Fertility treatment is stressful. Worse still, there is evidence that stress can reduce your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy. For both of these reasons we’re aggressively seeking ways to help our patients reduce their stress. Here is another excellent study demonstrating the incorporating a yoga practice into the lead-in time to fertility treatment is one effective strategy. Smile, breathe and read on: https://www.mdlinx.com/obstetrics-gynecology/medical-news-article/2015/02/18/infertility-in-vitro-fertilization-stress-yoga/5919631/
One of the most frustrating experiences for some women preparing to go through IVF is to find an ovarian cyst at their baseline ultrasound. An ovarian cyst can produce hormones that inhibit the ability of other follicles to develop and even reduce their potential by their size alone. Worse still, in rare instances they can grow and become a surgical emergency. For these reasons, most fertility specialists prescribe a birth control pill (to inhibit further growth) and cycle delay in order to let the ovaries return to a resting state before starting the ovarian stimulation process. However, this is not the only option.
Ovarian cyst aspiration is a procedure that I have been performing for over a decade. And yet, I’ve long been amazed that my colleagues don’t offer this simple procedure to their patients. Many cite the “lack of data” as the reason that they never started draining cysts. I had to go to a prominent cardiology journal to find a well designed study on ovarian cyst drainage back in 2006—the results were very encouraging. Since that time several studies were performed and their data was collectively summarized in a Cochrane review published in 2014. Ironically, their conclusion is that cyst drainage did not improve the pregnancy rate over cycle cancellation. But it is also noteworthy, that draining the cyst prior to proceeding did not reduce the chance of pregnancy, did not reduce the number of eggs collected in the IVF cycle, nor did the procedure create an increase in complications or cycle cancellations.
Here at Conceptions, I’ve done a small study on the last 60 cyst drainage cases—all performed within the last year and a half. The patients rated the discomfort of the procedure as about a two out of ten (range 0 to 4). We have not experienced any complications of bleeding, infection or cycle cancellation. Most notably, all of the patients felt that the option of having their cyst drained instead of simply delaying their cycle was a very positive experience.
Conclusion: cyst drainage prior to IVF is a safe and reasonable alternative to delay-and-pray approach.
We often talk about how important it is to create the ideal environment in the lab to foster healthy embryo growth. Ironically, music is part of our system and there are the occasional discussions about who should choose the station and what sort of music we should listen to. Now a new study suggests that maybe it should be the…embryos! If it works, we’re all for it!
The Mediterranean diet has long been promoted as a heart-healthy eating plan. This diet incorporates healthy eating like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and limits unhealthy fats like animal fats. A recent study, however, suggests that the benefits of the Mediterranean diet may be further reaching.
A group in Greece evaluated men attending a fertility clinic and determined their adherence to a Mediterranean Diet. They then compared their semen analysis results. What they found was incredibly interesting: men who deviated the most from the Mediterranean diet were 2.6 times more likely to have lower sperm counts and decreased motility in their compared to men who followed the Mediterranean diet closely. These results suggest that greater adherence with this diet may help improve semen quality.
This study doesn’t directly answer all the questions we need answered like whether changing your diet will improve your semen parameters or whether you will be more likely to get pregnant on your own with this diet. So unfortunately, the answer is “no”: an apple a day may not keep you out of the fertility clinic. We still think it’s worth a try!
Happy 2017! Like many others, I use the new year as a time to reflect on what I can continue to improve on. The global obesity crisis is real and it is common for weight loss to be a new year’s resolution. Although the risks of infertility and pregnancy complications is understood with female obesity, men have largely been left out of these discussions until now.
A new study released by the NIH suggests that dad’s weight also has a significant influence on child development. Children of obese parents may be at risk for developmental delays. The study found that children of obese fathers were more likely to fail developmental tests, like measures of social competence or problem solving ability.
It is not known why parental obesity might increase children’s risk for developmental delay. But if you or your partner are obese, now is the time to re-consider what you can do to become healthier.
Wishing you all a healthy and fertile 2017!
Here is a couple that we had the opportunity to assist in 2016! Their story is too perfect and deserves to serve an example of why all of our wounded veterans deserve fertility coverage. Please check it out in today’s New York Times.
Having been through fertility treatment with my own wife, I understand how awkward the holidays can be for couples faced with probing questions, inappropriate advice and sometimes just being around friends and family. Dr. Grindler–as both a mom and compassionate provider–is also very empathetic to what her patients are going through as well. Here are some tips that we hope that you may find helpful and empowering as you plan your fertile future!
–Positive redirection–the act of visualizing and verbalizing your desired future is a common technique endorsed by many therapists. By repeatedly saying what your goals are, you not only reduce your own stress but you may actually help shape your future. So a polite response to queries can be: “…we’re planning to start our family in the coming year!”
— Allow yourself to feel however you are feeling- sad, deprived, depressed, unsure. We both understand, firsthand, that infertility is a major life crisis; you are entitled to these feelings. Choose to use the holidays as a time for you and your partner to become even more of a team and present a united front at holiday gatherings. Use each other for support.
–Practice self-compassion—This is a great year to be kind to yourself and your holiday calendar. Consider passing on any specific events that you may be dreading. It’s ok to be a little selfish, not go to a party, and protect yourself from an upsetting situation. Most people don’t mean any harm; they simply don’t get it. If you need to leave a party early or arrive somewhere late; do that. If you need to skip a holiday event with family this year, skip it. These do not make you a bad person. Be kind to yourself this holiday season and put your well-being first.
–Consider lending a helping hand—Helping others in need may help rejuvenate your holiday season.
–Reevaluate your diet and lifestyle–consider steps that you and your partner can take to improve your health and fitness. Maybe now is the time to consider making better food choices or actually shedding the extra pounds that may be hampering your chances of conceiving.
–Create a “green home”–many of your household products may contain hormone disrupting chemicals that can be impairing your fertility.
–Create a financial plan–treatment can be expensive but it can also be your best path toward creating your family. So review your insurance benefits in detail rather than keeping the same one. Consider funding a medical flexible spending account. If you’re open to going public…set up a “go-fund-me” site and direct your friends and family to make donations. Here is one couple’s experience with crowdfunding for IVF.
Happy Holidays and Here’s to your Fertile Future!