Make a Fertility Plan With Your Doctors
Just becoming more aware of the connection between infertility and GI disease will go a long way toward figuring out a plan for getting pregnant, emphasizes Dr. Abreu, who feels that the scope of the problem is “underestimated and that many GI experts neglect to discuss the potential impact on conception.”
One reason may be that “we don’t have very good data yet, and the results are conflicting,” says Silvia Degli Esposti, MD, director of the Center for Women’s Digestive Disorders at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Esposti adds that, fortunately, the link between GI disorders and infertility is now a topic of active scientific research, so more information may be forthcoming.
A key starting point for a woman who has a GI disorder is to speak up and get help—and try to plan ahead by setting up an appointment with a high-risk obstetrician who will work in tandem with her gastroenterologist, suggests James A. Grifo, M.D., Ph.D., director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the NYU Medical Center in New York City. “Your pregnancy could be complicated and you need to be prepared,” he says. “Also, if your disease gets worse while you’re pregnant, you need a doctor on hand to get you the treatment you need.”
And never give up, urges Stephanie Osheim, who, as the mother of two, is proof that conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy is possible even with severe gastrointestinal disorders. “It can be done. You can get pregnant and have a family,” she says. “I have no answer to the how and why, but if I had given up, I wouldn’t be here today with two beautiful girls by my side.”
A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2007 issue of Conceive Magazine.
Related Topics: Fertility Foods; Fertility Nutrition; Fertility Threats; Stress and Fertility