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Archive for the ‘Birth control’ tag

The Role of Luck in Infertility

By Tracey Minella

March 17th, 2014 at 11:44 am


credit: Gualberto107/

Shamrocks are the symbol for the luck of the Irish. And a four-leaf clover is the luckiest. But if you’re reading this, chances are you are suffering from infertility. And feeling quite unlucky.

The connection between luck and fertility goes way back. Can you remember a time before you’d give your right arm to get pregnant? I’m talking waaay back when a pregnancy would have been an unwelcome surprise. Maybe, like Rizzo in Grease, you too dodged a bullet. A false alarm. You felt lucky.

Then your situation changed and you were ready to start a family. You stopped birth control and wondered how quickly you’d conceive. What did you figure? Maybe a month or two?  If you were lucky.

But it didn’t happen for you. Your family and friends got pregnant easily though. They were lucky.

This “luck” obsession follows you everywhere. Even into the IVF clinic. So you sit in the waiting room with all the other so-called unlucky ones. And you notice some of the same faces during morning blood work and sonos. You are cycle-mates with these women. You know some of you will succeed and some will not this cycle. Maybe you even silently torture yourself… playing a game in your head trying to figure out the odds. Who looks older or less healthy? Oh, that one with the stroller will obviously succeed. Wait, did that older woman say she’s using donor eggs? (Like I said…it’s torture.) And you wonder …who will be the lucky ones?

In the spirit of the luck of the Irish, I offer you this hope:

Though you may enter the IVF clinic feeling unlucky, every single patient who comes in is in a position for their luck to change. You are taking the steps to change your luck simply by being there.

So remember that as you sit waiting. (And if you have lucky charms with you, hey that couldn’t hurt either.)

Some patients’ luck changes after a simple office procedure, hormonal therapy, or surgery. Others may find luck with IUIs or IVF.  IVF success rates continue to rise due to skilled doctors and better technology, but there will always be some element of luck involved. How else can you explain the picture perfect, highest-graded, double embryo transfer not resulting in a pregnancy or the less promising, lower-graded, single embryo transfer scoring a solid positive beta?

There’s an expression for good luck in infertility circles…it’s called “baby dust”. And people all over the blogosphere wish “baby dust” on those trying to conceive. Since I personally loathe that expression…and everyone deserves alittle luck of the Irish today…I will send out my own Irish fertility blessing to all ye lassies:

May there be a baby in that pot at the end of your rainbow. Well, not instead of the gold—more like nestled on top of it. Lord knows you deserve the gold, too. (Besides, a baby in an empty pot is just creepy.)

Oh, and may the rain stop soon so you can find it.

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What lucky charms or lucky traditions do you have or do on your fertility journey?


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Infertility and the Irony of Birth Control

By Tracey Minella

August 18th, 2012 at 9:14 pm

credit: brandon sigma/


What better day than National Birth Control Day to look back at the time when we used to use birth control? Can you even remember?

The embarrassment of buying condoms, the gynecologist visits for prescriptions. Oh, what we went through just to be sure we would not get pregnant. Because really, that would be the worst thing that could ever, ever happen.

Maybe you even experienced a time or two of sheer hysterical panic worry over a birth control “lapse”. Isn’t it amazing how totally opposite surviving that “two week wait” is from surviving today’s two week wait?

And the money wasted!!! Why, if we only knew then that we didn’t even need birth control because some sinister infertile force was lurking within, we could have dumped all that money into the future fertility treatment savings account instead. Heck, we could have steamed up all the car windows with reckless abandon.

When I think of the years on birth control, the irony kills me. I imagine the fertility gods laughing at me behind my back. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. I feel a little stupid, like life made a fool of me, and I resent feeling that way. Here I was the responsible one. We used birth control until we were ready to start a family. We had a plan.

Ha! A plan.

If we only knew.

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Do you ever feel resentful about the time and money you spent on birth control?

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Remember Condoms?

By Tracey Minella

March 2nd, 2012 at 9:28 pm has turned the condom world upside down. Long Island IVF is generally into specimen collection condoms, not those for birth control, but this news begs to be shared.

Once upon a time, in a cruel twist of fate, a couple that didn’t yet know they were infertile used condoms for birth control. They gave them up to start a family long, long ago. A family they are still trying to conceive. And condoms are the furthest thing from their mind.

Sound familiar?

Well, while you are busy trying to conceive, you should know how the world of condoms is changing. In fact, by the time you conceive, deliver, and get ready to reconsider birth control, the condom world may be unrecognizable!

A Planned Parenthood chapter in Washington has dispensed QR coded wrapped condoms to college students.

Forget the post-coital check up… now there’s the pre-coital check in!

Yep, college hornballs are now busy answering the social media call to anonymously tell the world: “Where Did You Wear It?” Can it be long before these are available everywhere?

You can use your smart phone to check in by scanning the QR code on the condom wrapper, or you can use your computer to check in at

Once there, you can rate your sex experience on a creatively worded scale of five choices ranging from “Things can only improve from here” to “Ah-maz-ing-Rainbows exploded and mountains trembled.” And then you can choose from 10 options of where you did it, including the common “bedroom” or the more adventurous “great outdoors”.

The whole idea behind this campaign is to reduce STDs (which can cause infertility) and promote safe sex through encouraging condom use in a fun way that today’s social media savvy youth really relate to. Of course, the additional appeal of bragging rights doesn’t hurt. Check out the site at

So, consider this my belated “Just for Guys” post from Wednesday.

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If these condoms were available (and you weren’t trying to conceive), would you use them?


Photo credit: Public Domain found on

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IVF and the Big Fat Birth Control Joke

By Tracey Minella

January 20th, 2011 at 12:00 am

The scene: Two teenagers tangled in various stages of undress in the backseat of a parent’s car. Steamy windows lend some privacy to the star-crossed lovers. Deserted dead end road, two hours past curfew. Someone’s gonna get grounded big time… but no one’s thinking of that right now.

Paradise by the dashboard light.

“What’s it gonna be boy, yes or no?” What’s it gonna be boy? Yes…or…no?

We’ve had that feeling come upon us like a tidal wave. We started swearing to our God and on our Mother’s grave, too.

Remember those reckless days of youth? Girls with their compact-sized disks of little pills. Boys toting Trojans stolen from an older brother’s stash. Hanging out blasting Billy Joel hits about “Cath-o-lic girls start much too late…”At least that’s how it was right before AIDS came on the scene.

I don’t know who planted the idea way back in the nether regions of my brain, but there would always be some level of consciousness in the back seat screaming out: “Don’t do it. You’re gonna get pregnant!”  (That thought eventually morphed into “Well, be really careful. You don’t want to get pregnant!”)

Fast forward to that monumental day, five years into the marriage, when the last pill of the last compact disk was swallowed. Finally. Grad school was done. House was bought. We’re ready to start our family. Well, almost. You see, we’d heard you should be off the pill for 3 months before trying to conceive.

So we naturally factored that in to our “plan”. That way, when we got pregnant on the very first month of trying (after being extra careful not to conceive during those first three months off the pill), we’d have our baby precisely in October, 1991.


It was so strange to be unprotected. To open yourself up to the universe in a way that was so totally opposite of all you ever knew before that moment. To wait anxiously for life to spring up inside you.

And wait. And wait.

If I could somehow have known that no baby would ever have come without IVF (and that even with IVF, she wouldn’t get here until 1998), I could have saved a ton of needless worrying over an unplanned pregnancy. Plus I’d have saved enough money in birth control alone to finance at least one of those IVF cycles! Oh, the irony!

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