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Posts for category: Fertility

By James A. Scales, MD
April 03, 2018
Category: Fertility
Tags: Infertility  

There are many reasons couples have trouble getting pregnant. There are so many factors that can influence fertility and it can be almost impossible to pinpoint the cause without turning to a medical expert for help; fortunately, your OBGYN is a great source for providing a proper evaluation and treatment options to increase your odds of getting pregnant.

So, when should you consider visiting your gynecologist or infertility specialist? If you are at a high risk for infertility, if you are over the age of 35 or if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a year, then you may want to schedule an evaluation to find out if there is something that could be preventing you from getting pregnant.

During a fertility evaluation, you and your partner will provide details regarding your medical histories, and you will undergo a physical examination. For women, a blood test will be performed to check hormone levels. If you have a history of irregular periods this could also mean that there is an ovulation issue.

X-rays or other imaging tests may also be performed to check the health of the reproductive organs or to determine if there is a blockage in the fallopian tubes. Uterine fibroids can also be detected through these imaging tests, and this common issue can also affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.

The most effective fertility treatment will really depend on the root cause. If there is an ovulation problem then medication will be prescribed to either stimulate the release of the egg or to treat conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, which can make it difficult to get pregnant.

If there is a fallopian tube blockage, then surgery will be performed to remove the blockage. If endometriosis is causing your infertility then a minor surgery may be recommended to remove the excess endometrial tissue.

However, there are situations in which your OBGYN can’t find the cause of your infertility. Even if this happens there are different ways to treat infertility to increase your odds of getting pregnant. Just like with any condition, there is trial and error when it comes to finding the right treatment. Medication may be prescribed (often the same type of medication used to treat ovulation problems).

If a woman is dealing with damaged fallopian tubes, severe endometriosis or other fertility issues that don’t respond to the treatment options above, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended.

Your gynecologist will sit down with you to discuss the ideal fertility treatment options that will offer the best chance for success.

By James A. Scales, MD
February 28, 2017
Category: Fertility
Tags: Miscarriages   Pregnancy  

It can be a difficult topic to address but one that remains on some women’s minds.

There are so many emotions that a woman experiences after going through a miscarriage, and it can be even more challenging if you’ve had to deal with multiple miscarriages. Of course, your OBGYN is always here to provide you with the care and support you need through this difficult time. Find out more about the causes behind multiple miscarriages and the treatment options available to you.

A recurrent miscarriage means having three or more miscarriages in a row. Common risk factors for recurrent miscarriages include:

  • Being older when trying to conceive (For women this is over the age of 35 while it’s over the age of 40 for men)
  • Being overweight or obese

Also, one of the most common but treatable causes of recurrent miscarriage is a blood clotting disorder known as antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), where your immune system attacks the fats, or phospholipids, in your blood.

Other causes of recurrent miscarriages include:

  • Other blood clotting disorders
  • Incompetent cervix (or cervical weakness)
  • Abnormal chromosomes
  • Uterus abnormalities
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Serious infections such as toxoplasmosis or listeria
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders

To put your mind at ease there are tests that your gynecologist may recommend to determine whether any of the causes listed above could be responsible for your miscarriages. Common tests include:

  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) testing
  • Blood clotting testing
  • Genetic testing
  • Ultrasound or laparoscopy (to check the shape and health of the uterus)

Sometimes your obstetrician can pinpoint the exact cause and sometimes it’s not detectable through diagnostic tests. Not being able to pinpoint the root cause can be very distressing. After all, if nothing is wrong why does this keep happening? It’s a frustrating question that can leave some couple feeling disheartened. But it’s important to know that even though many couples go through recurrent miscarriages, many of them go on to have a healthy baby the next time.

Don’t go through this process alone. Speak to your obstetrician and gynecologist who can shed some light on what’s going on so that you can finally have the piece of mind you deserve.

By James A. Scales, MD
February 02, 2017
Category: Fertility

If you are having issues conceiving find out if fertility treatments are the next best option.

According to a CNN article published back in 2014, there is a record number of babies being born via IVF. If you and your partner have been IVFtrying to get pregnant for over a year without success then it might be time you talked to an OBGYN about whether IVF could improve your chances.

What types of infertility can IVF handle?

There are many reasons why a couple could be infertile. IVF may be a great option for you if you or your partner are dealing with any of these issues:

  • Low sperm count or motility
  • Uterine or fallopian tube issues (e.g. uterine fibroids; fallopian tube blockage)
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Antibodies that attack the sperm or egg
  • Endometriosis
  • Genetic disorders

What affects the success of IVF?

The age of the woman will be a factor in the success rate of IVF. Women under the age of 35 will have a higher success rate (41- 43 percent) than a woman over the age of 40 years old (13 to 18 percent). Women between the ages of 35 to 37 have a 33-36 percent success rate while women ages 38 to 40 have a 23-27 percent success rate. Of course, as techniques continue to advance and improve, we are finding that success rates in every age group have grown.

What is involved in IVF?

There are five steps to the IVF process:

  • Your fertility specialist will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate egg production.
  • The eggs will be retrieved through minor surgery.
  • The male will provide a sperm sample, which will be combined with the egg.
  • During insemination, the lab will mix the sperm and egg together to fertilize the egg. Once the eggs have fertilized they are called embryos.
  • Then the embryos are inserted into the uterus about 3-5 days after fertilization.

Learn more about IVF, the fertility treatment that is helping more and more couples be able to conceive. Talk to your gynecologist about whether IVF is right for you.