We’ve been getting a lot of questions from our Ovally community on how COVID-19 might affect fertility, as well as access to fertility treatments in the US and in Europe. But before we dive into this content, we’d like to send our heartfelt well-wishes to you, dear readers, and hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. For the purposes of this post, we’ll stay focused on fertility; if you’re looking for more detailed information on COVID-19, here’s the latest from the CDC. We’ll keep updating this post as more information becomes available.
Should we do intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI)?
Should I go through more than one egg freezing cycle?
This is a question we frequently get during our free Ovally consults, so we decided to lay out different considerations in more detail. If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re already a step ahead: You know that it typically takes more than one egg to hopefully have a baby with the help of fertility treatment, and that you might need more than one treatment cycle to collect enough eggs to be more comfortable with your chances of being able to take advantage of them to have a baby later on.
In the earlier days of egg freezing many women weren’t told that each egg may only have a 5-10% chance of becoming a baby (which decreases with age as egg quality goes down), and that 15-19 eggs seem to provide the highest likelihood of a live birth without increasing the risk of overstimulation. At Ovally it’s important to us that you have all the information you need to make treatment decisions and avoid possible disappointment later on. We hope the below helps you think through whether it may make sense to undergo more than one treatment cycle, and what the decision process could look like:
How much can stress affect fertility?
Intuitively, you may assume that stress affects fertility, and the existing research confirms this hunch: Higher levels of stress are linked to longer time to conception and a higher risk of infertility. Similarly, treatment outcomes appear to be worse in fertility patients that suffer from stress and anxiety, particularly if it’s affecting the hopeful parents’ relationship. That’s one of the reasons we created Ovally – to provide you with the emotional, logistical, and educational support you deserve, and to turn your treatment into a relaxing getaway. The research on fertility and stress also had a few surprising findings:
Does my weight affect my fertility?
With New Year’s resolutions still going strong, your weight in relation to your fertility may be on your mind. Research shows that a body mass index (BMI) between 20-25 is ideal to conceive, and losing or gaining weight to fall into that range can significantly improve your fertility outcomes. Most research uses the BMI as a function of weight and height – if you’d like to figure out yours, here’s an easy calculator to do so. Since BMI is not a perfect measure (e.g., it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle), we recommend you also discuss your weight with your doctor. Here’s the more detailed high-quality research on weight and fertility:
12 ways to support your fertility in 2020
Whether you’re hoping to start a family, undergo fertility treatment, or simply want to make sure you’re doing everything you can for your reproductive health, here are 12 evidence-based ways to boost your fertility in 2020. Also check with your doctor on their recommendations for you during your 2020 annual checkup:
5 messages to remember on your fertility journey, particularly over the holidays
The holidays are in full swing, it’s about to get a little quieter, and you’re likely to see some friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. This can be a great time for relaxation, self-care, and loving support, but it can also be a difficult time full of unwanted questions, others’ pregnancy announcements, and nagging rumination. Whether you’re on a journey to preserve your fertility or are undergoing infertility treatment, we wanted to send you off into the holidays with 5 messages to remember:
The diagnoses behind fertility issues (2/4): Diminished ovarian reserve
Earlier this year we began looking into the diagnoses behind fertility issues, starting with ovulatory dysfunction. In this post, we’ll be digging into the most common diagnosis, “diminished ovarian reserve”, affecting 31% of cases in the CDC’s report, which is based on ~260k IVF cycles performed in the US. Diminished ovarian reserve does not only affect IVF treatment but any kind of fertility (preservation) treatment, making it particularly relevant for the Ovally community.
How does smoking affect fertility?
We’ve been getting more questions about smoking and vaping from Ovally patients and therefore decided to add to our series on lifestyle factors and fertility. Unlike for other factors, the evidence for an effect of smoking on natural conception and the success of fertility treatments is pretty clear cut: It significantly lowers chances of success. While there’s been research on smoking, the effects of vaping are just starting to be investigated.
How to manage PCOS symptoms
PCOS affects between 4-20% of women, often goes undiagnosed, and has no definitive diagnostic test. In addition, its symptoms ranging from weight gain to irregular or missing periods, excess hair growth, ovarian cysts, low blood sugar, fatigue, and others are challenging to manage. If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS or have at least a subset of the symptoms, how can you effectively manage them?