Hard Habit to Break

No Smoking SignWhile they don’t seem that detrimental, many of our daily bad habits can have far-reaching negative affects, especially on fertility. If you’re struggling to conceive or thinking about trying to conceive in the future, it’s worth the work to try and break your bad habits as soon as possible to give yourself the best possible chance of conception. An article in the Huffington Post outlined some of the most common bad habits that can have a negative effect on fertility:

Stress–A recent study by the Ohio State University provided the scientific data to back what we already knew–stress can cause infertility.

Being Overweight or Underweight–even a little extra weight can cause hormone shifts that affect ovulation and semen production and being underweight can mean irregular periods.

Smoking–this bad habit is not only bad for your overall health, it can cause major fertility issues and pregnancy issues if you continue to smoke once you do conceive.

Caffeine–too much caffeine, whether through coffee, pop or tea, can inhibit your chances of conception, so cut back if you can.

Using the Wrong Lubricant–most lubricants are actually spermicidal and kill any chances of conception. This is where ToConceive can help! Our ToConceive product is a gel that certainly has lubricant properties to it and feels like other lubricants, but it is much more.  Our product stimulates a woman’s body to increase the production of transudate, a natural lubrication that dissolves the immobilizing cholesterol from the sperm and creates an enzyme to allow the sperm to fertilize the ovum. This process can only be achieved with transudate and is called Sperm Capacitation. This essential capacitation step is inadequate or missing in many couples due to the women’s limited production of transudate.

 

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Don’t Forget….March Madness is now Maternity Madness!

Basketball ToConceive Retail PackageWe want to turn March Madness into Maternity Madness!

ToConceive wants to help those couples TTC to get a slam dunk and achieve their dream of pregnancy. We’re offering $15 off any 1-bottle order or $25 off any 3-bottle order till April 7.

Visit our website http://www.keytoconceive.com and enter promo code save15off1 or save25off3 at checkout to receive your $15 or $25 off and win one for your home team!

New advancements in IVF and sperm capacitation

Here at Key to Conceive, we talk a lot of about sperm capacitation because it’s such an important part in the conception process. I thought it would be a good idea to review sperm capacitation because it is so important. Also, recently, researchers have made more discoveries on the importance of sperm capacitation. (You can read all about the new discoveries here.)

sperm-capacitationMany people understand that a woman needs to ovulate to release an egg and that a man’s sperm must fertilize that egg, but in between those steps, sperm capacitation must occur for the sperm to have the capacity to penetrate and fertilize the mature egg. Key to Conceive wants to educate people on the importance of the sperm capacitation step.

Sperm capacitation is essential for several reasons. First, a woman’s natural conception lubrication dissolves the immobilizing cholesterol from the sperm and creates an enzyme that allows the sperm to fertilize the ovum. A woman produces that natural conception lubrication when she becomes sexually aroused. When used regularly, ToConceive also helps a woman produce her own natural lubrication to aid in the capacitation process. Secondly, sperm capacitation selects out immature and abnormal sperm that lack capacitation. The process also selects out sperm coated with anti-sperm antibodies or strips off those antibodies to allow for proper capacitation. Sperm capacitation works to allow only the fittest sperm to fertilize.

Dad’s Diet Just as Important as Mom’s

Everyone talks about how it’s important for a TTC or pregnant woman to have a well-rounded diet. Studies now show that what dad eats can have a big effect on the baby as well. McGill University conducted a study that found a man’s diet has a direct effect on the health and development of a baby. The study concentrated on a man’s folate level (also called B9) and found that babies sired by a man with low folate levels had a 30 percent higher chance of birth defects. You can read about the whole study here.

So, what can men do to up their folate levels? They should increase their intake of folic acid. This can be done through a vitamin supplement or daily multivitamin. Men can also choose foods high in folic acid. Here are some excellent sources of folic acid to incorporate into your diet to increase folate levels:spinach

–Beans and legumes like lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans and lima beans

–Leafy, green veggies like spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli and asparagus

–Citrus fruits and juices

Pre-Pregnancy Bucket List

Saying that a baby changes everything is pretty obvious, just ask any parent! A recent article on Celeb Baby Laundry  talked about 8 things you should do before getting pregnant. It was a pretty good list, talking about a number of important areas of your life to evaluate before you embark on the adventure of parenthood. Some of the high points:

1). Get a pre-pregnancy checkup

2). Get your finances in line

3). Talk with your partner

4). Start saving

Couple Using Digital Camera in Front of Eiffel TowerAlong the same line, I’ve come up with my own light-hearted pre-pregnancy bucket list. My list is a compilation of things my hubby and I did do before we had kids and some of it is what I wish I would have done.

1). Travel…go to as many places as you can. While traveling when you have kids is possible, it’s so much harder…lining up sitters, missing their sweet faces, etc.

2). Go on lots of dates…long gone will be the days when you can just up and go to dinner without paying out the nose for a sitter.

3). Pick up a hobby…if you don’t already have one, find something just for you. Once a baby comes, you feel like you lose part of your identity, so having a hobby that’s just for you will help you keep your sanity.

4). Strengthen your relationship…trying to keep another human being alive will consume both of you. If you go into having a baby with a strong relationship, it will be better for you both and especially for the baby.

If you’re thinking about having a baby, check off your own bucket list, then check out ToConceive to help increase your chances of conception each month!

Exercising while pregnant

images-1I am a group fitness instructor and I am frequently asked by pregnant women in my class how they should change their exercise routine during the pregnancy. You too may be wondering what changes you will need to make to your exercise routine when you find out you are pregnant. During my first pregnancy I had read about not doing any abdominal work and not lifting my hands over my head among other things. These restrictions have since been proven as myths and now most in the health and fitness world would encourage pregnant women to keep up their pre-pregnancy routines with only a few modifications. However, it is always important to first see your healthcare provider before beginning or continuing any excercise program when you become pregnant.

Generally, the only suggestions I have for my participants concerning changes to their routine are the following:

1. Listen to your body and don’t push too hard.

If you are like me, pushing through the pain is part of nearly every workout. No pain, no gain, right? Well not when you are pregnant. The goal of exercise during pregnancy is not to chisel your body or loose weight, but to benefit yourself and your baby. If you are in pain or are feeling unwell while exercising during pregnancy, stop! Give yourself a few days rest and check in with the doctor. If he/she gives you the green light and you are feeling up to it, then give it another shot. Maybe your routine is too vigorous for your pregnant body and you may want to try something new like swimming or yoga.

2. Don’t do anything that is uncomfortable for you, even if it is considered safe

I planned to keep running through my entire second pregnancy but by 6 months I was already  big enough that it was uncomfortable due to the bouncing. I also noticed jumping jacks and jump rope motions were almost unbearable. Generally bouncing is not unsafe for healthy, pregnant women, but it wasn’t worth it for me. If you find anything uncomfortable, find another routine that works for you. For example, from 6 months on I stopped running, but continued to do high impact aerobics with several modifications and a lot less intensity.

3. Drink more water than you think you need

Drinking water during exercise is always important, but staying hydrated while pregnant is vital! Drink more than you think you need and make sure to stop if you feel dehydrated- lightheaded, dry mouth, unusual weakness.

4.  Expect to be worn out after exercise

Although overall exercise gave me more energy during pregnancy, the mornings after I worked out my energy was gone. If I had anything planned for the rest of the day, I would have to skip the exercise in order to save my energy for that event. Not everyone may feel this way, but with your body working overtime, don’t expect to be able to keep up the same non-stop working days that you had before baby. Try and get extra rest, and if at all possible, plan a time to sit and relax on the days you work out.

Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for both mom and baby. The key is finding the right routine for your body and making sure to pay attention to what your body is telling you. For more in depth medical information concerning exercise during pregnancy, there is a great article on Webmd. Take a look and prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy!

http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/exercise-during-pregnancy

Unexplained Infertility

While researching the topic of unexplained infertility, I stumbled across an interesting article on advancedfertility.com. To illustrate all of the things that “must happen perfectly in order to get pregnant and have a baby,”  they made an oversimplified list of the science involved in a successful conception.

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What must happen for a successful conception:

  • The hormones that stimulate egg development must be made in the brain and pituitary and be released properly
  • The egg must be of sufficient quality and be chromosomally normal
  • The egg must develop to maturity
  • The brain must release a sufficient surge of the LH hormone to stimulate final maturation of the egg
  • The follicle (eggs develop in structures called follicles in the ovaries) must rupture and release the follicular fluid and the egg
  • The tube must “pick up” the egg
  • The sperm must survive their brief visit in the vagina, enter the cervical mucous, swim to the fallopian tube and “find” the egg
  • The sperm must be able to get through the cumulus cells around the egg and bind the shell (zona pellucida) of the egg
  • The sperm must undergo a biochemical reaction and release their DNA package (23 chromosomes) into the egg
  • The fertilized egg must be able to divide
  • The early embryo must continue to divide and develop normally
  • After 3 days, the tube should have transported the embryo down into the uterus
  • The embryo must continue to develop and expand into a blastocyst
  • The blastocyst must hatch out of its shell
  • The endometrial lining of the uterus must be properly developed and receptive
  • The hatched blastocyst must attach to the endometrial lining and “implant”
  • Many more miracles in early embryonic and fetal development must then follow…

A weak link anywhere in this chain will cause failure to conceive

The above list is very oversimplified, but the point is made. There are literally hundreds of molecular and biochemical events that have to happen perfectly in order to have a pregnancy develop.

(from http://www.advancedfertility.com)

Wow! The way I see it is that those suffering with unexplained infertility should not be considered “unfortunate,” but that each time a baby is successfully conceived should be considered a miracle! This reminds me of my college biology class. I remember being completely blown away by the many “miracles” that have to occur in order or a baby to be conceived, carried through pregnancy and then delivered. Among other things, it definitely strengthened my faith in my Creator God!

All of this to say, there are many factors involved in conception and pregnancy, and if any one of them does not function properly, infertility occurs. Unexplained infertility simply means that the doctor cannot find that “weak link” that is not properly functioning. During his studies and through years of experience, Dr. Thompson, founder of ToConceive, found that sexual arousal and inadequate normal vaginal lubrication are probably main causes of unexplained infertility. This is because of the lack of optimum sperm support and the lack of adequate sperm capacitation necessary for ovum fertilization. ToConceive is a natural and inexpensive product that is designed to do just that- increase the female’s sexual arousal and aid the body in producing an adequate supply of vaginal lubrication.  It also aids in male subfertility issues (oftentimes also unexplained) as it capacitates the sperm to allow it to fertilize the ovum. Before heading down the road to IVF, why not give it a try and see if your diagnosis of unexplained infertility can be cured!

For a much more in-depth explanation of the science behind conception, please visit http://www.keytoconceive.com.

Overusing IVF: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Since its creation in 1978, in-vitro fertilization has helped millions of couples achieve the dream of having children. Initially, scientists created IVF to help women with tubal disorders conceive and over the years, doctors started using it to treat other infertility problems like male subfertility, endometriosis and even unexplained infertility.

But too much of a good thing may turn out to be a bad thing. Dr. Esme I. Kamphuis of the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and his team recently released a study that looked at the potential overtreatment of IVF.

While IVF can help couples achieve pregnancy, it also comes with negative side effects. In a 2012 study, researchers from UCLA found that IVF has a higher risk of birth defects. The IVF process circumnavigates the genetic natural selection process that prevents eggs with defects from fertilizing. IVF often leads to multiples, which can cause issues like pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes in the mom. The University of Amsterdam study also referenced studies that showed long-term negative effects in IVF children including high blood pressure, high glucose levels and more heart problems.

test tubesThe study did not discredit the effectiveness of IVF for it’s original purpose—tubal blockage and several male factor infertility. It did, however, draw attention to the use of IVF for other subfertility issues, especially unexplained fertility, which can often be solved using other methods. As the study states, “[IVF’s] early pioneers persevered in opposition to scientific, societal, and religious dogma. [But] similar determination is needed in attempts to evaluate the extension of IVF to new indications.”

Nearly 30 percent of couples face unexplained infertility and for these couples, more effective infertility treatments exist that don’t come with the risks of IVF. Sometimes, no treatment at all is needed. Numerous studies published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health have found that between 10 and 20 percent of women who attempt IVF, whether they are successful or not, conceive all on their own within three to four years.

Not only can IVF be risky, it’s also extremely expensive and out of reach for many couples. One IVF cycle can cost between $15,000 and $20,000 and most insurance companies do not include IVF as a covered procedure. Couples are going into debt trying to achieve the dream of pregnancy.

If not IVF, then what for couples facing unexplained infertility or other types of infertility? Couples have other options before jumping straight to IVF. One option is simply to wait it out for a few years. For couples wanting a baby now, that is easier said than done. Women can also become educated on how their bodies work. In the Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Mary Lee Barron explored how out-of-tune women are with their bodies and how basic reproductive education can help women conceive easier. Along with education, apps like Kindara help women track their periods, basal body temperatures, sexual activity and cervical mucus and show them how to use that data to determine their most fertile times.

Another option is ToConceive, which helps a woman create her own natural conception lubrication, which is the key to conceiving. Natural conception lubrication is necessary for sperm capacitation, the key process that prepares the sperm to fertilize the egg. Without suitable natural conception lubrication, the sperm cannot be capacitated. Without sperm capacitation, the sperm cannot reach the egg or properly fertilize it and pregnancy cannot occur. Often with unexplained infertility, a woman is not producing enough of her own natural conception lubrication and the sperm is not being properly capacitated, which is why they cannot get pregnant.

Before jumping straight to IVF, couples can use education, fertility apps and products like ToConceive as a first step in a step-therapy program of infertility treatments. Unlike IVF, these solutions have no ill side effects, are easy to use and effective for many couples experiencing unexplained infertility. Additionally, they are a fraction of the cost. ToConceive, for example, costs just $39.95 for a one-month supply, compared to thousands for IVF.

For some couples, other step-therapy methods for infertility still may not help and in those cases, IVF is an excellent solution. But couples don’t need to go directly to IVF; other easier and less expensive options exist. IVF is a viable option for many couples, but it’s not the answer for all couples. As the University of Amsterdam study states, “we need to evaluate which couples have a reasonable chance of natural conception” and look for other more effective,  less invasive and less expensive methods to help them achieve pregnancy.

Sources:

http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g252

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251768.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/your-money/meeting-the-cost-of-conceiving.html?_r=0

www.pubmed.gov/10731540

www.pubmed.gov/18765012

www.pubmed.gov/8636613

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780444?nlid=30327_901&src=wnl_edit_medp_obgy&spon=16

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More Than Just a Lubricant

natural-conception-lubrication-bottlesThe ToConceive product is a gel that certainly has lubricant properties to it and feels like other lubricants, but it is much more.  Our product stimulates a woman’s body to increase the production of transudate, a natural lubrication that dissolves the immobilizing cholesterol from the sperm and creates an enzyme to allow the sperm to fertilize the ovum. This process can only be achieved with transudate and is called Sperm Capacitation. This essential capacitation step is inadequate or missing in many couples due to the women’s limited production of transudate. In 2010 the Nobel Prize in Medicine for In Vitro Fertilization emphasized the importance of Sperm Capacitation for successful conception.

Learn more about ToConceive and sperm capacitation at http://www.keytoconceive.com.