to another country to find your surrogate. The reason for this is highlighted in this case. The father would be able to adopt the child with no problem in the United States but is bound by Indian law since the child was born to the surrogate in India.

- Parents should be committed to the surrogacy. Parents who are having problems in their relationship should realize that they are not ready to commit to raising a child. Divorce during the time that a surrogate is pregnant with the child can be devastating for all parties involved as evidenced by this case.

These are just two of the complications of surrogacy that are exemplified by the case. Surrogacy is a difficult transaction that occurs between adults who have highly complicated emotional lives. For the good of everyone involved it is important to make smart choices regarding how, where and with whom you enter into a surrogacy agreement.

Question of the Day: What should be done with the child in the international surrogacy case going on in India now?

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Court Ruling Allows Women to Take Time Off Work for Infertility Treatments
Women who are suffering from problems with infertility will find that every single aspect of their lives is impacted by this struggle. One of the most difficult areas for many women to navigate is the issue of how to deal with full-time work while also trying to get pregnant using infertility treatments. The time that is needed to get the treatments and to recover from the impact that they have on the body can take a significant chunk of time away from a busy work schedule. Many women aren't sure whether they should be up front with their bosses about this or if they should just try to work through the problem silently.

A new court ruling may make it easier for women to deal with infertility treatment issues on the job. A federal appeals court has ruled in a specific case which makes sweeping changes to how other women will be treated on the job in regards to infertility treatment.

The court ruling says that women who need to take time off from work due to infertility treatment schedules are protected under a couple of different laws. They can invoke their rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act as well as under the Sex Bias Act. In the past, it was said that infertility treatment issues were not a sex bias because of the fact that men also experience infertility but it has now been found that the amount of time required for treatment of women with the problem is significant enough to allow for the act to be considered.

This means that women can probably take time off of work while going through infertility treatments without having to fear the loss of their jobs. However, women will still need to navigate the tough question of whether or not to bring their fertility problems into the workplace with them.

Question of the Day: How will the court ruling on fertility treatment issues in the workplace impact the way that women deal with discussing their infertility problems at work?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Delaware's First Use of Frozen Eggs is Successful
One of the latest advancements in in vitro fertilization is the use of frozen-then-thawed eggs to achieve pregnancy. Although freezing eggs is a technology that began three decades ago, it has only been with recent improvements in thawing and using frozen eggs that this type of treatment has started to become more widespread. It's a way for women to have more control over when they want to use their eggs, especially in cases where they may be risking infertility if they don't freeze their eggs early (such as prior to undergoing cancer treatment).

A medical facility in Delaware reports that the region's first real use of this type of infertility treatment appears to be successful with the expectant mother healthy in her second trimester of the pregnancy. This means that increased interest in this procedure in the area is likely to be seen in the year or two to come. Learn more here.

Question of the Day: What changes are we going to see to infertility treatment trends as the freezing and thawing of eggs becomes more common?

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Monday, August 11, 2008
Recommended Reading: His and Her Mini Toolkit for Infertility
There is a couple who works together to offer books that provide useful advice to couples from both a male perspective and a female perspective. Their latest book is on the topic of infertility. It discusses the causes of infertility, the options that are available to treat infertility and the methods that they recommend for coping with infertility. It is called the His and Her Mini Toolkit for Infertility and the authors are Craig and Amy Carpentieri.

The authors are both Sufi spiritual healers so it should be noted that there is some level of spirituality to the books that they write. However, this is not forced upon you as you read. Instead, their beliefs are used to illuminate the importance of staying emotionally stable while trying to deal with infertility. Their best advice is to remain optimistic about the likelihood of conceiving during infertility treatments because this seems to have an inexplicable ability to improve results.

Learn more about the book from this review.

Question of the Day: Does an optimistic attitude improve your chances of success with in vitro fertilization and other infertility treatments?

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Friday, August 08, 2008
2 Infertility Treatment Methods That Don't Work
A new study shows that two methods of infertility treatment that are commonly used in the UK are probably not actually effective in treating infertility. Moreover these treatments have negative side effects that could make it unpleasant to use the treatments on a "just in case they work" kind of basis.

The two types of infertility treatments that were studied were:

1. An oral drug treatment that was previously believed to induce ovulation. Women have taken these pills (with negative side effects like nausea) and then have not gotten any other infertility treatment in the hope that the pills would be enough to allow them to get pregnant.

2. Intrauterine insemination. This is a process that involves the washign and injection of sperm to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant in cases where the cause of infertility is unknown.

The study showed that there was no significant increase in the likelihood of getting pregnant using either of these methods. This means that it is recommended that patients get more traditional forms of infertility treatment. However, it should be noted that the patients who use these procedures do not know why they are suffering from infertility and therefore they may be willing to try almost anything in the hopes that they will conceive.

Question of the Day: What alternative infertility treatments should be used for women with no known cause of infertility if oral treatments and Intrauterine Insemination do not work?

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Thursday, August 07, 2008
Celebrity Infertility: Saira Khan
Saira Khan is a British woman who has become an increasingly popular face on television shows in the UK. She first gained attention as a runner-up in the British version of the reality TV show The Apprentice. Since that time she has made a number of different television appearances. However what she has gained the most press for recently is her struggle with infertility and the recent birth of her son.

Khan and her husband had trouble conceiving child due to a condition called endometriosis that is a common cause of infertility. They tried for two years to have a child before the consulted a fertility specialist and found out what the problem was. At that time, they began discussing their options and were weighing the pros and cons of IVF vs. adoption to start their family.

What is often the case with couples is that they will begin looking at infertility treatments like IVF only to end up surprisingly getting pregnant without assistance. That was the case for Khan who now has a healthy three month old boy. However, she says that not a day goes by when she doesn't think about her struggles with infertility. She says it makes her appreciate her child that much more.

Question of the Day: How many women start thinking about getting treatment for infertility and then conceive before treatment is begun?

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Should Women Be Paid For Egg Donation That Goes To Research?
There are a lot of women out there who choose to get involved in egg donation for the purpose of helping a family who can't have children to conceive. However there is definitely a monetary incentive that encourages these women to participate in the transaction. The business is closely monitored and those women who are participating solely for the money are often weeded out of the system but there's no doubt that a lot of the women who do donate eggs wouldn't do so if they weren't paid.

This is a controversial issue that gets even more controversial when you start talking about using the eggs for research. Although it is legal for women to get paid to donate their eggs to a specific couple for the purpose of conception, it is currently illegal for them to receive payment to donate their eggs to research centers. There are people on both sides of this issue.

"Supporters of such bans say that they are necessary to avoid creating a market for human eggs that encourages women to risk their health for "speculative science," the Chronicle reports. However, opponents of the bans argue that they are creating shortages of eggs, which is what has kept scientists from making advances that prove the potential of stem cell research." (source)

Researchers claim that they have attempted to get egg donations without payment and they have been unsuccessful. That monetary incentive is stronger than you might think.

Question of the Day: Should women be allowed to receive payment for egg donation when the eggs are going towards fertility medicine research?

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008
2 Women Launch Infertility Support Group in Mississippi
One of the topics that we discuss periodically on this blog is the importance of the infertility support group. You can learn more here about why specifically it is that the infertility support group is so important. However, the basic reason that this is critical is ovious - dealing with infertility issues is extremely difficult for people in terms of the emotional impact of the situation and the more support that there is during this time the better.

Two women who have dealt with infertility problems of their own have recognized the need for this type of group. There wasn't one anywhere in the area of Mississippi where they live. Instead of just giving up on the idea of finding a community to give them the emotional support that they need, these women decided to get active and to start their own infertility support group.

This is the type of thing that we often see happen in the infertility community. People who go through the difficult process of trying to conceive through in vitro fertilization and other types of infertility treatment understand the emotional ups and downs of the situation in a way that people who haven't gone through it can't understand. Luckily many of these people are motivated to share their experiences in order to support others as they go through it.

Question of the Day: What is the value of the infertility support group?

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Monday, August 04, 2008
Infertility Medicine Partners with Cancer Medicine
An articled published in today's edition of Newsweek highlights the important changes that are taking place in medicine which are bringing together two radically different fields - oncology and the treatment of infertility. The article calls the merging of the two areas of medicine an entirely new field dubbed "oncofertility".

The article points out that there once was a time when cancer patients were primarily concerned with whether or not they would live through the cancer. As cancer treatment has improved, the focus has become more on not just how to live but how to live a high quality life. This has made cancer patients more interested in things like having kids after cancer.

Approximately half of the people who receive treatment for cancer are going to cause problems to their fertility. Options like the freezing of eggs prior to cancer treatment are therefore becoming more common. Learn more about the article here.

Question of the Day: Should there be a special field of medicine for the infertility treatment of cancer patients?

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Friday, August 01, 2008
Reproductive Tourism Is Too Risky
There are a lot of people who are going abroad for various medical treatments in a phenomenon that has been dubbed "medical tourism". Many of these patients are specifically interested in reproductive tourism in which they travel abroad to get infertility treatments at a more affordable cost than they can get in their home countries. There are certainly benefits to reproductive tourism but studies indicate that the risks outweigh the benefits and that reproductive tourism should be recommended against for all patients.

"In some cases, couples who go abroad to receive IVF might not know where the eggs come from, and sometimes women will become pregnant with multiple embryos -- the single biggest risk for a woman and fetus during IVF, researchers said." (source)

The problem is basically that there is no international set of standards for IVF and other types of infertility treatment. This means that the care that you have researched at home is not necessarily going to be the care that you receive in a foreign country. This puts the mother and the child at risk and gives a very good reason to avoid reproductive tourism despite the apparent benefits.

Question of the Day: Are there cases in which the drawbacks of reproductive tourism are outweighed by the benefits?

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