Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Psychological Impact of Infertility

One of my biggest complaints about my first infertility clinic was the lack of individual care. The compassion scale was set at about a -10. Every time I went there I was seen by a different nurse who I had to explain my situation to, where I was in the process, etc. Nurses play a critical role because a patient is examined by them more than the doctor. I probably could have gone to medical school after my experience. I also did not have my own doctor. There were five in the group and it all depended on who was available that day. This not only included exams but the actual IVF procedures. To me that is just as upsetting as a woman's OB being on vacation when she goes into labor. It is not very helpful to someone who is emotionally unstable and needs support and guidance. I suffered many losses and ups and downs during my infertility care. The people that were supposed to be helping me the most actually ended up contributing signifcantly to my feelings of loss and hopelessness.

This article was taken from the website:
It is advice to nurses working in the infertility field. If you don't find that your medical professionals are taking this advice, speak up or move on. You need to rely on empathy and personalized attention to get you through infertility.

Couples experiencing infertility seek many different types of treatments. This increases the opportunity for nurses to encounter these patients, making it crucial for nurses to be prepared to address their physical and emotional needs.
Because of the increasing technological advances of infertility treatment, nurses are often more comfortable discussing the technical aspects of care. When nurses put more emphasis on technology, couples may interpret this as insensitive and uncompassionate. To effectively meet the needs of these patients, nurses need to be technically proficient while at the same time able to connect on a personal level.

Nurses must assess the needs of the individual as well as the couple. Individuals experiencing infertility often move through the grieving process. Men and women do this in different ways, which can make decision-making challenging. Some research has shown men are more likely to choose ART for their partner than for themselves. Having a child is often more of a life goal for women, and they are more likely to initiate treatment as well as undergo the risks of experimental and painful treatments.
If treatment has been unsuccessful, couples are faced with the decision to either continue treatments or make other choices. Choices include adoption, either domestic or international, foster care and living child-free. It is important to recognize that all of these options are difficult decisions to make. Couples need to grieve the loss of their own child before they move forward with their decision making. Nurses must be sensitive to the fact that adoption may not be an acceptable choice for some couples and the process to adopt also is not easy.
Additionally, couples who desperately wanted to have children of their own may decide to live child-free after experiencing years of struggles and failures. In any case, couples must be treated with respect and support through their decision-making process. They may have come to peace with their decision and comments that contradict their personal resolution may be psychologically damaging.

Helping Couples Cope

Similar to living with other chronic illnesses, infertility can consume a great deal of physical and emotional energy. You may be in a position to help couples make decisions about how to expend their limited energy.
Some helpful advice may include encouraging couples to conserve energy by turning down invitations to situations that may be difficult for them, such as large family gatherings or events where they may feel uncomfortable if they may be asked about plans for a family. Social withdrawal is common among couples with infertility due to the stress and pain they are experiencing.
One of the best strategies in working with these patients is to offer to listen to their concerns. Although it is tempting to share every positive outcome of others you know who have gone through infertility treatment, try to keep these stories to a minimum.
Couples going through infertility treatment are well aware there are success stories, but they have not yet had this experience. Sharing the success of others can make them feel like more of a failure if they have already had an unsuccessful outcome with a similar treatment. As a nurse, you can explain to infertile couples that others often share these stories because they are uncomfortable and don't know what to say.
Undoubtedly, nurses play pivotal roles in helping address the unique needs of these patients. With an increased understanding of the infertility process, nurses can be better prepared to provide emotional and compassionate support to couples during every stage of their journey.

Stacy L. Lutter is assistant professor of nursing, York College of Pennsylvania, York, PA.
References for this article can be accessed at
Click on the References link on the Magazine toolbar.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Endometriosis and Infertility

I found this information on

Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility in women.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus) is found elsewhere in the body. Endometriosis lesions can be found anywhere in the pelvic cavity: on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and on the pelvic sidewall. Other common sites include the uterosacral ligaments, the cul-de-sac, the Pouch of Douglas, and in the rectal-vaginal septum.

The most common symptom is pelvic pain. The pain often correlates to the menstrual cycle, but a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain that doesn’t correlate to her cycle. For many women, the pain of endometriosis is so severe and debilitating that it impacts their lives in significant ways.
Endometriosis can also cause scar tissue and adhesions to develop that can distort a woman’s internal anatomy. In advanced stages, internal organs may fuse together, causing a condition known as a "frozen pelvis."
It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis may not be able to have children.

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. The pain often correlates to the menstrual cycle, however a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain at other times during her monthly cycle.
For many women, but not everyone, the pain of endometriosis can unfortunately be so severe and debilitating that it impacts on her life significant ways.
Pain may be felt: before/during/after menstruation, during ovulation, in the bowel during menstruation, when passing urine, during or after sexual intercourse, in the lower back region

Other symptoms may include:
diarrhoea or constipation (in particular in connection with menstruation), abdominal bloating (again, in connection with menstruation), heavy or irregular bleeding fatigue.

The other well known symptom associated with endometriosis is infertility. It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis are subfertile.

Diagnosing endometriosis

There is no simple test that can be used to diagnose endometriosis. In fact, the only reliable way to definitively diagnose endometriosis is by performing a laparoscopy and to take a biopsy of the tissue. This is what is known as "the golden standard".
However, this is an expensive, invasive proceduce. Furthermore, if the surgeon is not a specialist in endometriosis s/he may not recognise the disease, which can result in a "negative" diagnosis.
There are other tests, which the gynaecologist may perform. These include ultrasound, MRI scans, and gynaecological examinations. None of these can definitively confirm endometriosis (though they can be suggestive of the disease), nor can they definitively dismiss the presence of endometriotic lesions/cysts.
The fact that there is no non-invasive, definitive diagnostic method for endometriosis is as frustrating for clinicians as it is for women with the disease.

Endometriosis and Infertility
by Ros Wood

Overall, women with endometriosis find it harder to become pregnant than women in general. However, little research has been carried out into this topic, so it is not possible to give you an accurate indication of how much endometriosis will affect your fertility.
Nevertheless, studies indicate that women with minimal–mild endometriosis take longer to conceive (become pregnant) and are less likely to conceive than women in general.

It also appears that the more severe the woman’s endometriosis, the more likely it is that she will have difficulty becoming pregnant. Thus, women with moderate–severe endometriosis tend to have more difficulty conceiving than women with minimal–mild endometriosis.

However, it is important to remember that having endometriosis does not automatically mean that you will never have children. Rather, it means that you may have more problems.
Many women with endometriosis have children without difficulty, and many others become pregnant eventually — though it may take time, and may require the help of surgery or assisted reproductive technologies or both.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

There's more to life than IF

This list was taken from another

Highlight the ones you have experienced...
I did 51 out of 101. I was surprised.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a baby bird
10. Sang/played a solo
11. Got a tattoo
12. Visited Ireland
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Ran a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (not a long one, but a dinner cruise)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Driven across the US (coast to coast)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Made a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Had a dream fulfilled
101. Have/had someone in your life who changed your outlook on life

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fellow Bloggers

Part of my research and marketing has been to read blogs written by individuals that have experience with infertility and/or adoption. I am astounded at the amount of blogs and websites out there covering this topic. There are so many families and couples who have been touched by the disheartening and inconsolable experience of infertility. When I peruse blogs, I read profiles of the blogger, and I read a few of the entries. I wish I had the time to read them all. I often email or comment on these blogs, reaching out to inform others of my not for profit.

It is amazing that so many different people are brought together by the same emotions and reactions to the crisis of infertility.
When I first began my infertility journey, I was too young and naive to know that it was happening to me. We're going back nearly five years. I didn't have a computer at home and wasn't Internet savvy, nor were blogs popular (if they even existed in the format we have now). It would have been great for me to have these blogs to refer to and learn information about infertility. I was all alone in my suffering (along with my loving husband). We were the first to get married in our circle- no one was even thinking of having kids at the time we were struggling to get pregnant. I couldn't even find any books telling a similar story to mine. What I found were books by women who were much older than me trying to fight their biological clocks. As far as I knew my clock hadn't even begun ticking yet- I was barely 26 years old.
My husband and I went through most of our infertility experience with little guidance. The doctors we were referred to did not offer support or great advice; we were just another couple trying to get pregnant, and dammit, they were going to make it happen. I would often hear, you're so young; you will get pregnant, just give it time.

I decided that I need to tell my infertility woes and experiences from the beginning. It will help readers to understand my journey and why I am so passionate about trying to help others. I vowed to make a difference in other people's lives when I found out how poorly I was treated by my medical care professionals. I vowed to try and help people avoid some of the heartache we went through by educating others.

I will try not to drag out my story but tell it in sections from the beginning.
Please look for these entries through out the next couple of weeks.
(the holidays will take up much of my free time)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Recession Confession

The state of the economy is going to make a challenging path of fundraising all the more cumbersome. It's amazing how much can change in a couple of months. I started moving forward with the idea of Parenthood for Me in the summer. I had many lofty ideas for fundraising and getting companies to donate goods and services. I did find several generous people who have helped get the nonprofit up and running and I am very grateful to them- they include, John D'Aurizio, Esquire, Dave Manioci, CPA, and Grindcolor Web Design. They have allowed me to get to this point.
I am reaching out to companies and individuals to donate time and money. I have plans for our first major fundraiser to be in the Spring of 2009. Even though the economy is in recession, people are still suffering through infertility and trying to cope with the immense emotional and financial challenge of having a family. People still want to adopt and are struggling to come up with the funds to do so. Therefore, I will do my best to fulfill the goals I have laid out as President of this not for profit. If the timeline must get stretched out due to the difficulty in raising funds during a recession, I will persevere with the same goal in mind- to provide grant money and emotional support.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thumbs Up

Ever since Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got pregnant, we never heard about Tom's two older children from his marriage to Nicole Kidman. All the hoopla was about Tom Cruise having a baby with Katie Holmes. No one seemed to care about his two children (who happen to be adopted). I didn't even know their names until recently.
Then, Nicole Kidman married Keith Urban and gets pregnant. I thought she couldn't get pregnant. Nicole went on Oprah a couple of weeks ago to talk about her new movie Australia. She did open up a little bit about her experience with infertility. She had an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage,and then they adopted Bella and Connor.
Thank you. I had never heard their names spoken out loud before.
Nicole did not go into much detail about her experiences with infertility but she did call her baby "a miracle." She obviously did not expect to ever get pregnant.
It was nice to see a celebrity, someone who has the ability to reach so many people, be honest about her infertility experiences. J-Lo has not admitted to doing IVF to have her twins. In fact, she made it seem like there is something wrong with people who do ART to have children.
I wish more public figures would talk about their stories of infertility and adoption because it really does help to hear other people's stories- how they coped and how they got through it.


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