What to Know About Surrogacy?
When a woman cannot carry her own pregnancy to term, some work with another woman who agrees to be a gestational surrogate. Specialists use IVF to make embryos with a woman’s eggs and her partner’s sperm. The surrogate is the one who goes through the pregnancy after IVF. But her DNA is not involved. The baby will be the biological child of both husband and wife.
What is IVF with a Donor Egg
Women who are over 40, have poor egg quality, or have not had success with previous cycles may consider an egg donor. This involves combining the man’s sperm with another woman’s donated eggs. If the procedure works, the woman becomes pregnant with a child who is biologically related to her partner but not herself.
What is “ICSI”?
Doctors will inject the sperm directly into the egg in a lab. This technique, called “ICSI” (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), helps when a man’s sperm count is very low or his sperm don’t move well. When the fertilized egg is ready, it goes into the woman’s uterus through the normal IVF process.
What is Sperm Donations
Fertile women can choose IUI using sperm from a donor. It may take several tries, but pregnancy rates are over 80%. You and your partner may want to see a counsellor first, to make sure you’re both ready to raise a child who is not biologically related to the father.
What is An Alternative to IVF: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a popular procedure for many fertility problems. Doctors place the man’s sperm into the woman’s uterus, but not into the egg itself, while she ovulates. You may also need to take drugs to prompt your body to ovulate. IUI is less expensive and simpler than IVF (in vitro fertilization), but pregnancy rates are much lower.
What are the Common Problems in Men
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm movement
- Misshaped sperm
- Blocked sperm ducts
What is the Natural Ways to Boost Your Chances
A few lifestyle changes can make a difference. If you smoke, quit. Smoking lowers fertility for men and women and dims pregnancy rates. In one study, men who stopped smoking saw their sperm counts climb 800%. Also, check your diet. Is it as healthy as possible? Ask your doctor about supplements. Some vitamins and minerals may improve the odds.
Does Acupuncture Help?
It has shown promise for many conditions. Now, some couples are trying this popular form of traditional Chinese medicine to address infertility. Research suggests it may improve sperm quality and blood flow to the uterus, help smooth out irregular ovulation, and boost IVF success rates.
Understanding Your Monthly Cycle
Knowing your menstrual cycle improves your chances of getting pregnant. The first phase starts with the first day of your period or blood flow. Your body releases hormones that makes the eggs inside your ovaries grow. Between day 2 and 14, those hormones also help thicken the lining of your uterus to get ready for a fertilized egg. This is called the follicular stage.
What Happens During Ovulation
The average menstrual cycle is 28-32 days. Ovulation usually happens between day 11 and 21 of your cycle. A hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, triggering the release of the egg that's ripest. At the same time, your cervical mucus becomes more slippery to help sperm make their way to the egg.
How to Track Your Most Fertile Days
Generally, the highest chance of pregnancy is when sex happens1-2 days before ovulation. If you have a regular 28-day cycle, count back 14 days from when you expect your next period to start. Plan on having sex every other day around that time -- say, days 12 and 14. Keep in mind that having sex every day may lower a man's sperm count. Your cycle may be longer or shorter, so an online ovulation calculator may help you identify the likely day.
How to Track Ovulation by Temperature?
After your body releases an egg, the hormone progesterone kicks in to help build and maintain the lining of the uterus. Progesterone causes your body temperature to go up slightly. So taking your temperature with a basal thermometer every morning before getting out of bed can help you figure out if you ovulated. These thermometers are available at the drugstore and are inexpensive, but they aren't as accurate as other methods for tracking ovulation.
How to Predicting Ovulation by Hormone?
A surge in LH triggers your ovaries to release the egg. The surge usually happens 36 hours before the egg is released. Ovulation kits check LH levels in your urine to help you pinpoint the day of ovulation. These kits, which are available at drugstores, are convenient and highly accurate. You may want to test 1-2 days before you expect the surge so you can note the rise in LH.
What is The Last Phase of Your Monthly Cycle?
During the second half of your menstrual cycle, the hormone progesterone kicks in to help prepare the lining of your uterus for a fertilized egg. If the egg isn't fertilized and doesn't implant, it disintegrates, progesterone levels fall, and about 12 to 16 days later, the egg -- along with blood and tissues from the lining of the uterus -- is shed from the body. That process is menstruation. It usually lasts 3 to 7 days. Then the cycle begins again.
Ways to Boost Ovulation
There is growing evidence that links environment to fertility. If you want to boost your chances of getting pregnant, you may want to:
- Eat foods rich in folic acids.
- Buy more organic foods and green products.
- Avoid certain plastics (including plastic wrap).
- Maintain a healthy body weight through diet and exercise.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Does Weight Affects Fertility
A study found that women whose body mass index (BMI) was above normal took twice as long to get pregnant as those with a normal BMI. If you're overweight or obese, losing weight can boost your fertility and chances of getting pregnant. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a drop in weight of 5%-10% can dramatically improve ovulation and pregnancy rates. Obesity can also cause infertility and low testosterone in men. Being significantly underweight can also lead to infertility.
Does Age Affects Your Conception Chances
Fertility goes down with age, especially after the mid-30s. It also lowers the chances that fertility treatments will be successful. Experts say you should talk to your doctor if you're under 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months, or over 35 and have been trying for more than 6 months.
Does Fertility Declines in Older Men, Too
Studies show that sperm count and sperm movement decrease as men age, as does sexual function. But there isn't a cut-off age that makes a man too old to father a child. One study found that it took men age 45 or older longer to get a woman pregnant once the couple started trying. If your partner is older, you may want to talk to your doctor about ways to boost your chances.
How Men Can Boost Fertility
- Manage stress.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Maintain a proper weight.
- Eat a diet high in zinc (found in meat, whole grains, seafood, and eggs), selenium (meat, seafood, mushroom, cereals, and Brazil nuts), and vitamin E.
- Keep the testicles cool -- no long, hot baths, hot tubs, or saunas, which can reduce the number of sperm.
Treatments for Infertility
A number of things can cause infertility. The first step is for your doctor to check out you and your partner. Infertility treatments can include fertility drugs to stimulate ovulation and in vitro fertilization, which involves removing eggs from the ovaries, fertilizing them (shown at left), and then implanting them into the uterus.
How Home Pregnancy Tests Work
Home pregnancy tests check your urine for the "pregnancy hormone," called hCG, that your body makes once a fertilized egg implants in your uterus. Some of these tests may be able to tell if you're pregnant as early as 5 days before your first missed period.
Pregnancy: 5 Early Signs
You miss a period.
You need to urinate often.
You tire easily.
You’re nauseous in the morning -- or all day.
Your breasts become tender and enlarged.