Myths About Fertility – Featuring Roohi Jeelani MD

My Post (6)Roohi Jeelani MD. is passionately helping women become mothers.

This post idea was born (pun intended) during Infertility Awareness week, where I attended an event that really opened my eyes to the struggles so many people face when dealing with infertility. There is a lot of shame, secrecy, and false information floating out there – and I thought it would be great to debunk some of those myths today with the help of Dr. Roohi Jeelani MD. Scroll down to watch our instagram live video where we discuss some of these myths and take viewer questions and answers.

But first, let’s get to know Dr. Jeelani a little bit better.

I’ve never met anyone so passionate and dedicated to her work. She is living proof that you can and should love what you do. A complete powerhouse: doctor, wife, mom of two, and former beauty queen – you’d hate her for being so darn perfect but you also can’t help but love her because she is so genuine, kind, and all around cool.

 We sat down to talk about her background and I was surprised to learn life hasn’t always been easy for her. A self-described ‘tomboy’, she grew up in a small town in Kansas that was predominantly White, where she was very active in extracurricular activities like swimming, gymnastics, and band. When she moved to Chicago as a teen she learned that her lifestyle wasn’t the norm for most girls in the local South Asian community. As a result she didn’t really fit in, as she describes ‘too White for the Brown kids and too Brown for the White kids’.

To combat those feelings of not belonging, since she had always loved school, she decided to put all of her focus and energy there. She also competed in beauty pageants and won Miss India Midwest and Miss India international, but had to quit after a stalking incident.  While in Medical school specializing in fertility, she had no idea that later on she would be diagnosing and treating herself to aid in her own first pregnancy. Her second pregnancy then happened shortly after, without any treatments. That direct experience with infertility adds to her passion and empathy for patients who are desperate to become parents.

According to Dr. Jeelani, there are many ways to become a mother – so if you really want to, you must believe you can. The process may not be traditional, you may not become pregnant or carry the child yourself, but you can still realize your dream of being a parent.

Dr. Jeelani busts some common myths about fertility.

Knowledge is power, and right now there is tons of misinformation out there. Let’s set the record straight.

Myth #1 – Foods Affect Fertility

Often people believe that consuming more soy or food made from soy or yams improves fertility because of its phytoestrogens. There is little evidence that eating specific foods will have any effect one way or another.

Myth #2- Age and Fertility

People give themselves a deadline to get pregnant by and often times it is in the mid to late 30’s. When asked why, they state that it’s because fertility starts to decline after 35! False! Peak fertility is actually at age 23, after that there is a decline. After age 35, there is an increased risk of chromosomal problems.

Myth #3- Birth Control and Fertility

Women often think they should get off of birth control a couple of months prior to getting pregnant because the body will take a while to get back to ‘normal’. This is FALSE. The most fertile month is actually the month RIGHT AFTER you stop birth control. Another misconception women think that they have been on birth control for multiple years and that is what has caused their infertility. Not true. Your body goes through the normal recruitment of eggs and getting rid of them as it should every month, this part is not driven by changes in your hormones. The only thing birth control stops is ovulation, and that is why you don’t get pregnant.

Myth #4- Men can have babies forever.

False, false, false. Men are blessed that they have the ability to regenerate sperm and can essentially improve sperm quality with lifestyle modification, diet, and vitamins. However at the age of 50, sperm and testosterone levels decrease, and after 55 there is an increase in DNA fragmentation, which means even if they do achieve a pregnancy with their partner, it has less of a chance of becoming a healthy pregnancy, an a higher chance resulting in a baby with chromosomal abnormalities.

Myth #5 – It’s easy to have a baby in your 40’s and 50’s – celebrities do it!

Movie stars, singers like Janet Jackson announce their first pregnancies at 48 or 50. But what most celebrities don’t make public is that there is a very high likelihood that they used techniques like in vitro fertilization or an egg donor, or a gestational carrier like Kim Kardashian did, to achieve these pregnancies.

Watch our instagram live session for more!

Some important takeaways:

  • Freezing eggs can give women a lot of power over their fertility. You can check your egg reserves at ANY age to plan for your reproductive future.
  • Many insurance carriers now cover infertility treatments and even egg freezing.
  • Have an egg freezing party with your friends at VIOS Fertility– and yes – that’s a thing!
  • PCOS is the most common infertility diagnosis and is treatable – there is a spectrum for success depending on the individual. Ethnicity does play a role as South Asians often have more difficulty with PCOS due to other factors.
  • Keep trying. If you need a second opinion from another doctor, do it. Don’t give up.
  • Build your support system of people who get your struggle. Join support groups like Shine Fertility in Chicago.
  • Check out the blog @pregnantish for relevant stories and resources.

For more information on Infertility, you can contact Dr. Jeelani at VIOS Fertility.

 

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  • I was looking all over for a 2009 photo to do my 10 year thing - and I finally realized why I don’t have any! Some of you may already know this, but in the beginning of 2009 I got into a bad snowmobile accident where I had to be airlifted to a hospital and ended up in a coma for 3 days and ended up having a huge hematoma in my head (thankfully it healed on its own) and I had to get surgery on my broken collarbone m that is now metal plated! You may have noticed I have one bumpy collarbone - that’s the one haha. That near death experience set in motion so many things that would change my life. Most importantly I started living life for myself, I thought about all the things I would have regretted if I actually died that day. I (first broke up with but then) got married to my love @tom_sandberg, started practicing yoga regularly, tried a lot of new hobbies including horseback riding, I had a baby, started my blog, quit my job, had another baby, and now I’m at this really weird point of life - trying to decide what’s next. Now that Sophia’s getting older I have slightly more time to invest in my career, and I’m still trying to figure out where exactly I want to put my energy. 2019 is my year of exploration ~ anyone else at a similar turning point??
  • Throwback to Sophia’s first birthday! She turns two soon and I’m at a loss for ideas...(Bahamian beach party isn’t in the cards this year) I’m a theme kinda girl so please share your ideas! #birthdaygirl #tropicalparty #bahamas
  • Notes on being an American born of Pakistani immigrants...
Thanks to @urdumom for the q’s - check my highlights for expanded answers
1. Were you ever labeled an ABCD? What did you feel about that? 
Ha! Yes - I would still consider myself an 'ABCD' (American born confused Desi) although I think 'intersectional' is what the kids are calling it these days. As a kid it was difficult navigating both cultures, simultaneously being both and neither. I still struggle with it, to be honest, but I'm just now beginning to see that it is such a blessing to be sort of an outsider. It ultimately made me much more emotionally intelligent, and also broadened my perspective. 
2. Did you get to travel to Pakistan with your parents as a kid? How was the experience? 
Yes! We traveled often - almost every year - and I absolutely loved it. As a kid it was fun playing with the goats and chickens in my dads village, or shopping in the huge maze of bazaars in the city. When I was in tenth grade, my parents even sent me to Pakistan because they thought I was getting too 'wild'. Long story short, they are so advanced in education in Pakistan, we realized me going to school there meant I had to go back two grade levels, so they gave up on that plan and the whole trip became an extended vacation. I was SO resentful that I had to come back to America! I LOVED Pakistan so much. But I also knew my parents were now out of major punishment options - so I fulfilled their prophecy and became pretty wild 😜 
3. Did you face bullying at school for being different? 
sure! My first name Itrat was something kids really liked to tease me about. 'It's a rat' was a fan favorite. Kids would laugh at me and say that my dad worked at the gas station while imitating an Indian accent like Apu from The Simpsons, and they would ask me why I'm not wearing a red dot. I remember once arguing with a girl who then called me a rag head, and I thought she meant my hair was raggedy, but my older brother filled me in that she was referencing our Muslim heritage. 
4. How did your parents keep your Pakistani roots alive at home? 
My parents are both from Pakistan, so we had the food, language, music, books
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  • Northern Cali folks, my sister Rania will be teaching a Spring course called Global Islam: Culture and Civilization - at American River College in (my hometown) Sacramento! The course is introductory but covers a wide breadth of topics including the origins of Islam, the Prophetic traditions, Arts and Literature, and modern concepts as well. There are still a couple of open spots so I wanted to spread the word in case anyone was interested! Swipe left for even more detail. Save this post, share it, spread the word! (Also side note: this is a throwback way back from Sophia’s baby shower - the most recent pic we have together because I was not about to post a flyer on the feed 💁🏾‍♀️)
  • All I need in this life of sin...p.s. a bunch of old guys kept asking us where we are ‘from’ (because obvs we couldn’t be from here 🙃) - and they couldn’t believe it was Pakistan either - im going to just say outer space next time...👽 #girlfriends #ladiesnight #gno
  • SO glad I forced myself to go out tonight with my girls, sometimes we forget how much we love each other’s company 💕 #gno #chicago #girls
  • She won’t even take a bite out of something she doesn’t like - I learn lessons from this QUEEN every damn day! 🙏🏾💕 👑 👧🏻
  • When you always think the song is about you 🎶 (Queen + Adam Lambert tour here we come!)
Also going to do more stand up comedy this year because, well - being a wife and mom - no one listens to me any more and I need my validation so...yeah
Also: wearing this coat all winter long because I’m a proud outfit repeater 👊🏽 (Also because I’m an old coat kind of girl  don’t @ me) ~
  • 1) hanging with my sister Nusrat who has been here visiting since New Year’s Eve - we are 13 months apart so basically we’re twins 👯 except when it comes to our personalities we are polar opposites ☯️ she has always been the one person who constantly humbled me  whenever I thought I was too cool (which was often) she would put me in my place (whether I liked it or not) and now as an adult I really appreciate that 
2) me doing Nusrat’s makeup as I’ve always been the resident makeup/hair/stylist in the family
 3) Sophia’s lewk 😍 
2019 is starting off pretty great I’d say!

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