Guest blogger and fertility expert, Dr. Sinem Karipcin, shows you ten ways you should reduce exposure to toxins and increase your fertility right now. One of the most common toxins? Plastic cups and plastic bottles! Use stainless steel whenever possible. Read our blog for more tips and some surprising toxins you may not even know about.
Do you know at what age your mom reached menopause? Your aunt or grandmother? It's not something most women talk about. But this is the easiest, least expensive and least invasive fertility check up you can give yourself. Doesn't cost a dime or a drop of blood or even require two minutes spent in those dreaded stirrups.
The average woman reaches menopause (stops getting her period) in her early 50s. Anywhere between 45 and 55 years old is considered "normal".
But a woman's fertility drops dramatically during peri-menopause, which generally starts about 8 years before. So it is important to know if you may have a genetic tendency to reach menopause a bit younger than average.
What else can cause a woman to reach menopause early or lose her ovarian reserve younger than you would expect? Some causes can be reversed - such as smoking while taking the pill or being very overweight or very underweight. Some causes cannot be undone- such as having surgery to remove your ovaries, receiving certain cancer treatments, or as mentioned above, your genetics!
So this mother's day, ask your mom or aunt or grandmother how old she was at menopause. It is one of the most important questions we ask in our Egg-Q Fertility Check Up. And it is a key point you should bring up to your Ob-Gyn if your mom's answer is younger than 50 and you are planning on waiting and having your children a little later in life.
Our incredible partners at Conceptions Florida were featured on an episode of The Doctors TV yesterday. (Yes, the one hosted by the Bachelor Travis Stork). They interviewed Amanda Bradford, the 32 year old founder of a dating app, as she decided whether or not to freeze her eggs. Ultimately she decided to freeze them and they followed her throughout the process.
So what did we learn? Well, I for one am excited that women are just talking about their options openly. I will say it again, the worst is when we hear, "I wish I'd known." So this helps educate women on their choices.
We also saw that despite her initial indecision about whether to freeze or not, she was ecstatic after. She said she "felt 25 again" and free from the pressure to find "Mr. Right" (does he exist?!) before her biological clock went haywire.
We also learned from Dr. Hernandez-Rey that freezing younger eggs is much better, saw the actual tools and needles used (yep), and realized that just because you have frozen eggs doesn't mean you HAVE to use them. You can still try the "old fashioned way" if you do meet the right person.
Watching "Biological Clock", part 3 of Lisa Ling's This is Birth series. Right at the start, one woman remembers her fertility doctor telling her, "We see so many women who look great, they look young, but their ovaries suck!" Cue the shock and horror on the faces of the other women in the segment.
Well, I was pretty horrified too. It's definitely not OK to talk to your patients in such a crass and cold way. But what he is saying is sadly true.
I live in Miami, where somehow pretty much everyone looks amazing. Botox? Plastic surgery? Brazilian genes? Endless hours at Equinox? I have no idea, but they do. Somehow 40 year-olds look like they are 25. But unfortunately your ovaries really don't care how amazing your body looks, how toned your arms are, or how wrinkle-free your forehead is. Inside, we are all pretty much the same. Starting at 27, and accelerating dramatically at 35, our ovaries begin to. . . well, suck. Your very smart body uses up its best eggs first. So at 20 most women release a "good egg" almost every month. By 35 maybe its only 4 - 6 months of the year. And by 40, we know that your chances of genetic abnormalities and miscarriage are greater every month than your chances of actually having a healthy baby.
So what can we do?
Well, first I am on a mission to let women know that their ovaries do in fact age very quickly in their 30s- in a nicer way than the tactless doctor did. Even my super smart, super successful friends still don't fully get this.
Second, Egg-Q is offering women an easy way to get a fertility check-up. We combine an AMH blood test with a questionnaire developed by the best fertility doctors (our partners at Conceptions Florida) and review it via a quick and easy tele-medicine consult. It's the best way to know if your ovaries are. . . how shall we say this. . . slightly sucky.
Finally, we actually have "botox for ovaries": it's called egg freezing. You put your eggs on ice and when you are ready to use them, they are fresh and young. Take a look at Lisa Ling's very real talk about the pros and cons. It's definitely worth your time if you want to learn more about egg freezing.
Today it begins. My dream of having my own company. One that really impacts women's lives.
Egg-Q is a simple test that can predict your ovarian reserve- or the real age of your eggs and ovaries. Technically, it combines an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) blood test with a fertility questionnaire to educate women on their fertility health.
But that's a bit of the science. This is the actual story.
The story is about you, and what tools you have to build the life of your dreams. Great education, amazing career, fun travel, a healthy body, and maybe hardest of all, a great partner. And yes, kids one day.
And this story is about me, too, and how I got here.
I got my BA at the University of Pennsylvania and my MBA at NYU-Stern. I was "living the dream" working at a women's health company. My husband, meanwhile, was starting his own infertility practice. I had two babies back to back. I turned 40 and kept working long hours during the day and sleeping about 3 hours a night. Sleep-training experts be damned.
I was exhausted. Then I got thyroid cancer. I took that as a sign that for the first time in years maybe I should/could/needed to take a break. So I did. But shortly after, I had a retinal detachment which took what felt like forever to fix via several (fairly gross) surgeries. My retinal detachment terrified me because it left me blind in one eye, with severely limited vision in the other eye, and laying face down for weeks while I recovered. (This is true. Ask my sisters who thought it was absolutely hilarious to stand behind me and take ridiculous pictures since they knew I couldn't see them. But I digress.)
During these very uncomfortable hours where I couldn't lift my head, much less check my phone, read email or watch TV (think about that), I was finally able to *really* think about an idea I had floating around in the back of my mind for a while.
So thanks to these pop-up challenges, my labor of love has begun. A test for women to take BEFORE they get to my husband's office because they are having a hard time getting pregnant. To help women who ask, "why didn't anyone ever tell me?" Women who never really thought about getting pregnant. . . until they couldn't. They are now suffering through the emotional, physical and financial roller coaster of infertility. Now, let me not bite the hand that feeds me. Infertility treatments are awesome if you cannot have a baby any other way. They change lives. They actually make lives. But why go through that if you don't have to? Wouldn't you rather know?
My friends and I have spent way too much time researching the perfect spa in Arizona, getting accepted to the best grad schools, and finding the best new restaurant in the city. But few of my incredibly bright and talented friends ever checked to see what was really going on with their ovaries. Well, guess what? Smart women know more than the latest celebrity gossip. Smart women know their Egg-Q.
So that's it. I hope this test helps women know more about their bodies, Lean In, and take control of their futures.
Silvia Mestre, Founder and CEO, Egg-Q
(Wow, that feels incredible to say.)