Category: Dr. Hayes

Preparing For Your First Appointment

After scheduling your first fertility clinic visit with a Reproductive Endocrinologist at Vios, you may be wondering what to expect from your appointment and how to prepare. Here are some ways.

What to bring:

  • Copies of your medical records from primary care physician, OBGYN, and any previous fertility evaluations you may have had. Every piece of background information that you bring could be vital, so having access to your medical records is important, especially up-to-date records.
  • A list of questions. Picking a clinic is important and having questions prepared will help you ask about the items that are important to you for your journey. Having a list of questions written down will ensure that you don’t forget.
  • A notebook to write down any instructions your provider might have or next steps. With so much discussed in the first visit, it is very common to feel overwhelmed. Taking notes during your time with a provider can help you process and remember important details.
  • Your partner if you like or if you have one. It is not necessary to bring your partner, but they are invited and encouraged to attend. This is an opportunity for your partner to be included and having them there may be helpful for you. They can provide support and will also be able to help answer questions about their medical history.

How to prepare:

Your medical records will have a lot of information but they are only part of what’s needed. Your own story and facts are also very important. Here are some other things that might be asked during your first visit:

  • Medications, vitamins, or other supplements you take. Include the amount of each and how often you take them.
  • Any medical conditions that you or your partner may have.
  • Previous evaluations or treatments for infertility you’ve had.
  • Details about your cycle. Is it regular? How long is your cycle? Is the flow especially heavy/light? Do you suffer from especially painful periods?
  • Details about your attempts to conceive.
  • How long you have been trying to conceive.
  • Any family history of infertility. Check with both sides of the family.

Beginning fertility treatment is a very personal journey, and this first visit is where it all starts. It is important to be informed and knowledgeable about every stage of your journey. To learn more about preparing for your first appointment, watch Dr. Ellen Hayes, MD, FACOG and our newest nurse practitioner Sonja Araoz answer your questions and dive into details here!

Look over our Patient Information page to see Frequently Asked Questions from Vios patients!

Get a ‘Pulse’ On Your Fertility Health

Knowing your fertility health is an important step in your journey to start a family. As women age, the quality and quantity of their eggs decrease, this is known as Diminished Ovarian Reserve.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve presents no symptoms but nearly 10% of women suffer from it. The most common factor in a woman suffering is being over the age of 35. Other factors that can contribute include endometriosis, surgery for ovarian cysts or tumors, cancer treatments, and smoking.

The Vios Pulse Wellness Check Up provides an insight into your fertility healthy. For $99 you will receive bloodwork, an antra follicle ultrasound, semen analysis, and a consultation with a provider to go over your results

Schedule your Vios Pulse Fertility Wellness Check Up, contact us today!

Learn more about our Vios Pulse Wellness Check Up from Dr. Ellen Hayes and Dr. Mackenzie Purdy in the below video.

When Should You See a Fertility Doctor?

If you and your partner are unable to conceive, you may feel confused and frustrated. Although infertility is a common issue, you still deserve to know why you have been unsuccessful. Eventually, it may be time to seek help from a fertility doctor.

At Vios Fertility Institute, you can always count on our team of experienced doctors. We go the extra mile to understand your fertility health, and we provide you with a variety of treatment and testing options to help you conceive a baby.

Let’s Talk About Fertility and Ovulation

Fertility is the ability of a woman to conceive and bear children through normal sexual activity. Ovulation, on the other hand, refers to the actual day in a woman’s menstrual cycle when pregnancy is possible and occurs when hormone changes trigger an ovary to release an egg. A woman’s fertile window varies but is usually the day an egg released from the ovary (ovulation) and the five days beforehand.

According to the National Center of Health Statistics, about 12% of women have trouble getting or staying pregnant. If you are unsure about your ability to conceive, the following can provide insight into your fertility health:

  • Your age – Unfortunately, a woman’s fertility decreases with age. Women under the age of 35 are at their peak fertility. At the age of 35, your fertility begins to decline steadily and ends with menopause.
  • Healthy lifestyle – By eating a healthy diet, exercising, lowering stress, limiting alcohol intake, and refusing to smoke, you can improve your fertility.
  • Healthy weight – A low body mass index (BMI) causes ovulation to stop as the body tries to conserve energy. A high BMI disrupts hormone levels. Insulin resistance can inhibit ovulation and affect egg quality, as well as embryo and fetus development. A healthy BMI ranges from 20-24.
  • Pelvic pain – Long, heavy, painful periods or pelvic pain are potential signs of fibroids or endometriosis, which affects your ability to conceive. Pelvic trauma or past surgeries can also affect fertility.
  • Regular menstrual cycles – Regular menstrual cycles show hormones are in sync and that you are ovulating. If you are unsure about your cycle, consider using period tracker or fertility calendar apps like Glow, DuoFertility, or Clue.
  • Unchecked STDs – Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a byproduct of specific STDs, can damage your reproductive organs and decrease infertility. To increase your fertility health, practice safe sex, and use protection. If you think you have an STD, consult your doctor immediately.

What is a Fertility Doctor?

A fertility doctor is a reproductive endocrinologist, or a physician who practices a subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology called reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI). They complete at least two years of training beyond their OB-GYN residency and specialize in the treatment of hormonal disorders that affect reproduction in men and women.

When Should You Seek Help from a Fertility Doctor?

If you’re unable to get pregnant after months of trying, you may want to consult a fertility doctor immediately. However, just as every individual is unique, the same is true of their fertility.

Before you seek help from a fertility clinic, there are specific factors you should consider:

  • You’re under 35 – If you are under 35, have been actively trying to conceive, and have not been using birth control for 12 months or more, you should make an appointment with a fertility doctor.
  • You’re over 35 – If you are over 35, you should only wait six months to call a fertility doctor. After 35, a woman’s fertility begins to decline until she reaches menopause.
  • You’re over 40 – If you are over the age of 40, you should see a doctor immediately. By the age of 40, a woman’s eggs drop in quality and quantity, which decreases the chance of conception and increases the risk for miscarriage.
  • Your BMI is high or low – If you have a high or low BMI, you should see a doctor before you start trying. By talking to your doctor and achieving a better BMI, you are more likely to conceive naturally.
  • You have a thyroid condition – If you have a thyroid disorder, you should see a doctor right away. A thyroid disorder (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) can interrupt the ovulation process, resulting in irregular or missed periods. Normal thyroid hormone levels are required for a perm production. Through a medical evaluation, thyroid levels can be assessed and treated.
  • You have an infertility diagnosis – If you have a known reproductive issue such as PCOS or POI, you should see a doctor immediately.
  • You have experienced miscarriages – If you suffer from multiple miscarriages in a row, you should visit a doctor immediately. A single miscarriage is common, but repeated miscarriages are not.

Our Team of Fertility Doctors

At Vios, our team of board-certified and fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialists understand the challenges of infertility. We strive to provide a customized fertility plan to suit the emotional, physical, and financial needs of every patient.

To learn more about our team of fertility specialists, visit our Meet the Providers page.

At Vios Fertility Institute, Conception is Our Life

At Vios Fertility Institute, our team of compassionate, caring physicians provide excellence in fertility care. We understand the unique needs of every patient, which is why we go the extra mile to make your dreams of parenthood a reality.

We have locations throughout Chicago, Northern Illinois, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. For a full list of our clinic locations, click here. All of our patient consultations are currently provided via telehealth.

While every patient is different, your initial consultation will include bloodwork, an ultrasound to measure eggs, and a semen analysis. You will also discuss treatment options with your fertility doctor. After you choose a treatment, your fertility journey will begin.

To schedule a consultation and take control of your fertility health, contact us today.

Nutrition and Fertility

pregnancy dietIf you are currently trying to get pregnant or planning to try for pregnancy in the next several months, it’s time to start thinking about your nutrition. A healthy pregnancy diet can improve your chance for pregnancy as well as shorten the time it takes to get pregnant.

Importance of Body Mass Index

By now we have all heard that having a normal body mass index, or BMI, gives you your best chance for getting pregnant and your lowest risk for miscarriage. What you may not know is that regardless of your BMI, making healthy dietary changes can still have a very beneficial effect.

Standard American Diet

Unfortunately, most Americans eat what is called the Standard American Diet that includes high amounts of meat, dairy products, and processed foods while consuming too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grain carbohydrates. Over time, this type of diet and can lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body that is thought to be the starting point for many diseases. The Standard American Diet has led to not only obesity, cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, but can also contribute to fertility problems in men and women.

Choosing the Best Pregnancy Diet Food

There are a few simple changes that you can make that can start you on the path to better health and improved fertility.

  • Increase your consumption of whole grains like whole wheat bread, quinoa, and brown rice
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to your plate and try to mix it up so you get a wide variety of colorful food for maximum phytonutrients
  • Try to get most of your daily protein from vegetables (yes, veggies have protein!) or low mercury-containing fish rather than from meat and dairy
  • Avoid processed foods and choose healthy snacks like nuts instead
  • Limit refined sugar and simple carbohydrates like white rice and white flour
  • Eliminate sugary beverages! This includes soda, sweetened tea or coffee drinks, and juices
  • If you’re craving a treat, 2 small squares of dark chocolate per day is good for you!

Prenatal Vitamins

Now of course one final thing to mention is the importance of starting a prenatal vitamin a few weeks before you conceive. Starting your vitamin early means that you will have the best chance for adequate folic acid levels to reduce the risk for certain birth defects that can start developing before you even know you’re pregnant.

Check my Instagram discussion of fertility nutrition and wellness @healthyfertilitymd

Dr. Hayes Speaks with the Lake Country Mom on Infertility Support

Infertility Support – Get to Know Vios Fertility Institute

The Lake Country MomInterview with: Allison Nelson, MD, The Lake Country Mom, September 9, 2018

Infertility is one of the most difficult situations for OB/Gyns to tackle with their patients. It is deeply personal and comes with an array of emotions, including shame, anger, jealousy and despair. In the process of dealing with all these emotions, it can be difficult for women to know where to turn. Helping women through infertility struggles usually starts with their primary OB/Gyn; however there are women who will require an infertility specialist. I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Ellen Hayes, a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist who works at Vios Fertility Institute. Vios Fertility Institute is relatively new to the Milwaukee area and recently opened a clinic location in Johnson Creek (in other words, the closest, local option for Lake Country moms). Check out the interview on The Lake Country Mom blog here.