Who do you trust to give you good solid information about TTC?
January 26, 2010 3:16 PM   Subscribe

TTC filter: Trying to conceive for over a year now and feeling overwhelmed. I need trustworthy information.

We've been trying for awhile now, and we are looking down the road of possibilities, and where to go from here.

Most of the information I've found seems to have some sort of contradictory study, or its just random anecdotal message board type stuff and I'm finding it hard to know whats good advice and whats not.

I'm looking for books, websites, organizations, etc. Who do you trust to give you good solid information about TTC?

If its relevant I'm female, 35 in march, and tend to lean towards eastern medicine (acupuncture, homeopathic) but I am not in any way against western approaches (Clomid etc.). and will probably try to strike a balance between the two (clomid + acupuncture)
At this point I'd tie a stick to my head if I thought it would help!
posted by ljesse to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Usually I trust my doctor for good, solid information.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:26 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

You don't say if you've already had basic tests done by your doctor. One friend of mine is having trouble because she's not ovulating. Another common problem is the sperm count or quality. Have you and dad-to-be had these tests?

Once these things are ruled out/in, you might be able to find information that is specific to your needs. At that point, medical libraries are your friend. Check your local hospital to see if they have theirs open to the public.
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:39 PM on January 26, 2010

First, if you have been on the Pill for birth control prior to trying to conceive, although a year seems like a lifetime about 85% of couples find that's just how long it takes. Just for reference, it took me about a year to get pregnant with my first after stopping the pill. When I decided to "start trying", I was pregnant with my second child in the same week.

But if you do have a problem, consider taking supplements like folic acid (prenatal vitamins are also good for anyone trying to conceive). And I like Babycenter for its helpful info.
posted by misha at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2010

A book called Taking Control of your Fertility will probably be helpful.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:46 PM on January 26, 2010 [5 favorites]

I'd suggest FAM, or fertility awareness method. I use it for diametrically opposed purposes - birth control - but it is a great way to get to know exactly when you ovulate and when you will have the highest chances of conceiving each month. I'd give it a whirl before I tried anything more invasive.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a great book on the subject.
posted by lydhre at 3:46 PM on January 26, 2010

1) Doctor
2) Taking Charge of Your Own Fertility. This is an extremely useful, reliable method (both for birth control and conceiving) because it allows you zero in precisely on when you actually ovulate, not when you're assumed to have ovulated (and thus allows you to figure out if your difficulties with getting pregnant are a matter of timing vs. actual medical/fertility issues). Two women with a regular 30-day cycle may actually ovulate at very different points in their respective cycles, thus making the days on which they are physically fertile dramatically different from one another; it also can mean that they are not fertile anywhere near the exact middle of their cycles (as is commonly, and erroneously, assumed to be more or less universal for women).
3) Doctor
4) Doctor

on preview:
I know it's not appealing, but have you thought about adopting a child?

Two thoughts 1) it's not what the OP is asking, so I'm not sure this is relevant to bring up at this point, and 2) please don't characterize adoption as "unappealing." It already has enough of an unwarranted stigma as a "second-best" way of building families.

posted by scody at 3:48 PM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Perhaps I shouldn't have been so flip in my first comment since I know this is a bad situation to be in but if you haven't seen a doctor, a doctor you like and who will look into what you've been doing and make helpful suggestions for your individual case, you should keep trying to find a new doctor. There are so many many many things that could be at the root of this that it's no wonder everywhere you turn has another answer for how to deal with it. Get some solid information about what's going on with you and your husband (there are tons of tests that can be done) and then start looking for ways to address the issues that are revealed.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:49 PM on January 26, 2010

The aforementioned book (TCOYF) is the fertility bible, but if you're also looking for Internet stuff, the message boards and fertility charting software at Fertility Friend are so helpful. Worth the price of membership!
posted by xo at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

[comment removed - folks, it's a lot easier to remove unhelpful comments if you don't respond to them.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:09 PM on January 26, 2010

The answer I have to this question you asked:

Who do you trust to give you good solid information about TTC?

is an OBGYN. If you don't have one, get one. A lot of doctors won't charge you for a "get to know you" meeting. See if you can meet several OBGYNs before you commit to one. Ask questions that are relevant to your situation, like "How open are you to non-traditional medicine?" If, after you find your OBGYN and he or she takes a look at you and decides that something needs to be investigated, he or she will refer you to a reproductive specialist.

But my first step? OBGYN. For sure.
posted by cooker girl at 4:24 PM on January 26, 2010

Nthing Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
posted by Joh at 4:27 PM on January 26, 2010

At this point, if you've been charting, doing the deed regularly, etc., it's time to call in reinforcements. Definitely talk to an OB. Get any testing done they recommend.

I also full heartily recommend Fertility Friend. If you haven't been charting, now's the time to! It will teach you all about female fertility, the phases in a cycle, and how to chart properly.
posted by zizzle at 5:10 PM on January 26, 2010

I am going to memail you.
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:35 PM on January 26, 2010

One year of trying is considered long enough to get fertility help, and I think it's only 6 months if you are over 35, which I know you're not quite yet.

However almost everyone has said here, if you want to try something else before Clomid etc, you should definitely check out TCOYF. FertilityFriend is also useful but I prefer the TCOYF software (and the book is a must-read). You will easily be able to rule out, or suspect, several common problems, which will gynae/obs sessions much, much more productive.

Also, consider whether you have symptoms of either endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome; two common problems that are fairly treatable.

Re doing some of your own research, look at peer-reviewed studies on the Cochrane Register (which aggregates studies) - or Pubmed, if you some time on your hands.

Oh and lots of people say 'relax', and that does seem to somehow make a difference, but if you're only just looking at the big guns after one year, you sound pretty relaxed already (which is good). I didn't realise this until recently, but I'm convinced that most 30+ women start getting anxious after about 3 months of trying. They just don't talk about it openly.

Good luck!
posted by 8k at 5:43 PM on January 26, 2010

Nthing TCOYF--charting will help you no matter what your fertility issue turns out to be. It has definitely allowed me to do less bloodwork and ultrasounds during my treatment than I would otherwise have to do as my charts turn out to be quite accurate.

But don't go to an ob/gyn: you want a reproductive endocrinologist who specializes in fertility issues. Ob/gyns aren't nearly specialized enough and time matters-- so go right to a specialist. The federal government tracks the success rates of fertility clinics here

Note, however, that some good docs/clinics may have lower success rates than others not because they are not doing a good job but because they take older patients or more difficult cases.

I am currently doing my first IVF at Cornell, which is one of the top centers in the country (many people come here from out of state or even outside the U.S.)-- it's in Manhattan. Feel free to memail me; I did a few IUI's (unmedicated) before they decided I should go to IVF.
posted by Maias at 5:57 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're not charting, start charting! If you go to a reproductive endocrinologist, they're going to make you do it anyway, so you may as well go in with something to show them. You can learn incredible things from charting alone...for instance, whether you are ovulating at all, whether you might have a luteal phase defect, etc. It is super easy once you get used to it. Taking Charge of Your Fertility will teach you how, and fertilityfriend.com will give you an good, free place online to keep your data.
posted by feathermeat at 6:16 PM on January 26, 2010


Work with a knowledgeable OB/GYN or fertility specialist.

Make sure, structurally, all is in working order. . .tipped uterus, endometriosis, etc. Verify your partner's sperm is viable.

Get your hormone levels checked throughout the month. Could be as simple as low progesterone.

When all is addressed, try this for a few months and then take all that information to a practitioner of TCM and see if they can help nudge things in a balancing direction.

After 5 years of trying my friend tried the above. She just had her 3rd baby. Best of luck to you!
posted by Feisty at 10:18 PM on January 26, 2010

One extra thing to have your doc discuss with you is any inflammatory syndromes/symptom sets you may have.

Which is to say, best contact for info on where to go from here is your doc. You could also second-opinion with a midwife, too, but it's going to be a whole different skillset that is best complemented with a physician.

Everyone I've ever met with fertility issues has always suggested "Taking Charge of Your Fertility".
posted by batmonkey at 1:36 AM on January 27, 2010

Another suggestion is to look for a fertility clinic that also supports/uses non-Western methods in addition to the Western ones.
posted by birdsquared at 3:06 AM on January 27, 2010

Maia Midwifery does telephone consultations on charts, healthy behavior and underlying levels of health:

Foresight Preconception could be quackery but I have friends who swear by it:

Either way, both organizations are pleasant to deal with.
posted by fries at 5:30 AM on January 27, 2010

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