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Fertility 101

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FAQ

  • What is Restorative Reproductive Medicine?
    Restorative Reproductive Medicine is any scientific approach to reproductive medicine that seeks to cooperate with or restore the normal physiology and anatomy of the human reproductive system. This approach respects the right of women and men to have access to reproductive health care that respects their right to understand and cooperatively manage their own fertility, with appropriate medical assistance. It does not employ methods that are inherently suppressive, circumventive or destructive.
  • What is Restorative Reproductive Health?
    RRM supports and promotes Restorative Reproductive Health which includes empowering the female and male to know and understand their bodies and appreciate the importance of natural reproductive health to overall health and well-being, often through the use of body literacy programs that incorporate science based charting methods and teacher led reproductive health education. RRM comprises many different methods, but they all share a common goal of using personalized fertility information and working to optimize normal function. There are also surgical methods that exclusively use this philosophical approach, such as surgical Naprotechnology.
  • How is RRM different from Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?
    There is a fundamental difference in approach. RRM aims to restore natural fertility by addressing underlying dysfunction first, with an individualized and customized treatment plan. The goal is to allow conception naturally ( 'in vivo' or in the body) without invasive procedures. RRM then monitors and offers hormonal support for pregnancies because preconception care has already identified pregnancies indicated for a higher miscarriage risk. ART and related approaches bypass the problem and make a baby in vitro [outside the body] with no pregnancy support at this time. Early identification of fertility issues or dropping fertility potential is critical to accessing RRM treatment options. RRM involves a greater depth of diagnosis to find out the cause of the problem, and longer time frame for treatment to address the problem. Expect 12 to 24 months treatment. Thus, early detection equates to more options for treatment of reproductive health problems including infertility.
  • What problems can Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) help with?
    The entire range of reproductive health can be addressed through a Restorative Reproductive Medicine lens. Infertility (male and female) treatments include addressing the underlying cause, be it Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Ovarian Cysts or Endometriosis through medical or surgical intervention. These are part of pre-conception care in RRM. Common female health complaints. not involving infertility, that are often left untreated including Premenstrual Syndrome , Irregular Cycles, Irregular Vaginal Bleeding, Pelvic Pain and Premenopausal Symptoms are addressable with RRM. Miscarriage, Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy (that lead to prematurity) and Postpartum Depression are also addressable with Progesterone & Thyroid Support in Pregnancy (ProSPr) monitoring. To sum it up, NO MORE BANDAIDS, when it comes to reproductive healthcare.
  • What are some of the common causes of infertility that RRM can address?
    Some common causes of infertility that can be addressed with RRM include: - hormonal imbalances - ovarian dysfunction - poor egg quality - thyroid disorders - PCOS - poor sperm parameters - and unexplained infertility Though not available through My Fertility Labs currently, RRM based surgeons can also perform: - endometriosis ablation - surgery for uterine fibroids or fallopian tube abnormalities - surgical treatments for PCOS RRM takes an integrative approach to identify and correct underlying issues contributing to infertility in many cases.
  • Can I undergo ART and RRM at the same time?
    RRM differs from conventional ART and the two can't be used at the same time. RRM aims to restore natural fertility (by addressing underlying dysfunction) thus the program is accessible only for individuals (female or male) not on endogenous hormones. ART involves taking these endogenous hormones in high doses. However, RRM can be accessed both BEFORE or AFTER undergoing assisted reproductive techniques like IVF.
  • How long does it typically take to see results with RRM compared to conventional fertility treatments?
    It may take 3-6 months to start seeing results. RRM results are more sustainable for use long-term for many couples since it addresses root causes, improving many negative side effects and not just infertility. Each case is different, but expect at minimum a 6 if not 12 month commitment to achieve the goal of restoring natural fertility.
  • What are the risks or potential side effects associated with RRM versus conventional ART?
    RRM poses reduced medical risks and side effects. With no invasive procedures, typical risks like infection, bleeding, injury to reproductive organs, and complications from anesthesia are completely avoided. RRM uses physiological dosing of medications, typically 5 to 10% of what might normally be prescribed during ART for ovulation induction. RRM uses bioidentical hormones that are the exact match to what your body already naturally produces, taken only WHEN you need it according to your individual cycle. This is monitored using ongoing monthly blood tests, and daily with biometrics derived through fertility charting, minimizing hormonal support usage to only what is actually needed for positive cycle effects.
  • How customized is the RRM approach for each individual/couple compared to a one-size-fits-all approach of ART?
    RRM is highly customized to the individual based on unique history, test results, biosensor data and fertility charting biometrics. Treatment plans are tailored accordingly, informed by ongoing monitoring, in contrast to standardized protocols with conventional fertility treatments.
  • Is RRM accessible at any age?
    RRM can be effective for a wide demographic and we accept all females that are not in menopause. The younger the patient, the higher the success rates for pregnancy. Additionally, clinical practice has shown that pregnancy care programs like ProSPr are more successful for those under 40.
  • What are some of the gaps in our current healthcare system that make Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) difficult to access?
    There are few RRM clinicians, care is fragmented between specialties (ex. general practitioners rarely deliver babies now) so there is a lack of continuity between obstetrics/gynecology and ongoing women's health delivered in primary care. Specialization in medicine leads to both benefits in knowledge but also potential gaps in care. Specialists have deep expertise but may miss big picture issues. And there are gaps between specialties.
  • What kind of testing or evaluation is done initially to identify the potential underlying causes of infertility in Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM)?
    Initial testing in RRM is very thorough and may include bloodwork timed to your specific cycle events that assess hormones, ovulation function, thyroid levels, and more. Semen analysis is done on male partners. A comprehensive history and full workup is taken to uncover potential contributing factors. The testing is timed and more robust than a typical fertility workup and during treatment is monitored for improvements in biomarkers. Though not available through My Fertility Labs yet, RRM often orders imaging tests to evaluate uterine, fallopian tube, or ovarian anatomy.
  • Does health insurance cover RRM treatment or is it considered an elective, out-of-pocket expense?
    Most health insurance plans do not cover RRM at this time since it is considered private medicine to treat infertility. All expenses are typically out-of-pocket. Some portions like diagnostics may be covered, but patients should expect to pay for most of RRM.
  • Is RRM used in cases of recurrent pregnancy loss or only infertility?
    RRM can be used for both recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility. The focus is correcting dysfunctions preventing conception and a healthy pregnancy from being sustained. The same principles apply in both situations.
  • Are there certain fertility conditions RRM can't help with?
    In Canada, there is no RRM surgical support currently in place that manages surgically correctable issues like uterine structural issues, bilateral tubal blockages and severe endometriosis. Centres in the United States do offer these procedures for motivated patients. For males with vasectomy, azoospermia or for cases requiring donor gametes a different avenue of care is needed.
  • How does RRM address potential contributing factors from both partners in a couple?
    RRM thoroughly evaluates both partners. Treatment addresses medical issues, lifestyle factors, and health conditions impacting fertility in both individuals. It does not focus solely on the female.
  • What kind of commitment is required of patients in terms of lifestyle changes for RRM to be effective?
    RRM requires high patient motivation to partner with the RRM Clinician as the patient provides the biometrics (derived from daily cycle charting_ that guide care. Additionally, a commitment to recommended lifestyle changes can meaningfully improve outcomes and can be key to optimizing fertility. Patients unwilling to modify habits and routines may not be good candidates.
  • What is the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and how can issues with it impact fertility and increase miscarriage risk?
    The hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis refers to the link between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries that controls reproduction. Issues with the sensitive communication between these axis can lead to problems with ovulation that affect fertility and increase miscarriage risk.
  • What are some of the lifestyle changes recommended in Restorative Reproductive Medicine (RRM) to improve fertility?
    Lifestyle changes in RRM may include diet and nutrition optimization, vitamin and supplement protocols, exercise plans, stress reduction techniques, sleep hygiene improvements, smoking/alcohol cessation, and more. RRM customizes plans to meet each patient’s needs.
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