Attain Fertility Blog

Sexual Assault and the Infertility Patient

By: admin Monday Sep. 15th
Filed in: Natural Fertility Support

By Dr. Mary Hinckley

It only makes sense that I would see infertility patients that have suffered from a sexual assault. With current population estimates, one out of every 5 infertility patients has been affected, on average.

For a patient struggling to become pregnant, a rape of the past may continue to assault them in the present, even though they may be in a loving relationship now. Pelvic pain, lack of sexual desire, and anxiety may thwart their attempts at sexual intimacy. Misplaced guilt, for being in a compromising position in the past, may haunt them still. And for some, a sexually transmitted disease or unintentional pregnancy (or termination of pregnancy) may have resulted from the rape.

It is essential to recognize the effect that rape may have had on an infertile couple to treat a patient appropriately. Helping patients get the knowledge and skill to work through any issues that arise from this experience is our goal here at RSC Bay.

If you think you may have been sexually assaulted but aren’t quite sure, here is a definition for you,

“Sexual assault is a crime of violence and aggression, and encompasses a continuum of sexual activity that ranges from sexual coercion to contact abuse (unwanted kissing, touching, or fondling) to rape.”

The FBI now has a new definition of rape that recognizes that victims and perpetrators may be female or male, and includes oral and anal penetration, as well as penetration with an object. Physical force is no longer a necessary part of the definition as patients that are coerced or intoxicated or mentally or physically incapable to consent can be raped.

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reveal that an estimated 1.3 million rape-related physical assaults occur against women annually.

  • 18 percent of women report to having been victims of rape or attempted rape
  • 80 percent of the time this happens before the age of 25
  • 51 percent reported that at least one perpetrator was a current or former intimate partner

The loss of control that happens after a rape assault can lead to a rape-trauma syndrome. The early or acute phase consists of physical symptoms like generalized pain and sleep disorders and emotional symptoms like fear, guilt, anxiety, and mood swings. The delayed phase can include flashbacks and phobias as well as physical pain symptoms. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can result and alcohol or drug abuse can occur as a woman attempts to cope with the assault.

If you or someone you know had suffered from sexual assault, please seek help. We are here to talk to and to assist in getting you the care and compassion you deserve.

Source: “Committee Opinion No. 592: Sexual Assault.” Obstetrics & Gynecology. Vol. 124, Issue 4. April 2014. P. 905-909.

Dr. Mary Hinckley is a leading reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area. She has extensively published articles in peer-reviewed journals on blastocyst transfer, avoiding triplet pregnancies, monozygotic twinning, operative hysteroscopy, correction of uterine anomalies, and biochemical pathways involved in ovulation and fertilization. She serves as a member of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinologists, the Christian Medical and Dental Society and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Her areas of interest include laparoscopic surgery, premature ovarian failure, oocyte freezing, and recurrent pregnancy loss. Dr. Hinckley offers infertility education on YouTube.

Male Fertility Testing Begins… at Home?

By: Dr. Lowell Ku, MD Wednesday Sep. 10th
Filed in: Causes of Infertility

man in boxersBy Dr. Lowell Ku 

We came across an article recently about a male fertility test that men can do in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. We asked fertility blogger Dr. Lowell Ku at our Dallas IVF clinic to share an update and his thoughts on the test, now that it has been on the market for awhile:

This test is a safe, quick, private, and affordable way to see (more…)

Living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By: admin Monday Sep. 8th
Filed in: Causes of Infertility

By Dr. Carmelo Sgarlata

When we talk about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), we need to keep in mind that PCOS can show up as many different clinical presentations. Here are some important PCOS factors to keep in mind.

  • PCOS is a syndrome, not a disease.
  • No two women have exactly the same symptoms or needs.
  • An estimated 50 to 60 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese.
  • Around 50 to 70 percent of women with PCOS are insulin resistant.

There is no current “cure” for PCOS. Treatment is tailored toward the patient’s clinical symptoms and current goals. Depending on the woman, treatment can be targeted towards (more…)

I Am an Advocate for Infertility: Elizabeth’s Story

By: admin Wednesday Sep. 3rd
Filed in: Infertility Advocacy & Awareness

Featuring Elizabeth Walker

AF: Why did you get into infertility advocacy or volunteer work and what do you hope to accomplish? 

Elizabeth: I didn’t originally set out to volunteer for the infertility movement. I joined RESOLVE looking for infertility support and found it through an amazing group of women in a peer-led support group. When the founder and leader of the group wanted to step down, I offered to lead the group. I felt a need for continued support and wanted to make sure that others would have it as well. 

AF: Do you find it hard to fit your advocacy and volunteer work into your schedule? What would you tell people who may be hesitant to get involved as volunteers due to work, family, or other commitments?

Elizabeth: I have a very busy life. However,


Letrozole: Best Fertility Drug for PCOS?

By: admin Monday Sep. 1st
Filed in: Fertility Treatments & Options

winnerBy Dr. Carmelo Sgarlata

For over 40 years, Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid, Serophene) has been the most used oral medication for ovulation induction. Let’s look at what a newer medication – Letrozole – has to offer.

Letrozole (Femara) has received a great deal of recent interest as an alternative to Clomiphene. Unlike Clomiphene, which is an antiestrogen, Letrozole is in the class of medications known as aromatase inhibitors. Aromatase inhibits block the conversion of other hormones to estrogen. When estrogen levels are lowered, the brain sends out a signal – follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) – to stimulate the ovaries. 

In Canada and several European countries, Letrozole has (more…)