Answering practical fertility questions through social media

Dr. Beth Taylor

November 01, 2022

About 10 years ago when social media started to take off, I would come across the odd physician who was posting videos with either an educational bent, self-promotion bent or sales bent.  All of the posts were cringy.  I honestly felt like they were risking their personal and professional reputation to post content, particularly videos, on-line. Fast forward 10 years and I have completely changed my lens on social media videos by physicians.  I follow several and enjoy seeing their take on various fertility topics.

 

What strikes me is how simple the topics they review are: ovulation, a day in their life, what is an IUI, etc.  

 

In the past, I missed the point of social media posts by physicians.  While tonight I am reading about ultrasound findings of deep infiltrating parametrial endometriosis, that’s just not interesting to the general population of patients.  

 

What topics should be discussed?  Many of them don’t seem to know either so they poll their followers with “ask me anything” posts.  

 

What is the point? For some it is humanizing themselves, for others is it educational and no doubt for some physicians it is about growing their practices.  If I was to start posting it would be for educational purposes and some fun. Maybe I’ll start one day.

 

One infertility doctor posted recently about timing of sex for optimal chance of conceiving.

 

This was best studied back in the 1980s by Wilcox and Baird. Their work was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  They had couples who were hoping to conceive use contraception (condoms) every day but one day, during the menstrual cycle.  Couples who has sex on the day before ovulation (the day of the LH surge) and the day of ovulation were most likely to conceive.  Following on this work, a randomized control trial was published in October 2022 that divided couples in two two groups and advised them on how to time sex.  One group was told to have sex every second day through the menstrual cycle while the other was told to monitor for the “fertile window” by assessing cervical mucous. Pregnancy rates were statistically similar between groups, though the fertility window monitoring group did have higher pregnancy rates (not different enough from “every other day” to reach statistical significance).  Others have noted the same trend - noting that the use of urine ovulation monitoring strips has a higher pregnancy rate than having sex ever other day. (References on request).

 

It is these types of studies, examining fairly simple questions, that need to be done just as much as studies measuring exotic proteins in the endometrium in women with endometriosis and infertility. 

 

And when they are done, patients need to be given this information and perhaps a 30 second video is a good way to do this. Stay tuned….

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