Category: Partner Fertility

Debunking Fertility Myths

Fertility is a very personal and often stressful experience. There is a lot of misinformation in our society about fertility, IVF, and fertility treatments in general. Here are some common fertility myths debunked.

  1. Myth 1: Fertility treatments always mean IVF 
  2. Once you meet with a provider and test results come in, you and your provider will speak about the option that is best for you. IVF is a great solution for many but there are other options including: timed intercourse, oral medication, IUI, and InVoCell.
  3. Myth 2: IVF is a sure thing
  4. There are many factors that can impact IVF success. There are ways to up your odds by reducing some of the unknowns such as multiple rounds (2 is average), PGT testing to get the most info before a transfer, and more. At Vios, our live births and other success stats are higher than national average. 
    • Myth 3: Age doesn’t matter 
    • You can have issues at any age–even in your 20s or have great ease in your 40s. If you want a family in the future, protect your chances early on by taking steps like egg freezing. Statistically age does matter. Women are born with all their eggs and their eggs decrease over time. 
  5. Our Dr. Amber Cooper sat down with Future Family to debunk some common fertility myths. Learn more about those myths here.

Family Building for LGBTQIA+

June marks the beginning of Pride Month, commemorating the Stonewall Riots and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. June 1 also is #LGBTQFamiliesDay, created for individuals, families, and allies to celebrate and support LGBTQIA+ families. Family comes in many forms and everyone’s path to their family is unique to their journey. No matter what your journey is, anyone who struggles to build a family should have the opportunity including the LGTBQIA+ community. According to Resolve, between 2 million and 3.7 million children under the age of 18 have a LGTBQIA+ parent.

For most LGTBQIA+ single people and couples, the journey to building your dream family can have a different path than what may be considered “traditional”. At Vios, we are far from “traditional” ourselves and are an ally for the LGTBQIA+ community, here to help those wishing to become parents.

Recently, in the state of Illinois a bill was passed changing the definition of infertility providing insurance coverage to the LGBTQIA+ community. HB3709 amends the IL Insurance Code to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility shall be provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, Sex, or sexual orientation. It removes provisions stating that “infertility” means the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse or the inability to sustain a successful pregnancy. You can read more about this bill here.

There are three necessary components to make a baby: eggs, sperm, and a uterus. Thanks to improved medicine and technology, as well as generosity from third-party donors, same sex couples and single individuals have more options than ever to build the family of their dreams. From sperm donation and IUI, InVoCell for reciprocal IVF, egg donation, and gestational carrier Vios Fertility Institute can help bring the pieces together for all our patients. LGBTQ+ individuals and couples do not necessarily have a diagnosis of infertility so pregnancy rates per cycle are generally high in these cases.

If you need help financing your treatments learn more about our financing partners here!

ASPIRE Study: COVID19 and Pregnancy

Vios Fertility Institute is proud to partner with the University of California-San Francisco to make patients aware of the ASPIRE study regarding COVID19 and pregnancy. ASPIRE stands for Assessing Safety of Pregnancy In the Coronavirus Pandemic.

ASPIRE study on COVID19 and pregnancy

ASPIRE is a nationwide prospective cohort study of pregnant women and their offspring during the COVID-19 pandemic. All Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) member clinics have been invited to share this study information with their pregnant patients, directing patients to register to participate at this website.

From ASPIRE, “The goal of this study is to help understand the spread of COVID-19 infection among pregnant women and how infection might affect the health and wellbeing of pregnant mothers and their babies, particularly when the infection occurs in early pregnancy or without any symptoms. The goal is for this knowledge to inform and empower pregnant women and their healthcare providers to provide the best possible care for their pregnancies and future babies. Also, women and couples planning pregnancies will gain important information to help make decisions for their families.”

ASPIRE is focused on the first trimester, a critical and vulnerable period when all of a baby’s organ systems form and the placenta – the crucial connection between mom and baby – develops.

Currently, there are no data about the effects of COVID19 infections in the first trimester. The ASPIRE study will provide critical information to:

(1) Guide the care of pregnant women
(2) Protect the safety of their babies and families
(3) Help those considering pregnancy in the future understand what it means to be pregnant in this new era

Becoming pregnant at any time is a personal choice and with the added uncertainty of a global pandemic, we realize this decision did not come lightly. We celebrate your pregnancy!

We’re also careful to counsel our patients at every step of their care journey about COVID19 and pregnancy considerations and safety guidelines so that you can feel informed and an active and empowered partner in your care.

Who can join the ASPIRE Study?
Anyone who is over the age of 18 and is between 4 – 10 weeks pregnant. Eligible participants will be compensated financially.

  1. You’ll be asked to:
    1. Submit frequent, quick (<1 minute each) symptom tracking reports using your mobile phone and/or computer.
  2. 2. Collect finger-stick blood samples from home at several points throughout your pregnancy. (A helpful how to video is here.)
  3. 3. Give permission to review medical records related to your pregnancy, delivery and baby’s development.
  4. 4. Complete questionnaires online about your health during your pregnancy and after delivery of your baby.

How to get started:

Visit https://aspire.ucsf.edu/ to learn more and register on their website here.

Do you have additional questions about COVID-19 and fertility treatment at Vios? Click here for our latest update.

Ovarian Reserve and Your Fertility

As fertility specialists, we’re asked a lot about ovarian health and ovarian reserve – specifically egg quantity and quality.

A woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have. At birth, a baby girl typically has about 1 million eggs and by puberty this number has declined to 500,000. Each month, a handful of eggs are eligible to become mature but only one will be ovulated. (For a detailed description of this process, click here.)

Ovary with ovulation

Age is one of the most important factors in a woman’s fertility potential. Yet, there is no “magic” age and recent studies show that genetics and the environment also play an important role in egg and reproductive health.

Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC) are the most useful predictors of the number of eggs a woman has remaining. Bloodwork and ultrasound tests – along with a conversation with a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist – can help you understand your current ovarian reserve.

Dr. Violet Klenov recently shared information about ovarian health, how to determine the number of eggs you may have, and how to improve egg quality with St. Louis’s Fox2. Watch the full story below.

Additionally, Dr. Klenov answered patient questions on this topic. Click below to watch the Q&A.

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

What’s the Difference Between a Traditional Surrogate and a Gestational Carrier?

gestational carrierMany people have heard the term “surrogate” when it comes to family planning, but few are familiar with the term “gestational carrier.” In both cases, a woman is using her uterus to carry a child for another family, but there’s a big difference between the two.

Surrogates and gestational carriers may be different, but they have two incredible things in common – a generous heart and extraordinary selflessness to grant a family facing infertility the gift of a child of their own.

Why a Family Needs a Surrogate

If a couple is unable to conceive or the woman is unable to carry a baby, a surrogate can step in to help them become parents. Prospective moms and dads may reach out to a friend or loved one to carry their child, but in most cases, they’re connected to a surrogate through an agency. All surrogacy agencies provide extensive screening of potential candidates through medical and psychological testing, and in fact, almost 98% of women who apply are rejected for various reasons.

What is a Traditional Surrogate?

The type of “surrogate” most people think of and a potentially more affordable option for parents-to-be is a traditional surrogate in which the surrogate donates her egg AND carries the pregnancy. With a traditional surrogate, pregnancy can often occur with intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which the male partner’s sperm is injected into the surrogate’s uterus.

The surrogate’s medical expenses are covered by the intended parents and, depending on the situation, she is compensated for carrying the pregnancy. While it can be less expensive, traditional surrogacy can open the intended couple up to heartbreaking legal ramifications. The surrogate is the biological mother of the child she carries, and if she decides she wants to keep the baby, the intended parents may have no legal recourse. Even if a legal contract is in place prior to conception (which we require), laws in many states may allow for the surrogate to fight for custody of the child. For this reason, we strongly advise patients to use a gestational carrier instead of a traditional surrogate.

What is a Gestational Carrier?

In a gestational carrier situation, the egg can come from the intended mother, be donated by a loved one, or acquired through an egg bank. The egg is fertilized with the male partner’s sperm or with donor sperm before it’s transferred to the carrier’s uterus through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Because the egg is another woman’s, the carrier has no genetic relation to the baby she is carrying.

More and more couples are turning to a gestational carrier to make their dream of parenthood come true. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the number of babies born to gestational carriers grew 116 percent between 2004 and 2011.

As with traditional surrogates, the gestational carrier’s medical expenses are covered by the intended parents and the carrier is usually compensated for carrying the pregnancy.

To protect all parties involved, we require all intended parents and gestational carriers to seek legal counsel from a reproductive lawyer. A contract is drawn up with the expectations and rights of each party, as well as details on the delivery and future contact. The reproductive lawyer will also provide guidance on what states have laws regulating surrogacy and what states should be avoided due to negative or non-existent statues. It is strongly encouraged that the gestational carrier and intended parents have separate reproductive lawyers to minimize potential conflicts of interest.

Ready for Help with Fertility?

If you have questions about surrogacy or would like to discuss your options with a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, contact us today to schedule a consultation.