The Fertility Answers Podcast can help you navigate your fertility journey!
Join expert reproductive endocrinologists and fertility specialists Neil Chappell, M.D. and John Storment, M.D., (and sometimes some of their patients) for in-depth looks into fertility topics. Each episode tackles a new subject in the realm of fertility diagnosis and treatment. The Fertility Answers Podcast is your answer to all the common questions you have as you navigate your own fertility journey. Be sure to check back here for future episodes.
Episode 27: Marijuana and Making Babies
Marijuana and THC use has gained followers in recent years as many states have legalized it for medicinal or recreational purposes. But, there are still many questions surrounding how marijuana and THC can affect the fertility potential of both men and women. Join Fertility Answers reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Neil Chappell as he delves into some of the recent research that attempts to determine the possible fertility risks of THC on human reproduction.
Read transcript: The Fertility Answers Podcast Episode 27 Marijuana and Making Babies
Episode 26: Progesterone – A Misunderstood Hormone’s Complicated Relationship to Pregnancy Loss
Progesterone is a hormone secreted after ovulation that prepares the lining of the uterus for a potential pregnancy. Because of its important role at the beginning of conception and well into pregnancy, there is often a false assumption that low levels of progesterone are responsible for all miscarriages. In this episode, reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Neil Chappell breaks down the role of progesterone, why spot checking for this hormone can be misleading, and when and how to add progesterone therapy if recurrent miscarriage is a concern.
Episode 25: Shifting Gears – When and How to Move on From Treatment
While most women seeking fertility treatments eventually become pregnant, a small subset are never able to medically overcome infertility and seek other avenues to a family or resolve to live childless. When is it time to say enough is enough? How do you give yourself permission to admit that you’ve given it your best shot, but now is the time to stop treatment? In this episode, Dr. Neil Chappell tackles the tough subject of when and how to move on from fertility treatments and how faith, family and finances can influence your decision.
Episode 24: How We Limit Twin+ Pregnancies in ART Procedures
There is no doubt that assisted reproductive technologies used in fertility treatment, such as intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization, have contributed to the rise in the number of twins and triplets over the last several decades. It’s not uncommon for our patients to even ask for a twin pregnancy. However, multiple gestation pregnancies bring risks to both the mother and the babies due to added health issues and pre-term delivery, as well as added financial costs, often throughout the lifetime of the child. In this podcast episode, reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Neil Chappell explains what can cause multiple gestation pregnancies when using different forms of ART, and ways physicians are now bringing the incidence of twin pregnancies down to levels that correlate with natural twin rates.
Episode 23: Overcoming the Stress of Infertility
The level of stress experienced by individuals and couples diagnosed with infertility is nothing to dismiss. Experts equate the distress and trauma one gets with being diagnosed as infertile the same as getting a cancer diagnosis. Join us in this special conversation with Samantha Rauber, LPC, a licensed counselor certified in perinatal mental health in the Baton Rouge area, who discusses how a diagnosis of infertility can become a real emotional crisis for many. Learn about the ways she counsels patients to deal with the stress infertility creates, tried and true coping mechanisms, how partners and others can support you, and how to deal with those who just don’t get it.
Episode 22: Mosaic Embryos – What They Are and How They Affect Your IVF Journey
If you’re an IVF patient you’ve maybe heard your fertility specialist or embryologist use the term “mosaic” to describe your embryo after genetic testing. As embryo genetic testing has advanced over the last few years, geneticists are learning that not all embryos fall neatly into the classification of either normal or abnormal, but some can fall into a spectrum in between called mosaicism. Listen as our host Dr. Neil Chappell welcomes Caroline Stites, a genetics counselor at Woman’s Hospital, Baton Rouge, LA, who helps us explain what a mosaic embryo is and what it means to you and your fertility journey.
Episode 21: A Septum Story of Uterine Anomalies
Uterine anomalies and structural problems with the female reproductive organs, such as uterine septums, are often associated with increased miscarriage. In this episode, Dr. Neil Chappell discusses uterine anomalies with Fertility Answers patient Emma who came to our center with a history of miscarriages and a uterine septum. Find out more about what that means, what to do about it, and what the journey can look like in this all encompassing conversation about uterine anomalies.
Episode 20: Acupuncture and Fertility – What are the Benefits?
East meets West in this special episode featuring Dr. Jan Morello, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician in Baton Rouge. Her strong interest in holistic approaches and combining Eastern and Western medicine led her to become a licensed acupuncturist through Harvard Medical School. Based on thousands of years of practice in Eastern medicine, acupuncture uses tiny needles to restore the energy flow throughout the body. While the scientific jury is still out on whether acupuncture actually does help with fertility, research has noted that it can increase production of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” brain chemical that also plays a role in regulating hormones. Take a listen to Dr. Neil Chappell’s chat with practicing acupuncturist Dr. Morello as she explains how it works and what benefits you can possibly get during fertility treatment.
Episode 19: An Update on COVID-19 and the Vaccines – Searching for the Truth
It’s been over eight months since the vaccines have come out and we’ve learned quite a bit in that time. With close to 170 million fully-vaccinated people in the U.S., the preliminary research shows that the vaccines are doing their job of saving lives. But there is a lot of varied information and opinions about the vaccines, and we know you want truthful answers from people you trust. In this episode, Dr. Neil Chappell updates you on the status of the more contagious delta variant, what research has revealed in relation to the vaccines on pregnancy and fertility, and debunks some of the myths about the vaccines. Our mission is to bring you the most up-to-date facts and help you make the best decisions while building your family!
Episode 18: LGBTQ+ Family Building: What Are the Options for Lesbian Women?
It’s Pride Month and we’ve got a special podcast for our LGBT listeners who have been curious as to their options for family building. In this episode, Dr. Neil Chappell talks with patient Katelyn to take an in-depth look into the options she and her wife Alana considered, tried, and were successful at during their family building journey. Our discussion explores the pros and cons of home inseminations versus clinic-monitored inseminations, how to buy and handle donor sperm, and reciprocal IVF for lesbian women which allows both partners to be a part of the journey.
Episode 17: AMH and HSG – Tests to Assess Your Egg Bank and Your Fertility Highway
What are the first line tests essential in the female fertility work-up? Join Dr. Neil Chappell and Fertility Answers physician assistant Grace Pitt, PA, as they discuss anti-Mullerian hormone testing (AMH) and the hysterosalpingogram dye test (HSG) as the first two essential tests for diagnosing female infertility. AMH testing gives us clues to your remaining supply of eggs and fertility potential while an HSG tells us whether your fallopian tubes are open, an essential criteria for fertilization. Learn more about how these tests are conducted, what the numbers mean, and how the results can refine treatment options and timelines.
Episode 16: Exercise and Eggs
Let’s get physical! In this first episode of 2021, Dr. Chappell joins up with Joanna, a physical trainer with a passion for pregnancy, to discuss exercise. Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but how to put that into action is another thing! Here, Joanna gives actionable tips and advice on how to get moving right away, key exercises to incorporate day to day, and how to keep in the groove. Plus, how to know when enough is enough. So what are you waiting for? Give it a listen and get one step further on the road to Fertility Fit!
Episode 15: COVID And the Vaccine(s)
COVID has dominated the year of 2020 so it’s fitting that the beginning of the end of COVID comes into our lives at the end of this tumultuous year. The vaccines are here! And with the vaccines, a host of questions follows. What kind of vaccine is it? Is it safe? Who can take it? We will tackle the most up to date guidelines and provide a framework to figure out what’s right for you!
Episode 14: Sperm Testing – What it is and what it ain’t
The semen analysis – one of the three most important screening tests in the fertility workup, though arguably one of the least understood. Join Dr. Neil Chappell as he sits down once again with Fertility Answers IVF Lab Director Dr. Chelsey Leisinger to cover each component. Motility, morphology, concentration, total motile count…what’s important, and how to piece all of it together to form a plan for the next steps.
Episode 13: Understanding Fertility Preservation Options in the Face of a Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, especially in younger women with a full life ahead of them. But in many cases, the conversation of fertility preservation can get missed or overlooked in a patient’s consultations with oncologists in the rush to begin cancer treatment. In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, join Dr. Neil Chappell as he discusses fertility preservation before cancer treatment with Baton Rouge breast surgeon Dr. Mindy Bowie. In this timely discussion, learn about what conversations you should be having with your oncology team in terms of fertility preservation options, when preservation treatment should be done and the amount of time needed to freeze eggs, embryos or tissue prior to treatment.
Episode 12: A Primer on PCOS
September is PCOS awareness month, so we decided to take a very ambitious leap and present an overview of this extremely complex disorder. Join host Dr. Neil Chappell as he provides some thoughts on what goes awry in PCOS and what we can do about it. We take you through the basic mechanics of the menstrual cycle and how PCOS changes the game. With a focus on what symptoms to look for and what questions to ask to make sure you have control over PCOS, we hope this latest episode helps you out on your journey!
Episode 11: A Carrier Conversation
In this episode, Dr. Neil Chappell sits down with Hillary Janani, RN, MS, CGC, a licensed genetics counselor, to discuss carrier screening. Carrier screens are increasingly being discussed at routine doctor visits, and are a really important consideration for anyone in their reproductive years. So, we thought it worth a short discussion with an expert to arm patients with a few good facts to be prepared with! What is carrier screening, and what is it not? Who should consider carrier screening and when? Why does this matter for fertility treatments? How should I interpret positive or negative results? Enjoy this great conversation as Hillary guides us through what you need to know!
Episode 10: Let’s Talk About IUI
Intrauterine insemination, or IUI for short, is one of the most commonly used infertility treatments. As an infertility patient, this is sometimes one of the first type of treatment protocols your doctor may prescribe for you, depending on your specific diagnosis. In this episode, join Dr. Neil Chappell and Fertility Answers IVF nurse Caroline Porter as they discuss the details of an IUI treatment cycle and what to expect throughout the process.
Episode 9: Eggs, Sperm and Embryos: An Insider’s Look Into the Embryology Lab
In this episode, Dr. Neil Chappell is joined by Fertility Answers’s own Dr. Chelsey Leisinger, PhD. As our chief embryologist and lab director, Dr. Leisinger answers some of the more commonly asked questions about what goes on after the egg retrieval, taking our listeners through the humble beginnings of the egg, its fertilization, and on to the early stages of an embryo’s life. Is it best to freeze eggs or embryos? What does maturity mean? What is ICSI, really? Day 3 versus Day 5 transfers? From embryo grading to embryo glue, this episode was so fun to make, we will be sure to bring her back for part 2 and maybe even part 3!
Episode 8: Diet and Fertility
Ever wonder about food and fertility? Calories and conception? Protein and pregnancy? Join host Dr. Neil Chappell as we tackle the questions of what to eat when trying to conceive. We will discuss macros, diet fads, and supplements to tailor your meal planning for a healthy and happy “bun in the oven.” Enjoy!
Episode 7: The Environment and You
What can I be doing to help egg and sperm quality and improve the health of my future pregnancy? Given the times we are in with COVID-19, Dr. Neil Chappell takes a few minutes to do a different podcast episode exploring how foods, heavy metals, pesticides and endocrine disruptors can affect your body and that of a growing baby. He suggests some easy changes that you can implement at home today to boost egg and sperm quality as well as the uterine environment. Enjoy this quarantined conversation about environmental exposures and what you can do about them.
Episode 6: The Adoption Option
Shannon and Scott knew they were meant to be parents. They describe a calling to build a big family, and this led them to a path we don’t always get to talk about in the fertility world. Listen to their story as they dive down into the world of adoption, describing the decisions they came across, and how their approach ended with a happy surprise.
Episode 5: Misconceptions, Fears and Barriers to IVF
In this episode, join Dr. Neil Chappell and Dr. John Storment as they hash out some of the top misconceptions, fears and barriers to IVF that they hear on a regular basis from patients. During this candid discussion the doctors tackle tough patient concerns like the fear of creating too many embryos, having twins or more, being off-the-charts hormonal from the stimulation drugs, and worries that IVF is a really long process. They also deliberate misconceptions on insurance coverage, the fear of being swindled by unnecessary procedures, and wrap it up with a discussion of alternative IVF therapies that patients regularly bring up. If you are considering IVF as your next step in your infertility journey, this is one episode not to miss!
Episode 4: It’s About Time(ing)!
What do you do when your partner’s job only allows him limited time for family planning, especially when you have fertility issues. In this episode we introduce you to Heather who is young and newly married and wanting to start a family, but has two very real issues to deal with: numerous recurring uterine fibroids needing surgery and a husband whose career leaves him little flexibility. Listen as she details her decision processes for fibroid removal surgery and her expectations for subsequent fertility treatment timing.
Episode 3: Decisions, Decisions!
In this episode, we invite you to walk in another infertile couple’s shoes as they discuss their decision-making process to go straight to IVF and what they did to keep sane during treatment. After Bre’s diagnosis of lean PCOS, she and husband Cameron came to the decision to bypass other treatment options for one they felt offered more assurances. Learn how they found support when their infertility was a total secret to friends and family and how they made their journey fun to get them through to their final “reveal” on social media. Now the parents to a beautiful little girl conceived through IVF, the couple reveals the unique ways they were able to make their journey to parenthood just as memorable as someone doing it the “natural” way.
Episode 2: Let’s Get Busy!
It takes two to tango, and in this frank discussion we pull back the covers on the myths surrounding how to have sex to get pregnant. In this episode reproductive endocrinologists and fertility specialists Neil Chappell, M.D., and John Storment, M.D., both of Fertility Answers, get into the nitty-gritty of how often, when and how a couple trying to conceive should have sex. You might just be surprised at the answers! Listen as the doctors discuss the right way to time intercourse to optimize your chances of catching your window of ovulation, how often you should be having sex, if position matters, and how to interpret the results of ovulation predictor kits in the right way.
Episode 1: Demystifying the First Visit
In our first episode, meet expert reproductive endocrinologists and fertility specialists John Storment, M.D. and Neil Chappell, M.D. of Fertility Answers, a fertility practice focused on helping build families. “Demystifying the First Visit” outlines what this first visit with a fertility doctor might look like, highlighting the discussions you should expect to have with the physician and the possible tests that will provide answers and direction for future treatment. We want to demystify the journey and de-stigmatize fertility conversations once and for all.