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endometriosis and infertility in women

How Endometriosis Affects Infertility in Women

Endometriosis is a fairly common condition that affects over six million women across the globe. Many women may feel the symptoms without even knowing they have it. Infertility is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis, but there are many others. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about endometriosis and fertility.

What Is Endometriosis?

Typically characterized by painful and irregular menstruation cycles, endometriosis is a condition that can lead to infertility. During normal menstruation, the uterine lining (also referred to as the endometrial lining) is shed and released through the cervix.

In women with endometriosis, however, the same tissue grows outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. When women with endometriosis menstruate, these endometrial tissues move through the fallopian tubes and envelope the ovaries, which are essential to the reproductive process. Once scar tissue and inflammation form around the ovaries, it’s impossible for the eggs to become fertilized. Without proper treatment, the endometrial lining will eventually form a blockade around the ovaries and the opening to the fallopian tubes, which prevents pregnancy.

What Are the Four Stages of Endometriosis?

There are four stages of endometriosis:
  • Stage one: No scar tissue is detectable and there are very few specs of endometriosis.
  • Stage two: Still no scar tissue developments during this stage, but there are more visible specs.
  • Stage three: There’s a considerable amount of endometriosis buildup in the abdomen. These can run very deep and develop pockets filled with endometriotic fluid, also known as chocolate cysts and endometriomas, in the ovaries. Scar tissue can also start to develop around the fallopian tubes and ovaries during this stage.
  • Stage four: As the most severe stage, large endometriotic implants, specs, or cysts can be seen on the ovaries along with scar tissue formations between the uterus and rectum as well as on the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Overcoming Infertility Caused by Endometriosis

Once it’s been diagnosed, there are endometriosis fertility treatments that can help you better manage your condition and increase your chances of conceiving.
  • In-Vitro Fertilization. IVF treatment requires women to take fertility medications that stimulate and promote healthy egg production in the ovaries. Once the eggs reach a certain degree of maturation, they’re removed from the ovaries using an ultrasound-guided needle that moves through the vaginal wall and into the ovaries. The retrieved eggs are intermingled with sperm inside petri dishes at the fertility clinic. After the eggs have developed into embryos, the most viable ones are placed back into the uterus.
  • Intrauterine Insemination. IUI treatment involves artificially inseminating sperm directly into the uterus using a thin and long injection needle through the vagina and the cervix.
  • Third-Party Assisted Reproductive Technologies. IVF and IUI treatments are both classified as Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Alternate third-party methods of conception that fall under this category can include surrogacy, using a gestational carrier, or egg and sperm donation.

Infertility Counselling at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

An endometriosis diagnosis can simultaneously elicit feelings of relief and distress. On the one hand, if you’ve been struggling to conceive without knowing why, it gives you an answer. On the other hand, it doesn’t take away the difficulty of trying to establish a healthy full-term pregnancy. At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our ultimate goal is to provide compassionate and caring infertility counselling and treatment to all of our patients. Book a consultation with one of our fertility experts today.
pcos and infertility in women

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Infertility in Canada

According to the University of Saskatchewan, approximately 1.4 million Canadian women are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), making it the most common endocrine disorders occurring in Canadian women.

Yet, despite how common it is, PCOS is often under or misdiagnosed by a lot of healthcare professionals because the symptoms are so commonly associated with other health conditions.

Have you been diagnosed with PCOS and are trying to get pregnant? Here’s what you need to know about how to navigate PCOS and infertility.

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

During a typical menstrual cycle, the ovaries produce a number of tiny follicles inside which eggs develop. Follicles are essentially miniscule sacs that are filled with fluid and release eggs during ovulation. Once a chosen egg is fertilized, the rest of the follicles disintegrate or break down naturally.

Women who have PCOS, however, experience their menstrual cycles and ovulation a little differently. Instead of releasing an egg to be fertilized during ovulation, the ovaries withhold the egg, and the follicles don’t disintegrate—they fill up with fluid and become benign cysts that rest on top of the ovaries. Even though the cysts are benign, they sit on top of the ovaries and cause hormonal imbalances. If left untreated, ovarian cysts can lead to major infertility issues, not to mention a series of uncomfortable and sometimes even painful symptoms.

What Are the Four Types of PCOS?

PCOS can be a by-product of many different conditions, namely hormonal imbalances, excessive androgen production in the ovaries, thyroid disease, genetics, insulin resistance caused by diabetes, and inflammation. Many of these conditions, however, can be linked to a number of other health conditions, which explains why the jury is still out on the exact cause of PCOS.

Speak to your doctor or fertility specialist immediately if you suspect you might have any of the following types of PCOS or are experiencing any of the associated symptoms. PCOS treatment options and approaches vary depending on the type that you have.

Insulin-Resistant PCOS

High insulin or insulin resistance is also referred to as pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome in which your body is incapable of processing or absorbing insulin and glucose from your blood. An exorbitant surplus of insulin in your system can hinder your chances of conceiving as it typically causes the ovaries to produce androgens (male hormones) such as testosterone and reduce the amount of female hormone production. While some testosterone production in females is perfectly normal, an overabundance of it can lead to male attributes such as growing facial hair and the inability to get pregnant.

Diabetic and overweight women (BMI of 25-30) are at a much higher risk of developing insulin-resistant PCOS. A simple blood test that measures your glucose levels can determine if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic. Once you’ve been diagnosed, you can work out a suitable treatment and management plan with your doctor. It’s important to note that insulin-resistant PCOS is the most common form of PCOS and if diagnosed early, it’s completely manageable.

Birth Control-Induced PCOS

Birth control, whether it’s in pill or injection form, alters your body’s hormone production by actively subduing ovulation to prevent pregnancy. Of course, there are tons of other reasons women take birth control, but avoiding reproduction is one of the main ones. The effects of birth control typically wear off once birth control treatment has stopped. Most women will usually resume ovulation shortly thereafter. For some women, however, it can take a lot longer than others to get to that stage again.

If you’re having a hard time getting pregnant after a certain period of time has passed since you ceased birth control treatment, then you should consider consulting an infertility counselling specialist in your area.

Inflammatory PCOS

Inflammation can be a symptom of a number of different medical conditions or even a side effect of certain medications. In some cases, inflammation can even be caused by certain foods in your diet (e.g., excess sugar). Unfortunately, it can also lead to mild or severe hormonal imbalances that stimulate the ovaries to produce androgens, particularly testosterone. This can make it a lot harder to get pregnant or prevent pregnancy altogether.

Once you’ve figured out the source of the inflammation, you can take the necessary steps to reduce or even eliminate it and better manage your PCOS.

Hidden PCOS

PCOS is one of those elusive conditions that can sometimes be difficult to diagnose right away. That’s because many of the symptoms are common with other physical conditions. As a result, your doctor may need to run multiple tests to rule out other possible health issues before firmly and confidently diagnosing you with PCOS.

Diagnosis isn’t even the hardest part. Once it’s determined that you have PCOS, it’s important to determine what’s causing it as it could be a symptom or side effect of another condition or medication.

Possible causes of PCOS

Possible causes of PCOS include iodine deficiency (which can prevent ovaries from producing healthy eggs), thyroid disease, zinc deficiency (often associated with vegetarian diets), and consuming too many artificial sweeteners or sugar in your diet.

How Can You Test for PCOS?

Healthcare professionals in Canada use a number of different PCOS diagnosis methods. Starting with a physical exam, they’ll then ask about your personal and medical family history. Next, they’ll inquire about your menstrual cycle and potential irregularities. Your doctor will also check your weight and look for specific symptoms that indicate potential hormonal imbalances such as excessive facial hair, dark spots on your skin, and acne on the lower half of your face.

Additionally, they might also do a pelvic exam and order an ultrasound to look for cysts on your ovaries and check for thickening on the endometrium wall of your uterus. Lastly, your doctor might also order a blood test to check the glucose levels in your blood. If you’re pre-diabetic, then this could cause PCOS symptoms.

What Are Some Complications from PCOS?

Common PCOS-related complications include:
  • Endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining)
  • Infertility and inability to get pregnant
  • Abnormal bleeding in the uterus
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • High risk for miscarriage or premature birth
  • Prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
  • Metabolic syndrome

What Fertility Treatments Are Available for PCOS?

Clomifene is typically the leading medication that’s recommended and prescribed for women who are experiencing PCOS-related infertility issues. This drug contains active medicinal ingredients that promote healthy egg production from the ovaries.

Metformin, which is typically used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, can also be prescribed if Clomifene treatments don’t work. A positive aspect of this medication is that it also helps to manage blood sugar and insulin levels in women who are living with PCOS.

Fertility Treatment at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

If you think you might be suffering from PCOS-related infertility, know that you don’t have to go through it alone. At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our staff is completely committed to providing in-depth and compassionate PCOS fertility treatment. At our fertility clinic in Ontario, we provide a wide range of infertility treatment options including IVF treatment and IUI treatment, based on your needs. Book your consultation today.
covid-19 vaccine and fertility

COVID-19 Vaccine and Fertility Safety for Women Planning Pregnancy

The COVID-19 vaccine rollouts have been a hot topic issue since the vaccines were initially announced a few months ago. Naturally, expecting parents and people planning on getting pregnant have a few questions and concerns regarding the efficacy and safety of the vaccines based on their individual circumstances. If you’re planning on getting pregnant this year or are already pregnant, here’s what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility safety.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe for Women Planning to Get Pregnant or Who Are Already Pregnant?

It’s perfectly natural to worry about what it’s like to get pregnant in the midst of an international pandemic. The promise of vaccinations is a tremendous light at the end of the tunnel, even for those who are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant.

The COVID-19 vaccines are perfectly safe for pregnant women and women who are planning on getting pregnant. The vaccine doesn’t actually contain any traces of the virus, nor can it alter your DNA in any way, shape, or form. The way the mRNA vaccine works is it uses trace amounts of a genetic code that tells your bodily cells to fabricate an inactive protein replica of the protein that covers the coronavirus. There’s no actual traces of the virus in the vaccine itself.

Your immune system immediately senses a foreign cell in your system and springs into action to produce antibodies that can effectively fight it off. In the process of eradicating the harmless foreign cell, your immune system stores the data of what the virus looks like, so that it can fight it off again if a virus with the same protein spike enters your system.
  • If you’re planning to get pregnant, then it’s absolutely critical that you consider getting vaccinated beforehand. Pregnant women are considered a high-risk group for COVID-19. According to the CDC, pregnant women are more likely to suffer severe illness than their peers in the same age group with a similar medical history. It’s better to be well prepared than to suffer the consequences during your pregnancy.
  • If you’re undergoing fertility treatments like IVF or IUI, you should definitely get vaccinated as soon as possible. The mRNA vaccine can’t enter into the nucleus of your cells and alter your DNA in any way and there’s no evidence showing that the vaccine will interfere with IVF or IUI treatment.
  • If you’re already pregnant, you should still consider getting vaccinated. The chances of passing the virus onto your unborn child are very low, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen at all. Preterm or premature birth is also a major concern for pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19. This is definitely one of those situations where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Fertility Treatment at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

Planning a pregnancy is an exciting time in your life. At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our infertility counselling specialists will be with you every step of the way to ensure your comfort and overall well-being. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and IVF or IUI treatment, please feel free to contact us or book a consultation today.
weight and infertility in women

How Weight Can Affect Fertility and IVF Treatment Success in Women

Weight can have a significant impact on all aspects of your mental and physical health, particularly when it comes to fertility. This article explains how obesity and being underweight can affect infertility and IVF treatment and how you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight that’s conducive to achieving a successful full-term pregnancy.

How Being Overweight or Obese Affects Your Fertility

Before delving into the pregnancy and fertility complications associated with obesity, it’s important to have an understanding of what it means to be overweight or obese. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the main formula used to calculate your weight in relation to your height.

Although there’s some controversy in terms of whether BMI is a completely accurate indication of good health, it’s still a helpful tool that can contribute to the much bigger picture of a patient’s health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy BMI is anywhere between 18.5 to 24.5. A BMI that ranges between 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight. Patients with a BMI rating of over 30.0 or higher are considered to be obese.

Worldwide obesity rates have been on the rise for decades with approximately 40% of the world’s adult population being classified as obese. Moreover, Statistics Canada has reported that approximately 62% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese.

Unfortunately, overweight or obese adults—both men and women—can have a much harder time successfully achieving full-term pregnancy and live birth as a direct result. Here’s how being overweight or obese can negatively impact fertility including infertility and IVF treatment.

Impact on Hormone Levels

Obesity can lead to anovulation, a condition that prevents the ovaries from producing a mature follicle and releasing the egg. Classified as an endocrine organ, adipose tissue (also known as body fat) produces a variety of different hormones. Estrogen and leptin are two of the hormones produced by fat cells. Overproduction of these hormones can cause abnormalities in the menstrual cycle and lead to anovulation.

Obesity can also increase the risk of miscarriage and poor neonatal and maternal pregnancy results. It increases health risks for procedures that require anesthesia, including IVF treatment. Procedures that require anesthesia or any form of sedation are therefore reserved for patients with a BMI of 40 and under.

Increase in Insulin Resistance

Obesity increases insulin resistance due to a pronounced lack of tissue response. This makes it extremely difficult and nearly impossible for the cells in the body to properly absorb sugar, which can lead to high or low blood sugar levels. In addition to causing type 2 diabetes in adults, high blood sugar levels can hinder ovulation and embryo development. High blood sugar levels can also weaken the quality of eggs produced and it’s also linked to cardiovascular disease.

Affects Your Partner’s Fertility

Studies have shown that obese or overweight men have a higher chance of being infertile than men of a healthy weight. Obesity in men has been linked to lower testicular function, low motility sperm, and lower testosterone levels. As a result, obese or overweight men are less likely to produce viable enough sperm that will result in a positive IVF treatment or infertility treatment outcome. To increase the chances of achieving a successful and healthy full-term pregnancy, it’s important that both partners are in good physical health.

Obesity Reduces Chances of Conception

Obesity can have a severely negative impact on the success of IVF treatment. Obese patients require significantly higher doses of medication that’s required to stimulate the ovaries. Yet, the chances of a successful embryo implantation are significantly lower and the chances of suffering a miscarriage are higher.

How Being Underweight Affects Your Fertility

What does it mean to be underweight? Having a BMI of 18.5 or lower classifies you as being underweight. In addition to posing potentially serious health risks, being underweight can be just as detrimental to the success of infertility and IVF treatments as being overweight or obese.

Women with a low BMI can suffer from abnormal menstrual cycles, irregular ovulation, or they may not menstruate at all due to extremely low hormonal production. Here are a few important factors to take into consideration if you’re underweight and trying to get pregnant.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making a few minor lifestyle modifications that aid in reaching a healthy weight can help increase your chances of achieving a successful full-term pregnancy either naturally or through infertility treatment and counselling. Pregnancy can place a huge toll on your body between all of the hormonal changes and the need to support a growing fetus. With that in mind, it’s important that you do everything in your power to maintain good health and achieve a healthy body weight before trying to get pregnant.

Impact on Fertility and Hormones

Just like being overweight or obese, being underweight can also cause severe hormonal changes in women that can make it harder or impossible to achieve a pregnancy. Underweight women are at a higher risk of having reduced estrogen levels. Combined with irregular menstrual cycles and the inability to ovulate, this can prolong the conception process by a year or longer.

Understandably, some women just have naturally fast metabolisms and have a hard time gaining weight. Other women may suffer from body image issues such as dysmorphia or eating disorders that may prevent them from gaining weight. If this is the case, then it’s important to consult with your doctor immediately, so that they can map out a feasible health plan to get you to a healthy weight to conceive a child.

Increased Chance of Preterm Birth

What is preterm birth? Preterm birth occurs when the baby is born prematurely or before it’s fully developed. Also known as premature birth, preterm birth typically occurs any time before the 37 week mark (9 months) of pregnancy. At this point, the baby isn’t fully developed yet and will most likely require significant medical attention. There are three types of preterm birth that are linked to underweight women getting pregnant:
  • Extremely preterm birth, which occurs after less than 28 weeks
  • Very preterm, which occurs between the 28- to 32-week mark
  • Moderate to late preterm which occurs between 32-37 weeks

Infertility Counselling and Treatment at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

At our fertility clinic, we have a fairly simply philosophy when it comes to providing quality infertility counselling to our patients. We use a compassionate evidence-based medical approach to create a custom-tailored treatment plan that suits your specific needs. ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo takes on a patient-focused approach to providing excellent infertility treatment and care. Contact us today to learn more.
travelling during fertility treatment

Important Tips to Consider when Travelling during Fertility Treatment

After over a year of living in lockdown, quarantine, and a combination of the two, chances are that you’re probably itching to travel to some exotic destinations once it’s safe to do so. With vaccine rollouts underway in Canada and other parts of the world, the hope is that many of us will be able to safely travel again within the next few months. But what if you’re also planning on undergoing fertility treatment at the same time? Is travelling during fertility treatment safe or feasible? That depends on the specific treatment you’re undergoing, what stage you’re at, and your personal circumstances.

Travelling during fertility treatment isn’t always off limits, but it’s important to talk to a specialist at your fertility clinic before making any concrete travel plans.

When Is It a Good Time to Travel during IVF or IUI Treatment?

The amount of planning and the length of your trip will depend on whether you’re getting IVF or IUI treatment at the moment.

Travelling during IVF Treatment

If you’re planning a trip while undergoing IVF treatment, you’ll need to carefully iron out the details of your voyage with your infertility counselling specialist. Certain portions of IVF treatment require you to remain in town as you’ll have to go through daily in-office monitoring. Plus, your egg retrieval procedure must be precisely timed to facilitate success.

If you must travel during IVF treatment for a family emergency or other important reasons, make sure you coordinate your schedule with your fertility clinic.

Travelling during IUI Treatment

Travelling during IUI treatment is a little easier as it’s a less complicated procedure. Depending on the stage of the treatment, you may be able to take a short trip such as a weekend getaway if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. This may even improve your chances of conceiving a child. As always, make sure to notify your fertility clinic and consult with your specialist before making your travel plans or booking accommodations.

Preparing for Travel during Fertility Treatments

Suffering from infertility can be extremely stressful for you and your partner, especially if you’ve been trying to conceive a child or carry a pregnancy to term for a long time. Sometimes, a short getaway is just what you and your partner need to clear your minds and gain a little perspective.

Here are some tips for travelling during fertility treatments:
  • Ask your fertility specialist to draft an official letter stating that you’re travelling with medications.
  • Store all of your medications in your carry-on bag, not your luggage (in case it gets lost).
  • If travelling by plane, look into your airline’s guidelines or policies for travelling with medications.
  • Inform customs officers that you’re travelling with medications and explain why.
  • Purchase a small cooler or ice packs for medications that require refrigeration.
  • Research nearby medical facilities in the region you’re travelling to.
  • Get the appropriate vaccinations required for your travel destination in advance and avoid countries where the Zika virus is prevalent.
  • Stay on schedule with all medications and set reminders if necessary.

Fertility Treatment at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

If you’re planning on travelling while undergoing IVF or IUI treatment at our fertility clinic, we ask that you please advise us immediately. At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our top priority is to provide high-quality and compassionate patient care, no matter what your needs are. Contact us today to book a consultation with one of our fertility specialists.
secondary infertility

Secondary Infertility in Men and Women: Causes and Treatment

What Is Secondary Infertility?

Secondary infertility is when women and men who already have one or more children are unable to conceive another child for a variety of reasons. In order for the condition to be considered secondary infertility, the previous pregnancies must have occurred naturally without the intervention of fertility medications or treatments such as IVF and IUI.

Secondary infertility is diagnosed in couples who have been actively trying to conceive a baby for six months to a year with no success. Recurrent pregnancy loss in which couples are able to conceive without being able to carry the pregnancy to term can also be categorized as a form of secondary infertility. Such cases warrant in-depth infertility counselling to understand the underlying cause of recurrent pregnancy loss and other health implications that may apply.

While there are certainly other options for growing your family such as adoption, at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, we believe that our patients should have the ability to go through this process on their terms. Our goal is to help our patients get the right fertility counselling and treatments that will yield the results they want.

Causes of Secondary Infertility

There are several reasons why women and men might experience secondary infertility challenges. For instance, a patient could have a new sexual partner that has fertility issues. Even if the patient has the same partner, sometimes, fertility issues can develop later in life or after having one or more successful pregnancies. Then, there are gender-specific fertility issues that men and women can experience.

Women can suffer from infertility due to endometriosis, ovulation disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome, excessive breastfeeding after previous childbirth (body stops ovulating or releasing eggs for fertilization), fallopian tube blockages caused by venereal infections (chlamydia or gonorrhea), or growths (fibroids or polyps) in the uterus.

In some cases, age may also be a factor. Women are born with a finite number of eggs. As they get older, the quality and quantity of those eggs begins to rapidly deplete. Around age 40, most women have a minimal ovarian reserve or egg supply and this can significantly decrease the chances of achieving a successful full-term primary or secondary pregnancy.

Significant weight gain and dietary changes can also negatively impact a woman’s chances of conceiving a child as this can lead to ovary dysfunction in some women.

Men can also suffer from infertility issues that mostly have to do with declining sperm health or poor motility as they get older. Since testosterone plays an important part in sperm production, men with low testosterone may have a harder time conceiving a child with their female partners.

There are a number of conditions and factors that can contribute to low testosterone levels in men. Age is one of the primary factors. As men get older, their testosterone levels may naturally drop. Other causes for low testosterone could be urinary tract or genital organ injuries or medical conditions such as genital infections, thyroid diseases, diabetes, blood diseases, emotional stress, stroke, coma, respiratory failure, congestive heart failure, and the list goes on. Certain medications that are used to treat various medical conditions can also have a negative hormonal impact that leads to low testosterone as a side effect for men.

External factors that cause low testosterone include:
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals like lead, pesticides, excessive heat, and industrial chemicals
  • Using commercial sexual lubricants that are formulated to kill sperm on contact
  • Excessive weight gain, which can cause a decrease in testosterone levels and increase estrogen levels
Regardless of whether or not you already have children, at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our primary goal is to help you overcome your fertility challenges. We’ll initiate the same mental and physical evaluations for secondary infertility that we would for primary infertility. Once we identify the cause of the secondary infertility, we’ll recommend several appropriate treatment plans that are most likely to address your specific situation.

Secondary infertility cause and treatment evaluations include taking your full medical history, performing a physical exam for you and your partner, and doing bloodwork. For women, we also perform an exploratory ultrasound, whereas for men we perform a semen analysis.

What Are the Potential Signs of Secondary Infertility?

Potential signs of secondary infertility are the same as those for primary infertility. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive a child for at least six months to a year with no success, then the chances are high that you may be experiencing secondary infertility after a previous pregnancy. The chances of secondary infertility increase exponentially if you or your partner are over the age of 35 and have experienced certain medical conditions such as irregular or painful menstruation, pelvic inflammatory disease, or miscarriages for women and low sperm counts for men.

Emotional Effects of Secondary Infertility

Infertility in general—regardless of whether or not you’ve already had children—can be emotionally devastating, especially if you really wanted to have another child. The stress of trying so hard to conceive without being able to carry a pregnancy to term can place a massive emotional strain on the couple’s relationship with each other and their friends and loved ones.

Friends and family might exhibit a lack of empathy or sympathy by reminding the couple that they should be grateful for the child or children they already have. What many people who haven’t experienced secondary infertility don’t understand is that oftentimes, there are feelings of guilt, anger, and even a sense of grief or loss that are associated with it.

It’s important to know that emotional support through comprehensive fertility counselling is available to help couples get through this difficult and often painful experience.

Secondary Infertility Treatment Options for Men and Women

Secondary infertility treatment options are the same as those for primary infertility.
  • Ovulation inducing medications for women with an ovulatory disorder (clomiphene and letrozole)
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Intrauterine surgery to repair structural problems with the uterus caused by medical issues such as fibroids, polyps, and scar tissue
  • Surgery to repair testicular varicocele in men
  • Starting men on an antioxidant and anti-aging supplement regimen to increase fertility and improve semen quality

Secondary Infertility Counselling and Treatment at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our patient care philosophy is fairly simple. Our fertility clinic aims to provide the best possible care for all of our patients, regardless of whether they’re experiencing primary or secondary infertility. We start by administering detailed patient examinations that allow us to accurately diagnose the problem. Based on a thorough medical history and patient evaluation, we then make educated infertility treatment recommendations and provide you with a series of options that are most suitable for your specific circumstances. Contact us today to book a consultation.
fertility risk factors

Lifestyle Choices That Pose Fertility Risks for Men and Women

Male and female infertility are fairly common conditions in North America. Infertility is generally characterized by the inability to naturally or artificially conceive a child after trying for about one year. There are a number of medical and lifestyle factors that can both directly and indirectly risk fertility. Male fertility risk factors can include low motility, morphology (shape of the sperm), genetic defects, etc. Female infertility can be caused by physiological issues such as endometriosis, thyroid disease, or uterine fibroids.

While these are common medical conditions that lead to fertility risks, there are also a number of lifestyle choices that can decrease the chances of successful pregnancy. Here are some of those factors:

Being Overweight or Underweight

Studies have shown that a person’s weight—whether they’re overweight or underweight—can severely impact fertility. Women who have a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 25 to 29.9 are classified in the overweight category. A BMI that is 30 and over is considered to be obese.

Obese pregnant women are at a great risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure during and after pregnancy, and congenital anomalies. They’re also at a much higher risk of requiring a caesarean section. Overweight men typically have a lower quality sperm count than men who are at a healthy weight.

Women with a BMI lower than 18.5 are considered to be underweight. This causes hormonal imbalances in the body, which reduces fertility and compromises ovulation.

Waiting Too Long to Have a Child

Age is also an important factor when it comes to conception. Women who are over the age of 35 are more likely to have trouble conceiving than their younger counterparts.

Women are born with a natural biological clock that starts declining long before their menopausal years. The ovaries contain a finite number of ovules that start to rapidly deplete over time. This process can be exacerbated by certain harmful or unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

If you’re over the age of 35 and are having a hard time conceiving, you may want to consult an infertility counselling specialist to guide you in the right direction.

Smoking, Caffeine, Alcohol, and Recreational Drug Use

Smoking has been proven to accelerate the onset of menopause by one to four years in women who smoke compared to those who don’t. It can also significantly increase the risk of infertility, decrease pregnancy rates, and extend the time it takes to conceive a baby. Cigarettes and tobacco contain a lot of harmful chemicals that accelerate the depletion of ovules.

Some studies have also shown that overconsumption of caffeine, alcohol, and some recreational drugs such as marijuana can also increase infertility rates in both men and women.

It’s recommended that couples trying to conceive significantly reduce and monitor their weekly caffeine and alcohol intake and try to refrain from drug use altogether during the process.

Fertility Treatments at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

If you and your significant other are struggling to conceive a child, then ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo is here to help. We offer compassionate and caring infertility counselling and treatment options such as IVF or IUI that can be customized to accommodate your specific circumstances. Contact our fertility clinic today to learn all about our treatment options or to book an appointment with one of our esteemed specialists.
cryopreservation of sperm

Cryopreservation of Sperm: Male Fertility Preservation Using Semen Freezing

Infertility is a common problem that both men and women face and it can be extremely disheartening for couples that truly want to have a baby of their own. Approximately 40% to 50% of all infertility cases are caused by male factor infertility. There are a number of medical and non-medical elements that contribute to male factor infertility. Low sperm counts, slow or inadequate sperm motility, abnormal sperm morphology (defective or misshapen sperm), environmental circumstances, the decision to have children later in life, etc. can all contribute to difficulty conceiving a child.

Fortunately, there’s a solution to anticipating and preparing for unexpected future circumstances that are out of your control: male fertility preservation, also known as semen freezing or cryopreservation of sperm.

What Is Cryopreservation of Sperm and How Does It Work?

Cryopreservation of sperm is the process of collecting and preserving sperm samples for future use. Sperm samples can be stored in freezing temperatures (-196 degrees Celsius to be exact) for a number of years until you and your partner are ready to become pregnant. As long as the cold temperature and sanitized environment is maintained, there’s no expiration date for sperm preservation.

Many men choose sperm freezing as a means of preparing for unpredictable or unprecedented situations that could come up in their lives. If you’re not necessarily ready to conceive a child at this stage in your life, but are considering it for the future, then cryopreservation of sperm is a viable option to safeguard your semen until you need it.

Male Fertility Preservation: What Options Are Available to Men?

Regardless of the reason you’re considering semen freezing, there are a number of ways that sperm can be collected based on your individual needs, circumstances, and comfort level. Semen freezing, which is also commonly referred to as sperm banking, involves the male patient providing one or more viable samples of semen that are going to be preserved for future use.

Here are a few of the methods medical professionals use.

  • Ejaculation. This is the most traditional method. It involves the male patient masturbating and ejaculating into a clinical semen collection cup. This can be done in a private room at the clinic or you can arrage to do it at home as long as you’re able to get the sample back to the clinic within half an hour of ejaculation.
  • Sperm extraction procedure. If your semen doesn’t produce any sperm or viable sperm samples, then your doctor may recommend a sperm extraction procedure. This can be done through percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA), testicular sperm extraction (TESE), microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA), or micro-TESE.
  • Electroejaculation. This process involves stimulating the male organs to produce ejaculation in males who are unable to do it themselves for various medical and environmental reasons (e.g., stress, anxiety, lack of experience, etc.)
  • Semen extraction from urine. Some male cancer patients who have undergone surgical or radiation treatment might sustain damage in the nerve endings near the bladder that are responsible for carrying out ejaculation. In these cases, the body can still produce semen, but it most likely won’t ejaculate through the penis during orgasm. Retrograde ejaculation—a process where the semen flows backward into the bladder and is mixed in with urine—occurs. When this happens, fertility doctors can attempt to collect semen samples from the male patient’s urine to achieve pregnancy or preserve it for later use.

What Are Some Common Male Fertility Risk Factors?

There are a number of medical and circumstantial male fertility risk factors that can be addressed by cryopreservation of sperm.

Infertility from Cancer Treatment

Certain types of cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can lead to male factor infertility. Cancer treatment has become increasingly effective over the past few decades and new developments have improved the survival rates tremendously. Obviously, there’s still a long road ahead, but cryopreservation of sperm allows male cancer patients who want to father children in the future to keep their option open. In these cases, semen collection and freezing is done before treatment starts.

Vasectomy

While most vasectomies (not all) are reversible, many men become squeamish at the prospect of having to undergo a similar procedure twice. Plus, not all vasovasostomies are completely effective. In many cases, vasectomies can lead to the development of antibodies that specifically target, attack, and prevent the production of viable sperm. Frozen sperm helps keep your options open in case you do end up changing your mind in the future about having a child.

Preparing for Artificial Insemination or IVF Treatment

Artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization is the process of fertilizing the female partner’s egg with viable sperm outside of the body. Once the egg has been fertilized by the sperm, it’s placed back inside the uterus to bring the pregnancy to term. Some couples are given the option of freezing semen in advance in case the male partner is unable to produce a viable semen sample on the day of the insemination.

Additional or Lesser Known Risk Factors

A few additional or lesser known male infertility risk factors that may warrant consideration of cryopreservation of sperm include:
  • Participating in military service that requires a lot of travelling or puts the male’s health and life at risk
  • Gender reassignment in which individuals are born biologically male and want to preserve their semen for future use post-transition
  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm motility
  • Abnormal sperm morphology

Duration of Frozen Sperm Preservation, Success Rates, and Future Use

As mentioned, cryopreserved or frozen sperm doesn’t have a specific expiration date or limited shelf life. As long as it’s properly preserved, it will retain its viability indefinitely. There have been cases in which female patients have been able to successfully achieve pregnancy through IVF treatment and other types of infertility counselling using sperm samples that were more than two decades old without any issues.

Male Fertility Services at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, our staff is committed to providing compassionate and caring infertility counselling and treatment to all of our patients. We pride ourselves on creating a judgement-free fertility clinic that focuses on giving our patients the best care possible while guiding them through their pregnancy journey. Contact us today to book a consultation with one of our esteemed fertility specialists.
fertility treatment women ontario

Fertility Treatment Options for Single Women in Ontario

When it comes to conceiving a healthy baby, single women in Ontario and across Canada have more options than ever before. Some women want to become mothers and raise a child on their own without having to become a wife. Others simply haven’t found the right partner yet, but they want to get moving and start a family sooner rather than later.

Whatever the circumstances are, modern fertility clinics provide a plethora of fertility treatment options for single women of all ages, backgrounds, and sexual orientations in a compassionate, judgement-free zone. The goal is to find the right treatment option for your specific needs and find a specialist that can guide you towards successfully conceiving a healthy baby.

Keep reading to learn more about all of these fertility treatment options.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is comprised of a series of complex fertility procedures. It starts with closely monitoring and manipulating the woman’s ovulatory process to produce mature eggs. The mature eggs are then collected and removed from the woman’s ovaries. In a lab, the eggs are fertilized with the chosen sperm. Once one of the eggs is fertilized, it’s transferred back into the woman’s uterus to be carried to term.

Women have the option of choosing a known or anonymous sperm donor, harvesting the remaining eggs for future use, carrying the embryo themselves, or hiring a surrogate to carry the embryo.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI, which is also known as artificial insemination, is a quick and convenient procedure that can be done in a few minutes. A minimally invasive procedure, IUI involves transferring purified donor or anonymous sperm directly into the uterus as close to the mature egg as possible through the vagina to increase the chances of fertilization. Women who undergo this procedure have a 10% to 20% chance of conception. The likelihood increases with every IUI cycle.

Therapeutic Donor Insemination (TDI)

Viable donor sperm is one of the key ingredients to achieving successful pregnancy. You have two options for obtaining donor sperm:
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to donate their sperm
  • Or use an anonymous sperm donor that’s been carefully vetted by a reputable fertility clinic
Whichever option you choose, make sure to get your lawyer to draw up the appropriate contracts to avoid potential legal complications down the line.

Donor Egg

After consulting with your fertility doctor, you may discover that you need a donor egg for one reason or another. Donor eggs are usually supplied by young women in their 20s and 30s. This means that their eggs are healthy and viable, which increases the chances of achieving a successful pregnancy. Your fertility clinic can help you find a suitable donor egg.

Fertility Treatment Choices for Single Women at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

The staff at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo are committed to providing all of our patients with high-quality and compassionate fertility care. If you’re a single woman in Ontario who’s looking to get pregnant and start a family on your own, we want you to know that you do have options. Contact our fertility clinic today to learn more about your fertility treatment options and decide which one is right for you.
recurrent pregnancy loss

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Fertility Treatment Options for Miscarriages

As you already know, pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The first trimester (the first 12 weeks) is the most crucial time of any pregnancy as this is when the structure of the fetus and organ development begins. This is also the time when miscarriages and birth defects are the most common, which is why many women are advised to wait to announce their pregnancies until the second trimester. Unfortunately, the chances of recurrent pregnancy loss increases for women who have already experienced one miscarriage.

There are numerous known and unknown risk factors that can contribute to recurrent miscarriages in women of prime reproductive age. Fortunately, there are also a few reliable fertility treatment options for recurrent pregnancy loss that can increase your chances of carrying a pregnancy to term and delivering a healthy child. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about recurrent miscarriage risk factors, why they occur, tests to identify causes, and when to visit a fertility clinic in your area.

What Are Some Risk Factors of Miscarriages?

Miscarriages, which are also known as spontaneous abortion, are more common than many people think. They can occur at least once during every woman’s reproductive life. Approximately 1 in 5 (or 15%) pregnancies end in miscarriage. For women over 40, that risk increases to 1 in 3 pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

Recurrent pregnancy loss is defined by two consecutive miscarriages. When recurrent pregnancy loss occurs, it’s important to investigate the issue in an effort to uncover, diagnose, and treat any underlying medical or environmental conditions that may be preventing a full-term pregnancy. By definition, investigation into recurrent miscarriages can only take place if the woman has endured a minimum of two consecutive miscarriages.

Women under the age of 35 who endure two or more consecutive miscarriages are at approximately a 30% increased risk of recurrent pregnancy loss.

Why Do Miscarriages Occur?

Common causes of miscarriage include:
  • Aneuploidy, aka chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo or ovum. Women of an advanced reproductive age are at a greater risk of aneuploidy.
  • Uterine abnormalities such as uterine septum, scarring (Asherman’s syndrome), or submucous fibroma
  • Endocrine diseases such as hyperprolactinemia, thyroid disorder, or diabetes
  • Coagulation disorders such as antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Genetic abnormalities in both women and men, including balanced translocation
  • Low ovarian reserve
  • Environmental factors such as smoking (including second-hand smoke), overexposure to pollution, alcohol use, caffeine consumption, exercising, etc.
There’s also ongoing research that could suggest infectious or immunological causes could lead to recurrent pregnancy loss, but more data is needed at this time. In approximately 50% of cases of recurrent miscarriage, the cause is unknown.

Although there’s no evidence to suggest that strenuous exercise is harmful to pregnancy, there’s also no evidence to suggest that it could be beneficial. Erring on the side of caution for women with a history of miscarriages is important, which is why some fertility doctors might advise their high risk patients to refrain from strenuous exercise during pregnancy.

Tests to Identify Causes of Miscarriage

Experiencing one or two miscarriages during a woman’s reproductive years is normal, albeit extremely stressful and emotionally painful for the patient. However, if the woman experiences two or more miscarriages, one right after the other, then some diagnostic work may be necessary to understand why this is happening.

After you’ve spoken to your doctor regarding your concerns, they should take the following steps to gain a better understanding about what’s going on:
  • Examine your medical history
  • Perform a pelvic exam
  • Order one or more diagnostic tests
If your medical history and the results of the pelvic exam don’t uncover enough information regarding the cause of recurrent pregnancy loss, then here is a list of diagnostic tests your doctor will most likely order.
  • Blood hormone levels: Your doctor may order blood tests to examine the certain hormone levels in your blood such as progesterone, prolactin, and thyroid stimulating hormone.
  • Glucose screening: This is a type of blood test that can diagnose diabetes mellitus, which can increase the chances of miscarriage if left untreated.
  • Ovarian reserve testing: Your doctor may want to test the quality and quantity of your eggs to rule out possible age-related decrease in ovarian functioning.
  • Vaginal ultrasound: High frequency sound waves are used to identify abnormalities around the or within the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
  • Sperm DNA fragmentation testing: This test reveals if the quality of the sperm and DNA fragmentation are the cause of pregnancy loss.
  • Endometrial biopsy: This procedure involves examining an endometrial tissue sample to determine if there’s a possible infection causing pregnancy loss.
  • Karotype: This test examines your chromosomes and is used to identify genetic defects.
  • Antiphospholipid antibody testing: This is a blood test that detects immune system abnormalities that could be contributing to pregnancy loss.
  • Hysteosalpingogram: Fluoroscopy and a special dye are used to evaluate the internal structure of your uterus and the stability of your fallopian tubes to sustain a pregnancy.
  • Saline Sonohysterogram: A transvaginal ultrasound is performed by placing sterile water into the cavity of the uterus to identify abnormalities like fibroids, polyps, and scar tissue within the endometrial cavity.
  • Hysteroscopy: A thin fiberoptic scope is inserted into the uterus to examine the uterine cavity.

When Should You Visit a Fertility Clinic?

It’s hard to know when the right time is to consult a fertility specialist regarding pregnancy. Some couples take the leap immediately after the first miscarriage because they want to do everything they can to prevent recurring pregnancy loss. Others wait until the recurrence of miscarriage before they decide to seek fertility testing or treatment.

The reality is that you need to give both your body and your heart enough time to heal before even considering trying again.

At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, we provide compassionate and transparent comprehensive fertility services to all of our patients. We understand the immense physical and emotional implications of suffering a miscarriage for all parties involved. Our experienced staff will make appropriate professional medical recommendations and provide in-depth testing to rule out all possible causes and ensure that you get the best possible care when visiting our fertility clinic. Contact us today to book a consultation with one of our esteemed fertility specialists.

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4271 King St East, Suite 200
Kitchener, ON
N2P 2X7

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Saturday-Sunday: 8am-12pm

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Phone: 519.650.0011
Fax: 519.650.0033
info@onefertilitykw.com

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