[beginning fertility issues]

Information for TTC Couples...

Written by TTC Couples.


Low-Tech Ways to Help You Conceive - Chapter 1

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Low-Tech Ways to
Help You Conceive


    1.1 Authorship, Disclaimer, Acknowledgments, and Legal Sludge in General

    1.2 What's This FAQ About?

    1.3 Where Did This FAQ Come From?

    1.4 How's This FAQ Organized?


Authorship: This FAQ is compiled and maintained by Roger Hunt -- semi-frequent contributor to the above-named newsgroups, and college professor of geography and planning (*not* of biology, although I do specialize in fertility, contraception, and medical geography.)

Disclaimer: This is information collected from many sources, and while I have tried to be accurate and complete, I cannot guarantee that I have succeeded. This is not medical advice. For that, see your doctor or other health care provider.

Acknowledgments: There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who contributed to this FAQ, and there is no way to thank you all; the best I can do is say a heartfelt "THANK YOU!" -- and hope that I've faithfully and accurately summarized your collective wisdom.

Special thanks go to Toni Weschler, who kindly gave permission to have material paraphrased from her book _Taking Charge of Your Fertility_. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Christine Gilmore Eubanks, who anonymized and forwarded (with permission) all the material in Sec. 2.3, "Tales from the ONNA List"; Nan Twiss, who provided some of the information on lubricants in Sec. 10.4; and Dr. Kimball O. Pomeroy, Ph.D., who helped by answering various questions on male-factor issues.

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I volunteered to compile this FAQ originally as the result of many, many posts on the three newsgroups, asking for or offering information on the subject. By "low-tech" I mean methods that don't involve assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs), and mostly methods that don't require involvement of medical personnel at all -- in other words, it's a FAQ on "what to try without calling the doctor."

Some of the most frequently-asked-questions (literally) on misc.kids.pregnancy and the two infertility groups (alt.infertility and misc.health.infertility) are along the following lines: "My spouse and I have been trying to conceive for XX months/years, but no success yet. Does anyone have any advice? Help!" Others often post more specific questions, such as "how long before the BBT rise does ovulation actually take place?" or "will getting him to wear boxers instead of briefs really help?" or "which vitamins can help fertility, if any?" The FAQ is aimed at helping those who ask questions like these. When I posted my idea of creating this FAQ on the newsgroups in 1995, the response was enthusiastic.

So, I compiled this FAQ in hopes that maybe this will give *everyone* some idea of what to try. The FAQ contains both information gathered from published sources and anecdotal evidence (i.e., tales from those who've been there :-) ). Responses span the full fertility range, all the way from those who got pregnant on the first try, to those who have tried everything without success, so far.

There is also a PARTIAL list of other resources, on the Net and elsewhere -- the Natural Family Planning primer and the Atlanta Reproductive Center's WWW page, to name two examples. I have not attempted to make my list comprehensive, since Travis Low has compiled a Fertility Resource List that is more thorough and complete than anything I'm going to attempt. (See Sec. 15 for how to get Travis' list.)

Why did I compile this FAQ? Well, I'm not a medical doctor. Don't even play one on TV. I do have some expertise in the field of fertility (I'm a college professor and I teach fertility issues), and besides I'm a frustrated MD. Or maybe veterinarian, I'm not sure. Seriously: It just seems like something we all could use, and nobody else did it, so... :-)

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Specifically, the FAQ relies mainly on two sources: (1) Recognized publications on fertility enhancement -- I rely particularly heavily on, and highly recommend, Toni Weschler's book _Taking Charge of Your Fertility_, which is the best I know about*; and (2) Anecdotal evidence -- in other words, what the posters on the four newsgroups I queried (the three above, plus misc.kids) had to say about it -- "here's what we tried that didn't work, here's what else we tried that did." (I know, I know -- that's not science. Hey, until the scientists do more studies, it's the only thing we've got on some of these issues.) I also collected specific information via private email responses to my posted calls for contributions.

* Since I cite Toni Weschler's book repeatedly in this FAQ, in order to minimize repetition I will abbreviate the reference to TCoYF. The full bibliographic citation is as follows: Weschler, Toni (1995) _Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement_. (paperback) New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.; ISBN 0-06-095053-6).

I "anonymized" all the responses posted on the newsgroups and all responses I received via email; the only exceptions were some posts or mails I wrote myself (mostly because I'm lazy :-)). Also, I did not collect or derive any summary statistics, for three reasons -- too many unknown variables; our newsgroups aren't a random sample; and there aren't enough responses to run properly-controlled statistics anyway! Therefore, the great bulk of this FAQ consists of information in "raw" form, as written by newsgroup participants.

At the beginning of each section, I've included my own summary of and recommendations concerning the contents therein. These summary remarks are set off and marked by my initials, RAH, at the beginning and end of each indented commentary. In a few cases where it seemed necessary, I have also added comments within the text; those comments are indented and bracketed by my initials in the same way as the introductory summaries/recommendations.

When you see brackets [ ] within the text, those are comments I added for clarification. Where you see an ellipsis ... within the text, I have taken words out, usually to preserve anonymity.

All information in this FAQ was collected between September 1995 and late May 1996.

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The FAQ is organized according to the pattern outlined in the table of contents, above. The table of contents also serves as a brief (and I DO mean brief!) outline and summary of the recommendations at the core of this FAQ, starting with Section 7 and going through Section 11. (I spell out each of these summaries in greater detail in a long note at the beginning of each section.) I think and hope this table of contents + outline/summary will help in two ways: (1) You can see a quick outline of all the methods discussed in this FAQ; and (2) you can go quickly to the sections you're most interested in.

For this second task, I'd recommend you use the word-search tools in your software to locate the section you want to see -- for example, if you're particularly interested in vitamins, search for character string "7.1", which will take you to section 7.1 concerning vitamins. Obviously, the subject matter of some text overlaps into several sections; so, if you're *really* fanatical, you could do a word-search for every mention of the term you want -- e.g., searching for the word "vitamin" will give all the other places where vitamins are mentioned.

Another key: Each section is set off from the sections above & below it by a row of plus-signs, like this:

. Within the sections, each separate piece of information is separated by a row of equals-signs, like this:
. If you want to skip from section to section, just search for those character strings.

Okay, that's the preliminaries. Here is the FAQ. I hope it helps. Happy procreating!

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