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The Fertility Mentor

Let me help you navigate the process.

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Fibroids and Recurrent Miscarriage

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 1:39 PM Comments comments (9)
Here's an interesting article on uterine fibroids and their role in recurrent miscarriages.
I was diagnosed with 8 uterine fibroids (1 was the size of a grapefruit!). When we had completed 5 IUIs, all unsuccessfully, we prepared ourselves for IVF. It was explained to us that the fibroids themselves weren't dangerous, but they might get in the way once we began IVF treatments. Our chances, from a statistical standpoint, would have gone from about 45% to 20%, if I did not have the fibroids removed. I asked my doctor if it were his daughter, what would he recommend? He said he would urge her to have the surgery. So I did. 
It wasn't the only obstacle we would have to overcome before we would ultimately have success, but it was one less thing to have to worry about. I had suffered 2 miscarriages prior to having the fibroids removed, so I had hoped that this surgery would bring us increased odds of success. Mind you, fibroids often times grow back. There are no guarantees with the surgery, but I bought myself some time by having them all removed. As of today, some have already grown back, but are only about the size of walnuts. No need for further surgery at this point.
Ask your doctor what role uterine fibroids might play in your situation.

The Fertility Mentor

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 1:51 AM Comments comments (10)
Check out my first interview!

What is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)?

Posted on October 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM Comments comments (17)
Here is some basic info on PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), that I thought would be helpful. 

DES Daughters: Banned Pregnancy Drug Linked to Infertility, Prematurity and Cancer

Posted on October 18, 2011 at 3:13 AM Comments comments (26)
What is a DES daughter? This was an area that I spent many months trying to get to the bottom of for myself. My reproductive specialist and I put together the pieces of a complex puzzle, for which I had nearly every symptom. One of the biggest symptoms of a DES daughter is a "T-shaped" uterus. 
Although there is a long list of symptoms for DES daughters, the treatment is typically the same: IVF (with very closely monitored pregnancies). Except I was already undergoing IVF, with daily monitoring. My uterus was not T-shaped though, and my mother's medical records were never saved going that far back (don't think I didn't call every doctor she went to, trying to get answers!). Ultimately, my doctor concluded I was not a DES daughter, but the bottom line was that I would never know for sure. 
Here is a recent article in Time Magazine's Healthland section, that explains some interesting info on the subject:


Posted on October 18, 2011 at 12:53 AM Comments comments (15)
I found this article from North Shore LIJ / The Center for Human Reproduction on Clomid. What it is, how it is used, what the risk factors are, what to expect, etc. NSLIJ just happens to be where we spent the first four of our six year fertility journey. 
We used Clomid as a last resort in our sixth IUI cycle (got pregnant, but it became ectopic), and then again in our 9th IVF cycle (non-effective). I hope you find this article helpful.

TIP OF THE DAY: Progesterone in oil shots

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 9:32 PM Comments comments (12)
In my experience, all of the IVF nurses - and doctors, too, for that matter - teach & administer injections the same way, by using the age-old "dart" method. Basically, a quick jab into the area. I found this to be extremely painful, especially when you are injecting into the same area repeatedly.
My dermatologist cousin once gave me my Progesterone shot and as sure as I am sitting here now, I swear I did not feel a thing. Hard to believe, I know, when we're talking about a harpoon-like needle! This was absolutely revolutionary to a former needle-phobe, who would scream bloody murder each time I did these shots. When I asked her what her secret was, she explained that you don't "dart," but rather ease the needle in slowly. Put the tip right against the skin and gently ease it right in.
This simple adjustment in how we did these shots forever changed the amount of pain I endured. It works for intramuscular injections as well as subcutaneous ones. Try it! I can't wait to say, "I told you so!"

How to correctly administer Progesterone in oil shots (intramuscular)

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 12:42 AM Comments comments (21)
I thought this was a great tutorial of how to correctly administer Progesterone in oil shots. I will add a few thoughts though...
1)  "Flick" the syringe once you've drawn up the medication, in order to get rid of any air bubbles before injecting.
2)  I'd like to emphasize the importance of pulling back on the plunger, once the needle is all the way in, to check and make sure you did not hit a blood vessel. If you did, you will need to pull the needle out and find another spot on your upper/outter buttock area (it's OK to re-inject yourself with your own blood, in this case, but like anything else, confirm with your IVF nurse first). 
3)  Some people skip the heating pad after these shots. I highly recommend using them, as the heat (in addition to massage) will help to thin out and disperse the oil, which will reduce the "lumps" at the injection site from repeated shots. NEVER use an ice pack with these shots, as the cold will make the oil congele, making the lumps hard and more painful. 
4) Alternate sides where you inject, to give your buttock area time to heal and rest. These shots become quite uncomfortable, and can be quite painful, after several rounds of IVF. I had months of "phantom pain" long after we were done with IVF.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 12:19 AM Comments comments (38)
Here is a quick description of what ICSI is, as explained by Dr. Carolyn Kaplan from Georgia Reproductive Specialists. I thought this was a great explanation and very informative. 

Diagnosing & Treating PCOS

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 9:38 PM Comments comments (16)
I found this article on PCOS (polycycstic ovarian syndrome), written by Dr. Stephen Greenhouse of Shady Grove Fertility. I've heard such wonderful things about Shady Grove, mostly from a reputation standpoint, but also from a dear friend who was (and still is) a patient there.
I felt that this article gave an accurate explanation of what PCOS is, how it is diagnosed, how it is treated, and more. Having experienced PCOS myself, I am very sensitive to the "tones" of articles such as this one. I found the tone of this one to be reassuring, positive, and hopeful.  Read on...