Should we do intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISCI)?

With more and more Ovally patients undergoing IVF, we’ve been focusing on how to best support you and ensure you’re fully informed to make treatment decisions that are right for you. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is often a part of IVF that isn’t discussed much in doctor’s appointments. It is a fertilization technique that has been used during in vitro fertilization (IVF) since the early 1990s. A single sperm cell is selected and injected directly into an egg. ICSI stands in contrast to conventional in-vitro fertilization, when a mature egg is combined with a sample consisting of many sperm, allowing natural fertilization to take place. Many fertility clinics, particularly in the US, now use ICSI for any IVF procedure, or recommend and charge an extra ~$1.7k on average for ICSI to be performed. That’s why we dove into the research to identify when it’s advantageous to use ICSI, and what potential risks or downsides there are to consider.

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Should I go through more than one egg freezing cycle?

This is a question we frequently get during our free Ovally consults, so we decided to lay out different considerations in more detail. If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re already a step ahead: You know that it typically takes more than one egg to hopefully have a baby with the help of fertility treatment, and that you might need more than one treatment cycle to collect enough eggs to be more comfortable with your chances of being able to take advantage of them to have a baby later on.

In the earlier days of egg freezing many women weren’t told that each egg may only have a 5-10% chance of becoming a baby (which decreases with age as egg quality goes down), and that 15-19 eggs seem to provide the highest likelihood of a live birth without increasing the risk of overstimulation. At Ovally it’s important to us that you have all the information you need to make treatment decisions and avoid possible disappointment later on. We hope the below helps you think through whether it may make sense to undergo more than one treatment cycle, and what the decision process could look like:

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How much can stress affect fertility?

Intuitively, you may assume that stress affects fertility, and the existing research confirms this hunch: Higher levels of stress are linked to longer time to conception and a higher risk of infertility. Similarly, treatment outcomes appear to be worse in fertility patients that suffer from stress and anxiety, particularly if it’s affecting the hopeful parents’ relationship. That’s one of the reasons we created Ovally – to provide you with the emotional, logistical, and educational support you deserve, and to turn your treatment into a relaxing getaway. The research on fertility and stress also had a few surprising findings:

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Does my weight affect my fertility?

With New Year’s resolutions still going strong, your weight in relation to your fertility may be on your mind. Research shows that a body mass index (BMI) between 20-25 is ideal to conceive, and losing or gaining weight to fall into that range can significantly improve your fertility outcomes. Most research uses the BMI as a function of weight and height – if you’d like to figure out yours, here’s an easy calculator to do so. Since BMI is not a perfect measure (e.g., it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle), we recommend you also discuss your weight with your doctor. Here’s the more detailed high-quality research on weight and fertility:

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5 messages to remember on your fertility journey, particularly over the holidays

The holidays are in full swing, it’s about to get a little quieter, and you’re likely to see some friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. This can be a great time for relaxation, self-care, and loving support, but it can also be a difficult time full of unwanted questions, others’ pregnancy announcements, and nagging rumination. Whether you’re on a journey to preserve your fertility or are undergoing infertility treatment, we wanted to send you off into the holidays with 5 messages to remember:

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The diagnoses behind fertility issues (2/4): Diminished ovarian reserve

Earlier this year we began looking into the diagnoses behind fertility issues, starting with ovulatory dysfunction. In this post, we’ll be digging into the most common diagnosis, “diminished ovarian reserve”, affecting 31% of cases in the CDC’s report, which is based on ~260k IVF cycles performed in the US. Diminished ovarian reserve does not only affect IVF treatment but any kind of fertility (preservation) treatment, making it particularly relevant for the Ovally community.

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