Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Questions to Ask During your Initial Infertility Consultation at a Fertility Clinic

When you have come to the decision that it is time to consult with a Fertility Center it important to know what to expect at your initial consultation. The doctors and staff at the Virginia Center for Reproductive Health in Reston, Virginia have put together some helpful hints for your Initial Infertility Consultation.
  • To prepare your body for a successful pregnancy, VCRM recommends the following, even before meeting with your Fertility Specialist for the first time:
1)   Quit smoking
2) Eat a balanced diet
3) Take a pre-natal vitamin daily
4) Exercise and be active daily
5) Eliminate or reduce stress in your daily life

  • Once you have an appointment confirmed with a Fertility Center, you will receive a Patient Registration packet. There will be a variety of forms to fill out, these are usually required to be sent back to the office BEFORE your consultation

  • Your consultation usually will be between one to two hours.  You will meet your doctor and review your medical history and discuss your family’s goals. Depending on your history, age and interest, your doctor will order a variety of diagnostic tests to evaluate you and your partner. Most fertility centers also have a genetic and financial counselor to meet with, depending on your needs

  • Be sure to provide your doctor with your full and accurate fertility history, bring any records you may have from previous fertility centers or gynecological surgery

  • Know your schedule. If you have a vacation planned, work commitments or other events that cannot be rescheduled, share these plans with your doctor so diagnostic testing and treatment can be scheduled accordingly

  • Compile a list of questions. Brainstorming the questions, concerns and topics you want to discuss is helpful. You will receive a lot of information during the consultation, take notes!
Just as there are many factors that can cause infertility, there also are many factors that can affect your chances for successful treatment including your age, your personal diagnosis, duration of infertility, and the number of previous unsuccessful treatment attempts. In addition, chances for your success will be influenced greatly by the specialists involved with your care and continued attention to details. It is important to find a fertility center that can best assist at making your dreams a reality.

You can read more about finding the best fit Fertility Center for you by visiting: http://vcrmed.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-to-choose-fertility-center.html

To learn more about VCRM, you can visit:http://www.vcrmed.com/

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ovarian Reserve & Egg Quality: What can I do to improve them?

 Age is not the only factor that determines ovarian and egg health. Many factors can impact the health of a woman’s ovaries and eggs including environmental factors, hormones and stress, just to name a few! There are habits and factors you can focus on to increase the health of your eggs. 
Oxygen flowing to the ovaries is important for good egg health. To increase blood flow to the ovaries consider:
  • Drinking at least 8, 8oz glasses of water everyday. Dehydration can cause your blood to become thick and decrease circulation in the body
  • Exercise. Stay moving, run, dance, play a sport. Exercise increases blood flow and helps oxygenate the blood. However, avoid intense workouts and running 
  • Get a massage. A common therapy for increasing blood flow to the reproductive system is by massaging your uterus and ovaries. Massages and acupuncture may help bring fresh, oxygenated blood to the ovaries and removes old stagnant blood. You can have a massage therapist perform an abdomen massage or find an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility
  • Some supplements (such as CoQ10 and DHEA) may be helpful to egg quality. Please discuss this with your doctor before taking any of these
  • Eat Healthy  

What you are eating can also impact the health of your ovaries and eggs in good or bad ways. 

Foods known to make a positive impact on Egg Health Include:
Broccoli            Berries            Dark Leafy veggies            Halibut
Salmon            Pumpkin Seeds            Sesame seeds            Ginger

Foods known to make a negative impact on Egg Health include:
Caffeine            Alcohol            Sugar                        Soda                        Processed foods           
Trans Fat            GMO Foods

Check out our useful app that will educate you on how simple dieting can help with fertility: http://theinfertilitydiet.com/

Life is overwhelming and women are constantly multi-tasking a variety of roles and responsibilities. To improve you egg health, reducing the stress in your life needs to be a priority. You need time for YOU! (and deserve it) Consider some of the following ideas:
·      Go for a walk
·      Take a warm bath
·      Read a good book
·      Craft or learn a new skill
·      Meditate

Supporting egg health is important for every woman who is trying to conceive. These simple habits can support and protect your egg health.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Donate Your Eggs and earn $8,000 while helping make a couples dream come true

Are you interested in becoming an Egg Donor? Its women like you that help make the dream of having a family a reality for those struggling with infertility.

Healthy women aged 21-31 may qualify to be a donor for our anonymous egg donor program.

To help us determine your eligibility for the program, please complete the confidential questionnaire by visiting: http://www.vcrmed.com/donate-eggs/

*Please note, women must have medical insurance to qualify as an egg donor

Once accepted into the donor program you may donate a maximum of six times. Upon completion of a cycle, you will be compensated $8,000 for your time, effort and commitment.

Your donation would be a precious gift to infertile couples whose only chance of conceiving is through the generosity of women like you!

The steps for egg donation are listed below:

Step One

Complete the initial application. This form assists our Donor Team in determining if you qualify for our Egg Donor Program.

Step Two

If you qualify for the program, you will be sent an email with the next steps and a link to complete a comprehensive online application.

Step Three

Once the comprehensive application is approved and you are accepted into our anonymous egg donor program, your initial consultation will be scheduled with our nurse coordinator. During this visit, the donation process will be discussed in detail. In order to complete the medical portion of the donor application process, a variety of medical tests will also be scheduled at this time for a later date. These medical tests must be performed at specific points throughout your menstrual cycle and for that reason, may require more than one visit. After all testing is completed, reviewed and approved by the VCRM physician, you will be formally matched with a recipient and the donation cycle will be scheduled. All costs for your medical care will be covered by the recipient.

Step Four

Once the egg donation cycle begins, you will be put on birth control pills followed by injectable medications for up to 13 days to stimulate production of multiple eggs in your ovaries. At the same time, the recipients uterus is being prepared to receive the resulting embryos. Once the eggs have matured, you will be scheduled for your retrieval. You will be given IV sedation and your eggs will be retrieved via transvaginal ultrasound with a needle guide.

Step Five

Once the eggs have been retrieved, your portion of the egg donation process is complete. In our laboratory, the donor eggs will be mixed with sperm to fertilize. Three to six days following egg retrieval, the developing embryos will be transferred to the recipients uterus. A pregnancy test will be performed on the recipient in 11 days. The anonymous egg donation process, from initial application to egg retrieval, may take up to three months to complete. The initial screening tests can be arranged to accommodate your schedule. Blood work will be taken and ultrasounds will be performed to check your hormone levels and visualize the number and size of your egg follicles. These monitoring visits are extremely important; not only do they ensure your safety throughout the process, but they also provide essential information that will help us maximize the success of the cycle.

You can contact us with any questions by calling 703-437-7722

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Uterine Lining measurements for conceiving

A prepared uterine lining (Endometrium) is critical for successful implantation after embryo transfer. A commonly used guideline for assessing the endometrium is to measure its thickness. Endometrial thickness is often abbreviated as EMT.

During the stimulation phase of IVF, EMT usually increases in response to estrogen released by the ovaries. It is generally accepted that it is a “thick” lining that will be receptive for the embryo(s) after transfer.  The most commonly used cut off for defining a thin endometrium is less than or equal to 7 mm. Some studies have suggested that a thin lining is associated with low IVF pregnancy rates whereas others were not able to confirm this thesis. Despite this, EMT is now routinely measured using transvaginal ultrasound during in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Poor endometrial lining most commonly occurs in women with a history of unexplained recurrent IVF failures or early recurrent miscarriages and is usually attributable to the following factors:
  • Endometritis: Chronic infection of the endometrial cells.
  • Fibroids of the uterine wall (non-cancerous muscle tumors of the uterus).
  • Scar tissue of the endometrium (called Asherman’s syndrome), caused by prior D&Cs or other uterine manipulations
Endometrial thickness cannot predict the outcome of an IVF cycle. The impact of endometrial patterns on IVF pregnancy rates has been investigated with conflicting results.

You can learn more by visiting: http://www.vcrmed.com/ivf-reston-va/
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharara (one of the leading IVF specialists in the US) to discuss your situation and how we can assist you in IVF success.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A 411 on Fertility Abbreviations

Are you new to the “Trying to Conceive” club? Don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact there are forums, support groups and blogs for just about ANY topic you may want to research or involve yourself with. What you may not realize is, there are abbreviations for almost EVERYTHING. We’re talking medical stuff here; can you really spell “Intrauterine Insemination” off the top of your head? Obviously it’s easier to shorten it up as IUI. The Virginia Center of Reproductive Medicine has compiled a list of the most frequently used menstrual, fertility and reproductive health abbreviations and acronyms to help you along during your TTC journey. We hope you find it helpful!

AF: Aunt Flo — menstruation/period
BBC: BabyCenter
BBT: basal body temperature
BC: Birth control or before children
BCPS: birth control pills
BFN: big fat negative (after taking a pregnancy test)
BFP: big fat positive (after taking a pregnancy test)
BM breast milk, or bowel movement
CD: cycle day
CF: cervical fluid
CM: cervical mucus
CS or C/S: cesarean section
DPO: days past ovulation
EBF: extended breastfeeding, exclusively breastfeeding
EBM: expressed breast milk
EDD: estimated due date, or expected date of delivery
EWCM: egg white cervical mucus
FF: formula feeding
HPT: home pregnancy test
IC: incompetent cervix
IUI: intrauterine insemination
IVF: in vitro fertilization
L&D: labor and delivery
LP: luteal phase
MC or M/C: miscarriage
O: ovulation
O’d: ovulated
OPK: ovulation predictor kit
PG: pregnant or pregnancy
PPD: postpartum depression
RE: reproductive endocrinologist
SD: sperm donor
TTC: trying to conceive
US or U/S: ultrasound
VBAC: vaginal birth after cesarean section

VCRM would be delighted to assist you in your dream of becoming a parent. Please visit our website to learn more about us: http://www.vcrmed.com/about-us/why-us/

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What to expect after an embryo transfer

The IVF treatment cycle consists of several parts. In this article, we will be focusing on what to expect after an Embryo Transfer and the activities you can engage in.
Five days following the Egg Retrieval the patient will have the Embryo Transfer (ET). The procedure only takes approximately 15 minutes; afterwards, a patient will remain in a horizontal position for about 15 minutes. She will then be discharged to leave.
Directly after the Embryo Transfer patients should go directly home or to your hotel and take it easy for 24 hours. This does not mean staying in bed. You can do all your regular activities but avoid strenuous exercise or carrying heavy objects.
You may have some watery discharge. This is from the vaginal wash and not the embryos “coming out”.
The day after your transfer, you may resume light normal activities.It is important to stay on all your medications. These medications support the uterine lining and help maintain a pregnancy. These are usually estrogen & progesterone through pill, injection, or vaginal suppository.
We advise our patients to avoid travel for 24 hours so that they are near their doctor in case any complications, such as bleeding, arise.

If you are ready to learn how VCRM and Dr. Sharara can help your dream of having a baby, then please complete the Request A Consultation form or call us at 703.437.7722.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Trying to conceive with Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are very common benign, smooth muscle cell tumors that affect 25% to 40% of reproductive-age women. Multiple studies have found there is an association between fibroids and infertility, especially when fibroids are large, in the uterine cavity, or compress the cavity. There are several explanations as to why uterine fibroids may reduce fertility:
*Fibroids change the position of the cervix (the vaginal opening to the womb) and may affect the number of sperm that can travel through the cervix
*Changes in the shape of the uterus can interfere with sperm movement
*Blockage of the fallopian tubes by the fibroids
*Affecting the blood flow to the uterine cavity where the embryo would implant.
*Changes in the uterine muscle may prevent movement of the sperm or the embryo
Dr. Sharara at the Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine can help determine if fibroids might be hampering your ability to conceive. Treatment options vary depending upon the age of the patient, the severity of the symptoms and the size of the tumor(s).
To Schedule a Consultation, please visit http://www.vcrmed.com/ or call 703-437-7722.