Infertility in Canada has nearly doubled in the last two decades with more than one in six couples struggle with infertility, according to a recent study co–authored by Dr. Albert Yuzpe, medical co-director at the Vancouver based Olive Fertility Centre.
Not being able to get pregnant was the last thing on Gladys Gutierrez’s mind when she and her husband John decided to start a family shortly after they got married.
After all her grandmother had had 12 children so Gladys was sure she would get pregnant no problem.
But after trying for two years with no luck Gladys went to her doctor and then was referred to a reproductive specialist.
She and her husband had fertility testing and Gladys discovered that she had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that often causes irregular ovulation and lack of monthly cycles. PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility and is especially prevalent among South Asian and Filipina women.
Gladys started out taking the fertility drug clomid to kick start her ovaries into producing eggs. But after three unsuccessful cycles she needed to take a break from trying. During this time she had started to withdraw from social events with family and friends and even closed her face book page. “I had always dreamed of being a mother and now it was just too painful to go to parties and hear about other people’s pregnancies and new babies.”
Then a friend told Gladys about a woman with PCOS who had been helped by Dr Beth Taylor, a fertility specialist and medical co-director at Olive Fertility Centre.” On my first visit I felt so good because she was so thorough in her evaluation and was really going to get into the reason for my condition.”
After an in-depth fertility work-up, Dr Taylor presented the couple with their options and they decided to make the leap into IVF (in-vitro fertilization) as that would give them the best chance of conceiving.
IVF involves removing a woman’s eggs, fertilizing them in a lab and then placing them back in the woman’s uterus.
They were overjoyed when the IVF was successful and they got pregnant in December 2012. But shortly after Christmas Gladys suffered a miscarriage. “Dr Taylor was amazing during this time. She answered every single e-mail and was so supportive. She did not give up hope. She said to me “I believe in your uterus.” I always remember that.”
One of the most devastating things about infertility is that it isolates couples from friends and family and co-workers just when they need support the most.
“At the beginning of this journey I was ashamed to tell people and just became more and more isolated. Then I found the Fraser Valley Infertility Awareness Association support group and discovered that there are so many couples going through the same thing. That gave me the courage to talk about our fertility journey with others and now I have found incredible support at work and with my family.” says Gladys
Dr Lorne Brown, a natural fertility expert and clinical director at Acubalance Wellness Centre treats a lot of women with PCOS at his clinic. “This is a condition that really responds well to acupuncture, a low glycemic diet and lifestyle changes.” says Dr Brown. A growing number of scientific studies have shown that acupuncture can be very effective at balancing fertility hormones, regulating the menstrual cycle and helping women with PCOS lose weight. “Sometimes just losing a few pounds is enough to get a woman’s body back in the fertile zone and she may even get pregnant naturally.” explains Dr Brown. “People can come to our talk at Whole Foods Market May 28th and 39th or go to our website and download the free Acubalance Fertility Diet (www.acubalance.ca) which is full of tips on how to eat with PCOS and other fertility conditions.”
Gladys and John are excited about starting their next IVF at Olive Fertility Centre when the clinic opens its brand new clinic at 12th and Cambie in June 2013. “I’m not losing hope. Our dream is just around the corner,” says Gladys.
For more information on the Fraser Valley Infertility Support Group contact Misty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-626-4225.