Patients often ask me about what they can do to increase the chance of pregnancy. Some lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, body weight and stress are directly under your control and can have a significant impact on the chance of pregnancy. This is the first in a series of blog posts about lifestyle factors and fertility. We’ll start with smoking.
Smoking and Fertility
Smoking can cause fertility problems in both men and women. The chance of infertility is almost 2 times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, other pregnancy complications, as well as male sexual dysfunction. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can affect both egg and sperm quality. These harmful chemicals can also speed up the loss of a woman’s eggs, resulting in earlier menopause. Women who smoke, or whose partner smokes, will take longer to get pregnant than women who don’t smoke. Fertility treatment may not be able to overcome the effects of smoking on fertility. Pregnancy rates in IVF patients who smoke are almost 50% less than in couples who don’t smoke.
Many women who smoke plan to quit as soon as they know they are pregnant. For those couples planning to conceive, particularly if they are experiencing difficulty conceiving, stopping smoking may increase both the chance of conception and successful pregnancy. It is best to quit smoking at least 3 months before starting fertility treatment. Quitting smoking can be very difficult, but it will improve your chance of getting pregnant, either on your own or with fertility treatment. Talk to your health care provider about ways to help you quit smoking. It is the best thing you can do for your health, and the health of your baby.
We are pleased to share that we are now accredited as a Non-Hospital Surgical Facility (NHSF) by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan. This is an extensive process that requires facilities like ours to review all aspects of the care they provide, with an emphasis on patient safety and high quality care.
The preparation leading up to our on-site inspection in June required a huge effort by the Aurora team. We would also like to thank the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Saskatchewan Medical Association for their assistance and support over the last several months as our hopes and vision for fertility care in Saskatchewan came to life. It is a pleasure to work with these groups who are truly dedicated to improving medical care in our province.
“Aurora” is the Roman goddess of the dawn, bringing to mind a new day, and new beginnings. It seems a fitting name for our vision of a new beginning for reproductive care in Saskatchewan.
We began considering the possibility of a new reproductive care facility in the fall of 2011. We recognized that we weren’t effectively meeting the needs of our patients, and the increasing demand for infertility care in our province. We were just as concerned as our patients and medical colleagues about the long wait times for consultation and treatment. After considering many options, it became clear what we needed to do.
Our goal from the start has been to do better for our patients: to provide a better patient experience, regardless of the outcome of treatment, more timely care, in a more patient-friendly setting. We have focused on the patient care experience at Aurora, emphasizing comfort, privacy and efficiency. Our brand new lab is state-of-the-art in both design and function, with an eventual capacity almost 3 times greater than our previous lab.
We have always prided ourselves on our individualized approach to patient care, and this philosophy will follow us to Aurora. You will see some familiar faces at Aurora – a group of exceptionally committed staff who share our passion for the work that we do everyday. We have also been approached by many other individuals who are eager to be part of Aurora, and who will bring new ideas, energy and skills to our growing team.
A project like this is not an easy endeavour. We have had many challenges and roadblocks to overcome. With every setback however, we were able to take a bigger step forward, and it has been very exciting and rewarding to see our vision take shape. We would like to thank the many individuals whose knowledge, skills and expertise have made valuable contributions to this project. We are looking forward to continuing to care for our current patients in our new facility, and to welcoming many more new ones. We are thrilled that Aurora Reproductive Care is about to open its doors!