To freeze or not.

This is still the question asked by many women. weather or not to freeze their eggs.

As the awareness around infertility increases I believe there should be deliberate effort to make women aware of how fertility works. From an early age, women should be informed of the decline in their fertility so that they can start to plan for pregnancy, if they so chooses.

Knowing this, the best time to conceive is in the 20s and 30s. However, if this is not possible due to education, career opportunities, ill health, financial constraints, etc., egg freezing should be considered.

Egg reserved are finite, with this information women should should start to plan pregnancy before they turn 35, because according to scientific research, news eggs stop growing at that age. Fertility drops around age 37 and shaply at age 40. At 40 years of age, the chances of natural conception remain only five to 10 percent.

Women can decide they will freeze their eggs, get married early or delay pregnancy but still freeze their eggs. Having this knowledge empowers a woman in their choices

Since women’s fertility is finite, they don’t have the cells which will produce new eggs in the ovaries and the number of existing eggs is reserved. But, there are options to overcome this biological clock barrier.

Egg freezing is an option for women of childbearing age . Given the times we are living in now when more women are achieving their academic and financial potential, I think women should also achieve their dreams Of being a mum and one way to achieve this, is to freeze their eggs while young.

Women can conceive after menopause if they have chosen to freeze their eggs/embryos in their younger years.

I have seen too many friends who were not aware of this option now childless. Some have partners and would have gladly used A frozen egg. Others have no partners but would have settled for a child of their own using their own frozen eggs.

Another options is to use donor eggs, if you have not previously frozen your eggs

This will be done via IVF. The success of IVF also depends on the age and egg reserve of women. Doctors recommend the use of eggs when women are at their optimum age of reproduction and have plenty of egg reserve.

Platelets rich plasmas is injected into the ovaries

This is why egg freezing is important as it ensures that the best quality eggs are frozen and use when needed. Similarly a donor eggs are collected from younger healthy women and used by menopausal women.

If you are a young woman speak with your doctor regarding your options and what is involved in egg freezing process.

To be continued.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

The Egg Freezing process

It Only Takes One Egg

fertility Awareness

IVF:Stages to egg implantation

Tips to help treatment

1. keeping a healthy weight. increases ones chances of pregnancy by any method.

According to the NHS, a weight under BMI of over 25 is ideal, they recommend that couples trying to get pregnant work toward achieve a healthy weight. It is thought that an obese woman may have hormonal issues which may impede pregnancy. Follow a healthy exercise and diet plan with your doctor will help you achieve the right weight for your height.

2. it is recommend that adults embark on 150 mins moderate to light mins exercise a week. Exercise activity which increases the heart rate helps to lower blood pressure, fight diabetes and increases a couples chances during IVF.

3. consume coffee in moderation. Some scientific research suggest that women undergoing IVF should consume no more than 3 cups of coffee daily. Too much caffeine can make it difficult to fall pregnant.

4. Start trying early: age plays a huge part in both natural conception and IVF pregnancy. the chances of a woman falling pregnant over 35 declines significantly. It is advise to seek treatment as soon as you start to try without success… The miracle of medicine means that more couples are become parents with the help of donor eggs and adopting. So don’t despair, you can still become a parent.

5. do not smoke, it is though that the quality of egg and sperm is affected by smoking. Before undergoing treatment speak with your doctor on how to quit.

6. Take measures to reduce your stress level. IVF is stressing enough, Being stressful will interfere with both the quality of egg and sperm. incorporate some mediation, yoga, pilates and acupuncture into your daily life to help reduce stress.

sources: NHS ENGLAND

Debbie

Your partner in Hope

Related post.

How to Cope With the Stress of Infertility

IVF PROCESS: Step by Step

The Over 50 Debate

Tips on Staying Healthy.

Treatment and COVID-19

How to Cope With the Stress of Infertility

To add or not to add

According to a recent report by an Australia IVF specialist, standard IVF works therefore there is no need for expensive adds on.

for instance 

ICSI which stands for Intracycloplastic was developed in 1992 as a way of treating male infertility. However, a growing number of clinics are now using it for men with normal sperm count. 

A recent article in the medical journal the lancet based on data from Vietnam, reports that ICSI although much expensive, does not improve the chances of success. 

Their hunch is that “doctors may recommend it for fear of patients’ reactions if the eggs don’t fertilise, even if ICSI doesn’t improve the ultimate chance of a baby for those with a normal sperm count.”

Couples with infertility belong to a very vulnerable group who will do almost anything to achieve a pregnancy. They deserve our dedicated care and evidence-based treatment.” The report concluded. 

So before accepting all that’s recommended by your clinic, 

  • review your results.
  • Ask specific and detailed questions.
  • Undertake your own research into your own Diagnosis, 
  • Review the data  available and read the latest in medical intervention and their successes. 
  • Make your own mind up and resist pressure from your clinic. 

I know it’s difficult to argue with the doctors and the presumption is that they know what they are doing. But when it’s your body and issue, you can certainly ask questions and be satisfied that what you are paying for is absolutely necessary. And lastly, be positive and know that whatever is in store for you will be nice. 

Your Partner in Hope

Debi

Fertility Awareness

It was national fertility awareness week recently and I want to highlight some stats about.

In some countries like Canada, more people are living with infertility than diagnose with lung cancer which is the leading cause of death in Canada.

According to Dr Gaberielle Cassir, who appeared on the Global News in Montreal. Up to 15 % of couples are infertile and the numbers are rising.

There are various causes of infertility: which ranges from the rising age of women having babies as more women are putting off having children later, to unexplained infertility.

There is no perfect answer the specific causes are evenly divided

in 35% of cases, the causes of infertility is due to problems with the pelvic or fallopian tube abnormality.

10% of cases relates to unexplained causes which is usually hard to deal with.

35% male factor

15% ovulatory disfunction.

It is important to create awareness on the causes of infertility to make sure that couples seek help quickly and avoid unnecessary delays which might lead to more problems later.

Currently the world is also dealing with covid and there are various theories on its impact on fertility.

Again, it is generally agreed in the medical world that this is fueled by myth being propagated on social medial.

While is it normal to question the impact of a new vaccine on ones fertility, it is also important to look at the data.

If you are worried speak with your doctor and find out all you need to know about the vaccine.

Is it necessary to talk about fertility issues with the young generation?

I think it is : this is because the first time most couples become aware of the issues surrounding fertility is when they start to try to have a baby, I think talking about it earlier in a young person’s life may be the difference between delays in seeking help and waiting for miracles to happen.

The emotions we feel are common emotions and are distressing and these can cause a huge physiological toil.

Society can prepare youth for the chances of infertility and open an avenue to speak about it.

No one wants to spread fear to our young people, but at the same time it is important to create an awareness. Parents can have that conversation with their kids same as talking about changes in the body during puberty years and teen years, although a bit later.

The emotions are intense and can cause a huge toil on one’s health, no one can be prepared enough, but at least the being in the know can make a huge difference on how one handles the challenges pose by infertility.

We need to demystify the fear and taboo around taking about having fertility issue.

There should be no guilt, shame, taboo surrounding the topic of infertility.

There should be a conversation and women should feel they have a safe place to talk. I am glad that women like Chrissy Teigen, Hilaria Baldwin, Amy Schumer are open about their struggles with infertity and I think this has done more to increase the awareness around miscarriage and IVF. Women are beginning to see that they are not alone and there is some conform in knowing that others have felt the way you do.

Be encouraged and seek help earlier.

Wishing you every success on your fertility journey.

Your Partner in Hope

Debbie

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Fertility Journey: Part 2

In our second series of fertility journey today we look at Medical Procedures:

Surgical procedures

This will be necessary ifyour fallopian tubes have become blocked or scarred, you may need surgery to repair them.

Surgery can be used to break up the scar tissue in your fallopian tubes, making it easier for eggs to pass through them.

The success of surgery will depend on the extent of the damage to your fallopian tubes.

Endometriosis is when parts of the womb lining start growing outside the womb.

Laparoscopic surgery is often used to treat endometriosis by destroying or removing fluid-filled sacs called cysts.

It may also be used to remove submucosal fibroids, which are small growths in the womb.

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a minor surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling can be used if ovulation medicine has not worked.

This involves using either heat or a laser to destroy part of the ovary.

Correcting an epididymal blockage and surgery to retrieve sperm:Causes of Infertility In Men

The epididymis is a coil-like structure in the testicles that helps store and transport sperm.

Sometimes the epididymis becomes blocked, preventing sperm from being ejaculated normally. If this is causing infertility, surgery can be used to correct the blockage.

Surgical extraction of sperm may be an option if you:

have an obstruction that prevents the release of sperm,

were born without the tube that drains the sperm from the testicle (vas deferens):

have had a vasectomy or a failed vasectomy reversal,

Both operations take a few hours and are done under local anaesthetic as outpatient procedures.

You’ll be advised on the same day about the quality of the tissue or sperm collected.

Any sperm will be frozen and placed in storage for use at a later stage.

Disclaimer. This author is not a medical practitioner, the article has been written with the help of reference materials taken from NHS England. Please consult your Medical practitioner for further advice if you suspect you may be affected by the topic discussed here.

Yours In Hope

Debi

Fertility Journey

Do you know what you are getting into I asked? “No, came the reply”, I don’t and I don’t care.

The only thing I care about is that a baby comes out at the end of it all. This was the conversation I had with a colleague a few weeks ago.

2 months into her treatment, she was exhausted, miserable and, an emotional wreck. She was broken in more ways than she ever thought possible.

She has had 3 failed cycle and became pregnant on the 4 try.

Little did she she know what she was getting into. If only someone had told me, she recalled months after giving birth:

So, how can you prepare for Treatment? How do you ensure that you are some how ready and have some insight into what you are about to embark on.

First you need to understand the stages of fertility treatments and what is involved.

According to the NHS websites there are 3 types of fertility treatments. 

Today’s post will focus on Medicines. 

  1. medicines
  2. surgical procedures
  3. assisted conception – including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF)

Medicines

Common fertility medicines include:

clomifene – This is a drug given to stimulate ovulation. It encourages the monthly release of an egg (ovulation) in women who do not ovulate regularly or cannot ovulate at all. 

tamoxifen: This is an alternative to clomiphene that is also an ovulation stimulating drug offered to those with ovulation problems. 

metformin – is particularly beneficial for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Other ovarian stimulating drugs are 

gonadotrophins – can help stimulate ovulation in women, and may also improve fertility in men

gonadotrophin-releasing hormone and dopamine agonists – other types of medicine prescribed to encourage ovulation in women

These drugs are prescribed if your doctor thinks you need them.

Some of these medicines may cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and hot flushes.

So it is important to speak to your doctor for more information about the possible side effects of specific medicines.

Watch out for next post where we continue on Surgical procedures

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Sources

stages of treatment @nhs.uk

related post

IVF PROCESS: Step by Step

Add ins to fertility treatment

IVF:Stages to egg implantation


Sharing: Dealing with Miscarriage

The loss of a child is indescribable.

Chrissy and John Lenon lost their baby boy half way through their pregnancy and she’s shared her pain with millions of her followers. This has shed more light on the issue.

Miscarriage happens in 1 in 4 pregnancies, with lost occurring before 12 weeks. There are 250,000 miscarriages every year in the U.K.

She has been praised by charities for sharing her pain and heartbreak, even though she’s has been criticised for sharing so publicity. I think she’s brave and courageous, and I applaud her for her strength. 

The pain of miscarriage is so heavy and No one should suffer alone, posting about her loss gave courage to millions of women who also posted comments about their loss and how her openness helps them relate and deal with their pain. 

Her pain reminded me of the 2 miscarriages i suffered after 2 failed IVFs. I was numb for a few days each time as I bled out my babies. And the very thought of knowing it can happen again left me scared.

Miscarriage leaves a hole, a fear, an uncertain feeling deep down in ones guts.. 

Even after having two beautiful daughters, news like Chrissy’s always reminds me of those dark days. 

Although i no longer grieve, I do remember.  

Have you suffered loss, do not keep quiet, share your pain if you so choose, email us, leave a comment and we will lend a listening ear. We will cry with you and sit still with you. Grieve, don’t bottle it up.

Grieving is a natural way of reacting to devastating news.

Like a butterfly you flutter in my womb
like a womb you wriggle and turn.
I came to know you and love you so deeply
I saw our future as one big loop of love
your little feet truffled around 
your little face as it filled up with a smile
i saw your face before you saw mine will lill hold that still still we meet again. 

Holding out Hope to John and Chrissy and the milking who are grieving right now. 

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Read More »

IVF:Stages to egg implantation

  1. Meeting with Team: this is the initial consultation with the clinic to go throughout process.
  2. The process: The woman will be given medication to suppress her normal menstrual cycle. This is usually given for 2 weeks. My first cycle was a nasal spray but the final cycle was an injection which I learned to inject myself. After which step 3 begins
  3. Boosting the egg supply: This will include stimulation of the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual, to increase the number of eggs for fertility. You will be given a fertility hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This is also a daily injection you give yourself or your partner can assist if they want to be involved and feel connected to the process. It’s usually for 10-12 days.
  4. Monitoring. you will be monitored while on the FSH, some clinics will scan every 2 days while others maybe twice weekly during the process. The monitoring may be ultrasound scans to monitor the size of the ovaries, blood test or both. The ovaries are usually measured to see how big the eggs are and a final hormone boost may be given 34-38 hours prior to collection.
  5. Collecting the eggs: Eggs are usually collected on days 10 or 12 depending on the sizes/ how well the ovaries have been stimulated. collecting is usually done under local anesthetic where you will be sedated. A needle is passed through the vagina into each ovary under ultrasound guidance. This procedure may take 15-20 minutes. You may experience cramp or light bleeding afterwards.
  6. Fertilizing the eggs: Once the eggs are collected they are mixed with your partners or the donor sperm in the lab. They are checked after 16-20 hours to see if Fertilization has occurred.
  7. In some cases the eggs may be injected individually with a sperm called ICSI.
  8. Egg Monitoring: The embryos are left to continue to grow for 6 days before being transferred into the womb. The best 2 are usually selected to be transferred.
  9. Embryo Transfer: The embargo’s are transferred into the womb using a thin tube called a catheter passed into the vagina. The procedure is quite simple and doesn’t involve any sedation.
  10. Then began the 2 weeks wait. see next post for how to cope.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Related post

https://faithfulwait.com/2016/05/11/a-woman-in-waiting/

https://faithfulwait.com/2016/07/11/surviving-treatment/

https://faithfulwait.com/2016/09/22/exploring-other-options/

https://faithfulwait.com/2016/10/26/choosing-an-ivf-clinic/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/03/31/it-only-takes-one-egg/

An Uncommon Cause:Adenomyosis

The causes of infertility are varied and can also be missed or mildly diagnosed. 

Before our 3rd IVF treatment I was not particularly diagnosed as infertile but was classed as unknown cause and prescribed clomid, an hormone stimulating drug to stimulate my ovaries to produce more eggs. 

This  did not work and so the process of fertility treatment started with no specific diagnosis.

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and always felt this may have an impact on why we were not getting pregnant. We were fortunate enough to find a clinic that looked after our particular circumstances. 

Some women may not have a specific diagnosis but will have to go through the IVF process and be successful. While others may have several attempts without success. 

This was the experience Gabrielle Union had,  in an interview with the stylist she  talked about how she went undiagnosed through multiple rounds of IVF, with different leading doctors.

She suffered from a condition called adenomyosis

According to the NHS, this is a condition where the cells of the lining of the womb are found in the muscles wall of the womb (myometrium). The condition affects 1 in 10 women.

The most common symptoms are 

Heavy or painful periods,

Premenstrual pelvic pain. 

Feeling of heavy/discomfort in the pelvic.

Less common symptoms are:

Painful sexual intercross.

Pain related to bowel movement.

It can occur in women who still have periods but are common in women aged 40-50 and in women who have had children.

The cause of adenomyosis is unknown but It is believed that it may be related to genes, hormones and the immune system. 

Adenomyosis will not present itself as other causes of Infertility and about a third of women will not have any symptoms. 

It is not routinely diagnosed and may be found during a routine scan. Hence the reason lots of women may go undiagnosed. 

Like other causes of infertility, this is a condition which affects several areas of a woman’s life, their emotional well-being, relationships, and daily routines. It is disheartening to know that this is only coincidentally found during a routine scan.

Reason for delay in diagnosis is due to the fact that some women have no symptoms at all, hence a routine scan may be the first indication of a problem. 

Women have different symptoms and these symptoms may be due to other illnesses as well,  such as (pelvic inflammatory disease or irritable bowel syndrome).

The similarities to this illness and other diseases means that many women suffer infertility for years without being diagnosed, and diagnosis may be late in coming at a time when many have given up hope or are in menopause.

For Ms Union, her doctor delves into her past as a young woman asking lots of questions about her menstrual cycle, which led to her diagnosis. 

What to do if you suspect or have any of the symptoms above.

Speak to your doctor about your experiences with your periods, request for an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), this will produce a picture of the inside of your body

Available treatments 

Get the details about the available treatment before making a decision. 

The delay in diagnosis unfortunately has led to lack of treatment specific to the illness. the symptoms rather than causes can be treated with prescription for heavy or painful periods. 

  • If you suffer from  heavy or painful periods, you may be prescribed non hormonal medicines like tranexamic acid and mefanamic acid).

  • Contraceptive pills to stop bleeding.

  • Induce false menopause by injection, causing her lining of three women to shrink.( No usually for long term use).

  • Uterine artery embolisation – injecting tiny particles into the blood vessels, the aim is to cut off the blood supply to the adenomyosis. This is less invasive and may help to prevent infertility. But symptoms may return in future.

In Gabieller’s experience, she was diagnosed after several failed IVFs and only a change of doctor and detailed investigation led to the correct diagnosis. 

Her doctor was honest and after explaining the difficulty she’s faced, prescribed Lupron.

Although Lupron gives a 30% chance of pregnancy, . they decided against it in favour of surrogacy and are now the happy parent to a beautiful baby girl.

Next Step.

Remain persistent with your doctor, you need to be responsible for your health and well being so do not settle for a simple explanation if you have failed after several attempts. 

Do not be discouraged if your doctor dismissed your concerns. Ask for  a second opinion.

The party parliamentary group on women’s health revealed a lack of awareness on what is considered a ‘normal menstruation’ may that indicates a more serious issue.

  • Explore other options earlier on in your fertility journey and avoid delays which may lead to difficulties later on. 

Do all that is within your capabilities to get pregnant and hope for a successful end. 

I hope you have been better informed by this and inspired by the story of Gabrielle Union not to give up.

 If you suspect your symptoms are those described above you can find more from the adenomyosis association’s website at www.adenomysisassociation.org

For more help and advice contact the NHS choice at www.nhs.uk

Your partner in hope

D’Ebi

Related content 

https://faithfulwait.com/2020/03/10/surrogacy-finding-a-surrogate/

https://faithfulwait.com/2020/02/29/surrogacy-i-call-it-a-helping-hand/

https://faithfulwait.com/2019/06/13/causes-of-infertility-in-men/

https://faithfulwait.com/2019/01/20/whatever-you-do-dont-stop-trying/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/08/13/single-women-and-ivf/

Signs Of Infertility

We have been writing about surrogacy and the reason to embark on a surrogate journey, on this page for a while:

This led me to think about signs of infertility. The more I speak with friends and those who have tried for a while the more  obvious it  becomes  that some couples delay in seeking help. 

So this post focuses on signs of infertility and when to seek help. 

See similar post herehttps://faithfulwait.com/2016/06/08/infertility-when-to-seek-help/

Infertility affects both male and female. In previous post we discussed that a third of infertility issues comes from women, the other third from men or combination of both, other factors related to unknown causes.

Below is a list of signs of infertility for women

  1. Painful sex
  2. Heavy; long or paid periods: could be a sign of endometriosis, this is a condition where tissues found in the womb are present elsewhere in the body.
  3. Irregular menstrual cycle.
  4. Hormone changes: a test by your doctor can detect changes in hormones: hormone change can lead to weight gain, facial hair in female, loss of sex drive, acne.
  5. Underlying medical conditions: such as damage to Fallopian tubes, PCOS, cancer. Rheumatoid Arthritis ( which is a condition I was diagnosed of).
  6. Obesity:

infertility in men:

 Signs of infertility in men can include 

  1. Hormone imbalance: The key hormone for male is Testosterone where problem with the testes can cause infertility. The males testes have two hormones  which make sperm, the luteinizing hormones and the stimulating hormones.  These hormones are produced by pituitary glands so any problems with this gland Amy also led to infertility in men.
  2. Erectile dysfunction: failure to have erection during sex can be as a result of stress or other psychological factors. Please seek medical intervention If this becomes a regular occurrence.
  3. Ejaculation problem: Any change or difficulty in ejeculation, can result in infertility, medical advice should be sought where this becomes a frequent occurrence 
  4. Problems with the testicle:  This may include swollen, painful, or tender testicles. If you noticed any of these or other changes in your testlces please seek help.
  5. Obesity: Obesity can affect both male and female fertility. It is important to keep your weight under check if you are trying for a baby. 

Other causes of infertility include 

  • Age
  • Excessive drinking/consumption of alcohol
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet

When to seek help.

If you experience any of the above signs,  please consult your doctor if you are under 35 and have been trying for more than a year (6 months if you are over 35 of age).

Changes to make to boost your fertility 

Change of lifestyle may include having healthier meals

Exercise 

Decreases of total reduction of alcohol 

Keeping your weight in check.

Conclusion

It is important to observe your body for any signs of changes and consult your doctor as soo. As possible to avoid delays in getting pregnant

Your partner in Hope

References

D,Ebi

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