6 Signs You Should Talk To A Doctor About Fertility

6 Signs You Should Talk To A Doctor About Fertility

When Andrea Syrtash was 14, she was hospitalized for painful and heavy menstrual cycles due to endometriosis. She had no idea her condition would affect her fertility ― and even if she had known, she may not have thought to address it without guidance from her doctors.

After six years of trying to conceive, Syrtash, who now works as a relationship and dating expert, recently founded pregnantish, a website for singles, couples and LGBTQ people who are trying to conceive.

“When you’re a teenager, it’s not on your mind,” she said. Had she known, “I might have seen a specialist sooner.”

Syrtash’s experience reveals a truth fertility specialists want more people to know: You don’t have to be actively trying to get pregnant in order to think about your fertility. Most women and men don’t learn they have fertility problems until they’re trying to conceive ― but in many cases, the clues were there long before. However, there’s a lot you can do to take care of your fertility, experts say. The trick is to start thinking about it early.

“Our biological window is narrow ― about 10 years if you’re not going to get pregnant in college or immediately after,” says Dr. Janelle Luk of Neway Fertility, a Manhattan fertility center. “So if the window is narrow, and you don’t know any of this ― that you have fibroids or heavy bleeding ― you’ll lose six months or a year treating it. Then you’re putting yourself in a place you cannot win.”

Here are six signs you may want to speak to your doctor about fertility now ― even if you aren’t planning to have kids any time soon.

1. You have a family history of infertility

Many people don’t realize that if your parents had problems conceiving, you might face a similar struggle. Some hereditary conditions that are linked to infertility include early menopause, endometriosis and low sperm count.

Male-factor infertility, for example, can be passed down from grandfather to father to son, Luk says. And a woman whose mom went through early menopause may be at risk for the same.

2. You experience chronic pelvic pain

Painful menstruation could indicate endometriosis, a chronic disorder that is often hereditary, in which the tissue lining the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside of it. This can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes and make it harder for sperm to reach the eggs.

“Endometriosis is toxic for eggs ― it can cause a perfectly healthy young woman’s eggs to act like the eggs of a woman much older,” says Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh, a California fertility specialist known as the “Egg Whisperer.”

Some 7 million women in America have endometriosis, and it’s the leading cause of infertility, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Possible means of treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic, include hormone therapy, changing one’s diet, and surgery. In vitro fertilization can also be done instead of surgery.

3. You’ve been diagnosed with PCOS

Chronic pelvic pain could also be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome ― a hormonal disorder and leading cause of infertility that often begins after puberty but can occur in one’s later teens or early adulthood.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, according to the PCOS Awareness Association, but it affects some 10 million women around the world.

4. You’ve been diagnosed with an STD

Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can affect your fertility. An estimated 2.86 million cases of chlamydia and 820,000 cases of gonorrhea occur annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 10 to 15 percent of women with untreated chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease. This can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues, which in turn can lead to infertility.

The CDC recommends routine screening for women under age 25 for gonorrhea and chlamydia, but many doctors screen older women too.

“I offer and recommend STD screening for everyone regardless of age,” Eyvazzadeh says.

5. You or your partner have struggled with obesity

Obesity may be a factor for both male and female infertility. Obese women are more likely to have reduced fertility and lower success rates in IVF than non-obese women, according to a recent study.

They also have higher rates of miscarriage, stillbirth and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy. In men, there is an association between obesity and infertility because of endocrine abnormalities. Male obesity can affect rates of pregnancy, miscarriage and live birth.

6. You or your partner have struggled with being underweight

Underweight women might have fertility trouble too, with a higher rate of miscarriage and potentially more trouble conceiving than women who are not underweight. Studies have shown that low body mass index can affect fertility because it interrupts ovulation.

But with so much information available to people of all ages, everyone can try to keep an eye on their reproductive health with the future in mind.

“Reproductive health is an essential part of taking care of yourself,” Luk said. “We can all protect our futures.”

Original Article provided by HuffPost.

Correlation between resting pulse rate and onset of fertility

Correlation between resting pulse rate and onset of fertility

Article Provided by Mobi Health News.

It may not seem like a big change, but an extra two beats per minute in resting pulse rate could mean the difference between getting pregnant or not. This clue into fertility windows have led researchers at the University of Zurich to suggest the wearable fertility trackers from San Francisco and Zurich-based Ava could be a value tool for couples looking to conceive.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports (part of Nature Publishing Group), represents a new validation point for the Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to record nine physiological factors that correspond to a rise in hormones that indicate the onset of ovulation. While previous research – conducted shortly after the company’s launch in July 2016 – showed the Ava bracelet detecting an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with 89 percent accuracy, this trial gives a strong case that a resting pulse rate can be used to identify the window of fertility in near-real time.

“What many women and their partners don’t realize is that a woman can only get pregnant five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself,” lead researcher Dr. Brigitte Leeners said in a statement. “In our research, we found that resting pulse rate usually is lowest during menstruation but rises significantly five days before ovulation and again after ovulation. Ava is the first technology that uses temperature, resting pulse rate, and other parameters, including heart rate variability, sleep and bioimpedance, to provide a convenient and accurate at-home method to identify the beginning of the fertile window.”

The results come from two separate prospective observational trials that tracked 274 ovulatory cycles from 91 women, who wore the Ava bracelet and tested their ovulation day with a urine test. Researchers found resting pulse rates increase an average of two beats per minute at the beginning of the fertile window compared to the menstrual phase.

“These findings indicate that pulse rate (measured during sleep) is a promising parameter for FABMs,” the researchers wrote in the article. “And PR monitoring using wearable PPG sensors could be used as a conveniently measured parameter within a modern multi-parameter fertility awareness-based method.”

Ava, which raised $9.7 million in November 2016 to develop out their product and run trials, has also added new pregnancy-monitoring features to their companion mobile app for Ava users who conceive. The pregnancy features, available starting June 1, provide week-by-week, detailed explanations of the myriad changes to the mother and baby’s development over time, including sleep quality, weight and resting pulse rate.

“With more than 50 confirmed pregnancies to date among Ava users, we wanted to add features enabling them to continue monitoring their sleep and physiological stress throughout pregnancy,” Ava CEO and cofounder Lea von Bidder said in a statement. “Ava’s vision is to accompany women through all different life stages and this is a major step for us in reaching that vision. ”

Minnesota couple fights cancer, fertility obstacles

Minnesota couple fights cancer, fertility obstacles

Article provided by Fox.

It can be a crushing diagnosis for a young, healthy woman. Cancer often impacts hopes of motherhood.

But thanks to modern fertility medicine and technology, chemotherapy, radiation, and hysterectomies don’t have to spell the end of a growing family.

“I just knew something wasn’t right,” said Nikki Moen. “I had to listen to my body and go in.”

Moen says the symptoms were messing with her menstrual cycle.

Doctors would eventually find a benign-looking polyp inside her uterus.

The 29-year-old figured it wasn’t serious. The diagnosis, however, proved devastating.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry to tell you, but the polyp came back malignant. The cancer is called low grade Adenoid Sarcoma,’” said Moen. “I didn’t know what to say. I just said, ‘ok’ … I was almost in the grieving process when I found out I had cancer.”

Moen, a Twin Cities dental hygienist, and her boyfriend Sam Brandriet quickly researched this rare occurrence of uterine cancer in someone her age.

They got second opinions at the Mayo Clinic.

“We had to separate some of our emotions from the facts,” Moen said.

It turned out the best path for her health was a hysterectomy.

“When you hear hysterectomy, what do you think?” she said. “I was shocked. Scared. Thought it was an aggressive approach to being how young I am. Why aren’t there other options?”

Her biggest concern with a hysterectomy was she and Sam wouldn’t be able to have children.

They were crushed.

“It’s a blessing that we’re able to carry children and be able to give that to our spouse and have family of our own. Sentimental,” she said. “When that’s taken from you, it’s emotional. It’s hard to even choke it up sometimes.”

“I’m very proud of her,” said Brandriet. “We’re looking at it more as the glass is half full-type situation. She’s going to live.”

The couple decided to seek out fertility options with the idea that maybe they might one day find a surrogate to carry their child.

Moen eventually visited a facility where she had some of her eggs frozen for future use.

“We’re so young, we want to carry on our family genes and have family of our own,” she said.

Dr. April Battcheller is the medical director at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine – Minneapolis.

They specialize in fertility issues, including helping women with cancer.

“It’s such a sensitive time as you can imagine,” said Dr. Battcheller. “These women are recently diagnosed with cancer. Their whole life is changing. It’s really important for them to have something to hold to, to create normalcy in their life. I would say it’s very empowering for women to pursue fertility treatments. It allows them to look into the future, past the cancer diagnosis toward a more normal life.”

At CCRM, patients are given high concentrations of natural hormones to spur egg development.

A minor, 15-minute surgical procedure follows with Dr. Batcheller, guided by an ultrasound, using a needle to gather as many eggs as possible.

Instead of just one, the doctor hopes to capture 15 to 20 mature eggs.

Those are then frozen in these liquid nitrogen tanks, potentially for decades.

It’s the same procedure Moen underwent in the weeks before her hysterectomy, not knowing what might happen to her body afterwards.

“So I do think that we’re seeing a lot of patients pursuing fertility preservation prior to undergoing procedures for their cancer therapy,” said Dr. Batcheller.

The doctor reports that many cancer survivors, including those who are rendered sterile from chemo or radiation, can still become pregnant if their eggs are preserved before cancer treatments and their uterus remains healthy afterwards.

“It’s crazy what they do,” Moen said. “Don’t know how else to describe the science behind it.”

Of course, following the hysterectomy her path with Sam to parenthood will be a different one, but the dream of becoming mom and dad survives.

“That’s the beauty of being able to freeze our eggs and still have control of when we want children when we are both ready to do that,” he said. “Is there a timeline? Five years? Three years? One year? I need to get a ring.”

Now, about a month after her hysterectomy, Moens reports she is cancer free.

Of course surrogacy is a very expensive process, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Friends and family have already started helping them raise some money, knowing how badly they want to have their own child after cancer.

How Science Is Changing the Future of Fertility

How Science Is Changing the Future of Fertility

Article Provided by Time.

More women in the United States are having children later in life, and the emergence of technologies like fertility trackers and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are helping women conceive at a point in their life they prefer.

At the Fortune Brainstorm Health Conference on Wednesday, experts debated the promises and limitations of these kinds of frontier technologies—and speculated on what kind of impact they would have on the future of fertility.

Some companies are tackling what they see as the first problem: a lack of knowledge about fertility. “More and more women need a basic understanding of their reproductive health,” says Angie Lee, chief product officer of Celmatix, a fertility-prediction company. Celmatix created the world’s first comprehensive genetic screening test for reproductive health, which helps women assess their risk for fertility problems. “Women who are experiencing infertility will say, ‘I wish I had known.’ We want to empower women to have as much of that information up front.”

Innovations further down the line, like IVF that uses DNA from three parents, could one day help more couples who are struggling to conceive. But currently, experimentation for these technologies is limited to countries outside the U.S. “It took me 20 years to realize our country is very conservative,” said Dr. John Zhang, founder and director of New Hope Fertility Clinic and one of the creators of the technique used for the world’s first three-person baby.

Even some of the more widely available techniques can still have obstacles. Fertility-related treatments can be prohibitively expensive, and options like egg freezing, for example, don’t always lead to pregnancy. “We don’t have guarantees,” said Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive sciences at Yale University. “It’s still a new process.”

Yet despite the issues, having a choice still feels better for many women than having no option at all. “The ability to freeze eggs or embryos to give you a little more time, I think, is empowering,” said Jennifer Tye, vice president and head of U.S. Operations at the fertility tracking company, Glow.

The limitations of current technologies can be frustrating, but experts are hopeful for the future. As for right now, Minkin points out that there’s plenty that women can do to improve their fertility profile: maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke and find out what age women in your family typically go through menopause.


When Should I Meet with a Fertility Doctor?

When Should I Meet with a Fertility Doctor?

When Should I Meet with a Fertility Doctor?

By Rita Sneeringer, MD
Reproductive Endocrinologist
Boston IVF

By reading this post, you’re already taking a real and important first step towards your fertility goals. Educating yourself about your fertility and when to be proactive will only empower you to make the best choices for yourself as you work towards growing your family.

If you’ve been off birth control for a few months while trying to conceive, and you’re becoming concerned about the possibility of infertility, keep in mind that it often takes a couple 5-7 months to become pregnant. There may not be a need for concern. However, if more time passes and you haven’t conceived, it’s important to know when to reach out to a specialist. An initial consultation with a fertility specialist is a conversation — no testing takes place — where you will find support to make informed decisions about how best to achieve your fertility goals.

As a fertility specialist, my hope is for all couples to know that the sooner you identify when to visit with a specialist, the faster we can help you. In the realm of fertility, timing is very important, and “the sooner the better” is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind as you plan.

You are Not Alone
As you navigate the logistics of timing, it’s equally important to notice your own emotions. Whatever you’re feeling, keep in mind that it’s normal to be frustrated, stressed, sad, or mad when you haven’t been able to get pregnant as soon as you’d hoped.

Through any challenges you may be facing, maintain perspective by remembering that you are not alone. The community of men and women who have lived the highs and lows of infertility is large and strong, made up of one out of every eight couples in the United States. One common thread you’ll notice among almost every resource or piece of advice from a couple that has experienced infertility is that addressing your fertility concerns as soon as possible will dramatically increase your chances of achieving your fertility goals.

In other words, the sooner you identify when to visit with a specialist, the faster we can help identify your unique situation.

Timing is Everything
Because of the important role of female age in determining the quantity and quality of eggs, women under the age of 35 who have not conceived after 12 months of unprotected sex should see a fertility specialist. If you’re over the age of 35, we recommend seeing a specialist after 6 months of unprotected sex if conception has not occurred. Women over age 40 are welcome to reach out to a fertility specialist even sooner.

Women who have noticed irregularities or challenges within their menstrual cycle, including periods that last longer than one week, cycles that last more than 38 days or vary by more than two weeks, spotting between periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain during menstruation, or an absence of period, are also encouraged to meet with a fertility specialist. Irregularities in a cycle sometimes signal other issues linked with infertility, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Who Should Meet with a Doctor?

  • women who’ve experienced a miscarriage
    women with PCOS or women with hair loss or excessive facial/body hair
    women with thyroid issues
    women with endometriosis
    women with a family history of early menopause
    women about to undergo treatment for cancer
    men with erectile dysfunction
    men about to undergo treatment for cancer
    men with undescended testes at birth
    men with a varicocele in the testes
    men with low semen motility (movement)
    men with low sperm counts
    men with poor semen morphology (shape)

Tips for Connecting with a Doctor

If you’re able to check off any boxes for medical conditions, age guidelines, or cycle irregularities that meet our guidelines for patients who are recommended to meet with a fertility specialist, your next step is to connect with a fertility clinic near you. You might find your clinic by searching patient reviews online, exploring clinic websites, or a friend or family referral. However you search, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your fertility specialist and clinic. If that’s not the case after your initial consultation, it’s always an option to seek out a second opinion.

Once you’ve made an appointment, your first meeting with a fertility doctor will entail sitting down with your doctor to discuss your family and medical history, your fertility goals, and your options moving forward. You will meet with your entire fertility team, who will support you through your journey. As fertility specialists, we encourage you to ask questions. No question is too silly or too small — we want you to be well-informed and comfortable with your decisions.

Your Next Steps
Each fertility story is unique, including yours.

Whether you are facing infertility or not, the place between certainty and uncertainty about your fertility is an emotionally difficult one, made more difficult by the importance of time in relation to your chance at success. A meeting with a fertility specialist is a conversation that can bring you peace of mind and the support you need to move forward on your journey. To learn more about fertility and take your next step, head over to www.bostonivf.com to learn more.



Dr. Rita Sneeringer is a reproductive endocrinologist at Boston IVF, one of the most experienced fertility centers in the nation.  She is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology/Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Dr. Sneeringer specializes in all aspects of infertility care. In addition to her role at Boston IVF, she is a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School.

IVF: How to pay for an expensive and emotional process

IVF: How to pay for an expensive and emotional process

Article Provided by USA Today and NerdWallet.

After struggling to get pregnant, Nikki and Mike McDermott of Lake Worth, Fla., were determined to do whatever it took to have a family. She took the fertility medication Clomid, underwent $500 in diagnostic tests and tried intrauterine insemination, all without success.

McDermott is far from alone. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth (2011-2013), 11.3% of women ages 15 to 44 — that’s 6.9 million women — have received fertility services.

It’s an expensive and emotional path, and success is not guaranteed.

“At that point emotionally, I was like, I can’t keep doing this up and down rollercoaster,” Nikki McDermott says. “We wanted something that had a higher success rate, so we did in vitro fertilization.”

Yet even a single cycle of IVF can be out of reach for many couples.

The high — and typically uncovered — cost of IVF

The McDermotts were quoted $14,000 for an IVF package including medications and procedures. At the time, McDermott was on her husband’s employer’s insurance plan, which offered no fertility coverage. To cover the bulk of treatment, the McDermotts took out a $10,000 fertility loan from a lender partnered with her doctor’s office at a sizable interest rate of just under 22%.

The first IVF cycle was successful for the McDermotts. Having her son, Mikey, now a toddler, was worth the emotional and financial stress, McDermott says. “At the end of the day, we pay the monthly fee for the loan, and we just joke around that he can’t go to college,” she says.

According to data collected on 3,192 IVF patients and provided to NerdWallet by FertilityIQ, an online resource for those seeking fertility treatments, the national average cost for one IVF cycle, including drugs and the procedure, is $19,857. Some doctors offer packages or bundles at a discount, but the costs are still significant.

Some states mandate that health insurance cover fertility treatment, but the majority do not. According to the study by FertilityIQ, which involved more than 3,000 patients who received 7,141 IVF cycles in total, 28% had 76%-100% of treatment costs covered by insurance. But 56% of surveyed users had zero coverage, and the remainder of patients had only partial coverage. (Disclosure: NerdWallet CEO Tim Chen is an investor in FertilityIQ.) See the methodology below.

Making financial tradeoffs and saving for IVF is the best case scenario, says Shane Sullivan, a certified financial planner with United Capital in Austin, Texas. But for those eager to move forward without adequate savings, financing may be the answer. For the McDermotts, that answer was a fertility loan. Other IVF funding options, summarized below, include loans from credit unions, online lenders and credit cards.

Paying for IVF

If you’re seeking IVF treatments, whether you plan to buy a package or pay as you go, your credit history plays a large role in determining which financing options are available to you.


Lenders that focus specifically on fertility financing typically partner with doctor’s offices, and you can usually use this type of financing only if your provider offers it. Fertility-specific lenders may have higher interest rates, but the doctor’s office typically coordinates with the lender and receives the funds directly, removing some headache for patients. One of the most well-known fertility lenders is CapexMD, which offers loans through participating fertility clinics.


These personal installment loans have fixed rates with monthly payments. Credit unions are often the best choice for personal loans, as they usually have the lowest interest rates available, often starting as low as 7%, and can be open to lending to members with less-than-stellar credit. Federal credit unions are required to cap their interest rates at 18%. Credit union loans usually require a lot of paperwork and documentation, and they can take longer the online loans to be approved and funded.


If you’re in a hurry to pay for IVF treatment, online installment loans are approved and funded faster than loans from credit unions, sometimes within one day. They may also have more options when it comes to term length and amount. Interest rates are fixed and can be low for those with excellent credit.

Popular lenders for fertility treatments include Prosper, Lending Club and LightStream. Numerous other online lenders offer generic personal loans you can use for fertility treatment. NerdWallet recommends comparing offers from multiple lenders. The easiest way to compare actual rates is to pre-qualify online, which entails a soft credit check that won’t affect your credit score.


If you qualify, zero-interest credit cards can be an ideal way to fund at least some of your fertility treatment — the few thousand dollars needed to meet an insurance deductible, for instance. Credit cards typically have lower credit limits than the amount you could borrow with a loan, and you won’t know your credit limit until you are approved.

Emily Starbuck Crone is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]

FertilityIQ Methodology: FertilityIQ’s data was collected between July 10, 2015 and February 19, 2017 via a survey of 3,192 patients who underwent at least one complete IVF cycle in the United States. The total number of IVF cycles completed by all patients was 7,141.



By Elena Trukhacheva MD, MSCI, President and Medical Director for Reproductive Medicine Institute 


2016 was an interesting year in almost every sphere, from politics to medicine, and everything in between.

Always leading the charge of technology and thought, the field of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) has once again been in the forefront of much news and National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), April 23 – 29, is a good time to look at this more closely.

Ever advancing methods in embryo selection to assist in single embryo transfer (SET) as well as continual progress in the area of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and the freedom and relief it provides for families looking to assure the good health of a future child.  More information on conception for those of advanced maternal age as well as ways of optimizing third party reproduction, noting the role of epigenetics that link mother and baby regardless of the genetic connection.

These advances move forward on a daily basis, making REI one of the most exciting fields of science and medicine.  This week, National Infertility Awareness Week, we invite you to Listen Up! and celebrate with us as well as plan for the future.

ART and Technology

ART and Technology

by Reproductive Medicine Institute (www.teamrmi.com

A new smartphone app has shown early promise in its ability to detect healthy sperm at home

Assisted Reproductive Technology, also known as ART, continues to share ‘pillow space’ with cutting edge Technology when it comes to medical and surgical treatment for Infertility. But, when it comes to some of the newest computer applications, ART and Technology may be unlikely bedfellows.

Recent reports tout a new smartphone attachment that can evaluate a man’s semen and determine his level of fertility with up to 98% accuracy, a new study has shown.  The technology, which developers hope will be available in the next few years, consists of an external accessory in which sperm samples are inserted and an app that analyzes them. While the aim is to make testing as straightforward as a home pregnancy test, many Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility (REI) specialists are cautiously optimistic when it comes to a ‘do it yourself’ approach.

“For some couples, this exciting new technology may be a welcome alternative to testing in the clinic, which for some, can be an undesirable or awkward experience,” says Shweta Nayak MD, an REI with Reproductive Medicine Institute (www.teamrmi.com) with offices throughout the Chicagoland area. “It’s important to remember that while an abnormal test result should definitely lead to a consultation with a fertility specialist, a normal result still does not assure a couple the absence of infertility or subfertility.” Supporting this is that the new technology appears to be qualitative rather than quantitative. “Those who test normal, may still be on the low end of normal,” says Nayak, “a distinction which may still require medical intervention in order to conceive.”

Regardless, and in the presence, of at home testing, experts still recommend that couples still consider a formal, complete reproductive evaluation if they have been unable to conceive after 1 year and are under the age of 35, or after 6 months if over the age of 35. Another limitation may be the cost of at home testing, which unlike diagnostic testing in a physician’s office, will not likely be covered by insurance. “We do have systems already in place that provide a home collection kit for those who are unable or unwilling to produce a specimen at the clinic,” says Nayak. This alternate form of collection does depend on reasonably close proximity to the clinic, however, in order to assure an accurate analysis. “In the case where time and/or distance are limiting, this new technology may be quite beneficial,” says Nayak.

Overall, the new app may be a promising alternative for those considering at home testing, especially for those early in their journey towards building a family. “Couples should consider all factors contributing to their decision to test at home,” says Dr. Nayak. “We need to be certain that our testing is not just easier but also every bit as effective and comprehensive. Technology is a wonderful tool, but the best medicine also utilizes the physician’s touch.”

Using technology to track fertility

Using technology to track fertility

Advancements in technology have made fertility tracking more accessible than ever before to couples who are trying to get pregnant, but does all of this technology really help? Or does it add stress to what can already be a stressful situation?

According to Rebecca Flyckt, M.D., a fertility expert at Cleveland Clinic, tracking and charting is helpful to a point.

“Sometimes this technology raises more questions than it answers,” said Dr. Flyckt. “I think a lot of couples get really caught up in the aspect of tracking and timing and charting, and that’s certainly part of the equation, but it’s not the whole thing.”

There are several smartphone apps that are available that help track ovulation cycles, including a relatively new app that will analyze a man’s sperm count, as well as the sperm mobility. There are also over-the-counter tests that can be purchased at a pharmacy that will give “at-home” sperm count results.

Dr. Flyckt said she often talks about technology with her patients, because there is so much that is on the market that it can be overwhelming.

She said after trying to get pregnant after six months to a year, or sooner if there is a history of gynecological problems or irregular periods, couples should focus on other potential factors with the help of a professional.

“In a general way, for people who are interested in this kind of thing, it can be reassuring or even helpful,” said Dr. Flyckt. “But I think once a pattern has been established, a lot of talking that we do in the office is about other kinds of tests that we can order to figure out really what’s at the bottom of their infertility.”

Dr. Flyckt said it’s important for couples not to lose the forest for the trees. She said technology may be helpful, but it’s still in the early stages, and while it might be a good place to start, it’s always best to follow up with a professional after doing any tests at home.

What your sexuality, age and location have to do with your IVF coverage

What your sexuality, age and location have to do with your IVF coverage

Article on coverage provided by USA Today.

Advocates argue that in vitro fertilization, like other medical treatments, should come standard in the menu of coverage offered by insurance carriers.

Only eight states across the country require carriers to cover IVF in their plans, according to Resolve, a national organization fighting for states and employers to expand coverage of infertility treatments. Resolve President and CEO Barbara Collura said a few states have a mandate that requires insurance companies to at least propose IVF coverage, often at an extra cost.

Just because a state mandates it, insurance provides it and a person wants it, that doesn’t mean the person will qualify for it. A litany of criteria could exclude a woman from coverage, including her age, the amount of time she’s tried to conceive and even the size of her company.

Some states restrict who can be the sperm donor. Hawaii and Arkansas offer coverage only if the egg is fertilized with the partner’s sperm, an obvious roadblock for lesbian couples. Collura called the law “discriminatory” and said Resolve is working to overturn the regulation.

The criteria used by some states and insurance companies remain a barrier for certain demographics, said Nanette Elster, vice president of Spence & Elster, a Chicago law firm specializing in fertility law. Some state statutes use phrases such as “husband and wife,” which she said “clearly is problematic” for same-sex couples. Age requirements also can be a barrier. Elster said she’s encouraged that some of these restrictions are going away.

The requirements vary by state. Here’s a snapshot of coverage in each of the eight states that require carriers to cover IVF.

Massachusetts: The state requires the best IVF coverage, Collura said, with few restrictions. To qualify as infertile in Massachusetts, a woman under age 35 would have to not conceive for a year. For those older than 35, that period is six months. There is no limit to the number of IVF treatments covered and no dollar lifetime cap. An IVF treatment, Collura said, costs $12,000 to $15,000.

Rhode Island: Treatment is available to women ages 25 to 40 with a $100,000 treatment cap after two years of trying to have a baby.

Illinois: Women qualify for IVF after a year of unprotected sex or the inability to maintain or achieve a pregnancy with a less-expensive infertility treatment. Insurance covers up to four egg retrievals. If there’s a live birth, two additional egg retrievals will be covered. Employers with less than 25 employees do not have to provide coverage.

New Jersey: The state requires women under 35 to try to conceive a baby for at least two years; those older than 45 have to try for one year. Only women under 46 qualify. Employers with staffs of less than 50 do not have to provide coverage.

Connecticut: Infertility is defined as being unable to conceive or sustain a pregnancy after one year. The state covers two cycles of IVF. Religious organizations don’t have to offer coverage.