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If you’ve found your route to parenthood hasn’t been straight forward, this podcast is for you. From how to optimise your fertility to get pregnant naturally, navigating IVF, understanding donor conception or surrogacy to how to prepare for a life without children. Whatever your situation, you are not alone.
 
Join me, Natalie Silverman, as I open up about my own fertility treatment, Kate Davies an independent fertility nurse consultant, experts from around the world and men and women just like you. We’re here to accompany you on your fertility journey x

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    • Mental hälsa

If you’ve found your route to parenthood hasn’t been straight forward, this podcast is for you. From how to optimise your fertility to get pregnant naturally, navigating IVF, understanding donor conception or surrogacy to how to prepare for a life without children. Whatever your situation, you are not alone.
 
Join me, Natalie Silverman, as I open up about my own fertility treatment, Kate Davies an independent fertility nurse consultant, experts from around the world and men and women just like you. We’re here to accompany you on your fertility journey x

    Male Infertility with Kevin Button

    Male Infertility with Kevin Button

    In this episode, we’re focusing on Male Infertility which is still not understood well enough and it’s something Natalie has been passionate about giving a voice too. As it was her and her husband’s experience and the pair felt very unsupported when going through treatment. Since its launched The Fertility Podcast has shared numerous episodes about Male Fertility explaining the issues that affect sperm health and also explaining how Men can seek more support and investigation.
     
    Men are often overlooked in conversations with medical professionals and we have had numerous conversations about men feeling ignored at the fertility clinic, the very fact that when it comes to IVF treatment in a heterosexual relationship is it is the woman who has to go through the procedure means men are often left to feel redundant. In the many conversations we’ve had with Men, they have talked about the shame and guilt they have felt if the issue has been a male factor and how many men struggle in silence.
     
    Kate and Natalie discuss the factors that can affect male fertility, such as diet and lifestyle issues. Smoking and drugs are a real no-no for sperm health. It’s really important that alcohol is taken into needs to be taken into consideration and ideally should be limited but not stopped. Factors such as heat and stress can impact. So consider saunas, heated seats, mobile phones in pockets, laptops on laps as important things to think about. Plus wearing tight pants and trousers can also be restrictive for the wrong reasons. When it comes to health and wellbeing, environmental toxins can impact sperm health and there is a real argument against Protein shakes and steroids impact which can you find out more here in this great conversation with Professor Allan Pacey thanks to our friends at Dr. Fertility
     
    Our guest is Kevin Button who talked about his decision to set up The Man Cave to talk about mental health and male Infertility about 3 years ago after losing his cousin to suicide unrelated to fertility. Personally, Kev has had two failed attempts with NHS funding - IVF and ICSI and he couldn’t find anything online and has learned more from being on Instagram than just googling.
     
    Kev’s diagnosis is Non-Obstructive Azoospermia which is defined as no sperm in the ejaculate due to failure of spermatogenesis and is the most severe form of male infertility. He had to undergo a micro-tease ( sperm extraction( which didn’t work and Kev was told his options were sperm donor or adoption.
     
    You can imagine how heartbreaking this was for him and he was told the news without any support which was part of his motivation for setting up what he has done. Kev explained how when he was younger and out dating, he’d end relationships as soon as the conversation moved on to having a family until he met his partner Nicky, who at first he tried to end things, but luckily the pair are still together.
     
    Kev is part of Fertility Network’s Male Fertility as an Ambassador and we spoke about the new HIM campaign and the brilliant Rhod Gilbert documentary’ Stand up to Infertility’


    All too often Men won’t talk about this but they are finding their voice within support groups. We also discussed the brilliant Easy Bit documentary which you can find links to more information below;
     
    Kev and Nicky won a competition to have treatment in California with California IVF and are waiting for current
     
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    Fertility Network Men Only support Group


     
    Podcasts to listen to:
    Professor Sheryl Homer runs a clinic called Andrology Solutions specializing in supporting Male
    Infertility
    Hear more from Sheryl


     Hear a live conversation with a brilliant panel talking about what Men can do to improve sperm health and we also discussed the mental health implications of male infertility
     

    • 35 min
    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Professor Adam Balen

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Professor Adam Balen

    We have spoken about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) on the podcast numerous times in the past so make sure you scroll down to find link to previous episodes.


    Kate is an expert on the topic, working with women on a daily basis to support them with their diagnosis and in this episode, we've shared a previous conversation we had with Professor Adam Balen discussing the latest PCOS guidelines. Professor Adam Balen is a full-time National Health Service consultant and Lead Clinician at Leeds Fertility, one of the largest assisted conception units in the UK. His special interests include all aspects of PCOS, Assisted Conception, Paediatric & Adolescent Gynaecology and Disorders of Sexual Development.


    In this conversation, you hear snippets of a previous episode whereAdam explains what the symptoms of PCOS are, including being over or under weight and how to maintain the condition with lifestyle changes. He also talks indepth about the use of Letrozole over Clomofin, or Clomid are most people know it. At the time of our chat, people were still needing to change their mindset regarding prescribing Letrozole, and Adam had written papers for the RCOG to support this further. Kate said she is still seeing a mix of what people are being prescribed and explained how in the UK, heath trust policies can dictate what drugs are prescribed. However, Kate advises if you are on Clomid and not responding after two rounds to go back and ask if you can go back and try Letrozole.




    We discuss the link between Letrozole and Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) as well as there being a lower risk of multiple pregnancy and also we discuss the frequency of scans people should expect when they are on these ovulation stimulation drugs


    We also highlighted the problem with home ovulation kits.


    When it comes to the common issues people are still coming up against Adam explains how women are still being told they won’t get pregnant with ovulation issues
    or that they are overweight because you have PCOS and you can’t do anything about it. Which isn't the case. Also the fact that a lot of women with PCOS end up having IVF when they don’t need it which is why we want to ensure you know where to get more support. We also discuss howOvarian diathermy or Ovarian drilling which in vary rare cases is an operation used to stimulate ovulation.


    When it comes to top tips you can take away to manage your PCOS, Kate's top 3 tips are:
    Changing your diet to low refined carbs/sugar.
    Tracking your cycle tracking
    Become your own PCOS advocate


    Kate has written numerous blog post about PCOS. This one discusses how whilst it can't be cured it can be controlled. You can also read about fighting back against PCOS here and Kate also has a brilliant journal you can use


    Have a listen to previous PCOS podcasts we have shared - this one with PCOS Diva Amy Medling and this one with Kym Campbell both amazing women who have overcome their PCOS and had successful pregnancies and now work to support women further with lifestyle changes.


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    • 37 min
    Understanding the Vaginal Microbiome with Deborah Brock

    Understanding the Vaginal Microbiome with Deborah Brock

    It’s episode number 7 and Natalie’s flying solo. She interviews Deborah Brock – Founder and CEO of Nua Fertility.
     
    Have you heard of the microbiome? No, well you’re not alone…..
     
    We have microbiome’s everywhere – skin, gut, vagina – you name it. The gut microbiome may not be the first thing you think about when you consider fertility but it’s HUGE. The size of two tennis courts of microbes in your body! This good bacterium supports the correct absorption of nutrients and vitamins which are so important for fertility. It also protects our immune system and offers protection against bad bacteria. Effectively it is your first line of defence.
     
    Deborah tells us that the vagina microbiome is equally important, as the more good bacteria you have may help to improve embryo implantation and successful outcomes. There is an increase in the amount of research into the microbiome, and it’s hoped, this might just be the missing piece for many women.
     
    As you’ll know, here at The Fertility Podcast we are always on a quest to hear about the evidence and research. In Deborah’s own fertility journey, she immersed herself in as much research as she possibly could and was blown away when she came across the microbiome.
    Deborah did conceive and is now preparing to get herself in the best possible place ready for her next treatment.
     
    Deborah is working with ABC Microbiome in Ireland, they’re a research centre and are looking at how the microbiome influences our health and wellbeing. Nua Fertility is keen to be at the forefront of research and development and make a difference within the fertility field.
     
    Nua Fertility’s first product NuaBiome Women is a blend of vitamins, minerals and good bacteria to help the overall balance of the gut bacteria, support the immune system, reduce inflammation and support the vaginal microbiome. Deborah says, that despite taking supplements, it’s still vital to eat well by eating the rainbow (lots of different colour fruit and veg) and to eat more fibre to support your gut microbiome.
     
    Nua Fertility for men hopes to be launched at the end of June – so keep an eye out for it. Deborah’s husband struggled with male factor infertility and they feel it is vital to also include a male supplement in their range.
     
    Deborah shares with Natalie a case study from a fertility clinic doctor in Ireland who recommends Nua Fertility and has found that it reduced bloating in one of her patients.
     
    Deborah discusses the research in the vaginal microbiome is starting to show that women who don’t have an abundance of good bacteria are more likely to have problems conceiving. Research is also looking into implantation failure. A note from us: It’s important to note that more research is required to fully understand the role of the microbiome when it comes to fertility and the benefits of supplementation.
     
    Finally, Deborah explains that as well as Nua Fertility being the first of its kind, their ethos is driven by their own experience and also by research and development. They’re driven by wanting to ensure their product is the best for women. Lots of exciting things to come including a clinical trial! Watch this space……
     
    You can find out more about Nua Fertility and Deborah below
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    • 37 min
    The Endo Expert and the Patient

    The Endo Expert and the Patient

    To mark the end of Endometriosis month and we wanted to share with you a bumper episode - a guest interview with an expert and a true-life patient story. First up we chat with Andrew Horne - Professor of Gynaecology and Reproductive Sciences at Edinburgh University and an all-round expert when it comes to endometriosis.


    Andrew is currently involved in ground-breaking research into a drug treatment trial for endometriosis. He and his team identified that women with endometriosis produce excess lactate in the pelvis, compared to women without the condition, and are trialling a cancer drug to see if this will reduce the lactate levels in these women and reduce the endometrial lesions. Lactate causes pain and therefore reducing lactate may help to reduce the pain experienced by women with endometriosis.


    Andrew is also currently recruiting women to be involved in a study looking at the benefits of surgery with regards to improvements in pain and quality of life. This trial will be rolled out among many Endometriosis centres in the UK.


    We talk about the main misconceptions surrounding endometriosis and in particular how women are often told that painful periods are normal. Pain is not normal if it impacts your relationship, work or quality of living. If you feel your pain is not being taken seriously by your doctor – keep going back. If you’re suffering from chronic pain you may find it useful to see a pain psychologist for support.


    The symptoms of endometriosis are not just pain. Women can also experience fatigue, pain when passing urine or opening the bowels, painful sex and infertility. We talked about the frustrations surrounding the lengthy time to diagnosis and the management using pain medications and surgery and where appropriate, complimentary therapies can offer some benefit.


    Many women are interested in how diet and supplements can impact endometriosis and Andrew is starting to investigate this area, and it will be really interesting to see what comes out of these studies. Keep tuned and you can be sure we’ll be the first to let you know when we hear more! You can hear previous conversations we have had with Endometriosis UK here


    Following Andrew, is our chat with Gemma Watts about her lengthy diagnosis from painful periods aged 14 to years of missed opportunities for a diagnosis until she was 31. Gemma had been dismissed at so many points, it was her husband who forced her to go back to the Doctor as her periods were putting her in bed for 2/3 hours. Gemm had been told it was down to her being under weight, that she didn't really have enough symptoms as the pain went after 6 hours and she was told there was still no point in doing a laparoscopy and to try IUI.


    In Feb 2020, Gemma worked with Kate and learnt more about what was going on with her body and went on to have treatment of 3 IUI’s and on the first scan, at the fertility clinic, she was told she had Endometriosis, despite having always been told this wasn't the case. In fact Gemma had a large Endometrioma often the only thing you see on a scan. 


    When Gemma saw someone privately within 5 minutes she was diagnosed with Stage Endometriosis - the most excessive as it's not just in the uterus it can be all over the body


    Endometriosis UK says even if you just have 1 symptom - still ask.




    Gemma has started talking about it more as she was desperate to find more people to talk to about it and now has found 4 people in her church. She has found Facebook groups can be helpful - but stresses that as with all social media, you to need to be in the right mindset ad remember everyone’s stories are different. She is working hard to control the condition with diet, as there is some evidence that gluten/dairy-free and Gemma has found the Gluten-free has really helped. Gemma and her husband are going to try IVF once they have worked out if the inte

    • 53 min
    What should you ask your GP?

    What should you ask your GP?

    This week, on the pod, we’re talking about that conversation with your GP. It can be difficult to make this first step when trying to conceive and you often don’t know when you should go and what to ask. Plus we often hear from you that you don't feel heard or taken seriously when having these initial conversations.
     
    When you’re struggling to conceive there is no reason why you can’t access your GP as soon as you wish. If you’re lucky, your GP may suggest some blood tests and, if you’re in a heterosexual relationship, a semen analysis for your partner. When it comes to a referral to fertility doctors. This is done at the 12-month point if you’re under the age of 35 or at 6 months if you’re over the age of 35.
     
    So, what do you need to ask? Kate recommends writing down all your questions, so you make sure you remember everything you want to ask. You may like to ask for some blood tests and a sperm test. Results are generally back pretty quickly. A semen analysis may take a little longer. You can also look at home testing for both blood tests and semen analysis.
     
    Hopefully, your results will be absolutely normal but common abnormalities could be with your hormones, your thyroid, and progesterone. It’s worth noting that sometimes the incorrect timing of progesterone can result in an abnormal result – so make sure it’s done 7 days before your next period (difficult without a crystal ball we know!).
     
    Be prepared if you are either overweight or underweight, this might form part of the conversation with your GP. We know that it’s not always easy to hear that your weight is not in the ideal range but hopefully your GP will offer you some guidance on how you can either gain weight or lose weight to optimize your fertility.
     
    If you’ve had a previous pregnancy, then don’t be scared to still approach your GP for these initial tests. You are still entitled to these and as secondary infertility is really common, it’s important not to delay.
     
    Sadly, when it comes to fertility, we often need to advocate for ourselves.
    Sometimes it can take a long time for women to receive a diagnosis of conditions such as endometriosis and PCOS.
    So be empowered and persistent and feel confident to ask for what you need.


    Come and join our closed facebook group and let us know more about your experience


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    • 27 min
    Testing at Home with Dr. Helen O'Neill

    Testing at Home with Dr. Helen O'Neill

    In this week’s episode, we’re talking all about testing your fertility at home. You’ll hear a snippet of a previous chat we had with Exseed Health founder Morten Ulsted. Exseed is a male fertility test to be done at home and you can hear the full conversation here
     
    We welcome, to the podcast, Dr. Helen O’Neill – a lecturer in Molecular genetics and co-founder of Hertility. Hertility is an at-home hormone testing service for your fertility journey, which includes support from trusted fertility experts.
     
    Helen’s motivation for starting Hertility was to provide women with a holistic expert service that takes into consideration all aspects of their reproductive health. Hertility considers 9 of the most common reproductive conditions such as thyroid, PCOS, and endometriosis, to mention just three. Hertility combines answers from a pre-testing questionnaire, that takes in to account any symptom in isolation or collection of symptoms among other aspects to decide on which hormones to check you for and then using this test information, along with your questionnaire, provides you with either a concrete diagnosis or a suspicion of a diagnosis for anyone of the 9 reproductive conditions.
     
    Hertility doesn’t just give you your result and leave you high and dry. They then provide support in understanding what your results mean for you and your pathway to care through interaction with fertility counselors or their team of clinical experts. You can clearly choose to take your results and share these with your GP to help move you forward on your fertility journey.
     
    Helen also chats about the concerns surrounding young women over-exercising and how this can impact significantly on their reproductive health. Over-exercising can, in some circumstances, lead to a condition called Hypothalamic Amenorrhoea (HA). With HA, women can experience the complete loss of a menstrual cycle and Helen discusses how often the lack of periods can be dismissed by a doctor when they’re not trying to conceive yet, but this delay can have a devastating impact on their future fertility. Knowledge is power when it comes to fertility and making the decision to do home testing can be a liberating, empowering, and immensely reassuring experience.
     
    You can find out more about Hertility and home testing here:
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    • 44 min

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