published by asingh on Tue, 09/23/2014
Both of them came from large families and they couldn’t wait to have children of their own. Their own parents were anxiously looking forward to becoming grandparents.
But after almost two years of trying Nina was beginning to wonder if she would ever get that positive pregnancy test.
She finally decided to ask her family doctor to refer her to a fertility specialist for fertility testing. Infertility (defined as the inability to get pregnant after one year of having unprotected sex) is extremely common and rates have doubled in the last 20 years in Canada with almost 15% of couples experiencing difficulty getting pregnant.
At the same time treatment for infertility has never been more effective according to Dr Jason Hitkari, fertility specialist and clinical director at Olive Fertility Centre.
“A diagnosis of infertility does not mean sterility.” explains Dr Hitkari. “There have been major advancements in the treatment of female and male infertility in the last few years and now up to 90% of couples diagnosed with infertility will be able to have a child. In many cases the treatment is quite simple. But for couples that require a more high tech approach our success with in vitro fertilization (IVF) has improved enormously.”
IVF involves removing a woman’s eggs, fertilizing them in a lab with her husband’s sperm and then placing them back in the woman’s uterus.
“We now have technology like the EmbryoScope and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) that allow us to determine with greater accuracy which embryos in IVF are the healthiest and the most likely to result in a successful pregnancy. CCS can increase the chance of a pregnancy with IVF to 75%—even in women over 40.
After in-depth fertility testing Nina discovered that she had a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which can result in lack of ovulation and irregular monthly cycles. Women with PCOS may also notice increased facial hair, belly fat, acne and male pattern hair loss. Testing also revealed that John had some fertility issues.
“We often assume that infertility is just a woman’s problem.” says Dr Hitkari. “But the fact is that 40 percent of the time difficulty is conceiving it's due to the male factor 40% is due to female and 20% is due to both. It’s very important that both the husband and wife get tested.”
After discussing their options the couple decided to go ahead with IVF as that would give them the best chance of conceiving.
With Dr Hitkari’s encouragement, Nina did everything she could to reduce her stress and boost her overall health. After seeing Dr Lorne Brown, a Dr of Traditional Chinese Medicine and clinical director of Acubalance Wellness Centre, she had a series of acupuncture treatments and started a low glycemic diet.
“There’s a lot couples can do to optimize their fertility themselves,” says Dr. Brown. ”Recent studies have shown that acupuncture can reduce stress and may boost IVF rates. But diet, exercise and lifestyle play an equally more important role in improving fertility.”
Nina lost about 10 pounds on the Fertility Diet. That and the regular acupuncture treatment made her menstrual cycle more regular and reduced her PCOS symptoms. “I knew I’d done everything I could to make myself heathy when I started my IVF cycle.” says Nina.
It’s been a roller coaster journey but Nina and John have just found out that they are expecting and are anxiously awaiting their next prenatal appointment.
Dr. Hitkari and Dr. Brown will be giving a free seminar on high tech and natural fertility treatments.