What Couples Need to Know About Secondary Infertility

After having a baby, many couples want to give their child a sibling and expand their family. Yet according to a 2013 National Health Statistics report, more than three million women of childbearing age have experienced secondary infertility. Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to achieve a pregnancy or carry a baby to term after the successful birth of one or more children. Secondary infertility often takes an emotional toll on a couple. They may keep trying to conceive without help, unaware there are treatments available to improve their chances of having a second or third child. But in order to successfully treat secondary infertility, it’s first important to…

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When Are Women Most Fertile?

Women trying to become pregnant can increase their chances by closely tracking their monthly cycle. Pinpointing the most fertile days of the month depends on identifying exactly when you are ovulating. Ovulation occurs when the ovary releases an egg, which then travels to the fallopian tube. If a couple has intercourse during this time, sperm can fertilize the egg, resulting in a pregnancy. Since women are at their most fertile for only five to six days a month, it’s important to track your menstrual cycle and plan intercourse around that brief window.  How to Track Ovulation Although each woman’s menstrual cycle varies, the average length counting from the first day…

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The Connection Between Stress and Infertility

Stress affects so many aspects of our physical wellbeing, from our cardiovascular fitness to our mental health. But could stress also play a role in fertility? Several studies completed in the last decade show there may be a link. In 2010, researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Oxford studied whether stress negatively impacted a woman’s ability to conceive. The researchers monitored the ovulation cycles of 274 English women aged 18 to 40 trying to become pregnant. Their stress levels were measured by the amount of alpha-amylase and cortisol in their saliva — both substances produced by the body in response to stress. Women with high…

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Can an Ovarian Cyst Cause Infertility?

Many premenopausal women develop ovarian cysts that emerge during the ovulation cycle. These non-cancerous, fluid-filled sacs rarely cause symptoms and often disappear without treatment. Even so, if you’ve been diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, you may wonder whether it could impact your fertility.  Fortunately, unless the cysts are associated with another condition that affects fertility, an ovarian cyst will not interfere with your ability to become pregnant. For instance, cysts that develop due to endometriosis — an abnormal growth of uterine tissue outside of the womb — may produce endometriomas that could hinder fertility. Another condition, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), leads to the formation of many small cysts on the…

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How Effective Are Fertility Treatments?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 12 to 13 percent of couples experience infertility, which is defined as a failure to achieve a pregnancy after one year of trying. A third of infertility cases are attributed to women, while a third are linked to men. Another third may be due to both partners, or an exact cause is not determined. Fortunately, several assisted reproductive technology (ART) techniques can help couples conceive a child. Depending on the method used, success rates rise to nearly 50 percent.  Primary ART options include intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and ovulation induction. Here’s what couples need to know about the effectiveness…

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How Diet Can Impact Your Fertility

Fertility can be affected by many factors, including age and personal health history. According to a Harvard study, diet can also have an important impact on a couple’s ability to become pregnant. A review of previous studies conducted by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School found a connection between the foods we eat and the ability — or inability — to conceive. These results suggest that many of the 12 to 13 percent of couples who struggle with infertility could increase their chances of becoming pregnant simply by changing their diet.  Let’s take a look at what foods and nutrients can boost…

Is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) Painful?

Intrauterine insemination is a simple and generally painless procedure that can help women increase their chances of becoming pregnant.   Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a common form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that improves the chances of fertilization. A quick and low-tech procedure, IUI is also sometimes referred to as donor insemination, alternative insemination, or artificial insemination. A doctor may recommend IUI if traditional methods have not worked for opposite-sex partners, but the procedure is also an option for single women or same-sex couples.   IUI tends to be less expensive and invasive than solutions like IVF, and therefore tends to be an early option in fertility treatment. While pregnancy…

Can Endometriosis Cause Infertility?

30 to 50 percent of women with endometriosis struggle with infertility. Here’s how to identify the symptoms and figure out your options.   Endometriosis affects 200 million women worldwide and can strike girls as young as age 11. It occurs when tissue similar to the uterine lining (the endometrium) grows elsewhere in the body, causing pain and inflammation. Endometriosis is most often found on the outside of the uterus, on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, or even on the bladder or intestines. The result is irritation and discomfort, which worsens along with fluctuations in the menstrual cycle.   The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, especially during sex,…