Monday, May 12

Does Acupuncture Hurt?

  • A Acupuncture treatments do not hurt. The acupuncture needles used by our acupuncturists are extra thin, acupuncture needles and we use gentle insertion methods. We use only sterilized, disposable acupuncture needles. The needles are extremely thin, and unlike a hypodermic needle, do not have a beveled, cutting edge and therefore, do not feel painful, like getting blood drawn. Some people report barely feeling the needle go in and once the needles are in, patients usually feel at ease and relaxed.
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Thursday, May 8

Infertility: FACT vs MYTH

Infertility is a common disease process that affects 10-15% of the couples within the U.S. who are within the childbearing age. It is also very common worldwide. In recent years, tremendous progress has occurred in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. We can do much more today than we could a few years ago. In spite of this misinformation regarding the subject abounds. These myths create barriers to the timely diagnosis and treatment of infertility.The truth is that most cases can be rapidly diagnosed and effectively treated. Treatment does not have to cost thousands of dollars. Also in spite of the image given in the press, most patients will not have multiple pregnancies.


Stress causes infertility.

This is usually not the case. In fact infertility and its treatment causes a great deal of stress rather than vice versa. Saying that stress causes infertility is a way of trivializing the problem.


Infertility treatment is expensive.

In some cases it can be. In many cases, it is simple, brief and inexpensive. The sooner patients are seen and treated the more likely basic treatment will succeed. Timely treatment can also minimize cost.


Treatment always causes multiples.

Some treatments such as ovulation drugs or in vitro fertilization do predispose to multiples. They do so to a much lesser degree than is commonly thought. For instance use of Clomid or Serophene increase the natural multiple pregnancy rate from 1.5% to 7%.


Friends, family, newspapers, T.V., and the internet are always accurate sources of information.

Accurate diagnosis and treatment is the way to go! Myths and misinformation are what we need to grow beyond. Many who put forth the effort will succeed. 

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Tuesday, May 6

Semen Analysis - Why You May Consider It

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Why would you be doing a Semen Analysis (SA)?
Since male factor accounts for about 35% of infertility, a RE’s office will administer a SA as one of the first tests they’ll do to diagnose you as a couple.
A SA measures the following:
Volume (measured in mL)
Liquefaction time
Sperm count (both the overall count and per mL)
Sperm motility (the percentage of sperm that are moving – these are your “swimmers”). Most clinics also measure how many sperm are moving forward, which is called the “forward motility” test.
Morphology (the percentage of sperm that have a normal shape).
The SA also measures the pH balance, number of white blood cells, and amount of fructose in the sample.
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What you can expect
Giving a sample
Generally, clinics require that you to not ejaculate for 48 hours before the test, BUT also do not abstain for more than 72 hours. In layman’s terms: they want you to ejaculate once between 2 and 3 days before the SA, but then abstain until after the SA.
Obviously, this is not a painful process, but it can be embarrassing. I have heard stories where someone’s husband had to use a bathroom off the waiting area to produce his sample – the poor guy! In most clinics, especially the bigger ones, though, they have a room set up with magazines (and even movies) for you to do his thing. And in most cases they’ll let the wife go in with him if he so desires.
Some clinics also allow for the sample to be produced at home if you live close to your clinic. Once the sample is produced, though, you need to keep it warm and get it to the clinic within 1 hour, or some of the sperm begin to die off.
Generally you’ll get the results back within a couple of days of the SA, but it depends on your clinic. We got our SA results the following day.
Normal parameters of sperm are the following (*Based on World Heath Organization criteria, 1992. Table excerpted from Berger, G.S., Goldstein, M., and Fuerst, M. (1995). The Couple’s Guide to Fertility. New York: Doubleday):
Normal Ranges for a Semen Analysis*
Liquify?: Yes – within one hour
pH: 7.5 to 8.1
% Motility: Greater than or equal to 50%
% of 3-4 + Forward Motile Sperm: Greater than or equal to 50%
Sperm Concentration: 20-200 million per mL
Total Sperm Count: Greater than or equal to 40 million
Total Motile Sperm: Greater than or equal to 20 million per mL
White Blood Cells: Less than or equal to 1 million per mL
% Normal Morphology: Greater than or equal to 30%
Problems that might arise
There aren’t many problems that will present themselves in terms of the collection process, unless you miss the cup or can’t ejaculate.
If the results come back abnormal, your RE will suggest that you see a urologist, who can provide a further diagnosis. Additionally, at times, you can bypass sperm issues by trying IUI or even IVF with ICSI to get pregnant. I have also heard from my RE that there are other nifty high-tech sperm extraction procedures that can give you a chance of getting pregnant – even if your husband has a zero sperm count. At the same time, there will be men who will need to use donor insemination if this is your diagnoses.
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Friday, May 2

What Prevents Egg Production?

Many women who have difficulty conceiving wonder “Why? What prevents me from producing eggs?” A number of factors affect your fertility:
Age – Your age has a large impact on fertility. Your fertility is greatest during your twenties through age 35.  After age 35 your body’s ability to become pregnant decreases significantly.
Early onset menopause – A key symptom is the absence of your menstrual period. Early menopause may artificial-inseminationbe caused by environmental factors including immune disease, chemotherapy and smoking, but the cause of many cases of early menopause is unknown.
Stress – Extended periods of stress can affect hormone levels thereby reducing your ability to produce and mature eggs. Make sure you are taking steps to alleviate your stress levels.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – PCOS is an ovulatory disorder where your body is unable to produce eggs normally due to cysts in the ovaries.  Women who are diagnosed with PCOS may find the cause of their weight issues in addition to “What prevents me from producing eggs?” Women who have PCOS often have trouble metabolizing sugar which results in weight gain.
High prolactin levels – Prolactin is a naturally occurring hormone in a woman’s body that is responsible for the production of breast milk.  If a woman has high prolactin levels when she is not nursing or pregnant can have issues with ovulation.
Your weight – Good overall health is important to fertility. Being overweight or underweight can create problems with ovulation. Reaching your ideal weight may address "what prevents me from producing eggs."
Blocked or scarred tubes – In order for an embryo to implant after fertilization, it must move thorough the fallopian tubes.  The issue may not be with egg production.  Instead, it may be that blocked or damaged tubes are preventing the egg and sperm from joining. 

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