Episode 49: PCOS and Fertility: Why it’s a Serious Challenge to Get Pregnant with PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS, impacts 1 in 10 women of childbearing age and symptoms can include ovulatory issues and infertility. So, PCOS is common and disruptive, but the good news is that with appropriate care PCOS can be managed.
The first obstacle to managing PCOS is understanding the various symptoms and receiving a diagnosis. PCOS can come with a wide array of symptoms:
- Hair loss
- Acne, darkening of the skin, skin tags
- Pelvic pain, irregular periods
- Headaches, feelings of anxiety and depression
- Excess hair growth on the face
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight gain
These symptoms can be caused by other conditions and everyone with PCOS doesn’t experience the same symptoms, so it can be extremely difficult to get a diagnosis. The best thing for someone who’s exhibiting some of these symptoms is to talk to their doctor, but this can be challenging, as many people don’t know what PCOS is.
That’s why awareness about PCOS is so crucial. September is PCOS Awareness Month, and to help spread awareness we have created a special three-part series featuring PCOS experts, health specialists, and a fertility patient who built her family despite her diagnosis. This episode features Dr. Stephanie Thompson, from IVFMD, who breaks down everything you need to know about PCOS, and Sasha Ottey, founder of PCOS Challenge, the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association.
Dr. Thompson will walk us through what PCOS is, what it means for fertility, and how to help women with PCOS build the family of their dreams. Sasha will share her personal experience with PCOS, how she was diagnosed, and how she started the PCOS Challenge. We’ll learn about PCOS Challenge’s mission, gain an understanding of how to contribute to PCOS Challenge, and hear about some exciting upcoming events like the Rise to the Challenge Gala.
Guest: Sasha Ottey, founder of PCOS Challenge, the National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association
Expert: Dr. Stephanie Thompson, IVFMD
Host: Julie Hunt, Manager of Business Development at Progyny
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Julie has been working in the fertility industry for the last six years. She started her career as a Patient Care Advocate (PCA), a fertility specialist that helps a patient navigate through their fertility journey. Through her experience, Julie was able to expand her role within Progyny and transition into Business Development as a Manager. Today, she leverages her PCA experience and passion for helping individuals achieve their dreams of having a family by helping employers understand infertility and comprehensively cover fertility treatment as part of their healthcare benefit. Julie was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in March of 2018. As a proud sister of a gay brother, she passionately supports and empowers the LGBTQ+ community and is an avid advocate for inclusivity and equality.
PCOS Challenge is the leading 501(c)(3) support and patient advocacy organization globally that is advancing the cause for women and girls with PCOS. Sasha started the organization after she was diagnosed with PCOS and experienced great dissatisfaction with the availability of support resources for women with the condition. Under Sasha’s leadership, PCOS Challenge has quickly grown to over 50,000 members and has helped many women overcome their struggles with infertility, weight gain, anxiety and depression and reduce their risk for numerous life-threatening related diseases.
As Executive Director of PCOS Challenge, Sasha built a coalition of over 70 major national and international health organizations and led the first successful legislative advocacy effort in the U.S. Congress to recognize the seriousness of PCOS, the need for further research, improved treatment and care options, and for a cure for PCOS and to designate September as PCOS Awareness Month. Sasha also created the PCOS Awareness Symposium, the largest event globally dedicated to polycystic ovary syndrome, which has educated thousands of patients and healthcare professionals about PCOS since 2013.
In 2018, Sasha helped organize the first International Conference on PCOS in India for both patients and healthcare providers. Through PCOS Challenge, Sasha has helped to develop one of the largest multimedia bodies of educational content dedicated to PCOS, which includes television, radio, print and online resources. Sasha is Executive Producer of the national award-winning cable television series, PCOS Challenge. She is also host of the PCOS Challenge radio show and publisher of PCOS Challenge magazine.
Dr. Thompson is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI), and a Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
A Voluntary Assistant Professor at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Thompson was honored with the Resident Achievement Award of the Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons in 1992 and is the recipient of a 1994 Serono Research Award through the Pacific Coast Fertility Society.
Dr. Thompson is a graduate of the Brown University School of Medicine. She completed a research and clinical fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Harbor-University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.
She is bilingual and speaks both English and Spanish. A mother and wife, Dr. Thompson loves spending time with her family, together enjoying hiking, kayaking, and whitewater rafting, as well attending and supporting as much live theater as possible.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Yakov Golman
Track: New year
Track: Talk to me
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Easy Life
Track: Sad Marimba Planet
Track: Small Steps
Track: Making A Change