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Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Tubal Factor Infertility: Go With the Flow

hsg test resultsThe fallopian tubes play an important role in reproduction. Sperm and egg must meet and fertilize in one of the tubes; the fertilized egg then moves to the uterus for implantation. Fallopian tubes must be patent (open) and flowing to allow for normal functioning.

Here are some important facts about the tubal disease infertility.

An HSG can determine the health of your fallopian tubes

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Cervical Health and Your Fertility

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, above the vagina, where sperm travels through to the uterus. It widens during childbirth and also is where menstrual flow passes.

Every year, 13,000 women are diagnozed with cervical cancer and, tragically 4,000 will die from it. However, against the backdrop of these sobering stastistics is encouraging news about early detection. Women who have contracted cervical cancer who have received regular pap smear screenings have a 92% suruvival rate over a five-year period. In addition, the HPV vaccine given to young women before they are sexually active can help prevent the transmission of many HPV strains, the leading cause of cervical cancer.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and an opportunity to shed light on preventing, diagnosing and treating cervical conditions, many of which can compromise fertility.

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New Year: New Fertile You

New Year - New You YogaAfter (perhaps) overindulging during the holidays, many of us resolve to do better in the coming year: losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking (important) or spending less. If you are struggling to get pregnant, however, your New Year’s resolution probably involves becoming a parent in 2017.

But combining a personal resolution with your desire to get pregnant could potentially help you achieve two goals.

Quit smoking

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Can Elective Single Embryo Transfer Help Decrease Preterm Births?

One of the most important questions in the infertility field is how to reduce the number of premature births. The March of DImes has identified multiple gestation pregnancies--twins and triplets--as one of the three risk factors for preterm labor and early birth. Additionally, a history of premature births and uterine and cervical problems, which can be applicable to infertility patients, are also significant reasons for this serious and costly health problem.

Every November, the March of Dimes conducts a public education campaign to promote prematurity awareness. In 2016, for the first time in eight years, the U.S. saw an increase in the preterm birth rate. According to the Premature Birth Report Card, the U.S. earned a "C" grade--primarily because of the growing disparity in prematurity rates across different rates and ethnicities.

A Healthy Singleton Pregnancy

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Sperm: Can They Take the Heat?

Can sperm take the heat?The testicles are located in an ideal spot in a man's body, external to the rest of the male reproductive system. Sperm, created inside these organs, need a cool environment for reproduction, and the temperature of the testes should be lower than a man's core body temperature to function effectively.

Often our patients have questions about the effects of various heat sources on the male reproductive organs. For many, it can be confusing to separate the myths from the reality. But one thing is certain: don't overheat your testicles!

Boxers or Briefs: Does it Make a Difference?

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Breast Cancer Awareness and Infertility

breast cancer awarenessBreast cancer is a diagnosis that strikes fear in the hearts of most women. But there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future for the one in eight females (12%) affected by it.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Advocates wear pink ribbons to symbolize support and education. Women are encouraged to undergo mammograms and breast self-exams. Early detection, prompt care, and advances in treatment have contributed to significant increases in remission and cure.

Despite these inroads, many women of reproductive age are not aware of the options for fertility preservation if the unthinkable happens and they are diagnosed with this disease. Doctors, too, need more education abuot how to counsel patients so they can get timely and accurate and accurate information.

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Infancy and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

In October 1988, President Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This month is an occasion to recognize the grief and sorrow patients experience when they suffer a miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth or death of an infant. It also is a time to remember and celebrate the hopes and dreams parents had for their lost angels.

In announcing this commemorative month, President Reagan poignantly described the need to understand the unique heartbreak bereaved parents feel:

When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them." (October15th.com)

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PCOS and Pregnancy

You've had irregular periods for years. Maybe you've experienced acne, weight gain and excess facial hair. Now you can't get pregnant. But until you started trying to conceive, doctors never put two and two together to confirm you had polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS.

PCOS is the most common form of female infertility. PCOS prevents ovulation by stopping the ovaries from making the hormones needed for an egg to mature. The follicles, however, continue to grow and fill with fluid, eventually become cysts, which we confirm by ultrsound. In addition, the ovaries produce male androgens, like testosterone, instead of progesterone, the female hormone necessary for having a period.

A PCOS diagnosis, however, does not mean you cannot get pregnant. In fact, there are several effective treatment strategies, ranging from relatively simple remedies, such as dietary and lifestyle changes, to medication regimens to undergoing more advanced treatments like in vitro fertilization.

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PCOS by the Numbers

PCOS AwarenessSeptember is designated as PCOS Awareness Month. PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, is the most common female reproductive disorder. It can start affecting women from around the time they begin to menstruate, but generally subsides around menopause. If left untreated, PCOC can have long-term health repercussions throughout a woman's life.

To give you an overview of the impact of PCOS, here is a rundown of PCOS by the numbers.

Five million, One in Ten and 12 Percent

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Can Surgery Help Me Get Pregnant?

Infertility SurgerySurgery can sound scary. Thinking about anesthesia, recovery time and potential pain can send anyone into a full-fledged panic attack. For some infertility patients, however, we recommend surgical intervention as the best option for both the diagnosis and treatment of your condition. The good news is that side effects and recovery times have significantly improved and benefits vastly outweigh the risks.

Here are several reasons why surgery may be the best approach before proceeding with intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF):

  • Both women and men can benefit from surgeries that will allow natural conception now and in the future
  • Surgery is an effective way to diagnose and treat endometriosis, polyps, fibroids, pelvic infections and/or uterine or tubal abnormalities
  • Surgery can help alleviate some of the symptoms of these conditions, such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pain
  • Surgeries can provide a more comprehensive diagnosis before proceeding to IVF
  • Modern advances in surgical techniques are significantly reducing its invasiveness, the side effects of anesthesia and recovery time

For patients trying to get pregnant, some of the more common gynecological surgeries performed by reproductive endocrinologists are:

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Couple's Four Year Infertility Journey Ends with Dr. Jane Frederick

Worth The Wait smLori and Sean's path to parenthood included treatment from her OBGYN and two local fertility clinics, an ectopic pregnancy, one failed IVF cycle and three heartbreaking miscarriages.

Others might have given up, but Sean's online research took the couple from Phoenix to Orange County California and Dr. Jane Frederick.

Right away, Lori and Sean knew they had found the right doctor. Said Lori, "We were so impressed by Dr. Frederick's confidence and compassion. She reassured us we could make our efforts work. It was the first time we felt we'd met a doctor who understood our pain."

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The Vicious Cycle of Stress and Infertility

‘Relax and it will happen’ is advice most infertility patients hate to hear. For many, it implies getting pregnant may be their fault. This, in turn, only makes them feel more stressed, leading to a vicious cycle of self-blame. This statement can be especially hurtful for couples with a diagnosis of male fertility, blocked fallopian tubes or another condition where they will not get pregnant without a doctor’s help, regardless of their stress level.

One of the most perplexing issues confronting the infertility field is the true relationship between stress and infertility and stress and IVF success rates. Even a review of the peer-reviewed literature on the subject does not yield a conclusive answer. While it is unclear about the role of stress, we know alleviating stress levels and learning coping techniques can help patients feel more in control and better about themselves, their bodies and their treatment plan. It is also beneficial to your overall health, including blood pressure and heart rate.


Your Stress is Real

Groundbreaking research from Dr. Alice Domar*, a world-renowned psychologist in the infertility field, has shown that the stress of infertility is comparable to the stress experienced by cancer patients and those with other serious illnesses.

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This Couple Used an Egg Donor (and Dr. Jane Frederick) to Expand Their Family

Amy, a 48-year old marketing executive, and her second husband Diego were eager to give their young daughter a sibling, but were unable to conceive naturally.

Recommended to Dr. Jane Frederick, the couple underwent one round of IVF to see if Amy could produce any of her own eggs. When she couldn't, Amy recalls, "We were disappointed because we'd been so hopeful, but Dr. Frederick was also hopeful that egg donation might be a solution."

Within a week, the couple was matched with a donor. Out of the four viable fertilized eggs, they chose a male embryo and became pregnant on their first donor cycle. Amy gave birth to little brother Sam last March.

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Eat Your Way to Improved Fertility

mediterranean food smPatients often ask whether their eating habits are affecting their fertility. There is evidence to suggest that modifying your diet may be a natural, low-cost option to improve your chances of conceiving, especially if you have certain infertility diagnoses, such as irregular ovulation and PCOS, or are undergoing IVF.

The Nurse's Health Study (NHS), one of the largest investigations conducted on female health habits, has provided clinicians with important information about the effect of diet on a women's reproductive system.

Why diet can have a positive or negative impact on fertility

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Finding Dr. Right with Dr. Jane Frederick

As a same-sex couple, Anna Marie and Michelle Carreno-Bolong knew they would need assisted reproduction to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. Married for two years, the thirtysomething women love kids and are surrounded by them as owners of a children's gym in Redondo Beach.

In 2014, they excitedly decided to start their journey to parenthood and made several appointments with an Orange County fertility specialist. They were disappointed, however, when they did not feel the compassion they were seeking from a fertility practice. They decided to switch doctors after hearing about HRC Fertility and finding Dr. Jane Frederick after researching doctors.

"Right from the start, I knew we'd made the right choice," Anna Marie recalls. "Dr. Frederick exuded warmth and kindness."

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Unexplained Infertility Does Not Mean Untreatable

Unexplained InfertilityFor couples who have been trying to get pregnant for month or even years, an unexplained infertility diagnosis can seem like a double blow--both physically and psychologically. They may be wondering how they will ever conceive if their doctor can't figure out the case of their infertility.

Here are several important points about unexplained that should give couples peace of mind.

You're not alone

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Fresh Versus Frozen IVF Cycles

FETFor more than 30 years, frozen embryo transfers (FETs) have been successfully utilized when patients have had excess frozen embryos remaining from a fresh cycle. But with older freezing methods, success rates were not as impressive. In recent years, however, several studies have demonstrated the increasing effectiveness of frozen IVF cycles. In fact, most IVF centers are now conducting more frozen cycles for certain types of patients, making FETs the first line of treatment for many.

Factors Improving FET Success Rates

There are several reasons for the improved success. First, embryologists are now freezing embryos through vitrification, a rapid form of cryopreservation. Because of vitrification, more embryos are surviving the thawing process. Second, many experts feel frozen cycles more closely mirror a natural uterine environment since a woman's hormone levels return to normal after being stimulated for an egg retrieval.

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Fourth Round of IUI = Beautiful Baby Girl

It was a rollercoaster ride, but Carrie can finally call herself a mother.

After trying to conceive for 18 months, Carrie and her husband consulted a local fertility doctor who conducted preliminary testing and made treatment recommendations. Not long after, Carried and her husband moved to California after a job promotion.

Carrie learned about Dr. Jeffrey Nelson, who was highly recommended, and immediately made an appointment so the couple could move forward with treatment.

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Enrich Your Chances of IVF Success with Vitamin D

vitamin D and infertility successWhat if there was an easy and inexpensive way to improve your fertility, overall health, and perhaps, improve your chances of IVF success? You would probably jump at the chance to use it.

No, there isn’t a magic pill with guaranteed success, but infertility specialists, including our physicians at HRC Fertility, have recognized the importance of Vitamin D in both your reproductive and general health. So here are some facts about this vital vitamin, as well as suggestions for either maintaining or replenishing a healthy Vitamin D level.

Vitamins all around us

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The Zika Virus: What You Need to Know

zikaYou’ve probably seen the frightening news reports of hundreds of Brazilian babies with microcephaly, a serious birth defect characterized by abnormal smallness of the head and incomplete brain development.

Infectious disease experts have attributed their condition to the Zika virus, carried by two species of mosquitoes as well as through sexual intercourse with an infected person. The Zika virus can affect pregnant women and their babies at any point in the pregnancy, and currently testing for Zika is complicated and not readily available. Still, the risk of catching Zika, particularly in the U.S. and southern California, is very low and research is rapidly ongoing—especially for a vaccine.

In April, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine issued a document developed from CDC and FDA reports to help infertility physicians counsel patients about Zika’s impact on reproduction. Key takeaways include:

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