Coping with Cervical Cancer and its Effect on Fertility

Coping with Cervical Cancer and its Effect on Fertility

Stork and baby


A cervical cancer diagnosis often brings a mix of emotions and questions to a woman’s mind. Patients often have concerns over the effect their treatment plan will have on their fertility. Here are some important points to consider when figuring out a treatment plan with your physician.

  • Educating yourself on different treatment options that could be available to you is key in helping you advocate for a plan that will best preserve your fertility.
  • Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation may all impact your ability to conceive.
  • Emotional support will be critical during this time.


Be aware of all treatment plans that could be available to you

It is important to educate yourself on any alternate treatment plans that you could be qualified for. Doing so will give you a strong foundation upon which to advocate for a treatment plan that will have the highest chance of protecting your fertility. Also, do not hesitate to ask any questions about your treatment plan to your physician. Since individual cases vary, this is your best source for obtaining the most information about your own case. This will also help you form a strong and supportive bond between you and your physician.


Common treatment plans may affect your fertility

Surgery is often used to treat cervical cancer. Depending on the size of your tumor and the stage of cancer you are in, chemotherapy and/or radiation may also be included in the treatment plan. A hysterectomy, the partial or complete removal of the uterus, will prevent a woman from being able to bear children. If the cancer is caught early enough, a radical trachelectomy may be performed. The cervix is removed, but the uterus remains. So the woman may still be able to become pregnant and give birth via cesarean section.

It is important to note that chemotherapy and radiation can also affect fertility. Certain chemotherapy drugs can harm the eggs inside a woman’s ovaries. This results in reduced or complete infertility. They will also distort a woman’s menstrual cycle even after treatment has finished. The ovaries and uterus may also become damaged from radiation.

As a result, women hoping to start a family will often look into egg or embryo freezing before starting treatment. Once it is over, they may either use their eggs to carry a child themselves or use a surrogate to help start a family.


Make sure you have all the support you can get during your treatment

Going through cancer treatment will inevitably be difficult. Counseling professionals, such as oncology social workers and therapists, are available. CancerCare offers counseling over the phone and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) helps connect you with professionals who are experienced with working with these types of cases in your area. Support groups are also available for women going through treatment.


Remember that you are not alone. Your physician, family, friends, and any professional help you choose to seek out are here for you. Do not hesitate to reach out to them.

7 Period-Tracking Apps for Monitoring Your Fertility

7 Period-Tracking Apps for Monitoring Your Fertility

Stay on top of your cycle with the best from the app store

Predicting when your period is coming can be a nuisance, but thankfully today’s technology can help you stay on top of your cycle!  Staying on top of your cycle can help your fertility odds, but even if you aren’t planning on having a baby, it can simply help to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  

According to the Founder and President of Cycle Technologies, Leslie Heyer: “Period tracking can be powerful and is empowering… Period trackers give women a better sense of what’s going on with their bodies, and help them know when their periods are likely to come next. And with new technologies and approaches, I think we’re finding that it also gives us a lot of actionable information.” Heuer is a founder of Dot, one of our examples.  We’ve listed the top seven best apps, and highlighted a few of best below:

  1. Dot
  2. Spot On
  3. Pink Pad
  4. Clue
  5. Period Tracker
  6. Glow
  7. Eve



Dot stands for Dynamic Optimal Timing, and its main goal is to help plan or prevent pregnancy. By logging your period start dates, the app tells you if your conception rate is low, medium or high, as well as detailing any conception risks for that day in your tracked cycle. Dot helps you plan or prevent pregnancy based on the lengths of your menstrual cycles.  Like many other apps, it can also log any period symptoms, mood changes, sexual activity, and other cycle-related health patterns.

“The app uses an advanced algorithm to identify a woman’s pregnancy risks and gives her that information in such a way that she can use it to meet her reproductive goals,” says Heyer, “It can also see patterns in a user’s cycles and identify potential health issues that could affect fertility.”


Spot On

Spot On is another period tracking app, but holds the unique title of being created and operated by Planned Parenthood.  Along with giving you even more access to Planned Parenthood’s resources, the app specializes is logging your period details in conjunction with your birth control method that regulates it. Regardless of if you choose the pill or an IUD, Spot On takes your preferred method into consideration for its calculations.


Period Tracker

There are certainly no added frills with our next pick’s title, as the staple Period Tracker app specializes in logging just about every symptom you can think of, including cramps, spotting, bloating and headaches. For each symptom, it prompts you to “label them as mild, moderate, or severe”, along with adding any medications you may be taking and writing notes for each of your details.  Period Tracker is widely recognized as easy to use: just tap the large “Period just started!” button and it will take care of the rest!



Last but not least, the period tracking app Glow includes all of the features mentioned for other apps, including tracking symptoms, logging sexual activity, evaluating medications, and more. An added bonus, however, is that it includes added features for women undergoing fertility treatments such as IVF or IUI. It also has the special feature of uploading your data to allow you to email yourself a PDF copy of your ovulation results so you can share it with your partner or doctor if needed.  Glow also has a sister app, called Glow Nurture, that specializes in pregnancy.

Our other mentions include Pink Pad (which includes an online chat community with other women), Clue (which is gender-neutral in its theme), and Eve (which uses emojis to track both period and sex details).  Whichever app you decide to choose, these are all a step in the right direction for healthy fertility check-ins!  All are free in the app store, so it won’t hurt to try them all out to find the right fit for you.

How Frequent Flying Affects Menstruation and Fertility

How Frequent Flying Affects Menstruation and Fertility

Girl on plane

Long days on a plane or constant travel can easily wear you down. As women, our reproductive systems are sensitive to stress, and traveling may cause a lot of it. There’s the adjustment to different time zones, changes in diet and routine, and lack of sleep, just to name a few. Can all of this baggage disrupt your period and impact fertility? Read on, because experts and frequent fliers have some answers and advice for you.


How does flying affect periods?

The act of flying doesn’t actually have an impact on menstruation. Rather, it’s the stress of travel itself. Dr. Anita Mitra, an NHS gynecologist and evidence-based blogger, reminds us that voyaging from place to place straight up messes with your routine. Having your daily cycle disrupted could in turn have a significant impact on the two primary hormones that regulate women’s periods: melatonin and cortisol.

Even a change as subtle as waking up early one day and sleeping late the next can influence your melatonin levels, so it’s no surprise that a switch in time zones could have an effect on your monthly cycle.

As for cortisol, a hormone that is linked to stress, sprinting to your departure gate or sitting tensely in traffic can spike your levels. Even sleeping in a foreign bed can cause some upset. Dr. Mitra says, “There is an evolutionary basis for why this kind of stress affects our cycles. If you’re in ‘fight or flight’ mode, your body doesn’t know whether it has the energy to waste on having a period. We don’t fully understand the brain-uterus connection, but we know that the brain is the first link in the hormonal chain that produces a menstrual cycle.”


When cortisol and melatonin levels fluctuate, so does the window in which you’re fertile. This window generally lasts for 6 days of a 28 day cycle. This shifting of ovulation then causes our periods to come early, late, or not at all.

Is there anything to be done about it?

Not really. A disruption to your period is normal if you’re traveling a lot or going through a chaotic time in your life, so don’t be stressed out (That might even make things worse). If you’re still worried, you can always try tracking your monthly cycles with apps or kits.

If you’re a flight attendant or a frequent flier who is trying to get pregnant and traveling less simply isn’t an option, talk to a doctor or fertility specialist about the implications of spending a lot of time in the air.

10 Tips to Improve Your Diet While Trying to Conceive

10 Tips to Improve Your Diet While Trying to Conceive

Studies show ‘fertility diets’ can have a positive impact

For many couples who are trying to conceive (TTC), the period before pregnancy can sometimes be the most stressful. Many women often wonder if their daily habits can help or hinder their chances of getting pregnant. According to experts of the Nurses’ Health Study, the commonly discussed “fertility diet” can be effective -if you follow 10 easy-to-follow tips for enhancing your chances of fertility. While the diet is not guaranteed to help everyone— women experience infertility due to a wide variety of reasons—it has been proven to help boost their chances in small ways, making it ranked as the 10th best overall diet by U.S. News and World Report.

  • The research behind the report includes staggering percentages proving the benefits of switching to the diet when trying to conceive.
  • The recommendations include a wide variety of healthy tips, ranging from dietary changes, weight control, and exercise habits.
  • The results can include a decrease in infertility, along with other benefits for giving birth to a healthy baby.

The Research

Delving into the Nurses’ Health Study

The main benefit of the “fertility diet” is increased ovulation, which coincides with increased chances of pregnancy. Overall, the study relayed that a 66% lower risk of anovulatory infertility, along with a 28% lower risk of various other instances of infertility, correlated to women following the “fertility diet.”

According to Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition, “This was a cohort study, meaning the women were followed over time and links were made between what they reported eating and their fertility. As such, the findings aren’t cause-and-effect, but they are healthy recommendations that could be helpful in boosting fertility.”

Overall, the recommendations of switching your daily diet to one consisting of whole grains, healthy fats, full-fat dairy, and a higher amount of fruits and vegetables has its proven benefits to improving and maintaining chances of a successful pregnancy.


The Recommendations

10 tips for increased fertility

Among the ten top tips, the number one recommendation is to avoid trans fats while consuming more unsaturated vegetable oils instead.  Vegetables can also provide protein and iron in place of unhealthy red meats.  Other swaps when TTC include switching to whole milk to enrich your body with whole-fat dairy, and eating slow carbs instead of refined carbs such as white bread. General advice from the study includes taking a multivitamin, drinking lots of water, managing a healthy weight (maintaining a 20 to 24 BMI), and staying active to keep both your menstrual cycle and fertility odds on track.


The Results

Will the diet work for you?

Successful results from the diet include a decrease in refined carbs reducing ovulatory infertility, along with a multivitamin decreasing chances of birth defects.  However, due to the countless reasons for a woman’s infertility, the diet may not cover all aspects.  The diet has been proven to help boost fertility amongst disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, but will remain ineffective for other reasons, such as sperm defects.

Regardless of your fertility situation, these simple steps can help put you on the right track for a healthy pregnancy!

A New Bracelet Can Help Women Who Are Trying to Become Pregnant

A New Bracelet Can Help Women Who Are Trying to Become Pregnant

Fertility TestAva, a medical technology company, teamed up with researchers from the University Hospital of Zurich in Switzerland to test whether or not their bracelet can help women with highly irregular menstrual cycles become pregnant. For instance, women whose cycles fall outside the range of 24 to 35 days long would qualify for this study. Read on to find out how this technology works!

  • Sensory technology and clinically tested algorithms will determine the time frame during which a user is fertile.
  • The bracelet is supposed to be worn every night, during which its sensory technology detects certain physiological parameters on the user.
  • Women with PCOS will be participants in the study.

An Introduction to the Project

50 women in total will be monitored over the course of the trial. According to Dr. Brigitte Leeners, the lead investigator of the clinical trial, the bracelet will “measure various noninvasive parameters, which are related to the hormonal cycle and ensure high measurement quality” in these test subjects. The team already has a large databank on information regarding normal cycles, and would like to use their algorithm to gather an equally high prediction quality for those with irregular cycles.

What Makes it Unique

Physiological data such as the user’s skin temperature, movement, sleep patterns, pulse, and breathing rate are gathered by the bracelet. Leeners explains that this method is “different than other methods where you measure temperature just once. With this method, you have a whole series of data of different vital signs, which improves your prediction quality.”

Once this data is gathered, it is sent to an app on the user’s phone and analyzed to determine the user’s fertile window. Leeners explained that, “When you go to sleep, you put on the bracelet, and we get more than 3 million data points per night.”

This technique benefits women with irregular cycles, as they can not rely upon the traditional method of checking their temperature for surges indicating ovulation when they wake up every morning.

How Women with PCOS Will Benefit from This

Infertility and irregular menstrual cycles are commonly caused by PCOS. Dr. Kathleen Wyne, an endocrinologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Healthline that “It’s one of the very common causes of infertility, and it’s something that women don’t always hear about until they come up with a fertility issue.” She went on to say that “women who have PCOS often have problems getting pregnant, and once they do get pregnant, they’re more likely to have a miscarriage, especially in the first or second trimester.”

However, up and coming cycle tracking technologies may help women with PCOS become pregnant. Wyne said that “When I trained, all we could do was the basal body temperature, but now, you’ve got some really cool technologies that can track your temperature and other things while you sleep, send it to an app, and tell you your patterns.”

It’s amazing how technology can revolutionize people’s lives. More women are now given the chance to have a baby.

Fertility Preservation: What Are Women’s Options?

Fertility Preservation: What Are Women’s Options?

Prolonging your ability to have children is a real option nowadays. Whether you make this choice because of cancer treatment, a medical reason, or you just want to delay having children until later in life, there are options for you.

For example, if you are affected by cancer, the treatment you undergo may damage your ovaries, leaving you unable to have babies in the future. The same might hold true if you have been exposed to toxic chemicals. Preserving your reproductive tissues can allow you to delay childbearing in these instances. However, benign conditions can also affect your fertility. Non-cancerous tumors, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids can put you at risk of premature ovarian insufficiency, which means that your ovaries stop producing eggs, or oocytes, at an earlier age than they normally would. This can also happen even if there is no clear link to such benign conditions. Your menopause may then start before you reach the age of 40, and genetic reasons are thought to be the root cause.

But the risk of infertility or premature ovarian insufficiency are not the only reasons why women consider fertility preservation.

According to experts, the largest group of women seeking fertility preservation consists of those who wish to postpone childbearing for various personal reasons. The biggest threat to their fertility is age. In an article published this week in The New England Journal of Medicine, advances in the field available for women to preserve their fertility are outlined.

How to preserve fertility

There are several different ways to preserve fertility, such as frozen embryos, frozen eggs, and frozen ovarian tissue The earliest method of fertility preservation made use of previously frozen embryos, which are implanted at a later date in a similar way to in vitro fertilization (IVF). But one big drawback of this technique is that a male partner or sperm donor is required to fertilize the woman’s eggs to produce the embryos before they are frozen. In some cases, especially in young women and girls, this is not an option.

Next came the freezing of oocytes, where the eggs are frozen and then thawed at a later date. Once they are fertilized, the embryo can be implanted. The first baby conceived using this method was born in 1986. However, the devil is in the detail; cells generally do not like to be frozen and are very susceptible to damage from ice crystals formed as a result of the freezing method.

A newer method of preserving oocytes is vitrification, which is very rapid freezing “in the absence of ice.” All in all, the field has come a long way since the first IVF babies were born more than 40 years ago. These days, it is possible to obtain good-quality oocytes and preserve these through vitrification. The key to success lies in the age of the woman undergoing the treatment.

Fertility Can Be Stressful

Fertility Can Be Stressful

Research Reveals Millennial Women Are Concerned Stress Impacts Their Ability to Conceive

We live in a stressful world. The climate is changing, the economy is wavering, and the political landscape is more divided than it ever has been. As a result, millennials experience a lot of stress. A new study conducted by fertility testing group Celmatix has revealed how this stress plays into millennial women’s concerns regarding fertility.

According to the study’s results:

  • Most millennial women are concerned about their fertility
  • Most millennial women believe stress impacts fertility
  • Stress may or may not actually impact fertility

How Millennial Women Feel About Fertility

They’re Stressed About Fertility

According to the study– which surveyed 1,000 women between the ages of 25 and 33 who were neither pregnant nor had ever had children– a whopping 46% of respondents revealed that they’re concerned about their fertility. An additional 10% of respondents reported being “very concerned” about their fertility, which adds up to 56% of young women polled feeling uncertain about their reproductive wellbeing. Comparatively, 43% of respondents said that they were not concerned about their ability to conceive.

They’re Stressed About Being Stressed

But why are millennial women so concerned about conception? The researchers also discovered that 70% of millennial women believe that stress plays a significant role in their ability to conceive. Which is just another thing to be stressed about.

So… Are These Fears Justified?

To be honest, we aren’t quite sure yet. As of right now, there’s no research indicating that stress levels have any impact on a woman’s fertility. But that does not necessarily mean that stress isn’t a factor in fertility. In recent years, the number of Americans seeking professional help for stress and anxiety-related mental health issues have skyrocketed, so more research on the impact all of that stress has on health– and reproductive health specifically– will be forthcoming.

Other Findings

The study, which focused on reproductive issues in general, also made a number of other interesting discoveries about how millennial women feel about their reproductive health. A few of these discoveries include:

  • Less than half of millennial women rank having a family as important to them
  • The majority of millennial women have no concrete plan to start a family anytime in the near future
  • 80% of respondents admitted that they get most of their health information from online sources
  • A majority of respondents indicated that finances and financial stability (or lack thereof) plays a significant role in family planning

As in all matters of reproductive health and well being, the only opinions that really matter are yours and your physician’s. Keep in mind that knowledge is power– the better informed you are about your body and your reproductive health, the easier it will be to make the best decisions for you. When it really comes down to it, you are the only one who can make reproductive decisions for yourself, so take a deep breath and de-stress! No matter what you choose to do, everything is going to be totally fine!


Fertility Rates Continue to Drop Even After Great Recession

Fertility Rates Continue to Drop Even After Great Recession

Historically, American fertility rate has followed trends that mirror economic conditions. Because of this trend, it’s no surprise that fertility in the US dropped after the Great Recession in the late 2000s. Nearly a decade later – after returning to a normal unemployment rate – the United States’ fertility rate has yet to return to normal. According to Demographic Intelligence, births will continue to fall 2.8 percent this year. Additionally, the fertility rate will decline to 1/77 children per woman, where the replacement rate is 2.1 children per woman.

What’s so problematic about this? The United States is not reaching its replacement rate, which has serious social and economic repercussions in the distant future, such as limited innovation, economic fallout, and less caretakers for the increasing aging population.

Here, we’ll break down the fertility rate by numbers and demographic, followed by an explanation of possible reasons for this decrease in US fertility.

Trends in United States’ Fertility Rate

Fertility rates continue to drop in groups with the highest fertility

One of the most celebrated trends in US fertility is the decline in teen birth rates. However, the highest fertility groups – women in their early and late twenties – are also on the decline. Additionally, there is not upward motion in older demographics to make up for this decline in births. Women as a whole are having fewer children no matter their age, and therefore not meeting the replacement rate.

Racial and ethnics skews exist within the demographic analysis of the United States’ fertility rate. Birth rate among Hispanic and black women declined drastically during the recession, closing the gap between minority and white birth rates – and minority groups show patterns of assimilation towards a lower birth rate.

The United States has also seen a dramatic decline in unintended pregnancy rates – falling from 54 to 45 per 1,000 women. Similarly, the abortion rate in recent years has continued to drop. After all is said and done, fertility rate is approximately six births per 1,000 women.

Possible Explanations for Decreased US Fertility Rate

Can decline in fertility be explained by societal change?

There are a variety of factors that could be playing into a declining United States fertility rate. Some suggest that people are having less sex due to decreased human interaction introduced by the high-usage of smartphones. Others suggest that as contraceptive becomes more readily available and sex education classes become more liberalized, women can better control their family planning goals. With better family planning techniques, women have more opportunities to grow their careers and live their dreams prior to becoming mothers. This is great, overall, but still is an inhibitor of women in the United States reaching the replacement rate.

So what’s there to do now? Government officials and demographic specialists have suggested a variety of ways to encourage the growth of families. With shifts in the number of women married, it could be a possible solution to further incentivize marriage with tax breaks, and provide even greater tax credits to families with more children. Of course it is up for debate as to whether this – or any solution – will truly incentivize women to have more children.


Is Vaginal Or Oral Temping More Accurate When TTC?

Is Vaginal Or Oral Temping More Accurate When TTC?

Charting your basal body temperature (BBT) is really important because it can help you identify your fertile days in the progress of a simple graph. However, one question: is vaginal or oral temping more accurate when TTC?

I have the answers.

Technically speaking, you can take your temperature vaginally, orally, or rectally to chart your BBT, but the good news is that thermometers are super accurate, so there’s really no need to chart any way other way but orally. Taking your temperature orally is perfectly fine, and a reliable and accurate way to measure temperature. Fertility doctors don’t recommend taking your temperature vaginally, because it’s just not necessary.

If accuracy is a concern of yours, purchase a thermometer with an extra digit. Most thermometers come with only three, but those designed for fertility awareness often provide extra specificity. Also, take your temperature first thing in the morning to get a more accurate reading. Taking your temperature at the same time each day and getting at least at least three hours of sleep before you measure your BBT are other important steps to take.

On the other hand, if you’re a mouth breather, your oral reading could be off. You could consider taking your temperature vaginally if that’s the case, but it is not recommended. Try another fertility awareness method before going vaginal. In fact, experts recommend ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) over taking your BBT in any case. Why?

Well, the theory behind taking your basal body temperature (BBT) is that you can use the slight rise in your temperature, caused by a surge of the hormone progesterone, to identify your day of ovulation. According to a review article in Facts, Views, & Vision: Issues In Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Health, you can expect your temperature to rise between 0.3 and 0.6 degrees Celsius, or 0.54 and 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit, and to remain high until your period begins. Unfortunately, this means that what you’re seeing when you chart is only a retrospective picture of your fertile days — a report, not a prediction.You can use your chart to guess when you’ll be most fertile next month, but your prediction won’t be perfect. After all, it’s not based on real-time information, but only on past data.

All in all, if you want to chart your fertility using your temperature, go right ahead. Anything women can do to demystify their cycle, their fertility, and their fertile days is useful. Just know that there’s no reason to take your temperature vaginally — or rectally, for that matter — when you’re trying to conceive. An oral temperature works just fine.

Info About Clomid, the Pregnancy Drug That Can Stimulate Ovulation

Info About Clomid, the Pregnancy Drug That Can Stimulate Ovulation


Clomid is an oral medication that can be used to stimulate ovulation in women who want to become pregnant. Clomid works by blocking estrogen receptors at the hypothalamus, which is an important pregnancy hormonal control center for the body.  When estrogen is blocked, the hypothalamus is stimulated to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Who should look into using Clomid? Women with estrogen problems. In women with low estrogen levels, clomid causes beneficial estrogen production. In women with high estrogen levels, clomid causes anti-estrogen effect.  

It’s important to pay attention to your prescribed dose: In small doses, Clomid increases secretion of gonadotropins (prolactin, Follicle stimulating hormone, FSH and interstitial cell-stimulating hormone), which can then stimulate ovulation.  In large doses, Clomid slows secretion of gonadotropins, leading to a better pregnancy situation for some women.

Dosage Directions: It is recommended to start with 50mg of Clomid once a day at bedtime, starting from the fifth day of your menstrual cycle. In case of no ovulation effect (ovulation does not occur within 30 days) increase the dose to 150 mg/day.  However, if your doctor prescribes differently, follow their direction.  Always take exactly as prescribed and do not take the medication in larger quantities than prescribed.

Possible Side Effects: Clomid may cause vision problems, dizziness, or lightheadedness.  Together with allergy symptoms such as swelling of lips, tongue, or face or hives in some patients may appear the following conditions: ovarian enlargement presenting as abdominal or pelvic pain, flushing, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, blurred vision, headache, abnormal uterine bleeding.

Do not take Clomid if you currently have or have experienced the following conditions:  Hypersensitivity, liver or kidney failure, metrorrhagia of unknown etiology, ovarian cysts, neoplasms of genital organs, tumor or hypofunction of the hypophysis, endometriosis, ovarian failure together with hyperprolactinemia.

Possible Drug Interactions: Tell your healthcare provider about all medications and other herbal products you are taking.  Medications known to interact with Clomid are the following: