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Does Steroid use affect fertility?

Image by Brodie Vissers

Does Steroid use affect fertility?

Steroids and fertility? What’s the connection between those two? 

Anabolic steroids are quite familiar amongst competitive athletes. They provide the user with an edge because of a “boost” in strength.

Some effects on both men and women are reversible while some aren’t. One of the effects, however, is infertility and is most prominently seen in men. 

Does Steroid use affect fertility? The anabolic steroids disturb hormone signals that are essential in producing sperm. The severity of the consequences depends on the dosage taken and the duration they’re taken for. 

Men possess the ability to recover their sperm production anywhere from 3-12 months post-steroid usage. 

Does Steroid use affect fertility? Anabolic steroid use during pregnancy may result in the virilization of a female fetus. Other effects of steroids also seem to be polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometrial hyperplasia.

The data used to write this post is from Sports, Doping and Female Fertility by Vignera et al. and Performance Enhancing Anabolic Steroid Abuse in Women by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Check them out!

Evaluating your IVF Lab 

How do you know if your IVF lab is good??? Well, one way is to inquire about new-cutting edge technologies they’ve invested in. Or are they using outdated methods??

How do you choose a fertility clinic? What questions can a lay person ask to begin to understand the quality of an IVF Lab? Quality goes beyond pregnancy success rates to new technologies, inspections and accreditations, staff experience and more! Find out what to ask.

Start with SART! The federal government requires fertility clinics to report IVF treatment cycle success rates, and you can find those statistics on the SART website. It also has a tool that allows prospective patients to search for fertility clinics by ZIP code, state or region; plus, women can plug in information such as their age, height, weight, and how many prior births they’ve had to predict their chances of success with assisted reproductive technology. Most programs are proud of their results and will list them on their website, however, those results whether success rates or a number of cycles reported, should match the number of cycles reported to SART or found in the CDC Assisted Reproductive Technology Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report.

Look for verified lab accreditation on the CDC report or in the alb. Find out who the inspecting agency is, the College of American Pathologists? The Joint Commission?

Look what percentage of their patients are in your age range, or have the same infertility diagnosis as you do.

Consider how the clinic’s staff talk to you, what they say – how professional does the care feel? Use all of your senses. Is the care personalized and professional enough so you feel comfortable?” An example of dehumanizing behavior: some clinics have an application process to decide if you should be treated there. Does the clinic have a support group?

Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy

Lost paperwork

Lost appointments

Failed to call with results

Failed to order appropriate test

Look on Indeed, Glassdoor, or other job sites to get an idea of staff turnover and what staff have to say. Find out how experienced the providers are, how well-trained are they and how long have they been there? As with other fields of medicine, experience matters in reproductive medicine. Providers should be fellowship-trained and board-certified in the field, both of which are the standard. Also inquire how long the medical providers have been at the facility. If there seems to be high staff turnover, there could be leadership and organizational issues at the clinic.

Look for clinics that can offer the latest treatments and protocols. These might include blastocyst transfer, freeze all cycles, mini or low STIM IVF, preimplantation genetic screening of embryos and single embryo transfer, ERA testing. Don’t choose your clinic based solely on insurance coverage. base your decision on the performance of the individual clinic.

Weigh the cost of the treatments with the CDC success rates. Good clinics with high success rates may cost more up front but may get you pregnant faster and at a lower cost in the long run instead of paying for multiple treatments.

Consider inquiring about the technologies the clinic uses. Do they use an EMR? Does it have A patient Portal for easy communication? Is there an electronic consenting process? Does the lab have state of the art cryo-storage monitoring systems? Does the lab use “electronic witnessing”?

List of new cutting edge technologies 

Embryologist training systems like ART Compass

Electronic “witnessing”

Reagent traceability

Laser biopsy vs. flick biopsy

Quality control applications and network of sensors “IoT”

Patient scheduling and medication management, patient portals, and EMRs

Electronic consent

Cryostorage alarm systems

Cryostorage management, including “blockchain” applications for traceability