Loading...

Follow IVF & Fertility Blog Australia on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid
Fibs & facts – Male infertility today Dr Frank Quinn Tue, 04/30/2019 - 10:30 3
Infertility is almost always thought of as a woman’s issue. What’s the reality?

Conceiving a baby depends on a number of factors for both men and women, but what many don’t know is that male infertility is the second biggest issue after a woman’s age – accounting for almost 40% of all cases of infertility.

One study in the Human Reproductive Update suggested sperm count has declined more than 50% in less than 40 years. Why might that be?

The study itself does not analyse factors that contributed to the decline, but in my experience, the evidence suggests causes in sperm quality decline point to lifestyle namely:

  • A combination of medical causes (range from structural issues to production of sperm)
  • Environmental influences i.e. chemical and heavy metal exposure to overheating saunas, bike shorts, laptops 
  • Smoking, alcohol and the use of illicit drugs
Why don’t men talk about it? Is there a secret shame about infertility in males?

There shouldn’t be, it’s incredibly common. However in my 20 plus years’ experience caring for patients with infertility, there does seem to be a link in Australia around virility and infertility.

Male infertility is a medical condition that shouldn’t have the stigma. It is something that needs to be investigated and treated – but it’s important for all men to know that male infertility is incredibly common. The good news is that it’s easily diagnosed and most conditions can be treated.

What are some of the common reasons for male infertility?

The good news for men is we continue to reproduce sperm every 72 days, so in many cases with lifestyle improvements we can positively affect the quality of sperm.

The most damaging factor that affects sperm health is undoubtedly smoking - it worsens sperm production, motility (movement) and morphology (shape). Other factors include being overweight, alcohol intake, recreational drug use and steroids.

Women are often told to have babies early. Is there a biological clock ticking for men too?

Ageing sperm unfortunately does have an effect on the health of the offspring and we see an increase in autism, schizophrenia and other genetic diseases with risks having increased 10 fold over a 40 year period.

When men reach the age of 45, they tend to have higher rates of fertility complications as their sperm volume, motility and morphology declines. There is also the increased likelihood of damage or breaks to the sperm DNA that may result in a negative effect on fertility. 

It’s often said that heat such as resting a laptop in your lap, or visiting a sauna can affect the testicles, is this true?

The testicles produce the best quality sperm when they are a few degrees below normal body temperature. Working in hot temperatures, or simply relaxing, such as in a sauna frequently, can increase testicular temperature which can result in abnormal sperm count and quality. It’s best to avoid taking long hot baths on a regular basis.

Tight bike shorts are often raised as a risk – but I would suggest the potential benefits form an active lifestyle offset the risk of obesity.

Lots of guys use steroids to beef up. Does this harm fertility?

Steroids are proven to affect sperm production and function, and in some cases, men become azoospermic (no sperm) which would require fertility treatment. That’s not even taking into account the other risks associated with these drugs.

If you’re a user, you need to stop! The biggest issue is, even if you stop using - not all men’s sperm quality returns and they may be rendered sterile.

What’s your advice for healthy sperm?

Try and be as healthy as you can. Absolutely stop smoking, look at how you can improve your diet and maintain a healthy weight, keep alcohol intake moderate; don’t use any recreational drugs or steroids.

If anyone is concerned or would like to understand their fertility better, chat with your GP, there is a simple semen analysis that can give you answers.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Talking about infertility, a guide Elise Atkinson Tue, 02/12/2019 - 16:55 3

To tell or not to tell? We ask the experts how, who and if you should tell when you’re undergoing fertility treatment – especially when it comes to the workplace.

Frankly Fertility - Talking about infertility, a guide - YouTube

At a glance

  • Having fertility discussions with your workplace can be challenging, but there are things you can do to make it easier
  • Partners are encouraged to confide in their managers too
  • Beware of dishing out unsolicited advice to friends or colleagues going through fertility treatments
  •  

With infertility affecting one in six couples, struggling to conceive is common. Sure, the subject brings with it a degree of sensitivity, but talking openly about it can be easier than you think.

 

Think about who you want to tell

Choosing who you want to share your fertility journey with is entirely up to you, however it’s important to think about how your delivery might differ between close friends and family, and someone like your boss.

“These always feel like tough conversations to have,” says fertility counsellor and psychotherapist Elise Atkinson. “But people often get particularly worried about the reaction of a work colleague or manager, and how it’ll impact their career,” she adds.

 

The Dos and Don’ts of telling your manager

The choice to disclose any information regarding your fertility journey in the workplace is a personal one, and often depends on your own personality and the nature of your professional relationships.

It can however prove useful when scheduling reoccurring appointments, asking for extra time off and balancing out-of-office commitments. Atkinson suggests sticking to the following rules:

  • Do think about your interaction in advance. “Plan what your hope or expectation is for that discussion before you meet.”
  • Don’t bring up your fertility struggles for the first time in the kitchen. “You may want to chat in private so book in time with your manager rather trying to catch them on the fly.”
  • Do only share what you’re comfortable with. “What you want to share will depend on the circumstance. Only be as honest as you feel you can be!”
  • Don’t forget how common infertility is, and that it may have even touched your manager. “The fact that one in six people will experience difficulty or concerns around fertility gives your discussion a bit more context.”

And if you’re supporting a loved one through a fertility journey? The same rules apply. “Partners can ask for medical certificates too,” reminds Atkinson.

 

How not to put your foot in it

If it’s not you but rather a friend or colleague that’s currently on the fertility train, knowing exactly what – and what not – to say can be seriously tough.

“It really can be a tricky time for friends and family too,” says Atkinson.  

She puts a blanket ban on dishing out unsolicited advice, avoiding the topic altogether and assuming that having a laugh is completely out of the question.

And on the yay list? Regular check-ins, finding out how they would like to be supported and taking time out to have fun together.

Even with the best of intentions, ‘helpful’ suggestions may appear insensitive to someone struggling with infertility, which is why it’s important to pick your words – and to know when to hold them back.

 

For practical help on how to discuss your fertility journey with others, your GP, fertility specialist or fertility counsellor will be able to point you in the right direction.

 

 

Sources
 

https://resolve.org/support/infertility-and-relationships/talking-about-infertility/

 

https://www.ivf.com.au/sites/default/files/leaflets/patient-dl-balancing-work-and-ivf-8may2015.pdf

 

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/womens-health-policy-toc~womens-health-policy-experiences~womens-health-policy-experiences-reproductive~womens-health-policy-experiences-reproductive-maternal~womens-health-policy-experiences-reproductive-maternal-fert

 

 

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
IVF & Fertility Blog Australia by Assoc. Prof. Gavin Sacks - 3M ago
Genetic testing, explained Assoc. Prof. G… Tue, 02/05/2019 - 14:41 4

Everything you need to know about testing for genetic disorders, according to a doctor.

Frankly Fertility - PGT - YouTube

At a glance
 

  • Screening tests for genetic disorders are encouraged but voluntary
  • The most common screening tests are done during the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Genetic testing can also assist couples battling unexplained infertility

Having a family is an exciting time, but – as with all the best things in life – there is always an element of risk. Risk of struggling to fall pregnant, risk of losing a pregnancy, and risk of medical complications along the way. These days, we’re fortunate to have access to screening for many disorders. If you’re thinking about starting a family, it’s good to be aware of what tests are available to help assess your chances of having a healthy baby.

 

Why get tested?

There are lots of inherited disorders (more than 3,000 in fact) that on their own are rare, but collectively affect approximately 1% of births. If you or your partner are a carrier of these genes, it’s possible you (or your family) may have no idea, so it’s worth discussing with your doctor or a genetic counsellor to decide whether testing is right for you.

Risks factors generally stem from your age, lifestyle and medical history. The chance of conceiving a baby with a genetic disorder is higher if:

Often these tests can be done via a simple blood test or ultrasound, and although many doctors encourage women to undertake genetic testing, it remains completely voluntary - with many couples choosing not to go down that route.

 

 So, what tests are available?

“Probably the most common test during pregnancy is done in the first trimester where many couples are screened for Down syndrome,” explains IVF Australia’s Clinical Director and UNSW Professor Gavin Sacks.

This is usually done in one of two ways:

Not pregnant yet? Dr Sacks explains that screening for Down syndrome and other chromosomal conditions is possible even before a couple conceives if you’re having fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). “You can test embryos before they’re even implanted using a technique called PGT (pre-implantation genetic testing),” he explains.

This procedure – usually undertaken at a fertility clinic – means specific embryos can be selected for transfer during an IVF cycle, maximising the chance of having a healthy baby.

 

Screening tests vs diagnostic tests

It’s important to note that although genetic screening tests can provide information on the likelihood of health issues, they don’t offer up a definite diagnosis. This is worth being aware of so you know what to expect when you get your results, as results from a screening test aren’t delivered as a “yes” or a “no”, but rather as “increased risk” or “low risk”.

If a screening test suggests an increased risk for a particular condition, a diagnostic test can offer a little more clarity. Some of these diagnostic tests however are a little more invasive and carry a small risk of complications including miscarriage

It’s worth noting that 1 in 20 women are told there is a complication in her pregnancy, and many will go on to have a normal pregnancy. Diagnostic tests can assess whether you or your baby might need specialist treatment or even surgical correction while the baby is still in the uterus.

 

Genetic testing and fertility

Many couples struggling to conceive choose to undergo genetic testing to see if there are any underlying issues as to why a pregnancy won’t take.

“Often unexplained infertility happens because the genetic quality of a couple’s embryos is abnormal,” explains Dr Sacks. “Usually these are chromosomal abnormalities.”

This is when procedures like pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) can be offered, which have helped many couples conceive healthy babies despite more challenging genetic odds.  

If you suspect you may have a genetic or chromosomal abnormality, see your GP or fertility specialist for support. They can organise genetic counselling and help you decide what tests are right for you.

 

Sources
 

https://www.ivf.com.au/about-fertility/how-to-get-pregnant/preconception-screen


https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-prenatal-tests


https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/pregnancy-and-birth/now-you-are-pregnant/genetic-testing-in-pregnancy

 

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/edwards-syndrome-trisomy-18

 

 

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Egg & embryo donation explained Anonymous Tue, 01/29/2019 - 12:52 3

You’ve heard of sperm donation, but what happens when you need an egg? Here’s what you need to know.

Frankly Fertility - egg & embryo donation - YouTube

At a glance

  • Almost four per cent of pregnancies in Australia are produced by donor eggs.
  • Couples might be after donor eggs and embryos for a number of reasons including compromising genetic conditions and poor egg quality.
  • In Australia donors are purely altruistic, with laws preventing them from being paid.

Sometimes having a baby just isn’t straightforward. It might be that there are issues on the male side or the female side, medical complications or a same-sex couple who require assistance to achieve their dream of having a baby.

Egg and embryo donation services are available to couples who are unable to use their own eggs in the conception process, and although it’s not as talked about as sperm surrogacy the process may be more widely accessed than you think. 

“Almost four per cent of pregnancies in Australia are produced by donor eggs and embryos,” explains leading Sydney fertility and IVF specialist Dr Shadi Khasaba. “It’s becoming more and more common and accepted.”

Yet, due to Australia’s non-commercialisation of the industry – meaning you can’t pay someone to give you an egg –  if couples don’t have a friend or family member willing to donate for them, tracking down a fitting donor can be a process. A fertility clinic can help.

 

Who uses donor eggs?

Couples that might be after donor eggs and embryos may:

 

It’s important to note that success rates using donor treatments are directly related to the age of the donor, and the number and quality of donated eggs and embryos. So it’s worth knowing a little about.

 

Egg vs embryo donation: what’s the difference?

With both practices offered at fertility clinics, the main thing to note when considering donor egg or embryo insemination is whether you are after sperm or not. Dr Khasaba simplifies the difference between the two.

“Egg donation uses unfertilised eggs which means you can use your partner’s sperm, whereas embryo donation uses already created embryos ready to go into the uterus without using any sperm,” he explains.

So embryo donation may be the obvious choice for singles or couples facing unexplained or male infertility, and egg surrogacy might work for those who have access to healthy, viable sperm.

 

How are donors found and matched?

With Australian law restricting donors from being paid, most cases of egg and embryo surrogacy are carried out by friends or family members. Fertility clinics however, may have a small number of eggs stored.

“We do have a bank of donors but the numbers are very limited,” explains Dr Khasaba. “First we refer patients to our donor coordinator team, meet with them and understand their needs to organise where to start from.”

Anonymous donors who approach a clinic directly undergo mandatory blood screenings and complete a detailed genetic and medical questionnaire.

 

Keen to donate?

If you’re considering using donated eggs or becoming a donor, have a chat to your GP who can refer you to a fertility specialist. And remember – if you need support, there is plenty available. See a fertility expert for advice.

 

Sources

https://www.ivf.com.au/fertility-treatment/donor-program/egg-donor

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/surrogacy?viewAsPdf=true

https://www.ivf.com.au/fertility-treatment/donor-program/embryo-donation

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Can I have a baby if I have PCOS? Dr Michael Costello Tue, 01/22/2019 - 13:14 3

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects many Australian women, so when it comes to falling pregnant, here’s what you need to know. 

Frankly Fertility - PCOS - YouTube

At a glance

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects up to one in five Australian women.
  • Due to the absence of a regular menstrual cycle, it’s not uncommon for women suffering from PCOS to find it difficult to conceive naturally or that it takes longer to do so.
  •  PCOS-induced infertility can often be reversed through oral medications, injectables and in more difficult cases, IVF. 

PCOS is a complex hormonal condition affecting up to one in five women of child-bearing age, where they may have high levels of insulin and/or male-type hormones called androgens. In some women PCOS runs in the family, and the condition can be worsened by being overweight.  

“PCOS is the most common hormone condition affecting women of childbearing age,” confirms fertility specialist, PCOS expert and author of the recently published first international guideline on PCOS Dr Michael Costello. However, not all women will exhibit the same symptoms. “It has a number of features – reproductive, metabolic and psychological.” 

Among the most common symptoms are:

•    Irregular menstrual cycles (periods may be less or sometimes more frequent)
•    Amenorrhoea (no periods at all)
•    Mood changes (including anxiety and depression)
•    Excess hair on the face, stomach and back
•    Hair loss on the scalp
•    Acne 
•    Obesity


PCOS and getting pregnant

For women with PCOS, the concept of starting a family can feel like it comes with extra challenges. Many women with PCOS struggle to conceive naturally – or experience a significant delay – due to the absence of a reliable, trackable menstrual period as a consequence of a reduction in ovulation, which is why seeing a specialist early on in your fertility journey is key. 

Although not knowing when – or if – you are ovulating can slow the fertility process down a little, “Infertility for those with PCOS can usually be overcome,” emphasises Dr Costello. For example, specialists can stimulate steady ovulation with the right medication. 

Often the first step is a simple ovulation check which in some cases may include a blood test done at a clinic during the second half of a woman’s cycle – that will indicate whether ovulation is occurring. If ovulation is erratic or non-existent an ovulation-inducing drug may be prescribed, or the doctor may choose to use a closely monitored injectable or, in more difficult cases, IVF. 

Think of the positives

The chances of getting pregnant naturally (and quickly) may be lower for those with PCOS, but Dr Costello explains that it’s not all doom and gloom. “Studies show that those with PCOS may take longer to conceive but that their lifetime fertility is not impaired,” he explains. 

In fact,  women who suffer symptoms of PCOS throughout their younger years may experience an improvement – or even remission – of the condition as they get older. 

For personalised treatment, support and to kickstart fertility discussions, speak to your GP or fertility specialist. You can also download the evidence-based app AskPCOS produced by the new International Guideline in PCOS to learn more about the condition.


Sources

https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Booklets/PCOS_Al…

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/poly…

https://www.ivf.com.au/about-fertility/female-reproductive-system/pcos-…

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5085114/

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Is 2019 your year for a baby? Blog Admin Wed, 01/16/2019 - 10:15 2
Let’s make this year your year and join the Four Week Fertility Program.

When you’re trying to conceive, it can seem like everyone becomes an expert on how you and your partner can try to make it happen. Your well-meaning friends may suggest a host of different tips and techniques you’ve never heard of and some that you have, leaving you to sort through all the conflicting advice.
That’s why IVFAustralia , Melbourne IVF, Queensland Fertility Group, TasIVF and Virtus Fertility Centre developed the four week fertility program.

Since 2015, our program has assisted over 300,000 women with their fertility journeys and over these years our program has evolved to provide not only fertility advice but also touch on all the other factors that contribute to well-rounded fertility.

What is the Four Week Fertility Program?

Developed by leading fertility specialists, the program is designed to help you better understand your fertility and ways to enhance your chances of conception. You’ll receive an email each week, that will equip you with the information you need to help make 2019 your year to get pregnant.

Over four weeks the program covers:
•    Ovulation and timing of intercourse to maximise your chances of conception
•    Health & lifestyle factors that affect fertility and the importance of age
•    Common medical conditions that may affect his and her fertility
•    What your options are if you’re doing everything right, but it’s still not happening
•    Lifestyle advise covering finance, relationships, diet & exercise from leading influencers in the field 

Who should register?

The Four Week Fertility program is suitable for anyone trying to conceive, from those who have just started trying for a baby through to those who may have been trying for a while. 

If you’ve missed the kick off date don’t stress you can sign up at any point during the four weeks to receive any info you may have missed!

Register now

Register for the fertility facts program below in your state today:

•    New South Wales »
•    Victoria »
•    Queensland »
•    Tasmania »
•    Singapore »

After all, what better New Year’s resolution is there than to make 2019 the year you get pregnant!

Hear how Tracey made it her year in 2017:
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Endometriosis and fertility Blog Admin Tue, 01/15/2019 - 14:27 3

It’s not all bad news when it comes to endometriosis – and the good news is there’s a lot we can do about it.

Frankly Fertility - Endometriosis and Fertility - YouTube

At a glance

  • Endometriosis affects one in 10 Aussie women
  • It’s not uncommon for people suffering from endometriosis to struggle with conceiving naturally
  • Endo-induced infertility can be treated with surgery, or helped along with fertility treatments such as IVF

Endometriosis is a common condition that affects one in 10 Australian women, where the tissue that’s similar to the lining of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside of the uterus.

During ovulation this lining bleeds, causing inflammation and discomfort along with a build-up of scar tissue that may affect a woman’s fertility and bring on extremely painful periods.

“It’s a very uncomfortable condition,” says Queensland-based fertility specialist Dr David Molloy. “However we need to be careful, as the severity doesn’t always correspond with the symptoms of patients.”

According to Dr Molloy, more pain doesn’t necessarily equal a higher-grade diagnosis – or increased risk of affected fertility – which is why seeing a doctor is so pivotal in creating an individualised treatment plan that will work for you.  

 

So, what are the symptoms?

With painful cycles often seen as a signature symptom, Dr Molloy emphasises that it’s more specifically period pain that gets worse over time. “Pain you’ve had since you were a kid is less likely to be the disease,” he says.

Typical complaints of endometriosis sufferers include:

Decreased fertility is also of concern to many people with endometriosis, with 50 per cent of women experiencing a significant delay when attempting to conceive. But don’t worry, because there’s plenty we can do about it.

 

Endometriosis and getting pregnant

Even though the journey to conceive may be a little lengthier for women with an endometriosis diagnosis, with the right treatment many go on to have healthy, viable pregnancies.

“Success definitely depends on the severity of the endometriosis,” explains Dr Molloy. “If it’s so severe that it’s damaged the pelvis and scarred the ovaries then almost all of those patients will need the IVF program to get pregnant,” he adds.

If pregnancy is the end goal treatment would most likely involve laparoscopic surgery, removal of the endometriosis and an individualised fertility plan – most likely including a round of IVF.

However if pregnancy isn’t a concern right now – but perhaps later down the track – medication to temporarily suppress menstruation can be prescribed. “No periods, no pain,” explains Dr Molloy, who cites the contraceptive pill as a common solution.  

 

Future talk

While it may seem like endometriosis is on the rise, Dr Molloy insists that it’s just the rates of diagnosis – which is a good thing. “We can diagnose it a lot sooner now, and can immediately recognise the family history,” he says.

And it’s not all doom and gloom either. “Having endometriosis is definitely not the end of the world, but missing it might be,” he says.  

If you have unexplained infertility associated with painful periods and mid-cycle discomfort, chat to your GP or fertility specialist about whether this common condition might be to blame. 

 

Sources
 

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/endometriosis

https://www.endometriosisaustralia.org/single-post/2016/12/05/Fertility-and-Endometriosis-–-Should-I-worry

https://www.ivf.com.au/about-fertility/female-reproductive-system/endometriosis

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Self-care during IVF treatment Elise Atkinson Tue, 12/18/2018 - 13:04 3

Frankly Fertility - self care - YouTube

When you’re on a fertility journey, looking after your own wellbeing can be challenging. Let’s explore the benefits of taking time out for you. 

At a glance
 

  • Looking after your emotional health is just as important as what’s going on physically
  • The frustrations of infertility can place strain on relationships, so taking mental breaks is key
  • Counselling can be an important resource for those struggling with fertility

Whether you’re partnered-up or single, navigating the fertility space can at times feel overwhelming, frustrating and mentally exhausting. With so much invested in the end result, it’s as much of an emotional journey as it is a physical one.

“Self-care needs to be a priority,” says fertility counsellor and psychotherapist Elise Atkinson. And not just once it’s all over. “It’s important to think about it during the beginning of your journey too.”

In fact, nourishing your mental health from the get-go is fundamental to you feeling as supported, healthy, resilient and as mentally ‘ready’ as possible to take on the physical demands of the treatment.

Atkinson emphasises the importance of taking time out for regular, feel-good rituals unique to you. “It could be as simple as factoring in time for exercise, taking the dog for a walk or finding a place in nature that leaves you feeling enthused and invigorated again,” she suggests. “It’s about what make you feel good.”

 

Singles vs couples

Although two very different journeys, going through the fertility process alone or with a partner requires a broad support network. “Make sure you know who can be helpful at this time,” says Atkinson.
 

  • For singles this might mean depending on a close friend, colleague or family member to offer support at appointments, assist in decision-making, or even just be there to listen without necessarily offering up advice.
  • For couples this might mean engaging other people in your journey – even just one person – so as not to place the entire emotional load on your partner.

Frustrations around infertility can place strain on relationships and it can be easy to forget to make time to connect with those you love - outside of the heavy conversations and medical chat. “If you’re going through treatment with a partner, find ways you can keep in touch emotionally, but also have fun together,” advises Atkinson.

Scheduling ‘fertility talk free’ time once a week for instance, will give you both an emotional holiday from the intensity of what you’re going through

 

The importance of counselling

Seeking out professional support while going through a fertility journey is a great way to receive support from someone removed emotionally from your situation, and an invaluable exercise in prioritising self-care.

Sessions could focus on:

 

Talk to your GP or fertility specialist about what steps you can take to organise your first session.

 

Sources

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The-psychological-impact-of-infertility-and-its-treatment

https://www.ivf.com.au/fertility-treatment/ivf-counselling-support/ivf-resources

https://www.ivf.com.au/sites/default/files/attachments/ivfaustralia-resource-nurturing-your-relationship-during-fertility-treatment.pdf

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Self-care during IVF treatment Blog Admin Tue, 12/18/2018 - 13:04 3

Frankly Fertility - self care - YouTube

When you’re on a fertility journey, looking after your own wellbeing can be challenging. Let’s explore the benefits of taking time out for you. 

At a glance
 

  • Looking after your emotional health is just as important as what’s going on physically
  • The frustrations of infertility can place strain on relationships, so taking mental breaks is key
  • Counselling can be an important resource for those struggling with fertility

Whether you’re partnered-up or single, navigating the fertility space can at times feel overwhelming, frustrating and mentally exhausting. With so much invested in the end result, it’s as much of an emotional journey as it is a physical one.

“Self-care needs to be a priority,” says fertility counsellor and psychotherapist Elise Atkinson. And not just once it’s all over. “It’s important to think about it during the beginning of your journey too.”

In fact, nourishing your mental health from the get-go is fundamental to you feeling as supported, healthy, resilient and as mentally ‘ready’ as possible to take on the physical demands of the treatment.

Atkinson emphasises the importance of taking time out for regular, feel-good rituals unique to you. “It could be as simple as factoring in time for exercise, taking the dog for a walk or finding a place in nature that leaves you feeling enthused and invigorated again,” she suggests. “It’s about what make you feel good.”

 

Singles vs couples

Although two very different journeys, going through the fertility process alone or with a partner requires a broad support network. “Make sure you know who can be helpful at this time,” says Atkinson.
 

  • For singles this might mean depending on a close friend, colleague or family member to offer support at appointments, assist in decision-making, or even just be there to listen without necessarily offering up advice.
  • For couples this might mean engaging other people in your journey – even just one person – so as not to place the entire emotional load on your partner.

Frustrations around infertility can place strain on relationships and it can be easy to forget to make time to connect with those you love - outside of the heavy conversations and medical chat. “If you’re going through treatment with a partner, find ways you can keep in touch emotionally, but also have fun together,” advises Atkinson.

Scheduling ‘fertility talk free’ time once a week for instance, will give you both an emotional holiday from the intensity of what you’re going through

 

The importance of counselling

Seeking out professional support while going through a fertility journey is a great way to receive support from someone removed emotionally from your situation, and an invaluable exercise in prioritising self-care.

Sessions could focus on:

 

Talk to your GP or fertility specialist about what steps you can take to organise your first session.

 

Sources

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/The-psychological-impact-of-infertility-and-its-treatment

https://www.ivf.com.au/fertility-treatment/ivf-counselling-support/ivf-resources

https://www.ivf.com.au/sites/default/files/attachments/ivfaustralia-resource-nurturing-your-relationship-during-fertility-treatment.pdf

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Fertility FAQs Blog Admin Tue, 12/18/2018 - 11:51 3

Frankly Fertility - Fertility FAQs - YouTube

Got questions about fertility? Here are the answers, according to a fertility specialist.

At a glance
 

  • Fertility specialists encourage patients to ask as many questions as possible
  • No query is too awkward/over-asked
  • Go straight to the source - Google is good but an expert is better

No matter where you are on the fertility journey, it’s not uncommon to end up with a search history full of frightening forums and over-googled hypotheticals. However, fertility specialist Dr Melissa Luckensmeyer urges us to step away from our screens.

 “Rather than searching for yourself it’s really important to take all of your questions to your fertility doctor,” she says. “And honestly, we really have heard them all before.”

So, what are the most-asked questions at appointments? Probably the very same ones you’ve been wanting answers to…

 

“Can taking the contraceptive pill for a long period affect my future fertility?”

“A lot of people worry that taking the pill for too long affects fertility, but it actually makes no difference whatsoever, whatever contraception you’re on,” explains Dr Luckensmeyer.

However, waiting one natural cycle after stopping birth control before ‘trying’ is encouraged, in order to begin accurately tracking the length of your menstrual cycle.    

 

“How much does IVF cost, and how many cycles will I have to do?”

Because fertility treatment is so individual, the number of cycles required varies greatly between patents, along with out-of-pocket costs that depend on variables like private healthcare rebates and the nature and number of rounds of the procedure required.

“Most people realistically need two to three cycles to achieve pregnancy,” explains Dr Luckensmeyer. “Which of course depends on many other personal factors too.”

 

“Is IVF my only option if I’m struggling to conceive naturally?”

No! In fact, it can often be the very last therapy considered as part of a fertility treatment plan. You could simply need Ovulation Induction (OI), where medication is used to stimulate growth and release of the eggs or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) which involves inserting concentrated semen into the uterus close to the time of ovulation.

So according to Dr Luckensmeyer, there is “a number of therapies to look at before trying IVF, [but] It would depend on individual circumstances and why fertility treatment is needed in the first place,” she explains.  

IVF may be encouraged for those with:
 

 

“Can IVF be used to choose my baby’s gender?”

In Australia, using assisted reproductive technology to pre-select a baby’s gender for family balancing reasons isn’t currently legal, however Dr Luckensmeyer explains that there is an exception to the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ruling.

“If someone had an underlying medical condition where it was unsafe for a baby to be born a certain gender, we would be able to sex select.”

 

“Do fertility drugs have crazy side-effects?”

Many people associate fertility-inducing drugs with an emotional intensity usually reserved for peak PMS, however Dr Luckensmeyer assures us that most women don’t experience many side effects at all. “Often there’s a bit of bloating,” she says. “But most actually tolerate it really well.” 

Got more questions? Talk to your local GP or fertility specialist who’ll be able to offer you qualified support, advice and guidance.

 

Sources
 

https://www.ivf.com.au/search/node/IVF


https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/in-vitro-fertilization/about/pac-20384716


https://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/public_consultations/submissions/EGART/4789

Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview