Health and Fitness

Women Have Options When it Comes to Increasing Fertility

What are some healthy options for increasing fertility in women?

Ask questions and seek advice from your elders and a licensed professional: Nine times out of ten, someone in your family may have experienced a similar problem with both their anatomy and their hormones. Women have relied on information from their parents and grandparents for centuries. Many mothers are in the profession of nursing and provide a host of support for the entire family. Some professionals specialize in women’s health that is available and accessible online and in your local community. Reproductive endocrinologists, or REs, are fertility/infertility specialists. They are the only doctors trained in providing fertility treatments using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing. REs are trained in obstetrics and gynecology and then have additional training to provide fertility treatment. REs diagnose and comprehensively treat infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or abnormalities of the reproductive system, and perform fertility preservation procedures like egg freezing. Women need to be healthy and robust to carry children to term. They will have vital physical and emotional health while they take and supply nutrition to their growing fetuses. Girls’ physical bodies usually mature before their minds do. Women need guidance and have to learn how to regulate their emotions when they enter puberty.

Unfortunately, a woman’s body can be damaged in her youth out of ignorance. The damage that occurs internally may be irreparable. The internal injuries that arise from multiple sexual partners, sterilization, lack of nutrition, and food-borne illnesses often stimulate blockages in the fallopian tubes where fertilization takes place. A parent must explain proactively how a growing young girl needs to eat healthily, plan for future parenting, and think logically about every decision she makes that could damage her internal organs. The process of mental maturity and wisdom is a continuous and linear process for women as she enters and exits cycles of puberty, menstruation, ovulation, pregnancy, menopause, preservation, and continuation.

According to the Office of Women’s Health, “About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States, ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Infertility means not getting pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is 35 or older). Women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant may also be infertile.” https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility Accessed 1/26/2021.

Older women reach success in their careers and practice licensed trades. They achieve professional accolades in social work, acquire more extended physical health and enter stages of wisdom and mental maturity; however, their instincts are to nurture, parent, and extend their bloodline. Women naturally want to nurture or give back to their community. Some women that prioritized their careers over their home and family have begun to realize that their sacrifice of family leaves them empty. This is a deep void they would like to repair with the help of reproductive technology.

Statistically, women who are 35 years and older have been successful at becoming pregnant with the use of IVF, egg freezing, intrauterine fertility insemination (IFI), and gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT). The American Pregnancy Association defines “IVF as an assisted reproductive technology (ART) and is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.” IFI and IVF are both treatments that can help you get pregnant when there is an abnormal semen analysis. Infertility can be caused by either the male, the female, or the combination of both the male and female.  

Young, educated, and informed women can freeze their eggs or oocyte cryopreservation for later use. They can delay carrying children and focus on themselves individually instead of the needs of their immediate family. Women harvest and store their eggs for safekeeping in a lab. In the meantime, they pursue their ambitions in career and wealth.

In general, the benefits of oocyte cryopreservation are the two most essential factors in determining the probability of live birth: a woman’s age at the time of egg freezing and the number of available eggs. When women are younger, their eggs are plenty and consistently reproducing. The older a woman gets, it depends on her usage of her reproductive system to have access to more eggs. Hormones in her body will begin to prepare for menopause if she does not use her reproductive system beyond the reproductive stages. It is best to prioritize having your children young. One should first seek a husband that supports one’s career goals. Next, the husband and wife should plan when to have their children. The children and career goals should help one another and are both of importance. 

UCLA OBGYN reports, “Egg freezing is a process in which a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen, and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential in women of reproductive age. The first human birth from a frozen oocyte was reported in 1986. Oocyte cryopreservation has advanced dramatically over the past few years, with the improved overall success of eggs surviving the freezing process. It is no longer considered an experimental procedure by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The techniques leading to enhanced gamete survival, potential fertilization, and live birth rates allow women a much greater degree of autonomy than was possible even in the past five years. (UCLA Health) https://www.uclahealth.org Accessed from the website on 01/26/2021

This article reviews cases when women are the cause of infertility. Infertility occurs from sperm being unable to access the fallopian tube where fertilization can take place. Blockage of the fallopian tubes is caused by either a sterilization procedure such as tubal ligation or inflammation in the pelvic area. Inflammation not detected early or before it developed into a disease or cancer are common problems in women. “Because cancer is a complex group of diseases, it can have many possible causes such as lifestyle habits, genetics, carcinogens, and environmental factors. Sometimes there is no obvious cause.” (American Cancer Society) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes.html accessed on 1/26/2021

Professionals state, “problems with ovulation cause most cases of female infertility. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstrual periods. PCOS often causes ovulation problems. This is a hormone imbalance problem that can interfere with normal ovulation. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility. Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is another cause of ovulation problems. POI occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop working before she is 40. POI is not the same as early menopause.” (Office on Women’s Health)

Less common causes of fertility problems in women include blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A sexually transmitted infection leads to a clinical syndrome of inflammation from the cervix to the endometrium, fallopian tubes, and adjacent pelvic structure. PID usually occurs in young women with sexual encounters with an infected partner without knowing; They do not recognize any symptoms when they have contracted this sexually transmitted disease (STD). “Some STDs, if they go untreated for a long period, will develop PID. Some common STDs associated with PID are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.” (The Nemours Foundation) https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/std-pid.html#:~:text=Pelvic%20inflammatory%20disease%20is%20usually,most%20often%20lead%20to%20PID.

Sexually active girls can get PID. It happens more often in girls who have more than one sexual partner. Suppose PID isn’t treated or went on a long time before being treated. In that case, girls can have ongoing pain in the lower belly, trouble getting pregnant (infertility), pregnancy in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus (an ectopic pregnancy). Ectopic pregnancy results in a miscarriage because the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. The fertilized egg can’t survive outside the uterus. If left to grow, it may damage nearby organs and cause life-threatening loss of blood. The symptoms include pelvic pain and vaginal bleeding. Physicians try to prevent these complications in the early stages. Sometimes medications may be sufficient for treatment. Later stages of an ectopic pregnancy require surgery. Women develop infertility problems sometimes from surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.

Young girls can also experience an infection in the ovary and fallopian tube (a tube-ovarian abscess). These tube-ovarian abscesses are among the late complications of PID and can be life-threatening if the abscess ruptures and results in sepsis. It consists of an encapsulated or confined ‘pocket of pus’ with defined boundaries that forms during an infection of a fallopian tube and ovary. These are commonly called ovarian cysts.

Endometriosis is another block to women carrying full-term pregnancies or becoming pregnant at all. Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that usually lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. With endometriosis, the tissue is on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines. The most common symptoms are pain and menstrual irregularities. Effective treatments, such as hormones and excision surgery, are available. Other physical problems with the woman’s uterus are uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous clumps of tissue and muscle on the walls of the uterus.” (Office of Women’s Health) Uterine fibroids are very common in women of all backgrounds. They tend to be associated with women with obesity and malnutrition problems.

According to Board Certified fertility expert Dr. Randy Morris of the YouTube channel Infertility TV, IFI is a standard fertility treatment that maximizes your chances. https://youtu.be/OTE8xvditR8 accessed from the web on 1/26/2021. GIFT is a tool of assisted reproductive technology against infertility. Eggs are removed from a woman’s ovaries and placed in one of the fallopian tubes, along with the man’s sperm. A woman is required to have at least one open fallopian tube. She will be required to have an ultrasound and bloodwork done before the procedure. GIFT uses multiple eggs collected from the ovaries. The eggs are placed into a thin, flexible tube (catheter) and the sperm to be used. The gametes (both eggs and sperm) are then injected into the fallopian lines using a laparoscopy surgical procedure. According to Sherman J. Silber, M.D. at the Infertility Center of St. Louis, Missouri, “GIFT is not nearly as popular as IVF today; nonetheless, there is still a 50% pregnancy rate per retrieval cycle for GIFT. In older women, the pregnancy rate is lower. If an older woman is fortunate enough to yield many eggs, her pregnancy rate can be made equivalent to that of a younger patient by putting in more eggs.” GIFT or Zygote intrafallopian transfer ZIFT (a variation of GIFT whereby embryos are first fertilized in vitro and then transferred to the fallopian tubes) gives a considerably higher pregnancy rate in older women with cervical abnormalities. 

There are a few cases in which you would want to see a reproductive endocrinologist. First, there’s the case of fertility preservation, like egg or embryo freezing. Women or couples may wish to undergo fertility preservation to give themselves a better chance of conceiving later, or because they are about to undergo a procedure, like cancer treatment, that could impact their fertility. While this may or may not be done in the context of an infertility diagnosis, it’s still a fertility procedure that requires a reproductive endocrinologist. Secondly, you would want to see an RE if you’ve been trying to get or stay pregnant for a year (or for six months, if you’re over 35). This is the medical definition of infertility. Being diagnosed as infertile doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant ever—it just means something prevents your body from getting pregnant on its own, which is where a reproductive endocrinologist can help.

“About one-third of infertility cases are caused by women’s problems.” (Extend Fertility) Accessed from the web on 01/26/2021 https://extendfertility.com/what-is-a-reproductive-endocrinologist/ Some possible infertility problems are poor nutrition, pelvic inflammatory disease, blockages in the fallopian tubes, and lack of planning. Women, children, and parents should begin discussing the obligations of family members from the time before development. The woman’s body develops physically long before she mentally matures. She needs to know how to care for her body for future use. Her body will be required for the preservation of the family and extending her bloodline. These ideas become highly important to a woman in the later stages of her development when menopause becomes a reality.

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