Disclaimer :: This post contains content sponsored and written by Fertility Specialists of Texas to help women with infertility questions.
When life went on lockdown nearly a year ago, predictions of a pandemic baby boom were trending. And, just weeks later, the first quarantine-themed pregnancy announcements started flooding our newsfeeds:
“We didn’t practice social distancing.”
“Product of quarantine & chill.”
“Guess we stockpiled the wrong protection.”
If you’ve been trying to conceive since lockdown with no luck, it may be time to talk to a specialist.
Tessa Falk, an infertility overcomer, sat down with Janelle Dorsett, MD, a leading expert with Fertility Specialists of Texas, to discuss how the pandemic may be impacting the path to parenthood and what you can do to get back on track.
A: The short answer is yes, it’s possible. When you consider the timeline and the definition of infertility, many couples may now be realizing that medical support is needed.
Q: What’s the definition of infertility?
A: Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of actively trying if you are under age 35, or for six months if you are 35 or older. This holds true whether you’re a woman wanting to start a family or a mom who’s ready to expand it.
Q: A positive of the pandemic has been dedicated togetherness. With less demands on social schedules, has quarantine seemed to helped rather than hindered a couple’s family-building efforts?
A: One in eight couples in the United States struggles with infertility, which means millions will need some form of medical intervention to achieve a successful pregnancy.
I know it’s an overwhelming thought; thankfully many issues can be overcome with non-invasive treatment options. Many of my patients need support with ovulation induction, which can be achieved with medication.
Q: Headlines have been touting the decline of mental health since the coronavirus hit. Does stress impact a couple’s ability to conceive?
A: Plagued by a pandemic or not, trying to conceive month after month with no positive result can be incredibly taxing. Some studies indicate a relationship between emotional distress and pregnancy rates. Additionally, being overwhelmed can lead to lifestyle choices that have negative effects.
Erratic sleep schedules, emotional overeating, increased alcohol consumption, and smoking can all play a part in preventing pregnancy.
Q: Shutdowns, delays, and quarantines have made time a precious commodity. How important is timing in terms of fertility?
A: As women, we’re always working against biology’s clock when it comes to having children. Being proactive about seeking answers is one of the most important things a woman can do. We’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have and quantity, known as our ovarian reserve, and quality decline with age, making pregnancy more difficult as we get older.
If a woman has a known fertility issue, ovulation concerns, irregular cycles, endometriosis, or has experienced two or more miscarriages — known as recurrent pregnancy loss — she should contact a reproductive endocrinologist sooner rather than later. Additionally, if her male partner has a medical condition that may have impacted his sperm, if he’s had frequent urinary tract infections, or has had testosterone therapy, there’s no reason to wait to seek an evaluation.
Q: If someone wants to speak to a specialist, is that an option right now? Are fertility centers open and fully operational?
A: Yes, absolutely. Following a brief period of limited-service last spring, most fertility centers, including Fertility Specialists of Texas, have been successfully growing families, per usual. There are new safety protocols in place and telehealth has replaced some in-patient appointments, but the changes have been positive. In fact, many of our patients have expressed appreciation for the flexibility the new virtual visits provide.
A: Research clinics in your area, ask friends and family for referrals and then reach out in whichever way works best for you. Call, complete a contact us form, send a DM, just take that first step. If you’re reading this, it most likely means your world may seem a little sideways right now, but there is help on the horizon. And, there is hope. There is always hope.
For even MORE great info from Dr. Dorsett, watch this additional interview:
Dr. Janelle Dorsett is a reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Specialists of Texas in Fort Worth. She is board certified in both obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. She has been growing families for 30+ years with her compassion-driven approach to treatment, cultivating an environment where patients feel comfortable and supported at every turn. Dr. Dorsett sees patients at her office in Fort Worth and performs IVF-related procedures at FST’s IVF center in Frisco.
Tessa Falk is a North Texas-based freelance writer who fought infertility for years before arriving on the other side of the storm. Of all the words she’s ever written, her favorites will always be “Cooper’s Mom.”