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Getting pregnant isn’t always as simple as we were taught it would be in sex ed. In fact, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting or staying pregnant. Infertility is the medical diagnosis of not being able to conceive after one year of unprotected sex between male and female partners. While the causes of infertility can vary, it is important to highlight that infertility diagnoses are split evenly between men and women. Here are 5 common infertility diagnoses:

  1. Ovulatory dysfunction 

Ovulatory disorders account for infertility in 25% of couples. Ovulation happens when the ovaries release a mature egg that is ready for fertilization during the menstrual cycle. In some cases, eggs don’t develop properly or are not released from the ovaries–this is called anovulation or the absence of ovulation. Common causes of anovulation include: low BMI or body weight, excessive exercise, hormonal imbalances, medical disorders, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also known as PCOS.

  1. Male factor infertility

In most cases, there is no obvious sign that a man is experiencing infertility without testing. The quality and quantity of sperm are evaluated to determine the number and percentage that are healthy. When there is a low sperm count or a high percentage of abnormal sperm, the chances of the sperm fertilizing an egg are lower. There are several ways in which sperm production can be considered abnormal, the most common being:

-Azoospermia (no measurable level of sperm in the semen)

-Oligospermia (low concentration of sperm in the semen. Oftentimes, exhibiting a higher percentage of abnormal sperm cells)

-Necrospermia (when the sperm in the semen is either immobile or dead)

The most common causes of male factor infertility include: sperm production as a result of genetic abnormalities, infections, chemicals or medication; sperm transportation as a result of infections, prostate related problems and vasectomies.

  1. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity. The tissue can grow on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, lower intestines, or pelvic muscles. This can cause symptoms such as pelvic pain and painful periods. Endometriosis can cause inflammation in the pelvis and infertility.

  1. Unexplained infertility

15-30 percent of couples experiencing infertility are diagnosed as having unexplained infertility, which is a non-diagnosis that happens when standard fertility testing has not been successful in identifying the direct cause for someone’s inability to conceive.

  1. Tubal factor infertility 

Tubal factor infertility occurs when the fallopian tube(s) are blocked due to diseases, damage, or scarring. These obstructions can block sperm from fertilizing the egg or stop the embryo from traveling to the uterus for pregnancy. This condition accounts for 25-35% of female infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Tubal blockage can result from a range of causes including: pelvic infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); scarring caused by endometriosis; scarring caused by previous abdominal or pelvic surgeries; scarring caused by a ruptured appendix or other types of trauma.

Learn more about the reasons you may be struggling to conceive from Dr. Julie Rhee here.

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Black History Month is a time to honor and celebrate the legacy and contributions of the Black community in the U.S. It is also an excellent opportunity to learn about the racial disparities that exist to this day in order to continue working toward equity and equality. 

Kindbody providers, Dr. Deborah Ikhena-Abel and Dr. Tonya Wood, highlighted some of the most prevalent racial disparities in infertility. Here are 4 things you should know about racial disparities and infertility and 4 simple ways you can help: 

  1. Black women are more likely to face fertility challenges but far less likely to seek treatment

Black women are less likely to talk about their fertility challenges or seek help despite being 1.5 to 2 times more likely than white women to experience infertility (Bey et al., 2021). Black women also have lower rates of utilization of assisted reproductive technology treatments to conceive and often wait longer than women of other ethnic groups to seek care (Seifer et al., 2020, Bey et al., 2021). 

  1. Black women are more likely to suffer with tubal or uterine abnormalities and fibroids

Black women are more likely to suffer with tubal or uterine abnormalities that interfere with achieving pregnancy (Seifer et al., 2020). Not only do Black women have higher incidences of uterine fibroids, their uterine fibroids tend to be more numerous, painful and thus, they are more likely to be recommended for more drastic interventions like hysterectomies (Eltoukhi et al., 2014). 

  1. Black women have poorer outcomes with fertility treatment

Black women had less implantation rates, higher cycle cancellation rates, and were less likely to have a live birth after an initial cycle than white women (Seifer et al., 2020). This can be attributed to multiple factors including uterine fibroids, obesity, and seeking care at an older age (Bey et al., 2021). Age is the most predictive factor of fertility.

  1. Black women are more likely to discontinue fertility treatment

Black women are more likely than white women to discontinue treatment even when they have similar insurance coverage and chances of success (Bedrick et al., 2019, Bey et al., 2021).

These findings highlight the need to raise awareness and bridge the gap in fertility and family-building care. Here are 4 simple ways you can help increase access to care and improve patient outcomes in the Black community:

  1. Educate yourself

Talk to friends and family about reproductive health. Learn about your family health history and share this information with your doctor. Discuss your family-building goals with your provider. A Kindbody pulse assessment  can help you understand where your fertility health stands. Remember that knowledge is power and it’s never too early (or too late) to learn more about your body and your fertility.

  1. Dispel myths

Dispel fertility myths when you hear them. Black women are not hyper-fertile or unaffected by infertility. This is a harmful myth, so it’s important to dispel it when you hear it.

  1. Become an advocate

Join advocacy groups like Resolve to help make a difference. Participate in online and in-person infertility awareness events. Support organizations like Fertility For Colored Girls and The Broken Brown Egg that are committed to helping improve the fertility experience in the Black community. Raise your voice by voting.

  1. Ask for fertility benefits at work

Fertility coverage at work is crucial in increasing access to care. While 23% of large employers offer fertility benefits to their employees, the majority of people aren’t covered. Fertility and family-building journeys can be expensive, complex, time consuming, stressful, and emotionally draining. Having fertility coverage at work can make a huge difference. Studies show that 65 percent of employers offer fertility benefits in direct response to employee requests. Don’t know how to ask? Check out our blog for a few helpful tips.

Learn more about fertility and the Black experience here:

Racial Disparities in Infertility for Black Women

Black History Month and Fertility: The Journey So Far

About Our Contributors:

Dr. Ikhena-Abel is a Reproductive Endocrinologist who specializes in caring for several women’s health conditions including infertility, fertility preservation, polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome, recurrent pregnancy loss and irregular or absent periods. Dr. Wood is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of clinical and teaching experience. She focuses largely on relationships, women’s health and infertility.

References:

Bedrick, B.S., Anderson, K., Broughton, D.E., Hamilton, B. and Jungheim, E.S., 2019. Factors associated with early in vitro fertilization treatment discontinuation. Fertility and sterility, 112(1), pp.105-111.

Eltoukhi, H. M.;  Modi, M.N.; Weston, M.; Armstrong, A.Y;  Stewart E.A. (2014). The health disparities of uterine fibroid tumors for African American women: a public health issue. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology, 210(3), 194–199. 

Jackson-Bey, T., Morris, J., Jasper, E., Edwards, D.R.V., Thornton, K., Richard-Davis, G. and Plowden, T.C., 2021. Systematic review of racial and ethnic disparities in reproductive endocrinology and infertility: where do we stand today?. F&S Reviews, 2(3), pp.169-188.

Seifer, D. B,; Simsek, B., Wantman, E., & Kotylar, A.M.  (2020). Status of racial disparities between black and white women undergoing assisted reproductive technology in the US. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 19(1) 117.

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CB Insights today named Kindbody to its fourth-annual Digital Health 150, which represents the most promising digital health companies in the world. Kindbody was selected from over 13,000 global private companies that are transforming healthcare with digital technology. 

Winners are chosen based on several factors, including data submitted by the companies, proprietary Mosaic scores, company business models and momentum in the market, funding, business relationships, investor profiles, competitive positioning, tech novelty, and more.

To schedule an appointment with one of our providers visit kindbody.com/book. Employers who wish to learn more about Kindbody and how to offer fertility benefits at your workplace, please contact us at solutions@kindbody.com today. 

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Leading Fertility Clinic Network and Family-Building Benefits Provider Continues Nationwide Expansion with Opening of 31st Clinic

NEW YORK, December 6, 2022 – Kindbody, a technology-driven fertility clinic network and family-building benefits provider for employers offering virtual and in-person care, today announced the opening of a state-of-the-art clinic and in vitro fertilization (IVF) lab in Dallas, TX. Kindbody Dallas was built to meet the increasing demand for world-class fertility care and comprehensive family-building benefits by patients and employers in the area, which is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Kindbody Dallas is led by Dr. Rinku Mehta, a renowned reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist who is double board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Mehta is currently accepting patients. The opening of Kindbody Dallas marks the company’s third Texas location and 31st signature clinic nationwide.  

Kindbody Dallas is located at 8041 Walnut Hill Ln. #870, right off of the US-75 Central Expressway, making it easily accessible to the entire Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. “We’re delighted to continue our expansion into Texas and bring our mission of affordable, high-quality fertility care to Dallas employers, their employees, and the entire community,'' said Annbeth Eschbach, CEO, Corporate of Kindbody. “This year fertility benefits became a 'must have' for employers who aim to build inclusive cultures, and attract and keep great talent. Our new Dallas location allows them to provide a premium fertility and family-building benefit with significant cost savings, as a result of working directly with the care provider. We look forward to serving the entire Dallas community for years to come.”

Kindbody’s medical director Dr. Mehta has helped hundreds of infertility patients grow their families. A longtime member of the Dallas-Fort Worth community, she graduated with honors from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where she also completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology. She went on to complete her reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowship at the prestigious UC San Diego where she focused her fellowship research on the study of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). She has been in private practice helping build families since 2006. Dr. Mehta has been voted by her peers as one of the best doctors in Collin County and Dallas for several years in a row. 

“My values align with Kindbody's philosophy of increasing access to care and providing patients a seamless experience where they are well supported holistically in their family-building journey. I am looking forward to providing care at Kindbody Dallas," commented Dr. Mehta.
Kindbody owns and operates 31 signature clinics throughout the U.S. in Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. To schedule an appointment visit kindbody.com/book. Employers who wish to learn more about how Kindbody delivers the best patient experience and outcomes while reducing healthcare costs can contact solutions@kindbody.com.


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November is National Men's Heath Awareness Month, so we're spotlighting a very important topic: sperm quality and male fertility. Male fertility can be affected by a variety of factors, some more complex than others. While men can produce sperm every day, it takes about three months for sperm to mature. The body’s environment during those three months has an impact on the overall health of sperm. Here are 7 things you should know that can affect male fertility and sperm quality:

1. Caffeine

Greater than 300mg of caffeine per day can decrease male fertility by up to 27%. It is recommended to have no more than 1-2 cups of coffee a day.

2. Alcohol

Excessive alcohol can lower testosterone, a hormone needed for sex drive and sperm production. Recommended alcohol intake for fertility is less than 2 drinks per day.

3. Smoking

Nicotine can damage blood vessels which impairs circulation and overall blood flow. This can lead to poorer sperm quality and difficulty achieving erections. Marijuana use has been associated with abnormal sperm development and lower levels of testosterone.

4. Toxic Exposures

Toxic exposures such as radiation/x-rays, lead, pesticides, and solvents can impair sperm production.

5. Steroids

Use of steroids used for body building and even medication aimed at restoring hair growth for men can suppress male hormone secretion which negatively affects sperm production.

6. Heat

Sperm development requires optimal temperature. Environments that increase scrotal heat such as hot tubs, saunas, tight fitting clothing, and bathing can all impair sperm production.

7. Obesity

There is emerging evidence that male obesity negatively impacts sperm quality and can alter the molecular structure of sperm stem cells which ultimately affects mature sperm. Following a healthy diet and exercising 30 minutes a day can help optimize male fertility.

If you have been trying to conceive for 6 months or longer, it is time to see a reproductive urologist or a fertility specialist.

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The holidays can be especially difficult for those going through the fertility journey. Well-intended but intrusive questions and comments from loved ones can cause tremendous stress and anxiety. Here are some quick tips to help you navigate the days ahead.

Set boundaries

The holidays are a perfect time to gather and catch up with friends and family members. Your loved ones may ask about your fertility and family building journey. Only share as much as you're comfortable with. Don't be afraid to set boundaries and don't feel guilty about it. It may help to plan responses to difficult questions ahead of time so you're not caught off guard.

Here are a few examples of responses you can have ready to go:

  • "I'm undergoing fertility treatment. I'll make sure to let you know when I have good news to share."
  • "That's not something I want to talk about at this time."
  • "Let's talk about something else. Any upcoming travel plans?"

Consider taking a social media break

Scrolling through social media may become particularly stressful and triggering during the holidays as others may use this time to share exciting news about their fertility and family building journeys. Consider taking a break and disconnecting from your social media platforms for a few days.

Find time for yourself

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can add stress to an already stressful fertility journey. Make sure to schedule some "me time" and practice self care in a way that works for you. You can watch your favorite tv shows, read a book, take a walk, meditate, etc. The most important thing is to include time for yourself in your plans.

Communicate with those you trust

Talk to those you trust and let them know what your needs are this holiday season. Tell them what your "escape" plan might be. It's ok to not feel okay and to not be in a festive mood. Let them know how you feel and lean on them for support during your fertility journey.

Be easy on yourself

The fertility journey is deeply personal and often difficult. Cut yourself some slack. You do not owe anyone an explanation. Do what is best for you. Remember that infertility is not your fault and that you are not alone in the fertility journey.

Travel Tips

If you're in the middle of a fertility cycle and plan on traveling during the holidays, watch this video for a few helpful tips.

Need additional support?

Join one of our fertility and family building support groups.

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Getting pregnant isn’t always as simple as we were taught it would be in sex ed. In fact, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting or staying pregnant. Infertility is the medical diagnosis of not being able to conceive after one year of unprotected sex between male and female partners. While the causes of infertility can vary, it is important to highlight that infertility diagnoses are split evenly between men and women. Here are 5 common infertility diagnoses:

  1. Ovulatory dysfunction 

Ovulatory disorders account for infertility in 25% of couples. Ovulation happens when the ovaries release a mature egg that is ready for fertilization during the menstrual cycle. In some cases, eggs don’t develop properly or are not released from the ovaries–this is called anovulation or the absence of ovulation. Common causes of anovulation include: low BMI or body weight, excessive exercise, hormonal imbalances, medical disorders, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also known as PCOS.

  1. Male factor infertility

In most cases, there is no obvious sign that a man is experiencing infertility without testing. The quality and quantity of sperm are evaluated to determine the number and percentage that are healthy. When there is a low sperm count or a high percentage of abnormal sperm, the chances of the sperm fertilizing an egg are lower. There are several ways in which sperm production can be considered abnormal, the most common being:

-Azoospermia (no measurable level of sperm in the semen)

-Oligospermia (low concentration of sperm in the semen. Oftentimes, exhibiting a higher percentage of abnormal sperm cells)

-Necrospermia (when the sperm in the semen is either immobile or dead)

The most common causes of male factor infertility include: sperm production as a result of genetic abnormalities, infections, chemicals or medication; sperm transportation as a result of infections, prostate related problems and vasectomies.

  1. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterine cavity. The tissue can grow on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, lower intestines, or pelvic muscles. This can cause symptoms such as pelvic pain and painful periods. Endometriosis can cause inflammation in the pelvis and infertility.

  1. Unexplained infertility

15-30 percent of couples experiencing infertility are diagnosed as having unexplained infertility, which is a non-diagnosis that happens when standard fertility testing has not been successful in identifying the direct cause for someone’s inability to conceive.

  1. Tubal factor infertility 

Tubal factor infertility occurs when the fallopian tube(s) are blocked due to diseases, damage, or scarring. These obstructions can block sperm from fertilizing the egg or stop the embryo from traveling to the uterus for pregnancy. This condition accounts for 25-35% of female infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Tubal blockage can result from a range of causes including: pelvic infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); scarring caused by endometriosis; scarring caused by previous abdominal or pelvic surgeries; scarring caused by a ruptured appendix or other types of trauma.

Learn more about the reasons you may be struggling to conceive from Dr. Julie Rhee here.

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