Friday, March 14, 2008

Two Ways to Tell When You’re Ovulating

Getting pregnant does not always happen when you would like it to. Some couples decide it is time to have kids and within a month or two they are announcing they are pregnant. Other couples try month after month without success. If you are one of the couples having difficulty, do not feel discouraged. It is estimated that 25 percent of couples trying to conceive experience problems with fertility. There have been great advances in infertility treatments over the last ten years. A better understanding of the reproductive system may help to solve the problem.
Knowing when you are most fertile is a significant step towards conception. This will be the few days a month when you are ovulating. Ovulation is when the ovaries release an egg and it is deposited in the uterus. Your menstrual cycle begins with the first day of your period and ends with the last day before your period. Ovulation will typically occur mid cycle. Once released the egg is only viable for fertilization for 24 hours. Sperm can survive for approximately 72 hrs. If you do the math you will see that the2 to 3 days before you ovulate are the best days to try for conception. Knowing exactly which day you are going to ovulate may seem difficult, but here are some helpful tools.
Ovulation test kits measure the amount of Luteinising Hormone (LH) in your urine stream. Prior to ovulation there is a surge of LH in your system to cue the ovaries to release an egg. This happens approximately two weeks after your period. You will need to know how long your menstrual cycle normally is, as cycles can vary from 28 to 34 days. Ovulation test kits come with step by step instructions and will supply a chart to help you determine which days to start testing your urine. It is important to test urine at the same time every day. False positive results can occur as a result of some oral medications. Check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. When the test strip detects higher levels of LH that means ovulation will occur within the next 48 hours. This is when you should have intercourse. Ovulation test kits are available at any drugstore or online at many fertility or pregnancy websites.
Another method is charting your basal body temperature (BBT). This method requires you to measure your body temperature during the first few hours of waking. By charting these temperatures over a period of time you will be able to determine when you are ovulating. During your menstrual cycle there are two hormones that play important roles. Estrogen is the hormone that is active in your system during the first half of your cycle, also called the follicular phase. Estrogen helps to trigger the ovaries to release an egg. When ovulation occurs Progesterone is released to help prepare the uterus for possible implantation. These changes within the body create fluctuations in your BBT. Typically, you can expect to see a decrease in BBT just prior to ovulation and then a significant increase, approximately.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more, once the egg has been released. Your BBT’s will remain high if conception takes place, but will return to their base line if your period starts. By tracking and charting your temperatures you will be able to know when the best times are for intercourse. A digital thermometer that measures to the tenth of a degree is easiest to use. You can make your own chart to keep track of your temperatures or download and print one from an infertility treatment website. If you are uncertain about your temperatures or do not see any change in BBT consult your doctor.

Like so many aspects of life a little understanding goes along way. Maximize your chances using these tools. If you still are unable to conceive after 1 year, or 6 months if over 35, talk to your doctor about infertility treatment options.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain what an ovulation test is in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Egg Donation Part 2 - Egg Retrieval Procedure

Once you have been pre-screened and qualified to be an egg donor for in vitro fertilization the egg donation center that you are working with will teach you how to self-administer the medications used during the process. Be forewarned that you will be injecting yourself with these medications. Two types of medication often used for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation include Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Lupron. FSH stimulates the production of eggs while Lupron prevents the ovaries from releasing the eggs before the retrieval process takes place. Some possible side effects of these drugs include fatigue, moodiness, headache, ovarian cysts, and in some rare cases hyper stimulation syndrome of the ovaries. An indication of hyper stimulation syndrome is enlarged painful ovaries and would be detectable on an ultrasound.

Timing is everything when it comes to the administration of these medications. Lupron is typically begun 5-6 days before the start of your period. When your period starts you will need to have a baseline vaginal ultrasound prior to starting the FSH. This will help to detect the presence of any cysts on the ovaries. Ovarian cysts are not uncommon and usually resolve on their own but large or complex cysts may require treatment. If the ultrasound is clear you will begin taking the FSH approximately 2-3 days after the start of your period. Your blood will be drawn at regularly to monitor the level of estradiol, the hormone secreted by developing eggs, in your system. Another vaginal ultrasound will be performed to determine the size and number of eggs in your ovaries when your estradiol level is at the appropriate level. A single injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropins (hCG) will be administered when the eggs are ready for retrieval. HCG is a naturally occurring hormone that helps with the last stage of development of the eggs. About 36 hours after the hCG injection the eggs are ready for removal.

Since you will be sedated when your eggs are removed you will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the day before the procedure. When you arrive for the procedure you will change into a gown and an IV will be started for the administration of medications and fluids. Then you will be given medication to ensure you are adequately sedated and comfortable during the egg removal. Once you are sedated, a thin needle is inserted through the vagina into the ovaries and the eggs are aspirated into the syringe.

After the procedure you may experience some pelvic discomfort, small amounts of vaginal bleeding or blood in your urine. These side effects usually clear within a day or two. You will be able to return home a few hours after you wake up. You will need to have someone drive you home since you will still be feeling the effects of the medication used to sedate you. You will be given a prescription for pain management as well as an antibiotic to decrease your chances of infection. After the eggs are removed your part is done. The eggs will then be used for the infertility treatment called in vitro fertilization.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Egg Donation Part 1 – Qualifications for Donors

Many women are unable to have genetic children because of fertility problems related to egg production. As result of cancer, congenital absence of eggs, or early onset menopause these women no longer produce eggs that can successfully be fertilized. These women are usually candidates for an infertility treatment called in vitro fertilization with a third party egg donor. If you have considered becoming an egg donor but are unsure of the requirements to qualify as one here’s what you need to know.

In order to qualify to be an egg donor you need to be a female between the ages of 21 and 36 and who has given birth before. You need to be healthy and devoid of genetic disorders. Stable mental health is also a qualifier as a history of depression is contraindicated with some of the medications used in the process. Lactation can reduce the effects of the fertility drugs used which might result in lower egg production. If you are considering becoming a donor you will need to stop breastfeeding a few months before egg donation will be possible. If you have met these pre qualifiers here is what you can do next.

Contact an egg donation center and set up an assessment appointment. At this appointment they will obtain your medical history, give you a physical examination, and conduct a psychosocial evaluation. They will be trying to determine the health of the eggs to be donated, as well as the psychological impact on you, the donor, of giving up your eggs. They will also draw blood to test for infections. During your physical exam they will obtain cervical cultures to rule out sexually transmitted diseases. If your blood tests and cultures are negative for any infectious agents or STD’s they will check for normal levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in your blood. FSH in women stimulates the production of eggs. The normal level for FSH in a menstruating woman is between 5mlU/mL – 20mlU/mL. Having a normal level of FSH in your blood stream is required to be an egg donor. If you’ve met all of these qualifications the egg donation center will invite you to an informative counselling session about the ethical, legal, and financial side of donating your eggs. Some egg donation centers offer financial compensation for the donation of your eggs. At the end of this session, if you are still ready and willing to donate your eggs you will move on to the next phase in the process of egg donation.

Make a list of any questions or concerns you might have and don’t be afraid to ask. If you qualify as a donor then be sure to educate yourself about the procedure of egg removal and what your involvement will be in the process. Donating your eggs can bring about the hopes and dreams of yourself and others.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, LLC, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to explain in vitro fertilization in plain language. To review this information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Coping With Infertility

If you are one of the many couples dealing with fertility problems you may be wondering how to cope with the wave of emotions that has arisen. Family and friends don’t always understand what it’s like to struggle with conceiving and the overwhelming disappointment you feel each month when the pregnancy test comes back negative or the grief and loss felt with each miscarriage. Here are few ways to help you and your partner cope with infertility.

Do not blame yourself or your partner. It is not uncommon for one or both partners to feel that it is their fault they are unable to get pregnant. Blame may stem from past choices or circumstances that may have had an effect your ability to conceive, or be directed toward your partner for wanting to wait until later to start a family. The blame game is always a lame game. Blaming is never helpful or constructive. It is be hurtful and creates stress that can further distance you from your goals. Instead, acknowledge that there are things that may have influenced your chances of having children, but you cannot change the past. Look forward to the future and what you can do together now. Work as a team to determine your options.

Continually educate yourself about infertility. Uncertainty or fear of the unknown plays a big part in how you respond or cope with feelings. The more you understand about infertility and infertility treatments available the better you and your partner are able to plan for what lies ahead. This can be a great source of hope. You will know what to expect from different types of treatments and how much they will cost. You’ll also feel more comfortable talking to family and friends about your situation.

Give yourself permission to talk about your feelings. Be open and honest with your partner about how you are feeling and you may find they are feeling some of the same emotions. Set a time limit for how long you and your partner talk about frustrations, sadness, and further plans, since it can be draining or amplify those negative feelings. Find a support group for couples who are struggling with fertility problems. Your doctor’s office should be able to recommend groups that meet in your neighbourhood. There are support groups available online where you can chat with others who are experiencing the same things you are and be encouraged by couples who have been through it and have had a successful pregnancy.

Don’t give up hope. Whatever type of infertility treatment you and your partner choose there may be disappointments, but be encouraged. There is always someone who has walked the same road and can share their experience, strength and hope.


About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about male infertility. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com.

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