Guide to Money-Saving Fertility Treatments Abroad

 

Soar from Flikr, by Dr. Wendy Longo

Soar from Flikr, by Dr. Wendy Longo

IVF has a 32.2% success rate – a considerable improvement on when it was first invented 35 years ago. However, despite this rise in success, the cost is incredibly high, reaching up to £10k in the UK, and many can’t afford it. Often, intended families are forced to consider other options; for example, IVF abroad. Many European countries carry out the procedure for half the price of countries like the UK and USA. Belgium, Spain, and Slovenia are amongst the countries known for their cheap prices and ethical practices.

If you’re considering fertility treatment at home or abroad, this guide has information and advice on the costs, as well as suggested locations. Ensure you carry out extensive research before taking this next step in your journey – your safety is key.

Submitted by Laura Chapman, ghost writer on money.co.uk

 

Crowded Waiting Rooms: It’s Time for Women to Wake-Up to What’s Beneath Rising Infertility Rates

 

photo-AumatmaShah

I’d like to introduce Dr. Aumatma Shah, ND. She is an absolute delight and I’m blessed to know her as a friend and colleague. Below, I’ve reprinted an article she recently published. I know you’ll find her words encouraging, informative, and useful.
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Infertility is increasing at every age, from adolescence to mid-life. However, doctors have been ignoring the “toxic soup” which evidence suggests is at the cause behind so much “unexplained” infertility. By addressing the underlying causal factors, programs and treatments that restore vibrant reproductive health may be a pro-active response to increasing fertility in couples that want to start families.

Infertility studies by the Center for Disease Control in 2005 showed that 1 in about 8 women were unable to carry a child to term, a large decline from past surveys. One of the concerning discoveries of the study was the observation that the decline in fertility for women 15-24 of age

was very similar to the decline for women aged 25 years and over. Ages 15-24 are normally very fertile years—thus a decline in the youngest category of fertility that closely matches that decline in older women indicates the existence of a developmental threat that is fundamentally affecting adolescents’ natural development into fertile young women.

Another study noted that the rate of unexplained fertility 20 years ago was 20%. Today, it is 40%, double the rate, reinforcing the case for an unseen yet highly prominent threat to fertility at all ages. More so, infertility—though a topic that is intensely important to patients struggling to have a child—remains a taboo topic in social settings. Women (and men) frequently do not talk about their infertility issues, out of shame that something is wrong with them, and perhaps the feeling that no one else will understand. And yet, fertility clinics have waiting lists months long.

Medical procedures now available include in-vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and a vast array of drugs that help to increase the number of ovulated eggs per cycle. Certain statistics, ignoring other variables of women’s health, do seem to show that these procedures can be effective in helping some couples conceive, though success rates are considerably low.

From the Naturopathic perspective, procedurally inducing what the body is unwilling to do spontaneously indicates an underlying root problem that we would be ignoring or covering up if we opt into what modern science has to offer. Please do not misunderstand, there is a place for these technologies and they have helped a significant number of couples have children. However, pushing the body and overpowering the body with high doses of medications, can have its share of consequences.

From the holistic, integrative, and naturopathic medicine perspective, the reproductive system is one of the first body systems to be compromised when the rest of the body is struggling for optimal function. Though important from an evolutionary perspective, the reproductive system is not required for day-to-day functioning of the body and hence, likely to be compromised if the body is under high amounts of stress, or has other issues that take priority.

From the holistic perspective, what are some of the root causes of infertility? From my experience, I have summarized the root causes down to three major factors: Environmental Toxin Exposure, Stress, and Nutritional Deficiencies.

Any integrative fertility program that incorporates and addresses all three of these components, along with discovering and treating any hormonal imbalances is likely to be successful. And, not only that, a program such as this should leave couples feeling healthier, more energized, and with greater balance in their lives.

It is a very personal choice if and when to conceive a child. However, as a Fertility Specialist, I know that reproductive health is the first to decline when the body has too much to handle (stress, toxins, etc). The decreasing rates in fertility, including in adolescents, is a call to action. We, society-at-large, need to take action to have our reproductive health back to the level it should be, even if some never want to get pregnant, because fertility is a significant indicator of the overall health of the body conducive to better quality of life.  Declining fertility is a problem not only for couples wanting to start families, it is a global problem—indicating simply that our environment has become toxic for an increasing population of the human race, and we need to take global action against things like GMO foods, toxins in our water, and other compromises to fertility and overall health.

Dr. Aumatma Shah, ND, is a graduate of University of Bridgeport, College of Naturopathic Medicine (2006) with a dual Master’s degree in Nutrition. Dr. Aumatma Shah, ND, MS is the developer of the Fertility Success ProgramTM and she currently practices in Silicon Valley and the East Bay and works virtually with long-distance clients.  Her practice is focused on working with couples who want to start a family, whether they want to use only the natural approach or they want to work in an integrative setting. Dr. Aum is also a sought out speaker in Holistic Fertility Care. In her past notables, Dr. Aum founded the Karma Clinic Network- a service based, volunteer network for gift-economy health practitioners. More info about her and her services can be found at www.conceivenaturallynow.com.

Reprinted with permission from The Shift Network’s The Catalyst

Premature Ovarian Failure – New Hope

handsAssisted reproductive technologies (ART) do not hold the answer for everyone. You have to follow your heart and your values. It’s your journey, you decide how you want to experience it.

For those that find ART a source of hope, here’s a new finding. New research looks at new assisted reproductive technologies offering new hope for those facing premature ovarian failure.

New Hope for Infertlity, by Helen Ouyang, M.D. published on Parade.com, October 2, 2013

Pregnancy – Is It Possible for You?

young-rose-94186-mCan you get pregnant?  For many of us, the repeated failure to conceive is the first indication that our path to parenthood is taking an unexpected turn.  I remember feeling so defeated each month when my period showed up despite my best efforts to time, measure, and track every observable detail of my reproductive cycle.

And then there were those cycles when I thought and hoped with every fiber of my being that I was … perhaps … actually pregnant.

Kaboom! Hope was shattered sending splinters through my heart and soul when, damn it, again the bleeding would start. WTF!

And then there was the time when I thought I was pregnant … and trying so hard to keep breathing, to not hold my breath, to keep moving so the days could pass … and what, are you sure. By all that’s holy … I was actually, measurably pregnant.

Fireworks! Dancing! Singing! Massive celebration at the soul level!

I can get pregnant!

But the serious-business folks at the clinic told me they were “cautiously optimistic” – the blood test result was a low value and the odds were against holding the pregnancy.

Way to kill my buzz.

No matter, for today I am pregnant.  Today I stand in the space of possibility.  Today I acknowledge and celebrate that I CAN.

And, I can also acknowledge that I want a healthy embryo who can grow into a healthy baby.  I stand whole-heartedly in that possibility too.

And if this embryo cannot develop into a healthy baby, I acknowledge that my body’s wisdom will release this pregnancy.

I stand in that possibility and maintain my focused commitment to creating a healthy pregnancy.

In every conception there is a touch of magic, a miracle, a sprinkle of pixie dust … whatever you want to call it.  Every element must come together just so.  And even under lab conditions, putting all the right elements together in an optimal environment, without that touch of magic, a baby cannot develop.

This is the piece that is out of our hands – out of the hands of the humans who do their part in love or in technology.  Only in the hands of the Great Spirit, natural forces of the Universe, or however you want to identify it – that’s the magic key.  Our best practice is to acknowledge this truth and respect its wisdom.

Have you celebrated your pregnancies?  Even if you miscarried.  How beautifully magical that you conceived!

Can you stand in the place of possibility?

How does it feel when you consider standing in the place of possibility?

Try this on if you need some help accessing that place of possibility:

I am standing in possibility.
I can see so many directions to go.
In this moment I am  ____________________
I give thanks that I am ___________________
What does tomorrow hold? No need to spend today on that.
I feel my joy.
I feel my pain.
I remember and feel love.
This is how I live fully.

As always, I’d love to hear from you.

“Infertility” … “Fertility Challenged” … Insurance Coverage?

qmarkI’m wondering how folks feel about the word “infertility” vs. “fertility” and how you all feel about having fertility challenges considered a disease. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings.

From my point of view, of course there are a variety of physical conditions that can impact fertility negatively and some of these are classified as diseases. However, reading and hearing the label “infertility” rubs me the wrong way. It seems to infer hopelessness.

My experience involves a long 10-year road of “unexplained infertility” and I bristle at the notion of it being a disease. On the other hand, I can see where the labels of “infertility” + “disease” bring the advantage of validating the need for insurance coverage for “treatment.”

Another question I’m pondering:

If insurance is covering fertility “treatments,” what specific treatments do you believe should be included in that coverage. For example, do you believe all physical/medical treatments/technologies should be covered? Do you believe psychological/emotional/mental treatments/technologies/therapies should be covered? Do you feel/believe that any treatments that are currently available should be classified as elective, and if so, how should that impact insurance coverage in your opinion?

Please let it rip on your most heartfelt thoughts and feelings on these ideas.

IVF Statistics – Is it really all that?

in vitroIVF is not the only road to the holy grail of conception for those facing slim odds.  Some look to it as the magic bullet — the one “sure” way to be parents using “our own” eggs and sperm.  Even though it permeates the pop-culture mindshare — for example, HuffPost: IVF — it really is not the only answer and it’s not necessarily as reliable as it is often made out to be.  And for some, it is simply not a realistic option.

However, for those who will go the route of IVF, there is good news.  The advent of embryo vitrification (super-fast freezing) has greatly improved the viability of those embryos.  In fact, the trending thought in the ART community is that a frozen embryo transferred into a womb under “natural” cycle conditions (rather than “stimulated” conditions) has a better chance than a fresh transfer.

Dr. Geoffrey Sher calls for a revision to the way IVF success rates are reported so that patients TTC can make better-informed decisions. He suggests that going forward, IVF success rates should be reported as “live births per embryo transferred.” For more on his reasoning, his post Taking a Fresh Approach to Reporting IVF Success Rate Statistics makes a lot of sense and sheds clear light on how results of the current technology can be best assessed.

Are you considering IVF? What about vitrification? Have you discussed the choice of fresh transfer vs frozen transfer with your clinician? What have you tried to alleviate your fertility challenges before going to IVF?

IVF = in vitro fertilization
ART = assisted reproductive technology
TTC = trying to conceive