Our high pregnancy rates result from applying advanced fertility treatments in a caring and empathetic environment.

07/12

2017

A Fertility Doctor’s Struggle With (Her Own) Infertility

Posted by Diana Chavkin | Filed under Blog, Infertility

I am a 41-year-old woman with a one-year-old child. She is my first child. Her birth was not my first time in a delivery room, though. I’m an Ob-Gyn who had been in hundreds of delivery rooms before I was checked in under my own name. I’m also a fertility specialist who helped hundreds of other women get pregnant before I admitted that I was a specialist who needed a specialist.

Even fertility doctors can have a hard time conceiving. No matter how much help we give other people, like all human beings, sometimes we have to ask for help too.

Consider also that I was doing everything “right.” Sure I was in my late thirties when my partner and I started trying to have a baby. But I also felt young, and I am a healthy woman who exercises, eats well and takes care of myself. It should have been easy, right? Not so much. After many months of trying, we realized that it wasn’t happening.

It became harder to be around happy moms with their beautiful kids. That was something my clients often expressed when they first visited me, and here I was, having similar thoughts.

If they could do it, why not me? So I gave myself the advice I’ve given countless friends in similar situations: go see a specialist.
My doctor told me what I had told so many women: getting pregnant at age 39 can be tricky. And even though I already knew that as a fact, coming from my doctor, it still made me feel better.

Sometimes women who come to see me are shocked to learn how difficult it can sometimes be to get pregnant in their late and sometimes mid-thirties. This is in part because the media too often highlights celebrities who get pregnant in their 40’s and50’s which lets us draw the incorrect conclusion that this is the norm. What is not advertised though is that women conceiving in their late 40’s and 50’s usually conceive with the eggs of younger women rather than their own.

There are many reasons to see a fertility specialist.

Some women want to conceive faster than they are able to do so on their own. Some women have their potential pregnancies can be tested before conception in order to increase the chance that they will give birth to a healthy baby.

Some women want to use donor sperm to conceive either because they are in a same-sex relationship, because their husbands are unable to donate, or because they want to be single moms.

A young and healthy woman who wants kids “one day” may consider visiting a fertility specialist to check on the status of her eggs now. If you have a good and healthy egg supply then you may feel comfortable waiting and seeing.

On the other hand, if you are running out of eggs faster than would be predicted based on your age, you may want to make a decision earlier. A fertility specialist can help figure this out using blood tests and ultrasound.

Technology today also gives you choices your mother and grandmother never had. For instance, you may want to freeze your eggs. This would allow you to use those eggs one day in the future if you happened to have trouble conceiving down the road.

For me, deciding after a very emotionally difficult period of time to take some of my own medicine was the best thing I ever did. I saw a specialist and was treated for infertility. After a few bumps in the road, I gave birth a year ago to a little baby girl who has brought more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined was possible. I often thank her for coming into this world and making me a mommy.

So, should women eat healthily and stay fit and decrease their stress?? Absolutely! That will only increase the chance that a woman’s body will be able to house a happy, healthy and growing baby one day. But sometimes we just need some expert, outside help.

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06/14

2017

How Weight Affects Fertility

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility

Weight is a sensitive subject, especially for women. Aside from how weight affects physical appearance and self-esteem, an unhealthy weight can impact a woman’s fertility, how she responds to treatment, the course of her pregnancy and the health of her child. An unhealthy weight means being either overweight or underweight.

What is considered a healthy weight?

Clinicians use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether someone is underweight, overweight or “normal.” BMI is measured by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of the person’s height in meters. The normal range for a BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9, less than 19 is considered underweight, 25 to 29 is deemed overweight and greater than 30 is categorized as obese.

You can use this handy chart, developed by the National Institute of Health, to calculate your BMI and learn where you fall on the range: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

How Weight Affects Fertility
Many overweight and underweight women get pregnant without experiencing any problems trying to conceive. But getting pregnant is not so easy for approximately 12 percent of women with infertility who may weight too much or too little.

Overweight women tend to produce excessive estrogen, which acts like birth control, while underweight women produce too little. Additionally, an abnormal weight can cause irregular ovulation.

Underweight women may have ovulatory problems because of a poor diet with insufficient nutrients combined with excessive exercise. Frequently their periods completely cease, resulting in amenorrhea.

Being overweight is a common characteristic of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS sufferers are predisposed to insulin resistance, which causes the ovaries to make excessive testosterone. This, in turn, results in irregular or scanty ovulation.

Weight and IVF Treatment

Weight also plays a role in treatment success in several different ways. A recent study found obese women need an increased dosage of gonadotropins to successfully harvest their eggs. Overweight women also produce lower quality eggs; in fact, when they use donor eggs, their IVF success rates are similar to women with a normal BMI using their own eggs.

Weight and Pregnancy
The impact of weight continues into pregnancy. Overweight pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing complications, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, as well as experiencing miscarriages and early term births. The babies of underweight women are more likely to be underweight themselves.

We advise women attempting pregnancy to prepare themselves by establishing healthy eating and exercise patterns so they will fall within the normal BMI range. Additionally, it’s a good idea to visit their primary care physician to see if they have any medical conditions that could affect weight, such as thyroid disease or diabetes.

Reaching the goal of a normal BMI will insure that weight won’t stand in your way of getting pregnant and delivering a healthy baby.

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06/02

2017

Guys: Are You Producing Enough Sperm?

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility, Male Infertility

Many reasons for a lower than normal sperm count

Infertility is an equal opportunity medical condition. This means there is a 40 to 50 percent chance that prospective dads who seek our help will have an infertility problem, with low sperm production being one of the main culprits.

Getting this diagnosis can be very shocking for men. After all, they probably have been producing what they think are normal and plentiful ejaculations. They may not realize that abundant semen does not indicate a normal sperm count.

The sperm production journey
First, let’s look at how sperm is made. It takes approximately 72 days for men to produce a new sperm supply. The production process begins in the brain with the pituitary gland. It releases hormones that jump start the development of sperm and testosterone inside the testicles that are protected within the cool confines of the scrotum. Sperm continue to mature as they move through the semniferous tubes of the testes to the prostate gland, where sperm mixes with seminal fluid to create semen.

What is a a low sperm count?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a man with few than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen is considered to have oligospermia or low sperm concentration. If his ejaculate is absent of sperm, he has azoospermia.

Depending on the cause of their sperm shortage, many men with low sperm counts can conceive on their own or with minimal assistance and lifestyle changes. After all, it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg. However, low sperm counts can be predictive of a medical problem or genetic condition and may warrant further evaluation.

Azoospermic men, who comprise approximately five percent of infertile males, will need medical intervention to achieve a pregnancy.

Why do some men have low sperm counts?
So how and why does sperm production go awry? The reasons are varied and complex, and include the following medical, environmental and lifestyle reasons.

Medical
* A varicocele, a collection of varicose veins in the scrotum that can interfere with blood flow, and inhibit temperature control of the testicles
* Antisperm antibodies that mistake a man’s own sperm for foreign bodies and attempt to eradicate them
* Infections, including sexually transmitted diseases
* Cancers and nonmalignant tumors, as well as medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension
* Undescended testicles, a congenital condition
* Chromosomal defects
* Blockage of the tubes that transport sperm
* Prior surgeries, such as vasectomies and prostate surgeries

Environmental
* Some scientists are crediting overexposure to toxic industrial chemicals, metals, x-rays, and radiation to an increase in male fertility

Lifestyle

* Steroid drugs, marijuana or cocaine
* Excessive alcohol or tobacco
* Being overweight
* Exposing testicles to heat or friction (saunas and biking)

Diagnosis and treatment
Generally speaking, a semen analysis that evaluates sperm count, as well as movement and shape, is the main diagnostic tool for male fertility. A thorough medical examination is helpful in pinpointing lifestyle or occupational hazards to sperm health. Because sperm production is continually occurring, men can make positive changes that can potentially improve their sperm numbers after two to three months.

When treatment is needed, we recommend intrauterine insemination and/or in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), depending on the extent of the male fertility problem or other infertility diagnoses.

Though no man likes to hear that he has a low sperm count, there are many reasons for low sperm production as well as treatment options. Low sperm does not necessarily mean “no” sperm–and only one sperm is needed to make a baby.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sperm-count/basics/causes/con-20033441

http://www.livestrong.com/article/62774-sperm-produced/

http://www.theturekclinic.com/services/male-fertility-infertility-doctor-treatments-issues-zero-sperm-count-male-doctors/oligospermia-low-sperm-count-semen-analysis-0-rare-definition-what/

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05/22

2017

Celebrities and Surrogacy

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility, Surrogacy

You’ve probably seen their stories reported in popular magazines and websites. When celebrities choose to publicize their surrogacy journeys, people listen. This spreads awareness and gives the public a greater understanding of the challenges of family building for both same sex and heterosexual celebrities who want to have babies–just like the rest of us!

Turning to Surrogacy
Regardless of their fame, prospective parents may need to use the services of a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational carrier, for a variety of medical and social reasons.

Intended mothers may have been born without a uterus, have a uterine structural abnormality, or needed a hysterectomy due to cancer, all of which make it impossible for them to carry a pregnancy. Some may have medical problems that would make pregnancy dangerous. Surrogacy also may be needed for women who have experienced numerous failed IVF cycles. They can produce healthy, normal-looking embryos, but implantation does not occur, even with IVF.

Of course, same sex individuals and single men who want to have biological children need two, “third parties,” an egg donor and a surrogate mother.

Here are four examples of celebrities who have shone a light on surrogacy:

GloZell Green
GloZell is viral social media superstar known for her signature green lipstick, vivacious personality and hilarious YouTube videos. When she wanted to have a baby in her late 30s, her doctor discovered she had endometriosis and a thin uterine lining. He suggested she use a surrogate mother to carry her baby.

GloZell and her husband Kevin Simon are now the proud parents of a little girl, O’Zell, born last August with the help of HRC Fertility’s Dr. Bradford Kolb. In her unique style, GloZell chronicled her surrogacy journey and, in the process, has educated millions of people about infertility and surrogacy.

Elton John and David Furnish
This megastar and his producer/director husband are one of the most famous gay couples who used surrogacy to build their family. Elton and David are British citizens and commercial surrogacy is not legally recognized in the United Kingdom. They used the same surrogate mother for the birth of their sons.

When fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana created a firestorm by calling IVF and surrogacy “unnatural,” Elton John came to the defense of the millions of parents and babies who have used these miraculous technologies.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban needed the help of a surrogate mother for their second daughter. After Ms. Kidman’s struggle to conceive baby number two, she was very open about talking about secondary infertility and the struggle of undergoing treatment and miscarriage, as well as showing her admiration for her surrogate mother.

Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin is not only a gay dad via surrogacy but was a single man who wanted to become a father when his twins Matteo and Valentino were conceived via surrogacy. He is well-known as a “choice dad” who made a conscious choice to become a father.

Ricky’s surrogacy experience is an example of how the desire for parenthood is a universal goal for both men and women, with or without a partner. Thank you to these celebrities and others who have brought awareness to this unique, but increasingly popular, family-building option.

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HRC Fertility has an active third party parenting program because California has very favorable surrogacy law, which attract intended parents from all over the world. To learn more, click here: http://www.havingbabies.com/infertility-treatment/third-party-reproduction/

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04/26

2017

HRC Fertility’s Encino Staff Was an Emotional Lifeline

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility, IVF


Justine and Konrad were in their 20s when they first started trying to have a baby. Justine had previously been diagnosed with PCOS, so she knew it might take her longer to get pregnant. But after two years without results, she decided to ask her OBGYN for help. Justine was prescribed Clomid to stimulate ovulation. It worked, but unfortunately, she suffered an early miscarriage.

“This was the turning point for us,” she remembers. “We decided to seek the help of a specialist. Our doctor gave us the names of three or four infertility specialists, so I decided to do some online research. All of Dr. Robert Boostanfar’s reviews were very positive. We took that as a good sign!”

The couple found Dr. Boostanfar easy to talk to and down to earth. At their first meeting, he had already read their history and they felt confident in his ability to help them get pregnant.

Konrad adds, “Our first impression of the Encino office was so positive. Everyone was super friendly. We could sense the staff liked working there; it seemed like a warm and supportive environment. Dr. Boostanfar met with us right on time, which we really appreciated because it was right on the middle of the workday.”

Dr. Boostanfar developed a game plan. First, he wanted to make sure Justine’s tubes were normal and ordered a hysterosalpingogram. He suggested pursuing intrauterine inseminations (IUI) before attempting anything more advanced.

Justine and Konrad underwent two unsuccessful rounds of IUI and were obviously heartbroken. After their second cycle, Dr. Boostanfar suggested they take a mental health break — so they took his advice and went on vacation.

Both said, “We could tell that Dr. B was just as bummed as we were that our cycles had not worked. Even the nurse who called about the negative pregnancy was so sincere. I could tell she was hurting for us.

“After we returned from vacation, we started acupuncture as a way to prepare for our third IUI. The doctor was open to anythng that would help. The cycle was successful and we are now parents to Kennedy, who was born on March 16, 2017!”

They advise other couples to stick with the plan and to keep going through the whole process, suggesting, “You have to cope with the losses emotionally while simultaneously not forgetting you have a life. Taking care of ourselves, like going on vacation or using acupuncture, really helped us. Having the encouraging HRC Fertility staff to support us was also reassuring. We didn’t have a lot of people to talk to about our emotional roller coaster ride, so it was a blessing to confide in them.”

At just 29, this LA-based couple is hoping to return to HRC Fertility in Encino for another round of treatment and, hopefully, to add to their family.

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