When you are trying to get pregnant…and trying, and trying and trying… you’re bound to hear more than your fair share of well-meaning advice regarding how to successfully conceive. Unfortunately, people seem to think that you’ve never Googled before, been to a doctor, or learned everything you possibly can about anything related to the human reproductive system – male and female – as well as all the factors that make it possible for these two systems to cooperate and make a baby already!!!!! Good Grief!

In many cases, by the time our clients have finally made an appointment, they are almost as well-versed as we are as to the hows and whys of pregnancy and assisted reproductive technology. In the meantime, they have to hear an infinite list of asinine advice and suggestions from family, friends and – of course – perfect strangers.

Here is some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about fertility and how to “fix” it.

ID-100111550

1.      Just relax and it will happen in time! Yeah. Well, that would be nice wouldn’t it? Just relax and your baby will arrive in nine months. Sure, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence regarding couples who finally adopted and wound up conceiving soon thereafter, but these stories are not really all that common. New studies show that women with high stress levels do have a harder time conceiving, but stress is rarely the only reason a couple isn’t getting pregnant. The best reason to relax is for your own health and peace of mind as you work with your doctors to get pregnant. However, we do have some suggestions if you want to get away and relax to escape all the irritating people who are giving you bad advice…

2.     Honey, give it up. After 35, you’re clock is done ticking… Ouch! That one hurts. While it’s true that it gets harder with every year after age 35, assisted reproductive technology has come a long way and fertility is completely possible into your 40s.

3.     Don’t have too much sex or he won’t have any sperm left. Oops! There’s someone who missed a line or two in their Anatomy and Physiology 101 book. In fact, unless diagnosed otherwise, most men produce an ample supply of sperm on a regular basis. If you have sex every day, each of your partner’s successive ejaculations may have a lower sperm count than if he abstains from ejaculating for a few days. HOWEVER – sperm live for up to five days in your vagina – so it all evens out. We advise couples trying to get pregnant to have sex regularly leading up to ovulation so there are millions of sperm waiting to meet the egg when she makes her appearance.

4.     Use a turkey baster to get the sperm higher up “there.” Perhaps the “there” was the first clue that this “advisor” isn’t completely up to date on how babies are made. Your turkey baster won’t get the sperm any higher than an erect penis with a healthy sperm count. If you are interested in getting the sperm closer than Mother Nature designed, you will need to consult with a fertility specialist who can transfer it all the way into your uterus (Intrauterine Insemination or IUI) for you. Save your turkey baster for Thanksgiving.

5.     Get drunk and do it! Hm. Well, perhaps this particular piece of advice is more specifically related to #1 – Just Relax! The problem is that there is a significant amount of research out there about the effects of alcohol and fertility, not to mention healthy fetal development, so when you’re trying to conceive, it’s always better to eat well and abstain from chemicals – both internally and in your environment – as much as possible.

6.     Just accept that it just isn’t your time. Well, if it’s not your time, why is it time for the teenage mother of three you just saw on that reality TV show? It’s not anybody’s “time” to get pregnant. Pregnancy is a combination of genetics, environmental factors, timing, anatomical and medical conditions and chance. If your religious or spiritual beliefs align with the idea that it is or isn’t your time, that’s fine too but it won’t help you feel better while you’re desperate to conceive. We are fans of the “Time Theory,” in the sense that if you have tried to get pregnant for 12 months or more (six months if you’re in your 30s) we recommend meeting with a fertility specialist sooner rather than later. We can find out if something is anatomically or medically the cause for your infertility, giving you a longer period of time to explore your options.

What is some of the worst and/or most frustrating advice you’ve received regarding infertility? We’d love to hear your vents in the RRC comment box below.

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici

Share

{ 0 comments }

The History of IVF Part II

by Erika on October 9, 2014 · 0 comments

While every baby is considered a miracle, Louise Joy Brown was a miracle multiple times over. Born on July 25, 1978, she was the result of more than 100 years of cumulative research and experimentation on the human reproductive system. In The History of IVF – Part 1, we started with the discovery of the ovum, which took place in 1827, and the realization that fertilization takes place when said ovum is entered by a sperm (1843).

For the next century, scientists and medical professionals worked tirelessly to unlock the secrets of human reproduction in order to facilitate conception for those whose bodies weren’t facilitating it naturally. We left off with the successes of Gregory Pincus and Ernst Vinzenz Enzmann, who created the first in vivo rabbit baby. We’ll carry on with the discoveries that continued to be made around sperm, eggs and the hormones it takes to make everything work correctly.

The History of In Vitro Fertilization: From Rabbits to Humans

ID-10022463

It won’t be a surprise to anyone battling infertility to learn that not all eggs and sperm are created equal. However, it took us a bit of time to learn this. While the concept behind IVF treatments was sound, the scientists performing the experiments didn’t yet realize that it took viable sperm and eggs to make it happen. In 1951, two scientists working independently of one another, Colin Russell Austin in Australia and Min Chueh Chang in the United States, realized that sperm went through a maturation process, and conception was only possible when a sperm was fully mature.  Chang used this knowledge to perform the first officially documented IVF procedure to impregnate a rabbit.

For the next two decades, IVF experiments and research plodded along. While new information was gleaned on a regular basis, all of which helped to lead from one step to the next, nobody had any amount of substantiated success with IVF procedures in humans. In 1968, gynecologist Patrick Steptoe gave a lecture on laparoscopy at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. One of the lecture’s attendees was Robert Edwards, a professor of reproduction at Cambridge University. The two soon teamed up in an effort to make IVF a human reality.

After nearly a decade of failed experiments, ectopic pregnancies and frustrations, Steptoe and Edwards finally succeeded with an infertile couple named Leslie and John Brown.  The British couple had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for 10 years, the same amount of time Edwards and Steptoe had been working to conceive a baby in their lab. By this time, Edwards and Steptoe had a better understanding of how to manipulate hormone levels to stimulate egg maturation and release, and they knew to wait until fertilized eggs had divided eight times before implanting them into the uterus.

The IVF treatment was successful and on July 25, 1978, Leslie gave birth to a healthy baby girl she named Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby.” Since then, more than five million “test tube babies” have been born and the numbers of couples seeking IVF treatments each year continues to rise.

Research continues regarding the hows and whens of in vitro fertilization. How the procedure is performed, the number of embryos implanted, the use of frozen or live embryos are all determined on a couple’s particular desires, physical abilities and budget. IVF success has made it possible for tens of millions of parents to enjoy the magic of pregnancy and birth and it continues to be the most popular method of assisted reproductive technology (ART) today.

Perhaps it’s your turn to take advantage of more than a century of scientific and medical advancement. Contact RRC if you are interested in learning more about in vitro fertilization, assisted reproductive technologies or would like to schedule a consultation with fertility specialists.

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net/Joseph Valks

Share

{ 0 comments }

The History of IVF Part I

October 2, 2014

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a remarkable technology that has allowed more than five million babies to be born to parents who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to conceive. It is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which the sperm and egg are fertilized outside of the human body. The resulting embryo is [...]

Share
Read the full article →

How Lack of Sleep is Hurting Your Fertility

September 25, 2014

When you’re trying to get pregnant, bleary-eyed mothers and fathers will give you a deer in the headlights look as they encourage you to, “Savor every moment of sleep that you can  because it could be your last…” What they don’t realize is that those precious moments of sleep they’re recommending are more important than [...]

Share
Read the full article →