Posts Tagged ‘infertility’

Fairhaven Health Introduces BFP Brand Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strips

Monday, October 7th, 2013

bfp-pregnancy-test-strips-16You can never have too many ovulation and pregnancy tests when you’re trying to conceive – but you could quickly deplete your bank account if you’re paying drugstore prices.

BFP Ovulation and Pregnancy Test Strips may provide the answer to this age-old dilemma. BFP tests provide you with the same type of accurate, high-quality tests used at your doctor’s office, but at a fraction of the price. In fact, you can buy BFP tests for as little as $0.56 each!

What is a “test strip” you ask? Unlike the midstream format tests sold at your local supermarket, test strips are designed to be dipped into collected urine. Simply collect your urine (a Dixie cup works great for this) and immerse the test strip up to the line marked on the tests. Your results will appear within minutes.

Manufactured in the United States, every order of BFP Test Strips ships with complete test instructions. Here’s to hoping you get your BFP (big fat positive) with BFP brand tests!

What is a hysterosalpingogram? Also known as HSG…

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Hello! My name is Sarah, and I’m a specialist here at Fairhaven Health. From here on out, I’ll be writing the Fairhaven Blog! Some of you may already know me from the OvaCue Blog where I chart my  OvaCue Fertility Monitor data and offer insight by interpreting those readings. For those of you that don’t follow me there…Nice to meet you! I have the honor of talking with many wonderful women about their trying-to-conceive journeys and feel fortunate that we’re able to provide them support and assistance. Of course, I’m very familiar with the Fairhaven Health product line (I track my ovulation every day! ) and look forward to sharing advice and information relevant to trying-to-conceive couples. Which brings us to my first topic….

What is a hysterosalpingogram?

Try saying that five times fast! Recently, I’ve had quite a few women call, explaining that they recently had an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) test. While familiar with the term HSG, I’ll admit to not having a detailed understanding of what takes place procedurally in an HSG test. This became very clear when women began calling to discuss changes they were seeing in their OvaCue readings…and I then began digging a bit deeper into this procedure. Little did I know, that a saline solution is used often during the procedure, which can alter your electrolyte levels and, thereby, impact OvaCue readings.

An HSG, simply stated, is an X-ray examination of a woman’s uterus and Fallopian tubes. Women that have been trying-to-conceive for some time often undergo this test to determine if a Fallopian tube is blocked, or to find problems in the uterus (such as, abnormal shape or structure, fibroids, polyps, etc). This information can help to eliminate or diagnose an issue that may be impacting a woman’s ability to conceive.

The procedure is often performed just after menstruation, but before ovulation – to ensure that you are not pregnant at the time of the exam. A thin tube is inserted through the vagina and cervix, and finally into the uterus. A contrast dye (which is visible in an X-ray) is then added into the tube and projects into the Fallopian tubes and uterus. As the dye flows through the female reproductive tract, X-ray pictures reveal any blockages or abnormalities. The dye is then absorbed naturally into the body. If a blockage is discovered, certain dyes may be used to remove the blockage.

Many benefits can come from this procedure. It is a short, minimally invasive procedure that can provide valuable information about structural problems that can impact fertility. Another added benefit may be that if a blockage is found during the exam, the dye can potentially unblock and open the Fallopian tube. Risks include exposure to radiation, though minimal. If there is a chance you are pregnant or have an untreated sexually transmitted disease, it is important to discuss these issues with your physician prior to the procedure.

One thing I’ve discovered from discussions with ladies that have undergone this exam is that they experienced some cycle irregularity that first cycle or two after the exam. Some women skipped a period entirely. Interestingly, I wasn’t able to find this “risk” anywhere online. So, please take it with a grain of salt, but it may be something to consider.

Well, there you have it! Now, if you ever hear the term HSG mentioned or if your doctor discusses this as an option for you – at least you have some understanding of what goes into an HSG examination.

Antioxidants: An antidote to declining sperm health

Monday, February 7th, 2011

The number of men experiencing fertility issues is rising rapidly, and poor sperm health is to blame. Alarmingly, the average sperm count among adult men has decreased by 50% since 1938, and continues to decline by at least 2% every year. Our modern lifestyle, so often characterized by too much stress, chronic exposure to dangerous environmental chemicals, and a diet deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, has taken a toll on male reproductive health, and specifically targets sperm health. As a result, many men suffer from low sperm count, low sperm motility, and/or abnormal sperm morphology (the size and shape of sperm). Sadly, this is a fact that many trying-to-conceive couples are all too familiar with.

In recent years, fertility experts have discovered that oxidative stress causes sperm damage, leading to low sperm count, low sperm motility, and abnormal sperm morphology. Oxidative stress occurs when the amount of free radicals circulating in the body exceeds the amount of antioxidants that are present. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules produced when your body breaks down dangerous chemicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, thereby reducing the damaging effects of these compounds. Like all other cells in the body, sperm cells are constantly bombarded by free radicals. But, as it turns out, sperm cells have less effective antioxidant mechanisms to keep free radicals at bay, and are especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals due to the high amounts of fats contained in their cell membrane. Fertility experts now believe that up to 80% of all cases of male infertility are attributable to oxidative stress.

Fortunately, an ever-expanding body of scientific research suggests that supplementing your diet with key antioxidant nutrients can help prevent free radical damage to sperm cells. In fact, scientists recently reviewed the results of more than 30 clinical trials in which the male partners of couples seeking fertility assistance were given an antioxidant supplement or a placebo or no treatment at all. The results of this statistical review study, which appear in an article titled Antioxidants for Male Subfertility, (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21249690) indicate that supplementing the diet of TTC men with antioxidants is associated with an increased pregnancy rate and an increased live birth rate among couples seeking fertility assistance.

This is wonderful news for those of you suffering from less than optimal sperm health! Supplementing your diet with key antioxidant nutrients, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, CoQ10, and quercetin, can improve your sperm count, sperm motility and sperm morphology. If you are looking for a way to ensure you get the antioxidant support you need to maximize your sperm health, check out the following Fairhaven Health products: FertilAid for Men, CountBoost for Men and Motility Boost for Men.

OvaCue: The Ideal Fertility Monitor for Women with Irregular Cycles

Monday, September 20th, 2010

With so many different monitors on the market, it can be hard to determine which monitor is best suited for you. Most don’t work well for women with irregular cycles or have limitations for short or long cycles. When trying-to-conceive, timing is everything – the OvaCue can help with prediction and confirmation of when ovulation is taking place, even for those with irregular menstrual cycles.

For women with irregular cycles, the use of the OvaCue Fertility Monitor’s oral sensor and optional Vaginal Sensor is ideal because the monitor is able to adjust accordingly to the irregularities that may occur that month. Irregular cycles are often related to a hormonal imbalance, which can make it difficult to use most monitors as they predict ovulation based on pre-determined levels of a specific hormone (which some women may not reach due to an imbalance). The OvaCue is different in the sense that it interprets each daily reading in correlation to previous readings, instead of having to reach a certain pre-determined level. The OvaCue uses an electrolyte method of detecting ovulation – reproductive hormones affect your electrolyte levels, allowing the monitor to detect the selection of your dominant follicle by interpreting the rise and fall of your electrolyte levels.

The oral sensor uses your average cycle length to determine when to look for specific trends in your oral readings. Once this trend is detected (also known as your ‘cue peak’), the monitor is able to predict when ovulation may occur, which generally happens about 5-7 days past the detection of the ‘cue peak’. The ‘cue peak’ is indicated by a light blue square (the selection of your dominant follicle) and signifies the beginning of your fertile window. However, women with irregular cycles or ovulatory disorders may stray from the average and ovulate a little early or late from the original prediction.

The vaginal sensor allows additional information to be interpreted and cross reference data received from the oral sensor. The vaginal sensor is monitoring electrolyte levels in your cervical mucus – the rise and fall of both estrogen and progesterone. It can detect when estrogen levels increase just prior to ovulation and when your estrogen levels decrease and progesterone increases – signaling ovulation. For women with a hormonal imbalance – ovulation may actually occur earlier or later than the average 5-7 days (after the dominant follicle is selected). The vaginal sensor is able to notify you a day or two in advance of when ovulation occurs. If ovulation is occurring earlier than predicted – the colored day will turn to a high/peak fertility day (dark blue) when I may have previously been a ‘possible’ fertility day. If ovulation ends up occurring later than first predicted, your fertile window will actually be extended out (continued dark blue days) until ovulation is confirmed with a pink square.

Some women may experience ovulation confirmed twice on the OvaCue, which indicates Secondary Fertility.  The OvaCue can help you detect this secondary fertility when you use both the oral and vaginal sensor.

How do FSH Levels Affect Fertility?

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Follicle Stimulating Hormone, commonly referred to as FSH, is a hormone that can directly influence your chances of conceiving and/or sustaining pregnancy. The level of FSH your body produces correlates to the quality and quantity of your remaining eggs. Typically, women that are trying-to-conceive want to see their FSH levels below 10mIU/ml. When FSH levels are too high or too low, becoming pregnant can become much more difficult as it affects your menstrual cycle and whether or not you ovulate.

Knowing your FSH levels is important in predicting how fertile you are. As your egg quality and quantity dwindle – your body tries to compensate and produces more FSH in order to stimulate ovarian function. This is commonly seen in women experiencing premature menopause or who are at the age when menopause is approaching. Low FSH levels can impact fertility and result in irregular cycles, which is commonly seen in women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). If your body is not producing enough FSH, it cannot sustain a healthy ovarian reserve.

You can easily test your FSH levels either at home or at the doctor’s office. Both tests are to be performed beginning on cycle day 3 (the 3rd day of your menstrual cycle) and continue through cycle day 5. If you receive a positive at home FSH test, you should visit your doctor for further testing with a blood test.

Fortunately, if you discover that you have an imbalance of FSH – there are some supplements that can help to balance those increasing FSH levels. FertilAid for Women is a supplement that contains Vitex, which has been shown to not only keep FSH levels from increasing but to decrease FSH levels to an appropriate level in some women.   Dependent upon your FSH levels and your age, your doctor may want to proceed forward with more aggressive fertility treatments.

Secondary Fertility – Two Peak Fertility Readings in One Cycle

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

When trying-to-conceive, many women track their cycles to determine their most fertile days by using ovulation tests or fertility monitors.  Charting your cervical mucus consistency and basal body temperature can also indicate when your most fertile days are and help confirm when ovulation has occurred. Some women, more commonly women with PCOS or irregular cycles, may be unaware that they are experiencing multiple follicular stimulation in a single cycle.

If you have ever received two peak readings or a second lh surge in one cycle just a couple days apart– you may have unknowingly experienced multiple follicular stimulation. In order to achieve pregnancy, the follicle is released from your ovary and it must rupture for the egg to be released from the follicle. In cases of multiple follicular stimulation, your body releases the follicle, but it doesn’t rupture – therefore the egg is not released and you are unable to achieve pregnancy at that time. Your body realizes that this has happened and subsequently releases a second follicle 3-5 days later.

Typically, after ovulation, fertility monitors will register ‘low’ fertility, cervical mucus egg-white consistency will be gone, and there will be shift in basal body temperature. Women that experience multiple follicular stimulation will receive a second peak reading with their monitor and may continue to see any other natural fertile signs. If you receive a second peak reading, it is extremely important that you continue intercourse as you can only conceive after ovulation has taken place (i.e. conception will not result from the first follicle that was released).

It is important to track your cycle diligently so you are able to catch cycles where there may be a delay in the time when you are able to conceive that month. Using the OvaCue Fertility Monitor can help to identify the release of a second follicle so you don’t miss this opportunity to conceive. The combination of the oral sensor and optional vaginal sensor indicates ovulation with a dark pink/purple color on the OvaCue fertility calendar – if this color is seen a second time that cycle, you can conclude that secondary fertility has taken place. When this second set of peak days are identified, intercourse should be continued as ovulation didn’t occur as it should have with the first peak reading. This is one of the main reasons that women experience a cycle that is a couple days longer than usual. Women who experience irregular cycles or who have been diagnosed with PCOS should be especially cognizant of this.

An Interview with Elizabeth Austen, the Founder of ‘Fill Their Arms’

Friday, October 16th, 2009

“…infertility has had such a huge impact on my life – I’m going to have a huge impact on infertility”!

beth1.5Elizabeth Austen is the Founder of Fill Their Arms, a non-profit organization created to provide financial support for those struggling with infertility. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University of Northridge as well as a certification in crisis counseling from The Women’s Coalition of Ventura, California. Elizabeth is married and has experienced the pain of infertility and miscarriage. We feel very fortunate to have been able to interview her about Fill Their Arms and hope you find this information helpful.

Fill Their Arms Mission Statement: We intend to eliminate the financial hardship that infertile couples experience by empowering family and friends to contribute and provide support. We strive to increase infertility awareness by educating the public and spreading truth.

Fairhaven Health: What prompted you to start a business like Fill Their Arms?

Elizabeth: There is a huge need! During my and Zach’s four year struggle with infertility, we found that our options were extremely limited. Fertility care and treatment was a struggle because of the expense; Adoption was completely out of our reach. Meanwhile, I observed how other foundations served people who had illnesses. I thought to myself, “What about infertility? Why isn’t there something for that?” I thought about how much easier things would be if everyone in our family and circle of support donated towards our efforts to become parents. As I began to connect with other couples in the same boat, I saw that there was a real need.

Fairhaven Health: And then you started Fill Their Arms?

(more…)

What is a Chemical Pregnancy?

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Have you ever received a faint positive on a pregnancy test… only to be later told by your doctor that you’re not, in fact, pregnant?

What you may have experienced is known as a “chemical pregnancy”, a clinical term used to describe what is essentially a very early miscarriage. In a chemical pregnancy, it is thought that an egg is fertilized but fails to implant. It is believed that chemical pregnancies occur quite frequently (around 50% of first pregnancies end in miscarriage very early on in the pregnancy). They often go unnoticed, however, unless the woman is actively testing for pregnancy with early detection pregnancy tests prior to her expected period.

More readily available today, early detection pregnancy tests can predict pregnancy days before a missed period. This style of test is designed for couples who want to know of their pregnancy as early as possible. Unlike older style tests that are to be used after a missed period, early detection tests have the ability to detect a chemical pregnancy.

Doctors are unsure why chemical pregnancies occur, but they are thought to be similar to a miscarriage in that there may have been chromosomal abnormalities in the developing fetus. Chemical pregnancies are not a result of anything that you have done, nor can you prevent them.

Many women suffer the emotional affects similar to those of a miscarriage; it is OK to feel these emotions and feelings of loss. While you will most likely not experience reoccurring chemical pregnancies, if you do, please see your doctor to discuss possible causes and solutions.

Infertility- Some Thoughts From Those Who Suffer

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Thank you so very much, to all of you who have opened your hearts and shared your story with Fairhaven Health. Here are some thoughts that have been shared by our customers, friends, and online community about infertility.

Infertility…

  • is the time a future parent suffers the most for their child.bigstockphoto_Couple_In_Love_73114
  • can be scary, emotional, and very difficult to deal with. But it doesn’t have to be dealt with alone!
  • is a struggle that can be overcome… we just have to believe and stay positive!
  • is a struggle that no one can understand until it happens to them.
  • is really difficult, but “Some of the BEST things in life are WORTH waiting for.” :)
  • has been and still is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to go through.
  • is the most frustrating & heart wrenching aspect of life one can go through. To not know “why” and “what” is the biggest problem.
  • is something most don’t understand. Those suffering from it would give anything in the world to get pregnant. Along with infertility comes: tears, charting, OPK, BBT, frustration, neg pregnancy tests, and much more.
  • is hard to deal with but worth it in the end when your blessed with an angel!
  • changes the lives of many. Not only do we have to deal with all the problems of trying to get pregnant, but also the many losses that can also result from infertility issues, then we try and pick up the pieces and start all over again. It gets harder and harder as more time goes by.
  • gets harder and harder as each HPT is negative.
  • is rarely talked about and the person next to you could be experiencing the same thing and u never know it. It is one of those things u wanna hide in the closet and leave there. Quite depressing really when all u want is a child of your own!
  • is very emotional, it makes you a whole different person. You feel like no one understands you and what you are feeling and struggling with. It is also very hard on couples to become so consumed with with having a baby
  • is life altering. You never think you are going to be “that person” until you go through it first hand and the experience really changes you- as a person and as a couple.

__________________

  • Waiting *patiently* for a baby isn’t easy, it’s quite a roller coaster ride! Between the hopefulness, anticipation, letdown and tears, not to mention the insensitive comments from others, it’s overwhelming sometimes.
  • No matter how tiring and frustrating it may become…we will continue to push forward in hopes that one day soon we will be blessed w/ another child.
  • I so want my little boy to have a sibling soon. I wish for it real soon, but know it will happen on God’s timetable.
  • People tell me that since its me and not my wife and that we still have a chance of getting a pregnant. People tell me to get a sperm donor and that hurts me very much. Prayers are appreciated from a great man that wants to be a great father.
  • After trying for 7 years, we finally became pregnant in 2005 with our now three year old son. We started trying again in 2007, so that there wouldn’t be a big age gap between our kiddos, well two years later and one chemical pregnancy, we still do not have another baby. I really want to give my son a sibling and want to feel the joys of being a mom all over again.

Please read Melissa Sanford’s blog post about Staying Positive in the Midst of Infertility for tips on how to keep your chin up!

The Skinny on Fertility and Exercise

Friday, September 25th, 2009

298x232-fitness_woman_cycling-298x232_fitness_woman_cyclingFor many of us, our modern lifestyle tends to demand very little of us physically. Because of this, we tend to lead fairly sedentary lives. It is important to remember that while it may not be demanded of us at work or home, exercise is an integral part of any healthy lifestyle. When exercise is pursued in healthy moderation, it can also help to increase fertility! Anything you do to increase your health, increases your chances of conceiving a baby!

How Does Being Overweight Affect Fertility?

Being overweight or obese is often associated with fertility problems. In fact, 12% of infertility cases are due to weight issues. One common weight related infertility diagnosis is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Women who are overweight or obese have more fat cells in their bodies. This fat increases the amount of estrogen. Because 30% of estrogen comes from fat cells, women with more fat produce more estrogen. More estrogen can negatively influence ovulation, menstruation, and ultimately, conception. Women who are overweight also tend to be more resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance can force a woman’s body to produce excess levels of insulin, which inhibits ovulation.

The Benefits of Exercise

Getting a healthy amount of exercise not only lowers fat cells, but it also can help lower levels of stress. Stress has been found to inhibit fertility, and should be avoided, or at least minimized by those trying to conceive. Exercise releases endorphins, which encourages your body to better deal with pain and stress. Activities, such as yoga can be a great stress reliever and have been connected to optimal fertility by specialists world-over.

Additionally, exercise can help both women and men achieve good sleep patterns. Lack of proper sleep has been shown to negatively affect fertility, making sleep a facet of good health that should be addressed by those trying to conceive. As well as minimizing stress and increasing positive sleep patterns, exercise also increases blood flow to all areas of the body, including reproductive organs.

Too Much Exercise Can Have Negative Affects on Fertility.

Many women are unaware of the fact that too much and/or excessive exercise hurts their chances of conceiving a child. Excessive and extreme exercise which causes weight loss and low levels of body fat can cause ovulation to cease. The reason for this is that not enough nutrients in a woman’s body, i.e. too little fat, means that there are not enough nutrients to nourish a fetus. The body senses this and stops ovulation from occurring, making it impossible to get pregnant.

If you would like more information about health and diet while trying to conceive, click Here and/or speak with your doctor about an exercise regiment and proper diet plan for optimal fertility. Get out, get fit, and get pregnant!

Email Address:
Categories
  • Male Infertility: Q & A with Fairhaven Health
    Why is infertility commonly considered to be a woman’s problem? Why is this not necessarily true? Please provide some research to support this. This is an interesting question. I am not sure if anyone really knows “why” infertility is most often considered to be a woman’s problem, but it is certainly the case that all […]
  • Baby Care is Going Back to Basics
    You — or your parents — can probably remember the initial nervousness of becoming a parent. Did you ever feel like you were fully prepared? Could you ever be fully prepared? For many new parents and parents-to-be, confidence is lacking. But don’t fret: Recent trends suggest that infant care is heading back to the basics. […]
  • Breastfeeding can be challenging for first-timers and veteran moms alike. What are common challenges and solutions to overcome them?
    In this article, Ethan Lynette offers strategies mothers can use to overcome common breastfeeding difficulties and provides tips for maintaining a consistent breastfeeding pattern.