Coping with Mother’s Day

At Specialists in Reproductive Medicine & Surgery, P.A., we recognize that Mother’s Day can be particularly difficult. Acknowledging those feelings and preparing emotionally can help.

Focus on your own mother, mother-in-law, sister, grandmother or other special woman in your life
Plan ahead and make this day about your own mom or other special woman in your life. Or, if you have other friends suffering with infertility, plan a girl’s day out for shopping, dining, movies or a spa day. Take this opportunity to do something special for yourself or celebrate with others in your life. 

Recognize difficult situations
For example, restaurants often ask if you are a mother and offer complimentary items. Be prepared on how you might respond so that you are not taken off-guard.

Consider joining a support group
There are a number of support groups online and through RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. Support groups will help you feel less isolated, empower you with knowledge and validate your emotional response to the life crisis of infertility. Visit the RESOLVE Calendar of Events to find a support group in your area.

Speak to your minister, a rabbi or a therapist for support
Talk with your clergyperson and educate him/her about the experience of infertility. Perhaps he/she would be willing to say a prayer or offer words of support for those struggling with this crisis. Or, seek a professional mental health therapist for support.

Plan an enjoyable day with your significant other
You are not alone. For couples facing infertility, it is important to work together during these difficult days. Plan a fun day together such as hiking, bicycling, or walking on a beach. See that movie you've wanted to see or create a special meal.

It is our hope and goal that each of our patient families will soon experience their first of many Mothers’ Days! For more information, visit http://www.dreamababy.comor call 239-275-8118.

The Fertility Chase, Episode 1, WE TV, 5/1/2010

My wife and I woke up this morning and watched the pilot show of “The Fertility Chase”. I felt the show did a wonderful job in portraying the emotional trauma that infertility patients go through. I thought the visual graphics, filming and editing was excellent. I applaud Exodus Productions for their very hard work in bringing this topic to others. Overall, they did a truly wonderful job.

The Reproductive Medicine Group, also here in Florida, did a great job discussing basic infertility. Dr. Goodman appeared extraordinarily comfortable in front of the camera. I have a high level of respect for these physicians and have asked their group to render a second opinion on a number of my patients.

I did agree with Dr. Lessey that it is very important to carefully evaluate the couple and search for the diseases that cause infertility. For my readers, the definition of unexplained infertility means that there has been a complete evaluation, including a normal laparoscopy, and that no diagnosis was found. It seemed as though many of Dr. Lessey’s patients really had not undergone the full evaluation so the term “unexplained infertility” in the segment may have better been termed “incompletely evaluated infertility”.

I feel that the usefulness of a laparoscopy in the treatment of endometriosis is controversial. There is (inconsistent) data that shows pregnancy rates do improve slightly following the diagnosis and treatment of stage I or II endometriosis with about 1/3rd of the patients conceiving within eight months of surgery. This would seem to differ slightly from the 50% in three months that was quoted by Dr. Lessey and I would encourage him to publish his data so we can all benefit from better his procedures and techniques.

It is uncertain that the surgical treatment of the more advanced stages of endometriosis (III & IV) improves overall pregnancy rates. I would absolutely agree that treatment of all stages decreases symptoms in the fast majority of the patients but fertility is a different issue. I feel there is room for discussion regarding the ultimate usefulness of laparoscopy in the infertile patient.

The comments regarding stress and holistic medicine were an intriguing segment. I agree that life is too short to be unhappy and/or stressed and that we should all seek methods to better cope with stress and try to be as happy as we can be. The effects of yoga, massage, acupuncture, exercise and other holistic treatments on fertility is a very complex issue. There is supporting data that stress management may reduce the number of miscarriages slightly but increasing pregnancy rates is a more challenging process. I wholeheartedly agree that all infertility patients should do what they can be become as healthy as they can and find a balance in their lives regarding work and family. To depend on a holistic approach as the only approach, however, may unintentionally delay diagnosis and treatment and potentially harm patients.

Remember that most infertility couples are getting pregnant on their own at a low 1-3% per month so anything that takes place during the month of conception is thought to have made the ultimate difference. The Internet, and even some published data, is full of “cures” that were most likely coincidence rather than truly causing a successful pregnancy. Since 1-3% of most infertility patients will get pregnant on their own every month, it becomes important to design studies that discover true cause and not just coincidence. These are complex issues and more carefully designed research needs to be done in this area before clear conclusions can be made.

I look forward to the next week’s segment on oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing), a very important area of expanding research. Oocyte cryopreservation has tremendous potential for many women. It may provide women an unprecedented level of control regarding the timing of having children beating the biologic time clock through reproductive technologies.

Craig R. Sweet, M.D.
Reproductive Endocrinologist
www.DreamABaby.com

What is Infertility and What Causes It?

One of the main focuses of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24 – May 1) is creating awareness. Sometimes, understanding infertility and explaining it to others can be challenging so we try to offer a simple description for an often complex disease. Infertility occurs when a couple has unprotected intercourse for one year without conception. Around 15 percent of all couples that try to conceive over a 12 month period will not succeed. Forty percent of women have problems such as damaged Fallopian tubes, endometriosis, advanced age, ovulation problems and hormone imbalances. Forty percent of the time it is due to the male caused by hormone imbalances, a scrotal varicose vein, obstruction, infections, chronic medical conditions and antibodies. The remaining 20 percent of couples have issues on both sides. For more information, please call 239-275-8118 or visit www.dreamababy.com. A visit to a reproductive endocrinologist is a good first step to diagnosing, understanding and treating your condition.

Read a “Sweet success story” from one of my patients

National Infertility Awareness Week is focused on awareness. With so many couples struggling to build their families, it’s especially important that we remind you what it’s all about. Read about one of my patient families as they share their “sweet success story.”

Take Charge of Infertility: 7 Things You Can Do in 7 Days

Okay folks, this is a call to action. With National Infertility Awareness Week kicking off tomorrow, April 24, it is the time to remind couples struggling to conceive about the options for diagnosis, treatment and support. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, has drafted a call to action, Take Charge: 7 Things You Can Do in 7 Days. Here are the steps to follow with links for more information:

Day 1: Educate yourself. Do you need to see a specialist?

Day 2: Design a plan. Insurance info, options, support, we got you covered.

Day 3: Become an advocate. No matter why you care, it's easy to make an impact.

Day 4: Send a free ecard message to someone.

Day 5: Impact your community-volunteer, host a support group, raise awareness.

Day 6: Navigate the costs of family building.

Day 7: Find support.  Do you need help coping with your infertility diagnosis?

I encourage you to share this information with friends, colleagues, your physician and your family. For more information, call 239-275-8118 or visit http://www.dreamababy.com/.

Check us out on national TV!

Several of my patients and I will be featured in the new independently produced television series “The Fertility Chase” scheduled to begin airing on May 1, 8:30 – 9 a.m. EST on WE tv, the Women’s Entertainment cable television network. The launch of the series coincides with National Infertility Awareness Week, April 24 – May 1, a week dedicated to raising awareness about infertility, a condition affecting 7.3 million Americans. The half-hour program produced by Exodus Productions will run over the course of eight weeks. To see a preview of the show, visit www.dreamababy.com and click on The Fertility Chase icon in the top left-hand corner. For more information, call 239-275-8118 or visit http://www.dreamababy.com

How does health care reform impact fertility treatment?

Since the healthcare reform bill does not address specific diseases, infertility is not addressed in the bill. However, in 2014, small businesses and individuals will begin to purchase health insurance under the state-based American Health Benefit Exchanges so it may be included in these policies. Also in 2014, an “essential health benefits package” will be drafted. The intent is to include a comprehensive list of services, but it cannot be more extensive than a typical employer plan. Since this plan has not yet been drafted, the details are forthcoming.

Currently, several states have mandates requiring insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Florida is not among those mandated states. The plan does not specifically address state mandates so this will be an issue to watch.
On a positive note, the elimination of lifetime caps is a benefit for fertility patients. Patients who have a premature birth or need specific prenatal or neonatal care can often exceed the lifetime caps set by insurance companies.

In addition, the elimination of pre-existing conditions exclusion is also a plus for fertility patients. In some cases, patients have been denied coverage due to their pre-existing condition of infertility. Under the new reform bill, companies can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

The National Infertility Association, RESOLVE, has been monitoring the health reform discussions since they began and has met with Members of Congress to convey the needs of infertility patients in the U.S. While RESOLVE did not endorse any specific healthcare reform legislation, as a member of the National Health Council RESOLVE does support the Council’s Campaign to Put Patients First, a campaign which has identified five health care principles that must be part of meaningful healthcare reform.  As the new reform law is implemented, RESOLVE will continue to advocate for the millions of Americans with infertility to ensure their voice is heard.
For more information on fertility treatments or health reform, visit www.dreamababy.com or call 239-275-8118.