Demystifying Infertility

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Inaccurate beliefs and misconceptions surround the health condition of infertility.   Well-meaning friends and family members often feel the need to offer advice to couples who have been unsuccessful in their initial attempts to conceive, but their ideas and suggestions may be incorrect or counter- productive.   Myths and inaccurate assumptions may lead couples to avoid seeking medical care in a timely manner, missing opportunities to address simple problems that could lead to becoming pregnant sooner.

One of the most common misconceptions involves the accuracy of timing or length of time a couple should be “trying” to conceive before recognizing there may be a problem.  Many couples think that if they have not used predictor kits or temperature charts to identify the precise day of ovulation for at least 12 consecutive months, then they have not been trying enough.  Actually, infertility is defined as the lack of conception following discontinuation of all forms of pregnancy prevention within 1 year for couples in whom the woman is younger than age 35 and within 6 months for couples in whom the woman is age 35 and above or who have previously conceived together.  Studies have shown that 60% of couples who have unprotected sex twice weekly will achieve a pregnancy within 6 months and within 12 months, 85 – 90% will have conceived.  Since fertility declines with age, delaying evaluation may decrease the chances for success.

Another common myth is that infertility is usually due to a problem in the female.   The reality is that 35% of infertility is attributable to male issues, 35% is associated with female issues and 30% is either due to a combination of male and female factors or is unexplained.   Since a semen analysis is a non-invasive, relatively low cost test, evaluation of the sperm quantity and quality should be among the first tests performed.

Other common misconception or fears regarding infertility include inaccurate beliefs about how long it will take or how invasive testing will be, the costs of treatment, the thought that IVF will be the only option, and concern about higher order multiple pregnancy rates.  The reality is that most fertility tests can be completed within 1 menstrual cycle and are relatively non-invasive, the majority of health insurance companies cover the costs associated with fertility testing/evaluation, there are many treatment options that are successful that do not require IVF and the majority of couples who conceive with fertility treatments have a singleton pregnancy.   The Reproductive Medicine Group’s training, experience and expertise allow them to offer every available, appropriate treatment option to their patients to give them the best chance of becoming parents.  They take pride in educating their patients so that they can partner with their physician in tailoring a plan that meets their needs.  Treatments may include the use of fertility medicines combined with insemination, minimally invasive surgery to correct a problem inhibiting pregnancy as well as more advanced technologies such as IVF.  Pregnancy success rates achieved by patients of The Reproductive Medicine Group are among the highest in the country while maintaining among the lowest percentages of higher order multiple pregnancy rates.

Now in its 25th year, April 20-26, 2014 is National Infertility Awareness Week.    Established by RESOLVE, this year’s theme is “RESOLVE to know more and share more”.  RESOLVE emphasizes gaining within 1 menstrual cycle and are relatively non-invasive, the majority of health insurance companies cover the costs associated with fertility testing/evaluation, there are many treatment options that are successful that do not require IVF and the majority of couples who conceive with fertility treatments have a singleton pregnancy.   The Reproductive Medicine Group’s training, experience and expertise allow them to offer every available, appropriate treatment option to their patients to give them the best chance of becoming parents.  They take pride in educating their patients so that they can partner with their physician in tailoring a plan that meets their needs.  Treatments may include the use of fertility medicines combined with insemination, minimally invasive surgery to correct a problem inhibiting pregnancy as well as more advanced technologies such as IVF.  Pregnancy success rates achieved by patients of The Reproductive Medicine Group are among the highest in the country while maintaining among the lowest percentages of higher order multiple pregnancy rates.

Now in its 25th year, April 20-26, 2014 is National Infertility Awareness Week.    Established by RESOLVE, this year’s theme is “RESOLVE to know more and share more”.  RESOLVE emphasizes gaining knowledge about all options available to achieve parenthood.

In addition, The Reproductive Medicine Group is pleased to host the sixth annual “New Beginnings” Fertility Conference, occurring on May 10, 2014.  Conference speakers are leaders in the fertility field, many of whom have published books or journal articles.  Highlights of the conference include fertility assessment and lifestyle considerations for women age 35 and above, treatment options for both male and female problems, alternative/complementary therapies, nutrition information and stress reduction techniques.  In addition to lectures and group discussions, attendees can also look forward to a health and wellness fair, continental breakfast, lunch, and raffle drawings.

The Reproductive Medicine Group has been serving the Tampa Bay area for more than 30 years.  With offices in North and South Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater, they have helped thousands of couples overcome their infertility and achieve their dream of becoming parents.

Between this blog posting, National Infertility Awareness Week and the New Beginnings Fertility Conference, perhaps we can eliminate the myths and fears about infertility that hold us back from seeking the solutions that will lead to success!

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