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Talk Tuesday, Ep. 8: Infertility

November 24, 2020
Dr.Howard

Stefanie:

Welcome, everyone! Thank you for joining us today.

My name is Stefanie and I'm part of the team here at MyVirtualPhysician. We are a direct to consumer, multi-specialty, telemedicine provider operating in multiple states.

It is Talk Tuesday and we are continuing our weekly educational series, talking with our experts, exploring some common healthcare concerns that we see, and hopefully answering some questions you may have.

Today our physician expert is Dr. Salome Masghati, a practicing gynecologist and minimally invasive surgeon and one of our telemedicine providers. We are talking about a problem that may affect one in ten couples at some point, Infertility.

Dr. Masghati thank you for joining us today.

Let’s start by talking about what is Infertility?

Dr. Masghati:

Infertility is a diagnosable medical condition in which a couple has been unable to conceive a pregnancy despite unprotected intercourse.

Stefanie:

Can you tell us some of the causes of Infertility?

Dr. Masghati:

Infertility in women can have many different causes, such as abnormal ovulation, pelvic inflammation, endometriosis, hormone abnormalities, tubal scarring etc. Infertility in men is commonly caused by problems with sperm cells. Aside from these physiological causes, factors affecting fertility can include age, health status, and lifestyle factors such as stress, diet, or smoking.  They work to keep you healthy later if you are exposed to a live virus. Marijuana use and heavy drinking have also been shown to cause decreased sperm motility in men.

Stefanie:

So when should a couple seek a medical opinion about getting pregnant? Is there a time frame, say?

Dr. Masghati:

The general rule of thumb is one year for women under the age of 35, and for women over the age of 35 they might seek a medical opinion sooner, after maybe six months of trying to get pregnant. Other reasons to see a doctor when planning a pregnancy might include history of miscarriages, men who have trouble maintaining erection or women with irregular menstrual cycles. Also couples who have had sexually transmitted infections and are now unable to conceive a pregnancy may need to see a doctor, and individuals who have been exposed to toxic chemicals or chemotherapy as in the case of a childhood cancer or something of that nature.

Stefanie:

When couples seek help for infertility concerns, what can they expect?

Dr. Masghati:

Usually the doctor will start with a history and physical, and then they may order blood or urine testing, hormone testing. The doctor may evaluate both partners to try to determine if there are any abnormalities, and then they will go over test results and recommendations with you. Some of these tests can be ordered by me through My Virtual Physician visits, but some need to be followed up in person with a physician in the office.

Stefanie:

And after this evaluation, what sort of treatment options might be recommended, or are available?

Dr. Masghati:

There are medications available for men and women that can increase chances of getting pregnant. Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a procedure in which a physician can insert sperm into the uterus at the time of ovulation to help with conception. And for other cases, fertility specialists may offer in vitro fertilization, known as IVF, which is a surgical procedure in which a woman’s eggs are retrieved, fertilized, and then transferred back into the woman’s uterus.

Stefanie:

What is the success rate of a procedure like in vitro fertilization?

Dr. Masghati:

Women under the age of 35 can expect about a 50% success rate for in vitro fertilization, but it is a very complex process that requires intense testing and monitoring and can be costly, anywhere for $20,000 - $50,000.  

There is also the possibility to address infertility issues through functional medicine, which is a type of medicine where we look at the patient in a more holistic approach. Functional medicine and integrative medicine can be helpful to couples who have been unable to conceive.

Stefanie:

Dr. Masghati, you have shared some great information today and answered questions that I think many couples may have on their minds. I appreciate you joining us for Talk Tuesday and telling us what we need to know about infertility. For everyone else joining us as well, this has been Talk Tuesday with My Virtual Physician. If you would like to connect with one of our board-certified OB/GYNs, or for more information, you can check out our website at www.myvirtualphysician.com. We look forward to seeing you again and we hope you have a great week.

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