From One Fertility Patient to Another; inside advice and guidance from someone that’s been there

Typically, my blog posts are about sharing the latest research studies or insights into some treatment options or they focus on busting a popular myth. However, every now and then I have an opportunity to introduce someone that I feel has something very important to say. This is one of those posts.

Ambers blog

I want to introduce you someone that I consider a true hero. Amber has been through fertility treatment. What makes her someone that I admire is her desire to help others on the same path. In her blog:  she very eloquently shares her own experience. But she even goes one step further. She offers support to others beyond the information and experience of her journey.

If you need to reach out to someone, she is an articulate and engaging woman willing to provide you with some insights: . You are not alone.

In kindness,



Robert Greene, MD, FACOG

Conceptions Reproductive Associates of Colorado

Worried about BPA? Your diet might help!

Bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly found in plastics and the majority of us are exposed to this hormone disruptor multiple times daily. We previously introduced BPA and the negative health impacts here. We know that BPA exposure when trying to conceive can negatively impact multiple aspects of your health, including your fertility and the likelihood of your children having health problems.

New data suggests that something as simple as getting enough folate through your diet can help protect you from the damaging effects of BPA. This study looked at the dietary habits of couples with infertility who were going through IVF treatment. They found that women with high urinary BPA concentrations had lower pregnancy rates and live birth rates if they didn’t consume enough folic acid (<400μg/day of food folate) compared to similar women with high BPA exposure but adequate folic acid intake. They found that women who ate enough folate in their food had higher pregnancy rates, despite the fact that they had high BPA exposure. This suggests that folate intake may somehow protect women from the negative impact of BPA on fertility.

Take home points:

  • Avoid BPA as much as possible
  • Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet to get adequate folate intake while trying to conceive

Workout supplements in 2018


With the coming of every New Year, many make resolutions. One of the most common resolutions relates to health and fitness. Many people consider the use of supplements to boost their workout or diet regimens.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) compiled fact sheets of the most common supplements used to boost exercise and athletic performance and weight loss. We share them with you as a trusted resource for more information.

Planning your family: guiding thoughts when considering your options

As a fertility specialist for over 20 years, I have seen our treatments evolve from “hoping to achieve a pregnancy” to effectively assisting people to have the family of their dreams. Whether you are in a stable relationship or single; same-sex, hetero or even gender-fluid—there is a strategy available to assist you in achieving your reproductive goal. The first step is to define your vision of your ideal family.


Fertility rates in the U.S.A. are at a record low; but not for those with a plan! A new analysis has found that birth rates are up for women that have delayed childbirth. Today, 86% of women between age 40 and 44 are mothers; that is up from 80% in the same group only 10 years ago. With the new treatment options available, family size is increasing as well. Most notably, the women that are driving this trend are women that had traditionally delayed having children for career purposes, educational pursuits or lack of a male partner.

Pew 2018 after decades of decline family size is ticking up

That’s why it is more important than ever to start planning your family early in your journey. For instance, one study found that healthy women attempting to conceive through donor insemination had about a 70% chance of success; but that it typically took four attempts. Today we can do much better.


Now that we understand that a woman’s ovarian reserve and egg quality are the most limiting factors to success; we have shifted our focus to creating and identifying healthy embryos. With the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF), we are able to optimize the number and quality of eggs that woman can produce at any given time. Then through the process of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), we can be certain that each egg is entered by only one perfect looking sperm. Each egg that fertilizes and then develops properly can undergo genetic testing (CCS) and then be frozen (vitrified) for later use. Once frozen, we now know that embryos can remain viable for over twenty years!


At our center, we find that each individual embryo that passes the genetic testing provides women with a greater chance of a livebirth than four attempts at more traditional treatments. That’s why we now encourage our patients to think of their last pregnancy at the same time that they are considering their next one. By shifting treatment paths, women can reduce frustration and cost while optimizing their chance of completing their ideal family.


Fertile thoughts,



Robert Greene, MD, FACOG

Conceptions Reproductive Associates

Vitamin D and RPL

We here at the blog are big proponents of vitamin D supplementation to enhance your fertility. New research suggests that vitamin D supplementation may also be important for couples that have difficulty staying pregnant, also known as recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). One of the causes of RPL has been attributed to an autoimmune condition. In this study, researchers evaluated the immune cells thought to be involved in pregnancy loss. They found that women who had low levels of Vitamin D were more likely to have abnormalities in the immune cells involved in pregnancy loss. This suggests that vitamin D supplementation may be a tool we can use to reduce the risk of pregnancy loss.

What you can do:

  • Check your vitamin D before trying to conceive
  • Talk to your physician about the evaluation of RPL and treatment options if you have had two ore more pregnancy losses.

Updates on BPA


Bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly found in plastics and the majority of us are exposed to this hormone disruptor multiple times daily. We previously introduced BPA and the negative health impacts here. We know that BPA exposure when trying to conceive can negatively impact multiple aspects of your health, including your fertility and the likelihood of your children having health problems.

New basic science research is adding to our previous concerns about this endocrine disrupting chemical:

  1. BPA negatively impacts how an egg matures and egg quality by increasing DNA damage and oxidative stress. This study also shows the potential for the damage that BPA causes for mom to impact her future children.
  2. BPA can decrease sperm count in males and lead to neurodevelopment problems in their children. This study also was associated with increased obesity in female offspring.

What you can do:

  • Switch to BPA free drinking bottles like those with a #5 stamped on them or use either glass or metal instead;
  • Purchase soups and foods packaged in cardboard cartons or glass instead of the plastic lined cans;
  • Hand wash plastic dishware with mild soap in warm water instead of using dishwashers for these products;
  • Don’t place plastic ware in microwave ovens to warm;
  • Express your support to companies that are voluntarily phasing out the use of BPA in their products.

Happy moms

It is estimated that up to 54% of couples with infertility experience a high level of stress, anxiety, and depression before and/or during fertility treatment. It is incredibly common to need additional help when going through fertility treatment, which is why I encourage the use of complementary stress reduction techniques with my patients. But sometimes yoga, acupuncture, and mediation isn’t enough and more help is needed. The most commonly prescribed antidepressant is a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

A recent study compared women on SSRIs going through IVF to women who were not on antidepressants. They found that the embryo health and IVF outcomes did not differ between the groups. This suggests that, from a fertility standpoint, there is no reason to avoid using an antidepressant if you need it.

Fertility treatment is hard enough. There is no reason to suffer through poorly controlled anxiety and/or depression while going through fertility treatment. If you need additional help, please reach out. The best way to have a happy healthy family is to start with a healthy mom before conception. You are not alone.

Take home points:

  • The diagnosis and treatment of infertility is stressful
  • It’s common to struggle with stress, anxiety, and depression at any phase of treatment
  • Antidepressant use does not impact IVF success rate.
  • Do not hesitate to get additional help if needed