REACH Fertility Journey Description REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/ Tue, 13 November 2018 00:00:00 Tue, 13 November 2018 00:00:00 Celebrating Family: Alternative Family Building Options REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/november/celebrating-family-alternative-family-building-options/ The holidays are right around the corner, and the focus on family associated with this time of year has many thinking of how they’ll build their own family. If you’re struggling with infertility, building a family the old-fashioned way may not be in the cards, but there are a variety of alternative family building options available to help you build the family of your dreams. Whether it involves the use of a donor, a surrogate, or embryo adoption, it is possible to achieve your dreams of growing your family. In this post, the fertility experts of REACH Fertility Clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina go over the alternative family building options available to you. Using A Donor Whether you’re hoping to become a single parent or are part of a couplehave a significant other, sometimes using an egg donor or sperm donor may be necessary to help you build your family. For same sex male couples or couples in which the woman’s egg quantity or quality can make using her own eggs impossible, egg donation provides a way to achieve a healthy pregnancy. For same sex female couples or those wherein the male partner has no or low-quality sperm, using a sperm donor can do the same. Want to know more about using sperm or egg donors to build your family? Contact us today at 888-551-0874.   Embarking on a Surrogacy Journey For some couples – such as same sex males, single fathers, and those where the female partner is unable to carry a pregnancy – gestational surrogacy provides them ability to have a child which will be carried by the a third party. In these cases, either the female partner’s egg or that of an egg donor is combined with a partner’s sperm. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the gestational surrogate’s uterus. While there are higher costs and legal obstacles associated with using a gestational surrogate, it has been used to provide countless couples and individuals with the ability to build their families. Emrbyo Adoption When couples go through an IVF cycle, some may end up with more embryos than they need to build their families. These embryos are often stored indefinitely or destroyed – but some couples have chosen instead to donate their embryos to those who are unable to create healthy embryos themselves. If you and your partner have tried unsuccessfully to create healthy embryos that can be transferred during an IVF cycle, embryo adoption may be an option for you to consider. Every family is unique, and there are more options available to those looking to build a family than ever before. Whether you utilize a donor, gestational surrogate, or choose to adopt an embryo, there is a way for you to achieve your dreams of a family. Are you ready to get started on your path to parenthood? Contact the fertility experts of REACH Fertility Clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment with one of our specialists today. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/november/celebrating-family-alternative-family-building-options/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/november/celebrating-family-alternative-family-building-options/ Tue, 13 November 2018 00:00:00 Breast Cancer Treatment & Infertility [Infographic] REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/october/breast-cancer-treatment-infertility-infographic/ 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, with a good portion being of childbearing age. For these young women, the cancer diagnosis alone can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, the treatments that can save their lives can also negatively impact their fertility.While not all breast cancer treatments will cause infertility, there are some that are more likely to do so. In their latest infographic, the fertility experts of REACH fertility clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina go over which cancer treatments carry a higher risk of infertility and what you can do to preserve your fertility for the future.If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and want to learn more about the impact of treatment on your fertility or would like to discuss fertility preservation options, contact us today at 888-551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/october/breast-cancer-treatment-infertility-infographic/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/october/breast-cancer-treatment-infertility-infographic/ Tue, 09 October 2018 00:00:00 Physician Spotlight: Dr. Lauren Johnson REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/september/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-lauren-johnson/ Dr. Lauren Johnson joined REACH fertility clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina about four years ago, but she’s been in North Carolina her whole life.  An avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, Dr. Johnson is grateful that the Charlotte area has several public parks.  She also loves the big city perks and small town feel Charlotte is known for with access to restaurants, sporting events and Broadway shows. These perks have become more commonplace in the last few years as Charlotte has grown rapidly. The growth Charlotte has experienced can also be seen at REACH.  “As Charlotte’s population has grown, we have certainly seen an increase in the number of patients needing treatment for infertility,” she says.  Luckily, as Charlotte has grown she has also seen many changes in the field of reproductive endocrinology which have allowed her to help even more patients. One of the most important changes, she believe, is in the freezing process – vitrification has made it possible to more effectively freeze eggs and embryos. “The ability to freeze embryos has allowed for more extensive genetic screening of embryos and has improved the safety of in vitro fertilization. Furthermore, this technology has expanded options for patients with cancer who need to preserve their fertility prior to cancer treatment.” Dr. Lauren Johnson hopes to see even more advancements in the field of reproductive endocrinology – especially in slowing down the decline in women’s fertility. “I would love to see more research into extending women’s natural fertility.  Women start to have declines in their egg count at age 35.  Egg count and quality are dramatically lower among women in their 40’s.  Currently, there is no way to stop or slow that process.”  If this could be achieved, millions of couples who struggle to build a family would be helped. She has seen patients struggle to build a family first hand at REACH’s Charlotte fertility clinic – each struggle being one that has touched her deeply.  She has been fortunate enough to build strong relationships and lasting bonds with her patients.  “Infertility treatment is very personal and for some patients, it can be a lengthy process,” she says.  “I enjoy building relationships with patients, and I get to know my patients well.  It is often bittersweet when my patients conceive and return to the care of their obstetricians because that means that I don’t get to see them anymore!” As for those currently struggling with infertility, Dr. Lauren Johnson has an important piece of advice: “You are not alone! Surround yourself with friends and family who will support you on your fertility journey. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. That’s why we are here!”   Have you been trying to conceive without success? Contact us today at 888-551-0874 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lauren Johnson or one of our other Charlotte area fertility specialists. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/september/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-lauren-johnson/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/september/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-lauren-johnson/ Mon, 17 September 2018 00:00:00 Fertility Specialist Spotlight: Dr. Matrika Johnson REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/august/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-matrika-johnson/ Quite a few things have changed since Dr. Matrika Johnson joined REACH three years ago. At the time, the Lake Norman office had just relocated to Mooresville to the beautiful Langtree area and the first recipients of the Bundle of Joy fund had just been announced.  REACH fertility clinic is not the only thing that has changed in that time. The city of Charlotte has changed as well, becoming a thriving and diverse center for progress in the state. These changes are ones that Dr. Matrika Johnson appreciates, with each neighborhood contributing in its own way to the variety in food, drinks, and cultural activities available to the community.   The Patient Experience In the past three years, Dr. Matrika Johnson has found that the patients, staff and available treatments have become far more diverse. To her, this increased diversity has helped make REACH an even better place for patients to start their path to parenthood, stating that “diversity provides a better patient care environment for all patients.” Providing the best patient care possible for each patient is of the utmost importance to Dr. Matrika Johnson, especially since she is continually touched by each patient’s unique situation. When speaking to patients about their treatment plan options, she knows that “it could be me or any of my close friends in the exact same situation.” Luckily, the improvements in technology has given patients more options than ever, increasing their chances of building the family of their dreams. “We have improved embryo culture media and are now capable of doing transfers on day-5 instead of day-3, increasing our pregnancy rates dramatically.” Advances in vitrification have also helped women who are seeking to preserve their fertility, whether for personal or medical reasons. “In the time I have been practicing, egg freezing has changed from an experimental treatment to a standard and popular form of treatment.”   The Future of Fertility Treatment Fertility testing and treatments have come a long way since the first IVF baby was born 40 years ago. Today, most can undergo testing to discover the cause of their infertility. But for roughly 10% of infertile couples, the cause for their infertility is unexplained even after completing all testing. For Dr. Matrika Johnson, discovering the cause of unexplained infertility is the next great frontier in reproductive endocrinology. Discovering the cause behind unexplained infertility will help her and the other fertility specialists at REACH fertility clinic customize treatment plans for these patients to help them build the family of their dreams.   If you are struggling with infertility, Dr. Matrika Johnson hopes that you remember to be flexible and open to all of the possible ways of creating a family. “Families are created in many different ways. Never give up on your dreams of family.” With persistence and flexibility, building a family is possible. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, contact us today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Matrika Johnson to take the first step on your path to parenthood. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/august/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-matrika-johnson/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/august/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-matrika-johnson/ Mon, 13 August 2018 00:00:00 Fertility Specialist Spotlight: Dr. Jack Crain REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/july/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-jack-crain/ Few people have been at REACH as long as Dr. Jack Crain. Since its inception, Dr. Crain has been a part of the team of fertility specialists at REACH, helping hundreds of patients realize their dreams of family. For Dr. Crain, Charlotte has been home for decades and a lot has changed in that time. The uptown area has seen explosive growth, and with Dr. Wing, he helped develop one of the first IVF programs in the community. As a long-term member of the community, Dr. Crain has nothing but good things to say about the area. “It’s a beautiful, fast growing city with friendly people,” he says. Combined with the proximity to his family and friends, it’s a place he is proud to call home. Changes in Fertility When Dr. Jack Crain first began practicing reproductive endocrinology, the subspecialty that treats those with infertility, it was mostly a surgical specialty. At the time, IVF was still very much a new technology, and the success rates were not as high as they are today. He sees the field continuing to change with new technologies becoming available to patients, with one of the biggest areas of possibility in targeted gene therapy for patients concerned about passing on genetic diseases and predispositions to their children. Advice for Patients To patients struggling to conceive, Dr. Crain’s advice is simple: “Be patient and proactive,” he says. Being aware of your fertility and your goals for family building early on are essential, as is seeking out help from a fertility specialist once you realize there may be an issue. Patience is also key for patients struggling with infertility – properly diagnosing the cause can take time, as can successfully achieving a pregnancy.  While not all patients will achieve a pregnancy on the first round of IVF or their first IUI, persistence is key to achieving your dreams of family. Knowledge is also power – making sure you know to manage your expectations depending on your diagnosis is key, as is learning what your likely costs will be so you can plan accordingly. Always Growing Dr. Crain sees a bright future for the REACH fertility clinic. He sees the practice continuing to grow and help even more patients achieve their dreams of family. He also sees improvements in advanced reproductive technologies making it possible for even more patients to bring home a happy, healthy baby with the right help. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, the fertility specialists of REACH fertility clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina are here to help. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Crain or another REACH fertility specialist, contact us at 888-5521-0874 to schedule an appointment today. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/july/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-jack-crain/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/july/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-jack-crain/ Mon, 23 July 2018 00:00:00 Fertility Specialist Spotlight: Dr. Joseph Whelan REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/june/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-joseph-whelan/ When Dr. Joseph Whelan joined REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina, things were a little different. Both the city and the practice were much smaller. One thing that has always been consistent? His commitment to excellence and compassion for his patients. Dr. Whelan, a Virginia native, joined REACH in 2004, and has been able to watch both the community and practice thrive over the past 14 years. When asked what he loves most about the community, Dr. Whelan said that he “loves that Charlotte is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan and diverse.” Over this time, the patients that walk through the doors of REACH’s Charlotte, North Carolina fertility clinic has become more diverse as well, allowing him to help a wide range of patients build the family of their dreams. The field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility has changed as well – now, the field is “enormously more complex, but also much more effective and efficient.” He sees the field becoming even more effective in the future. Dr. Whelan believes that over time, fertility specialists will be able to more accurately determine whether an embryo viewed under the microscope will actually be able to make a baby – lessening the chances that a couple will need to experience the pain that comes with a negative pregnancy test after the two week wait. As much as the area and the field has changed, Dr. Whelan is still enormously touched by each patient’s struggle with infertility. More than anything, he wants couples to know that there’s no shame with getting the help you need to build the family you’ve always dreamed of. “Don’t be afraid to get help early – at least just start with an evaluation from a friendly, non-pushy, formally trained reproductive endocrinologist. Find out what you’re working with.” If you’re trying to conceive without success, don’t lose hope – Dr. Whelan and the fertility specialists of REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina have decades of experience helping couples build their families. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Whelan or another REACH fertility specialist, contact us at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment today. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/june/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-joseph-whelan/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/june/fertility-specialist-spotlight-dr-joseph-whelan/ Tue, 05 June 2018 00:00:00 Getting to Know Dr. Adelina Emmi, the New Infertility Specialist at REACH! REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/may/getting-to-know-dr-adelina-emmi-the-new-infertility-specialist-at-reach/ After a long search, REACH has found an amazing physician to join our team – Dr. Adelina Emmi! Dr. Emmi comes to us from Sher Fertility in Illinois, where she served as Medical Director, with more than two decades of experience diagnosing and treating infertility in both men and women. Dr. Emmi will be practicing exclusively at our Lake Norman, North Carolina office, helping couples and individuals in the community build the family of their dreams. Want to schedule a consultation with Dr. Emmi at our Lake Norman fertility clinic? Contact us today!   Enjoying the Move After living and working in Illinois for years, Dr. Emmi chose to relocate to the east coast to be closer to her son. Once she was able to learned more about REACH and the community, she was sold! She is thrilled to be living in the Lake Norman area where there are so many things to do – both indoors and outdoors! When Aasked about what she loves best about the area, Dr. Emmi gushed about the community. “I love being so near the water. There are great restaurants, shopping and people!” The lure of joining a team of top-notch fertility specialists also weighed heavily on her decision. “It is an honor and a privilege to join REACH. It’s an extremely well-respected group and I was excited to be given the opportunity to work with them and continue to grow as a physician.”   On Becoming an Infertility Specialist Every infertility specialist has their own reason for going into the field.  For some, it’s all about the excitement and change surrounding a field that is rapidly changing.  Dr. Emmi finds the field fascinating and loves exploring the impact of circulating hormones on the body, but her main reason for choosing to go into the field of reproductive endocrinology is all about the patients. “I went into REI because I wanted to work in a field of medicine where it would be possible to help women and advance their health care... I believe there is no greater joy than to help others build their families.” Dr. Adelina Emmi is currently accepting new patients at REACH fertility clinic in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. If you’d like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Emmi, please contact us at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment online today! https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/may/getting-to-know-dr-adelina-emmi-the-new-infertility-specialist-at-reach/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/may/getting-to-know-dr-adelina-emmi-the-new-infertility-specialist-at-reach/ Tue, 08 May 2018 00:00:00 Fertility Treatment Options: IVF & IUI [infographic] REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/april/fertility-treatment-options-ivf-iui-infographic/ According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, only 3% of infertile couples will need advanced reproductive technologies to conceive. But for those patients who'se best chance of success lies in these technologies, there arethey may still have plenty of questions about the treatment options. As the two most common Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or and In Vitro Fertilzation (IVF) are often key to helping infertile couples achieve and carry a pregnancy. In the infographic below, the fertility specialists at REACH go over the advanced techniques used to treat many fertility patients in Charlotte and Lake Norman, North Carolina. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/april/fertility-treatment-options-ivf-iui-infographic/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/april/fertility-treatment-options-ivf-iui-infographic/ Fri, 27 April 2018 00:00:00 4 Reasons to Seek Fertility Treatment Early On REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/april/4-reasons-to-seek-fertility-treatment-early-on/ For most couples, deciding to start a family is a happy time. Planning for the future, talking about what their family will look like, and the feelings of hope that comes with growing a family tends to bring couples even closer together. But for 12% of couples in America, the feelings of joy and hope begin to dissipate with each negative pregnancy test, month after month. For couples who experience difficulty achieving or maintaining a pregnancy, the experience can feel isolating – but they are not alone. Infertility is a common problem in the U.S., with one in eight couples struggling with infertility. So when should you seek fertility help? And what can you do now to increase your chances of success? Below, the experts of REACH Fertility Clinic in Charlotte and Lake Norman, North Carolina go over four reasons why you should not put off seeking fertility help.   1. Advancing Age Can Limit Your Options When it comes to fertility, age is one of the most important factors that impacts both women and men. For couples where the woman is under 35, infertility is defined as being unable to conceive after a year of trying. For couples in which the woman is 35 or older, treatment should be sought after six months of trying without success. Once a woman reaches 40, help should be sought once the couple decides to start a family, due to both the quantity and quality of eggs women have at different stages of their lives. But age can impact male fertility as well. While the decline in male fertility isn’t as steep as it is for women, male fertility begins to decline around 40 years old. At this point, men can experience a decrease in sperm quality, meaning that it will take them longer to impregnate their partner. Additionally, the lower quality sperm means that any resulting pregnancies are more likely to result in miscarriage. Want to get started? Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   2. Potentially Lower Cost of Conception For many women who are 40 and over, more invasive procedures like IVF may be the first course of action in order to increase their chances of conception. But for women who seek fertility help earlier, their costs associated with fertility treatment may be lower. Younger women are more likely to have a better reserve of quality eggs, meaning they are more likely to be successful with less invasive methods like timed intercourse, fertility medications or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Not only are these treatments less invasive – they are also significantly less expensive than more involved procedures such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). If you have questions about the options available at REACH to make your fertility treatment affordable, contact our financial team today.   3. Valuable Health Information Most men and women don’t go to the doctor regularly anymore. Many younger men and women don’t even have a primary care physician and instead only see a physician when they’re ill. This lack of regular and thorough care means many people today are unaware of health issues they may have. When starting fertility treatment, patients receive full workup. This comprehensive exam and the testing results can provide a wealth of general health information to patients. For many men and women, their infertility is caused by an underlying health issue they weren’t aware they had. These issues (such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or thyroid diseases) can cause a variety of health problems in addition to infertility, ranging from hypertension to depression. By learning that they have an underlying disease, patients are able to take the first step towards treating it and taking charge of their health.   4. Preserving your future fertility Many women today are delaying child bearing into their late thirties and even forties, often causing them greater obstacles to achieving a pregnancy. But for young women today, advancements in egg freezing can help women increase their chances of success if they decide to postpone parenthood. For these women, time is still of the essence! Women who are considering freezing their eggs should move forward as soon as possible to increase their chances of success. Since egg quality and quantity decline as women age, women who choose to freeze their eggs earlier have a higher likelihood of freezing enough high-quality eggs to give them a good chance of conceiving in the future. Considering freezing your eggs? Contact our team to learn more.   When it comes to your fertility, the sooner you can get help for any issues you may have, the more likely you are to be able to eventually bring home a baby. If you and your partner would like to learn more about your treatment options, contact the fertility experts at REACH Fertility Clinic in Charlotte and Lake Norman, North Carolina at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment today. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/april/4-reasons-to-seek-fertility-treatment-early-on/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/april/4-reasons-to-seek-fertility-treatment-early-on/ Tue, 03 April 2018 00:00:00 Getting an HSG? Know the facts. REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/march/getting-an-hsg-know-the-facts/ If you've been trying to conceive for over a year without success (or six months if you're over 35), one of the first diagnostic tests a fertility specialist will request is a Hysetrosalpingogram (HSG). But what is an HSG, and what can you expect? In this infographic, the fertility experts of REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina explain the procedure, its purpose, and why the HSGs performed at REACH are  unique.The experts at REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina have decades of experience diagnosing and treating fertility issues. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our top fertility specialists at either of our Charlotte area infertility clinics, please call 888-551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/march/getting-an-hsg-know-the-facts/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/march/getting-an-hsg-know-the-facts/ Mon, 19 March 2018 00:00:00 Is Endometriosis Impacting Your Fertility? REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/march/is-endometriosis-impacting-your-fertility/ Dealing with mood swings, bloating, and mild cramps is par for the course for most women when Aunt Flo comes to town. While some discomfort is normal during menstruation, for 1 in 10 women that time of the month can be particularly painful due to endometriosis. But the impact of endometriosis is much more than just having to deal with bad cramps – for many, the pain of endometriosis can even impact their ability to go about their daily lives. So what is endometriosis? And does it impact fertility? The fertility experts of REACH are here to dispel some of the misconceptions around endometriosis and discuss how the disease may impact fertility. What is Endometriosis? Endometriosis occurs when endometrium, the tissue that lines the uterus, is found in places it shouldn’t be – like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other intestines. While endometrial cells are most commonly found in the abdomen and pelvic cavity, endometrial cells can wander as far as the arms, thighs, lungs, and other areas. Spotting the Symptoms of Endometriosis While many women with endometriosis experience intense pain during their period, others can be completely asymptomatic. Some of the most common symptoms include: Seriously Painful Periods: Many women suffering from endometriosis experience severe and at times incapacitating menstrual pain. Gastrointestinal Distress: Cramping, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation, especially around your period, can mean that endometrial cells have migrated to the GI tract. Frequent Urination: Find yourself going to the bathroom more frequently around your period? The frequent need to urinate during your period can indicate endometrial lesions on the bladder. Increased Bleeding: Intense pain during menstruation and very heavy periods, sometimes with clots, can be a result of the endometrial growths reacting to the hormones your ovaries produce during menses. Breathing Discomfort: If you’ve found that you’ve started having trouble breathing, it’s possible that endometrial cells have migrated to your diaphragm. This can cause painful breathing and intense discomfort when trying to move the upper body or upper arms during menstruation.   Endometriosis and Your Fertility While a woman typically has a 20% chance of conceiving each month, endometriosis may make that chance drop as low as 10%. As the endometrial cells migrate outside the uterus, they can begin to grow on a woman’s fallopian tubes, causing lesions. These endometrial lesions and scarring can make it difficult for a man’s sperm to connect with a woman’s egg. But even in cases where there is little or no scarring in the fallopian tubes, endometriosis can make conception challenging. In some severe cases, the cysts that can form on the ovaries may cause damage to your eggs. For women who have been unable to find relief from intense pain due to endometriosis, a hysterectomy may be recommended, meaning these women would be unable to carry their own child.   What to do if you think you have endometriosis Unless your endometriosis has formed a cyst called an endometrioma (which can be seen on a sonogram), the only way for your doctor to diagnose you with the disease would be through laparoscopy. This is a minor surgery in which a scope is inserted into your abdomen through a small incision to look for endometrial cells growing outside the uterus. During the procedure, your physician may also be able treat any endometriosis by removing the lesions. For women concerned about the impact of endometriosis on their fertility, it is important to catch and treat it early on. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned each month during your period, we encourage you to contact the fertility experts of REACH at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment to be tested for endometriosis. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/march/is-endometriosis-impacting-your-fertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/march/is-endometriosis-impacting-your-fertility/ Mon, 12 March 2018 00:00:00 The Surprising Link Between Heart Disease & Infertility REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/the-surprising-link-between-heart-disease-infertility/ Heart disease and infertility may not seem to be related at first glance, but they are more closely related than you would think. While there is no evidence that one causes the other, there is a strong correlation between men and women who struggle with infertility and then go on to develop heart disease later in life. The fertility experts of REACH are here to shed some light on the connection between heart disease and infertility – and what you can do to reduce your risk.   Infertility &amp; General Health If you’re experiencing infertility, it could be a red flag for other health issues. Men and women struggling with infertility have been shown to face an increased risk of developing chronic conditions later in life. Men, in particular, face a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and substance abuse problems if they are also infertile. Underlying health issues are also uncovered during the extensive testing couples undergo when starting fertility treatment. For many men and women, the possibility of developing a metabolic disease isn’t even on their radar until they undergo a full fertility workup. These fertility workups provide patients with valuable information about their current overall health and potential future concerns. For more information on the connection between chronic diseases and infertility, contact the fertility experts of REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina at 888-551-0874. PCOS is tied to both infertility and heart disease One of the most common causes of infertility among women is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). PCOS causes menstrual issues, problems ovulating, hair loss, insulin issues, acne, and even depression. These women also tend to have higher rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood, putting them at even higher risk for heart disease. If left untreated, PCOS can have long term consequences for a woman’s health. If you think you may have PCOS and would like to learn about your treatment options, schedule an appointment with the experts of REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina today.   What you can do to lower your risk Some men and women are genetically pre-disposed to certain conditions, but everyone can work towards making better lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of developing heart disease. Adopting a heart healthy lifestyle can help mitigate your chances of developing health issues. Embracing a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and learning how to manage your stress are all great ways to lower your risk for heart disease, improve fertility, and increase overall wellness and health. While there is a link between infertility and heart disease, the fertility testing many infertile men and women undergo can provide them with valuable information about their general health. Schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today by calling us at 888-551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/the-surprising-link-between-heart-disease-infertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/the-surprising-link-between-heart-disease-infertility/ Thu, 15 February 2018 00:00:00 All About Egg Freezing: Know the Facts REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/all-about-egg-freezing-know-the-facts/ Egg freezing is gaining popularity among women looking to put off parenthood until the time is right. The fertility experts of REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina are here to answer all of your egg freezing questions in their infographic. Want to learn more about egg freezing? Contact the fertility experts of REACH at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/all-about-egg-freezing-know-the-facts/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/all-about-egg-freezing-know-the-facts/ Thu, 08 February 2018 00:00:00 Cancer’s Impact on Fertility REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/cancer-s-impact-on-fertility/ Each year in the United States, millions of men and women are diagnosed with cancer. While cancer was once considered a death sentence, advances in treatment have enabled men women to survive and thrive after a cancer diagnosis. But the same therapies used to treat cancer, while they improve patients’ chances of survival, have side effects that may negatively impact their fertility. Many of these men and women are in their prime reproductive years, leaving them wondering how cancer may affect their ability to have a child in the future. With World Cancer Day upon us, the fertility experts at REACH are here to explain how cancer treatment can impact fertility, and how the right treatment plan can help patients preserve their fertility for the future.   Cancer Treatments &amp; Infertility Depending on the type and stage of the cancer diagnosis, some cancers can be treated using procedures that can preserve an individual’s ability to have children in the future. For example, if the cancer can be treated surgically, there is little risk of infertility (related to the cancer diagnosis). Unfortunately, a majority of cancer treatments involve chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which can dramatically affect fertility. Chemotherapy, in particular, can cause premature ovarian failure or even early menopause. While some women will find their ovaries regain function after some time, older patients and those who have received higher levels of chemotherapy may never regain ovarian function. For men, chemotherapy and radiation treatment can affect negatively affect hormone and sperm production, leaving some men unable to produce healthy (or any) sperm and causing infertility. Preserving Your Fertility While treatment for cancer can negatively impact your fertility, there are steps men and women can take to help preserve their fertility for the future. For men, simply freezing a sperm sample can help preserve their ability to have biological children in the future. For women, the ability to preserve their fertility can depend on their diagnosis. For women who have been cleared by their oncologists, meeting with a Reproductive Endocrinologist to discuss fertility preservation options prior to beginning treatment is the first step. This initial meeting will go over fertility preservation options including egg banking, embryo banking, and ovarian tissue banking. These options all provide women with the ability to have biological children in the future, either carrying the child themselves or through the use of a gestational carrier.   When Time is of the Essence For some women, seeking fertility preservation options prior to beginning treatment is not possible. While this means they may not be able to have genetically related children, they have other paths to parenthood. For patients who did not need to have a hysterectomy, donor eggs can be used to facilitate a pregnancy. If a patient had a hysterectomy, the use of donor eggs in combination with a gestational carrier can help them realize their dreams of family. With so many advances in treatment, many more men and women are leading long and healthy lives post-diagnosis. For many of these individuals, the ability to build a family is integral to their future happiness. If you are facing a cancer diagnosis and would like to learn more about the fertility preservation options available to you, please contact the fertility specialists of REACH at 888-551-0874 or schedule an appointment today. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/cancer-s-impact-on-fertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/february/cancer-s-impact-on-fertility/ Fri, 02 February 2018 00:00:00 Affording Fertility Treatment: Resources to Make Treatment More Affordable REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/january/affording-fertility-treatment-resources-to-make-treatment-more-affordable/ For couples diagnosed with infertility, juggling the tests, exams, medications, and monitoring visits can be overwhelming. Even more overwhelming? Figuring out how to pay for treatment. Even though one in six couples struggles with infertility, very few insurance plans cover treatment. This often leaves couples scrambling to figure out how to pay out of pocket for a variety of procedures and medications. To help patients navigate how to afford the fertility treatments they need to build the families of their dreams, the fertility specialists of REACH are providing a few options for patients planning on how to cover their costs.   Insurance Few insurance plans cover the full cost of fertility treatment, but depending on your plan, some tests and procedures may be covered. Many insurance plans REACH contracts with cover things such as diagnostic testing, reducing at least some of the cost for patients. It’s important for patients to reach out to their insurance providers and find out exactly what is covered under their plan – and what isn’t. This will help patients minimize the amount they will have to pay out of pocket.   Multi-cycle Discount Programs If you’re planning to undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), there is a strong likelihood that you will need more than one cycle in order to achieve a pregnancy. In order to increase your chances of bringing home a baby while minimizing your costs, REACH offers multi-cycle discount programs through our Attain IVF program. This will give patients a reduced, set cost for two or more cycles of treatment.   Third-Party Financing For patients who can’t afford to pay for their treatment up front, there are multiple healthcare-specific financing options for patients. Depending on the program, the financing options can cover everything from medications to retrievals and transfers. Many lenders also offer low- or no-interest plans. Learn more about our lending partners today.   Grant Programs There are a variety of grant programs available to couples struggling to afford fertility treatments. RESOLVE, the national infertility association, provides information about a variety of nonprofit organizations that provide financial assistance to infertility patients throughout the country. Additionally, the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, is a program exclusive to REACH that helps in-need families pay for infertility treatment.   Whether you pay for your fertility treatment through your insurance plan, using discount and grant programs, financing, or a mix of all of the above, the fertility specialists of REACH have a team of financial counselors available to help all patients figure out the best way to make fertility treatment more affordable. If you are struggling with infertility and would like additional information on how to make your treatment more affordable, contact us at 888-551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/january/affording-fertility-treatment-resources-to-make-treatment-more-affordable/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/january/affording-fertility-treatment-resources-to-make-treatment-more-affordable/ Mon, 15 January 2018 00:00:00 Drynuary: A way to improve fertility? REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/january/drynuary-a-way-to-improve-fertility/ Many people enjoy a nice glass of wine or a cocktail to unwind throughout the year. During the holidays, however, this tends to get kicked into over drive. With all of the holiday parties, dinners, and New Year's  events, it’s easy to overindulge. So come January, many people decide to take a break from alcohol and participate in Drynuary (or a dry January). If you’re trying to conceive, this year may be a good one to join them as alcohol consumption has been shown to negatively impact fertility. Below, the fertility experts of REACH explain how alcohol can affect your fertility and provide some tips on completing a successful Drynuary.   How Alcohol Affects Fertility While it’s not fully understood, the consensus among medical professionals is that alcohol can impact hormones important for a successful pregnancy (such as progesterone), as well as egg production and quality. For men who consume alcohol, studies show a decrease in their sperm’s mobility, motility, morphology, and velocity.  If you and you’re partner are trying to conceive, committing to completing a dry January may improve the quality of your sperm and eggs, possibly making it easier for you to conceive.   Tips for a Successful Drynuary Completing a successful Drynuary isn’t always easy. It can be tempting to have a drink when out with friends or when relaxing after a long day, so the fertility experts of REACH have a few tips for you: 1. Don’t Go It Alone Abstaining from drinking, just like any new habit you’re trying to form, is easier if you do it with someone else. Participate in dry January with a friend, or better yet, your partner! Avoiding alcohol will help both you and your partner’s fertility working together to keep each other accountable. 2. Enjoy some Mocktails Plenty of places are embracing the move towards non-alcoholic drinks. Many restaurants now offer menus of “mocktails” or virgin versions of other drinks. You can also use this as an opportunity to explore and become your own mixologist. Experiment with mixers for your seltzer and create your own off-menu versions of your favorite drinks. 3. Get Creative It’s easier to avoid drinking when you’re not spending time in bars. Try planning events with friends and family at places like museums, parks, or coffee shops, where the activity doesn’t revolve around having a glass or two of wine.   Completing a Drynuary can be difficult, but with a few tools you’ll be finishing off the month before you know it. Not only will it improve your overall health, but it can boost your fertility and your chances of achieving a pregnancy. Have questions about your fertility and fertility treatment options? Contact the fertility specialists at REACH at 888-551-0874 or request an appointment.  [WAB1]Year’s https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/january/drynuary-a-way-to-improve-fertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2018/january/drynuary-a-way-to-improve-fertility/ Mon, 08 January 2018 10:00:00 5 Fertility Support Tips for the Holidays & Beyond REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/5-fertility-support-tips-for-the-holidays-beyond/ The holidays are particularly tough for individuals struggling with infertility. Whether it’s dealing with uncomfortable questions from well-meaning relatives or being surrounded by children, the holidays can be an emotional minefield for those struggling with infertility. If one of your loved ones is struggling with infertility, chances are they’ve found ways to cope with feelings of sadness this time of year, but there are many things you can do to support them during this difficult time. The fertility experts of REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina suggest five things you can do to provide fertility support throughout the holidays and beyond. Depending on your situation, you may want to choose one or tackle all five. No matter what you do, you’ll feel the glow that comes from giving and knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Support Can Make a Difference RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is a patient advocacy organization dedicated to serving and supporting anyone who finds themselves challenged as they strive to build their family. This is an amazing resource for those struggling with infertility, providing couples and individuals with the resources they need to cope with their diagnosis. Whether it’s through a financial donation to further their support, education, and advocacy programs in local communities like Charlotte, or becoming a volunteer, there are a number of meaningful ways you can make a difference. Visit RESOLVE.org to see how you can become a member of their fertility support movement. Encouraging a Supportive Environment One of the most common problems individuals coping with infertility come up against are the well-meaning but insensitive comments  people make about having children. “Just relax, it’ll happen” and “What are you waiting for? You’re not getting any younger” are a couple that consistently rear their ugly heads. Those giving this unsolicited advice mean well, but these types of comments can be quite painful for the person on the receiving end to hear. So, what can you do? The fertility experts of REACH suggest you jump right in! If you overhear something that makes a loved one uncomfortable, feel free to intervene by steering the conversation in a new direction, pulling the commenter away, or simply let them know how insensitive their comments are. Your friend has every right to keep her reproductive plans to herself. Be There Sometimes one of the best things you can do for a friend going through infertility is to just be there. Whether she wants someone to just listen, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to join her to binge watch her latest Netflix obsession, your comforting and non-judgmental presence can do a world of good.  Plan excursions to take her mind off of things and let her you’re there for her no matter what. The Season of Giving For many women, their path to parenthood will involve egg donation. If you’re willing and able, egg donation is one of the greatest and most generous gifts you can give to patients struggling with infertility. By donating your eggs, you are providing someone with the opportunity to become a parent. These recipients are truly grateful, and will feel the impact of your gift for the rest of their lives. Providing someone with the chance to become a parent is an amazingly rewarding feeling and exceptional way to provide fertility support to those in need.    While a joyous season for many, the holidays are often a trying time for those struggling with infertility. If you’d like more fertility support ideas, call REACH at 888-551-0874 to speak with one of our team members. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/5-fertility-support-tips-for-the-holidays-beyond/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/5-fertility-support-tips-for-the-holidays-beyond/ Thu, 28 December 2017 00:00:00 8 Fertility Superfoods to Incorporate into Your Holiday Feast REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/8-fertility-superfoods-to-incorporate-into-your-holiday-feast/ The holidays are here, and with them come family, friends, and overindulgence. Whether it’s a couple of themed cocktails or an extra slice of pie, keeping your nutrition in check during the holidays when you’re trying to conceive can be difficult. To make things a little easier, the fertility experts at REACH have come up with a holiday-friendly list of fertility superfoods you can include in your holiday feast to help improve your chances of becoming pregnant while still enjoying the holidays. Below are 8 fertility super foods you can incorporate into your holiday celebrations – along with healthy recipes to go along with them! 1. Asparagus Filled with folic acid, asparagus can help improve ovarian health and prevent birth defects in early pregnancy. To include this in your holiday meal, make sure to keep this side dish light and healthy, like in this Tuscan-Style Roasted Asparagus recipe. 2. Brussel Sprouts They might not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but Brussel sprouts are packed with fertility boosting properties. Sprouts contain folic acid, along with vitamins and nutrients that help women maintain balanced levels of estrogen. Afraid your Brussel sprouts will be ignored on the holiday table? Try a twist on the traditional with this recipe for Shredded Parmesan Brussel Sprouts that are likely to please even the pickiest of eaters. 3. Carrots Carrots aren’t just great for your eyesight – they’re fantastic for male fertility! Packed with carotenoids, carrots can help improve sperm performance by up to eight percent. Keep those carrots light and delicious with this simple braised carrot recipe. 4. Dark chocolate Another fertility food found to help with male fertility – dark chocolate! Dark chocolate contains amino acids that have been proven to double sperm and semen volume. Additionally, dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants, helping defend against free radicals and toxins linked to male infertility. Just make sure it’s high in cocoa content – 70% or higher – to get the most out of it. 5. Dark, Leafy Greens Dark leafy greens contain folic acid, which can prevent birth defects and help keep eggs and sperm healthy. Kale in particular is jam packed with fertility boosting nutrients, like magnesium (which has fertility boosting properties). This year, start your holiday meal with a delicious kale salad to start reaping the benefits. 6. Whole Milk Feel free to wash down that slice of pie with some whole milk. Studies show that regularly consuming high-fat dairy foods decreases the risk of ovulatory infertility in women. High-fat dairy products also have high amounts of vitamin D, a key nutrient for reproductive health. Not a fan of milk? Enjoy some full-fat yogurt, cheese, or even ice cream. 7. Walnuts Walnuts aren’t just great additions to a desert – they’re also a fertility boosting food for men and women. For women, nuts can improve the quality of the uterine lining, making it easier for a fertilized embryo to implant. With men, nuts have been shown to improve overall sperm quality. Squeeze in a delicious dose of nuts during the holidays with this rosemary roasted nuts recipe. 8. Tomatoes Tomatoes are a great fertility food for couples trying to conceive. High in lycopene, tomatoes can help increase a man’s sperm count by up to 70 percent! In women, the high levels of folic acid can help boost fertility and decrease the likelihood of birth defects. Incorporate some tomatoes into your holiday meals with this bright tomato salad. While eating right can be a challenge during the holidays, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on fertility in both men and women. For more information on fertility treatment options or to schedule a consultation at REACH, please give us a call at (888) 551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/8-fertility-superfoods-to-incorporate-into-your-holiday-feast/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/8-fertility-superfoods-to-incorporate-into-your-holiday-feast/ Mon, 11 December 2017 09:00:00 Quiz: How Should You Make This a December to Remember? REACH Charlotte Fertility Experts https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/quiz-how-should-you-make-this-a-december-to-remember/ De-stressing is key when you’re #TTC… but is that realistic during the holidays? You bet. Take our fun &amp; quick quiz to identify the best chill-out tactics for you! Powered by https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/quiz-how-should-you-make-this-a-december-to-remember/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/dec/quiz-how-should-you-make-this-a-december-to-remember/ Wed, 06 December 2017 00:00:00 Show Your Support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/oct/show-your-support-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month/ Did you know that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of death among women?  The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great opportunity to bring much-needed awareness to this disease as well as stress the importance of early detection.  How can you participate?  It’s easy!  The city of Charlotte, as well as its surrounding areas, are booming with tons of fun events rallying in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.  Here are just a few… Paint with a Purpose Fundraiser Brunch Bar:  Who doesn’t love brunch?  Better yet, a brunch that includes a sip and paint session!  Grab your girlfriends for a fun outing that also raises money for breast cancer research.  ‘Think Pink’ at the FLO Bar &amp; Lounge, October 21, 12pm to 3pm.  Making Strides of Greater Charlotte 5k Walk: “No one walks alone.” Support this great cause, and join survivors, caregivers, fighters, and all others who walk to save lives from breast cancer.  This is a fun 5k that includes a down and back on the ½ mile zMax Dragway and crosses over the pedestrian bridges to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for a great photo op with the speedway in the background!   zMax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, October 21, registration opens at 8am, walk starts at 9:30am.  Bling &amp; Things Fight Against Breast Cancer:  Shop till you drop at the Bling &amp; Things Event where a portion of vendor proceeds will go towards the Susan Komen Foundation.  Here’s a tip…don’t forget to grab the awesome swag bag!  Xclusiv Salon, October 28, 2pm to 5pm.  Novant Health Breast Imaging &amp; CycleBar Waverly Charity Ride:  With a donation of just $25, cycle for charity at this great event.  All donations will go towards the Novant Health Cancer Center to provide mammograms for uninsured women.  CycleBar Waverly, October 28, 12pm to 1pm.  “The Breast Hair Show Ever”: Hosted by the Aveda Institute of Charlotte, expect a stylish, fun night of all things fabulous while also supporting a great cause.  Celebrate this year’s theme - Michael Jackson - and enjoy a night out with the ladies!  Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the door with all proceeds going towards breast cancer research.  Flight Beer Garden &amp; Music Hall, October 29, 7pm to 10pm.  At REACH our team of infertility specialists will be celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month and doing our part to raise much-needed awareness for this great cause.  For information on our fertility centers in Charlotte, NC or Lake Norman, NC or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our top infertility doctors, please call us today at (888) 551-0874 or click here to make an appointment. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/oct/show-your-support-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/oct/show-your-support-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month/ Wed, 11 October 2017 00:00:00 10 Things Every Woman Should Know About PCOS REACH Fertility Experts https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/sept/10-things-every-woman-should-know-about-pcos/ September marks PCOS Awareness Month and presents an opportunity to raise worldwide public awareness of polycystic ovarian syndrome.  It is also an opportunity for women diagnosed with PCOS to get clear information and support through educational resources and outreach.  Think you may suffer from PCOS?  Check out the list below for more information: PCOS is the leading cause of infertility among women! PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects over 7 million women worldwide.  That’s more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined. The cause of PCOS is still unknown, but the main underlying problem of this condition is a hormone imbalance from the ovaries making too many androgens (male hormones) than they are supposed to.  High levels of these hormones affect the development of eggs and how they are released during ovulation.  Researchers believe that insulin, a hormone that controls the change of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body to use or store, is also linked to PCOS.  It is common for women who have PCOS to have increased levels of insulin which appears to also increase the production of androgen.  Women with PCOS have three characteristic symptoms which include infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods, excess androgens (measured in the blood or seen through symptoms such as excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes), and polycystic ovaries (detected through an ultrasound). Women are diagnosed with PCOS when they have at least two of these symptoms. Obesity is a common denominator in women with PCOS, and nearly 60% of women with PCOS are obese.  This is likely due to the hormonal imbalances that can lead to weight gain.   Because women with PCOS are prone to developing insulin resistance, they are also at a higher risk to develop Type 2 diabetes.  All women with PCOS should be screened for insulin resistance. Women who lose weight from diet and exercise can help improve ovulation patterns and fertility and lower their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Other common symptoms of PCOS can include the following: Acne, oily skin, or dandruff Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair Pelvic pain Skin tags (excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area) Sleep apnea Anxiety or depression Infertility caused by PCOS is first treated with one of two oral medications - clomiphene citrate or letrozole.  If unsuccessful, injected fertility medication called gonadotropins may be given to stimulate the growth of an egg.  IVF (in vitro fertilization) may also help women with PCOS get pregnant if other treatments do not work. If you have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant or think you may have PCOS, we can help.  For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our top fertility specialists at either our Charlotte or Lake Norman fertility clinic, please call REACH today at (888) 551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/sept/10-things-every-woman-should-know-about-pcos/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/sept/10-things-every-woman-should-know-about-pcos/ Wed, 27 September 2017 00:00:00 Self-Love During Fertility Treatments REACH Fertility Clinic https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/aug/self-love-during-fertility-treatments/ You’re in the midst of an ongoing struggle with fertility treatments, a journey that affects one mentally, physically, emotionally, financially…the list goes on.  It’s so easy to lose yourself to the negativity, to the fear, and to the anxiety of infertility, but never is it more important to be positive and even more importantly to love yourself.  The strategies below offer insight on how to give yourself much-needed inner peace and on how to shift your experience from reactionary to action-driven.     Keep the Mental Chatter to a Minimum:  During treatments, it’s easy to keep your mind on a constant flow of negativity.  However, when you give in to this mental chatter, your energy focuses on a negative result rather than the chances of a positive outcome.  Sure, this is probably just a defense mechanism in case the treatment doesn’t work, but it’s not healthy and will only hurt your chances of conceiving.  When you start to hear the negative voice in your head, try to create a system to manage the chatter. Become a “witness” to your feelings, acknowledge them, and then release them.  This will help ease that inner chatter.  Create a System of Self-Care:  In order to take better care of yourself, you need to acknowledge what it is that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.  When you realize what this is, give yourself one daily act of self-care to help boost your mental and emotional well-being.  It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it does need to create a connection of feeling supported and loved.  This could be as simple as giving yourself a few minutes each day to read a book or do a crossword puzzle, go on a walk, or treat yourself to a nice lunch or fancy cup of coffee.  By doing just one small self-care act a day, you’re going to feel happier with yourself and walk around with a more positive outlook.  Focus on What You Want:  Throughout the fertility journey, your needs and wants may change.  At every step of the way, it’s important to be crystal clear with these intentions and to be open to all possible options and outcomes.  When you know exactly what you want (without focusing on the path that you’re on to get there), you shift the mental chatter from “What if something happens?” to “This is what I need and intend right at this moment.”  Become aware of what you’re asking for consciously and subconsciously, and see what the universe has in store.  No matter where you’re at in the fertility process, always remember to shower yourself with kindness, love, and self-care.  This will help shift your energy to a more positive state that can only help your chances of conceiving.  If you would like information on our fertility centers in Charlotte or Lake Norman or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our top fertility specialists, please call us at (888) 551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/aug/self-love-during-fertility-treatments/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/aug/self-love-during-fertility-treatments/ Fri, 18 August 2017 00:00:00 Quiz: What Romantic Activities Fit Your Personality? REACH Fertility Clinic https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/aug/romantic-activities-when-undergoing-fertility-treatment/ IVF treatments are super relaxing … said no one ever. Reduce stress and help redicover the romance throughout IVF treatments. August is Romance Awareness month! How should you celebrate? Take our quiz to find out… https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/aug/romantic-activities-when-undergoing-fertility-treatment/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/aug/romantic-activities-when-undergoing-fertility-treatment/ Wed, 09 August 2017 00:00:00 Planning Your Summer Vacation Around Fertility Treatments REACH Fertility Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jul/planning-your-summer-vacation-around-fertility-treatments/ Family planning while vacation planning…it’s not easy.  Fertility treatments can be a time-consuming process that require a calendar full of doctor appointments and scheduled procedures (many of which have to be exactly at the right time).  However, never is it more important to enjoy a little R &amp; R than when you’re going through fertility treatments.  Psychological factors such as stress and anxiety play a huge role in fertility.  It is incredibly important to remain positive, try your hardest to relax and to avoid anxiety often associated with infertility.  That being said, a vacation is just what the doctor ordered.  But how do you do that around your treatment schedule?  Here are some tips on how to do so… Preparing for your trip… Before you schedule your trip, talk to your doctor about your cycle timeline.  There may be days or weeks that are more optimal for travel, and your doctor will pinpoint those dates. Avoid traveling during the phases of your treatment cycle where you need to be closely monitored by your doctor.   Talk to your fertility doctor about how much medication you should take on your trip and when you should take it.  If you’re switching time zones, you many need to adjust your administration schedule to keep your hormone levels balanced.   What to Pack… The contact information for your fertility doctor The name of a fertility doctor located near your travel destination.  This is in the case of an emergency or if you need monitoring or a medication refill.  Ask your regular doctor for a referral.   Your fertility medications in their original containers A schedule of when to take your fertility medication.  Again, it is very important to factor in time zone changes.   A letter from your fertility doctor or clinic that lists the medications you are carrying which also explains medical reasons why you are taking them.    Supplies to keep your medications at the correct temperature.  This may include a small, insulated cooler and a few ice packs.  Many fertility medications require refrigeration, so make sure you plan for this and take into consideration the duration of travel.  If you’re staying in a hotel, make sure they have refrigerators in the room.   Sanitation supplies such as gauze, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer A sharps container to dispose of needles If You’re Flying… Before your trip, check with the airline about the most up-to-date regulations and guidelines for traveling with medications.   Before going through security, let them know you have medication needles and syringes that need to be checked.  Also, allow extra time to go through airport security as some medications may require additional screening. Pack your fertility meds in your carry-on bag.  This way you can make sure the medication is stored at the correct temperature and avoid having them get lost should your checked luggage go missing.   The last step….have fun!  While it may be difficult, try to take your mind off the treatments, have a great time, and relax.  You deserve it! For information on our Charlotte and Lake Norman fertility clinics or to schedule a consultation with one of our top-rated fertility physicians, please call us today at (888) 551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jul/planning-your-summer-vacation-around-fertility-treatments/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jul/planning-your-summer-vacation-around-fertility-treatments/ Wed, 26 July 2017 00:00:00 The Importance of Yearly Check Ups for Men REACH Fertility Clinic Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jun/fertility-screening-for-men/ You get your car serviced regularly right?  Well, you should give yourself that same kind of treatment with annual exams that can help find problems before they start.  When you detect health issues early, your chances for treatment and a healthy prognosis dramatically improve.  By seeking the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you increase your chances for living a longer, healthier life.  “Our busy lives and work schedules often prevent us from seeking routine preventative care,” says Robert W. Brenner, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Founder of the Preventative Medicine Program at New Jersey-based Summit Medical Group.  “But evidence-based preventative medicine is cost-effective and reduces the risk of illness and disease.” Your age and individual health conditions will determine what tests you should have done and how often you should have them, but will typically include the following… Annual physical exam by your primary care physician that includes a blood test, blood pressure and height/ weight checks Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self exams Cholesterol testing every 5 years Based on health conditions and family history, you may need an electrocardiogram to check for heart disease and blood tests to screen for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia Other risk factors may lead to additional screening such as skin cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection, and alcohol abuse Fertility testing is equally important for men as well.  In about 20% of infertile couples, the man is the sole cause of the inability to conceive, and in another 30%-40%, he is the contributing factor.  By discovering male fertility issues early, the better the chances of nixing the problem sooner and achieving a successful pregnancy with their partner.   If you would like more information on male fertility testing or you’re interested in scheduling a consultation with one of our top physicians at either our Lake Norman or Charlotte fertility clinics, please call (888) 551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jun/fertility-screening-for-men/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jun/fertility-screening-for-men/ Fri, 30 June 2017 00:00:00 Egg Preservation Trending Among Millennials REACH Fertility Clinic https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/may/egg-preservation-trending-among-millennials/ “Human egg freezing is going mainstream,” as stated in an article from Scientific American.  Egg preservation (or embryo freezing) is a medically accepted way to preserve fertility and is a procedure that is now trending among millennials as a way to take control over their reproduction.  Up until a few years ago, egg freezing was primarily offered to women suffering from infertility and for those undergoing harsh cancer treatments that could damage reproductive organs and lead to infertility.  In October 2012, the technology for egg preservation had advanced enough that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) announced the procedure was no longer “experimental”.  Since then, the door for egg preservation has opened to young, healthy women who wish to delay childbearing.  Widely popular among millennials, egg preservation offers women flexibility and a sense of control when it comes to starting a family.  Many are focusing on careers or simply waiting to meet the right person and have therefore decided to put family planning on hold (Fertility in women declines rapidly after the age of 35, and egg freezing gives women an option to start a family later in life.)  By 2018, the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) estimates that 76,000 women will freeze their eggs – more than 15 times the rate in 2013.  How Does It Work? The egg freezing process is similar to IVF (in-vitro fertilization), but the timing of pregnancy is different.  First a woman receives fertility shots to boost egg production and then has them extracted.  With IVF, the fresh eggs are immediately combined with sperm and implanted into the patient’s womb so pregnancy can begin. With egg freezing, a woman’s eggs are frozen immediately after they are extracted and are saved for pregnancy until a later date.   Research shows that pregnancy rates for fresh and frozen eggs have had similar success.  One study showed a 57% success rate for frozen eggs with another study at a 63% success rate.  This is compared to a 55% success rate for fresh eggs.Learn More If you are interested in learning more about egg preservation or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our top physicians at our Charlotte REACH fertility center, please call us today at (888) 551-0874.  --OR --Join Us at the Upcoming Info Session about Egg Freezing The REACH female fertility experts will be holding a casual and informative discussion on egg freezing at the Nolen Kitchen, 2839 Selwyn Avenue Charlotte, NC 28209 On June 6th at 6 pm.  RSVP by calling: 704-343-4444 to registerThis event will include: Overview of female fertility Fertility preservation options Learn the Who, When and How of egg freezing (Who should freeze their eggs, When you should freeze eggs, How to freeze your eggs) Female fertility question answer session https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/may/egg-preservation-trending-among-millennials/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/may/egg-preservation-trending-among-millennials/ Thu, 25 May 2017 00:00:00 over the Cost of Fertility Treatments with Insurance, Financing or Both REACH Fertility Clinic Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/apr/how-to-afford-fertility-treatments/ In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, we wanted to take time to focus on how REACH can help you overcome the financial obstacles associated with fertility treatments so you can focus on what really matters – your family. One in eight couples struggles with infertility, and the costs associated with infertility treatments can add up – and quickly. Often, many rounds of medication and procedures are required and multiple IVF cycles may prove necessary. And while insurance plans may cover treatment for many medically-recognized disorders and medically-necessary procedures and medications, many do not cover treatment for infertility services. In fact, currently, there are only 15 states that require insurance plans to offer infertility insurance or to provide infertility coverage. Unfortunately, North Carolina has no state laws that require infertility coverage. And the terms of coverage for the states that do require infertility coverage vary greatly, so it’s important to know the specifics for your state and plan before seeking treatment as many plans that do offer coverage may have treatment prerequisites, age requirements, and lifetime maximums. So before you begin your infertility treatments, we recommend you speak to a representative from your insurance company to discuss what your plan covers – and doesn’t. Some private plans do offer some coverage for infertility treatments while other don’t. It’s best to know what will be covered so you’re not surprised by a big bill. At REACH, we make every effort to help you realize your dreams of a family, whether through your insurance, our financing options – or both. INSURANCE: REACH participates with most major insurance plans and will work to verify your benefits prior to your first visit. We accept: Blue Cross/Blue Shield Cigna MEDCOST PHCS (Private Health Care Systems) United Healthcare Aetna Please contact us if your plan isn’t listed. FINANCING: REACH is also proud to offer several financing options for patients undergoing fertility treatments. They are: CapexMD Financing: CapexMD specializes in providing patient financing services for all fertility treatment options. Lending Club Financing: One of the nation's top providers of elective treatment financing, Lending Club provides low monthly payments to finance your fertility care. HCS Financing: HCS offers patient healthcare finance options that are easy to use and affordable for both patients and practitioners. Understandably, the cost of any medical treatment is a concern for most people. REACH is proud to offer several options to help our patients focus on family, not finances. All of our financial options can be used in conjunction with your insurance benefits, and our expert financial counselors can recommend the financial options that best suit your needs and budget. So if you are struggling with infertility, let REACH help. Call us at (888) 551-0874 today to make an appointment and start on the road to building the family you’ve always wanted. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/apr/how-to-afford-fertility-treatments/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/apr/how-to-afford-fertility-treatments/ Mon, 24 April 2017 00:00:00 National Infertility Awareness Week 2017 REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-2017/ National Infertility Awareness Week starts April 23rd and throughout the week you will see us promoting infertility awareness through social media and at our Charlotte area fertility clinics.  The goal of NIAW is to bring awareness to a disease that affects over 7 million women worldwide.  The CDC tells us that  is 15% of couples in America. NIAW is a great opportunity for anyone affected with infertility to communicate a message of hope and understanding.                        Be part of a movement that wants to remove barriers that stand in the way of building families during National Infertility Awareness Week®. Download the facts HERE. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-2017/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-2017/ Mon, 10 April 2017 00:00:00 Raising Awareness About Endometriosis REACH Fertility Clinic https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/mar/raising-awareness-about-endometriosis/ With an estimated 1 in 10 women – or 200 million women worldwide – suffering from endometriosis, its prevalence is ten times that of autism – but is rarely discussed or considered newsworthy. Endometriosis is the third-leading cause of gynecologic hospitalization and is the leading cause of the estimated 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year in the United States. And despite these startling numbers, endometriosis is often overlooked or misdiagnosed, with those afflicted often enduring lengthy diagnostic delays lasting years. With such alarming statistics, the founders of Worldwide EndoMarch have taken action by creating a worldwide endometriosis awareness movement wherein people from around the world – sufferers and supporters alike – can join together on March 25, 2017, World Endometriosis Day, to raise awareness. Endometriosis occurs when tissue – similar to the lining of the uterus – grows in other areas of the body. The tissue is linked to the woman's hormonal cycle but unlike a period, the tissue remains in the body and bleeds, forming adhesions, lesions and cysts. And while it most commonly affects the reproductive system, its debilitating effects can impact many organs and structures including the lungs, bladder, bowel, diaphragm, nerves, and muscles, causing crippling pain, organ damage, infertility, and other severe and sometimes life-threatening medical complications. Organizations like Worldwide EndoMarch seek to raise awareness about the incurable ‘invisible’ disease with their upcoming 4th annual march – taking place simultaneously in more than 56 cities worldwide. The march hopes to not only raise awareness about endometriosis and its effects on women and girls, but also hopes to educate the medical community in order to encourage early detection and improved treatments, to improve health screenings for endometriosis among girls and young women in public schools, and to bring attention to the disease in order to secure government funding for endometriosis research. Visit Worldwide Endometriosis March for more information and to learn how you can get involved in the fight for endometriosis recognition and research. If you or someone you know has been affected by endometriosis but struggles with infertility, please contact REACH at 888.551.0874. We have several options to help you achieve your family goals. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/mar/raising-awareness-about-endometriosis/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/mar/raising-awareness-about-endometriosis/ Fri, 24 March 2017 00:00:00 How Should You De-Stress? REACH Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jan/whats-your-stress-style/ We all know that for ultimate fertility we should stress less – but how? Enjoy this fun &amp; informative quiz to help uncover your unique ultimate chilling technique. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jan/whats-your-stress-style/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2017/jan/whats-your-stress-style/ Mon, 23 January 2017 00:00:00 Why It’s Important to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle During the Holiday Season REACH Fertility Clinics https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/dec/why-it-s-important-to-maintain-a-healthy-lifestyle-during-the-holiday-season/ It’s that time of year again for parties, parties, and more parties!  While there’s nothing better than enjoying the festivities, along with the parties comes a ton of delicious foods and drinks that are often hard to avoid.  We know it’s tempting, but this holiday season, try your hardest to maintain your normal healthy lifestyle – especially if you are trying to get pregnant.  Here’s why…. Being overweight has been known to have devastating effects on fertility and can cause abnormalities in hormone levels in both men and women that can have a negative effect on eggs and sperm.  Not to mention, it also puts the cardiovascular system in overdrive, promotes pre-diabetic and diabetic states, and increases cholesterol levels.  While, it’s certainly okay to treat yourself, just don’t completely derail from your normal habits and follow these tips below. Make sure your diet includes a balance of lean proteins, healthy fats, and low glycemic index carbohydrates.   *A low glycemic diet is important especially for women effected with PCOS who are prone to making high levels of insulin.  This is because high level glycemic foods allow large swings in blood sugar, which in turn allow sustained elevations in insulin.  Insulin acts as a growth factor in the ovary and releases male hormones, thus lowering chances to conceive.  The Glycemic Index (GI) ranges from 1-100, and the most ideal foods have a GI range of less than 55.  This includes foods such as vegetables, most fruits (watermelon, bananas, and grapes have a higher GI range), oatmeal, peas, carrots, skim milk, and beans.  Examples of intermediate GI foods can include pasta, corn, and ice cream.  Avoid high GI foods such as white bread, white potatoes, and sugared sodas.  Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of a few large meals a day.  This will help you stay full throughout the day and boost your metabolism.   Eat protein at every meal.  Stop the bad habits!  This means giving up smoking and minimizing alcohol intake.  Exercise more frequently.  Guys, this goes for you as well as exercise has been proven to help sperm production.  Men should stop taking male hormone enhancing drugs which routinely decreases sperm production.  By maintaining a healthy lifestyle (yes, even through the holidays) it can have a positive impact on fertility in both men and women.  For more information on fertility treatment options or to schedule a consultation at the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte, please give us a call at (888) 551-0874. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/dec/why-it-s-important-to-maintain-a-healthy-lifestyle-during-the-holiday-season/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/dec/why-it-s-important-to-maintain-a-healthy-lifestyle-during-the-holiday-season/ Mon, 05 December 2016 00:00:00 North Carolina’s Leading Fertility Center Opens New Location REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/nov/north-carolina-s-leading-fertility-center-opens-new-location/ CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, November 2016 - REACH – Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte, is proud to announce the opening of their new location in the Lake Norman area of Charlotte, North Carolina.  REACH has relocated its previous Cornelius office to a more expansive location in Mooresville, North Carolina.  The new office in the Langtree area of Mooresville is a state-of-the-art facility where patients will have access to their physician teams five days a week.  “We are happy to have REACH here in Mooresville, they will nicely complement our other fine medical offerings,” says Mayor Miles Atkins. This office is in addition to their existing center located in the heart of Charlotte, where they have been treating fertility patients for almost 30 years and have been recognized as one of the leading fertility centers in the Southeast.  “At REACH, we are constantly working to improve access and convenience for the patients who seek specialized fertility care” said Dr. Seth Katz of REACH. The new location is now accepting patients and is conveniently located off interstate I-77, exit 31, in Mooresville, making REACH more convenient for patients from the Lake Norman area, the Triad area, Statesville, Hickory and Boone.  REACH’s team of six fertility experts provides fertility treatments and services year-round without delays.  Fertility treatments offered to patients range from those just beginning their fertility journey, to those that have been trying for years, utilizing the most sophisticated and state-of-the-art techniques and procedures available today.  REACH is a leader in providing fertility services in North Carolina and has been providing individualized compassionate fertility care for almost 30 years. REACH’s physicians, are widely respected for their superior pregnancy success rates – among the highest in the region – and for the finest patient care. The superior skill and combined experience make REACH the premier source for fertility treatment in the region. For additional information, visit www.NorthCarolinaFertility.com or search for “REACH – Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte” on Facebook. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/nov/north-carolina-s-leading-fertility-center-opens-new-location/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/nov/north-carolina-s-leading-fertility-center-opens-new-location/ Tue, 08 November 2016 00:00:00 National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Egg Freezing & Fertility Preservation Options Prior to Cancer Treatments REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/oct/fertility-preservation-options-prior-to-breast-cancer-treatments/ During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we all have a great opportunity to not only educate ourselves about the disease, but to also bring awareness to our friends and family and stress the vital importance of early detection. Check out the statistics below… Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of death among women. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.  On average, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and every thirteen minutes, one women will die.  Each year, an estimated 246,660 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die.  Although rare, each year an estimated 2,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 440 will die. There are over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors alive in the U.S. today.  When detected early (at the localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%.  One of the main concerns for women going through cancer treatments, especially for reproductive-age women, is whether or not she will be able conceive after the treatments are complete.  Because both chemotherapy and radiation can often damage sperm or eggs, many times patients are left infertile.  Fortunately, egg freezing and fertility preservation options are available at REACH that give women hope and the ability to conceive a child even after going through harsh cancer treatments.  At REACH’s clinics in Charlotte and Lake Norman, we understand the emotional stress that women go through when faced with cancer, so we have partnered with the Fertile Hope, Livestrong ™ program to provide support and assistance for patients that have opted to freeze eggs or embryos prior to cancer treatment.  For more information about this program, please click here.  If you would like to schedule a consultation to hear more about our egg freezing or fertility preservation procedures, please contact us at (888) 551-0874.  For information on how you can participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please click here. Resources: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/oct/fertility-preservation-options-prior-to-breast-cancer-treatments/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/oct/fertility-preservation-options-prior-to-breast-cancer-treatments/ Tue, 25 October 2016 00:00:00 How the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund Came to Be REACH Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/sept/how-the-kyle-and-samantha-busch-bundle-of-joy-fund-came-to-be/ Kyle and Samantha Busch detail the ups and downs they endured in trying to have a baby, going through IVF and turning their struggles into a positive by helping other couples in need. Your browser does not support iframes. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/sept/how-the-kyle-and-samantha-busch-bundle-of-joy-fund-came-to-be/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/sept/how-the-kyle-and-samantha-busch-bundle-of-joy-fund-came-to-be/ Wed, 21 September 2016 00:00:00 Fertility Preservation: Elective Egg Freezing REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/july/fertility-preservation-elective-egg-freezing/ You never know where life is going to take you, or perhaps the road you’re currently traveling doesn’t include the immediate desire to start a family, at least not quite yet.  Whatever the reason, more and more women are choosing to stop the biological clock and are opting for elective fertility preservation – a process that freezes eggs in order to have children later in life. As women age, the quantity and quality of eggs decline each year – dramatically declining after the age of 35 and leaving only a 5% chance of conceiving by the age of 40.  With egg freezing, a woman can serve as her own egg donor when she is ready to conceive later in life.  Reasons for Fertility Preservation: Medical reasons, including cancer treatment *According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in the Journal of Oncology Practice, “Oncologists should address the possibility of infertility with patients treated during their reproductive years.  Fertility preservation is often possible, but to serve the full range of options, fertility preservation approaches should be considered as early as possible during (cancer) treatment planning.”  The desire to start a family later in life  Personal reasons that delay child bearing  To avoid freezing surplus embryos after an IVF cycle At REACH, fertility preservation has never been easier with our Egg Freezing Fertility Preservation package.  The first step of the process starts with a physician consultation that includes an in-depth discussion of the patient’s needs and expectations, as well as a detailed description of the procedure.  Once the patient decides to move forward, blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound are performed to assess the number of eggs in the ovaries.  The next step is ovarian stimulation - a two-week process that involves fertility hormone injections (gonadotropins) in order to produce more mature eggs than a typical cycle.  The physician will then determine the exact time to retrieve the eggs which soon after will be frozen and stored.  When a woman decides to attempt a pregnancy, the eggs are thawed, fertilized, and transferred into the uterus.  For more information on elective fertility preservation at REACH, please give us a call today!  Resources: http://jop.ascopubs.org/content/2/3/143.full, http://uscfertility.org/egg-freezing/, http://ivf.org/fertility-preservation/elective-fertility-preservation/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/july/fertility-preservation-elective-egg-freezing/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/july/fertility-preservation-elective-egg-freezing/ Thu, 14 July 2016 00:00:00 Men’s Health Month: A Closer Look at Male Infertility REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/june/men-s-health-month-a-closer-look-at-male-infertility/ June is Men’s Health Month and is celebrated across the country to bring awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.  This month gives us a great opportunity to spotlight a condition that affects millions of men around the world and one of the toughest challenges a man can face - male infertility.  In about 20% of infertile couples, the man is the sole cause of the inability to conceive, and in another 30%-40%, he is the contributing factor.  This is why it is crucial for men to get tested for fertility as well as women.  By discovering male fertility issues early, the better the chances of nixing the problem sooner and achieving a successful pregnancy with their partner.   Most often, male infertility can be attributed to issues with making or moving the sperm.  However, even everyday activities can cause problems.  See below… Causes for low sperm count or abnormal sperm: Varicocele – an abnormal collection of bulging veins above the testicle (Good news! This condition accounts for 38% of male infertility cases and is the most correctable issue.) Undescended testicle Infections in the testicle, the prostate, or elsewhere in the body Chemotherapy or cancer Medicines such as anabolic steroids or anti-seizure medicines Genetic abnormalities Hormone problems Causes for sperm mobility issues: Retrograde ejaculation – semen ejaculates backwards into the bladder instead of out the penis Absence of the vas deferens (the main sperm pipeline) Obstruction anywhere in between the testicles and the penis Anti-sperm antibodies that attack a man’s own sperm on their way to the egg Daily activities that can affect the viability of sperm: Drinking more than 2 drinks per day Tobacco or marijuana use Hot baths and whirlpools Stress Taking testosterone or any over-the-counter androgen like DHEA While this information can be hard to swallow for men suffering from infertility, there is good news.   Most of these conditions can be reversed, HOWEVER, it is critical to have an evaluation by a physician and a treatment plan in place to achieve a successful pregnancy with your partner.  For information on male fertility testing at our North Carolina Fertility clinics or to schedule a consultation, please give us a call today! Resources: http://www.menshealthmonth.org/, http://www.webmd.com/men/features/male-infertility-treatments?page=1, http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/male-fertility-tests https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/june/men-s-health-month-a-closer-look-at-male-infertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/june/men-s-health-month-a-closer-look-at-male-infertility/ Thu, 16 June 2016 00:00:00 10 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/may/10-tips-to-boost-your-mental-health/ Since 1949, the month of May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month and an opportunity to educate millions of people about mental health through the media, local events, and screenings.  As part of the “big picture” when dealing with fertility issues and treatments, mental health is just as important as your physical health.  So as we head into summer, check out these ten tips that can help boost your mental well-being.  Start your day with a cup of coffee.  Studies show that coffee consumption is linked to lower rates of depression, but remember to stick to just one cup. If coffee isn’t your morning drink of choice, try a cup of tea instead.  Even the non-caffeinated stuff can do the trick.  Plan a vacation.  Did you know that when you have something to look forward to, it can boost your overall happiness for up to 8 weeks?  Go ahead, and book that vacation you’ve been daydreaming about! Get creative.  Experiment with a bunch of new recipes, start a DIY project at home, paint or even just color in a coloring book.  When your creative juices are flowing, your mind is focused and you tend to be in an overall happier place.  Laugh a little.  Laughter is a great way to ease anxiety, so hang with a friend that makes you laugh, see a funny move, read a silly book, or watch funny videos online.  We all have our own quirky sense of humor, so do whatever makes you smile. Dance!  Hit your favorite dance club or simply dance around the house while you do your housework.  Dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases endorphins (the body’s feel-good chemicals).  Take a bath.  Give yourself the gift of a relaxing, warm bath at least once a week.  Add some Epsom salt to soothe aches and pains which in turn will boost magnesium levels and help with depression.  Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.  Among their many benefits, omega-3’s have been linked to decreased rates of depression.  Fish oil supplements work, but you can also try adding foods like wild salmon, flax seeds, or walnuts into your diet.  Practice forgiveness.  Put the road rage aside and forgive the guy who totally cut you off.  Studies show that people who forgive have better mental health and are more satisfied with their lives. Go outside for a walk.  Whether it’s a stroll through the neighborhood or a walk in the park, research shows that being outside can increase energy levels, reduce depression, and boost your well-being.  Smile!  When you’re down, the hardest thing to do is smile.  We totally get it.  But keep this in mind, smiling can help lower your heart rate, calm you down, and help you have that all important positive mindset. If you would like more information about REACH or any of our fertility centers, please give us a call for more information or to schedule a free consultation. Resource: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/31-tips-boost-your-mental-health https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/may/10-tips-to-boost-your-mental-health/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/may/10-tips-to-boost-your-mental-health/ Tue, 31 May 2016 00:00:00 April 24 - 30 is National Infertility Awareness Week! REACH Fertility https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-2016/ April 24 marked the start of National Infertility Awareness Week, bringing much needed awareness to a disease that affects over 7 million women worldwide. While infertility is a personal journey that that can affect anyone at any age, it is also a challenge that so many share. NIAW is a great opportunity for anyone affected with infertility to communicate a message of hope and understanding. Check out the facts below… * Infertility impacts 1 in 8 couples of reproductive ages. * One third of infertility issues are considered “unexplained” infertility. * One third of infertility issues are attributed to males. * Women between the ages of 20-24 have an 86% chance of conceiving after trying a year. As women age, this percentage gradually falls. Between the ages of 40 – 44, the chances decrease to 36%. At REACH, we are showing our support for NIAW with our #HAVEAHEART campaign, promoting infertility awareness through social media and at our clinics in Charlotte and Lake Norman. This campaign is marked by the color orange (red = love, yellow=happiness), which has represented infertility since ancient times. During NIAW, don’t be surprised if you see touches of orange throughout our offices and adorned by our staff – a reminder to all of our patients that they have an ongoing support system. For more information on NIAW and to see how you too can become a part of the movement, click here. If you are struggling with infertility and would like to schedule an appointment at one of our clinics, please contact us today. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-2016/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-2016/ Tue, 26 April 2016 00:00:00 Opening Up the Topic of Planning for a Family with Physicians REACH Fertility Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/feb/opening-up-the-topic-of-planning-for-a-family-with-physicians/ The decision to start or grow a family is not one to be taken lightly, and leads one to ask themselves several questions - “When is the right time to start having a family?”  “What if I have issues getting pregnant?” “How far do I want my children spaced apart?” “What if I am not ready now but worried about waiting too long?” According to a committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the topic of discussing when to start a family is one that should also be prompted by physicians with their patients.  Initiatives such as the One Key Question Initiative proposes that clinicians ask every woman of child bearing age, at every patient encounter, as to whether or not they wish to become pregnant within the next year.  By doing so, they believe this will lead to a more pro-active approach with contraception or preconception care.  It will also encourage women to ask questions and start a dialogue about their needs and wants in regards to the topic of planning a family. ACOG believes that on-going conversations about family planning between physicians and their patients will lead to better reproductive health choices across multiple demographics, with emphasis on education towards healthier pregnancies, options for women with fertility issues, and in general, a more “patient-care centered” mentality. If you find yourself having trouble conceiving after trying for over one year, contact the fertility specialists at Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH). https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/feb/opening-up-the-topic-of-planning-for-a-family-with-physicians/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2016/feb/opening-up-the-topic-of-planning-for-a-family-with-physicians/ Thu, 25 February 2016 00:00:00 Fertility Treatments & The Holidays REACH Fertility Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/dec/fertility-treatments-the-holidays/ The Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte understand that dealing with infertility at any time is difficult, but it can be particularly hard during the holiday season with all the family gatherings and parties every weekend. Our compassionate doctors share five tips on how to deal with infertility during the holidays: Take this time of giving and holiday cheer to volunteer and help those less fortunate. It may help keep your mind off of your struggles and be more thankful about all the positives in your life. If it is painful to see children, stick to charities and organizations centered on animals or the elderly. Plan your own holiday get-togethers with friends who don’t have children, so the topic of starting a family is unlikely to be brought up. Vacation with your significant other and start your own holiday traditions away from nosy relatives. Don’t feel guilty about declining an invitation to an event that will make you feel uncomfortable—we get it, you can only dodge baby questions for so long. And in case you do get asked about your future family plans, be sure to have planned an answer with your partner. Decide on a generic response or if you want to be truthful before the parties so you are both on the same page. The REACH staff wishes you all a joyous holiday season. If there is anything we can help you with on your fertility journey, feel free to reach out. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/dec/fertility-treatments-the-holidays/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/dec/fertility-treatments-the-holidays/ Thu, 03 December 2015 00:00:00 Smoking and Infertility REACH Fertility Clinic https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/nov/smoking-and-infertility/ Smoking may be a contributing cause to your infertility. See this infographic by the Reproductive Endocrinologists of Charlotte to shed some light on the issue. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/nov/smoking-and-infertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/nov/smoking-and-infertility/ Wed, 25 November 2015 00:00:00 Recurrent Miscarriages <a href="/{localLink:1212}" title="Dr. Joseph Whelan">Dr. Joseph G. Whelan</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/nov/recurrent-miscarriages/ Most general OB-GYN doctors and Reproductive/Infertility specialists agree that a woman should have a specialized evaluation for ‘recurrent miscarriages’ if she has had more than two miscarriages, or in any case where there is some obvious issue which may cause repetitive pregnancy loss. An evaluation of a recurrent pregnancy loss case will require very close examination of all the circumstances around each and every pregnancy loss.  This is quite a bit of time-consuming work and so the better access we have to medical records dealing with each miscarriage, the better.    Often after review of the history, further testing may be recommended for the couple experiencing recurrent miscarriages.   Even after a thorough review of all the pertinent history, and after analysis of additional testing, sometimes a complete resolution of the problem(s) causing the miscarriages may remain elusive.   In such cases, the recommendation is usually made to start a very close observation, and sometimes early testing, of the next pregnancy that ensues.   Sometimes a couple may be encouraged to undergo in vitro fertilization to start the next pregnancy so that we can have informational access to the embryos formed in our IVF  laboratory  to possibly resolve whether  past historical problems with pregnancy may have been derived from the embryo itself, or from something in the maternal anatomical/physiologic environment.   By putting a very early pregnancy ‘under the microscope’ so to speak, we may actually be able to take some proactive steps in the process of fertilization and embryo implantation to optimize the chance of having that ultimate desired outcome – a healthy baby.  While “All things happen for a reason,” that doesn’t mean that you have to just sit there and take an outcome without question or analysis.  Yes, we (you) may be able to affect the course of natural events, to some degree anyway, in efforts of improving a final outcome. How comfortable you may be in wanting to pursue such intervention is not a light subject either, and one to which we are sensitive for all patients at the REACH program for fertility in North Carolina.     The path to clarification and resolution in the study of an individual’s history of recurrent miscarriage is not a quick process.  In this current era of instant information access and expectations for immediate gratification and resolution, I fear that people are losing sight of the reality that the human body, and arguably life itself, is a constant ongoing dynamic of normal vs abnormal, optimal vs suboptimal, and then there is all the gray area within those spectrums.  Patience, calm, logic and valid information are required to hopefully, eventually come to a beneficial outcome.   My favorite author, Emily Dickinson, was no stranger to setbacks along the path to pleasant outcomes in that simpler time, long ago –  “For each ecstatic instant, We must an anguish pay,  In keen and quivering ratio, To the ecstasy” -c. 1859 https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/nov/recurrent-miscarriages/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/nov/recurrent-miscarriages/ Thu, 12 November 2015 00:00:00 Preserving Fertility Before Cancer Treatment REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/oct/preserving-fertility-before-cancer-treatment/ After receiving a cancer diagnosis most patients do not consider what may happen to their fertility.  Chemotherapy could indeed cause infertility, however the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH) may be able to help! Our Charlotte, NC fertility center offers a variety of fertility preservation treatments to ensure you can still have a family after cancer treatments. One option is egg freezing. If you do not have a male partner this is a potential option to consider.  First, the ovaries are stimulated to produce eggs and then your doctor will retrieve and freeze the eggs for future use. This should be done prior to chemotherapy and radiation treatments and the REACH can work with your Oncologist regarding the proper timing based on your treatments. Another way to preserve fertility if you have a partner is to freeze embryos. You infertility specialist will retrieve your eggs and fertilize them in the lab with your partner’s (or a donor’s) sperm. The resulting embryos may then be frozen for later use. If you are a cancer patient interested in preserving your fertility, REACH has partnered with Livestong’s Fertile Hope program. Find out how we can help you! https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/oct/preserving-fertility-before-cancer-treatment/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/oct/preserving-fertility-before-cancer-treatment/ Wed, 28 October 2015 00:00:00 Why Do Miscarriages Happen? <a href="/{localLink:1212}" title="Dr. Joseph Whelan">Dr. Joseph G. Whelan</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/why-do-miscarriages-happen/ “Everything happens for a reason.”   Tired of that old cliché?   Yes, I am too - most of the time.   The main problem with that philosophy is that it is essentially fatalistic in principle.   If we assume that all events in life are unalterably pre-destined, then this can damper any will to analyze such events to see if such things can be averted in the future.   No one likes getting bad news, but when bad news entails possibly something being wrong with you, and then the increase in your anxiety level is expectedly much higher.   Let’s shed some light on the issue of miscarriages.   Often when I see patients in consultation to discuss a recent miscarriage the couples are questioning issues which are way too detailed and implicated in medical minutia to be of any logical use at that particular juncture in time.   It is an amazing, and unfortunate, aspect of the human mind to instantly suspect ‘self-guilt’ (or guilt on someone else’s part) when bad things happen involving our bodies.    As I try to explain to all patients in such context, the very first consideration about a miscarriage, before entertaining far-fetched physiological theories, is the very important question - ‘why did this happen?’    Ultimately this very initial question will be answered by one of two scenarios– either a problem with (1) the embryo itself, or, (2) something was abnormal or disadvantageous in the environment in which the embryo was trying to implant and grow.   A microscopic version of the age old query - ‘nature vs nurture’ if you will.    For either condition, the pregnancy will likely fail to continue developing, and eventually completely abort (the rejection of the pregnancy tissue from the uterus) at some variable timeframe.   Research in this area shows that the vast majority of spontaneous miscarriages are usually due to some abnormality in the genetic / chromosomal make-up of the original embryo.   In the remaining minority of cases, the embryo may have been normal however some underlying abnormal factor either in the uterine cavity, or perhaps related to some aspect of abnormal maternal physiology caused the rejection of the embryo’s development.    In the context of an ongoing troubled pregnancy, if you had a perfect crystal ball and could know which of these two scenarios was taking place, then you would obviously not want to intervene in the former case, whereas in the latter case, you would want to do whatever you could to fix or change anything going wrong on the maternal side to help optimize the pregnancy outcome.    As you would expect, reality is not nearly as simple as this dichotomy.     To help provide clarity a consultation with your OB-GYN or with a reproductive endocrinologist will help you resolve that important question – why did this happen?    All general OB-GYN physicians in the United States have plenty of experience in early pregnancy care as part of routine residency training  and they are knowledgeable of the fundamental principles of early pregnancy dynamics  to determine  if a pregnancy is developing normally or not.    Reproductive Endocrinologists / Infertility specialists also have completed general OB-GYN residencies, and then in addition have completed 3 year subspecialty fellowship programs focusing on infertility, which includes study of the principles of very early pregnancy development.     In the next installment, I will address how an infertility specialist may conduct a specialized evaluation for ‘recurrent miscarriages’ if a woman has had more than two miscarriages, or in any case where there is some obvious issue which may be a possible causative factor in repetitive pregnancy loss. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/why-do-miscarriages-happen/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/why-do-miscarriages-happen/ Wed, 30 September 2015 00:00:00 What is PCOS? REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/what-is-pcos/ Maybe you’ve heard of PCOS, but do you know what the condition actually entails? The fertility doctors at the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH) explain some common symptoms and how you can treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. PCOS is caused by a hormone imbalance in women. While there isn’t one conclusive reason some women are affected, there is some evidence to suggest genetics may play a role. If you experience irregular periods, hair loss, excessive hair on your body, acne, depression, and/or sleep apnea, you should ask your OB/GYN about PCOS. You may also want to contact one of our reproductive specialists in North Carolina if you have any of these symptoms and if you are unable to get pregnant after 12 months of trying. It is best to get diagnosed early as to not delay treatment. Common treatments may include exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and taking hormone medications or hormone therapy. You can learn more about PCOS here. And be sure to schedule an appointment at REACH if you are trying to get pregnant while dealing with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/what-is-pcos/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/what-is-pcos/ Fri, 25 September 2015 00:00:00 Bundle of Joy Fund Helps Five Couples REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/bundle-of-joy-fund-helps-five-couples/ The Kyle Busch Foundation selected the first five recipients of the Bundle of Joy Fund, which helps couples with the cost for infertility treatments at Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH). Kyle and Samantha Busch started the Bundle of Joy Fund after going through their own fertility struggles. REACH helped them conceive their first son, Brexton. The couple understands the struggles patients experience with infertility issues and wanted to help others who may not be able to afford treatments. The five winners received a combined amount of over $47,000. To apply for the Bundle of Joy Fund, couples must be patients at REACH in North Carolina. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/bundle-of-joy-fund-helps-five-couples/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/sept/bundle-of-joy-fund-helps-five-couples/ Fri, 18 September 2015 00:00:00 Facts about Elective Egg Freezing REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/facts-about-elective-egg-freezing/ With the ever increasing popularity of egg freezing, Time researched the procedure and found a few key takeaways: Fertility preservation is most popular among business minded women, who want to get established in their careers and start families later in life. Egg freezing has grown dramatically in the past several years. In 2009, the number of women who froze their eggs is estimated to be about 500. This number increased in 2013 to roughly 5,000. In 2018, it is projected that 76 thousand women will undergo join the egg freezing movement. There has been an increase in interest ever since companies such as Facebook and Apple began covering the procedure under health insurance plans. The typical treatment at a fertility center involves hormone medications, approved and prescribed by the fertility center, for a couple of weeks. Then you will return for a procedure to retrieve eggs and begin the freezing procedure. Interested in learning more? The Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte can develop a custom fertility preservation program for you! Schedule your appointment today! https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/facts-about-elective-egg-freezing/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/facts-about-elective-egg-freezing/ Mon, 31 August 2015 00:00:00 Infertility Facts REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/infertility-facts/ Did you know that over 12% of couples experience infertility issues? If you are having difficulty getting pregnant, read on as REACH, the premier fertility center in Charlotte, North Carolina outlines some important facts about infertility. Twelve percent of married women, about 7.4 million women, have difficulty conceiving. One-third of infertile couples may be due to unexplained causes or due to both the male and female partner. Both men and women who smoke have decreased fertility. Miscarriage rates are higher among women who smoke. Fertility decreases by age. Women between the ages of 30 and 34 have a 63% chance of getting pregnant within one year of trying; this percentage drops to 5% for those who are 45 to 49 years old. Over 85% of infertility cases are remedied by drug therapy or surgical procedures. See even more infertility facts here. If you have been unsuccessful in expanding your family for over a year, have had multiple miscarriages, or have irregular menstrual cycles, contact the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte to schedule a consultation. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/infertility-facts/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/infertility-facts/ Wed, 19 August 2015 00:00:00 Attain Flex Plans Makes IVF Affordable REACH https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/attain-flex-plans-makes-ivf-affordable/ Attain® IVF Flex Plans are exclusively available at The Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte. Only select fertility clinics in the United States are invited to offer these flex plans, and REACH is the sole provider in our region! Our Charlotte center wants to help make fertility treatments as affordable as possible, which is why we are proud to offer Attain IVF Flex Plans. The Attain IVF Flex Plans provide multiple cycles of IVF for a flat rate. We currently offer three financial plan options through Attain. The Core Plan gives you two egg retrievals and the transfer of resulting embryos. If your reproductive specialist recommends IVF, you will be eligible for this plan. With the Refund Plan, you’ll get up to three egg retrievals and the transfer of embryos. If treatment was unsuccessful, you could be eligible for a 100% refund. Our third plan is perfect for patients using donor eggs; the Attain IVF Flex Plan for Donor Egg Recipients allows you to prepay for multiple IVF cycles with up to a 100% refund if unsuccessful.  These plans allow patients to remain stress-free about the financial aspect of IVF. We also see that patients are more likely to stick with the treatment when they have paid the discounted fee; you can commit to the plan devised for you, giving you the best chance to take home a baby! If you are interested in applying, you will first need to set up a fertility consultation. If your doctor recommends IVF, let your financial counselor know that you would like to be considered for the Attain plans. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/attain-flex-plans-makes-ivf-affordable/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/aug/attain-flex-plans-makes-ivf-affordable/ Wed, 05 August 2015 00:00:00 How “The Bundle of Joy Fund” Can Help You Afford Treatment REACH Fertility Staff https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/jul/how-the-bundle-of-joy-fund-can-help-you-afford-fertility-treatment/ If you are currently undergoing infertility treatment at REACH, Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte, you could be eligible to receive financial assistance by applying to The Kyle &amp; Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund. This monetary award assists families struggling with the costs of infertility treatment.  The Bundle of Joy Fund is a monetary award for in-need families struggling with infertility. These funds may assist with the costs associated with infertility treatment through REACH. Kyle Busch, NASCAR driver, and his wife Samantha Busch received fertility treatment at REACH in Charlotte, North Carolina and welcomed their child in 2015. The couple has decided to set up the Bundle of Joy Fund to raise money to help other couples with the financial burden that IVF treatments can entail. After your initial consultation at REACH you may request an application if you’ve been diagnosed with infertility. To be eligible, you must also be a US resident living in North Carolina. Before submitting your application, be sure to review the guidelines. If you are not in need of financial assistance, you may consider donating to The Kyle &amp; Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund. To set up an infertility consultation, contact us today! https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/jul/how-the-bundle-of-joy-fund-can-help-you-afford-fertility-treatment/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/jul/how-the-bundle-of-joy-fund-can-help-you-afford-fertility-treatment/ Mon, 20 July 2015 00:00:00 Mental Health Awareness Month REACH Staff https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/may/mental-health-awareness-month/ Couples with infertility may be affected in various ways, both emotionally and physically. Going through fertility treatments may stress your relationships, work life, and everyday tasks. In honor of May being Mental Health, Awareness month, REACH wants to help you find effective ways to manage your stress, because stress never helped anyone get pregnant. Here are a few options to try: Talk to someone. Your spouse, a family member or close friend would be a good choice. If you would rather speak to someone else going through fertility treatments, to see the next REACH support group, select www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/fertility-support/ or to identify other support group options locally select the following link for a list of support groups on the Resolve site find a local support group. Reward yourself. If you are having a treatment next Monday, schedule a massage or acupuncture appointment later that day so you have something to look forward to. Or reward yourself at home with a movie night. Stay busy. If you don’t have any plans over the weekend, all you will do is obsess over fertility issues and treatments. Join a yoga or exercise class at a gym, go for walks with loved ones, and spend time with your spouse or partner (because it’s probably a tough time for them too) Share your thoughts. Journaling or blogging is a huge stress reliever for some. Getting your emotions out on paper (or internet pages) helps you let go of them in your head and can ease your mind. You don’t ever have to share it with others if you don’t feel comfortable. You can also find similar blogs or self help books that inspire you. Seek help. If you find that you cannot manage the stress on your own, see a professional. REACH’s staff cares for each and every one of its patients.  Feel free to reach out to the reproductive specialists in Charlotte for more ways to cope with infertility stress. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/may/mental-health-awareness-month/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/may/mental-health-awareness-month/ Wed, 27 May 2015 00:00:00 How to Boost Your Fertility for Female Fertility Month REACH Staff https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/may/how-to-boost-your-fertility-for-female-fertility-month/ May is Female Fertility Month and the staff at REACH wanted to share some quick tips to help boost your fertility: Know your BMI. If you are overweight or underweight, try to get as close to the normal BMI range as possible by exercising and eating healthy. Try to remain relaxed. This is easier said than done, but stress isn’t going to help you get pregnant. While stress has not been proven to directly cause infertility, it can throw your cycle off and can have an overall effect on your physical wellbeing. Try yoga, massage or acupuncture to help you relax. Track your ovulation. There are many ways to find out your most fertile days, including tracking your basal temperature and using ovulation kits. It’s a good idea to test these methods to make sure you are ovulating, and know the times that you are most likely to conceive. Sleep. If you aren’t getting enough rest each night, you could be throwing off your cycle. Sleep is critical for your overall physical, mental and emotional health and if you aren’t getting enough, it can have a negative effect on your ability to conceive. Boost your fertility by keeping regular sleep and wake cycles. Stay healthy. Getting sick can also throw off your cycle, so if you are tracking your ovulation and get sick - just know that it might be a few days off. Limit caffeine. Cutting back to one or two cups of coffee or tea may help you get pregnant sooner. Take your vitamins.  Remember to eat a well-balanced diet.  It also may be beneficial to take a multi vitamin or prenatal vitamins – check with your doctor. No smoking! You know that smoking has many adverse effects on your health, but did you know that smoking actually ages your ovaries? Try to quit before trying to conceive. Also, Resolve has developed an assessment tool to help understand your fertility and to assist in creating a plan for your family building journey http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/personal-assessment-tool/. If you have been trying to conceive for more than one year with no success, schedule an appointment with one our reproductive specialists today! REACH can help you start the family you’ve dreamed of. Sources: http://infertility.about.com/od/tryingtoconceive101/a/How-To-Get-Pregnant-Faster.htm http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/optimizing-fertility/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/may/how-to-boost-your-fertility-for-female-fertility-month/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/may/how-to-boost-your-fertility-for-female-fertility-month/ Thu, 21 May 2015 00:00:00 National Infertility Awareness Week: April 2015 REACH Charlotte https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-april-2015/ “You are not alone.”  We find these words comforting when there is a struggle that leaves one feeling isolated and alone, often an unfortunate “side effect” of infertility.  That is why RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, has chosen these simple yet powerful words as this year’s theme for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), set to kick off April 19. Infertility is more common than you might think: 1 in 8 couples are affected by infertility. 12% of women (about 7.4 million) are affected by infertility worldwide. Chances are you know someone who is affected by infertility, or perhaps you yourself are the one going through this struggle.  We want you to know that you are not alone. And together, we can bring awareness during this National Infertility Awareness Week… Learn about the causes of infertility and available treatments. Knowing the facts empowers you. Sign up to for RESOLVE’s quarterly newsletter with important information on infertility. Share your story on Facebook or start a blog about your infertility journey.   Not only will you find support from others, you may also inspire others to share their own story. Share information on social media about RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day and other RESOLVE events. Consider participating in these events to meet couples going through a similar journey. Represent and support the local infertility community.  Become a Grassroots Advocate to fight anti-family bills.  Ask your employer to offer insurance that covers infertility or adoption benefits. We too will be doing our part in support of NIAW at the Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH).  We are always available to answer any questions you may have about infertility and available treatment options!  Please contact us for more information. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-april-2015/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2015/apr/national-infertility-awareness-week-april-2015/ Wed, 15 April 2015 00:00:00 Vitrification: An Ultra-Rapid Embryo Freezing Technique <a href="/{localLink:1174}" title="Dr. Jack Crain">Dr. Jack Crain</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/may/vitrification-an-ultra-rapid-embryo-freezing-technique/ This is a fascinating story of a relatively new fertility technique and its far-reaching impact. In the summer of 2009, REACH first employed embryologists who were experienced in a method of embryo freezing called vitrification. This ultra-rapid freezing technique has dramatically changed how we help families grow. At first, the goal was to improve the efficiency of freezing multiple embryos. As more and more embryos survived, the process quickly proved successful and frozen embryo transfers were found to be equal in quality to that of fresh transfers, all resulting in healthy babies. The next step was to protect over-responsive patients against complicated hospital stays by deferring embryo transfer and pregnancy.  The successful outcome led us to conclude that most patients who were responding normally could defer transfer with improved results.  By 2012, unfertilized mature eggs could be safely saved for future use, establishing vitrification as a tremendous asset to fertility preservation.  Cancer patients , such as those scheduled for chemotherapy, find this process especially beneficial to their situation, allowing them to still hope and plan for a family in the future. In 2014 we saw a shift as some insurance companies began to accept oocyte oncofertility cryopreservation (cryopreserving for Cancer patients) as no longer experimental.  Now a universally accepted procedure, SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) has decided to change transfer efficiency documentation, whether fresh or frozen, to “1sttransfer of either.”  Along with the positive reception from insurance companies, future transfer success will be further enhanced by affordable genetic screening for single gene diseases and/or normal chromosome count, moving towards single embryo transfers.  It is this progress that allows us to continue to provide our patients with not only hope, but viable fertility solutions as well. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/may/vitrification-an-ultra-rapid-embryo-freezing-technique/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/may/vitrification-an-ultra-rapid-embryo-freezing-technique/ Fri, 30 May 2014 00:00:00 Resolve to Know More During National Infertility Awareness Week 2014 REACH Fertility Staff https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/apr/learn-more-about-fertility-preservation-during-national-infertility-awareness-week-2014/ In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), we at REACH Charlotte, are resolved to help you learn more about infertility and how we can help you start a family of your own.  As more and more women delay having children and more couples delay starting families, the concerns grow surrounding the complications due to that infamous “biological clock”.  It has long been a cautionary tale for women, and for ages it’s been assumed that men have no similar concerns, but scientists are now learning that in fact, they do.  Until recently, age has been a risk factor primarily associated with women, but advanced paternal age is no longer just a fertility issue.  Evidence has shown that older men have an increased risk in fathering offspring with birth defects and developmental disorders.  REACH’s fertility specialists are equipped and ready to help you plan and prepare to battle that ticking clock issue. There are a number of treatment options available that will increase the chance of pregnancy where advanced age is concerned.  One such option is fertility preservation treatment, also referred to as egg freezing.  The video below explains the preservation process and the latest technology used, called vitrification, essentially a flash freezing procedure in which the tissue is placed directly in liquid nitrogen.  Fertility preservation gives you and your spouse the freedom to delay starting a family and is one example where having the right information very early in the game, can change your experience entirely.  In this video, you will learn from Dr. Nancy Teaff, a fertility specialist at REACH, when egg preservation is necessary (i.e., a cancer diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiation treatment) to preserve fertility or when it should be considered in terms of future planning.  So, if you and your spouse have reached that age threshold of 35-40, or know you want to delay childbearing until a later time, consider discussing treatment options with the fertility specialists at REACH Charlotte. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/apr/learn-more-about-fertility-preservation-during-national-infertility-awareness-week-2014/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/apr/learn-more-about-fertility-preservation-during-national-infertility-awareness-week-2014/ Mon, 21 April 2014 00:00:00 Testosterone Supplements are Risky for Men Trying to Build a Family <a href="/{localLink:1211}" title="Dr. Nancy Teaff">Dr. Nancy Teaff</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/march/testosterone-supplements-are-risky-for-men-trying-to-build-a-family/ Male Fertility “Low T” and its associated symptoms—reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, mood changes/depression, irritability, fatigue, memory loss—is everywhere you turn, if you believe the media.  What man wouldn’t want a quick fix for these symptoms, as well as increasing lean body mass and muscle strength?  That’s the claim made by the manufacturers of testosterone supplements, most of which are FDA approved and must be prescribed by physicians. However, if that man is trying to conceive a child, the testosterone supplements may sabotage that process by suppressing sperm production.  Several studies have indicated that as many as 75 – 80% of men on testosterone supplements have NO sperm production (azoospermia).  Another 20% have reductions in their sperm counts to a level too low for conception.  It can take as long as 6 months, after stopping testosterone treatment, for the sperm count to bounce back into a normal (fertile) range.  As many as 35% of men who are azoospermic on testosterone (T) may not recover sperm production, even after they stop the T. Testosterone Supplements Not all physicians who prescribe testosterone supplements are aware of this significant side effect.  One study even indicated that some men were prescribed T to increase fertility!  This is definitely not the case.  If a man, trying to conceive, is experiencing the symptoms of Low T, he should be evaluated by his primary care provider.  These symptoms are also consistent with low thyroid, anemia, or other hormonal insufficiency, not just Low T.  If a low testosterone is the only abnormal finding, after being thoroughly evaluated, then the patient should let the physician know that he is trying to conceive a child.  Other medications such as clomiphene citrate, letrozole or anastrozole can be used to increase testosterone levels and tend to also increase sperm production.  If the physician is unaware and/or unsure about prescribing these medications, the man should speak to his partner’s fertility specialist.  He/she should be able to make a recommendation for appropriate treatment. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/march/testosterone-supplements-are-risky-for-men-trying-to-build-a-family/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/march/testosterone-supplements-are-risky-for-men-trying-to-build-a-family/ Fri, 07 March 2014 00:00:00 Dr. Nancy Teaff Visits Charlotte Today to Discuss Having Babies Over 40 <a href="/{localLink:1211}" title="Dr. Nancy Teaff">Dr. Nancy Teaff</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/march/dr-nancy-teaff-visits-charlotte-today-to-discuss-having-babies-over-40/ This week, REACH fertility specialist Dr. Nancy Teaff was featured on Charlotte Today discussing pregnancy after 40. Check out the article below below and revisit her post “When It Comes to Fertility, Is Forty Really the New Thirty?” where she shares how fertility changes after forty and how fertility treatment may help.It is no secret that women in the Carolinas are having their first child later in life. New government data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows in the last ten years a 35 percent increase for women ages 40 to 44 having their first child. Since 1970, there's been a 900 percent increase among women over 35 having a first child.Charlotte Grandmother Sharon Bradley is not surprised women are waiting to have their first child. Sharon's daughter became a mom in her mid-thirties. They're completing their education, they're concerned about their careers, so they're making sure they get good jobs. Bradley said.Dr Nancy Teaff is a reproductive endocrinologist for REACH, Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte. She believes most women do not realize just how quickly a women's fertility drops off after 40.Their ovaries are still the same. That's not changed. The average age of menopause at 51 hasn't changed for centuries. Dr Teaff said.The need to have children later in life has some women are freezing eggs in their prime, to be their own egg donors later. No longer considered experimental, for some women it s insurance against a life s uncertainties. When asked if it is her recommendation that women on a very rigorous career path consider freezing her eggs, she has little hesitation in her answer.Yes, absolutely. I think she could wait until she's 30. She said.Eggs can be safely frozen, but there are large costs. The average cost for freezing eggs is about what you d pay for a car: $13,000 is the national average.Dr. Teaff believes for many families it is worth it.Some parents should be concerned when they see their daughters getting into their mid thirties and they aren't in a relationship... The grandchildren can't wait forever.Charlotte resident Brit Drozda had her first child at age 27. Waiting a little bit was right for her.I would say yes, I wanted to pursue a little bit career wise, but at the same time it was a priority for me to have a family. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/march/dr-nancy-teaff-visits-charlotte-today-to-discuss-having-babies-over-40/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2014/march/dr-nancy-teaff-visits-charlotte-today-to-discuss-having-babies-over-40/ Fri, 07 March 2014 00:00:00 Coping with Infertility Through the Holidays <p><a href="/{localLink:2066}" title="Psychology">Eugenia L. Gullick, Ph.D.</a></p> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2013/coping-with-infertility-through-the-holidays/ The holiday season is officially upon us. Attain Fertility® Centers, one of the nation’s largest fertility center networks and one of the most trusted brands for information and support in the trying-to-conceive and infertility community, understands that the stress and pressure of this non-stop time of year is hard on everyone and is particularly challenging for the 1 in 8 couples in the United States who are dealing with infertility.*  “We have over 13,000 Fans in our Facebook community and we asked them to talk about the holidays. One of the most common threads of conversation was about the desire to isolate and avoid gatherings altogether,” said Stephanie Himmel-Nelson, Community Manager for Attain Fertility.   Eugenia L. Gullick, Ph.D., a Licensed Psychologist with Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte, N.C. (REACH), an Attain Fertility Center, hears the same conversation in her sessions with individuals and couples going through fertility treatments and offers insight, ideas and techniques to help cope. “The nature of infertility is isolating.  Holidays that are centered on family and the celebration of children tend to amplify the feeling of being “on the outside.”   People in this situation tend to feel a sense of grief, anger and the desire to pull away. While it’s important to acknowledge the feelings, it’s equally important not to give in to them to the point where a person is isolated,” she says.  To help individuals and couples find hope and more joy in the season and to keep from isolating she offers the following 6 tips: 1. Look At The Big Picture While this may not be your best holiday ever, remember that this is not the way holidays will always be. There is a very good possibility that next week, next month, next year you will learn that you have successfully conceived. If not, remember that you have another year before holiday time is here again. 2. Think Flexibly Instead of ignoring traditions and gatherings, see if there is a way to revisit or revise them. Perhaps this is the year to gently pass up invitations to attend holiday pageants and concerts that the children of family and friends are in. Whatever the situation, if you feel you can’t do it, decide for this year only to do it differently. 3. To Thine Own Self Be True You are the only one who knows what will help and what will hurt. Whether it’s requesting that friends and family refrain from asking if you are pregnant, or asking for a shoulder to lean on, be clear about what you can and cannot do and communicate your preferences and requests  in a caring and confident way. 4. An Ounce of Prevention Tell your family and friends in advance, if you think it is best for you not to participate in traditional gatherings.   This will help to avoid hurt feelings and anger.  Also, be sure to remind everyone that your decision is just for this year. Sometimes couples find relief and unexpected pleasure from going off on their own instead of being with family. Take the opportunity to make something pleasant happen so that you aren’t just avoiding the holidays but are creating healthy, fun alternative situations. 5. Stay Connected It’s important to connect with people who are going through the same thing. Find a support group and reach out. 6. Accentuate the Positive This is a wonderful time for couples to take stock of all that they already have, including their relationship.  Find ways to do positive things to strengthen relationships.  This is also a time to remember that even though getting pregnant seems like the only important thing in the world, work, friends, partners and health are all equally important sources of fulfillment and joy. Dr. Gullick also has advice for friends and family members who want to be supportive. “While there is no universal recipe for doing the right thing, I always suggest that friends and family remind loved ones struggling with infertility that existing relationships are “elastic”, and can endure difficult times, as well as unusual requests.  Their requests and boundaries should be respected and they should be reminded that family and friends will continue to “be there”, even during these difficult times.  Other suggestions she has for friends include: Stay in touch: Drop a card in the mail, write an email or pick up the phone to say hello. Ask what you can do to help and ask what you shouldn’t do (or say) Understand that responses may seem odd.   Accept and support them. In addition to Dr. Gullick’s advice, Attain Fertility offers other support services and tools including: AttainFertility.com which provides helpful information aboutcoping with holiday stress.Developed with the assistance of mental health professionals who specialize in working with women and men coping with fertility issues, the site offers suggestions on how to deal with grief; how to ask for support from others; seeking help as a couple; how and when to socialize; and how to maximize and maintain self care, among other important topics. A dynamic community of more than 13,000 fans on Facebook who offer support and suggestions to one another throughout their journey to becoming a parent. The Attain Fertility blog addresses  issues people facing infertility are challenged with during the holidays, both from the medical and patient perspective About IntegraMed America, Inc. IntegraMed is a leader in developing, marketing and managing specialty outpatient healthcare facilities, with a current focus on the fertility and vein care markets.  IntegraMed supports its provider networks with clinical and business information systems, marketing and sales, facilities and operations management, finance and accounting, human resources, legal, risk management, quality assurance, and fertility treatment financing programs.  Attain Fertility® Centers, an IntegraMed Specialty, offers the nation’s largest fertility center network, with 14 company-managed partner centers and 24 affiliate centers, comprising over 130 locations across 32 states and the District of Columbia.  Nearly one of every four IVF procedures in the U.S. is performed in an Attain Fertility Centers network practice.  *2002 National Survey of Family Growth https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2013/coping-with-infertility-through-the-holidays/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2013/coping-with-infertility-through-the-holidays/ Mon, 11 November 2013 00:00:00 When It Comes to Fertility, Is Forty Really the New Thirty? <a href="/{localLink:1211}" title="Dr. Nancy Teaff">Dr. Nancy Teaff</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2013/when-it-comes-to-fertility-is-forty-really-the-new-thirty/ Not necessarily.  Although more and more women are "fit and fabulous at forty," ovarian function doesn't follow this path.  Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have--current research into ovarian stem cells aside--and the egg number declines as women age.  The best quality eggs are released first, in the teenage years (yes, teenagers do conceive more easily). Egg quality, as well as quantity, declines from then on.  Loss of eggs speeds up as women reach their mid-thirties. This is particularly bad news for women who have delayed child-bearing while pursuing their career goals or finding the right partner.  The reports of many prominent women and celebrities having babies in their forties, up to age fifty, have led other women to believe that this will be a possibility for them, too.  The reality is that these well-connected women have likely used donor eggs and/or multiple cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve these pregnancies.  If a patient comes into her ob/gyn's or fertility specialist's office after age 40, and they suggest donor egg IVF for attaining a pregnancy, she shouldn't be surprised. We all know women who have successfully conceived in their 40s, without fertility treatments.  Many of these women have already had a child, which may increase her chances of conceiving in her 40s.  Even if a woman has not conceived a pregnancy before age 40, it is still worthwhile to evaluate her fertility potential. The basic tests used to do this are the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) test, the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen levels, along with the antral follicle count potential eggs for a cycle).  The AMH can be done at any time in the cycle, but the FSH, estrogen and antral follicle count should be done between cycle days 2 - 4.  This is usually while a woman is on her menstrual period.  If these results are promising, then the fertility specialist may recommend trying treatments that involve the woman's own eggs:intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF.  The chances of success, using a woman's own eggs, are lower than those for women at a younger age, but certainly not zero. It's important to have realistic expectations, and patience, when pursuing pregnancy after age 39. Donor egg IVF has a high success rate (70% or more), if other treatments fail. How to avoid this undesirable situation?  Just knowing the facts, as  above, and not assuming that fitness and excellent health imply fertiity, is a  good start.  By the time a woman reaches  her early to mid-thirties, she should be considering the question, "Do I (eventually) want children in my life?"   If so, and preferably with her own eggs/genetics, then she needs to be proactive in achieving this goal.  Fertility preservation, with the collection and freezing of her eggs for future use, is a definite option for  women who are delaying child-bearing.  At REACH we have a successful oocyte vitrification (freezing) and fertility preservation program; this will be covered in a future post. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2013/when-it-comes-to-fertility-is-forty-really-the-new-thirty/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2013/when-it-comes-to-fertility-is-forty-really-the-new-thirty/ Mon, 30 September 2013 00:00:00 <a href="/{localLink:1174}" title="Dr. Jack Crain">Dr. Jack Crain</a> https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2010/oct/dr-jack-crain-on-fertility-preservation-after-cancer-treatment/ At 25-years-old, Alicia Huff was on her way to becoming a surgeon. But during a monthly self-breast exam, she noticed a lump. She had it removed and biopsied and then the doctor called to tell her she had cancer. "About 20 seconds after the phone call, I said 'I have breast cancer.' I fell to my knees, panicked, I was by myself."The medical student put school on hold and quickly worked with doctors to put together a plan of attack, including chemo therapy. "In a four hour appointment, no one mentioned preserving my fertility," says Huff.Huff did her own research and learned that chemo, in addition to short-term side effects like hair loss, can also cause premature menopause. Huff says, "I hadn't even thought about children. I was 25. I'm not married, I'm about to start a career as a surgeon.""The chemotherapy often saves your life, but causes the loss of opportunity to have children," says Dr. Jack Crain of Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte (REACH).Crain says new science, only available in Charlotte for the last year and a half, has allowed women in Huff's position to safely freeze their eggs, indefinitely, before undergoing chemo. Dr. Crain says, "It's really rewarding and sometimes it's sobering."Insurance has not caught up to the new science and doesn't cover fertility preservation for cancer patients. Huff's family and friends raised money to cover the cost, which ranges between $6,000 and $8,000.Huff, now 26, is healthy. Her hair is growing back. She is now applying for her residency to become a breast surgeon so she can help other women. There's a good chance she will be able to conceive a child without the use of her frozen eggs but knowing she has a back up plan is priceless. "If you're really wanting to have a family one day, it's a perfect solution."The LiveStrong Foundation also helps qualified applicants, like Huff, pay to freeze their eggs. She and Dr. Crain hope more foundations decide to help, too. https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2010/oct/dr-jack-crain-on-fertility-preservation-after-cancer-treatment/ https://www.northcarolinafertility.com/news-resources/blog-fertility-journey/posts/2010/oct/dr-jack-crain-on-fertility-preservation-after-cancer-treatment/ Tue, 12 October 2010 00:00:00