See? You are not suffering alone.

Key facts and figures about fertility.

19 Jun 2005 08:01:49 GMTSource: ReutersCOPENHAGEN, June 19 (Reuters) -

One in six couples worldwide has some type of infertility problem. Leading scientists and fertility doctors are meeting here this week to discuss the latest research and advances in treatment.

Following are key facts and figures about infertility.

- Forty percent of infertility cases are linked to men and an equal share are due to a female problem. In 20 percent of cases there is a joint problem.

- Fertility decreases as a woman ages and approaches the menopause. Women are generally thought to be at their most fertile between 20-25 years old.

- Hormonal disorders, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus is found elsewhere in the body, are common causes of female infertility.

- Low sperm count or poor sperm shape or swimming ability are the major problems in male infertility. A fertile male produces at least 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen. Fewer than that amount is considered infertile.

- Women are born with more than a million eggs that diminish as they age but men produce sperm daily.

- A normal couple in their mid-20s having regular sex have a one in four chance of conceiving each month.

- Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after a year of trying.

- Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby, was born 27 years ago in Britain. Since her birth, nearly 2 million children worldwide have been conceived with the aid of fertility treatments.

- Most fertility treatments take place in women between 30-39 years old.

- Europe leads the world in assisted reproductive technology (ART). In 2001, more than 289,690 ART treatments, resulting in an estimated 55,000 births, were reported in 23 European countries. This compares to 99,989 in the United States in 2000, according to the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE).
In Denmark, 3.9 percent of all children are born with the help of fertility techniques, compared to 3.2 percent in Slovenia, 2.8 percent in Iceland and Sweden and 1.3 percent in Britain.

- More than half of all ART treatments in Europe are done in France, Britain and Germany.

Is Anyone Listening?

Infertility can be a lonely

It feels like you are the only
one in the world that can't
get pregnant.

You husband is going
through the same thing,
but men see things differently.

You either talk about it too
much to all your friends,
or you keep it a secret.
Either way, you still feel

It disrupts your whole life.

Your job and your relationships
revolve around clinic appointments,
injections, hormonal raging,
and bloating!

The process can go on and
on, year after year, cycle after
cycle, until you are absolutely

You wonder: Is anyone

Does anyone else know how
draining this process is?

Yes, someone is listening.
You are not the only one.

Reach out to others who
understand your pain.

I understand your pain.
You are not alone.

Infertility: shameful?

Why do people who suffer
from infertility feel ashamed?
If you can't conceive without help
or even with help, is that your fault?
Does anyone have control over
their eggs, sperm, periods, ovulation,
or hormones?

If you were a diabetic,
would you keep it a secret
and not get help, because that
somehow means you are less of
a person?

If you have heart disease, high
blood pressure, or cancer,
is that shameful?
Absolutely not.

And so be it with infertility.
You can't control it, it wasn't your fault,
you didn't ask for it, you don't want
to have it.

Infertility does not define who you are.

Although it can wreak havoc on your life,
and cause you much stress and emotional
pain, you are not inferior because of it.
And don't let anyone make you feel that
you are............


Although it is not
quite "officially" summer,
You know it really is.
School is out.

It's warmer now.

It stays lighter in
the evening.

Summer is a time
of healing and

Stand outside and
let the sun
shine on your face.

Listen to the wind

Watch for the
thunder clouds to
roll in.

Listen to the
bumblebee as it
hovers around the

Watch the bunny
rabbits as they move
from place to place.

Sit in a rocking chair
and just rock, don't

Rest from wishing
for a baby.

Rest is good.
Let the summer
be a healing time
for you.

Rest and then
you'll have the strength
to begin your journey

An IVF cycle is like a "crap shoot"

"It's a crap shoot" is said, usually with a sense of mild scorn
(if it's somebody else) or resignation (if it's yourself)
about the chances of success of a given activity or venture.
It says the end result is out of one's hands, that it's left
up to chance, and that the odds are probably slightly
against you.*

Yes, that says it exactly. The
whole reason a patient needs IVF to
begin with is because the odds of conceiving a
pregnancy are already against you.

And then the torture of a possible cancellation
   You can be cancelled at any step along the way.
   You can be cancelled before you even begin.
   You can come for your first appointment and
          be told you're not even a candidate for IVF.
   You can be cancelled at your cycle start if
          your body over-rides the medicines.
   You can be cancelled because you don't
   You can be cancelled because you stimulate
         too well and are at risk for hyperstimulation
You can be cancelled if they can't find
         any eggs to retrieve.
You can have your transfer cancelled if
        your eggs didn't fertilize.
You can have your transfer cancelled
        if all your embryos need to be frozen
        (because of hyperstimulation

You can pass all those hurdles and
still not get pregnant.

Yes, IVF is like a crap shoot.
A game of "chance"
that so many are willing
to play. And perhaps
if you're really lucky,
you'll beat the house,
and walk away with the
big prize.

*(posted by Bob 8/26/03 on The Phrase Finder

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

The Risk of OHSS

Dr. Z. Ben-Rafael (Israel)[4] reviewed the risks of OHSS. Severe OHSS complicates only a few percent of IVF cycles. It is characterized by ovarian enlargement, gastrointestinal symptoms, fluid shift to the third space and therefore intravascular volume depletion. Thrombosis and oliguria are serious complications. Once OHSS develops, only supportive therapy can be offered. Studies have shown that high estradiol level and the simultaneous growth of a large number of follicles are associated with OHSS, but they have only a poor predictive value. Oocyte donors with high estradiol level and many follicles seldom develop OHSS. It is now understood that pregnancy, especially multiple gestation, is associated with the more severe form: late-onset OHSS.

Certain measures can be offered before the embryo transfer to reduce the risk of OHSS. The pre-stimulation identification of those at risk is probably the most important step. Once the stimulation is started and signs of OHSS are present, the gonadotropins can be withheld (coasting), the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to induce the final maturation of oocytes can be reduced, the embryos can be electively frozen, and the number of embryos transferred can be limited. Albumin infusion around the time of retrieval offers little benefit, but animal studies have shown that intravenous immunoglobulins reduce the risk, possibly via anticytokine mechanisms. Dr. Ben-Rafael emphasized that women with allergies are at higher risk (they probably have higher baseline cytokine levels and vascular permeability that predisposes them to fluid shifts). All those who prescribe gonadotropins should be aware of this potentially very serious side effect. The best approach is to identify those at risk and select an appropriate protocol for them. One should not be afraid of canceling high-responders or deciding to electively cryopreserve their embryos. Physicians seldom recommend this, however, as they also consider the financial burden the couple is taking on when entering an IVF cycle, given that the overall incidence of really severe OHSS is low.

From Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health

How to survive your IVF Cycle - Tips from the "team"

Take one day at a time.

Simplify anything and everything in your life during this time period.

Have a good support system and USE them.

Listen to classical music or any kind of music that you love.

Take a few extra naps.

Watch a funny movie.

Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. (and NO baby's breath!)

Have lunch with a friend, even if she doesn't know about your cycle.

Try and stay OFF the internet. You will become obsessed with every
little thing and it will stress you more. Remember, every clinic has their own
protocols, so just because one of your cycle buddies are doing something different,
it doesn't mean that you should be doing the same thing or that your clinic or
your physician doesn't know what they're doing. Tell your cycle buddies you'll
post after retrieval.

Go shopping, but stay out of baby stores! :)

Pamper yourself: get a facial or a massage.

Use your usual coping mechanisms: journaling, calling your best friend, going for a walk,
meditating or praying.

Read a good book that is not about: fertility, infertility, pregnancy, children, or families

Do anything that will distract you from focusing on: the cycle day, the next injection,
when you'll go to retrieval, how you'll decorate the nursery, when your due date is,
whether your ovaries are getting bigger, how big your follicles are, how many follicles
you have, what you will do if you are pregnant, what you will do if you are not
pregnant, blah, blah, blah!!! (You get the picture)

If you have a question, worry, or concern, call the nursing staff at your clinic. That's
what they are there for and should be helping you every step of the way, especially if
you are "stumbling" on the path.

Try and remember that everything right now is totally out of your control. You
cannot control your period, your ovaries, your follicles, your blood test levels, your
retrieval or transfer dates, fertilization of your embryos, implantation and whether or
not your cycle will be successful and you'll become pregnant. Try and let the control
go. Trust your doctor and the team. They are doing everything they can do to
make your cycle successful. They want you to get pregnant too!

Regret Nothing

Regret Nothing
Not even your sins or
When a man views
earth's wonders from
some mountain height, he
does not spend his
time in dwelling on
the stones and stumbles, the
faints and failures that
marked his upward path.

So with you.....
Breathe in the rich
blessings of each new

Forget all that lies
behind you.

Man is so made that he
can carry the weight
of 24 more.

As soon as he weighs
himself down with the
years behind and the
days ahead, his
back breaks.

I have promised to help
you with the burden of
only today. The past
I have taken from you.
And if you, foolish heart,
choose to gather again
that burden and bear it,
then indeed, you mock me
to expect me to share it.

For weal or woe, each day
is ended. What remains
to be lived, the coming
24 hours, you must face
as you awake.
A man on a march carries
only what he needs for
that march. Would you
pity him if you saw him
bearing too the overwhelming
weights of the worn out
shoes and uniforms of past
marches and years?
And yet, in the mental
and spiritual life,
man does these things.
Small wonder my poor
world is heartsick and
Not So Must You Act....

Do Lucky Charms really work???

I once thought
that Lucky Charms
would help me get pregnant.
(Not the cereal)

My massage therapist
used to dabble in
She knew that I was
trying to get pregnant
by IUI.
She had these 2 crystal stones
that were for fertility.

So, when it was time
for my IUI, I wore my
"lucky" Iowa sweatshirt.
(Because I believed that
Iowa was Heaven.)
(And I was right about that!)

Anyway, I wore my Iowa
put the 2 crystal stones
in my jeans pocket
and went for my IUI.

As I was getting undressed,
one of the stones fell out
of my pants pocket, onto
the floor and slid under
a chair in the exam room.
When I went to retrieve
it, it had broken in half.
I should have known then
that it was a bad sign.

I picked up the broken halves
and went home and had
to call my massage therapist
and tell her what happened.
She was very kind and said
not to worry.

Later that night, I threw my
jeans down the laundry shoot
and heard this funny noise.
I went down to the basement and
there was the OTHER crystal stone
on the floor. You guessed it:
broken in two pieces. I had
forgotten to take it out of my jeans.

Once again, I had to get on the phone
and tell my massage therapist that
I just broke the second stone.
Again, she was very sweet about

Needless to say, they were not
lucky for me. I didn't get pregnant.

I never took the broken stones
with me again. But I always
wore my lucky Iowa shirt.

Although, my dream of having
a baby girl never came to pass,
my dream of moving to
Iowa did.
My Iowa shirt was lucky after

And the moral of the story is:
you never know where life is
going to lead you and you
never know what is around the
corner, but some force takes
you to the place that you belong.
And here I am.