The first step to infertility is scheduling an initial consult, which can be intimidating. How do you know your fertility specialist will be a good fit? Tamara Sweatman, who struggled to start a family, was faced with this tough decision. She states, “We were at the point of giving up. Then we went to Dr. Singleton and The Fertility Center of Charleston.” There are many factors to consider when choosing a reproductive endocrinologist, including board certification, experience, shared patient experiences, and the physician’s approach to the patient and treatment. For Sweatman, her choice to go to The Fertility Center of Charleston to receive an evaluation from a female reproductive endocrinologist, proved to be the right one, “It was awesome right from the start, everyone was so encouraging.” Tamara states, “I felt more comfortable with the sympathetic ear of a woman versus just a clinical setting.”
The Fertility Center of Charleston, Dr. Stephanie Singleton and her staff compassionately guide each patient to parenthood using the latest advanced reproductive technologies including IVF. Like Tamara Sweatman, each woman’s journey to parenthood begins with a fertility evaluation. Sweatman states, “I would tell other women experiencing infertility not to wait and not to give up.”
“Dr. Singleton said, ‘We can fix this.’ That sealed the deal. I felt welcomed and understood, and appreciated that it was not just a clinical approach.”
Another factor in Sweatman’s decision to trust The Fertility Center of Charleston was Dr. Stephanie Singleton’s extensive experience. Dr. Singleton, FACOG is board certified in both reproductive endocrinology and infertility and in obstetrics and gynecology. She specializes in invitro fertilization therapy, polycystic ovarian syndrome, amenorrhea, and male factor infertility. Sweatman appreciated that she was treated not just as a number in a medical practice, but as a patient with feelings, hopes and fears. She explains, “I felt like I was meant to be a mom, and they understood that.”
And today, a mom is exactly what Tamara Sweatman is, thanks to The Fertility Center of Charleston and Dr. Stephanie Singleton. She explains, “There isn’t a day in the past 2 1/2 years that has not been amazing. My daughter makes every day absolutely better, thanks to The Fertility Center of Charleston.” The Fertility Center of Charleston has locations in Mt. Pleasant & Savannah. To learn more or schedule an appointment, http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/. View Tamara Sweatman’s full video testimonial at http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/understanding-fertility/in-her-words/.
-Stephanie D. Singleton, MD, FACOG
We are proud to help all the families in service to our country realize their dreams of parenthood.
The Fertility Center of Charleston is committed to U.S. military veterans and their spouses with the Compassionate Corps Program. Through the program veterans and their spouses may be eligible to receive free fertility medicine. Additional medication savings programs are also available. Over 100,000 dollars annually in fertility medications has been granted to military families to aid in achieving parenthood.
Eligibility requirements and enrollment forms are located online under Affording Fertility http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/affording-treatment/ or patients may call 843.881.7400 to speak with the new patient coordinator.
Male factor infertility accounts for up to 50% of infertility cases. With June designated as Men’s Health Month, male infertility is a health issue that men silently face but may need to address to successfully start a family. The Fertility Center of Charleston (TFCOC) makes it an easy process for men that need to be valuated. Men typically undergo evaluation to include a health history as well as a semen analysis. Further evaluations to include hormonal studies and urological referrals are added as needed. Says an FCOC patient, “Coming from a male’s perspective, The Fertility Center of Charleston was very accommodating and made it so there weren’t any “awkward” moments for me.”
A special service that FCOC provides for male patients are take home semen analysis kits. A semen analysis determines the number, motility and morphology (shape) of sperm – each of which are predictors of fertility. Naturally, sperm must travel through the female reproductive tract to reach and fertilize an egg. This requires large numbers of moving sperm that possess the ability to fertilize an egg. Male factor infertility may be the result of abnormal sperm production, abnormal sperm ejaculation, environmental factors, and/ or health issues. FCOC offers take home semen analysis kits for men to retrieve a sample in their own comfortable setting and then bring to our office for testing. These kits can be obtained at our office in Mount Pleasant and are also provided to local referring OB/GYN offices for distribution to their patients.
Once an analysis is complete, couples meet with Dr. Stephanie Singleton to discuss various treatment plans and options. Treatment options for male factor infertility range from intrauterine insemination (IUI) for mild cases to in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF with ICSI) for more severe cases. Says a male patient who was treated and now has a family of three, “My wife and I could not be happier and would have traveled across seas to receive the exceptional service we received at The Fertility Center of Charleston.”
To learn more about male infertility, http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/our-services/male-fertility-evaluation/.
Our favorite time of the year happened in April with the celebration of The Fertility Center of Charleston babies. At the 2017 Baby Party, toddlers and babies filled our practice with infectious giggles, balloon art, delicious treats and beaming parents. With each shared journey to parenthood we were reminded of why making the dream of motherhood and fatherhood possible for so many families is important work. Our Baby Party is a celebration of all the hard work we did together to get there.
To see all the festivities, go to http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/understanding-fertility/testimonials/ or visit us on Facebook to tag your favorite. View our new videos of families sharing their fertility journey and advice, go to http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/understanding-fertility/in-her-words/.
To the mothers and fathers to be in our Fertility Center of Charleston family, we look forward to celebrating your little one in the future.
Listen up! It’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), a week to highlight infertility, the causes and treatments available. According to Resolve, the National Infertility Association, 1 in 8 couples will experience infertility. The goal of NIAW–Listen up! (April 23-29) is to bring this statistic to the forefront so couples struggling can realize that they are not alone in their infertility journey. The Fertility Center of Charleston and Dr. Stephanie Singleton support this initiative through educating physicians and staff with personal visits during the week, sharing testimonials from patients that have experienced infertility, highlighting treatments available and the cost savings programs in place for couples facing fertility treatments.
The Fertility Center of Charleston, with locations in Savannah and Charleston, has a dedicated financial counselor who educates patients on fertility costs. TFCOC has saved patients more than $100,000 in medication savings in the last year! Dr. Singleton encourages couples to ask questions and meet with a financial counselor before assuming the cost of their treatments, as each case varies. TFCOC has many programs in place to help save on medications and offset the cost: http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/affording-treatment/
One example is ARC Financial and Refund programs. TFCOC understands that choosing the right fertility treatment can be overwhelming and works with ARC to provide patients with the most affordable options through financial programs and refund packages. TFCOC and ARC are committed to making the cost of fertility treatments predictable and affordable. In addition, The Fertility Center of Charleston has a Compassionate Corps program in place for military and veteran patients. Through this program our military can save on medication costs.
The Fertility Center of Charleston will highlight all aspects of infertility throughout NIAW on their social media outlets and website. Dr. Singleton kicked off the week by hosting the annual Baby Party, a time for all graduated patients to come together and celebrate their families in place thanks to fertility treatments. As part of Listen Up!–NIAW, there will be several opportunities to share infertility journeys and read personal testimonials via social media. TFCOC will also be posting pictures of graduated TFCOC babies on social media and highlighting various services provided such as IVF, HSG testing and cryopreservation (egg freezing).
The Fertility Center of Charleston recognizes National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) with daily features. Follow us on Facebook to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week.
Dr. Stephanie Singleton works daily to help those struggling with infertility to start a family at The Fertility Center of Charleston. Patients often have a lot of questions surrounding infertility, especially those that come in for an initial consult. She answers those questions and breaks down key components as she offers a look infertility by the numbers.
Age is a primary factor discussed in a fertility consult. Says Dr. Singleton, “Age is the most important thing. Many are surprised to learn that age becomes an issue at just 32 years old. Once a woman hits her 40’s, getting pregnant becomes increasingly difficult.” Advancing maternal age greatly diminishes the effectiveness of all available treatment options, and there is a certain age when it is better for patients to schedule a consult than wait. She advises, “35 is the magic number. After the age of 35, if a woman has tried to become pregnant for more than 6 months, it is time to come in.”
There are many causes of infertility that a timely evaluation help pinpoint. Says Singleton, “ A lot of couples don’t discuss infertility, but they should. One in 8 couples will struggle. Usually the cause is a 1/3 female infertility, 1/3 male infertility and 1/3 combined.” A variety of things can contribute to infertility including: endometriosis, male factor, unexplained, PCOS, amenorrhea and more.
How much will infertility cost? It is one of the most frequently asked questions at The Fertility Center of Charleston and other infertility clinics around the country. The Fertility Center of Charleston offers patients competitive, cost effective financial programs. Says Dr. Singleton, “We are committed to trying to ensure that fertility treatment is possible for any couple or individual seeking our help with conception. We extend the extra effort to help patients look at the cost of infertility. Often they have visions of it costing a certain number, and it is not as high as they think. When patients come for their first visit they always meet with the financial counselor so that even from the beginning they can get an idea about coverage and cost. This financial counseling continues throughout their treatment journey. We often encourage patients to come in and get the financial information up front. Call and get started early.” She advises patients to meet with a member of the finance department and ask about insurance as well as financing options. At The Fertility Center of Charleston, a financial consultant meets with families as they begin their fertility journey. Says Dr. Singleton, “We work with medication companies to help patients save money. After filling out the paperwork, patients can receive 25-75% off of medication costs. We have saved patients more than $100,000 in the last year alone.”
Taking a look at the numbers can help couples understand the fertility process. Says Dr. Singleton, “Every couple is coming to the table with different issues. They all have 1 goal: to start a family. We see a lot of happy endings. Patients bring their new babies by to see us. It is very rewarding.” Dr. Stephanie Singleton is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (FACOG) and a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist. Dr. Singleton and her staff at The Fertility Center of Charleston compassionately guide each patient to parenthood using the latest advanced reproductive technologies including IVF. The Fertility Center of Charleston has locations in Mt. Pleasant & Savannah.
A new year marks a time of self-evaluation and preparedness. A raised awareness of health and wellness occurs. With 1 in 6 couples diagnosed with infertility, the time is now to work to change how we educate and manage fertility health.
For patients disappointed by infertility, this is a good time to evaluate an infertility diagnosis more closely and provide information on natural options for healing and restoring healthy fertility. A good understanding of the potential underlying cause of infertility can start the conversation about next steps for resolution. Are there lifestyle factors that could play a role? Wellness options may include managing stress, diet, alcohol, tobacco and other lifestyle factors. Do symptoms of common disorders that lead to infertility exist?
The leading health issues and disorders contributing to infertility are the following:
Endometriosis causes 35-50% of infertility cases in women. Endometriosis occurs when the glandular tissue that should grow only inside the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus and can contribute to excess scar tissue and adhesions in the pelvis as well as cysts in the ovaries. This can cause monthly, and sometimes even continuous, pelvic pain. It can also contribute to infertility. Women with endometriosis should seek a fertility specialist to proceed to infertility evaluations early to combat conception complications. Find out more at http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/endometriosis-risks-treatments/.
2. Ovulation Disorders
There are a variety of reasons a woman may have irregular menstrual cycles, but this may mean that she is not regularly releasing an egg (ovulating). Hormonal imbalance is the primary reason women have ovulation disorder. Hormonal imbalance may occur as a result of:
– Poor egg health
– Problems with one or more of the endocrine glands
– Poor nutrition
– Poor lifestyle choices
– Low Body Weight
– Genetic predisposition
The spectrum for ovulation disorder is wide and varied. Many patients can overcome this form of infertility with ovulation induction or intrauterine insemination (IUI). Learn more at http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/our-services/ovulation-induction/ and http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/our-services/intrauterine-insemination/.
3. Sperm Issues
A man is considered to have a low sperm count if he has fewer than 20 million sperm per milliliter on a semen analysis. However, there can also be issues of sperm movement (motility) and shape (morphology). The causes of sperm issues may include:
– Poor lifestyle choices; smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, stress, environmental pollution
– Antisperm antibodies (can be present with a history of vasectomy and vasectomy reversal)
– Genetic predisposition
– Damage to the reproductive organs
– Illness, for example cancer treated with chemotherapy
A male infertility evaluation begins with a simple sperm test (semen analysis). Find out more at http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/our-services/male-fertility-evaluation/
4. Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Blocked fallopian tubes can prevent the sperm from finding the egg and / or the embryo from reaching the uterus. Approximately 25% of infertility cases are due to blocked fallopian tubes and may be caused by:
– Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), often from sexually transmitted diseases (Chlamydia, Trichomonas, etc.)
– Uterine fibroids
– Ectopic pregnancy
– Scar tissue in the uterus or pelvis related to previous surgeries
A female infertility evaluation includes an on-site evaluation of the fallopian tubes with the hysterosalpingogram (HSG) procedure. Using a fluoroscopy machine, contrast can be visualized filling the uterine cavity and moving into and out of each tube. This test determines if the fallopian tubes are open and capable of allowing for fertilization of the egg by the sperm. Find out more at http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/our-services/female-infertility-evaluation/
5. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS affects 4 – 18%of reproductive age women. It is the result of hormonal imbalances in the female body and may cause infertility, menstrual cycle irregularities, weight gain, insulin resistance, skin problems, small cysts in the ovaries, and excessive facial hair growth. Due to the frequency of infertility in patients with PCOS, an early consultation with a fertility specialist is often recommended. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medication and ovulation induction.
6. Other common causes of infertility include:
Couples with primary or secondary infertility who have not be able to conceive after trying for a year or more of unprotected intercourse, should schedule an infertility evaluation with a board certified reproductive endocrinologist. An infertility evaluation can provide couples with a plan for conception and a good understanding of treatment options. Convenient online appointment requests may be found at http://www.fertilitycharleston.com/schedule-an-appointment/.
‘Tis the season for holiday parties, family time and probing questions! Infertility can take the joy out of the holiday season for many that are struggling to start a family. One in eight couples face infertility and will need to seek help to conceive. Dr. Stephanie Singleton of The Fertility Center of Charleston is a well known and respected reproductive endocrinologist and treats patients across SC and Georgia. She offers tips on how to survive infertility during the holidays.
This holiday season it is the women and men open to the possibilities that fertility technologies and treatments provide that fill us with joy. We love your spirit and your commitment to all we can do together in this journey to parenthood. You are a gift that we are thankful for daily at The Fertility Center of Charleston. Hailing from all over the Southeast, our patients are unified by the unwavering desire to share their life with a child. We applaud your strength, your positive attitude and your tenacity. You are a part of our family. Your hope shines bright. We wish you peace and joy in the New Year.
– Dr. Stephanie Singleton and The Fertility Center of Charleston team
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