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.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Healthy Tips to Help With Conception

You and your partner have decided it’s time. You’ve stopped using birth control and you’ve begun the fun part of having kids, making them. Don’t stress out if you’re not pregnant in the first couple of months of trying. Here are some important things to keep in mind when trying to conceive.

The body works best when it is not stressed out. Studies show that 8 out of 10 women suffer from significant stress in their day to day lives. Whether it is work, family, or financial stress it can wreak havoc on your system. Here are some simple ways you can work on reducing your stress level. If you feel your stress level rising, no matter where you are, take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. The oxygen to your brain and body help to reduce the level of stress plus it gives you a couple of seconds to regain composure or think about what needs to be done and what can wait till later. Take 10 minutes a day to sit in silence or with calm music and think about your favourite thing to do, place to visit, or memory. This simple exercise helps your body and mind to come to rest and recharge on thoughts that are happy and pleasant.

Now that you are ready to be pregnant you have stopped eating junk food and drinking caffeine by the pot. It is time to start consuming the types of food that will help your body prepare for and carry the baby you are hoping for. Caffeine increases levels of stress and anxiety. Most doctors recommend the cessation of caffeine intake while pregnant because it can affect the development of the baby and increase the baby’s heart rate. The baby growing inside you will be borrowing from your sources of nutrients for its own development. This means no more skipping meals. A skipped meal can leave you fatigued and faint. Most health care professionals recommend six small balanced meals a day to keep your metabolism at an even level instead of the highs and lows experienced with only two or three large meals a day. Prenatal vitamins should be taken as well. Besides being a multivitamin, they contain folic acid. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects during your baby’s prenatal development. It is a good idea to begin taking them right away since you will not know when you do become pregnant. During the first four weeks babies grow by leaps and bounds. It is imperative that you stay adequately hydrated during pregnancy. At least 64 oz. of water a day is recommended. Carry a water bottle with you throughout your day and don’t forget to DRINK IT.

A relaxed and well nourished body also needs regular exercise. Not marathon over the top exercise, but 25 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise that maintains your heart rate at your target heart rate. Talk to your doctor about your target heart rate or if you belong to a gym you can talk to a personal trainer. Aerobic exercise is continuous motion with adequate oxygen. Ideas for aerobic activity include biking, swimming, speed walking, running, aerobics class, or stair climber. Find something you enjoy doing or alternate activities to break up the monotony and make it a part of your day at least 3 times a week.

It’s important to know when you are most fertile (likely to get pregnant). Purchase an ovulation test kit from any drug store and follow the directions. If you are between 20-35 years of age and have been trying to conceive for more than 1 year, or 6 months if over 35, you may require infertility treatments and should speak with your doctor.

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Understanding Pelvic Ultrasound

If you have been experiencing painful periods, unusual vaginal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, or are having difficulty conceiving your doctor may recommend a pelvic ultrasound. This test is a safe, non-invasive way for your doctor to obtain more information to make an accurate diagnosis and offer appropriate options for infertility treatment.

Ultrasound or sonography uses sound waves to produce an image of organs and other tissues in the body. Pelvic ultrasounds are helpful for identifying abnormalities of the reproductive organs such as uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts and can assist your doctor to determine appropriate infertility treatment options. Ultrasounds are also used during pregnancy to monitor growth of the un-born baby. Another advantage of having an ultrasound is that there is no risk of potentially harmful radiation as with an x-ray.

Here’s what you can expect if you’ve been scheduled to have a pelvic ultrasound. Most doctors’ offices will remind the patient before their ultrasound that having a full bladder helps to give clearer images of the pelvic structures. Upon arrival the patient is brought to an examination room with an ultra sound machine. Once in the room the patient will be instructed to lie on the exam table. Depending on the type of ultrasound you may be asked to remove your personal clothing and adorn an examination gown. Next the technician will ask you to raise your shirt or gown to expose your stomach so they can apply a thin layer of gel. The gel may feel cool at first but will quickly warm to the temperature of your skin. The gel acts as a transducer for the sound waves to travel through. The tech will then move the ultrasound probe across your abdomen and an image will be transmitted to a monitor nearby. The tech may take some time to make measurements of different structures and should be able to point out certain things such as kidneys, ovaries, or a developing baby. The tech may limit the amount of information he or she shares, as they are not doctors. A radiologist, one who specializes in reading diagnostic images, is the one who reviews the footage and your doctor will let you know if there are any concerns from your ultrasound results.

A trans-vaginal ultrasound maybe needed to get a better view of certain structures or abnormalities. Instead of the ultrasound probe being used on the stomach an ultrasound wand is inserted into the vagina. It should not be painful, but may feel uncomfortable especially with a full bladder. If you have any questions or concerns during or after the exam don’t hesitate to ask.


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 chronic pelvic pain. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ovulation Test Kits

If you and your partner are trying to conceive an ovulation test kit is a great tool. It can help you by finding out when your body releases an egg from your ovary, an ovulation, and pin point the time of the month when you are most fertile. The egg, once released from the ovary, only has a 24-48 hour life span, while sperm can survive for about 72 hours. You are most likely to become pregnant when sperm is present on the day prior to, the day of, or the day following ovulation.

Ovulation test kits measure the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. Luteinizing hormone is always present in human urine. LH increases dramatically just before a woman’s most fertile day of the month in a process commonly referred to as the “LH Surge”. This LH increase triggers ovulation, which means an egg is released from the woman’s ovary. It is important to know that some infertility treatment medications, such as menotropin, may affect the test result. Certain rare medical conditions or the onset of menopause can cause elevated levels of LH. Some women do not ovulate every cycle, and therefore will not see any increase in the level of LH hormone during these non-ovulating cycles. Women with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may not get reliable results from ovulation tests, as a result of related hormone imbalances. Please check with your doctor if you are unsure.

To find out when to begin testing, determine the length of your normal cycle. The length of your cycle is from the beginning of one period (the first day of bleeding) to the day before the start of the next. If your cycle length is irregular (varies by more than a few days each month) take the average number of days for the last 3 months. Ovulation typically occurs in the middle of your cycle. It is recommended to begin testing a few days before ovulation occurs. For example, if your period normally begins every 28 days then ovulation would occur on or around day 14 of your cycle. In this case, you would want to begin ovulation testing eleven days after the beginning of your last period. Most test kits come with a sample calendar to help you determine which day in your cycle to begin testing.

Read all the instructions that come with the test kit fully before starting your test. The best times to test are from 11am to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm. Early morning testing is not recommended as most women experience a blood LH surge that will not show up in the urine until later in the day. To make sure you catch your LH surge, test twice a day, once in the earlier time frame and the other in the later time frame. Reduce your liquid intake two hours before testing since drinking excessive amounts of fluids can dilute the LH in your urine yielding a false negative result. Test at the same time each day. Have intercourse during the 48 hours following your LH surge to maximize your chances of conception.



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.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 31, 2007

Female Infertility Factors

If you have had difficulty conceiving for more than twelve months, or six months if you are over 35 years of age, you may be wondering if you are infertile. Researchers estimate that one in six couples face fertility challenges as a result of male or female health complications. There are multitudes of factors that can affect your chances of conception. Here we will briefly outline three major causes of infertility in women: endometriosis, fallopian tube damage or blockage, and ovulation disorders.

Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue shed during a woman’s “period” implants outside of the uterus. The implanted tissue responds to the hormonal cycle and continues to grow, shed, and bleed in sync with the lining of the uterus each month. This can lead to inflammation and eventually scarring which adversely affects functions of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Pelvic pain and infertility are common in women with endometriosis. Upon examination, more than 40% of infertile women of reproductive age are found to have endometriosis. Laparoscopic surgery to remove abnormal tissue is a commonly used treatment option for this condition.

Fallopian tube damage usually results from inflammation of the fallopian tube. This blocks the passage of the egg through the fallopian tubes on its way to fertilization and implantation in the uterus. Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, is the most frequent cause. Tubal inflammation can cause pain and fever, or it may go unnoticed. Tubal damage is the major risk factor for ectopic pregnancy. Here a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes. One episode of tubal infection may cause fertility difficulties. The risk of ectopic pregnancy increases with each occurrence of tubal infection.

Some cases of female infertility are caused by ovulation disorders. Disruption in the part of the brain that regulates ovulation can cause low levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. Even slight irregularities in the hormone system can affect ovulation. Specific causes of hypothalamic-pituitary disorders include injury, tumors, excessive exercise and starvation. Ovulation-stimulating drugs, follicle-stimulating hormones, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), and in vitro fertilization are possible treatments for this condition.

If you are one of the many couples experiencing problems with conception talk to your general practitioner. Most of these problems can be resolved with medical treatment or lifestyle adjustments. Your doctor will be able to diagnose any conditions present and give you treatment options, or refer you to a specialist.


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 endometriosis symptoms. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,