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Kim Kardashian & North West

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The private details of the average person’s life would never be water cooler conversation. But the average person is not Kim Kardashian.

This woman’s life has always been a part of pop culture commentary. But Kardashian’s latest fertility woes while trying to conceive for the second time have given us a glimpse into the real woman behind her celebrity brand.

She opened up about her pregnancy woes on The Today Show with Matt Lauer, saying, “They say if you’ve been trying for a year, then you usually need a little bit of help. I had a tough delivery, so I understand what my challenges are. I mean, I’m seeing the best doctors and I’m trying to do everything I can to make that happen.” She continues, “They have recommended to me to get a surrogate, and I would like to hold out a little bit longer, and still try. I still have hope, so I’m just going to keep on trying.”

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During one scene in the show, stressed about the possibility of not being able to give daughter North a sibling, Kim stepped out of a meeting to call West. In her confessional she said, “I’m trying to get a hold of Kanye because I just came from my fertility doctor and they need me to go into surgery to clear something out of my uterus. When I was pregnant with North I used to tell everyone there was no amount of money that would get me to go through this again. And now there’s nothing more that I want than to get pregnant again.”

The problem, as she told Kanye, is that her “placenta grew onto [her] uterus.” Her doctors told her every “worst-case scenario,” including one that coulld result in her being rushed into emergency straight after a second baby to have her uterus removed entirely. Now that Kardashian wants nothing more than to be pregnant again, she showed on KUWTK that she’s willing to have surgery. That episode ended with a “To Be Continued … ” title card as Kim was wheeled into the operating room.

Dr. Desireé McCarthy-Keith, MD, MPH, FACOG specialist in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology told #TeamBeautiful exclusively, “The procedure Kim had was a hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy is a procedure where a camera is passed through the cervix and the inside of the uterus is examined and photographed. If an abnormality is identified, it can be removed at that time. If she had some residual placental tissue from her first pregnancy, this may have been removed during the hysteroscopy.”

She isn’t the only seemingly-healthy woman in her 30s looking to conceive. Keeping that struggle in mind, we reached out to two experts, Dr. Jane Frederick, MD, FACOG, specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Medical Director of HRC Fertility in Orange County, CA and Dr. Desireé McCarthy-Keith, MD, MPH, FACOG specialist in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Both of these fabulous doctors answered our probing questions about women under 35’s fertility issues and what women in their 20s can do now to help them get pregnant later.

Hello Beautiful: Kim Kardashian is 34 years old and she’s had fertility issues since first trying to get pregnant with North almost three years ago. What fertility issues are younger women facing these days and what options do they have in solving them?

There are women all over the world just like Kim that are experiencing infertility in their 30’s. Even women with a regular menstrual cycle can experience infertility because of the age of her eggs alone. As a woman’s eggs age, they are more susceptible to chromosomal abnormalities resulting in an unviable embryo. The biggest percentage drop in female fertility is after a woman reaches age 30 and drops even lower at age 40. There are a number of options for women struggling with infertility, including In Vitro Fertilitization, Intrauterine insemination (IUI) or timed intercourse. –Dr. Frederick

A common cause of infertility in younger women is damaged fallopian tubes from pelvic infections, endometriosis or pelvic surgery. Younger women may also have problems with ovulation due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or irregular menstrual cycles due to excessive exercise and eating disorders. If the tubes are blocked, then IVF treatment is an option. Medicines like clomid or letrozole can help a woman ovulate and women with low body weight have a better chance of getting pregnant if they gain some weight. –Dr. McCarthy-Keith

HB: What causes infertility?

Both women and men can experience infertility. Some common causes of infertility in women are a low ovarian reserve, fallopian tube damage, fibroids, unexplained medical problems, endometriosis, PCOS, age, or Annovulation – the absence of an egg in a women’s menstrual cycle. Most infertility problems can be treated with any Assisted Reproductive Technology. Once you know the cause of infertility, a specialist can decide the best course of action for success. -Dr. Frederick

The eggs that remain (as a woman ages) in the ovaries continue to age with the woman, so the quality of those egg goes down. This lower egg quality results in higher miscarriages and abnormal pregnancies like Down syndrome in older women. -Dr. McCarthy-Keith

HB: What can increase infertility?

A woman’s age can increase infertility. As a woman ages, her eggs age with her and her ovarian reserve declines as each year passes. Stress and lifestyle are also key factors in increasing infertility. It’s important to live a healthy lifestyle while eliminating any stress in your life while trying to conceive. –Dr. Frederick

Uterine fibroids are common, especially among Black women, and surgical removal of fibroids can improve fertility. -Dr. McCarthy-Keith

HB: What are new technologies that will help couples preserve their fertility?

Assisted Reproductive Technology has come a long way with a continual rise in innovation and technological advances, offering more resource and options to couples struggling with infertility. The most widely recognized form of treatments is IVF – In Vitro Fertilization. IVF optimizes a couple’s fertility preservation and coupled with Pre-genetic testing, couples can achieve pregnancy and preserve any additional embryos for a late date. -Dr. Frederick

Egg and embryo freezing are options for couples who want to maintain their option to have children in the future. This is particularly useful for women, because with age our egg supply and fertility decline. If eggs or embryos are frozen at a younger age, then the chance of pregnancy is higher. The best time for a woman to freeze eggs  or embryos is in the mid-30s or younger. Once the eggs/embryos are frozen, they are locked in at that quality and chance of pregnancy is based on the age when the eggs/embryos were frozen not the age of the woman when they are placed in her uterus. -Dr. McCarthy-Keith

HB: What should women in their 20s do to ensure fertility won’t be an issue later?

Live a healthy lifestyle! Pay attention to their reproductive health and if they aren’t planning on having children until later in life, I would suggest freezing their eggs for the possibility of a baby in their future. Freezing those young eggs at age 20-something can increase the chances of fertility success and preserve a woman’s future. -Dr. Frederick

Young women should have routine gynecologic exams for pap smears and screening for STDs. They should practice safe sex techniques to reduce their risk of developing a pelvic infection that can damage the fallopian tubes. They should avoid cigarette smoking and second hand smoke because both can accelerate the aging of their ovaries. Young women should follow a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. They should consider egg freezing if they are approaching mid-30s and are not ready for pregnancy. -Dr. McCarthy-Keith


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