Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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9 things you should know about your fertility

Dr. Spencer Richlin, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Illume Fertility offers some handy hints for those starting a family, or growing theirs now.

Dreaming of growing your family? Considering freezing your eggs in order to “pause” the biological clock and pursue career goals? No matter what your fertility or family-building goals are, every individual or couple needs to be aware of some key facts in order to have the greatest chance of success.

Here are nine things you should know about fertility as you embark on your personal journey:

  1. Advancements in Reproductive Technology

Fertility treatments have seen remarkable advancements, providing more options for those struggling with infertility (or seeking to preserve their fertility for future family building). Innovations in in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, and preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) have opened up new possibilities for individuals and couples looking to expand their families, avoid life-threatening genetic conditions, and allow themselves more time to make family-planning decisions. 

  1. Age and Fertility

While fertility treatment continues to give an increasing number of women the ability to become mothers after 40, awareness of the impact age has on fertility is crucial. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and the quality of those eggs tends to decline with age. Understanding the implications of age on fertility can help you make informed decisions about family planning and seek fertility treatments or medical guidance at the most opportune time.

  1. Male Fertility Matters, Too

While an emphasis has traditionally been placed on female fertility, it’s essential to recognize the significance of male fertility. More than 50 percent of infertility cases are caused by male factor infertility, and sperm quality often contributes to difficulties in conception. If you have a male partner (or are a man wishing to pursue fatherhood soon), consider getting a comprehensive fertility assessment and talking to your doctor about your goals to ensure you’re set up for success.

  1. Lifestyle Choices Impact Fertility Potential

The role of diet and lifestyle in fertility cannot be overstated. Factors such as what you eat, how frequently you exercise, and your daily stress levels can greatly impact your reproductive health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can positively influence fertility outcomes, so try to focus on maintaining a balanced diet, moving your body regularly, and practicing self-care and stress reduction techniques like meditation or therapy.

  1. Genetic Testing and Screening 

Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) has become increasingly sophisticated, allowing for the screening of embryos for genetic abnormalities before implantation (if undergoing IVF treatment). This technology can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy while minimizing the risk of certain genetic conditions. Those pursuing fertility treatments can explore the option of genetic testing with their doctor.

  1. Egg Freezing for Fertility Preservation

Egg freezing has become a valuable option for individuals who wish to preserve their fertility for the future. Whether due to medical reasons, delayed family planning, or personal choice, egg freezing allows individuals to store healthy eggs for later use, providing more flexibility and control over their reproductive timeline.

  1. Holistic Fertility Support is Important 

The emotional and psychological aspects of fertility treatment are gaining increased recognition. The rollercoaster of hope and disappointment you feel while trying to conceive can take a big toll on your psychological well-being. Seeking support from mental health professionals or support groups can play a crucial role in helping you navigate the emotional challenges associated with this stage of life.

  1. Financial Considerations and Insurance Coverage

Unfortunately, fertility treatments can be financially burdensome (or delay family building) for many hopeful parents, and costs can vary widely depending on your needs, insurance coverage, and other factors. It’s important to explore your insurance policy carefully and understand the financial implications of different fertility treatments, as out-of-pocket costs can range anywhere from $1,000 (for IUI treatment) to $140,000+ (for surrogacy). 

  1. Access to Fertility Care

The good news? Advocacy for improved insurance coverage for fertility treatments is an ongoing effort and may impact your accessibility to care. Some states have fertility coverage mandates. Couples and individuals can apply for fertility treatment grants and scholarships. Some pharmaceutical companies even offer discount programs for fertility medications. 

The Best Time to Start is Now

If you’re planning to pursue any fertility or family-building goals, now is the perfect time to start your research and empower yourself with knowledge! As you begin to understand the evolving landscape of fertility technologies, scientific discoveries, and gain awareness about the emotional aspects of the process, you will be better equipped to take on this journey with confidence and clarity. 

About the author

Spencer Richlin, M.D. is Partner and Surgical Director at Illume Fertility. Dr. Richlin is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

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