Macho Mark and the missing sperm…

I was 43 years old and genuinely thought the opportunity for me to have kids was gone. I was also concerned that my hectic lifestyle and questionable diet in the last 20 years might have affected my ability to have children. Eventually the question of children came to a head as we discussed whether to have nice wedding or try for a child. Myself and my fiancé were both desperate not to hurt each other’s feeling but fortunately we both wanted to give it a go. All that said it was an awkward conversation.

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Staying positive after many years of fertility struggles

Deciding to start trying to conceive was an exciting time – I remember having ‘the chat’ with Aaron six years ago and thinking that in a year or two’s time we’d have turned into a family of three! Sadly, despite our best efforts we are still just two, thousands of pounds poorer but not too mentally scarred from four cycles of IVF, three miscarriages and a chemical pregnancy. I think the key to this has been the strength of our relationship, the support of our family and friends and the acceptance and calm that eventually comes from years of fertility struggles.

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Understanding the Emotional Impact of Trying to Conceive

‘I just want to be pregnant!’, a common thought for anyone trying to conceive, whether a couple experiencing infertility or a single person or same sex couple who, because of their relationship status, had planned to conceive with assistance.  Friends, family members and sometimes our partners too, will suggest that we relax, try not to think about it and ‘it’ will happen.

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FertilityOrla O'Connor
Three ways to emotional self-care when you’re trying to get pregnant

When you’ve been trying for a while, as you probably know, it consumes your thoughts. It also takes sex off the nice-to-do list and onto your actual to-do list. Which is possibly the least sexy thing ever. It wasn’t until I’d let go of trying to get pregnant that I could look back and see how much I’d been obsessing about trying to get pregnant. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right? 

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IVF, FertilityOrla O'Connor
Low AMH - don't panic

I am seeing more and more women attending me concerned about their AMH reserve.  AMH, is the short name for  Anti-Mullerian Hormone.  It is a substance produced by the granulosa cells in the ovarian follicles.  It is a routine test carried out in fertility clinics.  It may be interpreted as an indicator of low ovarian reserve, in other words a reduced supply of eggs in the ovaries.  

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Vegan diets and conception

Plant foods
There is a growing trend in the western world towards eating a vegan diet.  A vegan diet is a diet that excludes all animal foods and foods produced by animals. These foods include meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, gelatine and honey.
A vegan diet is also called a plant based diet.  It relies solely on plant foods.  Plant foods are super healthy for us.  Most people do not consume sufficient plant based foods in their diets.  

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Tasty Foods containing vitamins and minerals

There are lots of tasty foods which will make you really enjoy eating healthily and don't take too much effort to prepare.  Some of them include:

WALNUT & BRAZIL NUTS
Walnuts contain Vitamin E, omega 3 oils, and healthy fats.
Brazil nuts contain selenium, magnesium, vitamins and healthy fats.
You can eat them raw, add them to cakes, muffins, scone mixes, or bread mixes as well as to salads.

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NutritionOrla O'Connor
Women take preparing their body for conception seriously

Research with Irish women has shown that we see losing weight, taking supplements, changing diet and cutting down on alcohol as important when trying for a baby:

•    53% of women feel losing weight will boost their chances of conception
•    38%  of women are taking fertility enhancing prenatal vitamins
•    37% are exercising more
•    36% change their diet, with most adopting a low-sugar way of eating

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40 years since the first IVF baby!

Louise Brown was born on November 10, 1977 – 40 years ago. Louise was the first IVF baby.  Prof Robert Edwards and Dr Patrick Steptoe pioneered a technique that would go on to give millions of couples the chance to have children.
The process of in vitro fertilisation involves removing an egg from the woman’s ovaries, fertilising it with sperm in a laboratory and then returning the fertilised egg – the embryo – to the womb to develop. More than five million IVF babies have been born around the world in the past 4o years. 

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Secondary Infertility

Secondary infertility is the inability to become pregnant or to carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby. Secondary infertility shares many of the same causes of primary infertility. Secondary infertility can be surprising and stressful.  There are no exact figures available for rates of Secondary Infertility but depending on who you speak to range from 30-60% of couples presenting to fertility clinics.  The immune system is inextricably linked with fertility issues but more so with secondary infertility. Supporting the immune function should be prioritised during the pre-conception and conception period

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How to help friends who are trying to conceive

The latest research from PROCEIVE, along with Mummy Pages highlights how women feel when they are asked are they are trying for a baby. The hardest part of the conception journey reported by our mums-to-be is when people enquire if they are ‘trying’ or by reminding them that their biological ‘clock is ticking’ (33%), when their friends make their own baby announcements (31%), and seeing pregnant women (18%).  

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To Coffee or not when trying for a baby?

Caffeine consumption is a much debated subject when it comes to conception and fertility issues. Coffee can be described as a double edged sword. Coffee beans come from a plant so they are essentially a healthy food choice. They are packed full of health promoting plant chemicals. When the beans are picked, they are roasted and this process increases their health promoting anti-oxidant levels.

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The Egg Story

Women are born with around 1-2 million follicles (immature eggs). This is their complete supply and they don’t make any more. At puberty the number of eggs has dropped by over half down to 400,000-500,000. With each menstrual cycle up to 1000 follicles begin getting ready for ovulation. Only 1 becomes mature enough to do so. The other 999 or so are lost, so once you start your regular menstrual cycles, you begin to lose eggs on a monthly basis.

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Protein for Conception

Protein is a macro nutrient and is vital for conception and pregnancy. It is comprised of many amino acids. These amino acids are the building blocks of the body. It is responsible for building and repairing cells, manufacturing hormones and a healthy reproductive function. The body needs a constant supply of protein which should be consumed at each meal. Different foods have different levels of protein.

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