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Baby-Making Therapies

Overcoming infertility

I came to motherhood later in life. For much of my young adulthood, my career as a reporter and news anchor was a priority over marriage and babies. Still, I always knew that one day I wanted to experience motherhood and all its joys.

I was 35 when I married my husband Jorge and right away my focus became getting pregnant. I tried charting my body temperature and keeping track of my cycle, almost obsessively. I didn’t want the clock to stop on my chances to experience what others had told me was the ultimate life experience.

I’m not alone. Many of my professional women friends also waited until later in life to try to conceive. They also found themselves racing against time, aging eggs and perhaps less fertile bodies. Many of my friends went through in vitro fertilization, a process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the body. The fertilized egg is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the hope of establishing a successful pregnancy.

The Reproductive Medicine Group in Tampa offers complementary therapies for infertile couples. Dr. Sandy Goodman says that while success rates depend on a woman’s age, they can be up to 50 to 60 percent.

Tracey and Russ Birch of Clearwater spent years trying to conceive and had received a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. They went through a lot of testing, tried uterine insemination as well as in vitro. Tracey also had a surgical procedure that checked out everything and repaired her fallopian tubes. Throughout the process, Tracey says she felt many emotions including anger, depression, confusion and even doubt. “This was one of our basic functions in life and I couldn’t do it.

Finally, Tracey added complementary therapy to her treatment. Dr. Goodman recommends the Mind-Body Program to her patients suffering with infertility. Former TV anchor Kathy Fountain heads the program. She based it on 20 years of research that shows there is a definite connection between what you are thinking, your stress level and whether you are going to get pregnant.

The Mind-Body classes consist of relaxation techniques, stress management and social support from other women who understand the negative thinking that happens when you are trying to conceive without success.

“It was during that class that I did my IVF cycle and it was a complete bust,” Tracey says. “It was the day of class I found out so I was able to go that evening and have support. I don’t know what I would have done without that.”

The Birches went on to adopt twins, who are now 4½. “Shortly after we brought them home, we found out I was pregnant,” Tracey says. “They have a little sister who will be 4 in May!”

“My personal experience teaching this class for eight year is that almost all women who take it, within a year or two resolve their fertility issues,” Fountain says. “Some get pregnant, some not.”

Dr. Goodman not only recommends patients get in tune with their mind and body, but also thinks acupuncture can help. “We continue to look for medical studies to prove things, but we do get a general feeling of things. If patients participate in acupuncture and the patient finds that to be a positive experience, we know that’s going to help them get through their IVF procedure,” Dr. Goodman says.

Kym Caporale owns the Caporale Center of Natural Health in downtown St. Petersburg. She inserts needles into certain acupuncture points to stimulate organs and increase blood flow. She believes many points in the ear stimulate a woman’s reproductive organs. “Since 1999, we’ve looked at our percentages and we’re at 75 percent now,” Carporale says. She works with infertility doctors to combine eastern and western medicine in a positive way.

This month, ABC Action News will be taking action for your health.  How to overcome infertility is one of the topics we will be focusing on during the 5 p.m. newscast. This seven-week health campaign will also cover heart health, breast cancer, prostate cancer and obesity. Look for in-depth reports on fertility treatments the week of April 23, including a closer look at male infertility. If you would like to learn more about the health campaign or feature reports, go to my Facebook page by looking for Linda Hurtado-WFTS under pages.

As for Dr. Goodman, she says, “Being a mother, being parents, I don’t think there’s any experience in the world you can compare that to. I don’t think any parent would ever say that there’s anything more important in their lives.”

As the mother of four girls, I could not agree more.

Linda Hurtado is the 5p.m. anchor and medical reporter for ABC Action News. She’s one of the original members of the Action News Team and an 11-time Emmy award-winning reporter. 

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