In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
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In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is where eggs and sperm from a couple are collected and joined together outside the body. For more information watch this video.
Transcript: Only five percent of couples with infertility problems have in vitro fertilization-but many of them are...
Only five percent of couples with infertility problems have in vitro fertilization-but many of them are rewarded with a baby. In vitro fertilization, or IVF, involves collecting eggs and sperm from a couple and joining them together outside the body. The embryos are then injected into the woman's uterus. IVF is expensive and invasive, and is not a first resort for infertile couples. However, if other treatment methods have not resulted in pregnancy, and your doctor decides that IVF is right for you, here's what you can expect. Your doctor will start by injecting you daily with fertility hormones. This will bolster your egg production. You will then be tested, either by an ultrasound or blood-work, to determine if your eggs are ready for retrieval. The eggs must be retrieved just before they emerge from the follicles in the ovaries. If the eggs are not taken out at the right time, they will not develop properly. When it's time for your egg removal, you will be at least mildly sedated. Your doctor will then use an ultrasound to locate and remove the eggs with a hollow needle. Immediately following the retrieval, your eggs will be mixed in a laboratory with your partner's sperm, which he will have donated shortly before. You will then go home to wait a few days for the fertilized eggs, or embryos, to reach a more advanced developmental stage. When the embryos are ready, you will return to your doctor to be injected with one or more of them. Luckily, injecting the fertilized embryos is less complex than harvesting your eggs. Your doctor will simply insert a catheter into your vagina and inject the fertilized eggs up into your uterus. Several hours later, you will be discharged to wait and see if the pregnancy has taken. To increase the chances of pregnancy, your doctor may recommend injecting up to four embryos at once. This can, however, result in multiple pregnancies, which may increase the health risks to both you and your babies. While age is a major factor in the success of IVF, about 35 percent of women under 40 who have the procedure will deliver a baby.More »
Last Modified: 2012-09-29 | Tags »
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As a woman ages, her chance of getting pregnant decreases. Watch this video to learn more about the correllation between age and fertility.
Transcript: Having a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby, becomes increasingly difficult with age. Why? A woman...
Having a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby, becomes increasingly difficult with age. Why? A woman is born with all of the eggs shell ever have. After puberty, she begins to ovulate and releases one of these eggs every month. As she ages, therefore, her supply of eggs dwindles. This reduces her chances of being able to conceive. As a result, the likelihood of a woman getting pregnant in any particular month, under optimal circumstances, is about 25 percent for a woman in her 20s, 15 percent for women in their early 30s, 10 percent in the mid-30s and just five percent for women over 40. Another difficulty with pregnancy later in life is that the number of genetically normal eggs that a woman has decreases with time. This leads to a higher rate of miscarriage and a greater chance for genetic abnormalities in babies of older women. In fact, the odds of a woman in her 20s having a child with Down syndrome are about one in 1,200. In contrast, among children born to women over 40, one child in 38 has a genetic abnormality. While this can be difficult for women trying to conceive after the age of 30, other fertility options, like using donor eggs, are quite successful in later life.More »
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Think getting pregnant is just a matter of having sex? Well, it's a lot more complicated than that. Check out this video to learn more about boosting fertility.
Transcript: Before you try to get pregnant, it will help to be familiar with your personal menstrual cycle. Believe...
Before you try to get pregnant, it will help to be familiar with your personal menstrual cycle. Believe it or not, you can ONLY conceive during your small fertile window, which occurs during each cycle, on the five days before, and the actual day of, ovulation. During ovulation, the ovary sends a mature egg through the fallopian tube and into the uterus, where it can be fertilized by your partners sperm. Egg release typically occurs in the middle of your cycle. You can determine your cycle length by noting the number of days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Keeping a menstrual calendar will allow you to know at a glance when your fertile window opens. In addition to watching your period, it can help to watch what you eat! A nourishing diet complemented with a multi-vitamin supplement increases your chances of conceiving by correcting any hormone imbalances you may have. Diet is important for other reasons, as well. Extra weight can cause the release of excess female hormones, resulting in a disrupted menstrual cycle and infrequent ovulation. For this reason, it can help to supplement your diet with a smart exercise regimen. Aim for thirty minutes a day, five times a week. Keep in mind, however, that weighing too little can lessen hormone production, with the same fertility-interfering result. So talk to your doctor regarding an ideal weight for you. Watching what you drink is almost as important as watching what you eat. Women who drink more than 300 milligrams (about three cups) of caffeine daily tend to have a harder time conceiving than those who dont. Youll also want to keep alcohol-intake to a minimum. More than two alcoholic drinks a day can impair fertility, because alcohol alters the levels of estrogen in your body, in turn, interfering with egg implantation in the uterus. Now is also a great time to cut out cigarettes. Toxins from the smoke can damage your eggs, alter the release of hormones, and decrease the ability of the embryo to implant. But there ARE fun parts about preparing to conceive. Get ready to relaxguilt free! Studies have shown that women experiencing psychological stress are less likely to conceive, because these feelings can alter your bodys hormone production. While youre relaxing, why not try some yoga? Its thought that certain yoga positions can increase your fertility by specifically targeting the reproductive organs and increasing the flow of blood to your pelvis, while other poses can stimulate your ovaries. Finally, make love! Of course, youre doing this already when youre trying to make a baby. But women who engage in regular intercourse have steadier ovulation patterns and increased estrogen production. Missionary is the best position to use if youre trying to conceive. Your partners penetration will be deeper and gravity will work in your favor, enhancing sperm movement towards the egg. Fertility experts also agree that lying down and elevating your hips for a few minutes after intercourse increases the chances of sperm reaching your egg. While many women have trouble conceiving, these tips can help. But remember to discuss any diet or exercise changes with your doctor before proceeding!More »
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Male infertility can be caused by a number of things--from low sperm count to exposure to toxins. Learn more about male infertility by watching this video.
Transcript: Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. Although...
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. Although both females and males can have problems that lead to difficulty conceiving, ninety percent of MALE infertility derives from a deficient sperm count. Because most sperm are destroyed before they even reach the egg, a count below 500 sperm per milligram can make conception very difficult. Let's look at some medical difficulties that can lead to infertility. A varicocele is an abnormally enlarged vein in the scrotum which occurs in 40 percent of infertile men. Varioceles can cause blood to pool in the scrotum, raising temperatures and killing sperm there. Testicular overheating, and consequential sperm death, can also be caused by high fevers and excessive hot tub or sauna use. In up to 70 percent of men who struggle with infertility, infection of the reproductive organs is a problem. This can stem from any number of issues, but is commonly a result of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia. Another medical problem that can lead to male infertility is hormone release. Low levels of the male hormone testosterone, or particularly high levels of the female hormone estrogen, can both lead to conception difficulties. Sometimes, infertility can be related to a man's environment. For example, emotional and physical stress can impair the production of sperm, lowering levels until they become almost non-existent. Exposure to environmental toxins and chemicals can further lower a man's sperm count. Because sperm are so vulnerable to the damage of free radicals like these, doctors have found sperm counts to be falling dramatically in the past few decades of increased pollution and industry. Another reason for decreasing sperm count relates to consumption. A diet deficient in the vital Vitamins E and C, and in the nutrients zinc and folate, can lead to low sperm count and infertility. Consumption of illegal drugs can play a role, too. Abuse of drugs like cocaine and marijuana temporarily reduce the quantity and quality of sperm by up to 50 percent. Cigarette smoking also impairs sperm movement and lowers fertility in men. A final factor that can adversely affect male fertility is...not surprisingly...aging. As a man grows older, he will experience a decrease in sperm movement, as well as an overall decline in the genetic quality of the sperm he releases. Because there are so many reasons that a man may be infertile, it is important to talk to your doctor if you are part of a couple that is having trouble conceiving. A variety of treatment options may be able to help!More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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Becoming preganant is not so easy for some women. Learn more about female infertility by watching this video.
Transcript: Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. When...
Infertility is medically defined as the inability to become pregnant after one full year of trying. When a female is infertile, it is usually because there is something wrong with her reproduction system. Let's take a closer look at the female reproductive system, which begins with the vagina, a muscular organ that connects to the cervix, the opening of the uterus, or womb. The uterus, or can expand to accommodate a growing fetus. The ovaries produce, store, and release eggs into two fallopian tubes in the upper corners of the uterus during ovulation. The egg can then fertilized by a man's sperm. Based on this complex reproductive system, the causes of female infertility can be separated into distinct categories: ovulatory, cervical, uterine, and pelvic, which refers to problems in the fallopian tubes. Ovulation difficulties can occur if a woman releases excessive male hormones, called androgens, or if she makes too much prolactin, the hormone that encourages breast milk production. Severe physical or psychological stress can also disrupt ovulation, or even stop it completely, making conception difficult. A damaged cervix is another difficulty that makes it hard for sperm to enter. Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can both infect the cervix and cause infertility. Cervical mucous, which is produced before ovulation to assist with sperm movement, can also be a source of infertility. If a woman makes too little mucous, or if her mucous reacts negatively with her partner's sperm, it will be unable to reach her egg. The pelvic, or tubule, area is another region that can suffer from abnormalities that lead to infertility. Normal scar tissue, distorted fallopian tubes and benign tumors are examples of disruptions to this area. Another common pelvic condition is endometriosis, whereby the tissue lining in the uterus grows outside of it. This can lead to a build-up of tissue that blocks the fallopian tubes or ovaries, making pregnancy difficult. The primary cause of pelvic infertility, however, is pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. Like cervical damage, PID follows from sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Conditions relating to the uterine lining make up the final grouping of fertility problems. Uterine polyps and uterine fibroids are typically benign, fleshy growths that grow on the inside, or around the opening of, the uterus. They can cause distortion in the lining of the uterus, in turn interfering with egg implantation. Although female infertility is often due to a problem like these, age plays a role, too, because a woman's finite supply of eggs begins to decline after the age of 30. The female reproductive system is incredibly intricate, and doesn't always work the way it should. If you are having difficulty conceiving, talk to your doctor about possible causes and treatment options.More »
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Endometriosis is a condition that affects many women and its symptoms can be tricky to spot. Watch this video to gain a better understanding of endometriosis.
Transcript: Endometriosis occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus actually grows in...
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the uterus actually grows in other areas of the pelvic region. Because this condition is one of the leading causes of infertility, it helps to be familiar with endometriosis. The tissue that lines the uterus, or womb, is called the endometrium. Every month, female hormones cause the endometrium of a woman's uterus to build up with tissue and blood in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy doesn't occur, the uterus sheds this built-up lining via the vagina as a menstrual period. Although this process occurs in women with endometriosis as well, it's a bit more complicated. That's because women with endometriosis have patches of endometrium that grow OUTSIDE the uterus, in places like the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the bowels, or the bladder. This misplaced tissue responds to the monthly cycle just as the endometrium does. Each month, the patches, or plaques, grow thicker. As the tissues affected don't have a natural "exit route," there is no place for the build-up to leave the body at the cycle's end. These endometriotic plaques can grow larger over time, and the symptoms can worsen. A symptom suggestive of endometriosis is chronic pelvic pain that tends to be worse during menstruation or ovulation. Other symptoms include very painful or heavy menstrual periods, pain during or after sex, and uncomfortable urination or bowel movements during menstruation. Contrarily, some women have no symptoms at all. Infertility is another sign that can suggest that endometriosis is present. Indeed, some women do not realize they have endometriosis until they attempt to conceive and cannot do so. Endometriosis can lead to infertility because it may cause scarring or blockage of the body's fallopian tubes, which are necessary to transport eggs from the ovaries to be fertilized. Because infertility-causing endometriosis tends to show up most frequently in women who are of childbearing age, the condition can become a concern. Unfortunately, no one has identified endometriosis's exact cause, although a genetic link is often theorized. In fact, women with a first degree relative, like a mother or sister with the disease are six times more likely to have endometriosis. Some doctors theorize that endometriosis is caused when normal menstrual debris flows into the pelvis, a fairly common condition called retrograde menstruation. In women with endometriosis, however, the debris takes root and grows into misplaced patches, or plaques, of endometrial tissue. Regardless of the cause, there is currently no cure for endometriosis. However, medication can help to ease the pain and menstrual symptoms that can accompany the condition. In addition, surgery aimed at removing the build-up may assist women with infertility-causing endometriosis, as well as patients with very severe cases. Endometriosis is very common, and the symptoms of the condition ARE treatable. If you have concerns about endometriosis, please make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-09 | Tags »
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If you're trying to get pregnant, learning about the best sex for conception may help the process along. Watch this video to learn about conception sex timing and optimal sex positions.
Transcript: If you want to get pregnant, try the missionary, or man-on-top, position, which is optimal for baby-making!...
If you want to get pregnant, try the missionary, or man-on-top, position, which is optimal for baby-making! You can really enhance sperm's ability to swim by placing a pillow under your hips and keeping your legs raised after his orgasm! Try remaining in this position-or at least horizontal-for 15 minutes after intercourse to trap semen. Meanwhile, certain gravity-defying positions such as sitting, standing, or woman-on-top may actually discourage sperm from swimming upward. And although it may seem counterintuitive, having sex every other day around ovulation gives a man a chance to recharge his sperm count. Finally, remember that while the female orgasm isn't a necessary component of conception, orgasmic uterine contractions may help sperm move toward the fallopian tubes! Remember, practice makes baby, so keep up the good work!More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-09 | Tags »
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Bacterial vaginosis is an infection of the vagina that can be brought on by sex. But sex isn't all that's behind this bacterial imbalance.
Transcript: Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age-and it may stem...
Bacterial vaginosis is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age-and it may stem from sex! Bacterial vaginosis, or BV, occurs when normal, healthy bacteria in the vagina are overrun by bad bacteria. BV often manifests as a strong, fishy odor with discharge that may be grey, white, or yellowish in color. So what causes this vaginal infection to occur? Some doctors say BV is caused by sex, although you don't "catch" bacterial vaginosis from a partner. Instead, the infection occurs when an outside element disturbs the vagina's bacterial balance. Sex-particularly without a condom-can do just that. In addition, douching, wiping from back to front, and using an IUD as birth control may lead to BV. After diagnosis, the infection is treated with antibiotics for several weeks. But, sorry, you shouldn't have sex until BV is completely gone! So why not use this opportunity to convince him you should catch up on your cuddling?More »
Last Modified: 2013-01-02 | Tags »
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Many women experience yeast infections at some point in their lives, but can you spread a yeast infection to your partner? Find out more information about yeast infections and sex from this video.
Transcript: No one wants a yeast infection, but three-quarters of women will get one at some point. Why? All women...
No one wants a yeast infection, but three-quarters of women will get one at some point. Why? All women have healthy yeast in their vaginas, but when too much grows, vaginal infection can result. When the vagina's normally acidic and protective pH is thrown off, excess yeast can build up, causing an infection. All kinds of irritants can cause vaginal pH to become unbalanced, including pregnancy, some birth control methods, antibiotics, and, unfortunately...sex! Symptoms of a yeast infection often include lumpy, cottage-cheese like discharge with an unusual odor. Swelling of the vagina, pain during intercourse, and itching and burning are also signs.Once a doctor diagnoses a yeast infection, it's easy to clear up using over-the-counter medication. Or, a one-time prescription pill called Diflucan can also cure the problem! But avoid sex while you're getting better, since there's a slight chance you can pass the condition to your partner. The good news is that sidestepping future infections can often be as easy as wearing cotton panties, and avoiding scented products "down below!"More »
Last Modified: 2013-01-02 | Tags »
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If you don’t have much confidence in the average morning-after pill, you might want to know about the IUDs for the morning after. Get to know more from this video.
Transcript: Youre heard of the morning-after-pill and probably heard that its not fool-proof at preventing pregnancy....
Youre heard of the morning-after-pill and probably heard that its not fool-proof at preventing pregnancy. But another method is! If youve had sex without protection and need to be certain that you wont have to live with an unintended pregnancy, you may consider having a doctor insert an intra-uterine device, or IUD, into your uterus. This method is literally 99.9 percent effective when the IUD is inserted within 5 days after unprotected sex. An IUD is a T-shaped, plastic device that can be put into the uterus to prevent a pregnancy. ParaGard the type used for this purpose can prevent a pregnancy by encouraging the body to release leukocytes and prostaglandins, substances hostile to both sperm and eggs. The device can also stop an egg that has already been fertilized from implanting into the uterus. This type of IUD can stay in place and remain effective as birth control for 12 years, or it can be removed after the next menstrual period. A final note about IUDs: They are not recommended for women at a high risk for STDs following their sexual encounter. If this is you, talk to your doctor about other options.More »
Last Modified: 2015-01-19 | Tags »
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If you forget to use a condom, then the morning after pill can help. These pills contain hormones that help prevent pregnancy. To know more, watch our video.
Transcript: Forget to use a condom last night? The morning-after-pill offers protection against pregnancy today....
Forget to use a condom last night? The morning-after-pill offers protection against pregnancy today. Emergency contraception, or EC, is a pill that contains hormones which can help stop a pregnancy from occurring. Many people believe that EC causes an early abortion, but that's not the case. Actually, the medication prevents or delays the ovaries from releasing an egg, or stops a previously released egg from being fertilized. These are the same ways in which other hormonal birth controls prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception is most effective when taken within 72 hours from the time of intercourse. However, about half the women who take it experience nausea and vomiting due to EC's high concentration of hormones. If you're looking for EC, one form-called Plan-B- is available over-the-counter for women over 18. Other brands require a doctor's prescription. Know that, at best, EC drugs are only 89 percent effective...so ensure that it truly is a "Plan B" for you!More »
Last Modified: 2015-01-16 | Tags »
morning after pill, birth control, preventing pregnancy, avoiding pregnancy, hormonal birth control, emergency contraception, morning after pill side effects, emergency contraception side effects egg, sperm, egg implantation, delayed egg release, nausea, vomiting sex health, women's health Plan B
Medical abortions can be difficult to go through, but they are effective in terminating an unwanted pregnancy. Learn more about abortions in this informative video.
Transcript: The decision to end a pregnancy can be a difficult one. Some people find that having an abortion at...
The decision to end a pregnancy can be a difficult one. Some people find that having an abortion at home may make things easier. A woman who is more than nine weeks pregnant must surgically terminate a pregnancy, which is more common than a medication induced abortion. But prior to week nine, a medication induced termination-where a woman takes medication which will cause her pregnancy to cease-is an option.Generally, a woman takes the medication which actually causes the pregnancy to terminate in her doctor's office. Then, after she goes home, she inserts a different medication into her vagina which softens her cervix and causes it to contract and empty. This results in heavy bleeding and tissue discharge, which is the abortion. A woman who has a medication termination often experiences painful cramping and may feel nauseous. For this reason, doctors will often prescribe a pain killer, as well. Medication abortions are 96 percent effective, so you must return to the doctor for a follow-up visit to ensure that the pregnancy has been terminated. That's because any remaining tissue can make a future pregnancy impossible.Post-termination, you may experience a wide range of confusing emotions-so take advantage of the counseling referrals offered by most clinics.More »
Last Modified: 2015-01-19 | Tags »
abortions, medical abortions, ending a pregnancy, terminate a pregnancy, medication induced abortion, surgical abortion, abortion side effects, medication abortion effectiveness heavy bleeding, tissue discharge, painful cramping, nausea sex health, pregnancy