Merry Christmas! Every time one of my patients does a pregnancy test I hold my breath a little bit, but at Christmastime I hold it a long time.
Let's talk about IVF paradigms. In a nutshell, IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs all at once. The egg are then removed, fertilized with sperm and embryos are created. The embryo(s) are then put into a woman's uterus in hopes a pregnancy will occur.
#1in6 You've probably seen that hashtag and you probably don't believe it. Last week was infertility awareness week in Canada and since 1 in 6 Canadian couples experience infertility we promoted that hashtag to raise awareness of how common infertility is.
I didn't want my blog to become stale but lately I haven't been writing much. I blame myself and Facebook and Instagram and Netflix and a few other life distractions. I am sure in the pre-social media years I got a lot more done. Then again, maybe I didn't and I am just glamourizing the olden days. Anyway, I am on vacation this week so thought I'd put fingers to my keyboard.
Happy New Year’s Eve 2016! Now that I have eaten my body weight in chocolate and chips, it’s time to make resolutions. First, stop eating my body weight in chocolate and chips. My other resolutions are pretty similar to previous years:
Maybe it's my mother's influcence but I do think things happen in threes. Yes, since my birth, my mother has been warning me that after two relatives die, it's only a matter of time before a third one bites the dust too. After two stubbed toes, two bad hair cuts, two car accidents, two divorces, two failed anything, a third one is inevitable. I am not sure why bad but not good things run in threes, but it's best not to question superstition too much anyway.
Friday night I was watching Dax Shepard, the actor, on the Jimmy Kimmel show. He and his wife, Kristen Bell, have two young children. He was describing how quickly and unexpectedly they conceived their second child after their first. He said that just a few days after learning Kristen was pregnant with their second child, he had a vasectomy, not wanting more than two children. I gasped. What if something had happened in the pregnancy and the baby hadn't survived? What if they had changed their minds later and wanted a third child? What if...?
May 12-20th is Canada's Infertility Awareness Week. Why? Well, if we keep infertilty a secret, no one will advocate for infertile people (out of sight, out of mind) and no one will consider public funding for fertility care. If people don't make people think about infertility, there will be less empathy for those who struggle to conceive.
How many eggs am I going to get? This is a good question and nearly every IVF patient will ask me this at some point during their treatment. While I've been doing IVF for a decade, I still stammer when trying to answer this question. Why don't I know how many eggs a woman is going to get in IVF when I am looking at the egg sacs (aka follicles) on ultrasound?
IVF works most of the time in couples where the female age is under 40. When it doesn't work, we ask: is it the embryo or is it the woman? With more widespread use of chromosome screening of embryos -- called Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening (CCS) or Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) -- the embryo is less likely to be the culprit.