Infertility. It's a topic that's shrouded in myths and misconceptions. And when you're trying to get pregnant, it can be hard to know what information to believe. So today, we're busting 3 common infertility myths.
Myth #1: infertility is rare. WRONG! 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. That's a lot of people - and you are not alone. Finding support while you’re going through infertility is a key to helping you cope. If you can’t cope, you can’t continue. If you feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it seek out the advice of a mental health counselor who is infertility trauma informed.
Myth #2: infertility is always caused by the woman. While it's true that infertility is diagnosed more often in women, the cause is one third of the time is male factor infertility, with the remaining third being unexplained infertility. It’s important if you're struggling to conceive, to have both partners checked out by a fertility specialist. Testing might be something that you have to advocate for up front, as many doctors focus on fertility as being mostly a woman’s problem.
Myth #3: infertility means you'll never be able to have a baby. This one couldn't be further from the truth! Regardless of your diagnosis and prognosis many women go on to beat the odds by improving their overall health and seeking additional opinions. You can read 20 stories of Infertility Success HERE. If you’re a candidate, modern medicine offers many different treatment options available for couples who want to have a baby. So, if you've been told you're infertile, don't give up hope - there is still a chance for you to have the family of your dreams!
If you're trying to get pregnant, you've probably heard a lot of advice - some of it good and some of it not so much. With so many conflicting messages out there, it can be hard to know what to believe. If you feel lost as to where to start, I put together a checklist to get you started and make sure you’re receiving the care you deserve.
Are you having trouble getting pregnant after 35? You're not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. But don't worry – there are plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant faster. We'll discuss some tips in 3 key areas, Detox, Heal, and Empower- that should help you conceive quicker.
1. Talk to your doctor about your fertility concerns- If you feel brushed off, are not getting the answers you feel you deserve or want a practitioner with a more aggressive approach I STRONLY recommend getting a second opinion. Be empowered to ask questions about what a reasonable next step or next test would be. No doctor is going to care as much about your health and fertility as you and your partner. And that's OKAY. Just ask.
2. Reduce toxins in as many areas as you can. Water, diet and personal care products are all at the top of the list. Reduce the amount of processed food you eat, switch to organic as much as your budget will allow, find green(er) personal care products (soaps, lotions, make-up) and avoid fragrance when possible. These small steps might not seem like they can make a big impact but in some women (like me) it makes a HUGE difference.
3. Take prenatal vitamins to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need BUT not any prenatal is a good choice. Make sure the prenatal is from whole food sources, contains folate (not folic acid) is NOT a gummy (lead, poor quality) and is dye free.
4. Reduce stress levels as much as possible. Can I just say it? INFERTILITY is STRESSFUL! There's no way around it so let's call out the elephant in the room and get some tools in our toolbox so that we can do a better job at helping ourselves, protecting our relationships and cope better so that we can continue.
5. Consider using natural methods to boost fertility, such as acupuncture or herbs. If you have an irregular cycle, no cycle, want to support your IUI/IVF transfer or want to support your natural fertility acupuncture is for you. There's a ton of research about how acupuncture along side these other treatments increases positive outcomes. Depending on your symptoms the protocol can be between 1-3 times per week. Make sure you find a doctor of acupuncture that specializes in infertility.
If you’re looking to increase your fertility, detoxing and reducing stress are two great places to start. There are many ways to detox, but we recommend starting with a gentle cleanse that focuses on whole foods and plenty of fluids. And don’t forget to reduce stress in your life – this can be done through EFT, AFT, visualization, affirmations, meditation, yoga, grounding or simply taking time for yourself each day. Are you ready to get started? Accelerate Your Fertility Boot Camp can help you optimize your fertility and live with more peace while your doing it.
For some couples, Mother's Day is a time of sadness and stress. This is especially true for couples who are struggling with infertility. If your wife is dealing with infertility, here are a few ways that you can help her feel special on Mother's Day.
First, try to be understanding and sensitive to her feelings. Make space for the two of you to have some uninterrupted conversation time. Don't make assumptions about how she's feeling about the day. Listen and be willing to share how you feel too.
Second, giver her space if she needs it. Don't obligate her to attend a Mother’s Day brunch or any other activities if she's not feeling up to it. If you need to, choose to celebrate with your own mother on another day or from afar. Which leads me too number three…
Third, take care of any tasks or errands or housework that she may need help with. This should include any meals or childcare (if you are experiencing secondary infertility) that she would normally be involved in. Make sure that you are taking care of her too (meals, water etc. if she is having a hard time coping)
If your able and she's up to it, plan a special day for the two of you to experience something new that’s on your bucket list or take that day trip you've been talking about.
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, together consider gifting her a piece of birthstone jewelry or other keepsake as a remembrance of the child you lost. You can also check out my infertility gift guide HERE.
Finally, express your love and support for her in whatever way you feel comfortable doing. By being supportive and understanding, you can help make Mother's Day a little bit easier for your wife and help her through this challenging time.
I hope that at least one of these tips resonates with you and that you’ll be able to use it in your own life. If not, please share in the comments what has worked for you when trying to support your wife through infertility.
Thank you for being there for her—she will appreciate it more than you know.
When is it time to get a second or third opinion or move on from the doctor that you are working with? I get this question A LOT! People are really hesitant to get a second opinion or third opinion or transfer doctors if they're not getting the care that they need and they almost feel like they're going to hurt the doctors feelings. Let's be real here. Not only are you NOT going to hurt the Dr's feelings (they probably won't even know you left the practice.)
1) They are not collaborative with you. Meaning they're not willing to have a dialogue with you. If you have a doctor that's not willing to explain a process to you or answer questions so that you understand, that's where I would suggest to you that you need to have a better relationship with your doctor. I know a lot of times people see the white coat and the white coat is the end-all-be-all authority on a subject but honestly you live in your body and that makes YOU the authority on your body.
2) You have a doctor that only suggests additional testing or extended testing after a failed IUI/IVF procedure. I hear this all the time and it makes me really angry! Women have a first round and the doctor says something like "okay well the IUI or IVF didn't work so let's do XYZ testing now". Why wouldn't they do that testing up front? They're not going to give you a refund on that first round. Yes, the testing might be expensive but we shouldn't be waiting for failure or miscarriage to do testing that could have been done up front and prevented both of those things.
3) After the first failed IUI or IVF the doctor doesn't change the protocol and wants to do the exact same protocol, again I would tell you very strongly to find another practitioner and get a second opinion. You want to make sure that you're maximizing every cycle and who wants to endure the heartache, cost or possibility of a failed cycle unnecessarily.
4) If you're going to your doctor based solely on location- meaning they're the only fertility doc in town, or you're going to the reproductive endocrinologist because you have a referral from a friend and you didn't really do any research but your friend used them with great results, and they just love that person, I would suggest that you probably need to do some investigating on that doctor yourself. Vette the doctor yourself and form your own opinion based on what you know about your medical needs. This is not something that you want to take solely on a friend's recommendation.
I have worked with a lot of women, and most of us that have had infertility success, in hindsight would agree that we would have liked our journey to be shorter. One of the ways to shorten your journey is to keep pushing for the care that YOU need. Most of us spend far too much time with an OBGYN that is uninformed or misinformed. An OBGYN who's not trained and reproductive endocrinology may delaying the timeline for you to be able to get proper treatment.
if you would like the insight 20 women gained by getting a second opinion and ultimately Infertility Success check out
Don't ASSUME these tests are done/ going to be done before your treatment. In SO many cases these tests are only done AFTER a failed procedure...which means heartbreak, time and money for you.
Speak up for yourself and get the BEST care you deserve.
(trigger warning loss)
Imagine having painful UTI symptoms for 2 years. Aside from the discomfort you have been bounced around from specialist to specialist only to be told in the end your pain is in your head…Until finally, finally! Someone listens to you. Not only does your new REI listen to you they validate that a test should have been done before you had 9 failed medicated cycles, 5 failed IUI’s and 3 miscarriages, all that potentially could have been prevented. You and your husband are each given a $10 antibiotic and the next cycle you’re pregnant with your second child. Fourteen months after that, with no medical intervention you’re pregnant with your third child. This test is urea plasma which sometimes the only symptom is infertility.
Imagine today is the day! Your embryos have been frozen and you are expecting a call from the clinic with the results. Except they never call you …and when you call they let you know both of your last two eggs have perished. You’re devastated and angry. Then the anger deepens when they then suggest a simple blood test. Six IUI’s and two IVF procedures and NOW they’re recommending a simple blood test that you assumed was done with the initial labs. Your husbands results are abnormal. Some, if not ALL of this could have been prevented. With on genetic test for balance translocation.
You are pregnant with twins! You're shocked, but so excited and happy! One morning at 13 weeks you wake up and feel off. You go to the bathroom and realize you’re bleeding. You’re miscarrying your twins. It happens, they say. Time passes and eventually the pain eases. You and your husband decide to try again. One day you get the positive test you’ve been hoping for. At your first appointment they let you know your hCG levels are high. High enough to be twins …again. You're terrified, excited and worried. Twins again, what are the odds? You pass the 13 week mark and then the 18 week mark you begin to relax. At 23 weeks you start bleeding again. You are admitted to the hospital to stop the bleeding and contractions but they can’t. You lose both babies at 23 weeks. While you're still in the hospital the doctors run some genetic screening tests and discover you have factor 5 leiden. A common blood clotting disorder. The babies could have been saved if you were on blood thinners, they say. Next time we’ll put you on blood thinners at the start of the pregnancy. But you are broken, and know there won’t be a next time.
Aside from balanced translocation disorder the other four tests are considered somewhat controversial which means that you as the paying patient may have to advocate for yourself to get the tests ordered. There is no clear answer as to why every REI doesn’t test for them. Each set their own protocol and some will tell you it’s unnecessary and sometimes invasive to perform these additional tests.
The fourth test I recommend having done prior to your first IVF is an extended thyroid panel (even if you're in the “normal” range) which includes not only TSH, TPO antibodies, Thyroglobulin antibodies, free t4, free t3, and ferritin. This will give you a better picture of your overall thyroid health. I also recommend to all my clients to find a previous thyroid level test to compare what their “normal” is to where they currently are. Ferritin stores are very important to pregnancy and are not part of routine testing.
The final test to protect your IVF investment is a blood test for natural killer cells. If the blood test comes back positive your doctor may perform a uterine biopsy.
These real life stories (some taken from Infertility Success, Stories of Help and Hope) might have turned out differently with testing for these conditions at the beginning of the infertility journey or after miscarriage loss. So many women assume (just like these women did) that their doctor/REI will test them for absolutely everything. However, as you can see from these stories, it’s simply NOT the case. Remember, just because a doctor tells you that they can’t help you doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant