Anda di halaman 1dari 62

Personal Path to Pregnancy

The Secret to Making a Baby Lies in Choosing Whats Best for You Traditional Strategies & Little Known Alternatives Doctors Often Dont Discuss that Help You Increase the Odds of a Quicker Conception

By: Beth Kiley


Beth Kiley 2006 All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Does Mother Nature Need a Nudge? Sizing Up the Situation to See If Your Fertility Is at Risk The ABCs of Conception How to Boost the Odds of Having a Baby in Your Immediate Future Are You Ovulating? Predicting Your Chances for Pregnancy While Minimizing Irregularities Before You Turn to Your Doctor Traditional and Alternative Tips to Help Hasten the Process of Pregnancy When Infertility Is an Issue Dealing with the Tests, Emotions, and Outcome of a Diagnosis You Didnt Want! When Medical Science Should Intervene A Look at Todays Breakthrough Technology for Increasing the Odds of a Baby Conception Isnt One Size Fits All Mapping Out Your Blueprint for Making Your Dream Come True

Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

Chapter 5:

Chapter 6:

Chapter 7:

Chapter 1: Does Mother Nature Need a Nudge? Sizing Up the Situation to See If Your Fertility Is at Risk
When most couples decide to have a baby, they really dont give very much thought to how difficult it might actually be. It seems simple enoughhave sexmake a baby. The truth is, both mens and womens fertility levels are on the decline today. Its quite possible that the trouble stems from the increased chemicals and pesticides in the foods we eat, toxins in the environment and the high stress levels of modern society. It seems that every little thing counts when it comes to trying to conceive a babyfrom what you eat to what position you have sex. Now I dont know your situation personally, but what I do know is that theres a mountain of information out there, and I think you should be armed with all the knowledge youll need to map out your own blueprint to making a baby. It is your body, after all not your doctors, not your best friends or wellmeaning mother-in-laws and certainly not the acquaintance you met on the Internet who declared nothing else works but her method.

Your Personal Present, Past, and Future Path to Pregnancy


Every woman has a different story, and this guide will cater to women in any situation. Maybe youre just now considering parenthood and havent even really tried to get pregnant yet, but want to be informed before you get started. Or maybe youve tried every which way you know, and havent been able to get pregnant yet after months or even years of trying. Before you give up hope forever, you need to get to the end of this book and see whats in it for you. Some of you reading may relate to my story of how my personal path to pregnancy was achieved. I was married at 35 and about a year later, we decided to try and have a baby. After getting pregnant fairly quickly, I lost my first baby in a miscarriage at around 4-5 weeks. Although I was very saddened and confused, I wasnt too worried, since people told me that it was somewhat common. I thought I was lucky because I got pregnant again so quickly. At 7 weeks I saw my babys heartbeat on the sonogram. But at my 10-week ultrasound appointment, they told me my babys heart had stopped beating. I was devastated to say the least. And thats when fear really set in. It took 3 more miscarriages before I was finally diagnosed with an immune related disorder that

would require some treatments to prevent another miscarriage the next time I got pregnant. Imagine my surprise that my next step on the path to pregnancy was that I couldnt seem to get pregnant again. We tried, but nothing happened for several months. Depression set in, as I wanted a baby so desperately, and I was terrified of not being able to get pregnant again. The battle between depression and desperation raged on and I joined online support groups and shared in the camaraderie of other womens struggles and felt joy and jealousy whenever one of our own was able to conceive and bring a child into this world. While my desperation and frantic anxiety took root, it seemed like everyone else around me was getting pregnant. It was like it was in the water and I wasnt getting to drink from the fountain. This was devastating. So, I logged onto the Internet and devoured information, researching in every spare minute to find out what I could do to help me get pregnant more quickly. I researched on the computer every day. I read books, articles, transcripts, research papers and published medical reports. Long story short, I spent every free minute I had learning everything written on the topic of getting pregnant. I even had two expensive consultations with top experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology (fertility doctors) to try to find answers. And you know what? Theres an absolute ton of information on this subject. It took so much time to simply sort through and make sense of it all. To separate the facts from the mythsthe new research from the old. The wives tales from the truth. And even though I dug up all these buried resources, I wasnt sure the techniques would work. But within two months of implementing some of the techniques I uncovered, I conceived and carried my first baby to term. She was a beautiful baby girl and well worth the wait. And when we decided to try and give her a baby brother or sister, I conceived my son after only 1 month of trying. My husband and I took a very pro-active approach. I learned about all of these techniques in a desperate attempt to become a mother myself, and if it can help you in your quest to parenthood, then Im happy to share what I learned so that you dont have to waste time sorting through the mountain of information on the Internet. You have enough to deal with when trying to become a parentthe excitement, the disappointments, the fear, the nervousness, or quite possibly the depression and desperation that I went through. This guide is meant to be a thorough look at all of the options that are available to youincluding dozens of strategies that people dont talk about and doctors dont seem to want you to know about. You will learn about various ways you can do something on

your own to improve your fertility and therefore maximize your chance of conceiving a child the fastest way possible. You have choices, and Im going to deliver them to you. When mainstream medicine doesnt help you, or when you want to know the most modern methods people and scientists have developed for getting pregnant, it ought to be easy to access, dont you agree? That was my goal in creating this guide, and I believe I have achieved what I hoped to accomplish in structuring it so that its easy and informative and can help you bring your dreams to fruition. You wont have to waste your valuable time sorting through the endless, often conflicting information to learn what you can do to have your dream of a beautiful baby come true.

Desperation Is Your Best Ally in Your Quest to Get Pregnant


Being desperate is no picnic in the park. Who wants to feel hopeless, frustrated, and anxious on a daily basis? While it was horrible to go through, it did make me well educated in pregnancy-related issues. Instead of making you go through the same process picking the minds of experts, talking to hundreds of women all over the world to see what worked for them I decided to just compile what I learned and give you all of the options available to help you make a baby on your own without budget-busting infertility treatments or years of waiting for it to happen. Maybe youve already been trying for several months or even years. Whether youre a veteran at trying, or a complete novice just now starting on your own journey to motherhood, this guide will surprise you and show you that there is always something new to be considered in getting pregnant. Ive personally tried many different methods, including the natural approaches (no boxers for the husband, no caffeine, tons of vitamins), traditional advice about how to combine Robitussin and water for improved cervical mucus, alternative options like acupuncture, and a long list of other strategies. Some worked, some didnt. Some worked for other women. Some might work for you and some might not. But the point is, you need access to the variety of techniques and strategies in an organized way so that you can put your own personal plan together. Getting pregnant isnt a cookie cutter issue its not one size fits all. This book may have some methods youve heard of before. But its also sure to have some new information thats not widely circulated and that you didnt have before details that could be the very key you need to unlock the secret to having a baby.

Will I Have a Problem Getting Pregnant?


Most girls, when growing up, dont consider whether or not theyll be able to have a baby they just assume they will one day. Then when the time comes that theyre actually planning it, they start to worry even if theres been no sign of a problem with their fertility. There are different levels of fertility. There are people who just happen to not be pregnant yet, and will greatly benefit from chapter 2. There are those who find themselves infertile after a year or more of trying to conceive. Theres also primary infertility (infertility without a previous pregnancy) and secondary infertility (infertility after having already conceived a child), and sterility, which means you have no chance of conception. If youre wondering where you might be, you should know that 15-20% of couples in the United States alone encounter difficulties in getting pregnant. The causes range from minor issues like using a non-productive position during sex to one of the partners being sterile. Most women are worried because they are simply uninformed. Plus, there are a lot of myths floating around on the net and offline that cause a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. Here are some of the many reasons why you and your partner may be experiencing trouble getting pregnant if its been more than a year and youve had no luck making a baby: Ovulation issues Ovarian cysts Sperm issues Prior abortion Endometriosis Blocked fallopian tubes Stress Weight gain

Of course this list isnt comprehensive, but it does include some of the more common issues that affect a couples chance of conceiving. And unfortunately, many

couples who cant conceive a baby after a year of trying, seem to have nothing medically wrong with either of them, and simply fall into the category of unexplained infertility, which is the medical term for we dont have any idea why youre not conceiving. Which raises a very interesting question. If so many couples have unexplained infertility, which means there is no obvious medical reason why they cant conceive, doesnt it stand to reason that there is a lot more to conception than the doctors know about. And then the idea that both men and women can make a variety of personal changes to improve their own fertility really does make a heck of a lot of sense, dont you agree? Sometimes it may just take an alternative approacha change in lifestyle or the use of alternative therapies for instance, to make conception possible. Conception is a miraculous and quite complex phenomenonundoubtedly influenced by many subtle internal and external factors. It stands to reason that we all have the power to make changes within ourselves that can maximize our fertility and make the difference in our ability to conceive a baby. As you go through this guide and choose various options that are available to you, youll learn more about what could be causing you and your partner a delay in becoming parents and find a solution to finally fix it so that you can start knitting baby booties sooner!

How to Best Use This Guide


If youve tried to get pregnant for the last few months and havent seen any results, that does not necessarily mean youll need infertility treatments! There is a whole treasure trove of home and self-treatments you can do on your own before you even consider going to an infertility doctor for invasive treatments. This information is not readily distributed, so you want to make sure you exhaust your options before shelling out big money to a specialist when it may not even be necessary. The first place were going to start is with the basics. If youre new to this, then you definitely want to read it carefully to see what they didnt teach you in 8th grade sexed classes! If youre a veteran, why not skim it over again anyway just to make sure theres not something new in it that you didnt know before? The key to your pregnancy may be a single sentence contained within chapter 2, and you dont want to pass it over.

Chapter 2: The ABCs of Conception How to Boost the Odds of Having a Baby in Your Immediate Future
Some of what Im about to share, you may already know but there are always nuggets of information that you can apply that could very well be the answer to your hopes and dreams of parenthood.

Formula for Fertility


The path to pregnancy can be a bumpy ride. There are no guarantees and a million things that can affect your ability to conceive. Approximately 80% of women under age 35 get pregnant within the first year of trying. But for the remaining 20%, half will go on to get pregnant within two years after addressing some mild issues, while the other half will need medical science to intervene on their behalf. Thats great news for you that means theres a 90% chance you can conceive on your own! Thats what this guide is all about and to help you determine when is the right time to find out if you happen to be one of the 10% of women who need extra assistance. Your age will have a lot to do with your chance at conception. In a society where 20% of all first time moms are over the age of 35, more and more women are dealing with the problem of not being able to get pregnant quickly and easily. Odds of getting pregnant in a given month, by age: Early 20s: up to 25 percent Late 20s and early 30s: up to 15 percent Late 30s: up to 10 percent Over 40: less than 5% Number of women who achieve pregnancy within the first year of trying, by age: Early 20s: 94 percent Late 20s and early 30s: 70-85 percent Late 30s: 65-70 percent Average number of months until conception, by age: Early 20s: 4-5 months Late 20s: 5-7 months Early 30s: 7-10 months Late 30s: 10-12 months

Surprisingly, even race plays a small factor in conception. African American women have a 10.5% infertility rate under 35 years of age, while Hispanic women have a 7% infertility rate and Caucasian women deal with 6.4%. Keep in mind that when we talk about numbers and percentages, theyre just statistics. That doesnt mean your case will strictly adhere to any certain group or timeline. Anything is possible, and with the tips you learn here, you can increase your odds.

Back to School All About Our Bodies


When they first teach you this stuff, youre sitting in school taking notes on how not to get pregnant. But now you want the reverse lesson where are those sex education teachers when you need them? We all know what a vagina and penis are, so were not going to get that basic with our crash course. But when youre dealing with conception strategies, you may need a quick refresher on other body parts, so lets look at how these contribute to your fertility. Your cervix is located in the lower part of your uterus and acts like a muscle to keep the baby from delivering before its time. It also creates a barrier between your body and nasty infections that could harm your baby in utero. If your doctor diagnoses any cervix problems, it may be remedied simply by having the doctor suture the cervix with a cerclage. The uterus is your womb. Its an organ that holds your baby until its time for delivery. Its lined with a thick endometrium, the blood lining that results in your period each month if conception doesnt occur. Your ovaries come in pairs each woman usually has two of them. Theyre the containers your eggs come in! When youre born, your ovaries have about 1 million eggs in them. By the time you hit puberty, you have only 300,000 to 400,000 eggs left. At age 50, you only have about 1,000 eggs remaining. Some of these are abnormal eggs. Normal eggs contain 23 chromosomes, which are the genes that will make your baby who he or she is. Near your ovaries are two fallopian tubes. This is where your egg comes in contact with a mans sperm and hopefully, makes a baby! Your fallopian tubes are lined with fimbriae, which are hair-like fingers that move the egg along. His primary parts consist of testicles and sperm. The testicles are to his body what your ovaries are to your eggs they create and hold his sperm. Sperm are produced every day, but they mature after 70 days. What this means is that if there is any

damage to the sperm, from elements such as heat (to be discussed later), it takes more than two months for new sperm to mature and be ready to fertilize an egg. This is very important to keep in mind, as that can seriously delay your chances of conception.

How a Baby Is Conceived


Conception has to be timed just right. Your menstrual cycle plays an important role. In a perfect 28 day cycle (which not every woman has), during the first 1-5 days, an egg comes into maturity in an ovary. Between the 6th and 13th day, the lining in your uterus thickens in preparation for the egg. Around the 14th day, you ovulate. Some women feel this sensation, and its discussed in detail in the next chapter. Basically, the follicle bursts open and the egg gets released into the fallopian tubes. From then on, if sperm has fertilized the egg, it will hopefully plant itself inside the uterus and begin to grow and be nourished. If youre not pregnant, the egg will be flushed out with your menstrual cycle and the cycle repeats itself. When a man ejaculates inside a woman, he emits about 100 million sperm. Only approximately 200 of them survive to make it to the fallopian tubes and encounter the egg. Sperm can live for up to 6 days in a womans body if the conditions are right. The egg is viable for 12-24 hours, however many experts believe it is probably closer to 12 hours. Given this time element, it is extremely important to get the timing of intercourse right. In fact, incorrect timing of intercourse is considered the #1 mistake couples make when trying to conceive. If you dont know when youre most fertile, you may miss the window of opportunity that could allow you and your partner to have a baby. When you and your partner have sex right before youve ovulated, the sperm will enter through the cervix and swim up to the fallopian tubes. Half will pick door #1 while the others will choose door #2. The half that picked the right fallopian tube will have a chance at penetrating the egg. Within the next 24 hours, the sperm find your egg and surround it, each one trying to enter the protective layering. When one penetrates it, the others are locked out. The embryo then enters the uterus and implants itself in the wall. You miss your period and a baby is on the way!

Timing and Positioning Your Sex Just Right


First of all, its important not to make sex a chore when youre trying to conceive. I know its important to time it right and sometimes that means someone isnt in the mood. But its also important to maintain the love between the two of you to lighten an already stressful time.

When timing intercourse, you must make sure youre near ovulation. Some women know this time just by tracking their own body functions and watching for signs (to be explained later). Others need a store-bought ovulation predictor test kit. Chapter 3 will go into much more detail on ovulation because its a vital part in your journey to pregnancy and I wanted to make sure I devoted a lot of insight into this topic. It is important not to abstain from sex all month long in an attempt to save up the sperm for your fertile time. Try to have sex at least every five days during the time you are not trying to conceive in an effort to flush out the sperm. This will ensure that you have healthy sperm at the time when you really need them! Approximately 5 days before you will ovulate, it is recommended that you have sex either every day or every other day up until and including the day of ovulation. Some say to also have intercourse the day after ovulation just to be safe. It doesnt make very much difference which option you choose, unless you know that your partner has a low sperm count. If that is the case, the every other day approach is advised. If there are no sperm issues, do what works best for youif youre up for every day-great! If not, every other day works great too. To better your odds at conception, its important to know which positions give you an increased chance at having a baby. Sexual positions and after-intercourse routines can be personal, but as with everything when youre trying to get pregnant, you might pick up a few tips you havent yet tried to use! Youd think it wouldnt really matter which position you had sex in to conceive a baby. But when youre trying for a baby, you want to do everything in your power to make thing happen faster. And gravity definitely plays a role. What you want is for your position during sex to offer the best way for the deepest penetration and contact with the cervix, while minimizing the chance of leakage. Rear entry is known among your veteran fertility warriors as being the best position for conception. Alternatively, the missionary (man on top) position and side by side, are considered to be optimal positions as well. Regarding leakage, here is a tip. Instead of your partner withdrawing after intercourse, have your partner keep his penis inside for as long as possible after his orgasm. This makes a good barrier and keeps the semen concentrated as close to the cervix as it can get. Another important tip has to do with your orgasm. Research has shown that if a female has an orgasm after her partner, the sperm get sort of sucked up into the cervix

which helps to bring them faster to where they need to be going. Its sort of a little booster to get them going on their way. And always remember, after sex, elevate your hips for about 20- 30 minutes, as this will help gravity get the sperm going in the right direction as well. Do not get up before that to go to the bathroom and especially do not douche. Now, what about lubrication, you may ask. Many lubricants can damage sperm so do not use anything store-bought unless it specifically states it will not harm sperm. That means no KY Jelly or Vaseline, and especially do not use saliva as it can be very damaging to sperm. And speaking of saliva, do not engage in oral sex beforehand, because the saliva can ruin the sperms chances of survival. Theres only one product recommended for helping lubrication along and its called Pre-Seed. Its sperm-friendly, so you dont have to worry about creating a hazardous environment for the little swimmers. Click here to check it out. Many women have used egg whites, which are what laboratories also often use to store sperm, to help lubricate their vaginas before intercourse. Take an egg out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Insert the egg white immediately after cracking the egg open to avoid any infections. While many women do use eggwhites for lubrication, be aware this technique does carry some small risk, as there is always the slight chance of salmonella when dealing with eggs. You may have been doing all of the above things all along. Or, maybe you learned a couple of new techniques to put into practice. Soon, youll learn some other effective traditional and alternative methods couples are using all over the world to increase the odds of having a baby. Lets start with how to determine when youre ovulating...

Chapter 3: Are You Ovulating? Predicting Your Chances for Pregnancy While Minimizing Irregularities
Ovulation is the time at which one or more eggs are released from the ovaries. Its the most fertile time of a womans cycle and it creates the space in which the process of pregnancy can begin. In short, its the point of conception if a healthy sperm is available to fertilize this released egg(s). During the course of each month, eggs within the ovaries will mature and grow. Depending on the overall growth of the egg, each month the ovary will choose to release the most ready egg for fertilization into the fallopian tubes. The choice of which fallopian tube the egg will be released into varies from month to month as does the ovary that releases that egg. If for some reason a woman only has one fallopian tube (perhaps due to an ectopic pregnancy), she still has a good chance of getting pregnant with the remaining tube.

How Can I Get Pregnant?


The best time for a woman to have intercourse in the hope that youll become pregnant is during the five days before you ovulate and up through the day ovulation has occurred. This is because sperm can live in the fallopian tubes for up to six days, but the egg will only remain viable for about twelve to twenty-four hours. Women who dont have problems with their fertility have a twenty-five percent chance of becoming pregnant each month that they attempt it. If you want to become pregnant, there are plenty of ways that you can tell when you are ovulating rather than just guessing.

Why Planning for Conception Is Best


The reason why its important that you know about ovulation is because having intercourse more frequently throughout the month in hopes of catching the right time doesnt necessarily increase your chances of becoming pregnant. In fact, its possible it can have the reverse effect. Heres why. When a man ejaculates frequently, the concentration of sperm can be lower which can lead to problems with conception. But when you try to make an effort to have sex during the most fertile times of your cycle, youll allow the sperm to build up in higher numbers, allowing for an increased chance of conception. But as stated previously, never abstain for weeks at a time in hopes of saving up the sperm for when you are ovulating.

Its best to make sure the male ejaculates around every five days when its not your fertile time, to flush out the sperm and keep them fresh. Then, during the 5 days before you will be ovulating, you can time intercourse every day or every other day as stated earlier.

Ways To Tell If Youre Ovulating


If you want to get pregnant and are ready to start figuring out when the best times to have intercourse are, here are some basic things to look at that will indicate when you are ovulating. The countdown: The most scientific way to determine when you are ovulating works best for women whose menstrual cycles are regular. That means that your cycle length is approximately the same every month. What you do is count back about twelve to sixteen days that is your fertile time. For example, if your cycle length is usually 30 days, you would probably ovulate somewhere between days 14 and 18. The twelve to sixteen days refers to whats known as the luteal phase. Let me explain a little further how this works. Every cycle is made up of two parts, the ovulatory phase and the luteal phase. The ovulatory phase starts on the first day of your period and ends on the day that you ovulate. The length of this phase can vary from month to month so that you can not always accurately predict the day you will ovulate. One of the things that can cause a delay in ovulation is stress. So if you normally ovulate on day 14 for example, and you find yourself in a stressful situation early in the month, your ovulation can be delayed by a few days. Other things that can affect ovulation are travel and illness. The second half of the cycle is called the luteal phase. Once you ovulate, the number of days until your period comes will be fixed each month and will not be delayed by any outside conditions such as stress. It varies from woman to woman, but once you know the length of your luteal phase, it will stay consistent from month to month. It is important that your luteal phase not be too short, as this would be a sign that there is a deficiency of progesterone, which can cause problems in achieving a pregnancy. Typically, the luteal phase can last from 12 to 16 days, with the optimum being around 14 days. Some doctors say anything less than 12 days could be a problem, while others think 10 days or less is worrisome. The only way to determine the length of your luteal phase is to keep track of the day you ovulate (will discuss some methods shortly), and then count the number of days until your period arrives.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting: The best way to evaluate your cycle and especially to determine if you may have a luteal phase defect, is by temperature charting, also known as BBT charting. The first step is to purchase an inexpensive basal digital thermometer. With this, you can document your body temperature each morning before you get out of bed on a special chart and start to look for any times when it increases (aside from when youre ill). Generally speaking your temperatures will have very minor fluctuations on a daily basis of about a tenth of a degree. This can best be seen on a special basal body thermometer, not on a typical thermometer you would use to check for fever. Once you see the temperature go up a few tenths of a degree higher than it had been for several days before, that tells you that you have just ovulated. The reason being, right after you ovulate, the left over egg (which becomes a corpus luteum) releases progesterone in an effort to prepare your lining for the implantation of a fertilized egg. The release of progesterone causes the increase in temperature. Unfortunately, BBT charting will only tell you that you already have ovulatedit can not predict ovulation. By monitoring your temperature over the course of a few months, youll begin to see a pattern emerge that can be helpful in several ways. For one thing, by charting you will be able to establish if you are in fact ovulating, which some women just dont know. Secondly, you can count the number of days in your luteal phase in order to determine if you have a luteal phase defect which requires progesterone supplementation in order to conceive. Also, even though you cant use the charts to predict specifically what day you will ovulate, you will get a good feel for approximately what day each month you ovulate and can time intercourse better to coincide with your fertile window. Another benefit of charting is you can probably determine if you are in fact pregnant without even taking a pregnancy test! If your temperature stays elevated for 18 days following ovulation, then you are very likely to be pregnant! Once your temperature drops a few tenths, it means you are likely to get your period that day or the next day at the latest. This information can be helpful as well not in your quest to get pregnantbut its nice to have a warning that your period is due to arrive as sometimes it comes as a complete surprise when we are not exactly prepared!! Cervical mucus: Another very good indication of approaching ovulation concerns cervical mucus. Throughout a womans menstrual cycle, the texture and the consistency of the cervical mucus will change. This is something you may not have ever paid attention to, but it is very important to be aware of when trying to get pregnant.

As you get closer to ovulation, you will notice that your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge) changes from somewhat creamy to the consistency of an egg whiteclear, very stretchy and wet. This happens because the levels of estrogen are rising as the body prepares to release an egg. As a rule, if you arent sure when you will be ovulating exactly, you should start having sex as soon as you see the cervical mucus become similar to an eggwhite. You should continue having sex as long as you have this type of cervical mucus. Usually on the day of ovulation, the cervical mucus is the most abundant and stretchy. And you will know when you have already ovulated, as the cervical mucus immediately changesit gets cloudy and kind of dries upright after youve ovulated. Possible pain in the abdomen: Some women will also feel a twinge of pain when their ovary releases an egg. This is called mittelschmerz (which is German for middle pain) and this is felt by up to twenty percent of all women. The pain or the achiness can last anywhere from minutes to hours, depending on the woman and her sensitivity to the pain. You might also feel back pain that accompanies the lower abdominal pain. The problem for using this pain as an indicator of when to time intercourse, is that doctors arent sure if the pain is occurring right before, during or after ovulation. Obviously, if its occurring right after, it would not be a reliable method to time intercourse. Also, since the sperm live for several days, you would lose the opportunity for having intercourse a few times before ovulation, and therefore having much more sperm ready and waiting! Cervical Position Another change that occurs in your body as you approach ovulation is the position of your cervix. To check your cervix, make sure you have clean hands and be sure to check your cervix around the same time each day. Its probably easiest to squat down and gently insert one or two fingers into your vagina and reach back until you can feel your cervix. Depending on the time of the month, there will be some noticeable differences. (you may have to practice this awhile before you can easily notice the changes). During the first half of your cycle, the cervix will feel relatively firm like touching your noseand dry, and the position will be low in your vagina (easy to reach). The entrance to the cervix will feel closed. But as you approach ovulation, the cervix will become softer and wetter, the entrance will start to open and the position of the cervix will become higher (harder to reach). When it gets to its highest point (difficult to reach, and the entrance to the cervix feels open, and it feels more like your lip than your nose, you are at your most fertile time and very near ovulation. You can remember this with the acronym SHOW soft, high, open, wet. Just after ovulation, the cervix begins to get firmer and drier, the position will become lower and the entrance will begin to close.

These changes in the cervical position, along with the changes in the cervical mucus, can give you a very good chance at predicting your most fertile time.

Are Those Ovulation Kits Any Good?


If you are the type of person who doesnt want to evaluate all the signals from your body about your fertile time, there are other ways to help predict ovulation. With the invention of the home pregnancy test, women have been able to find out if theyre pregnant or not without having to go into the doctors office. Not only did this make pregnancy more private, but also more convenient. With at home ovulation predictor kits, women can begin to determine more scientifically whether or not they are in their fertile time of the month. These kits measure LH (luteinizing hormone) levels in a womans body. The way it works is these levels will generally surge right before a woman is ready to release an egg into the fallopian tubes. Whats great about these kits is that they can predict the best times for conception in advance of the release of the egg, allowing you to better time intercourse. The kits are said to predict ovulation up to thirty-six hours in advance and increase your overall chances of becoming pregnant. Its best to follow the directions on the package, but here are some basic guidelines. Try to test around the same time everyday, its usually best between 2 4pm, although any time between noon and 8pm is probably fine. Definitely do not test with first morning urine. The reason is that most women have their surge early in the morning and it can take several hours for it to show up in your urine. Usually the kits come with five tests, so if you have very irregular cycles, you may need to buy two kits in order to have enough and not miss your surge day. Theres a great site online that sells these tests at a discount, and you can buy them by the piece, so youre not restricted to 5 in a box. Its much cheaper than buying them in the drugstore, and they offer free shipping in the U.S./Canada. Go here to view.

What About Saliva Tests?


Some test kits use your saliva instead of your urine to predict ovulation. The saliva tests work by detecting an increase in your salt content, which is an indicator that your estrogen levels have risen. When you look through the microscope at a dry saliva sample, you are looking for ferning or crystal patterns produced by the increase in estrogen that takes place prior to ovulation.. Many women prefer these to the

pee sticks because the others have to be stored in a cool climate (which is hard to tote with you in your purse for on-the-go testing). Its also less expensive. Urine tests are pricey and new ones have to be purchased on a continual basis. With saliva test kits, its a one-time purchase because it can be washed and reused. And the USFDA says theyre 98% accurate. (Plus, you dont have to wait for a full bladder you can test at any time)! You might want to have a look at Fertile Focus, which looks like an attractive lipstick case. Its affordable, portable, and offers a powerful 50X magnification glass lens for accuracy and ease of use. Or, you can try Ovacue Fertility Monitor, which is a unique and sophisticated electronic monitor which is so simple to use, you simply place the oral sensor on your tongue, and in one minute you have your daily test result. Better yet, this monitor electronically creates, tracks, and stores your dataits like having your own digital ovulation calendar. You can purchase either of these saliva tests by clicking here.

Problems that Can Occur with Ovulation


However, when all of the measuring and calculating arent adding up to a pregnancy, you might have something bigger on your hands than an irregular cycle. When youre not ovulating: Some women arent able to ovulate correctly, leading to a condition known as anovulation. Up to forty percent of women with fertility problems are not able to ovulate correctly. This might be seen in signs like: Irregular periods Absence of periods Abnormal bleeding

But the only way to determine if these signs are indicating anovulation is to talk with your doctor and have them run tests to make sure that nothing else is wrong. There are many physical conditions that might lead to problems with ovulating: Hormone imbalances Diabetes Liver disease

Your age, if youre an older woman Ovary issues Miscarriages Weight Changes Problems with glands pituitary, adrenal, thyroid

Emotionally stressful times can also contribute to fertility problems, so try to keep your stress levels in check by using relaxation methods designed to calm your body, mind, and spirit (to be discussed more later). When you and your doctor have determined that youre not ovulating as you should be, there are many steps that you can take to correct the issue. Once any other conditions are ruled out, your doctor may want to prescribe fertility drugs that can help your body release the eggs that you want it to release. Two specific drugs include Clomid and Serophene. Theyre both highly effective and have a tested safety record for women over the last few decades. These drugs can be taken orally (great for those that dont want to inject themselves) and help to block the effects of estrogen in a womans body. What happens when you take these kinds of drugs is that the body begins to increase the production of the LH hormone as well as the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This allows for natural ovulation. The results are good for using these fertility drugs, with about eighty percent of women beginning ovulation after taking the drugs and half of them becoming pregnant within six months. There is an increased incidence of twins and multiple births with these fertility drugs up to ten percent of women who take the drugs will have multiple births (as opposed to the normal rate of one percent). What you might want to keep in mind is that it can take time for these kinds of drugs to take effect in some women. Sometimes the dosage needs to be changed or the woman needs to be artificially inseminated in order to conceive. This is due to unfavorable changes in the cervical mucus which can hinder the travel of the sperm in the natural way. There are also injectable drugs like Gonal-F that will do the same thing as Clomid and Serophene by increasing the FSH and LH in the body. But they can actually overstimulate the ovaries and cause side effects bloating and pain.

A doctor will need to supervise this ovulation plan, but up to ninety percent of women will begin to ovulate normally with the injected drugs. And of those women, about twenty to sixty percent become pregnant. The drugs that specifically treat ovulation do two things. They help stimulation and support the process of ovulation itself, and they block the production of hormones that are competing in the process. While there are various choices for stimulating ovulation, they all have their own approach. Your doctor will evaluate your own individual symptoms and then choose the best drug to help you with your ovulation. Some of the side effects are minimal things like hot flashes or headaches. Others can be stronger, including vomiting, visual problems, dizziness, and mood swings. You may or may not experience any of these but its important to ask your doctor and be prepared for how it could affect you before you start taking any drug. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Another possible ovulation complication in getting pregnant is PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is a condition that will affect anywhere from five to ten percent of women and may causes symptoms such as: Lack of ovulation Irregular ovulation Absence of periods Irregular periods Irregular bleeding Weight gain, obesity Hypertension Abnormal cholesterol Acne Oily skin Excess hair growth Insulin resistance

Male patterned baldness

If your doctor suspects you have this condition, he or she can do a pelvic ultrasound to see if you have a lot of small follicles on your ovaries. Hell also check your hormone levels. But theres plenty that you can do to increase your chances of becoming pregnant when you have PCOS and the steps are generally based on controlling the symptoms that are above. Lose weight Control insulin levels Use hormone treatments IVF in vitro fertilization

If the condition is severe, and you dont respond to medication, then the doctors can perform a laproscopic laser ovarian drilling to puncture your ovaries and allow them to start functioning properly. For women who have had this procedure, between 70-90% find success. Depo Provera and Birth Control Pills: The depo shot is supposed to prevent pregnancy for approximately 3 months. However, when you stop the shots, fertility does not automatically return at the end of the 3 month period. Ovulation will usually return within three to six months for most women, however it is possible that you may not have your cycle for 12 to 18 months after discontinuing the injections. So, unfortunately, it really varies from person to person and it could possibly be a long wait. Following Depo-Provera, there is no reported increase in miscarriage or birth defects. Alternatively, when you stop taking birth conrol pills, your cycles tend to resume fairly quickly. It doesnt matter how long youve been on the pill. Once the hormones are out of your body, your cycles will begin to get back to normal. It is even possible to get pregnant after stopping the pill before youve had a period. In fact, some women are most fertile during the three months after they stop taking the pill. For most women though, it takes a few months for your menstrual cycles to be back to normal. But remember, your cycles will go back to being as normal as they were before you started the birth control pills. So if you had irregular cycles before birth control pills, they are likely to still be irregular.

The reason some doctors advise to wait until youve had a few normal cycles before attempting a pregnancy is not because there is any lingering effects that need to be washed out. Rather, if you wait for your cycles to completely return to normal, you can more predictably determine the length of your cycle, identify your fertile days, and be able to better date when you conceived once you actually do get pregnant. Miscarriage: There are many possible reasons for a first trimester miscarriage, most of them resulting from a chromosome abnormality. Unless there are complications, or you are suffering from multiple miscarriage (like myself), there generally is no waiting requirement to start trying again. Your cycle will usually return to normal rather quickly. While some doctors may prescribe waiting out three cycles, it is advised more for emotional reasons than physical ones. Its always a good idea to wait until you have one normal period so you are better able to determine when conception occurred. The time you need for an emotional recovery is often much longer than the physical one, so use your own judgment for determining when youre ready to try again. Other possible things that can lead to problems with ovulation: You might also have problems with ovulation when the following things are happening during your attempts to become pregnant: . Now its time to start learning what you can do to speed up the process of getting pregnant. I want to start with things you can do on your own and when you hear the word alternative, it doesnt mean its unusual. Alternative just means the scientific medical community doesnt focus on anything that is not scientifically proven. Then tend to focus on what they can do for you medically, with drugs and treatments, not what you can do for yourself, which is often less expensive and less invasive. Increased stress Eating disorders Significant weight loss Excessive exercise

Chapter 4: Before You Turn to Your Doctor Traditional and Alternative Tips to Help Hasten the Process of Pregnancy
You may be thinking that its taking longer to get pregnant than you had expected. And you may have already been advised by a physician to just be patient. Or, you may be on the verge of asking your doctor about infertility treatment options because youve just about run out of patience. But before you begin that lengthy process, consider some of the non-medical suggestions Im going to talk about in this chapter. One of these may be the secret that unlocks your ability to conceive a child. Some of these methods might be familiar to you, but others might be new knowledge for you to consider. You owe it to yourself to carefully reflect on each topic and decide whether you want to give it a chance. Bear in mind that sometimes, what seems like a minor adjustment, could mean the difference in the miraculous world of conception. Im going to include some traditional as well as alternative do-it-yourself methods to try out to increase your chances of pregnancy. Each of these suggestions have worked for some women, but arent appropriate for all. Try not to draw any conclusions about any particular strategy until youve given it a fair try. One or a combination of these suggestions might just be the winning combination that will ultimately be responsible for your success.

When Just Relax is Easier Said than Done


Anxiety and worry can cause you to be unable to relax enough to conceive. They can also cause physical problems that will affect your body negatively. Its a Catch-22. You cant get pregnant until you relax and you cant relax until youre pregnant. More and more research studies are pointing to stress as one of the most common contributors to decreased fertility. Our lifestyle today contains enough stress on its own but when you combine everyday stress with that of desperately desiring a baby, stress levels can climb to dangerous levels. If well-meaning relatives, friends and co-workers know that youre trying to conceive, they might be adding to your stress by suggesting remedies (including, just relax) of their own.

You may appreciate their input, but after awhile, knowing looks combined with a drawn out Well-l-l-l-l-l? can get on your nerves and actually cause you to be too anxious to conceive. There are ways to alleviate the stress and end the constant, irritating banter of others about your lack of luck in the pregnancy department. Maybe you and your partner cant take an around the world cruise on the Queen Mary to relax but there are alternatives that you can probably manage. Yoga/Meditation Among the most helpful stress-relieving methods, practicing Yoga and meditation on a regular basis can be a viable answer to reducing stress levels in your life. Yoga can help you control stress on many levels. The poses and deep breathing exercises help you to control your body and tell it exactly what you want it to do. Meditation helps to quiet your cluttered mind and restore control. Regular meditation promotes tranquility in your life when you need it most. Yoga and meditation wont solve all of your stress-related problems, but it will help you react to them in a way that will keep your mind and body calm. Reflexology Reflexology is another natural remedy to promote relaxation. It involves applying gentle pressure to certain body points (usually hands and feet) and is gentle and calming on the entire body. A highly trained reflexologist will gently stroke and knead your feet, concentrating on the areas that will improve the functioning of your reproductive organs and glands. In the process, youll achieve a stage of deep relaxation. If relaxation is a problem for you in trying to conceive, try reflexology as a calming force to help you ease tension and handle lifes problems more efficiently. Massage Massage techniques have long been used as a way to relieve stress and stimulate circulation. It also serves to promote hormonal balance and increase nerve action in the womb.

Swedish and Shiatsu are the better-known massage methods. Each is beneficial to relieving stress and tension. Both use essential oils and lotions to soothe the body and create gentle warmth that stimulates circulation and releases harmful toxins or impurities. As your ovulation time approaches, you may want to try massage on a regular basis to help your body relax so that conception can more easily occur. Talk Therapy Words can sting. Being told itll happen when its right or just relax may be meant to comfort you, but theyll usually end up frustrating you even more when youre trying to have a baby. Researchers are now seeing that talk therapy is helping many women conceive. Since stress is a direct contributor to infertility, when a woman learns how to ride out stressful events in her life and talk them out, she lessens her stress and increases her odds at conception. Laughter Therapy Ever heard the phrase, laughter is the best medicine? Well it rings true for infertility, too. You may be shaking your head wondering, How am I going to find any reason to laugh during this time when Im so emotional and distraught? In some studies, women exposed to laughter therapy during infertility treatments were able to get pregnant faster than women who did not participate. It doesnt seem to take much, either just 10-15 minutes a day. So go ahead rent your favorite I Love Lucy episode or go with your partner to a comedy club tonight and give your odds at conception a boost. Hypnotherapy When youre trying to get pregnant, your thoughts are often consumed with when its going to happen for you. Even when youre consciously trying to avoid thinking of it, your subconscious mind is often focused on whats going wrong or why it isnt happening quick enough. With hypnotherapy, youre hypnotized and taught how to overcome the psychological barriers that could be contributing to your fertility issues. Although it wont work for all, it does work for some women and its worth looking into. The Wurn Technique This technique is another form of relaxation and massage in the form of physical therapy. It specifically massages your bodys soft tissue, which is especially

helpful if youre suffering infertility due to pelvic infections, surgeries, or traumatic factors such as a fall or radiation. Sometimes when your body is healing from these conditions, it actually results in more pain that lasts a long time and interferes with conception. The Wurn Technique reduces the pain and promotes healing. Your body may have initiated adhesion formation, where collagen fibers form in crosshair pattern at the site of the damaged tissue. While theyre meant to help you heal, they often stick around forever and cause more pain than your original problem. If it interferes with your organs, the infertility can occur because they blocked your fallopian tubes or restricted your ovaries from performing correctly. It can also result in miscarriages and hormonal dysfunction. When you have a massage therapist apply the Wurn Technique, he or she will gently apply pressure to stretch your body tissue and help the adhesions break down. It seem to be a very promising non-surgical way to assist in conditions such as blocked fallopian tubes. Exercise Exercise should become an important part of your life while you are trying to get pregnant. It will improve your immune system while reducing stress. You will have greater energy, will likely lose weight and gain muscle. As your health improves, you are preparing your body for a healthy pregnancy. Be sure you are exercising in moderation, as excessive exercise has been known to contribute to ovulation problems. Plan a relaxing vacation or weekend-getaway. Even if you cant take a month-long cruise, you can probably plan a romantic, relaxing vacation. A weekend trip to a little inn or resort that you both enjoy can be relaxing and enjoyable helping you forget the chaos of your daily life. While youre there, try to plan a massage or reflexology session. If youre uptight about getting pregnant while on a vacation, it will negate what youre trying to accomplish. There are other methods that you might try for yourself. For example, if reading a good novel or drinking a hot herbal cup of green tea before going to bed is a relaxation tool for you, by all means try it on a regular basis. Relaxation and stress-relief have helped many a woman conceive and you owe it to yourself and your partner to try and improve your chances of getting pregnant faster.

Acupuncture An Ancient Remedy


Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat and prevent illnesses. It is believed to work by stimulating pathways that carry energy flow throughout your body. Sometimes these pathways can become blocked or stagnant due to an illness or a damaged or improperly functioning immune system. Long, thin needles are inserted into specific areas along the pathways. By stimulating these pressure points, balance is restored and a natural healing process can begin. Its an interesting fact that in a recent study comparing acupuncture to hormone treatments to promote pregnancy, both group results offered the same rate of success. But since acupuncture has no side effects, the conclusion was that acupuncture offers a valuable alternative therapy for female infertility due to hormone disorders. As recently as May 2006, a highly regarded medical journal, Fertility and Sterility reported on several new studies that were conducted to see if acupuncture could improve the rate of success for couples undergoing IVF. The results indicated that receiving acupuncture significantly improved the pregnancy rates for these couples. Whats really interesting is, the physiologic mechanism by which acupuncture seems to affect the uterus and reproductive system hasnt really been identified, yet the researchers found that as a practical matter, it seems to work. Of course, some in the medical community dismiss the idea of acupuncture as a remedy for anything because there is no scientific evidence of pathways that conduct energy throughout the body. When it comes to mainstream medicine, treatments that arent exactly understood scientifically, are often dismissed. But because of the obvious success rates in these studies, acupuncture is steadily growing in acceptance, and is now often recommended by fertility specialists for their patients. And just think, if it helps women who are undergoing IVF (who generally have more significant fertility issues), imagine the possibilities for those of you who just need a little helpful boost. A mixture of Chinese herbs is sometimes used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments. These herbs are touted by Chinese medicine to improve fertility in men and women. If you decide to try the acupuncture route to pregnancy, first determine what is required of acupuncturists in your state. Seek out a fully trained and licensed practitioner, preferably someone who specializes in acupuncture to improve fertility.

You may also want to take into consideration that many insurance companies dont cover acupuncture treatments, although its becoming increasingly popular to include in medical insurance plans. Acupuncture may seem a little scary at first needles being poked into your body but a good acupuncturist will insert them so that youll never know its happening. Not only that, it can be an extremely relaxing experience. I personally used acupuncture in my quest to become pregnant, and although I started out very skeptical of the whole process, I came to be a believer. Although of course I have no proof, I truly believe that acupuncture was one of the strategies that helped me conceive my children. I wholeheartedly recommend the 2-step approach of acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Vitamins to Revitalize Your Fertility


Taking certain vitamins to increase your fertility quotient is another natural remedy that you should consider to help you get pregnant. If your body is missing certain vitamins it can affect your hormone levels, how you handle stress and damage your overall health. The use of nutritional vitamin supplements can benefit both you and your partner by balancing hormone levels, which are necessary for conceiving. You cant expect that just because you eat a balanced diet that you get all the vitamins your bodies need. Everyone is different but most people in todays fast-paced world of fast foods and foods in excess need to add some sort of supplement to their daily diets. Here is a list of vitamins that could be effective in helping you achieve successful conception and why they might be valuable to you. Vitamin E Increased fertility in both men and women has resulted from this powerful antioxidant. Studies show that a low level of Vitamin E in males decreases sperm production and supplementation may also improve sperm motility. In women, vitamin E helps to normalize hormone production. Dosage: 400 IU daily Food Sources: wheat germ, almonds, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils Vitamin C Also a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C blocks damaging free radicals. It reduces sperm agglutination, a condition where sperm tend to stick together, which reduces fertility. If youre currently taking the drug Clomid to encourage ovulation, Vitamin C might increase your chances of a better ovulation by assisting in ovarian function and egg development. Vitamin C may increase the amount of water in your cervical mucus, which will make it more plentiful. However, women should avoid very large doses of Vitamin C because it can have the opposite effect, and dry up cervical mucus.

Dosage: Men 200 to 1000 milligrams per day Women Up to 1000 milligrams per day Food Sources: many fruits including grapefruit, orange, kiwi, and melon. Also broccoli, tomatoes, peas, spinach, and sweet peppers. Vitamin A This vitamin contains necessary antioxidants and is valuable when taken both before and during pregnancy. Vitamin A deficiency during a pregnancy can cause eye defects and other problems in newborns. Vitamin A can also help with the production of cervical mucus. In men, this anti-oxidant protects sperm from free radicals. Be sure that you use the beta-carotene (vegetable) form of Vitamin A. The animal form (retinol) can cause birth defects if taken in excess. Dosage: Up to 10,000 IU Beta Carotene Food Sources: carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach and eggs Zinc The focus of numerous studies in fertility of males and females, this nutrient is essential for your pregnancy and your future babys health. A deficiency of Zinc can lead to decreased fertility and also increase the risk of having a miscarriage. It helps women to more effectively utilize the hormones estrogen and progesterone, to achieve conception. Zinc deficiency will also affect how long the sperm can live in the vaginal tract. Zinc is vital for producing healthy sperm and increasing sperm count in men. Dosage: 50 mg. with a full glass of water Food Sources: oysters, chicken, beef, crab and turkey, nuts, whole grains Selenium Another antioxidant, increased levels of selenium have been found to produce higher sperm counts in men. It acts to help prevent oxidation of the sperm cell, which helps maintain sperm cell integrity. Dosage: 50-100 mcg per day Food Sources: liver, red meat and seafood. Folic Acid A vital component during your pregnancy to prevent spina bifida (a neural tube defect) in your child. It needs to be in your system at the time of conception so you should begin taking it well before you start trying to conceive. As with all B vitamins, Folic Acid also improves low sperm counts. Dosage: 400 mcg per day Food Sources: Many sources including green leafy vegetables, dry beans and peas L-Carnitine This amino acid can help improve sperm development, motility and function. Dosage: 300 to 1,000 milligrams three times a day Food Sources: red meat, avocado

L-Arginine The head of the sperm contains an exceptional amount of this nutrient, which is essential for sperm production. It helps increase both sperm count and quality. Dosage: 1500 4000mg over the course of a day on an empty stomach Food Sources: Sunflower seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, soybeans, watercress, almonds, Brazil nuts, chives, broad beans and lentils. B Vitamins While your partner can benefit from B12, you can benefit from taking B6, B12 and a B-Complex vitamin. B vitamins are known to be stressreducing vitamins. For men, B12 will help increase the quantity and performance of his sperm. B6 is pretty much banned from your body when youre on birth control pills. When your body is deficient in B6, it builds up too much estrogen, causing your ovaries to shut down the production of progesterone. This can result in a luteal phase defect, which can be corrected with B6 supplementation. B-Complex vitamins help you reduce stress and maintain a healthy balance of hormones in your body. When youre low on B vitamins, you produce more estrogen, which depletes your B vitamins even further in a vicious cycle. Dosage: B6 -50mg - 100mg per day; B12 1000 mcg per day; B-complex contains 50mcg B12, 50mg all other B vitamins Food Sources: beans, nuts, legumes, eggs, meats, fish and whole grains Coenzyme Q10 - A nutrient used by the body in the production of energy. While its exact role in the formation of sperm is unknown, there is evidence that as little as 10 mg per day (over a two-week period) will increase sperm count and motility Geritol Tonic Often referred to as a Baby in a Bottle, the liquid form of Geritol has been contributing to many couples successes in conception. While many women complain of the bad taste, others say to drink it with a cup of Green Tea and it smoothes over the ill effects.

All of the above vitamin suggestions offer a means to increase your health and benefit both male and female fertility. The dosages listed should be used as a guideline. Its best to consult with a qualified professional when you make your purchase or follow the dosage suggestions on the bottle.

Herbal Remedies for Fertility Problems


Herbs, which are derived from plants and plant extracts, have been used to combat infertility since approximately 200 A.D. As with many alternative approaches, modern researchers have often passed over using herbs as fertility therapy because of the absence of conclusive data to scientifically prove their value. However, as more and more clinical data regarding these treatments appears, herbal fertility remedies are gaining popularity in the United States. There are increasing numbers of success stories

told on discussion forums detailing how women turned to herbal therapies and became pregnant after nothing else worked. The ancient Chinese used herbs to treat infertility and believed that it regulated menstruation and increased sperm counts. They can be extremely useful in treating hormonal imbalances. Herbal remedies appear in many forms such as tinctures (extracts), capsules and teas.

Some of the most popular herbs found to be effective in treating infertility are: Chaste Berry (Vitex agnus castus) Vitex is probably the most well known and widely studied fertility herb. It works by stimulating the hormones involved in ovulation and restoring female hormonal balance. Vitex helps to correct luteal phase defects and helps to lower high prolactin levels, both of which cause fertility problems. It acts on the pituitary gland, specifically on the production of LH (leutenizing hormone). The result is that it increases the production of progesterone, which helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. Vitex is not a fast acting herb and may need several months to build up in your system. Red Raspberry Leaf It has the reputation of helping to relax the uterus. It is also recommended to help the fertilized egg attach to the uterine lining and stay attached. It is a phytoprogesterone, which is a plant that acts like progesterone, therefore it can be used to increase progesterone levels in the body. It is also very helpful to ease many of the discomforts of pregnancy such as morning sickness, muscle cramps and fatigue. It is best to take it as an infusion (one ounce of dried raspberry leaves brewed overnight in a quart of boiling water). Strain the leaves, and drink hot or cold, with honey if you prefer. You can refrigerate leftovers. Red Clover This herb is another highly touted fertility remedy. There are many stories of women unable to conceive, who drank up to a quart of red clover infusion every day for at least six weeks, and then became pregnant. It contains estrogen like compounds which promote estrogen production which can boost estrogen levels in women with estrogen deficiencies. Red Clover also contains calcium and magnesium which can relax the nervous system and improve fertility. Like red raspberry, it is often recommended to drink the infusion during pregnancy. To make an infusion put one ounce of dried blossoms in a quart jar filled with

boiling water, and steep overnight. False unicorn root Like red clover, it can help balance hormone levels by making up for a shortage of estrogen or encouraging your body to excrete excess amounts. It has a normalizing effect on the ovaries and strengthens the lining of the womb. . Dong Quai It is an ancient Asian herb which is known as the female hormone regulator. It acts like an estrogen modulator which activates or suppresses estrogen receptors within the pituitary to even out the hormones that bring on ovulation. It has also been attributed with helping to build a receptive uterine lining. Evening Primrose This will aid in the production of more sperm friendly cervical fluid, also known as egg white cervical mucus. It may take a month or two to build up. Green Tea It is a powerful antioxidant that enhances your reproductive health by reversing the effects of the environment on your body, such as aging, environmental toxins, stress, lack of sleep and eating too many processed foods. It can assist your body in the production of healthier eggs. Dosage: Just cup or more a day doubles your odds of conception every cycle, according to a study in the American Journal of Public health. Some options for males to improve sperm function follow below: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAS) Both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are key components for production of prostoglandins, hormone like substances that regulate many of the body functions, including fertility. These fats benefit men with low sperm count. Dosage: 1 tablespoon (14 grams) flaxseed oil per day Panax Ginseng (Asian Ginseng) An effective herbal remedy for male infertility, Panax Ginseng is said to increase sperm count, motility and testosterone levels. Bee Pollen

Considered a complete food, it is produced by the male part of flowering plants. It contains all the necessary vitamins and ten essential amino acids necessary for a complete protein as well as enzymes and coenzymes. It has been shown to improve sperm production in men. If you do some further research into fertility herbs, you may come across some others such as licorice root, ladys mantle, black cohosh and ho shou wu. You certainly may experiment with these herbs as well, but the ones I described above are the most popular ones recommended for enhancing fertility. Warning: Before using herbs to increase your chances of pregnancy, remember that herbs can be very powerful and have side effects. Since you wouldnt take any medication without a prescription from your doctor, it is a good idea not to self medicate when it comes to herbs. Just because they are freely available to purchase, does not mean that you should prescribe them for yourself. Many of the herbs listed above need to be taken during different phases of your menstrual cycle. Some can only be taken up until the point that youve ovulated, and others need to be taken once you have already ovulated. Also, many herbs work best in combinations with others, and you certainly dont want to take too many of one, and not enough of another. If you decide to try herbs as an option to increase your fertility, it is best to consult with a professional. Look for a trained herbalist, naturopath or Doctor of Chinese Medicine in your area. That way, you can be assured that you are doing everything possible to give the herbs the best chance of working for you. Most importantly stop taking herbal supplements immediately when you become pregnant (unless you are specifically advised not to) and NEVER mix herbal supplements with fertility drugs of any kind.

A Natural Diet Designed to Promote Fertility


Proper nutrition is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and in producing a healthy baby but its also an important factor in balancing your hormones to make it possible and probable that youll conceive. Following an organic or whole food diet can greatly increase your chances to become pregnant because it will better provide you with the vitamins and minerals that you cant find in foods robbed of natural nutrients from too much processing.

Whole Grains high in selenium, zinc and B vitamins. Green Leafy Vegetables high in magnesium (vital for female hormone balance), folic acid and vitamin B6.

Nuts high in B vitamins. Almonds are high in zinc; walnuts are high in zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. Lentils and other beans high in folic acid Oysters packed with zinc, which plays a role in semen and testosterone production in men and in ovulation and fertility in women. Brown Rice high in fiber and B Vitamins. Fiber strips old hormones and waste products from the system. Without this removal, old hormones re-circulate and create imbalances. Pumpkin Seeds naturally high in zinc and essential fatty acids (EFAs) which are vital to healthy functioning of the male reproductive system. Eat to cup a day of pumpkin seeds to help maintain a healthy reproductive system. Goji Berries only recently introduced to the Western world, the goji berry is a sweet red fruit native to Asia. It has been used as a medicinal food for thousands of years, and has been studied extensively in modern times to substantiate its health benefits. In Asia, it is widely believed to increase sexual fluids and enhance fertility. They are the most nutrient dense food on earth, containing the highest levels of antioxidants of any known food, 500 times more vitamin C by weight than oranges, more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach, 18 amino acids, Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and Vitamin E, 21 trace minerals, and many natural compounds that promote health. Be sure to eat the whole berry, as many products on the market contain just a small quantity of goji berry extract. Protein adequate protein is important for people trying to conceive. Lean red meat, skinless chicken and oily fish such as salmon are good sources of protein. However, be aware that eating too much meat will increase ammonia which can interfere with the implantation of the egg in the uterus. Too much rich protein may also increase the body's acidity and affect sperm activity. Sperm are at their most efficient in an alkaline environment.

A high-carbohydrate diet promotes the energy levels it takes to pursue pregnancy and also helps to keep your hormones balanced. You can supplement your diet by taking vitamins if youre unsure or undecided about following a particular diet. Basically, you want to add foods that are high in folic acid, zinc, vitamin C or any of the vitamins listed earlier that help in fertility. Always consult your doctor before adhering to any specialized diet. Certain foods can actually lower your ability to become pregnant. Foods that contain additives, preservatives and chemicals can affect hormonal balance in your body (processed foods). If possible, its best to minimize or avoid the following:

Sugar too much sugar increases your bodys output of insulin, a hormone that can affect the way your ovaries function. Dairy research in the United States and Finland reported that where per capita milk consumption is the highest, women tend to experience the sharpest agerelated falloff in fertility. Some say dairy products can thicken cervical mucus. Pineapple Juice in large doses, it can cause uterine contractions and bring on a miscarriage. High Mercury Fish the FDA says that women trying to conceive can safely eat up to 12 ounces (two servings) a week of low mercury fish, such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon or catfish. The FDA advises avoiding canned white tuna as well as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, tuna steaks, shark, orange roughy, Spanish mackerel, marlin and grouper, because they have the highest mercury levels. Wheat some women can have an intolerance to wheat and not even know it, so try to substitute wheat with another grain such as rye or pumpernickel when you can.

Get Plenty of Sun and Sleep


Sleep helps restore many parts of our bodies, including the reproductive system. When sleep suffers over the long run, it can impact your hormone balance. Long term sleep loss can disrupt the menstrual cycle, which can then cause a delay in the time it takes to get pregnant. Lack of sleep can even cause you to stop ovulating altogether. Additionally, daily light exposure has an influence on ovulation and reproductive hormones. Current research suggests that the hormones that trigger ovulation, and even the sperm maturation process, are somehow tied into the body's biological clock Since the same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones also stimulates daily pulses of reproductive hormones for men and women, scientists suspect some feedback between these systems. When your body is exposed to sunlight, it also gets some much needed health benefits, such as an added dose of Vitamin D. Sunlight also helps improve your mood, which is essential when youre going through the process of trying to get pregnant. While sunlight is good for your health and contributes to a better reproductive system, you also want to make sure you dont overdo it and get too much sunlight. This can lead to sunburns, retinal damage, and skin cancer.

The bottom line is this, get plenty of rest and a good dose of daily sunlight (approximately 1 hour) to keep your reproductive hormones in check.

Ways to Increase Cervical Mucus


Fertile cervical mucus is thin, watery, clear and stretchy and easily aids the sperm to swim through the uterus and into the fallopian tube, and to the egg. If there is a lack in this type of cervical fluid, it can impede and/or prevent fertilization. Also, this type of fluid helps the sperm to stay alive for up to 6 days inside the fallopian tube, thus enabling conception to happen even though you are ovulating several days later. Some women are very dry and have problems in producing an adequate amount of fertile quality cervical fluid. Here are six ways you can improve the state of your cervical mucus and help his sperm get to the finish line. Robitussin at first you may wonder what on earth a cough syrup has to do with fertility, but the logic is that it is an expectorant used to loosen and thin mucus in the lungs. Well, it happens to work elsewhere too!! It is critical that you only use the plain Robitussin, the one with no letters after the name. To be sure, check the ingredients and make sure it contains only one ingredient guaifenesin. Take two teaspoons three times a day with water, starting about five days before ovulation and continuing through ovulation day. Drink plenty of water so that your body isnt dehydrated. Six to eight glasses per day. Vitamin A and Beta Carotene improves cervical mucus Grapefruit juice great source of vitamin C, which increases the amount of cervical fluid Garlic thins mucus, both in the lungs and cervical fluid Evening Primrose Oil increases production of cervical fluid

Youll notice that your cervical mucus changes throughout the month. Sometimes is will be fluid enough for the sperm to utilize and other times it will appear as if your bodys undergoing a drought! Remember, it is only when your cervical mucus is of egg white consistency that you are in your fertile period.

Things That Might Hinder a Successful Conception

In your quest to attain that perfect bundle of joy, there are certain foods, activities and lifestyles that you should avoid in order to achieve your goal. Most on this list are common sense items like, No Smoking. Some items on the list, such as over the counter painkillers, might be new to your thinking. Look over the list and why they might inhibit attaining a successful pregnancy and ask your doctor if youre confused about any of them. Lifestyle and environmental items that you should avoid if youre trying to conceive include: Alcohol Alcohol can affect hormonal highs and lows in your body and this could affect your menstrual cycle and ovulation. Chronic alcohol consumption can cause birth defects. Nicotine Besides the obvious impact on the baby after you conceive (premature birth, miscarriage, and low birth weight), nicotine can also affect fertility and impair your ability to conceive. Men should avoid smoking, as its also been found to have a detrimental effect on fertility. You should also avoid second hand smoke during the time youre trying to conceive and afterward. Drugs Over the counter drugs such as painkillers and antibiotics can decrease your chances of conception by greatly reducing your fertility. Painkillers can stop ovulation and affect your immune system. Avoid medications such as Tagamet (causes abnormal sperm production) or antihistamines, which dry up cervical mucus and have a damaging effect on sperm. Marijuana, cocaine and other so-called recreational drugs can cause miscarriage, premature delivery and brain damage to the baby. Toxins Fertility problems have been known to occur in men after theyve been exposed to toxins such as insecticides or pesticides. Women should also avoid chemicals for the home and garden such as household cleansers and some paints and glues. Caffeine High caffeine levels are thought to cause decreased fertility in women. If youre trying to conceive, you might benefit from reducing your intake of drinks that contain caffeine. Although the research is mixed, one study reported as little as one cup of coffee a day can cut your chances of conception in half. Hot tubs While it may seem romantic to indulge in a dip in the hot tub, it could ruin your chance at conception. The high temperatures can impact sperm two to three months in advance, so a single quick jaunt can ruin your chance to conceive for an entire quarter of the year!

Douching Douching isnt a good idea for anyone anyway, but when it comes to fertility, it alters the acidity of your vagina, washes away the cervical mucus, and can contribute to pelvic inflammatory diseases that will take time to clear up. Tight underwear for men A mans testicles need to be at a cool temperature, so for the same reason you shouldnt go hot-tubbing, he should steer clear of the tighty-whities and go with boxers while youre trying to conceive. Too much exercise Female athletes often have trouble conceiving because of menstrual cycle disorders. If youre an avid exercise fanatic, consult your doctor about how this might be affecting your ability to conceive. Diet - Crash dieting and binge eating should also be avoided both before and during your pregnancy as it can have harmful effects on your hormonal levels.. Weight issues Surprise twelve percent of all infertility cases stem from weight issues. If you are significantly underweight from poor eating or over exercising, you cant menstruate, since a minimum of 22 percent body fat is necessary for normal ovulation and reproductive health. On the flip side, being overweight can alter hormone chemistry and help prevent conception. The good news is gaining or losing the weight, as the case may be, quickly restores fertility. Body Mass Index (BMI) is your weight in pounds divided by height in inches, divided by height in inches again, multiplied by 703. Example: 135 pounds, divided by 66 inches, divided by 66 inches again, multiplied by 703=BMI of 22. Doctors consider a normal BMI between 19 and 25 ideal. Fertility is impaired when a womans BMI is below 19 or above 25.

The issue of weight no longer belongs just to women when it comes to fertility New research has shown that overweight men are more likely to experience infertility issues than normal weight men. It seems that for every 20 pounds that a male is overweight, his infertility increases by 10%. So there is good reason for both of you to get to a healthy weightit is good for your health and greatly improves your chances of conception. Conclusion Remember, before you decide on which methods outlined above to put into practice, its best to check with a qualified alternative medical professional such as a homeopath or naturopath, and of course, do your own research. There are many strategies that could work to achieve a successful pregnancy for you. Remain optimistic and if one method doesnt work after a period of time, try to incorporate something else.

Chapter 5: When Infertility Is an Issue Dealing with the Tests, Emotions, and Outcome of a Diagnosis You Didnt Want!
Youve tried for a year to conceive and it just isnt happening. Whats wrong? Is it me or is it him? Your emotions are raw and exposed and you may have entered a low point in your life and/or relationship. You may want to use this guide by putting some of the methods and strategies into practice for some time, before pursuing fertility testing. Alternatively, if its been over a year, you may want to have some fertility testing to look for medical issues that might be causing the difficulty. And then, you can go back and put some of the tips into practice. Either way, here is all the information you will need to understand about the various infertility tests. If testing for a solution or diagnosis is imminent, youre probably both on edge about it. I know what youre going through because I went through it myself. I had several miscarriages before conceiving my children and went through the seemingly endless round of emotions that youre going through now. People who tell you to just take one day at a time may overlook the fact that depression keeps you from seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. You want answers and you want them now! If you find yourself on an emotional roller coaster during this frustrating of all times, know that there are ways to deal with it effectively. You dont have to feel isolated or misunderstood. And, most of all, you dont have to let those perfectly normal and understandable emotions have a negative impact on your relationship with your partner. Find out all you can about what you might be experiencing and how to turn it into a positive by learning a little about yourself.

Before the Tests The Impact on Your Emotions


If youve been trying to conceive for months or even years, its bound to have had an impact on your emotions individually and as a couple. Youre wondering why and the tests youre about to take will probably answer that question. But do you really want to know the answer?

Couples who are about to go through infertility testing run a gamut of emotions from an impending deep sense of inadequacy to anxiety beyond belief. The worst thing you can do as a couple at this time is to keep your emotions to yourself. But finding neutral territory to state your fears and worries seems almost impossible. Should you talk about alternatives to having your own children such as adoption or surrogacy or is it too soon to bring up the subject? Dealing with your emotions effectively before you begin the tests can help you face whatever the test results will ultimately tell you about the future. Some pro-active steps that can help get you past this difficult time include: Journaling -- Writing down your thoughts can help you gain an understanding of the feelings and emotions that are bombarding you on every level. Journaling is especially helpful when you find the subject of infertility too painful or difficult to talk about with your partner, friend or family member. Make it a point to talk to your partner on a regular basis Your experience of the situation might be different from that of your partners, but he or she needs to know that youre going through a difficult time and how he can help. Communication with your partner is crucial to overcome feelings of anger and blame toward yourself or the other person and rectify those feelings before they harm the relationship. Talk to others who are having difficulty conceiving Support groups or a new, online friend going through a similar situation can help you cope with your feelings right now. Even though your circumstances may be different from theirs, the bottom line is that neither of you has been able to conceive. Be sure to talk to your doctor about feelings of anxiety or anger. He or she may be able to offer some helpful advice. Focus on an activity or hobby As simple as it may sound, any activity that can get your mind off of fertility issues, even for a few moments, could be an enormous coping tool while youre going through this traumatic time in your life.

The most important thing to realize during this upheaval is that youre in it together as a couple. Turn to each other for support and understanding whenever you can. Empathizing with each other will help prepare you for what youre going to endure during testing and afterward and to develop a bond that will be so important to raising your future child or children.

Fertility Tests that Your Doctor Will Probably Recommend


Recent scientific breakthroughs in fertility testing have made it possible to determine, without a doubt, if you and your partner are fertile enough to conceive. These tests are able to pinpoint the problem, if there is one, and provide the solution. The problem is that there are so many tests to endure. I went through most all of them, only to find out that I had an immune disorder that was eventually treated successfully. But I had to go through several of them to find that one solution. Tests to Determine Your Fertility Include: Baseline Blood Tests Baseline blood tests are conducted after your period starts, usually on day 2-3. Its a simple blood test where you get the results without undergoing anything more invasive than a needle prick. o Estradiol This blood test measures hormone levels and can determine if a woman is ovulating or not or if you have ovarian cysts. Progesterone A test that measures progesterone hormone levels thats also an indicator of ovulation. This hormone is necessary to help the embryo implant itself in the lining of your uterus. Luteinizing Hormone (LH) This test is given to both men and women to determine menstrual regularity and pituitary disorders in the ovaries or testes. If you have PCOS, then you may have higher levels of LH. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) This test will probably be done on day three of your menstrual cycle. It determines if your ovaries are functioning properly or if youre going through perimenopause.

HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) HSG is an x-ray thats usually performed in the radiology department of a hospital. Dye is injected into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. The dye fills the tubes and spills into your abdomen. It outlines your uterus and fallopian tubes, making it easier to see abnormalities, such as blocked fallopian tubes. Polyps, scar tissue and fibroid tumors in the uterus can also be seen and analyzed. This test can be somewhat painful, causing cramps. How painful it is will be different for everyone depending on your tolerance for pain and whether or not your doctor has to force more dye into your tubes if theyre blocked with debris. Take an ibuprofen before you go to your test.

If you have gonorrhea or chlamydia, then the doctor may not perform the test since it can spread the infection as the dye is pushed through the fallopian tubes. Youll have to be on antibiotics beforehand. Another reason they may not perform the test is if youre allergic to shellfish or contrast dye. When the test is over, you may have a small amount of bleeding, sometimes mixed with the clear dye, which is normal. Its best if someone can drive you to and from your appointment in case your cramping is moderate to severe. Hysteroscopy If your doctor thinks you may have small polyps or fibroids inside your uterus, he may order this test. Its an outpatient procedure where they insert a small tube through your cervix and into your uterus. They inflate your uterus with carbon dioxide to give them a better view of the surroundings. If he sees signs of fibroids or polyps, then he may conduct an operative hysteroscopy where he removes the tissue. If it requires extensive work, he may hospitalize you to perform the procedure. The pain can be moderate to severe, so the doctor will usually administer a local anesthesia or give you a Valium before the procedure. If youre hospitalized, then you will probably get an epidural. Laparoscopy Doctors use laparoscopy as a tool to help them examine the pelvic organs and determine if there are problems with your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries that might contribute to your inability to conceive. A small incision is made in the abdominal area so that the doctor can insert the laparoscope, which acts as a camera. The camera can then help the doctor examine the pelvic organs. If there is endometriosis or scar tissue, theyll remove it at that time. They can also remove infected fallopian tubes. This is an outpatient procedure thats performed at a surgical center or hospital and the pain afterwards is mild. It takes about a week to recover from a laparoscopy. Postcoital A postcoital test (also known as Huhner test) determines whether or not sperm can survive in your cervical mucus. Within 24 hours after intercourse, the woman visits the doctors office where the cervical mucus is analyzed.

If the doctor determines that there are dead or stagnant sperm, hell then test for an antibody problem. Hell be looking to see how the mucus looks, too, and if its a viable climate for the sperm to swim through. Semen analysis A semen analysis is performed when the fertility of the man is in doubt. A semen sample is gathered in the doctors office by the man masturbating into a container. If the results are to be reliable, they must be tested within 2 hours of collecting the specimen. Male infertility accounts for about 40% of all infertility cases. The doctor will analyze the sperm to see if all three components are intact the head (which contains the genetic material), the midpiece (which has the energy needed to help the sperm swim), and the tail (which catapults him through the cervix and fallopian tubes and toward the egg. Ideally, your partners sperm sample should be 1.5-5 ml (a teaspoon), should have 20 million or more sperm/ml, should have 60% mobility, and 30% intact for size and shape (morphology). Theyll also be checking the Ph of the sample, the presence of anti-sperm antibodies, and their ability to penetrate a hamster egg. This is known as the zona-free hamster-egg penetrating test. If the sperm can penetrate a hamster egg, it can penetrate your egg as well! Keep in mind that since it takes 3 months for your partners sperm to produce, you have to consider what his life was like at that time. Was he sick? Did you both go hot-tubbing frequently? These kinds of things can affect his test results. Sonohysterogram A Sonohysterogram is used to diagnose tubal obstruction, detect fibroid tumors, polyps or abnormalities in the uterus and fallopian tubes. A doctor can also evaluate incompetent cervix in women who have had several miscarriages. The test is usually performed in the early stage of a menstrual cycle because it should not be performed on a pregnant woman. A saline solution is inserted through the cervix into the uterus and allows the doctor to better see abnormalities. This is an outpatient procedure performed in your doctors office and isnt painful for most women. Thyroid

This blood test determines if your thyroid levels (TSH and T4) are under control. If not, medication can usually bring them to normal levels. If you have an overactive thyroid, you could have trouble conceiving. Normally, your thyroid should be in a state of euthyroid (balance). This is a common problem for women, with 1 out of 8 women being diagnosed with thyroid problems in their lifetime. The doctor will check to see if your thyroid is over (hyper) or under (hypo) active. If your partner has thyroid problems, it can contribute to a low sperm count or decreased mobility. Women with thyroid problems may suffer miscarriages or have problems ovulating. FSH and Inhibin B FSH is a hormone that can be measured by a simple blood test to the male and female. This hormone is secreted by the brain and encourages the presence of eggs in women and sperm in men. Inhibin B is a protein hormone produced by the ovaries. It is also measured by a blood test to the female and is done on the third day of your menstrual cycle. The day 3 Inhibin B test is used in order to predict ovarian reserve, including the egg quality and egg quantity. The amount of Inhibin B in your blood directly correlates to the number of eggs that you have in your ovaries. If you are diagnosed with low levels of Inhibin B from your doctor, then he or she may prescribe a synthetic estrogen. When you start taking this, the ovary starts reducing the amount of FSH and allows your ovaries a chance to produce an egg. Endometrial Biopsy This procedure is conducted to take a sample of the lining inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium. They can use this procedure to rule out a luteal phase defect. If youve suffered repeated miscarriages, then an endometrial biopsy can be performed to see if this is the reason your body isnt supporting a pregnancy. For infertility testing, it has to be performed at a specific time, three days before your period. Its conducted either at your doctors office or in the hospital and you are usually instructed to take a mild pain medication like Motrin or Aleve before the procedure. You may also get a local anesthesia injected directly into your cervix. A tube will be inserted into the uterine cavity to extract a piece of the lining for examination. This can be somewhat painful and result in a small amount of bleeding afterwards. Clomiphene citrate challenge test (CCCT)

This test measures estradiol and FSH. The test will be given again after taking a medication called clomiphene citrate for five days. Blood will be drawn at the doctors office on day 2 or 3 of your period. Then, youll begin to take Clomid (100 mg per day beginning on Day 5 of your period). This consists of taking two 50 mg tablets together each day at the same time. On day 10 or 11, after youve taken Clomid for five days, blood will be drawn again. The results predict fertility potential and your likelihood of conceiving. If you have an abnormal CCCT, the doctor will probably tell you that the chances of conception and delivering a baby with your own eggs is improbable. Immune Disorders Your doctor may recommend testing for the following immune disorders: a) ASA Antisperm Antibody: This test determines if sperm are not being produced because of problems in the systemic immune system. Women will be tested through a blood sample while mens samples will be tested through a semen sample. b) APA Antiphospholipid Antibodies: This is a popular test to see if these types of antibodies are circulating in your bloodstream and preventing the blood from flowing properly. If youve suffered multiple miscarriages, then your doctor will probably order this test. Its treatment can be as simple as taking a baby aspirin or other blood thinner. c) ANA Antinuclear Antibodies: A test that measures abnormal antibodies that harm or work against the bodys tissues. If you test positive, it can mean that you have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This can increase your risk for a miscarriage but can be treated with steroids. d) ATA Antithyroglobulin: Measures the presence of antithyroid antibodies. Your doctor may order this test if youve had unexplained miscarriages. It can be treated with steroids. e) AOA Antiovarian antibodies: Used to detect levels of specific antibodies in the bloodstream. You may have high levels of this antibody if youre having fertility problems such as premature ovarian failure or early menopause.

If its found that you have endometriosis, as 5 million American women are diagnosed with, then you may be one of the 30-40% of couples whose entire infertility issue stems from this often painful condition.

Endometrial tissue reacts to your hormone levels the same way your uterus lining does, by bleeding, only it has no way to exit your body. This means it gets inflamed and irritated, making it painful for you to endure. The blood sits inside of your body and eventually results in scar tissue. While it can be removed surgically, it often grows right back. Here are some signs that endometriosis may be to blame for your infertility issues: Pelvic pain Backaches Leg Pain Multiple miscarriages High blood pressure Rectal bleeding Blood in your urine Constipation Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea Chest pain Coughing up blood Incontinence

As you can see, many of these symptoms are so general that your diagnosis can be wrong for a long time before they finally know whats wrong. The problems associated with endometriosis can mean blocked fallopian tubes and ovulation troubles.

During Fertility Testing Loss of Control and Other Feelings


Fertility testing is a life-changing experience that can cause thoughts and feelings that you may have never had before. Theres no reason for you to feel inadequate or isolated because youre having these feelings. But you must recognize them for what they are and take the necessary steps to deal with them.

When the medical fertility experts take over, you may feel that your life isnt your own anymore. Theyll tell you what to do and when to do it and disrupt your entire life for an indefinite period of time. You now schedule your life including sex - around doctors appointments and you may become angry and frustrated. Sex may become robotic and you may even come to resent your partner. What used to be a private act of love is now scrutinized and analyzed by professionals trained to help you conceive. You may begin to resent pregnant women you see in a store or in your own family. Did she have to go through what Im going through? Will I ever be where she is now? Use the same coping strategies during the testing that you used before the testing began and here are some other tips that might help you through this stage: Begin by acknowledging that this is going to be a fearful and anxious time for you both individually, and as a couple. Keep the lines of communication open and dont be afraid to express your emotions. Support each other through the testing process by attending appointments together and talking about them afterward. Dont force yourself to go to baby showers or a childs birthday party. This may be too painful for you at this stage and its perfectly understandable for you to want to avoid these types of gatherings. Search the web, the bookstores and any other means of locating information about fertility, options and treatments. Make copious notes and jot down questions that you want to ask the doctor at your next appointment.

You should always find quiet times for yourself to think about whats happening to you your body and your mental state. Tell yourself over and over that what youre feeling is normal and that youre taking steps to correct the situation whatever that may be.

When You Cant Cope


Sometimes you may feel the need to talk to someone other than your partner, but infertility is such a personal subject that you might find it difficult to open up to a friend or family member.

There are mental health professionals who can help you understand the emotions youre feeling and successfully cope with them. Its natural to feel overwhelmed by what youre going through and if you can find ways to cope, youll feel more in control. If youre experiencing out of the ordinary thoughts or sensations such as those listed below, seek out a trained professional to help you through the crisis. Dont think that you can do it alone. You should immediately seek help if you experience symptoms of depression that include the following conditions: Sleeplessness, or sleeping too much Lack of concentration Loss of interest in being with family, friends or loved ones Extreme anger Lack of self-esteem Thoughts of death or suicide

Prolonged depression, caused by stress, can sometimes cause a chemical imbalance in your brain that makes it impossible for you to function on a normal basis. Dont be embarrassed or feel guilty because youre having these thoughts. Do consult a professional who is trained in treating symptoms that arise before, during and after fertility tests and treatments. He or she can help you sort through issues, learn how to cope and deal with the grief you might be feeling. Be sure that any mental health professional you choose has extensive training in treating the psychological trauma of infertility and that he has a graduate degree and a license to practice in your state. Your doctor may be able to recommend someone or, if youre in an infertility support group, ask someone you trust for the name of a good professional. You may want to interview several before deciding on one that you feel comfortable with.

After Fertility Testing Coming to Terms With the Outcome


No matter what the outcome of the tests may be, you may find yourself at a crossroads that requires even more decisions on your part. Do we continue with other fertility testing methods? Are there alternative treatments that we should consider? Adoption? In vitro fertilization?

If youve been consulting with a mental health professional, proficient in the area of infertility testing, he or she may be able to help you sort out the facts in the decisionmaking process. Your doctor may also be of help by explaining other options to you the impact and the probable results of each according to your particular case. After all that testing, worry and anguish, your diagnosis may be just what youd hoped for that everything is ripe and ready for a pregnancy, but it just hasnt happened yet. In this case, you may decide to try relaxation techniques, diet, or any of the other numerous ways mentioned in this book that can help your system be geared up and ready when pregnancy does occur. You may get a diagnosis that fertility is a problem with one or both of you. It could be low sperm count, trouble ovulating or a number of things that your doctor will explain to you in detail. The science of infertility has made such amazing progress that infertile couples have a wide array of available choices. It may involve surgery to remove cysts or something as simple as taking hormone-boosting herbs or drugs. If infertility is your problem, todays medicine, both Western and alternative, can usually provide an answer. The most devastating of diagnoses that theres no way you can become pregnant as a couple requires even more serious consideration from you, as a couple. How badly do you really want children? Now what? Sometimes these decisions are overwhelming for a couple. This is when open lines of communication with each other becomes a tremendous ally in your quest to make the right decision for you both. Some topics that youll want to talk about include: How long do you want to try before considering other options? Assuming that your fertility testing results proved that youre both capable of conception and theres nothing medically askew with either of you, you may want to set a limit of how long you want to try to conceive before considering other ways to have a family. Some couples arent willing to invest more years and put up with the stress of trying to conceive. This is a decision that youll need to make as a couple, perhaps with the guidance of your doctor.

Are you willing to try advanced fertility testing or undergo fertility treatments? Perhaps the tests were inconclusive and your doctor recommends taking the next step to discover whether or not fertility is a problem. More testing may cause further strain on your relationship or on yourself that youre not willing to endure. You need to be able to state your feelings and emotions about this development in the clearest of terms and to decide whats best for you and as a couple. Fertility treatments are very expensive and may not be a viable option for you. But if you decide that you want and need the treatments, get together with your partner to develop a financial plan that you can deal with. Your insurance plan might cover fertility treatments to some extent or you may need to talk to them and negotiate. If you do decide to pay for part or all of the treatments, prepare for the fact that it may not work.

Which fertility treatments are you willing to try and which wont you even consider? In the next chapter, I discuss the plethora of fertility treatments available and the possible side effects and outcome of each. Study these methods carefully and research them on your own before you make a decision on acceptable fertility treatments.

Optimism is important. No matter what you decide, by all means practice optimism. Even if the diagnosis wasnt what youd hoped for, the next stage will require optimism as you delve into the options that are left.

Put off making a decision. You may want to try fertility treatments in the future, but right now youre not sure of anything. Its okay to delay making a decision until you feel sure that you can come to an honest and well thought out conclusion to your dilemma.

If your fertility testing leaves you with an undesirable diagnosis, youre bound to feel let down or depressed about the outcome. You may find yourself having a good cry if a friend or family member calls to tell you shes pregnant. The strain of making it through the past months, years or however long it took to reach this point has taken a toll on you. Try not to be discouraged. Building a family can be an option for you no matter what the tests proved.

Now, its time to focus on other matters your job, your relationship you!

Its Time to Think About You!


Your quest for pregnancy isnt over yet. Youve still got to make some decisions about what comes next. There are things to learn and possible methods to choose. But you deserve some rest and relaxation before you have to make another decision. Take some time to re-visit the journals you created learn a little about yourself and the way that you, as a couple, interacted during the most stressful of times. If possible, take some time to get away and just have some fun. No fair talking about anything that has to do with fertility, babies or what youre going to do about the future. Therell be time for that later. Take care of yourself! Find a new activity that interests you or join a group that youll enjoy. The quest for pregnancy doesnt have to be over, but if you set it aside, just for a little while, you may find that you have renewed energy and focus when it is time for you to revisit the issue. Now were going to go through the final phase treating your infertility using the treatment that medical science has to offer. Being informed and aware can make the process a bit easier to endure and knowing your options can help you and your partner get through this emotionally stressful time.

Chapter 6: When Medical Science Should Intervene A Look at Todays Breakthrough Technology for Increasing the Odds of a Baby
If your natural efforts havent worked and youre ready to move on and give medical science a trial run, you need to know how the procedures work so youll be physically and mentally prepared for it.

How to Choose a Doctor


The first thing you want to do is see your doctor and find out what kind of specialist he recommends that you go see. You want to see a fertility specialist, not just an ordinary ob/gynecologist. Dont just go to someone because your doctor, friend, or family member suggests them. Not everyone has the same needs and experiences, so you want to choose someone whos right for you and your partner. Sometimes people (even doctors) recommend someone they happen to know not necessarily someone that would suit your needs and interests most. Always ask why the person is recommended is it because he or she is a member of a certain organization or is it because they have a reputation for having a solid success rate with infertile patients? You want a doctor who will do some preliminary testing to see what could be causing the delay in getting pregnant. You dont want someone who just wants to try you out on different medications to slowly eliminate possible causes. Find out what timetable they have set up for their patients to try one method before moving on to something else. If a certain treatment isnt working after four months, for instance, will he take a different approach? Your personalities have to mesh well. You may not like a doctor who takes your case too seriously, preferring someone who can ease your fears and allay your anxiety. Or, you might not like a doctor who jokes around with a topic youre taking very seriously. Any time you feel uncomfortable, its okay to move on and find a specialist that has the same approach you have in mind. You can find some specialists online at sites such as www.Resolve.org or www.inciid.org. These are great places to find others who are going through the same thing as you are.

Treating infertility can be time consuming and costly, so weigh your options carefully. Of course your treatment will also depend on your reasons for infertility. You may feel like youre on a roller coaster, moving from something as simple as blood tests and discussions about ovulation to injections and invasive surgeries.

Clomid Can Sometimes Increase Your Odds of Conception


Your regular ob/gyn may put you on Clomid before you even go to see a specialist. Clomid, or Clomiphene citrate, which is also known as Serophene, can help you release eggs and produce good eggs. If sustaining a pregnancy is an issue for you, then Clomid can contribute to you being able to continue the pregnancy through maturity because it increases your progesterone. Clomid is usually taken for cycles of five days, beginning around day 3-5 of your menstrual cycle. Youll probably start out taking one pill per day and then if nothings happened after one month, youll move up to 2-3 pills if you still arent ovulating properly. This drug tricks your body into thinking its low on estrogen, so the body counters by releasing GnRH, which creates more FSH. All of this works to help your ovaries produce more estrogen and stimulate a follicle to grow. Clomid has an 80% success rate in helping women ovulate. Youll probably be asked to try Clomid for 3-6 months to see if it works. If it does, there may be a chance that youll conceive twins, or possibly triplets. The side effects can be minimal mimicking menopause or they may be severe, including abdominal pain and severe bloating, at which time you should call your doctor. It also causes you to not produce as much cervical mucus, so youll need to use some of the tactics mentioned earlier to combat this side effect.

Minimally Invasive Treatment Options for Minor Issues


If your partners sperm count is found to be a bit low, then your specialist will probably recommend artificial insemination in the form of an IUI (intrauterine insemination) cycle, where the sperm is delivered directly into the uterus via a threaded catheter. An IUI only takes a few minutes. Most women report that it isnt painful at least no more than a typical pap smear. Some cramping can occur afterwards, but its no more painful than during menstruation.

Another option is for an ICI (intracervical insemination) to be done where they insert the sperm directly into the cervix. Sometimes youll be recommended to do more than one treatment at a time. Your partners sperm will be collected in a sterile container (or a special condom if your religion prohibits masturbation). Then the sperm is washed for an IUI, which means the sperm cells are removed from the seminal fluid and placed in a nutrient solution that may stimulate motility and enhance fertilization. You only want to use these procedures when youre sure your body has produced a good egg. To ensure this, your hormone levels will be monitored to see if your estradiol has risen to 150-300 pg/ml. Youll also notice your LH surge right before the egg is released so that you can time the procedures just right. Youll probably be asked to try artificial insemination 3-4 times while on Clomid before moving on to injectible infertility drugs. After four tries with injectibles, its usually time to move on to IVF.

Injectible Infertility Drugs


After taking Clomid and trying artificial insemination, your doctor may have you start a round or more of injectible drugs. It probably sounds worse than it is if youve never done it before. The technique is called COH (controlled ovarian hyperstimulation), and its the injection of gonadotropins. These are what make your follicles grow, and since your follicles contain eggs, it is a major component of conception. Injections are sometimes a necessary evil in the race to conception. Pills such as Clomid have to pass through your digestive system and dont get absorbed as well as a direct injection. Undergoing injections means going for more routine testing in the form of blood drawings and ultrasounds. You can either learn how to give yourself shots or have your partner learn how to do it. Most specialists have a video that shows you how to do it, and the nurses will walk you through it the first time. It takes some getting used to, but once youve done it a few times, youll feel like an old pro. Which drugs will you use? There are some choices. First you may want to determine if certain drugs are covered by your insurance, since many can be quite expensive.

Price-wise, recombitant medications are more expensive but all are given subcutaneously. If needles make you cringe, then you may want to choose a subcutaneous medication. This simply means it can be injected into the fatty tissue just under the skin with a fairly small needle. Other shots require you to inject the needle deep into your muscle tissue, which can make some people squeamish. These are called an intramuscular injection. Some women are even using pumps similar to diabetic pumps to deliver their hormones. Every 90 minutes it releases a small dose of GnRH. Your body reacts by producing LH and FSH and stimulating the ovaries to release an egg. You may also be injecting hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which matures your eggs and helps them get a release from the follicles. This, too, is an intramuscular drug but certain forms such as Ovidrel are now being released as subcutaneous. There are some side effects to injecting these drugs. Some women experience headaches, bloating, weight gain and mood swings. Its a normal result of altering the hormone balance in your system. If you notice any of the symptoms below, call your doctor immediately: Difficulty breathing Increase in weight of more than 10 pounds in a short span of time Difficulty urinating

These symptoms may mean youve developed OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome), which means your estradiol levels have risen to dangerous heights and you may need to be hospitalized. Sometimes booster injections are also necessary in the form of progesterone. This is a shot you give yourself after youve ovulated to make sure your progesterone levels stay high enough for implantation and maintenance of the pregnancy. These shots are also given intramuscularly.

Implementing IVF Into Your Infertility Treatment


In vitro fertilization is what many women consider to be bringing out the big guns to treat infertility. Its not only high-tech, but it comes with a high price tag, so if youre not covered under insurance, you may need to work out your finances before considering this option.

IVF is when medical science uses a test tube to join your egg and your partners sperm, which is why its known as creating a test tube baby. While the rewards (a baby!) may be great, there are some great drawbacks to IVF that you need to be prepared for. Its not only an expensive option, but its time-consuming as well. If you hated the injection phase, then you wont like IVF, either. Plus, you have to add on ultrasounds and more blood work to the mix. After undergoing all of this, you still wont have any guarantee that youll have a baby in your future because IVF isnt predictable. What worries most women is that they feel like after getting to this point, its the last hope. But in reality, you can always repeat your earlier options again, which often works for women who go through a second round. But you may find after IVF that you want to look at other options, like adoption or using a donor egg or surrogate. These are all options on the horizon if you choose to use them. IVF is actually only used by about 2% of infertile couples. The success rate is 25% for women under age 35 per IVF cycle. Once you reach 35-37 your chances are set at about 30%. It drops to 22% if youre between 38 and 40, goes to 12% if youre over 40 and after 45 youre usually looking at donor egg options. The High Cost of IVF Each cycle of IVF can cost up to $10,000 or more. That probably doesnt include blood work, drugs and ultrasounds, but each office is different, so check with the administrator. Its a lot of money and time for many couples to invest. Insurance companies may turn you down for IVF coverage because its an expensive procedure that doesnt have a high success rate, or that varies from one clinic to another. Sometimes your coverage will be partial. Your insurance may cover blood being drawn, ultrasounds, and certain medications. But then they wont cover the actual procedures. Contact your insurance company ahead of time to find out where you stand in having to finance your infertility treatments. Some states mandate that insurance companies cover IVF treatments. The coverage may vary for instance, West Virginia says insurers must cover infertility costs while Arkansas only requires coverage up to a $15,000 cap. There are some clinics that have an exchange program you donate eggs to couples who need them in exchange for IVF treatment. The couple needing the eggs are the ones who will be paying the IVF costs for you.

For some reason, the more we spend on facing our infertility, the higher our expectations. While our hopes may rise a bit with an over-the-counter ovulation predictor kit, it isnt nearly as emotional as when you undergo an IVF cycle and then find it didnt work. Who Will Perform My IVF? How do you choose your doctor or clinic? Some women prefer to stay with their current specialist while others want to go somewhere where the procedure is common. Find out how many egg retrievals and embryo transfers the clinic does each year. Ask questions, and do your own research. The CDC publishes an annual Fertility Clinic success rate, and even though it runs a couple of years behind, the numbers dont vary that much from year to year. You can access it here. http://www.cdc.gov/ART/ARTReports.htm One of the most important factors in determining where you do an IVF procedure is the success rate of the clinic. Because this procedure is so costly, both mentally, physically and financially, it makes sense to invest in a clinic that will give you the highest chance of success. You would be surprised to find that there are great differences in success rates from one clinic to another. It might even be worth your time to travel to a clinic if you dont live near one that has great success stats. Even though travel is another element to add on top of an already taxing procedure, its something you should consider if you are going down this road What happens during IVF? First youll be given a protocol, which is your particular blueprint for how the IVF process will be carried out. It will tell you what medications youll be on, and explain all of the procedures youll go through. Everyone will have a unique protocol, so dont be tempted to go by what your best friend said she went through study your own. Your first step will be in starting a cycle of drugs. Which drug youre on will be determined by your age, your test results, and your ovulation circumstances. Sometimes the doses last 10 days and occasionally it goes up to 21 days. After youve been on the injections for a few days, the clinic will probably ask you to come in for some monitoring so that they can see if your follicles are responding and if your estradiol is rising. If anything is amiss, they may change your medication or the dosage. Youll usually be monitored every couple of days using blood and ultrasound and as you get closer to ovulation this may increase to every day. You have to take an

injection of a drug called hCG approximately 35 hours before you go in to have your egg retrieval done. Your timing must be exact if they tell you to take the injection at 2 oclock in the morning, then make sure you do it at that precise time. When you go in for your egg retrieval, youll be given an IV after changing into your gown. Theyll go over your identity to prevent any mix-up with the eggs and then theyll administer the medicine to make you go to sleep while the procedure is performed. The doctor goes in through your vagina with an ultrasound probe tipped with a needle. He uses the ultrasound to locate your follicles and punctures them to suck out the fluid, which is where your eggs will be when they look under the microscope. Theyll continue doing this until they empty the follicles taking a total of 30-40 minutes. The embryologist will look for eggs that are round and mature. Even if the egg is immature, it might mature within 24 hours. During this entire process, your partner will be providing his semen sample. Sometimes they use frozen samples, but they always prefer a fresh batch if possible. That night, your eggs are incubated with your partners sperm in a petri dish. When the staff comes in the next morning, they check for fertilization. Frozen embryos are kept inside a liquid nitrogen tank temporarily until youre ready for their use in a transfer. The embryologists will make sure they only transfer good embryos. Youll usually find out the day of the retrieval how many eggs were viable and the next day, how many were fertilized. After a few days the embryos will be evaluated and your doctor will decide how many to transfer back into you. Any leftovers can be frozen and used at a later time if necessary. The transfer process When the eggs are ready to be transferred, the doctor will make sure the lining of your uterus is ready to support the embryo. Anything over 7 millimeters is thick enough to allow the transfer to go forward. Some clinics conduct hatching techniques to help the embryo implant in the uterus. Assisted hatching is done the day of your transfer. They create a small hole in the shell of the embryo so that it can easily break through the shell and attach itself to the lining. Not all clinics do this. Ask whether or not your clinic will do a blastocyst transfer where they allow the embryo to develop for five days and then choose the best ones to transfer. The success rate for this procedure is 70% compared to 50% with three-day IVF transfers. The downside is that by waiting until 5 days, sometimes the embryos that looked good on day

3, wont make it until day 5. It is unknown whether these same embryos might have made it if transferred, as the environment in a womans body is much better for embryo development than the lab. You might be given a Valium as a sedative for the transfer, although it is probably not necessary. You lie down on the exam table with a full bladder. This enables the doctor to see your uterus better with the ultrasound. Again, theyll verify your identity before the ultrasonographer places the probe on your abdomen so the doctor can see your uterus. The cervix is then washed and through a speculum, the catheter moves into the uterus and allows the embryos to be injected into the uterus. You may or may not be instructed to stay on the table lying down for about 20 minutes. Additionally, they may not allow you to do strenuous exercise, have sex, or lift anything heavier than 10-15 pounds. You will likely have to take progesterone injections after the procedure as stated above. Waiting after IVF Approximately 10 12 days after your IVF cycle is complete, you will likely take a blood test to determine if you are pregnant.. During the waiting period, you will probably have started wondering if your pregnancy has taken hold. This can be an emotional time. On one hand youre happy that its over and on the other youre anxious and worried that it wont work fearing what happens if it doesnt. Resist the urge to do a home pregnancy test. You may get a false positive or false negative. As stated, your clinic will conduct a blood test to see if youre pregnant. If you are, some clinics will continue monitoring you to ensure the pregnancy sticks. Theyll monitor your hCG (pregnancy hormone) and progesterone levels to make sure the pregnancy is proceeding normally. What are the risks? Well, multiple births are common by about 25%. Thats because 2-4 embryos are generally placed in the uterus during each cycle. Theres also a risk of ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo may implant in the fallopian tubes instead of in the uterus. The chance for ectopic pregnancy is twice what it is in non-IVF pregnancies. What if IVF doesnt work? This is a personal choice. Many couples immediately sign up for round 2, while others move on to other means of improving their fertility. Dont blame yourself sometimes it just doesnt work out the first time.

Its normal to grieve and feel angry about the situation. Make sure if your emotions are out of control that you take a breather from it all and recoup before you launch a new trial of attempting to get pregnant. Your doctor may recommend trying IVF for up to three times, back-to-back. If you and your doctor disagree about your future plans, you can always find a doctor who does agree with your stance.

Assisted Reproductive Technology Some Variations


You may have heard about some other procedures similar to IVF, or that work hand in hand with IVF. Here is some brief detail on these: ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) - It involves injection of single sperm in to single eggs in order to get fertilization. It is used during an IVF cycle when severe male factor issues are present, such as reduced sperm count, motility or morphology. GIFT (Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer) It is a modified version of the traditional IVF technique. Instead of the fertilization taking place in a dish in the laboratory, it occurs in the fallopian tubes, just like in a natural pregnancy. Both eggs and sperm are put into the fallopian tubes and conception happens naturally. ZIFT (Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer) It involves the transfer of embryos (zygotes) into the Fallopian tube 24 hours after fertilization. The aim is to achieve fertilization in vitro (in the lab), and then replace the early embryos in the fallopian tube, the normal site for fertilization. ZIFT offers the best of both IVF and GIFT procedures. It is suitable only for women who have at least one healthy fallopian tube.

When to Say When


Every woman and couple is unique in how much theyre willing to alter their lives to devote to fertility. Some will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes and let their physical and mental health take continual hits. Others have a line drawn in the sand and once it gets crossed, they sit down and make tough decisions about their future fertility efforts. There is no right or wrong answer.

If youve been giving yourself injections for 6 months and you are emotionally breaking down from the physical endurance of it all, its okay to stop and try something different or take a break. You also have to tune into what your partner is undergoing because a mans mental and physical health is at stake as well during this process. As a couple, come to terms with your blueprint for achieving pregnancy and find a common ground you can agree to on when its time to stop whatever it is youre doing and take a different route to parenthood.

Chapter 7: Conception Isnt One Size Fits All Mapping Out Your Blueprint for Making Your Dream Come True
Everything youve learned about improving your fertility has to be applied the way you feel is best. You dont have to do something just because it worked for someone you know. I simply feel that women should have all options available to them and should know that sometimes its the simple things that can lead to major changes with regard to your fertility things you can easily fix on your own without expensive procedures and doctors visits. When the day finally comes that you find yourself blessed with a baby, be sure to remember everything you went through and try to balance your excitement with empathy for those still struggling to find the right answer. You, like me, may experience the ups and downs of discovering youre pregnant only to end up losing the baby after several weeks of joy and bliss. When I look at my children, I am so glad that I discovered so many treatments to try and that I endured the emotional roller coaster that allowed me to eventually end up a mother after numerous obstacles. As you set out on your own personal path to pregnancy, remember that all of the advice in the world wont be the answer to your hopes and prayer unless you follow through on what you feel is best for your body. Through it all, make sure you take care of yourself as you dedicate your life and your time to finding your fertility. Ignoring your own needs wont help you get pregnant any faster and in fact it may delay the process. I wish you all the success in the world with your present and future journey and I welcome each and every one of you to share your thoughts and success stories with me so that others can learn what may work for them and deliver a bundle of joy to their waiting arms one day. The statements regarding any natural or herbal products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on my website or in this ebook is designed for informational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your doctor.