Looking for answers to your fertility questions? Our new digital magazine can answer many questions about current causes of infertility, treatments, and what to expect during an initial fertility consultation. Here are some excerpts from the magazine. To learn more, scroll down to download the entire magazine.
More than five million Americans struggle with infertility. Infertility affects both men and women. If you and your partner are trying to become pregnant, or planning to in the future, there are some potential risk factors regarding infertility.
- Above average weight
- Abnormal hormonal imbalance
- Effects of medications, alcohol, or smoking
- Environmental factors
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the final step leading to pregnancy. The cycle begins with the development of the egg in the ovary. This development is controlled by signals produced in the brain. There are 2 important signals from the brain that manipulate the ovary. The first is Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH stimulates the eggs to develop into fluid-filled sacs or cysts which are called follicles.
It takes approximately two weeks for an egg to mature in the ovary. During this time, the developing follicle produces the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen causes the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, to grow and become receptive to the developing embryo.
The second signal from the brain is Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which triggers ovulation. Ovulation is the release of the mature egg and usually occurs around day 14 of the menstrual cycle. The released egg makes its way into the uterus through the fallopian tube. During intercourse, sperm are introduced into the vagina. The sperm travels from the uterus to the cervix and into the fallopian tubes, where they join with or fertilize the egg to form an embryo. Several days after ovulation and fertilization, the embryo makes its way into the uterine cavity and implants onto the endometrial lining where it develops into the fetus. A number of problems can occur in this process, causing infertility for the couple.
Egg and Embryo Freezing
When a sperm source is not available, egg freezing may be an alternative to embryo preservation. Egg freezing procedures have improved over the last 10 years, but they are still not as successful as embryo preservation. By the time embryos are frozen, they have already been fertilized and have developed for a few days, providing greater reproductive potential.
Preimplantation Genetic Testing
Normally all of our genes, or our genetic material, are arranged on chromosomes. We each have 23 pairs of chromosomes. One set of chromosomes comes from the egg, and one set comes from the sperm. At conception, when the sperm penetrates the egg, the egg needs to perfectly align these chromosomes so there are 23 pairs.
PGT-A testing can test the arrangement of each embryo, reducing the chances of putting back an abnormal embryo. The accuracy of PGT-A and is approximately 99%. Putting back a chromosomally normal embryo can significantly decrease your chances for having a miscarriage.
Recurrent miscarriages and repetitive failed IVF may also be due to genetic abnormalities. Sometimes PGT-A can help identify these abnormalities. If a parent or parents have or are carriers of a certain genetic disorder, the embryos created can be tested for this disease.
Special probes are designed specifically for the parent’s disorder.
Advanced Reproductive Center of Hawai’i is proud to help all couples create their families with fertility treatments. Dr. Christopher Huang and Advanced Reproductive Center of Hawai’i have been providing fertility services for LGBT couples since 2002, longer than any other Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist in Hawai’i. Our physicians and staff offer a comprehensive program for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender family building.
What to Expect During Your Initial Fertility Consultation
During your initial fertility consultation, we will talk about how the body is designed to work and about some of the ways the system can break down. The physician will review all your medical history, evaluate the factors that play a part in infertility, discuss your options and get bloodwork for diagnostic testing. The doctor and staff will also review your insurance benefits and suggest the best coverage for your upcoming appointment.
Telemedicine Online Care
The Advanced Reproductive Center of Hawai’i has developed online tools to simulate the same experience as being in the office. You will meet with your doctor via phone or real time video chat to discuss your specific clinical findings and options for fertility treatment. Call us at (808) 949-6611 today to schedule your telemedicine consultation.