Leyla Bilali has worked in fertility/reproductive endocrinology for 3 years, with 6 years of pediatrics experience. Bilali, currently works as a nurse at RMA of NY while planning a launch of her own fertility consulting company called "Fertility Together"
1. What is the most common sign women find being infertile?
Infertility is typically labeled as not being able to conceive after actively trying for 1 year if you're 35 or younger and for 6 months if you're older than 35. Women who are not regularly menstruating - whether they just don't get their period at all or they have very irregular cycles - should definitely have some sort of formal workup.
2. What are some tips women in their 20's / early 30's can start to practice, to help them stay fertile? Any diet-related suggestions?
While there are definitely genetic factors in play when it comes to fertility struggles I do think that lifestyle plays a huge part as well. A healthy diet & exercise regimen can definitely help. I'm on the advisory board of a fertility nutrition company called Fertile Girl - they have delicious bars with folic acid and antioxidants geared toward fertility. Folic acid plays a huge rule in prenatal care. In terms of exercise, while it's great to have a steady practice overdoing it can have a negative impact on your fertility as well. We have a lot of patients with very low BMIs who don't cycle because of it. And on the other end we have a lot of patients with high BMIs and the insulin regulation issue can negatively impact their cycle as well. So I think balance is key.
3. Are you starting to care for women who are a lot younger in age than in the past?
Because fertility treatment isn't so taboo anymore I find that we are seeing a lot of younger women pursuing egg freezing. The fertility world is really flourishing right now & I think more & more younger women feel comfortable taking control & taking action.
4. Do you believe there are current economical stressed placed on women?
Fertility treatment is NOT cheap. And most of it is an out-of-pocket cost. Whether you are freezing your eggs or pursuing pregnancy it's a lot to take on. So definitely, yes, there is a huge economical stress on females when it comes to this - it's an added cost.
5. Any general Infertility patterns for men?
I think men very often fly under the radar when it comes to fertility. We're so quick to think of all the female-related issues that we forget it takes 2 to tango! And without doing a semen analysis how would a man ever really know what he's working with? At least with females we have some idea because of our annual gynecology visits & our menstrual cycles.
I think it's very important for men to be aware of what can hinder their fertility, such as prolonged smoking habits, regular hot baths, compression workout wear to name a few.
6. What age should women start freezing their eggs if they choose to do so?
This is a variable. I think if you have the financial means for it & you don't see children in your near future then the sooner the better. Believe it or not your egg quality & quantity can start to decline as early as age 28.
7. What is the egg freezing process? How much can it generally cost?
I would say on average it costs $9,000-$12,000 depending on the facility & insurance/medication coverage. The abridged version of the process is as follows:
Your menses starts (or we induce it or do a random start based on bloodwork) & you come in on day 2 of your cycle for "monitoring" = bloodwork & a transvaginal ultrasound. You typically start injectable medications that same evening depending on your protocol. The injections are a huge freak-out factor for potential patients - they don't always know how the medications are administered & the fear of needles can stop them from preserving their fertility.
From there it's about 10 days of medications on average before the actual egg retrieval procedure itself.
8. What is your company?
Fertility Together, is a concierge service for anyone going through any type of fertility treatment, whether it is egg freezing or pregnancy, etc. I will hold your hand through it all with extra compassion, experience & knowledge. I'm happy to take on clients as soon as Fertility Together officially launches in August/September for tips, etc.!
Leyla Bilali, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whether it is now or the future, overall a healthy lifestyle is important to keeping yourself fertile. As much as I plan to be a young mom, having the ability to freeze my eggs is a beautiful blessing every woman should consider.
Being that I work in this industry, I HIGHLY recommend researching all providers, treatments, and medications ; above all work with a Specialty Pharmacy that can provide competitive pricing on your IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) medication. $1,000s can be saved!