The Real Costs of the Infertility Industry

The trend for IVF and other segments of the assisted reproduction industry continues to grow at a fast pace. Some analysts say the infertility industry will be worth US$14 billion in 2020. There are now more than 4,000 clinics world-wide, performing 1.5 million treatments annually. According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, an estimated 350,000 such babies are born each year. A federal report released in 2014, estimates the average cost to be more than $12,000 for each cycle of IVF. Many couples need several cycles in order to produce a child, and some never do. According to the BBC, costs for surrogacy vary from $45,000 for a surrogate in Mexico to $100,000 for a surrogate in the US.

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PCOS Brain Pathway Discovered

New Zealand researchers have identified a new pathway within the brain’s network of neurons that could provide insights and possible treatment options for the cause of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), a leading cause of female infertility in the world. The neuroendocrine control of fertility depends on brain cells known as GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone) neurons. Dr. Rebecca Campbell from the University of Otago, Dunedin, says her team has revealed a completely unexpected brain pathway within the GnRH neuronal network that might be involved in the neuroendocrine abnormalities of PCOS. PCOS is associated with irregular periods, increased hair growth, acne, higher levels of testosterone, and polycystic ovaries. In addition, women with PCOS are at increased risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and uterine cancer.

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When To Seek Help

It is easy these days with a lot of self-help resources out there to think you have to do it alone, but here are some indications that you may want to see some help- whether it be your OB-GYN, a fertility specialist, or alternative practitioner:
– You don’t get a monthly period or have irregular cycles
– You have had any kind or surgery for ovaries, tubes, uterus, testicles
– You are a carrier for a genetic condition you don’t want to pass down
– You have had more than one miscarriage
– You experience any kind of sexual dysfunction
– You are on any kind of testosterone boosters, supplements, or shots
– You have ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis
– You are on any major pharmaceutical medications

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Words of Wisdom from Couples Experiencing Infertility

1. Don’t give up hope.
2. You’re not alone.
3. Don’t be ashamed.
4. Focus on your marriage.
5. Be honest with each other.
6. Get a second opinion.
7. Shop around.
8. Allow yourself to grieve.
9. You can start over.
10. Don’t put your life, or your marriage, on hold.

For more inspiring words, click here for full article.

National Infertility Awareness Week

What Infertility Patients Wish Others Knew about Infertility:
1. “Infertility is a medical condition like diabetes, a disease like cancer.”

2. “Insurance companies usually don’t cover fertility treatments.”
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3. “It takes a toll on you and all of your relationships.”

4. “Getting pregnant isn’t always as easy as you think.”

5. “It’s more common than you realize.”

6. “It’s an emotional roller coaster.”

7. “Infertility affects young couples too.”

8. “Support from family and friends means a lot.”

9. “PCOS is a silent fertility disease. It can affect skinny or fat women.”

10. “It’s ok to talk about it. We’re not looking for answers, just a shoulder to cry on.”

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10 Fertility Myths

1. Men who have had children should have no fertility issues. Male fertility decreases with age, especially after 40 years of age.
2. Women with a family history of family members having babies in their 40’s should have no problems getting pregnant. Family fertility history does not determine your fertility potential.
3. You don’t have to give up smoking until you become pregnant. Smoking as few as 5 cigarettes a day has been associated with lower rates of fertility.
4. Sex within 24 hours of ovulation is ideal. After ovulation has ended, becoming pregnant is slim. Instead, have sex before and during ovulation.
5. You don’t have to worry about your eggs until you are 40. A woman’s egg supply takes a rapid decline in the late 20’s, again in the 30s, and most notably after 35.
6. Losing weight will not make a difference. Losing as little as 5-10% of of body weight can boost fertility in both women and men.
7. Only women need to take supplements before pregnancy. Folic acid is now known to be an important supplement for male fertility.
8. STDs do not affect trying to have a baby. STDs can cause scarring and blockage of reproductive structures in women and men.
9. It doesn’t matter how much coffee you drink. One study found that women who consumed more than 1 cup of coffee a day were half as likely to become pregnant as women who drank less.
10. You can get pregnant faster having sex every single day. Having sex every day only slightly increases pregnancy when compared with having sex every other day.

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Pesticides in Fruits & Vegetables Affect Sperm

A recent study discovered that fruits and vegetables containing pesticide residues are linked to lower sperm counts and normally-formed sperm. Men who ate more strawberries, spinach, and peppers (produce with higher pesticides), had 49% lower sperm counts and 32% lower normally-formed sperm, then men who consumed the least amount, according to researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This study does not suggest eating less fruits & vegetables, but consuming organically-grown produce that contain less pesticides, and produce with lower pesticide residues such as peas, beans, grapefruit, and onions. The study analyzed 338 semen samples from 155 men attending a fertility center from 2007-2012, in correlation with a food frequency questionnaire.

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What To Give Up To Be Happy

I know this article is not specifically around fertility, but I find that many of the principles are important as many times a long and arduous fertility journey can be very unhappy for a couple:
1. Give up your need to always be right
2. Give up your need for control
3. Give up on blame
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk
5. Give up your limiting beliefs
6. Give up complaining
7. Give up the luxury of criticism
8. Give up your need to impress others
9. Give up your resistance to change
10. Give up labels
11. Give up on your fears
12. Give up your excuses
13. Give up the past
14. Give up attachment
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations

Wow- that is a lot to swallow- read full article here.

Nine Things You Probably Shouldn’t Say

You are overwhelmed and discouraged. Here are things to openly talk to your family and friends on what not to say as you are on your unique fertility journey: click here for full list.

Best Time to Have Sex

If we are talking about optimizing sperm, sperm count is higher in the morning than at any other time of the day.  So if you and your partner are not morning people, you may want to look at modifying your morning routines!