Thursday, February 25, 2010

Infertility: The Research

Just an FYI: this post is G-rated. But if you know me personally and think me talking frankly about infertility and solutions to it might inhibit our relationship, or your ability to look me in the eye...maybe you should skip this one. =)

Really though, it won't be all that bad. Just informative.

So. First, let's talk numbers... (following info is from the National Women's Health Information Center)
  • 10% of couples struggle with infertility.
  • A third of those cases lead back to the woman, a third to the man, and a third to either both or no known cause.
  • If you are in your 30's and have been trying unsuccessfully for 6 months - go see a doctor.
  • If you're in your 20's most doctors want you to at least try for a year before seeking treatment.
So...a year? That is a very long time to wait if you really want that baby!

Don't just wait around for things to magically happen. Take charge! There are some things you can be doing to increase your chances of becoming pregnant during those 12 months.

Then, if you do need to go see a fertility specialist, you can tell him what you've been doing and it will speed the process up for you.

The following are things I learned in my undergrad research and from my OB when my husband and I were having infertility problems.

(I actually have been surprised at the number of friends I've talked to that are struggling with infertility, are seeing a doctor, and have not been told about these first two...)

First - track your basal body temperature (bbt). This will help you determine when you are ovulating without buying those expensive over the counter ovulation tests. This should be done first thing when you wake up - before you even get out of bed.

Keep a thermometer on your nightstand and when you open your eyes roll over and get it. Don't talk, don't move too much. Too much movement will raise your temperature and you won't get an accurate reading. Do this everyday around the same time and chart it. When your temperature dips slightly and then "spikes" - meaning, 0.7 degrees or so, you are ovulating.

I did this when we were trying and it helped so much. Like most women, my cycle is not the typical 28 days. So figure out what your cycle is!

Second - This sounds crazy, but let gravity do it's job! Don't get right up - lay on your back with your bum elevated on a pillow for at least 30 minutes. Give those swimmers a chance to reach their destination.

Third - Exercise regularly and eat healthy (both you and your guy)! No-brainer right? But there are medical reasons behind this one. Exercise increases endorphins and your sex-drive.

Also, maintaining a healthy weight increases your chances of becoming pregnant because your body will be functioning properly. Being underweight or overweight negatively influences estrogen and testosterone levels.

When you're eating healthy you're getting certain vitamins and nutrients that help your body work how it's supposed to. Just a couple of examples...
  • Vitamin C is important in sperm production - keeps the sperm from clumping and keeps them moving.
  • Zinc is important for the proper functioning of both male and female reproductive organs.
So, eat healthy! A daily vitamin wouldn't be a bad idea.

And a few random points...
  • Relax. Stress inhibits proper hormone production which can lead to infertility.
  • Men should avoid hot tubs. Really. Soaking in extremely hot water kills sperm. After 3-6 months of being in a hot tub sperm counts will soar again (about 400%), so it's only a temporary set back.

What if none of this works?

Then go see a doctor!

You can read about my experience with that here.

Other Options:
  • Fertility Drugs
  • Artificial Insemination
  • In Vitro Fertilization
  • Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer
  • Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer
  • Frozen Embryo Transfer
  • Donor Eggs & Sperm
  • Adoption
The next post on infertility will be a guest blogger who will be sharing her experience with us - so excited to hear what she has to say!

Do you know of anything else that helps fertility? Please share!

Other posts in this series...


  1. What I did with ovulation kits is buy them from early pregnancy They were MUCH cheaper from there. I bought like 50 for $30. We got pregnant the 2nd month and I totally attribute it to that.

    Also, about the vitamins, if a woman is trying to get pregnant, she should already be taking a prenatal vitamin for the folic acid. So the vitamin should be easy. :)

    I think having this knowledge, even if you are just newly trying is so important. Although, ignorance is bliss. :)

  2. Thanks for the info! Also, I just discovered your Etsy Blog. You do SO're my hero :)

  3. Exercise really does help! We tried to get pregnant for more than three years. I decided to go for one final round of Clomid, and then I needed a break. I was really sick of it all, and in a rut, not to mention completely broken and emotionally exhausted inside.

    When I found out that last try of Clomid didn't work, I didn't let myself feel sorry like I usually do, but rather I started exercising again and thought about other things. I think I got pregnant that day. No joke. If not, it had to have been within the next week... haha.

    Thanks for the post! It hit home.

  4. Oh, and I e-mailed you my address for the car seat canopy. Hope you got it. I am so excited about getting it! It will be so nice to have! Thanks again!!


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