Top Ten Fertility Tips - Dallas and Fort Worth
1) Keep track of your cycles and ovulatory patterns.
Normal cycles can rage anywhere from 26-32 days with 28 day cycles being the norm. Menstrual cycles that are too long or too short can indicate ovulation problems or even decreased ovarian reserve leading to early menopause. Thyroid disorders can also affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle.
2) Maintain a healthy lifestyle and ideal body weight.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol and caffeine intake. They can impact both male and female fertility. Obesity greatly diminishes a women’s ability to conceive as well as increases the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy. We encourage the continuation of regular exercise throughout the treatment process.
3) Do not hesitate to sit down with your gynecologist and a reproductive endocrinologist to assess your fertility potential.
Any couple who has been sexually active, off of contraception and has failed to conceive within 12 months time should seek an initial evaluation. For women over age 35 who have not conceived within 6 months, evaluation and treatment should be considered immediately.
4) A woman’s age is a significant factor in determining the success of fertility treatments.
Unfortunately it is a fact of life that a woman’s ovarian reserve declines with age. This decline begins slowly in the late twenties, but has a more significant decline after age 35 and declines rapidly after age 40. It does not mean that pregnancy is impossible for women in their 40’s, but due to poorer egg quantity and quality, the likelihood of pregnancy is diminished. For this reason, more aggressive treatment may be necessary. For those women over the age of 44, egg donation may be their best option for a successful pregnancy.
5) Infertility affects over 7 million couples .
It is estimated that 1 in 7 couples in the US have difficulty conceiving. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Infertility does not discriminate and effects people of all demographics.
6) Evaluation of the couple as a whole not just one individual.
The couple should be evaluated at the same time in order to identify the various factors that can contribute to their infertility in order treat them most efficiently and effectively. Male factor affects 40% of all couples, so it should not be overlooked.
7) Not every couple needs in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF can yield the highest pregnancy rates and is indicated in cases where there is severe male factor, advanced reproductive age or severe tubal disease. However many couples can achieve success by attempting conception with more conservative treatments such as ovulatory induction with inseminations. Some cases of infertility due to anatomical problems can also be corrected with surgery which can allow for spontaneous conception afterwards.
8) Consider genetic screening prior to conception.
There are a number of genetic disorders that are prevalent in the US population that can be passed on unknowingly from a parent to a child. The parent can be a silent carrier of a recessive disorder such as cystic fibrosis (CF), thalassemia or sickle cell disease. Screening the parents pre-conceptually through a simple blood test can help assess their reproductive risks for certain genetic disorders.
9) A single healthy pregnancy is our goal.
Multiple gestations occur more commonly as a result of fertility treatments, but present an increase risk to both the mother and babies. Preterm delivery and complications during pregnancy are significantly increased and can have long term effects on the health and development of the child. With improved implantation rates with technology such as IVF, single embryo transfers can reduce the chances of a multiple pregnancy and improve pregnancy outcomes for both mother and child.
10) Take preconception vitamins.
Both men and women can benefit from taking pre-conceptual supplements which include antioxidants and folic acid. For men, L-carnitine can also improve sperm quality. For women, folic acid can reduce the possibility of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) and decrease miscarriage. DHEA and Co-Q10 can help women over the age of 35 recruit healthy eggs.