Why Has Infertility Been Such a Source of Stigma for Females?

The Stigma of Infertility 

Infertility can carry many feelings, including frustration, fear, and isolation due to the social stigma surrounding it. This experience may feel incredibly lonely as it is often an arduous, confusing, and expensive process to identify the root cause of one’s infertility – let alone begin to treat the problem. 

It can feel as if you are entirely alone in dealing with this grief and frustration; however, according to the World Health Organization, there are one hundred and eighty-six million individuals living with the ongoing effects of infertility.

In heterosexual couples trying to get pregnant, both partners may experience infertility stigma. Even amongst more progressive circles, infertility may be discussed as being one or the other partner’s “fault” without much thought given to the word’s connotation. Though males often experience stigma relating to infertility, this article seeks to understand why, on average, females experiencing infertility have often experienced a greater sense of stigma than their male counterparts. PubMed estimates that infertility affects roughly ten percent of the global population of females. 

The Root of the Stigma

Historically conservative societies, especially those with laws preventing females from having any political standing or property outside their connections to male family members, have been fading out of more progressive regions of the western world. However, the evolutionary baggage still exists in many cultures around the globe today, including the too-often misogynistic system in the United States.

A female’s societal status has historically been tied to their ability to produce viable heirs to inherit property and maintain their family’s social status for generations. Dating back centuries to the Bible is the figure of Sarah, who is often remembered as a “barren” wife, unable to provide a family for her husband Abraham until the age of 90. Although religion takes a less prominent role in many Americans today, and religious text is interpreted far less literally than in centuries past, religious ideology is at the root of many American values. With that often comes the association of females with family.

For example, a large faction of females in the United States primarily associate their purpose with being a mother to their children and a wife to their spouse – as opposed to their individual characteristics or interests. Even Hilary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, has the following Instagram bio: 

“Doting grandmother, among other things.” Young females often grow up in the United States with role models who consistently define themselves with others instead of by their passions and careers.

Quips about biological clocks ticking and terms like “spinster” carry far more shame than the equivalent “bachelor” used for male counterparts. As male infertility is not as broadly associated with age, men are not shamed in the same way that females may be for causing their infertility issues by not settling down soon enough or not being a desirable enough partner to find the right match. It is no wonder that there is so much social stigma placed on females unable to produce a family.

The Stigma of Miscarriage 

In addition to females experiencing infertility in the form of an inability to get pregnant, millions of females globally hold the grief and loss of their pregnancies that terminated in a miscarriage.  Healthline estimates that ten to fifteen percent of pregnancies result in a miscarriage. 

Those who have not experienced a loss like this can often underestimate the social stigma of treating this pregnancy loss as the death of a child, which, to many females, is how it feels. One such person is Amy Pittman, who beautifully described her loss experience with humor and grace in her Modern Love piece The Internet Still Thinks I’m Pregnant. If you are grieving your miscarriage and feel alone, we hope this resource may be of help. 

The Impact of Stigma

Many females are reluctant to reach out for support or even share the details of their infertility with their broader circle of supporters due to the social stigma associated with it. These feelings of shame in the face of repeated inquiries about when they might start building a family can lead to social isolation and withdrawal, which may result in depression and anxiety. 

According to research conducted by the Isfahan Fertility and Infertility Center in Iran, this social stigma led to lower self-esteem and feelings of inferiority compared to participants’ broader social network of females who did have children. The inability to have children heightened fears about the potential of divorce and further social exclusion. 

Though we often underestimate the physical toll that these more emotional or social influences can have on us, Professor Canli at Stony Brook University discusses the direct correlation between loneliness and the long-term risk of cognitive decline and eventual risk of Alzheimer’s and other serious health concerns in his research on How Loneliness Can Make you Sick. These physical impacts of social isolation can even exacerbate pre-existing infertility issues as they negatively impact the health of patients undergoing fertility treatment.

How to Combat the Stigma

Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has previously addressed three major forms of stigma ranging from societal to personalized to enacted. It has provided seven recommendations on how to help overcome them. In this article, you will find suggestions ranging from seeking out support groups to empowering yourself through education on the topic of infertility. If you are investigating the right place to begin your journey with fertility treatments, we hope that you will consider contacting our clinic to see how we can help you.

If your loved one is experiencing infertility and you are looking to support them through this experience, we hope that you will find this article helpful as you aid them through their journey.

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The Truth About Assisted Hatching

The number of couples struggling with fertility issues is larger than you think—as many as 15% of couples. Certain fertility treatments, like IVF and assisted hatching, offer hope and provide alternatives that can increase the likelihood of successful conception. If you’re considering IVF and your doctor has suggested assisted hatching, you may have heard that it increases the possibility of twins. We’re here to set the record straight and give you all the information you need to understand whether or not assisted hatching makes sense for you and your situation. 

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What is assisted hatching? 

Assisted hatching can be performed as an additional step in IVF or in-vitro fertilization to increase the chances of successful embryo implantation along the wall of the uterus. The process involves creating a small hole in the shell of the embryo (zona pellucida), increasing the probability that the embryo will hatch. Hatching refers to the process of the zona pellucida thinning and cracking open so that the embryo can emerge and implant within the uterine wall. Creating a minor defect in the zona pellucida helps the embryo implant into the uterus and is believed to improve pregnancy rates. 

Who are the primary patients for assisted hatching? 

Not all patients undergoing IVF treatment should consider assisted hatching. This procedure is typically recommended for patients that have not experienced success with IVF on multiple occasions for unexplained reasons or in specific circumstances such as:

  • Are 35+ years old (esp. 38+ years)
  • Have mild elevations in their third day FSH levels
  • Have experienced multiple failures with assisted reproductive technology
  • Have embryos with unusual shells

Does assisted hatching increase the chance of twins? 

While IVF treatment on its own can increase the chance of twins, do remember that the number of embryos transferred during the treatment process directly influences the chances of twins. In plainer terms, when more than one embryo is implanted in the uterus, the potential for a twin birth increases. These days single embryo transfer is more common, which means that conceiving twins through IVF is less common. 

There is a slightly increased risk of identical twins through assisted hatching. If the defect created on the zona pellucida is not the right size it can increase the chances of having identical twins, or in some cases, decrease the chance of pregnancy. 

Do we recommend assisted hatching? 

The short answer is no, we cannot recommend this treatment process. The assisted egg hatching process has not truly been clinically-proven. According to Dr. Gelety, there has only ever been one peer-reviewed study that showed any kind of success in the procedure. This review led to the oft-thought notion now that this procedure is best for women 37 or older. However, this procedure inherently decreases the quality of the embryos, causing a higher likelihood of unsuccessful or damaging procedures. We do not endorse procedures like assisted hatching that scientifically and statistically do not produce high-quality embryos. 

According to Dr. Gelety, another gimmicky procedure offered as an add-on to IVF is preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A), which is used to test for chromosomal anomalies. Like assisted hatching, there is little scientific evidence that these additional IVF add-ons as part of the IVF process have improved a woman’s chance of getting pregnant.  In fact, PGT-A has even been proven to harm women’s chances of pregnancy. It’s also important to note that many of these add-ons like assisted hatching and PGT-A are very expensive due to the process and technology used, making them lucrative services for many clinics while not substantially increasing pregnancy odds.

What is Arizona Center for Reproduction and Endocrinology’s alternative? 

Photo of Dr. Wu in a white lab coat next to two smiling parents and a young child in the fertility office.

At Arizona Center for Reproduction and Endocrinology, we believe reproductive health cannot be a one size fits all approach. Rather than offering expensive, gimmicky procedures that do not have a high likelihood of success, we are committed to our patients first. This means that we will work with you to create a fertility treatment plan that considers and eliminates any problems that might be interfering with implantation. We understand that the desire to have a baby can be so strong that hopeful parents are often willing to try as many available solutions as possible, like assisted hatching. At Arizona Center for Reproduction and Endocrinology, we aim to help deserving people meet their parental ambitions with science-based, clinically-proven fertility counseling.  

When you work with our fertility specialists, we will explore alternative treatments that provide the best outcome for you and your situation. Dr. Timothy Gelety, the Director of Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in Tucson, AZ, has helped countless people make their dreams of a child come true. Our services are open to all people regardless of their gender preference or sexual orientation because we believe every deserving person should have the opportunity to raise a child of their own. If you have any questions feel free to call us at (520) 326-0001, or if you’re ready to set up a consultation, fill out this form, and we’ll get in touch with you soon. 

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Fighting the Stigma of an ICSI Procedure

There’s no denying a stigma exists around male infertility. If you or someone you know is struggling with male factor infertility, they should know that they aren’t alone and that it’s far more common than they might think. About 1 in 6 couples struggle to conceive, and 40-50% of infertility cases are related to male factor infertility. Male infertility does not mean that your chances of conceiving are gone, it just means that there are more roadblocks along the way. Luckily, fertility treatments have advanced enough that there is a way to make pregnancy more likely. ICSI is a procedure that can improve the chances of pregnancy by increasing the likelihood that the sperm will fertilize the egg. 

Who can benefit from ICSI? 

ICSI may be recommended to you if you are experiencing male factor infertility. What impacts male factor infertility? The condition is caused by several issues including, abnormal sperm production, motility, blockage of delivery of sperm, or low sperm production. 

Graphic showing 6 bullet points on how the ICSI procedure can help men who are struggling with fertility issues.

What does the ICSI procedure involve?

ICSI is short for intracellular sperm injection and is an additional procedure performed as part of IVF. As part of the ICSI procedure, sperm is collected either through microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) or percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA). Although Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility does not offer this specific service, we can refer excellent doctors and resources that will help you.

After the sperm is collected, the next step is to inject the sperm into a mature egg. Once the sperm fertilizes the egg, we transfer the embryo into the woman’s uterus to begin the pregnancy process.

Please note that, like all fertility treatments, success is not 100% guaranteed, however, ICSI is a very effective treatment. For reference, this procedure fertilizes 50% to 80% of eggs. 

What are the risks of the ICSI procedure? 

While ICSI is an incredible procedure that has helped countless couples successfully conceive, there have been some misconceptions about the level of risk associated with it. Research conducted about the risks of ICSI found that there is a slightly increased risk of birth defects. Though, this risk can be comparable to the risk associated with IVF without ICSI. In both cases, the risk of birth defects is marginally higher than natural conception. Additionally, we can conduct comprehensive prenatal genetic testing to ensure the quality of the embryo and provide the safest, most effective fertility solutions. However, it is the position of Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility to not push for this testing, unless something runs in the family that makes it a justifiable pursuit. 

When you visit us at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility in Tucson, AZ, you can feel confident that you are receiving the highest quality service to address your individual situation. One of our favorite aspects of our job is helping hopeful parents-to-be experience the beauty and joy of parenthood. Our fertility experts train for years to make sure they offer you the best advice and treatment. We focus on pinpointing the issue, walking you through your options, and providing reliable solutions. If you have any lingering questions about the ICSI procedure or IVF, set up an appointment today by calling 520-326-0001. We are here to discuss your situation at length so we can help you discover the best path to pregnancy.

AZCREI’s Process for Screening and Clearing Sperm Donors in Arizona

For those looking for a sperm donor in Arizona, look no further. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility in Tucson, AZ, we help walk our patients through the process of selecting a sperm donor. Using a sperm donor is a great option for single women, lesbian couples, or couples with a male partner challenged with male factor infertility. We’ll walk you through our process, so you can feel confident that you have the knowledge you need before you arrive at your appointment. 

The Screening Process

We only order from donor agencies that follow a strict screening process for sperm donors. For context, of the numerous sperm donors who enroll in a sperm donation program, only 1% of sperm donations are selected to be stored at the sperm bank. The donor agencies we recommend typically require several screenings and processes to determine donor viability. These include: 

  • Complete physical examination
  • Blood and urine tests for infectious and genetic diseases
  • Testing for hemoglobin-related blood disorders
  • Specific genetic screening for certain donors based on their ethnicity
  • Evaluation of sperm quality
  • HIV risk assessment
  • Sperm count and post-thaw assessment
  • Quarterly testing for HIV, Hepatitis B & C, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis
  • Semi-annually updating HIV risk assessment and medical & genetic history
  • Annual physical examination

The Selection Process

Choosing a sperm donor is an important decision. But for some, it can also be a difficult decision. Here are some things we’ve learned from helping others along their journey to parenthood. 

While selecting the right sperm donor is important, don’t get lost in the details. It’s perfectly fine to have a checklist of qualities and traits that you’d like your donor to possess. However, we urge you to please keep in mind that there is no “perfect donor” who possesses every single trait on your wishlist. Remember that having a child is the end goal, and choosing the sperm donor is just one of the steps in this process. Narrow down your list to absolute must-have requirements and then shortlist the donors who match that criteria. 

Don’t just look at physical traits. For example, if you would like to have an athletic child, opt for a sperm donor who is also athletic. Take a look at the potential donor’s medical history. If your family has a history of a specific genetic condition, it might make sense to rule out a donor who has a history of the same genetic condition. Why? Because this will increase the chances that your child will have the same genetic condition. 

For many, IQ is important. But, higher education does not necessarily mean greater intelligence. Some donors may have personal, undisclosed reasons for not completing college but may still be very intelligent. An alternative way of measuring intelligence is by reading through a donor’s personal statement. This can also be a great indicator of their personality and help tip the scales in favor of a specific donor if you’re having a difficult time choosing between your shortlist.


It’s okay to change sperm donors. Sometimes it takes a few tries before you get the right match, and that’s completely normal. 

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we love being able to help people from all backgrounds, regardless of their sexual orientation, achieve their pregnancy goals. Everybody’s situation is uniquely different. With this in mind, we offer many services tailored to meet you where you are, whether that involves searching for a sperm donor, IVF, or egg donation. If you have any additional questions about sperm donation or anything else, feel free to give us a call at (520) 326-0001

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IUI vs. IVF: What Are the Differences?

Over 6 million people across the U.S. struggle to conceive each year. Fortunately, fertility treatments can help aspiring parents make their dreams of parenthood a reality. Two popular options are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). People often confuse the two, but an easy way to keep them clearly defined in your mind is to remember that the fundamental difference is in how the egg gets fertilized. Understanding the distinctions between IUI and IVF can help you determine which option might suit your situation the best. 

What is the IUI Process? 

IUIs are considered a less invasive form of fertility treatment, which is why many people may choose to start their fertility journey with IUI. The day of the IUI procedure is selected based on ultrasounds, the woman’s cycle, urinary LH tests, and the status of the developing follicle. The IUI begins with placing washed sperm, which is sperm separated from semen, directly into the uterus using a speculum. This treatment process can begin during a woman’s natural fertility cycle, though it is often performed with fertility medication that increases ovulatory function. By placing the sperm directly into the uterus, the sperm does not have to travel as far to fertilize the egg. 

The Benefits and Drawbacks of IUI

IUI can be a great option for those dealing with PCOS, other anovulation or cervical mucus problems, or sperm health issues—including in same-sex couples; single mothers by choice; and patients with unexplained infertility. IUI is fast, effective and affordable, especially compared with other techniques. The process is pain-free and relatively easy, with low chances of complications.

While the probability of success differs from case to case, IUI boosts the monthly conception rate from 1-3% up to 5-10%. It is worth noting that IUI can be less effective than other methods like IVF. However, it is a great starting point for many starting to use assisted conception. Usually, when IUI is deemed appropriate, a few attempts are made before moving on to alternative, more complex procedures. 

What Does IVF Involve? 

During IVF, the egg gets fertilized in a lab, and the resulting embryo gets transferred back into the woman’s uterus. Typically, patients receive ovary-stimulating medication that causes the body to produce multiple eggs in one cycle. During these 8-12 days, the patient will be monitored with ultrasounds and bloodwork to ensure the process is going smoothly. Then the egg can be fertilized conventionally or through ICSI, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where a single sperm will be injected directly into an egg. 

The Benefits and Drawbacks of IVF

IVF is one of the most popular forms of fertility treatment. It is a great option for same-sex couples and couples who have not been successful with IUI. The procedure allows doctors to bypass the fallopian tubes, which makes it helpful for patients experiencing blocked, damaged, or absent fallopian tubes. During IVF, the ability to use ICSI, a fertilization process that only requires one sperm cell for each egg, means that the chances of fertilization are higher even among severe cases of male infertility. 

IVF is one of the most successful assisted conception methods, but it is also more expensive than IUI. You should consider age, budget, insurance coverage, and your individual diagnosis when choosing between IVF or IUI. Consulting with one of our fertility treatment specialists is one of the best ways to decide whether IVF or IUI is right for you.

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Reproductive Fertility, we work with all people, regardless of gender preference and sexual orientation, to resolve the challenges of getting pregnant. We will guide you every step of the way to help you make an informed decision that will give you the best chance at conceiving. Give us a call at 520-326-0001, and our specialists will discuss your options at length and help you set up an appointment. Start your fertility treatment journey today.

The Emotional Side of Becoming a Surrogate

Surrogacy can be immensely rewarding for many women who choose to be surrogates. Giving the joy of a newborn child to a couple who were unable to conceive on their own is a priceless gift of immeasurable value. Any pregnancy can be an emotional journey with highs and lows. However, surrogacy, whether gestational or traditional, comes with its own emotional hurdles. While every surrogacy experience is unique, it can be helpful to understand what to expect.

Before Pregnancy

Women who decide to become surrogates must first apply through a surrogate agency. The application includes a detailed screening process, which will determine whether you are physically and emotionally ready for the surrogacy experience. During this time, you might ask yourself: 

  • Will I be prepared to be pregnant with someone else’s child?
  • Will I be able to commit to the lifestyle required to carry out a healthy pregnancy when it isn’t my child? 

If you believe surrogacy is right for you, you’ll then need to decide if you would prefer gestational surrogacy or traditional surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy includes carrying and delivering a child who has no biological genes of the surrogate. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides the egg used for conception and carries out the pregnancy for another couple. Your preference will play a part in matching you with the intended parents. 

The next part of the process includes additional medical screening and legal contract review. Once approved, you will attend monitoring appointments to determine when your body is ready for embryo transfer. 

During Pregnancy

When you become pregnant, you are an important part of a hopeful couple’s journey to parenthood. You experience the shared joy and excitement that comes with conceiving. Prospective or first-time surrogates may be worried that they will form an emotional attachment to the baby they’re carrying. Others may be concerned about their lack of emotional attachment. Everyone’s surrogacy experience is different. 

Surrogates may still feel the emotional ups and downs of hormonal fluctuations common with pregnancy. But, many surrogates find they are better at managing their emotions because they have not bonded with the child in the same way. Often, mothers-to-be struggle with their emotions because of fears that they won’t be a good parent, won’t know how to parent, or don’t know how the child will behave. Since surrogates do not have to worry about the challenges that come with raising a child, they may be better able to separate their feelings for the child they’re carrying from feelings they have for their child. Some even choose to view their pregnancy as “babysitting.” Establishing a bond with the intended parents can help ease the transition both for you and the baby. 

Even if you feel comfortable with surrogacy, there may be times when you have conflicted feelings due to hormone fluctuations. While you can’t control your hormone changes, the feelings can be disorienting, so speaking to someone you trust, whether that includes a surrogacy professional, trusted friend or family member, or therapist can help. 

After Pregnancy

Many surrogates feel excited for the intended parents after the baby is born. However, everyone is different. If you find yourself needing support post-birth, do not be ashamed to reach out to your surrogacy support team. Pregnancy is a difficult but incredibly rewarding experience and giving another couple a chance to raise a child of their own is honorable. Seeing the intended parents’ happiness when they meet their baby for the first time is a moment you will never forget.

We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the unique happiness of raising a child. Our core mission is to guide couples every step of the way to create a treatment plan tailored to their unique situation. We offer a wide range of services that cater to every woman no matter where they are in life at the moment. Learn more


What to Expect During Your First Fertility Consultation

For anyone, the first fertility consultation can be charged with a range of emotions from apprehension to excitement, and nervousness. Trying to conceive can be as exhausting and stressful as it can be wonderful and joyful. If you’re considering seeing a fertility specialist or if you have already made the appointment, having an understanding of what you can expect before you arrive can be a big help. We’ll walk through the process so that you can feel more at ease before your first fertility consultation. 

Setting an Appointment

If you’re thinking about fertility treatment and want to make an appointment, call us at 520-326-0001. We are happy to discuss your individual situation at length and help you discover the most suitable solution that meets your specific needs. 

You can typically expect to book an appointment for the first fertility consultation a few weeks from the date you’ve called. Our schedule is often quite busy, but we do our best to work with you to set up a time that’s convenient for you. 

Initial Consultation

To get ready for your visit, remember to bring any necessary insurance information. You’ll spend the first 15 minutes or so of your first visit filling out insurance information. This process may seem tedious but it is our goal to ensure that you have the most coverage possible for our time together. Often, insurance covers the initial diagnosis and treatment for the underlying causes of infertility.

We may also conduct a few tests that will help us determine the underlying reasons surrounding your difficulties getting pregnant. These will help us set the foundation of your infertility treatment. The testing process is completed within one menstrual cycle, after which we can use those test results to discuss the most effective treatment options with you. 


After the diagnosis has been made and we’ve worked with you to create a treatment plan, treatment typically begins in about a month, or one menstrual cycle. The duration of treatment varies from person to person. Regardless of how long it takes, we will be there to guide you every step of the way, to answer any questions, and address any concerns that may pop up along the way. 

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, we have helped countless couples experience the unique joys that parenthood can bring and are proud that we’ve been able to help so many on their journey to raising a child of their own. Our fertility specialists are dedicated to helping each patient understand the options available to them so we can create a plan tailored to their unique situation. We believe that everyone deserves to start the family they have always dreamed of. Learn how we can help you. 


Guide to LGBTQ+ Fertility Options

Every couple who dreams of starting a family deserves to experience the joy of raising a child. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, many of the LGBTQ+ couples that come to us are unaware of the fertility options available to them, so helping these couples understand how they can conceive a child of their own is incredibly rewarding. 

Fertility treatment is not limited to heterosexual couples, which is why we’ve tailored our services to welcome LGBTQ+ couples and address the needs of all couples regardless of their sexual orientation. While we are happy to work with any LGBTQ+ couple to create a plan specific to their situation, some couples may find it empowering to have prior knowledge of their fertility options before they come to see us. Those who prefer to do research ahead of consulting a fertility specialist will find this guide helpful. 

Same-Sex Female Couples

Female couples have a variety of fertility options available to them, including intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, either with an anonymous or known sperm donor, or in-vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF tends to be more common among women who struggle to conceive through insemination. Some couples choose co-IVF or reciprocal IVF where one partner provides the eggs to be fertilized with the donor sperm while the other partner will receive the embryo to carry out the pregnancy. 

Fertility testing is highly encouraged before beginning any treatment. Women over the age of 35 or with a history of infertility should consult with a fertility specialist to increase their chances of conceiving. 

Same-Sex Male Couples 

Male couples can either look at egg donation, whether through an anonymous or known donor, or select a gestational carrier. Both can provide the sperm or can select the partner with the healthier sperm for either of these options. Some gay couples opt for split insemination where half of the eggs are put with one man’s sperm and the other half are put with the other man’s sperm. However, do keep in mind that it is only possible to fertilize an egg with one man’s sperm. 

Gay couples that opt for a gestational carrier can select one through a surrogacy agency or may choose someone in their life. After the sperm fertilizes the donor eggs to create an embryo, Dr. Gelety will then transfer the embryo into the chosen carrier through the process of IVF. 

Transgender Individuals 

For transgender individuals looking to start family planning, eggs, embryos, or sperm for future use can be frozen before beginning hormone therapy or transitional surgery. Transgender women with female partners can use their frozen sperm to inseminate their partner. Transgender women with male partners can opt for a gestational carrier. Transgender men can have their pre-fertilized frozen embryos transferred to a female partner’s uterus to carry out the pregnancy to term. Some transgender men may also choose to carry out the pregnancy if their uterus remains. 

At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, we are proud to have helped parents from all walks of life, sexual orientations, beliefs, and cultures experience the incredible journey of childbirth. We are committed to guiding couples seeking pregnancy assistance, whether that includes increasing their fertility or providing alternative solutions. We are happy to discuss every unique situation at length and help individuals discover the most suitable solution to meet their specific needs. Learn how we can help you.


Top 5 Reasons to Become an Egg Donor

A significant number of couples struggle to conceive each year. Visiting a fertility clinic like the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility can provide alternative ways to get pregnant. One of these options is IVF or in-vitro fertilization using donated eggs. Egg donation is life-changing all around. It’s a process that gives a couple or a single woman struggling with infertility a new opportunity to start a family. It is a chance to play a key part in bringing new life to this world while giving another woman the experience of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, even when her own eggs are not a viable option. 

Here are the benefits a potential egg donor should consider before deciding whether or not egg donation is right for them: 

1.) Help Others Start a Family

Infertility can be soul-crushing news and even more difficult to bear when paired with the added stress from previous efforts to get pregnant. This diagnosis can seriously shift a family’s hopes and visions for the future. But through egg donation, you can significantly alter a couple’s life by playing a part in their journey to parenthood and giving them the ability to conceive. Egg donation is a truly selfless act that helps couples achieve their dreams of having children and experience the joys of parenthood. The gift of a chance to give birth is priceless and is something that will have a lasting impact for years to come. 

2.) Gain Insights into Your Fertility

If you decide to undergo the process of egg donation, you will need to complete several medical and physical tests to ensure your health. These tests may seem like a lot of work, but after completing the tests, you will have comprehensive insight into your own health and fertility which will better equip you to prepare for your own future — whether that includes children of your own or not. 

3.) Preserve Eggs for Yourself Too 

Many women are not ready to have children yet but may want to have the option later on in life. When you choose to donate eggs, you may be given the option to freeze some of your eggs for yourself. Since the retrieval process is the same for egg freezing and egg donation, it may make sense to consider doing both at the same time. 

4.) Access to Free Health Screenings 

Again, the process of egg donation requires multiple health screenings and physical tests. These include screening for STIs, chromosome analysis, identifying inheritable diseases, and psychological examination. These screenings and genetic testing processes may otherwise cost thousands of dollars but are free of charge to you as a donor. You will be receiving free health screenings with the added benefit of gaining more knowledge about your health, genetics, and fertility.

5.) Receive Compensation 

For many couples, the chance to experience pregnancy and childbirth is priceless, but monetary compensation for egg donation can go a long way toward helping you financially. In addition to receiving medical testing and examination free of charge, donors may receive a number of other medical and financial benefits. Some women can earn up to thousands of dollars donating their eggs. The amount of compensation varies depending on the vitality of the eggs,  previous history of successful pregnancies, and donor demand.

Egg donation is a decision that will have a significant positive impact on aspiring mothers-to-be struggling to conceive. Any woman in good health from the ages of 19 to 29 can be an egg donor. To see if you qualify for our egg donation program, please submit an online application. If you are interested in learning more about egg donation, visit our website
At the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we believe that all couples deserve to know the joys of raising a child. Give us a call at 520-326-0000. We are happy to discuss your unique situation at length and help you discover the most suitable solution to meet your individual needs. We offer a wide range of services that cater to every woman no matter where they are in life. Learn how we can help you.

What Can I Do to Boost Fertility?

Studies show that about 1 in 6 couples struggle with fertility. If you are one of the many who run into this issue, there are a few things you can do to potentially boost fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant. While there will always be factors beyond your control, making lifestyle, diet, and behavior adjustments are a few natural and easy ways to try and increase fertility. 

Track your period

First and foremost, period tracking can help you figure out and understand your menstrual cycle better. Being aware of when your cycle occurs can also clue you in to when your body is ovulating. Just like menstruation, ovulation varies month-to-month based on environmental and internal factors like stress, diet, and exercise. By tracking your period, you will be better able to time your conception efforts more easily. 

Keep in mind that period tracking apps can’t give an exact date on ovulation, but that doesn’t mean the information isn’t useful. Period tracking apps can provide a good basis for understanding your body better. Beyond being a pregnancy aid, tracking your period has a host of benefits that we discussed in a previous blog post

For more accurate and detailed ovulation detection, try tracking basal body temperature, breast sensitivity, and cervical mucus. You can even purchase ovulation tracking kits at your local pharmacy.

Maintain a healthy diet

As mentioned previously, diet is one factor that impacts your menstrual cycle and ovulation. There are certain foods that you can incorporate into your diet that have been shown to increase your fertility. Eating antioxidant-rich foods may help boost fertility in both women and men. This includes foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains which are packed full of beneficial antioxidants like vitamins C and E, folate, beta carotene, and lutein.

Aside from antioxidants, be sure to incorporate healthy fats like avocado and olive oil. Avoid trans fats commonly found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, fried foods, processed products, and baked goods. Trans fats have been found to negatively impact ovulation levels. Studies have found a correlation between a diet higher in trans fats and lower in unsaturated fats and infertility for both men and women. 

For women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), following a low-carb eating plan can help improve hormone levels and increase the odds of getting pregnant. Minimizing refined carbs can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower levels of testosterone and insulin, hormones that contribute to infertility. 

Opt for full-fat dairy instead of skim and low-fat dairy products. Studies show a connection between consuming full-fat dairy and fertility. Women who had consumed one or two servings of high-fat dairy products had been found to have higher chances of getting pregnant than those who consumed low-fat dairy.

Cut the caffeine

Many of us cannot live without our daily cup of coffee, but consuming too much caffeine may make conceiving more difficult. Studies have not conclusively proven that caffeine has a direct effect on fertility, but consider limiting your caffeine intake to one or two 6- to 8-ounce cups of coffee a day to err on the side of caution. 

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol has been proven to negatively affect fertility and decrease the likelihood of pregnancy, though it is unclear how much alcohol needs to be consumed for this effect to take place. Though a few sips of alcohol here and there are okay, most doctors will likely recommend avoiding alcohol completely or at least avoiding excessive consumption. 

Exercise caution when exercising

There is such a thing as too much exercise. For women trying to boost fertility, vigorous daily exercise can decrease the body’s production of the hormones that stimulate ovary function. This can cause the ovaries to become less active and stop producing eggs and estrogen. This risk increases with exercise duration and intensity. Moderate exercises like walking, yoga and barre that are low intensity are great ways to stay active, while high-intensity exercises like running, cross-fit, and spin classes should be avoided for the time being. 

Reduce stress and increase relaxation

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you may have felt more stressed out than normal. The added stress of trying to conceive can increase levels of cortisol, which can cause irregular cycles. Take the time to sit back and relax. Engage in more activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or even cognitive behavioral therapy. Find activities that help you unwind like doing yoga, watching your favorite movies or shows, drawing a bath for a nice soak— basically whatever helps you. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

Although there is no singular cure-all to boost fertility, making a few lifestyle changes can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Still, many couples struggle to get pregnant at no fault of their own. Reproduction is a complicated process that requires getting the timing right in balance with other bodily systems. Sometimes, unknown factors can make pregnancy more complicated. If you have been trying to conceive without success for more than a year, you might consider seeking fertility treatment. At the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we offer a wide range of services to meet every woman’s individual needs. Learn more.