All Articles Tagged "fertility issues"

Surprising Things That Affect Your Fertility

August 18th, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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infertilityMany women don’t think about their fertility until there’s a problem. Some women think about it, but the only planning they think about is financial planning. And while it’s certainly true that your bank account needs to be ready if you plan on supporting a child, the most padded bank account cannot help you if you’ve harmed your fertility in the past. Most women know that doing drugs or suffering from an eating disorder can cause fertility problems later in life. It’s also common knowledge that certain STDs like chlamydia can lead to issues that make it difficult to conceive. But this knowledge has also led to the dangerous myth that only people with traumatic pasts and obviously unhealthy lifestyles can struggle to conceive, and that’s simply not true. Here are 15 surprising things that can affect your fertility.

What Not To Say To A Friend Who Is Struggling With Infertility

July 25th, 2016 - By Alyssa Rachelle
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I’m at a point in my life where most of my friends are married and/or have kids. I also have a few friends who are happily married but do not have kids by no choice of their own.

Unfortunately, about six percent of married women struggle with infertility, and upon hearing about my friends’ struggles, words seemed to escape me. I felt that anything that would come out of my mouth would be the wrong thing to say. Unlike myself, many people share their opinions and advice with women, and sometimes men, who are not able to have kids. And while these people usually mean no harm, quite often, their sentiments can be upsetting.

Even Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen discussed how hurtful people’s questions can be in regards to their fertility struggles, or by simply asking, “When are you going to have children?”

Although everyone handles their infertility differently, there are so many ways to be supportive of a friend or family member while being mindful of infertility etiquette.

Don’t Give Suggestions

Chances are, your friend has already surfed the Internet, talked with other people who are going through the same struggle, or consulted a doctor. Of course, you want to help, but your nonprofessional advice won’t likely be warmly accepted.

Please don’t suggest various fertility treatments or mention that they should adopt. And don’t say what could possibly be wrong with your friend or their spouse. They are most likely stressing out about why they hasn’t conceived, so any extra guesses on your part will not help. None of that makes such a complicated situation better.

Don’t Share, Unnecessarily

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was hesitant to share the news with friends who were struggling with infertility. I had to realize that if I didn’t share it, especially as the news was starting to spread, then it would have been a disservice to our friendship not hearing it from me first.

Now, if you are pregnant, sharing such an announcement with your friend is one thing, but sharing the headaches that come with pregnancy is another. I’m sure they don’t want to hear all that, because after all, the end result is a healthy baby.

Blogger Liz Marie, who has suffered with infertility, wrote in her post, 10 Things Not To Say To A Person Struggling With Infertility, “The constant complaining in front of someone who struggles with fertility is a big no. It’s very inconsiderate and if you are close to the person it can be very hurtful.”

Additionally, if you already have kids, it’s best not to complain too much about them. By doing this, you may think that you’re trying to ease a friend’s pain by acting as though being a mom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. However, I’m sure that your friend would love to deal with all the ups and downs of parenting.

Do Research

If you’ve never struggled with infertility, it’s probably hard to empathize with a friend. Do your research so that you can become more insightful on the topic. In fact, reading other women’s experiences can be even more helpful.

And to family members, before the next holiday dinner, be thoughtful of your relative who has yet to have children. Save the inquiries into when they will be adding to their family, and encourage other relatives to do the same.

Comedian GloZell Green Gets Serious About Infertility, Surrogacy And Having A Baby At 43

May 2nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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You either love GloZell Green’s eccentric act or you side-eye it all. But a recent interview with Refinery29 is exposing a different, vulnerable side of Green that is making everyone pay attention, and is also making the colorful comedian all the more relatable.

She spoke with the publication about infertility for National Infertility Week (which was last week, from April 24-30) and explained that while she was making people laugh in front of the camera, for the last few years, she was going through a painful fertility journey behind the camera. As Green, who is married, pointed out, she decided to put her quest for motherhood on overdrive at the age of 39, and her doctors told her that it was pretty much too late for her.

“My mom told me, ‘Make sure you do everything you want to do before you have kids,'” Green told Refinery29. “So that’s what I was doing. But biologically, the body is just like, well, you should have done it. And all the doctors that I went to, except for the last one, made me feel like I was just so old. You know, ‘You should have frozen your eggs at 20.’ Well, who’s thinking about that at 20?”

But Green didn’t give up. She pursued all of her options before eventually being blessed to have a surrogate offer to help, going that route because she had endometriosis and her uterine lining was thin. (Note: She did share that the surrogate is a White woman, which some people gave her flack over. But as she put it, “when you get to that point, you don’t care. You’re just happy that someone is willing to do be [sic] your surrogate, because it’s very dangerous.”)

“I started looking into this at 39, and I’m 43, and it’s just now happening,” Green said. “The only procedure I had done was the egg retrieval, and I had that done six times. I wasn’t going to carry the child myself, so I didn’t have to do any other procedures. It took three years from talking about it, to meeting with Wendie Wilson-Miller from Gifted Journeys Surrogacy, to finding the right doctor, to doing the egg retrieval, and finding the right surrogate.”

The baby, a girl, is set to be born in August, and in the meantime, Green is trying not to stress herself, or her surrogate out. She often finds herself worried when her surrogate travels, but she doesn’t want to keep the woman from doing what she wants and needs to for herself, in order for her pregnancy to be an easy and happy one.

As she waits, she’s also looking forward to hopefully having another child (“I have a few more eggs left that passed the test”) and continuing with sharing her story, so that other women know they’re not alone. And also so other women know that they shouldn’t let the ups and downs of such a painful process stop them from seeing it through.

“Don’t stop. It can get discouraging — Oh, it didn’t work or Oh, I lost the baby or I can’t do this again. You can. And when you get the kid, you’ll be happy that you did. But it’s a very painful process for a lot of people. You just have to figure out how it’s gonna get done.”

Serious Question: Would You Have Sex With Your Sperm Donor In Front Of Your Husband?

October 7th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Thirteen years ago, Ed Houben (pronounced who-been) decided to become a sperm donor because he doubted he would ever have a family of his own. As he became more comfortable with his side-occupation, Houben created a schedule where he visited the donation clinic twice a month. However, the Netherland’s citizen began to feel the process lacked intimacy. So, after donating in the icy atmosphere for the umpteenth time, Houben decided to create his own site offering artificial insemination services via house calls.

During his house calls, Houben would get to know his client/s and would then produce a sample of his sperm in their bathroom. The client/s would then insert his sperm into the syringe in order to get pregnant. However, during one visit, Houben’s procedure changed; instead of producing his sperm in a cup, the couple asked Houben to donate his sperm, the old-fashion way. Houben told GQ Magazine, the wife wanted to have sexual intercourse with him in order to expand her family because she felt artificial insemination was an impersonal process.

Interestingly enough, the woman’s husband joined her and Houben in bed, so he could be present when his child was conceived. “We were three persons in the bed, and I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to say. I had this combat inside—my head full of non-stimulating thoughts—but he never even accidentally touched me,” Houben reminisced to GQ. “He wanted to be present when his child was created.” Ever since that experience, Houben has been paid not only for his sperm donation but to travel across the world to help couples and single women create the miracle of life. Although Houben describes himself as “the truly ugly guy with glasses” and has not had a romantic relationship of his own in years, he has fathered over 106 children—something he thought he would never be able to do prior to becoming a sperm donor.

The BBC has hailed him as the “most virile man in Europe” and many in his local community call him the “Babymaker,” though many believe Houben is dismissing his morals and crossing boundaries between married couples. Houben explained his relationships with the women are just quasi-friendships and noted about 20 percent of the husbands are present while their wives and he engaged in sexual intercourse. Other husbands tend to wait outside the room or in the car. Houben also said many of these couples tried every reproductive procedure possible to get pregnant. So, after spending large amounts of money to help with their fertility issues, the option of  having sex with another person to conceive a baby doesn’t seem that out of the question or ludicrous.

While I read about how Houben donates sperm, I found it interesting people judged him and the couples who use his services. Cultures and societies, alike, believe producing children is the greatest accomplishment for individuals to achieve. Though when couples are not able to attain that particular goal, they are shamed and ridiculed. By couples taking a more modern approach with how they define marriage and achieve parenthood, they can be more comfortable with their unconventional choices. It also doesn’t allow them to succumb to society’s trick of wanting people to have it all but objects to the options they need to gain what they desire.

Would you have sexual intercourse with a sperm donor in order to get pregnant?

Rhonda Ross On Her 10-Year Struggle To Conceive

October 5th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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J. Quazi King

J. Quazi King

Rhonda Ross as told to mater mea
Images: J. Quazi King

My husband and I have been together for a long time, almost 20 years. For the first 10 [years], maybe longer, we tried unsuccessfully to conceive. I was in my 20s and everybody said, “Ah, you’re in your 20s! You’re fine! Just try harder!”

Then by 30, they’re like “Well, maybe we should check some things out.” And then by 35, they’re like “Well. Now you’re old.” (Laughs) It was a very difficult time. I think these kinds of things either make or break relationships, and it made ours. Infertility can be really hard, especially on a young marriage. Then in early 2006, we got pregnant through IVF and miscarried twins at eight weeks.

After that, we got pregnant naturally and it turned out that pregnancy was ectopic and so we lost that [baby]. Then we conceived naturally again and held that baby for four and half months. But I had fibroids and, as can happen when you have fibroids during pregnancy, I went into labor early. So we lost that pregnancy, too.

Photo: J. Quazi King Ross with her son Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick in their apartment's courtyard in Harlem.

Photo: J. Quazi King
Ross with her son Raif-Henok Emmanuel Kendrick in their apartment’s courtyard in Harlem.

It was such a deepening experience. My faith got deepened, my communication with God got deeper, my “What do I really want?”, “What do I believe about God?”, “What do I believe about my own fears, my own regrets?” got deepened.

I knew, I knew, I knew that I would be a mother. I knew it. There was all of this darkness, but there was this pinpoint of light and I thought, “I still see it. Nothing is justifying it, but I still see it.”

One of the things I made a decision about after the third miscarriage was that whenever I got pregnant again, I was going to put myself on bedrest. I wanted to find a way to have income outside of my performances, and since I had already been interested in real estate investment [I started my brokerage firm]. I healed myself for a year. At the end of that year, we tried again.

And with one try, we were pregnant again and it was Raif. No help from doctors, no anything. I did go to a high-risk OBGYN, but the truth is it was a very healthy pregnancy and Raif has been very healthy ever since. It was like he was meant to be here. He wanted to be here. Despite wanting to have a child since my 20s and ending up having one, one week before my 38th birthday, the timing was perfect. That’s how God works.

reprinted with permission

mater mea is a website that celebrates women of color at the intersection of career and family. Visit for more great articles on work-life balance from a Black woman’s perspective.

Tyra Banks Talks About Her Fertility Struggles

September 16th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Celebrities visiting a gifting suite in Brentwood Featuring: Tyra Banks Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 16 Aug 2015 Credit:


It’s a big week for celebrity women talking about fertility issues. Just a few days ago Gabrielle Union discussed feeling “barren” when she thinks about choosing a career first over being a mother. not being able to have kids.

In the upcoming issue of People magazine (on newsstands Friday), supermodel-turned-mogul Tyra Banks opens up about her personal struggle with infertility. The entrepreneur just launched her new daytime talk show, Tyra Presents The Fab Life, but her one true dream is to become a mom.

“When I turned 40, the one thing I was not happy about is that I did not have kids,” Banks tells People. “I’m like, ‘Damn, the clock is ticking!’ ”

Banks, 41, reveals that since age 24 she would tell herself, ‘I will have kids in three years,’ but being so busy with work, she never found the time. When she was finally ready to become pregnant, she says, it just hasn’t happened.

Banks, who has been dating her boyfriend, photographer Erik Asla for two years, has undergone IVF procedures in hopes of conceiving. She says Asla has been a major support through some “not so happy, traumatic moments,” and they look forward to growing old together.

Banks says she still has hopes and wants a litter of kids, and has admittedly taken a much less workaholic approach to this new talk show. Her co-hosts, Chrissy Teigen (the resident food pro) Joe Zee (fashion), Lauren Makk (interior design) and Leah Ashley (DIY) are sharing their expertise – and lightening Banks’ load. “With this team, I’m presenting these people and their ideas, and I can sit back sometimes.”

We hope the best for her!

Things You’re Doing Today That Are Hurting Your Fertility Tomorrow

August 24th, 2015 - By Julia Austin
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Maybe you don’t want kids today. Maybe you don’t even want them within the next five years. But if you want them at some point, you should be preparing now. You can’t just rapidly clean up the mess you’ve made the moment you want to have kids. Mistakes you make today can permanently hurt your fertility. Here are 15 things you’re doing today that are hurting your fertility tomorrow.





Ask Dr. Renee: How Does Having Breast Cancer Affect Fertility?

July 24th, 2014 - By Raven Carter
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How Does Having Breast Cancer Affect Fertility?

Image Source:

Breast cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. Unfortunately Black women are being diagnosed at younger ages. Black\women under the age of 40 are more likely to develop breast cancer than White women in the same age bracket. As if receiving a breast cancer diagnosis was not enough to worry about, now you have to worry about whether you will be able to ever have children once you become a survivor.

More than 11,000 women under the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. each year. How breast cancer treatment affects fertility depends largely on three factors: the type of treatment used, type and stage of the cancer at diagnosis, and the age of the patient.

Type of Treatment

If your breast cancer can be treated with surgery and radiation and no chemotherapy there is no affect on your fertility. The women that are treated with chemotherapy have a greater risk of developing premature ovarian failure or very early menopause. Cyclophosphamide, one of the most common chemotherapy drugs used to treat breast cancer, has a 40-80% risk of causing women to develop ovarian failure.

Type and Stage of Cancer

The severity of the cancer upon detection, as well as what type of cancer it is, decide whether chemotherapy will be required to treat the disease. The more advanced the cancer is upon detection, increases the likelihood that chemotherapy will be the treatment of choice. Chemotherapy drugs affect the whole body, which is why there are so many side affects when taking these medications.  A small tumor with small nodes that are localized and have no threat of spreading (metastasizing) can be surgically removed and radiation administered to make certain they are all gone. Compared to invasive breast cancer which will require chemotherapy.

There are different types of breast cancer tumors, which will also dictate which treatment is best. Some tumors can be treated with hormone-containing drugs.  There are a small number of tumors that are “hormonally insensitive,” meaning you can not treat them with hormones so your only treatment option is chemotherapy.

Age of Patient

Age is a major factor in a woman’s fertility. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer and you are already 30 your fertility was already declining. Now, you add the fact that you are taking chemotherapy drugs and have to wait a few more years after you are medically cleared to try to get pregnant. Many times chemotherapy sends women close to 40 into menopause.

Preserving Fertility

Recently I talked about whether or not you “should freeze your eggs.” Many of those methods are recommended to patients who want to preserve their fertility until after they are cancer free. If you have a partner you could try invitro fertilization (IVF) where your partner’s sperm fertilizes your eggs and they freeze the embryos for transplantation into your uterus at a later date.

It is rare for men to get breast cancer, but it happens. Male breast cancer patients that undergo chemotherapy and want to preserve their fertility can freeze their sperm.

Tamoxifen, a drug traditionally used to prevent breast cancer reoccurrence, was recently found to stimulate ovaries in breast cancer survivors during an IVF cycle, enhancing both egg and embryo production. This extra boost can combat infertility barriers such as age and the diminishing ovarian reserves, which occurs naturally with aging.

When Can I Try To Conceive?

Women that are fertile after their breast cancer treatment are generally told to wait two years before trying to get pregnant. The most serious relapses occur in the first two years. During pregnancy the hormone levels are so high that it could possibly contribute to a growing cancer tumor, which is why it is so important to wait at least two years before trying.

Science has come a long way and is still doing lots of research to figure out how to preserve male and female fertility during breast cancer treatment. If you are diagnosed with breast cancer and you plan on having a family, I would recommend you have this discussion with your doctor immediately and ask for a recommendation for a reproductive endocrinologist. The oncologist and reproductive endocrinologist will have to work together to determine what is the best avenue for you to have a baby.


Source: Ask Dr. Renee

Source: Ask Dr. Renee


Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and WGN’s “People to People”  where she discussed different health topics. She started her media career with her own radio show on Sirius XM/ReachMD, a programming source for health professionals. In addition Dr. Renee has been a featured medical correspondent on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning.” 

Dr. Renee earned her undergraduate degree in 1999 and her Medical Doctorate in 2005. She spent the early part of her medical career as an educator for numerous hospitals and attending staff on cord blood. 

Twitter: @AskDrRenee

Kenya Moore Says Her Body Has Been Cleared For Baby Making: ‘I Hope To Share Some Great News Soon!’

March 21st, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Kenya Moore Says Her Body Has Been Cleared For Baby Making

Source: Instagram

It’s no secret that Kenya Moore has big dreams of becoming a mom someday. And according to a recent blog post, she’s hoping to conceive in the very near future. With whom she’s looking to go half on a baby with is a completely different story.

“I underwent fibroid surgery early this year and it was very successful,” Moore gushed in the blog post. “Thanks to my amazing doctor and my many blessings, physically, I’m in amazing condition for pregnancy. I hope to share some great news soon.”

During Sunday night’s episode, fans witnessed the former pageant queen’s eagerness to conceive first hand when she invited a few of the Housewives to a Shaman cleansing, which is believed to assist with fertility.

“You never know how your blessings will come or from whom,” she explained. “The Shamans have been known to bless many women with children after their spiritual cleansing. I brought the women who had been supportive of me in my endeavor to have a family.”

Kenya then went on to express why she chose to exclude some of the cast from the ceremony.

“I excluded Phaedra who cold heartedly remarked about me having ‘scrambled eggs’ and Porsha for consistently taunting me about the men in my life, which leads to a family.”

“With that said, I now see that NeNe’s snide remarks made me regret inviting her,” adds the 43-year-old reality star. “I’ve been more than generous with her, but I am too fed up with her to see any good in her. This was my honest attempt at revealing more of who I am and what my real struggles have been.”

Despite her displeasure with NeNe’s response to the ceremony, she says that it wasn’t a complete waste, as she was able to connect with some of the other ladies.

“I’m thankful that they all were able to share their stories on motherhood allowing us to understand each other more. It truly inspired me.”

Good luck, Kenya!

Oh? Kim Kardashian Says Khloe Wasn’t Trying To Have A Baby With Lamar Because ‘She Knew It Wasn’t Right’

January 24th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Sources: YouTube, WENN

Sources: YouTube, WENN

After years of the public being led to believe that Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom didn’t have children together because of Khloe’s fertility issues, her older sister, Kim, is now saying that there’s a lot more to that story. According to Kim, Khloe wasn’t really trying to have a baby with Lamar.

“For so long everyone in our family was feeling so sad for Khloe, thinking that she wasn’t getting pregnant and everyone around her was,” Kim told Jimmy Kimmel. “And the whole time she wasn’t trying [to get pregnant].”

Kim went on to say that in addition to Khloe’s marital woes, she wasn’t really ready to be a mother.

“She wasn’t showing up to these doctor appointments behind our backs on purpose, and she just knew it wasn’t right [to get pregnant at that time].”

Kim later released a statement regarding the comments she made on the show, insisting that people are twisting her words.

“I’m so tired of people twisting my words,” Kim tweeted. “Khloe did start fertility and she wanted to have a baby, but I believe in the middle of the process she realized timing wasn’t good based on what was going on with her relationship. She was not ready to tell us everything so she stopped treatment without telling us. “

We can’t really see how her words were being twisted, when she clearly said that Khloe “wasn’t trying.” However, considering how quickly their marriage unraveled, it’s probably best that the soon-to-be divorced couple never had children.