December 28, 2006

Treatment of Infertility

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If you think that you are having difficulty becoming pregnant, you should seek the assistance of your physician. There are several types of treatment. Appropriate treatment depends on your particular situation or underlying medical or surgical condition largely depends on the reason thought to be responsible for difficulty in becoming pregnant.These treatments may range from the simple like appropriate timing of intercourse to the complex, high-tech therapies like in vitro fertilization (IVF) in which medications are given to induce the production of eggs that can be collected and then put together with sperm in the laboratory so that fertilization occurs. The fertilized eggs can then be cultured for 3 to 5 days followed by embryo transfer to the uterus.

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
IVF has been used safely and effectively for more than two decades. In a typical IVF procedure, a woman is treated with fertility drugs to regulate her menstrual cycle and stimulate the development of higher-quality eggs. This process helps to ensure that a sufficient number of healthy eggs are available for fertilization. Eggs are then "retrieved" or collected and prepared for insemination using sperm from the male partner or a donor. Fertilization occurs in a laboratory dish specially prepared with a culture medium that supports and nourishes the fertilized eggs. Within about 72 hours after fertilization, embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus.


Since the introduction of IVF, there have been many other important developments that have made infertility treatment even more effective for both men and women:

In vitro fertilization with endometrial cell co-culture is a special technique for couples with poor embryo quality where cells from the woman's uterus are used to enhance development of fertilized eggs. CRMI refined this procedure using the woman's own endometrial cells rather than cells from animals.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure where a single sperm is selected and delivered directly into a woman's egg. ICSI is an effective option for men with low sperm count or sperm that cannot reach the egg successfully.

Cryopreservation is the ability to freeze and store embryos that are not transferred right away. This process can allow couples to achieve a pregnancy later, either after a first birth or following medical treatments that might affect fertility such as chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can be used to identify embryos that do not carry the gene for certain inherited diseases (such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia). This capability greatly reduces the risk that these diseases will be passed on to children.For male factor infertility, our comprehensive services include microsurgical repair of obstructions and vasectomy reversals, surgical repair of varicoceles, and epididymal and testicular sperm retrieval for use with IVF and ICSI.


Diet & Lifestyle modifications

There are several important lifestyle changes that you can do that will not only improve your overall health but may also positively increase your chances for a successful pregnancy. Good lifestyle choices and habits promote good health for years to come.

Diet
Your diet should include a variety of selections from the 5 basic food groups.
Meat, fowl, legumes, (peas, beans)
Dairy
Grain, cereal, pasta, rice
Fruits
Vegetables
Approximately 1600 to 1800 calories a day is a good range for most women to stay in without gaining wait.


Basic rules for a good weight reducing diet include:

Don't eat less than 1200 calories a day
Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses a day)
Eat a balanced diet with reduced fat intake
Don't skip meals
Reduce alcohol intake
Avoid fad diets
Exercise
Consult your physician before dieting
When dieting goes too far it can lead to being too thin and can lead to very serious eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia, which are also associated with difficulty becoming pregnant.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a morbid fear of fatness that leads to drastic dieting to the point of self starvation. Bulimia is characterized by binge eating (overeating) and purging (forced vomiting). These eating disorders can be treated with counseling and sometimes medication for depression which often is associated with eating disorders.


If you are unsure whether you have an eating disorder the following questions may be helpful:
Do you have regular menstrual periods?
How many times a day do you weigh yourself?
Have you lost or gained a significant amount of weight in the past 3 months?
Do you use laxatives or diuretics regularly to help you loose weight?
Do you often eat large amounts of food in secret?
Do you make yourself vomit after a large meal?
Do you exercise excessively to lose or keep off weight?


Adapted from WomenFitness

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