One fertility specialist’s “controversial” treatment methods

Patients travel from as far away as Europe to visit Attila Toth, MD, a physician in New York who claims his extreme treatment will help infertile women conceive. Couples are going home with babies, but doctors think his methods are far from sound.

For 10 days straight in the summer of 2010, Samantha*, a lawyer from Greenwich, Connecticut, and her husband came into New York City to visit the office of Attila Toth, MD, a fertility specialist who thought he could solve the mystery of why, at age 28, she couldn’t get pregnant.

On the first morning, Toth put in their arms IVs that delivered an antibiotic that they each carried around in a fanny pack for the entire 10 days. He then threaded a catheter into the pinpoint opening of Samantha’s cervix so that, for the next hour, a cocktail of four antibiotics, the steroid Medrol, and a large dose of the yeast-infection medication Diflucan could wash out her uterus. The first two mornings, Samantha suffered excruciating cramps from these daily washes, but by the third, the pain had subsided, and she settled into a routine of watching Dr. Phil on the examining-room television until Toth returned to remove the catheter and insert a paste containing a fifth antibiotic that would be absorbed into her body for the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, every other day Toth gave her husband a painkiller and then injected antibiotics through his rectum and into his prostate; twice Toth also injected his seminal vesicles. After their last visits, Toth gave the couple prescriptions for still two more antibiotics that they’d take for a month.

When their treatments were over, Samantha and her husband returned to see Toth, who declared them both “clean,” by which he meant they were free of Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium that can cause infertility in women and has been linked to recurrent miscarriage, premature labor, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Outside of Toth’s office, such an elaborate antibiotic assault on chlamydia is practically unheard of. The standard treatment—which health officials say is at least 97 percent effective—is a seven-day course of the antibiotic doxycycline or a single dose of azithromycin. But Toth thinks chlamydia is far harder to detect and treat than most doctors do. In fact, he thinks it may be responsible for a substantial portion of the one third of infertility cases that doctors now classify as “unexplained.”

Toth, 72, came up with the idea of administering intrauterine washes (also known as lavages) to patients in the late 1970s after learning about the horse breeder who successfully put the racing legend Secretariat to stud. The breeder would flush out the uteruses of mares with antibiotics to kill the microbacteria that could interfere with conception. Why couldn’t humans benefit from such a therapy too? Toth thought. In 1977, he started testing infertile couples for a little-studied bacterium called mycoplasma that had been linked to infertility. He gave men who tested positive an oral antibiotic, and many of their wives soon became pregnant, Toth says.

Around this time, public health officials were becoming increasingly concerned about chlamydia, and his boss at New York Hospital suggested he look into it. “He said, ‘That’s far more important and can do much more damage to the reproductive tract’ ” than mycoplasma, Toth recalls. Pictures of this were telling: scarred and blocked fallopian tubes, uterine adhesions, blocked epididymides (the coiled ducts that collect sperm). “I thought, This is destroying people’s anatomy,” he says.

At first, Toth treated people who tested positive for chlamydia with a conventional dose of oral antibiotics. But when cultures from his patients continued to show traces of the bacteria, he lengthened the time to four weeks. He added another anti­biotic. Then he doubled the duration of both medications to eight weeks. “The longer they took them, the faster they got pregnant,” he says. In the early ’80s, he introduced IVs for men and women; patients would cluster in his office basement while they were hooked up to the then primitive machines and call themselves the “IV League.” By the late ’80s he had refined his regimen further, introducing the uterine lavages; five years ago he added prostate injections.

Toth, a man whose bear-hug personality endears him to his patients, now sees some 150 couples a year for infertility, a third of whom, he estimates, are referred by gynecologists, urologists, or fertility specialists who are at a loss as to how to help them. Gideon G. Panter, MD, a Manhattan-based gynecologist and infertility specialist, has sent Toth 40 to 50 patients, he says, and “always with the same story,” of unsuccessful IVF cycles, including one couple who traveled from Europe after four had failed. “Toth has been saying this stuff for 20 years,” Panter says. “But fertility medicine is big business. Doctors don’t stop to think, Wait! My patient’s IVF cycle failed twice. Something else must be going on. Toth’s treatments cut into the economic overhead of infertility treatment. He’s ahead of his time.”

After finishing medical school in Hungary in the late ’60s, Toth emigrated to the U.S., where he received a fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and finished a residency in pathology at The Mount Sinai Hospital before opening up a private practice at New York Hospital in 1977. Fifteen years later, he moved his practice to the Upper East Side townhouse where he remains today. A tall man with a mustache, a full head of sandy brown hair, and a thick accent, he avoids conferences and has published infrequently. He says he encountered such cynical resistance from the medical community early in his career that he retreated to his office and relied on his evangelistic patients’ word of mouth to grow his practice. “I just became frustrated by the lack of interest in the role of infections on fertility, no matter what ideas I put forward,” he explains. “So I treat my patients according to my best understanding, and my reward is seeing them get pregnant.”

Why do some egg donors in the US earn more than others?

Everyone probably knows by now that an egg donation isn’t just an act of benevolence. It’s a sale. And it can be a very lucrative one, if you have the right genetic background. The LA Times reports that Asian egg donors are in particular demand. While women from most ethnic groups receive about $6,000 for a donation, Asian women are routinely being offered $10,000 – $20,000.

Part of this is due to a shortage of Asian donors, and an increase in infertile Asian couples who want a child of their same ethnic background. Experts told the LA Times that there’s a cultural stigma surrounding adoption in many Asian communities, making egg donation a more acceptable option in the eyes of many potential parents.

Not only that, but Asian women tend to out-earn women of other ethnic groups, making 13% more than white women, 31% more than black women, and 52% more than Latinas. So the financial incentives which drive many women to donate their eggs have to be higher to get their interest. Professional Jewish women are also in high demand as egg donors for similar reasons.

Of course, the relative financial security of different ethnic groups goes both ways. African American couples are less likely to seek an egg donation, because for many of them it’s not an affordable option. So even though there are many black women willing to be donors, in many cases they never have the opportunity. One agency owner told the LA Times that some of her competitors wouldn’t even bother putting black donors in their databases.

The uncomfortable disparity between donors of different ethnicities only intensifies the ethical quandary that’s faced doctors for years: is it right to pay women to donate eggs? The process itself can be painful and risky, so it makes sense to compensate a woman for her time and the inconvenience involved. On the other hand, opponents argue it can be exploitative – of course disadvantaged women are going to be more interested in the quick $6000 or more. It seems to be a question without an easy answer.

(Note: South African donors get paid the same, regardless of race)

Via Care2com

UK moves to extend free IVF to women up to 42, same-sex couples, cancer patients

Advocates for infertility patients say Ontario should follow the lead of Britain, where a powerful health advisory agency recommended on Tuesday that the U.K. extend free fertility treatments to women up until the age of 42 and to same-sex couples.

In Ontario couples struggling with infertility continue to pay for costly treatments and there is no indication that the provincial government is moving toward funding in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“I think it’s fantastic what’s happening in Britain,” says Jan Silverman, a Women’s College Hospital infertility counselor who’s also a member of Conceivable Dreams, a grassroots organization representing infertile couples across Ontario.

“What makes me frustrated is that these models have come up in other areas, such as Quebec and now Britain, and yet we cannot budge the Ontario government right now.

“It is shameful that Ontario has let the needs of the infertile population go unrecognized and undealt with, causing unbelievable expense to people for wanting to have a child.”

The British health system usually pays for up to three cycles of IVF for couples who have been trying to get pregnant for at least three years. Previously, women had to be under the age of 40 to qualify. Many government-funded clinics already treat gay and lesbian couples, but the recommendations now make that explicit, though they are not binding. (The recommendations will likely be followed by many of the U.K.’s medical centres.)

The guidelines are likely to affect only a minority of patients, and it will be up to hospitals to decide whether to pay for IVF treatments. Britain’s health service is being forced to trim $31 billion USD from its budget by 2015 and many hospitals often ration who gets IVF and deny the treatment to eligible patients. One IVF cycle typically costs about $4,730 USD.

Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said the new draft guidelines recognized the importance of treating infertility, citing the psychological harm it can cause. “No one who stands a reasonable chance at conception should be denied the opportunity,” he said in a statement. “These (new) guidelines outline how that can be achieved.”

The draft guidelines issued Tuesday also say the government should pay for IVF in people with diseases such as HIV, or patients facing cancer treatment who want to preserve their fertility. About one in four IVF cycles results in a baby; that drops to about one in 10 for women over 40.

Elsewhere in Europe, many countries including France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland ban gay and lesbian couples from receiving IVF and often impose similar age limits for eligible women, cutting off treatment to women over 40.

In all Canadian provinces, except Quebec, IVF treatment is not covered. According to the Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technologies Registry, in 2008 – the last year for which statistics are available – 9,904 live births in Canada were the result of IVF.

The Royal Commission for New Reproductive Technology found that a quarter of a million couples in Canada are affected by infertility, which is defined an inability to conceive after 12 months.

In Ontario, because treatment is not covered by OHIP, most couples transfer multiple embryos rather than a single embryo. But multiples are 17 times more likely to be born pre-term, to require a caesarean delivery and to need expensive care at birth and throughout their lives, according to Conceivable Dreams.

In 2009, Ontario’s Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption recommended that the province fund up to three cycles of IVF for women up to age 42, not discriminate against same-sex couples and adopt policies that reduce the number of multiple pregnancies through IVF.

The panel estimated that the savings to the healthcare system through a reduction in the number of multiple births through IVF would be between $400 million and $550 million.

“I understand that it’s a time of fiscal restraint,” says Silverman, who was part of the panel. “However, the arguments we have put forward are about cost-saving methodology not about further spending.”

During the last provincial election, advocates sought a commitment from all three political parties to provide OHIP coverage of IVF and encouraged Ontario to follow the lead of Quebec.

In August 2010, the Quebec government began funding up to three rounds of IVF treatment for couples, on the condition that only one embryo be transferred at a time. The aim is to reduce the number of multiple births, which are riskier than births of singletons.

Via ParentCentral

Joy is conceivable

Grace Chetty, 22, was on Facebook when she stumbled across an advert that read: “Are you fun, fearless and giving? We want you!”

She followed the link to find an egg donation site, and as she read more her interest was piqued.

At the same time, early last year, Gillian Ackerman, 40, found out that she wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally with her eggs.

In vitro fertilisation was decided on – and she had to find an egg.

Both Ackerman and Chetty ended up on, a website dedicated to bringing egg donors and recipients together.

One of Nurture’s founders and a donor, Melany Bartok, said women struggle to talk about fertility problems because the topic is still taboo.

“Women need to know that there is hope for them, despite the fact that their eggs have an expiry date,” said Bartok, whose baby, Eden, pictured, was conceived naturally.


“I read up on what they wanted from me. It sounded simple enough so I decided to sign up,” Chetty said.

“I suppose there was a little bit of narcissism on my side. I wanted to see whether anyone would want my eggs, whether I was good enough.”

Donors have to fill in an extensive form listing their likes and dislikes, their educational level and their medical history. Donors upload baby photos of themselves.

The recipient does not get to see what they look like as an adult, so that anonymity is protected.

“About a month-and-a-half later I got an e-mail to say I’d been chosen as a potential donor. I had to make an initial appointment to check whether I was healthy enough to give my eggs.”


“I selected someone whose baby photos indicated the probability that the baby’s features could be similar to mine,” said Ackerman, who now has a healthy baby girl.

“I would suggest that you have a good support system before you embark on this journey as it can be a lonely one.

“Guard your heart by not discussing your choice openly while you are busy with the process, unless you are using friends and family as a sounding board. Not everyone will agree with your decision.”

  • Ackerman’s name has been changed to protect her family’s identity


We asked some Facebook users the following question: “Would you donate your eggs?”. These were some of their answers:

Jacqy Tatie Zvoutete: Yes I would! I don’t need all of them. [It] would be great to help someone else who does. I feel the carrying of the baby is more important than the mixture of the father’s sperm and that egg to make a parent.

Larissa Domino Pringiers: ‎Well I feel that there is more to being a mom then genetics. Think of adoption and sperm donors. I for one am not the mother-type so I would never want to claim that kid as being mine.

Tarirayi Frederick Chiks: It’s more than just you and the people you helped. It’s the life that comes from your genes to consider. You should factor that into your decision and whether u can live with the risks that may or may not eventuate. You must be certain you won’t have a change of heart in future.

Jenny Long: I donate because I have such huge sadness in my heart for ladies since I learned about infertility. This not being able to have a baby thing, it is not a fun world. It is not a world of laughter and excitement; it is a world of tears, heartbreak and brokenness. The people who have chosen me, I am their last resort. They have not woken up one day and said, “Let’s find a donor and spend trillions on her for the tiny chance we may have a baby”. I am part of their hopes and dreams; I am the last stop on their journey before adoption.


  • This is the process by which a woman provides ova for purposes of assisted reproduction.
  • The success rate is 60% to 70%. Successful donors are compensated up to R6000 per donation, but are limited to three in a year.
  • Potential risks to donors include ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. This is relatively rare (1% of IVF cases).
  • Donors must be between the ages of 20 and 34, and recipients no older than 50.
  • The process for a recipient costs between R40 000 and R60 000.

Via The Times

“I am a Nurture egg donor”

 I AM A   EGG DONOR, by Candace Whitehead

I have been asked so many times since I started all of this: “Why donate your eggs?”
I don’t have one specific answer – I have dozens of reasons, and you’ll probably get a different answer every day. Yes, they pay me. But mostly I’ll say it’s because I want to do something spectacular for somebody else. I want to give somebody else the chance at a family. I can think of dozens of reasons why I do donate – and not a single reason why I shouldn’t.

I’m 24 and single, although not a Bridget-Jones-cry-into-my-wine kind of single (well, not often at least). Do I see children in my future? I hope there willbe. But my family is without a doubt the most important thing to me. I get family.

Egg donation, in a nutshell, involves harvesting a number of healthy, ripe eggs from a donor before fertilising them and transferring them to the mother – where, all fingers and toes crossed, they hang around for nine months

My journey to Nurture – the organisation that has facilitated my first two donations – started almost a year before the first time I donated. I had a boyfriend who had donated sperm before we started dating, and I was inspired. I started investigating egg donation agencies but it was Nurture that “clicked” with me.
Founded in 2008 by Tertia Albertyn (a recovering infertile) and Melany Bartok (herself a past donor), Nurture has become one of the top agencies in South Africa. I was in good hands, though I didn’t really know it yet.

Getting started
When I finally got my act together, filled out my entire medical history and committed to Nurture, the process was almost entirely smooth-sailing for me. Firstly, I met with two of the Nurture women – Melany and my donor liaison Lee, who became my apparent stand-in sister – for a coffee date at Cavendish. We went through the process, they explained the risks and the procedure, and double-checked that I was keen to sign up. After meeting with them, I was extra keen.
From there, I scheduled a psychological evaluation at the Cape Fertility Clinic – which would be performing the egg retrieval. Every donor is required to have an hour-long meeting with a psychologist to ensure that they understand the process, but my meeting became a wonderful chat with the psychologist Leanne, who thankfully decided I wasn’t entirely crazy and signed me off.

I also had an initial appointment with Dr Le Roux, the doctor who performed my first retrieval. This appointment was, in my mind, quite daunting but I shouldn’t have worried. A quick internal check-up to make sure everything was okay inside and another chat about the procedure, and I was packed off to the pathologists to be tested and cleared for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis. Obviously, if you are HIV positive or have hepatitis, you cannot donate, and so these blood tests are compulsory. This physical examination is repeated every time you donate – so if you donate four times, you’ll be examined and tested four times.

Let’s get fertile

After you’ve got the all-clear, the next step is to synchronise your menstrual cycle with your recipient’s and then start the daily fertility injections. All donors are placed on a short, light course of a medication that stimulates follicle growth. In my case, this was Gonal-F, which stimulates the ovaries to produce more eggs.
I know that the daily injections put off a lot of women and honestly, they were probably the worst part. But you’d be surprised how quickly you get used to them! During this time, you have a further two or three scans with the doctor to make sure everything is A-okay. Near the end of your fertility injections, you’re also given a shot of Cetrotide – a medication to ensure you don’t spontaneously ovulate – before being given two “trigger” shots to ripen the eggs 36 and 24 hours before you donate.
The first time I donated, I was fortunate in that I responded beautifully to all the medication – Dr Le Roux was always so pleased with my scans and I realised I was quite proud of myself. Strange, seeing as women are “supposed” to ovulate, but hey, I like being good at things. The second time, Iwas a bit of a “slow starter” which goes to show: It’ll never be the same for every woman, every time.

The actual donation procedure takes place around 14 days after starting the fertility injections – depending on how you respond. I have also been asked so many times “Weren’t you terrified? Aren’t you scared something will go wrong? What if you can’t have your own babies later on?” Honestly, the thing I was most scared of the whole way through was not being able to give my recipient what she’d been dreaming of. I was never truly scared of any complications (although obviously it has to be in the back of your mind) but I had so much faith in Dr Le Roux and his team that I was more worried about not being able to bring my side to the party.

Donation day dawns 

So what happens on donation day? You’re admitted sometime in the morning, and get dressed into possibly the least sexy hospital gowns of all time.You’re checked out by the anaesthetist, a nurse fusses over you, and you’re led through to the theatre. You’re then put under a “twilight anaesthetic” – enough to knock you out long enough for them to do the retrieval so you won’t feel a thing.
During the retrieval, the doctor performs an “ultrasound directed needle aspiration”. A needle is inserted through the upper portion of the vagina directly into the ovary – and the ultrasound allows the physician to guide the needle into each follicle – where the egg is sucked through and collected. This takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
Following the retrieval, you hang out in the clinic for an hour or two while you recover from the anaesthetic. The first time I donated, I was in a fair amount of pain – the second time, barely any pain. Different every time.
And yes, this is when you get paid. Nurture pays R6000 for each donation on the day of retrieval. Following that, a delicious day of bed rest is prescribed. In my case that meant time spent catching up on cheesy movies.
After the retrieval, the egg goes to the laboratory where it is fertilised and “grown” for a few days before transfer. So far I’ve been really lucky – both of the women I have donated to are pregnant! I’ve also signed up for a third donation – there’s nothing more amazing than that phone call or email saying “SHE’S PREGNANT!”

Do I ever think about meeting my recipient’s children? Of course I do. I’d like to see that they’re healthy (and don’t have three arms or something!) and obviously I’m curious about how much they resemble me. But that’s about it. A good friend of mine was shocked that I wouldn’t want to be involved in “my” children’s life – but they aren’t my children. They never were. As cheesy as it sounds, they always belonged to my recipient, who walked a terrifying, difficult road. I’m just glad that I could help, and hopefully make the rest of the way a little smoother.
For more information, or to sign up as a donor or recipient, please visit the Nurture website on



How the egg donation process works

How the egg donation process works

You are a healthy young woman between the age of 21 and 33 and you have seen an advertisement or have somehow become aware of egg donation. Perhaps you have a relative or friend who has been unable to conceive and you’ve witnessed her plight and heartbreak firsthand. Or maybe you know a fabulous same sex couple or a singleton that also yearns to have a child.

No matter how you became aware or why you were initially inspired to donate, here is what you can expect once you embark on this journey as an egg donor.

First, you have to fill out a detailed application form at your preferred donor agency (make sure you are with an agency that is first class). Typical information you would have to disclose includes your physical traits such as your height, weight, eye colour, natural hair colour; personality traits; your educational history; medical history; etc.

You’ll also be required to supply photographs of yourself as a baby, a toddler and a young child (up to the age of ten). Once you have been selected to be on the agency’s database of registered donors, this information and the photographs is what the prospective recipients of your donor eggs will have access to. The donor agency may also expect you to provide a recent photograph of yourself for their own records, but since egg donors remain anonymous in South Africa, the prospective donor egg recipients will never get to see a photograph of you as an adult or find out what your real name and contact details are.

If the agency accepts you based on your application form, you’ll have a face to face meeting with an agency coordinator to discuss moving forward. This is one of many opportunities you will get to ask all the questions you want to ask, and to discuss once again exactly what is involved in the donation process.

If you are still keen, your profile is added to the donor agency’s database and prospective recipients will immediately start viewing your profile information.

Once a donor recipient decides that YOU are the chosen one based on your profile – and this can take anything from days or weeks to months – you will have two initial appointments at the fertility clinic, one with the fertility specialist and one with the psychologist. Once the clinic receives all the results and is all is found to be in order, you will be put on a contraceptive pill for the next 6 – 8 weeks (provided that you are not already on one.)

The actual donation process will therefore begin approximately 6 – 8 weeks after that initial appointment with the doctor and psychologist.

About a week before you’ll begin treatment, you’ll have another brief appointment at the clinic to collect all your relevant medication. Please note that you as the donor do not have to pay for any of the doctor’s appointments, assessments or medication pertaining to the egg donor program. You may have to miss classes or work for some of your appointments, but doctor’s notes will be supplied for any/all visits. It is for this inconvenience and for all your petrol and you’ve made that you will receive the financial compensation of approximately R5 000.

On the first day of your menstrual cycle after you’ve begun taking the contraceptive, you will book an appointment for your Day 8 scan. On the third day, you will begin the daily hormone injections. On Day 8, you will have your first scan. From then until Day 12, you will receive the second and third scans. Depending on how well your body has responded to the hormonal treatment, you should be undergoing the egg retrieval procedure approximately 14 days after starting the treatment.

The Egg Retrieval Process

The actual procedure only takes about 20 – 30 minutes with about an hour recovery time at the clinic. The name of the procedure you will undergo is called an oocyte (egg) aspiration. During it, the doctor will pass a needle through your upper vagina into each ovary to extract the mature eggs. The doctor uses an ultrasound to guide him/her through the process. Since the eggs are only a tenth of a millimetre in size, they can be easily sucked through a needle. The eggs grow in follicles which are bubbles of water which are 2cm in size. The needle pierces the follicles and sucks the water out with the egg in it.

During the procedure, you will be placed under intravenous sedation for comfort called ‘twilight sedation’. It is a type of anaesthetic technique during which the patient is sedated, but not entirely unconscious. It is just like regular anaesthesia, in that it uses many of the same drugs (but in lower dosages) and is also designed to make the patient feel more comfortable, but it carries fewer risks. Although the patient may not be entirely asleep, but in a ‘twilight’ state or light sleep, the anaesthesia also relieves the anxiety on the part of the patient, ensures that the patient feels no pain during the procedure and creates a state of amnesia so that the patient won’t remember the procedure later on.

The drugs used in twilight anaesthesia are fast acting and quick to reverse, so patients can be woken up in a matter of minutes.

If you feel uncomfortable or anxious about the level of sedation, feel free to discuss it with the doctor and he will ensure that you are given extra medication to sedate you more.

After a brief recovery from the anaesthesia, you will be able to go home. Someone must be there to drive you home. Once at home, you should rest for the remainder of the day. Just relax and make sure that you stay hydrated.

Some donors experience some spotting and mild discomfort after the procedure (akin to menstrual cramps), but a general painkiller (such as myprodol) should provide adequate relief.

Donors who have completed the procedure will have to avoid having unprotected sex until the completion of their next menstrual cycle, since she will be extremely fertile. So if you do not want a pregnancy of your own just yet, just remember: no glove, no love!

Over the next few weeks, the donor agency will remain in touch with you to let you know whether your donation had resulted in a pregnancy or not.


Mom expecting 2 sets of twins after a decade of infertility

They say, “when it rains, it pours,” and one couple in Seattle knows this all to well (and then some). Misty & Brian Baker tried to get pregnant with a child for 10 years with no success, and finally enlisted the help of a good friend to act as a surrogate when they couldn’t conceive on their own. Even though they were totally broke from their previous failed attempts at IVF, they figured that using a surrogate was their last shot at having a family, so they went for it.

But when doctors suggested that Misty go through IVF just one more time, alongside her surrogate, she obliged, thinking there was no chance at all she’d wind up conceiving. And as we all know, assuming that you won’t get a certain outcome is a surefire way to make sure it happens. Not only did the surrogate wind up pregnant with twins — Misty did too!

That’s right — the couple is now expecting four babies!

Via The Stir


Mommy bloggers help us to recruit donors

So many moms, and especially those who have suffered from infertility, know the gift of motherhood, and have been helping us find new donors to help give others that same gift.

Some awesome mommy bloggers have been recruiting for us. Here’s what one of them, Sharon van Wyk, of I Believe in Miracles, has written. We’ll feature more in coming weeks. PS: if you’d like to feature something on your own blog or website, please comment below and we’ll set you up with all the relevant info.

Could You Help Infertile Women Just Like Me Become A Mother?

Long before I ever knew that I was infertile, there were two things I was pretty sure I wanted to do during my life, both of them stemmed from being inspired by my Aunt and Uncle and my two cousins. You see, my Aunt is infertile but sadly for her, she struggled with infertility during the 1970′s at a time when there was no medical treatment for the infertile. Their only option was to adopt and I was always so inspired by the creation of their family.

As a teenager and a young woman, the two things I always felt sure I wanted to do was to adopt a child (I naively assumed was unwanted) and donate my eggs to a couple struggling with infertility.

Oh, the irony is so not lost on me!

Fast forward about 20 years and here I am, approaching the big 40 (yikes), a mother through adoption, hoping to add to my family via another adoption and with such vrot eggs that even if I were 10 years younger, I couldn’t, on good conscience, ever put myself forward as an egg donor.

Granted, one part of my two part desire did come to fruition, I have adopted a child, I am a mother via adoption but the other part of that desire, the part where I get to do something altruistic for someone else, the part where I get to help someone else see their dream of parenthood realized via donor eggs, well, that part is not going to happen.

But then I realized I could still do something, no matter how small, towards that desire to be an egg donor and that is, I can encourage other women, who don’t have vrot eggs, to pursue donating their own, healthy eggs.

So if you have EVER thought about being an egg donor, or would like to find out more, please download this document: Help others by becoming an egg Donor For all the details on what’s involved and the basic requirements and remember, if you contact Nurture, to let them know that I referred you.

Would you trust an at-home men’s fertility test?

When a couple is struggling to conceive, it’s the woman who is usually the first — and often the only one — to be poked, prodded and analyzed, experts say. The burden of figuring out infertility is too often placed on the woman alone.

“Unfortunately, the majority of society looks at infertility as a women’s issue, but that’s just not the case,” said Brad Imler, American Pregnancy Association president.

Placed among dozens of pregnancy, ovulation and female fertility kits, an at-home sperm test that hit retail shelves in April could help change that mentality, experts said. SpermCheck Fertility, which determines in minutes whether a man’s sperm count is low, offers almost instant insight into one of the many aspects of male fertility. Although it’s not a comprehensive evaluation and could give some consumers a false sense of security, the test does provide a starting point while drawing attention to male infertility as a legitimate health concern.

“It may provide (an opportunity for) both physicians and couples to take a closer look at ways for men to step up to the plate and optimise their reproductive potential,” said Dr. Robert Brannigan, urologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “I think anything that highlights the fact that men can have issues, that men do play a role in infertility, is important.”

Approximately 15 percent of U.S. couples of reproductive age who are trying to conceive face infertility issues, said Brannigan, an expert in male fertility. Male infertility contributes to 50 percent of those cases, he said. Male infertility alone is the cause 30 percent of the time; a combination of male and female factors account for the other 20 percent.

SpermCheck Fertility is designed to help couples determine more quickly whether male infertility might be a problem for them, said Ray Lopez, CEO of SpermCheck, based in Charlottesville, Va. Many men put off having a semen analysis because they don’t want to provide a sample in a doctor’s office or lab, he said. “No one wants to go through the embarrassment of jumping in that room and looking at dirty magazines,” Lopez said.

Giving men the opportunity to take a test in the privacy of their home helps get the process moving, he said.

Men tend to think they’re perfectly healthy, especially when it comes to their sexuality, APA’s Imler said. This test, which is noninvasive, could be wake-up call for some. “If there is a problem with him, it’s identified a little quicker,” Imler said. “We love the idea of avoiding that heartache of that month to month struggle of trying to conceive without success.”

SpermCheck Fertility is the only FDA-approved home sperm test currently on the market and available in retail stores, Lopez said. The test costs about $40; the average cost of a semen analysis in a doctor’s office is about $100. At-home sperm tests are a fairly new idea, Imler said, but SpermCheck Fertility is not the first one. Four years ago an FDA-approved home test called Fertell, which is no longer for sale, offered an evaluation of both male and female fertility.

There are also several at-home sperm analysis kits available online. They each include a microscope and cost at least $80. Although it’s not the first ever at-home test, SpermCheck Fertility is the first one to use the lateral flow assay method, Lopez said. When the semen sample is applied to the test strip, the liquid works its way up the paper until it reaches the results window. “It’s very, very similar to a pregnancy test,” Lopez said. “The concept behind our test is to keep it simple, user friendly.”

For Brittany Scott, a Cortland resident whose husband took the SpermCheck Fertility test, however, it seemed a little more complicated than a pregnancy test. Scott said she was surprised by the number of steps involved, although none were very difficult. Scott, a “mommy blogger” who requested and received a free test to review, said she wanted her husband to take the test to see if a recent vasectomy had worked. The result showed that the father of four’s sperm count was below the test’s threshold.

“It was blatantly negative. I was really glad that the test was not ambiguous at all,” she said. “There was no line I could mistake.” Scott said she wished the test had been available when the couple was struggling to conceive their first child. After about 11 months of trying, she had pushed her husband to get a semen analysis from a doctor.

“If this test had been around back then, he would have definitely been more willing to do it” than the semen analysis, she said.

(Also available is a more sensitive product called SpermCheck Vasectomy, which indicates whether a man’s sperm count is above or below 250,000 sperm per milliliter.)

For more information, go to Spermcheck.

Via Chicago Tribune

New face of infertility – women under the age of 35

USA Today writes that TTC may well be the new OMG for life as a young woman with motherhood on her mind.

TTC, in Internet-speak, means “trying to conceive.” Being labeled “infertile” or discovering a partner’s infertility is changing the life plans of many in their late 20s and early 30s.

“I wanted to have three children by now,” says Lindsay Coser, 28, of St. Peters, Mo. “It’s been very devastating because this is out of my control.”

She and her husband, Nicholas Coser, 27, stopped using birth control when they got engaged in February 2010. They were married seven months later and began trying to conceive. She saw a specialist a year ago and is now seeing another.

Coser’s generation is living a different experience of infertility than the stereotypical over-35 career woman who married late. More specialists are seeing younger women, impatient to start families; often they haven’t been trying a year before seeking treatment, considered standard practice under 35. They search the Internet for information, provide emotional support online and are outspoken about their disappointment as they put a new face on a topic once considered taboo.

“The older woman is sort of a myth, even though that’s the public perception. Infertility affects women and men at all ages,” says Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, a non-profit advocacy group. It wants to alert women in their 20s to start thinking about having kids – often not on the minds of twentysomethings, who may still be in college or grad school, unemployed, not yet partnered or not emotionally ready to become parents.

Start planning in your 20s

“The best time to have a baby is up to age 32,” says reproductive endocrinologist Pasquale Patrizio, director of the Yale Fertility Center in New Haven, Conn. “After 32, fertility starts to decline and it becomes steeper very quickly up to age of 40, when it declines very rapidly.”

“The time to start planning your motherhood is … in your 20s,” says Brigitte Mueller, 43, of Los Angeles, who wrote, produced and directed a documentary airing on PBS in September called My Future Baby: Breakthroughs in Modern Fertility. It features the Fertility Clock, an age chart she co-developed with a fertility specialist to help women estimate their chances to conceive.

Mueller watched two of her sisters have trouble getting pregnant; she has frozen four eggs for possible future use.

Kids weren’t on Candice Nigro’s mind at 22, says Nigro, 29, of Middletown, N.J. “I just thought when I was ready, it would just happen. We figured we’d try a couple of months and we’d have a baby.”

Seeing couples earlier

Nigro says she and her husband, Michael Nigro, also 29, have been married almost four years. They started trying to conceive in 2009 and found that both had conditions impairing conception. Their second attempt at in vitro fertilization, or IVF, succeeded. Their triplet daughters, Michaela, Emma and Hailey, were born Feb. 1.

Erica and Jeff Bode, ages 30 and 31, of Grand Rapids, Mich., had their son Jack, 4, through artificial insemination, also called intrauterine insemination (IUI). Married almost nine years, they tried four IUIs and three IVF procedures since Jack’s birth. She miscarried once. “Our picture-perfect family was to have four kids by 30,” she says. “We thought we’d be done” by now.

The latest federal data from 2006-08 suggest that among childless married women ages 15-29, 15% report fertility problems; for ages 30-34, it’s 14%.

The chance of pregnancy for someone with no known fertility problems is about one in four or five each month, says Owen Davis, associate director of the IVF program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. There is a 50% chance of getting pregnant in three months; about 75% in six months; and 90% in a year.

“It used to be couples would come in after trying two to four years. I’m definitely seeing a majority of couples after only five months of trying, and both are fairly young,” says Marc Goldstein, director of that facility’s program for men and co-author of the 2010 book A Baby at Last!

Younger women want to act, not wait, says psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University, author of the new book The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant.

The infertility toll isn’t just medical and financial. It’s also emotional, experts say.

“Every month, it’s a roller coaster of emotions,” says Jennifer Hampshire, 30, of Keego Harbor, Mich., who has been diagnosed with endometriosis. She and her husband have had four failed IUIs.

“People say to me, ‘You’re still young,’ but I’m already past my point of being super fertile,” she says. “It’s a very insensitive thing to say to someone going through infertility, especially for us who are younger. I don’t feel like time is on my side.”

Via Digtriad