There’s a lot of crazy advice out there, most of it being unsolicited advice from well-intentioned friends and family. Everything from standing on your head to only doing the baby dance during a full moon. The list goes on and on.
SGF’s new fertility awareness campaign aims to reach people in the early stages of infertility to let them know there’s a better approach to getting pregnant.
“While the advice is generally meant to encourage, it can be harmful when people delay seeking real help. When time is such a major factor, wasting it on unproven methods or following bad advice, frankly, often leads to delay and frustration. Creating a plan with a fertility specialist, which may range from trying on your own or moving into treatment, is anxiety relieving,” said Dr. Anate Brauer, of SGF New York’s Manhattan location.
We asked our Facebook community of nearly 30K strong to tell us the craziest advice they ever received while trying to conceive.
“After having our first by a big surprise, getting pregnant again proved much harder. One of the funniest things I was told was, ‘have sex with your head facing north.’ This came from several matriarchs in our family.”
When you’ve already had a successful pregnancy, it seems hard to believe that you may have difficulty getting pregnant again. But in the United States, nearly half of all cases of infertility are classified as secondary infertility. Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant—despite engaging in unprotected intercourse—following the birth of one or more biological children who were born without the aid of fertility treatment or medications.
“Eat pineapple core.”
Pineapples have long been a topic of hopeful discussion in fertility circles. Patients tell each other that eating pineapple on an empty stomach the day of your embryo transfer can help you get pregnant. But evidence of the correlation between the fruit and fertility remains more anecdotal than scientific.
Dr. Tomer Singer, who sees patients in our SGF New York’s Manhattan location, was recently asked by The New York Times for his expert perspective on this. His response, “There’s no evidence in the literature that says consuming pineapple prior to an embryo transfer will improve implantation.”
“Just stop trying. Yep nope. We did that and finally got frustrated. Low and behold my husband had an undiagnosed genetic condition not found for years. Once we found that out after about 5 years of ‘just relax and not stress,’ we did IVF and got our gorgeous girl.”
Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic/Single Gene Defects (PGT-M), previously known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), is a revolutionary medical treatment that reproductive endocrinologists hail as one of the most significant advances in the field of reproductive medicine. Physicians use this technique, which involves the biopsy of a few embryonic cells, in conjunction with IVF. This allows for the differentiation of healthy embryos and genetically abnormal embryos, without causing any harm to the embryos.
“Prop your legs up after sex.”
While it seems logical that holding your legs in the air or doing a headstand would help the sperm to move towards the cervix, there is no solid evidence to support this claim. If fertile cervical fluid is present, sperm will be able to swim up it.
“All the fertility myths and advice from friends may seem to work for those without infertility. Keeping your legs up after sex or eating a pineapple core isn’t going to help if there is an underlying condition that’s making it difficult to get pregnant,” says Dr. Brauer.
“Eat sweet potatoes.”
Wellness Center Licensed Nutritionist, Meghan Sylvester, RDN, LDN, weighed in on whether or not eating sweet potatoes can really boost your fertility.
“Believe it or not, yams and sweet potatoes are two different foods. While both are considered a starchy, root vegetable, yams tend to be moister and less starchy than sweet potatoes. But fear not, both are full of fiber, potassium, and manganese,” Meghan adds. “They are also rich in strong antioxidants, vitamins A and C, which can help prevent free radical damage to sperm and eggs. Interestingly, in the 90s there were several studies from Yale and Harvard that looked at the potential correlation between wild yam intake in the West African population and a genetic predisposition for multiple births. Although not proven, the hypothesis was that yams may have an anti-estrogenic effect, resulting in higher levels of gonadotrophin, which can increase ovulation rate.”
Meghan provides her tips on how to incorporate yams into your diet.
“This is not a green light to eat grandma’s buttery, brown sugar and marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole every night, but certainly feel free to enjoy a half cup serving of boiled, baked or roasted yams several times a week. While nutrient packed, they’re still starchy and will increase the glycemic load of your meal, so make sure you balance your spud with a lean protein and something green.”
“Just relax, it’ll happen!”
This is probably the most frustrating phrase for people to hear who are struggling to conceive. It’s often followed-up by a story about another couple they know who was having difficulty conceiving, took a vacation, and got pregnant. The implication is that stress is the cause of your infertility and unsuccessful treatment cycles.
There is no body of evidence that indicates that a woman’s level of stress affects her pregnancy rate.
Infertility is inherently stressful. Most individuals are used to planning their lives. They may believe that if they work hard at something, they can achieve it. So, when it’s hard to get pregnant, they feel as if they don’t have control of their bodies or of their goal of becoming parents. With infertility, no matter how hard you work, it may not be possible to have a baby without help.
Decreasing stress may not increase pregnancy rates or treatment success, but it may improve feelings of well-being and quality of life as you continue on your journey to create or expand your family.
“Let it come naturally! Due to my husband’s cancer we had to choose IVF.”
Infertility is often regarded as a female problem. However, in 10 percent of cases, sperm are severely compromised, and this can be the exclusive reason why couples have failed to conceive. Nearly 40 percent of semen analyses demonstrate abnormal sperm, which may contribute to infertility.
Causes of sperm production disorders may include a genetic defect, infection, testicular trauma, hormonal imbalance, or exposure to radiation and certain medications. Testosterone replacement therapy (either oral, injectable, or topical) can significantly reduce or stop sperm production as well.
A man can overcome male factor infertility with a variety of treatment options. A diagnosis of male factor infertility is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. The goal with any treatment is to get the sperm as close to the egg as possible. The severity of the case, the fertility status of the female partner, and comfort level of the couple together dictate the planned course of treatment. Luckily, this form of infertility is easily overcome with the right diagnosis, lifestyle choices, and treatment.
We Have a Better Approach
SGF’s new, multi-channel “Better Approach” campaign uses sometimes humorous patient stories to highlight the absurdity behind some of the home-grown approaches people have tried in order to conceive. An online fertility quiz lets people see if it’s time to see a fertility specialist based on their answers, in context with the established medical criteria for infertility.
“While social support is important and giving advice is normal and has been going on throughout the ages, we want people to know from our campaign that infertility is real and it’s caused by a breakdown of the reproductive system or a natural age-related reduction of fertility,” shares Patty Stull, Chief Marketing Officer, former SGF patient and mother of three.
At Shady Grove Fertility, we put science, medicine and results to work for you. While we have grown to become one of the largest fertility centers in the country with 12 SGF babies born every day, we are committed to providing personalized fertility care to each and every patient, always balancing chances of success with the simplicity of the procedure.
SGF practices an individualized, stepped-care approach to treatment, which has resulted in more than 85,000 babies born.
“We never set out to reach this particular milestone,” recalls Dr. Levy, Co-Founder of SGF and Director of IVF. “Instead, we said, very simply, from day one, we will always put the patients first and do what is ultimately in their best interest. This means, if there is a simpler, less invasive, or less expensive option that’s equally advantageous available, that’s what we will do,” adds Levy.
SGF Co-Founder, Dr. Sagoskin, echoed Levy’s sentiment, “SGF is like a big family. Everyone takes care of one another and that’s what our patients feel. Patients know they are in good hands when they’re under our care.” SGF patient satisfaction survey data supports this in that 96 percent of SGF patients say they would recommend SGF based on their experience.
What is a better approach? “At SGF, we believe it is arming people with knowledge about their reproductive systems, raising awareness that infertility is a real disease that affects both men and women equally, and encouraging people to seek help from a specialist sooner than later so they can make informed decisions about their care and make progress toward their dream of parenthood,” adds Stull.
What Patients are Saying
“The staff is very informative and current with their schedule. All staff are always smiling and willing to help you no matter what. I love how they have taken all my concerns seriously and make sure to make me as comfortable as can be during treatment.”
“We traveled from Texas to the Chesterbrook location and it was completely worth it. We knew from the 1st phone consult that Dr. Sasson was the doctor for us to help complete our family. He was very patient and thorough and helped navigate some unique medical hurdles we had.”
“Shady Grove Fertility changed our life! After so many doctors told us it wasn’t possible, they, not only believed in our dream, but made it possible. We are forever grateful!”
“After struggling with infertility for 3 years, I was referred to SGF. The care I received was excellent. They helped me understand the process and made me feel comfortable and confident in my journey. I was nervous and anxious because I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long. I was monitored closely, and each step was explained along the way. I read the reviews and patient stories on a regular basis to ease my anxiety. I am extremely blessed and lucky to be 34 weeks pregnant with a beautiful baby boy thanks to the wonderful care team at SGF.”
To learn more about the personalized fertility care provided at Shady Grove Fertility or to schedule an appointment, please contact our New Patient Center at 877-971-7755 or fill out this brief form.