RMA of texas and aspire merge logos

Inception Fertility Ventures has partnered with RMA of Texas and has merged RMA with its Aspire Fertility operation. The merger forms the largest provider of fertility services in Texas, with operations in greater Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and McAllen. With the exception of McAllen, the merged business will operate under the Aspire Fertility brand. The McAllen location will continue to operate under its current name: smartIVF.

RMA of Texas was founded by Francisco Arredondo, MD, MPH. For the past 10 years, he and his six-member physician team have helped make over 2,000 dreams of starting a family come true. With a unique perspective on the fertility market, they built their clinics on a foundation of transformation, with an over-arching theme that will become integral to the new venture: Today you, tomorrow a family. For Dr. Arredondo and his team, the fertility business is not just about helping people get pregnant, but about meeting each and every patient where they are, and successfully guiding them along the path that leads to parenthood.

In the two years since they opened their doors Aspire Fertility has successfully served patients in the greater Houston area, as well as Dallas and Atlanta, with a clear purpose: to achieve the highest bar in experience, science and medicine—no exceptions. Having once been the patients themselves, founder and CEO TJ Farnsworth and his wife Margaret have made it their mission to employ innovative communications technologies and advanced therapies to maximize outcomes, and make the following promise: Every patient can expect a five-star experience. Every time.

In the new venture, Dr. Arredondo will continue to serve as Chief Medical Officer. He and the entire RMA team look forward to the new venture and tremendous growth opportunities for the combined company.

“At this difficult place in our patients’ lives, our business is first and foremost about their experience, and Dr. Arredondo and his team share that conviction,” says TJ Farnsworth, Inception Founder and CEO. “RMA does not have ‘staff members;’ instead they have advocates, champions, smiles, shoulders, dream makers, believers, well-wishers, and those in the lab even refer to themselves as ‘first babysitters.’ Most top-tier fertility clinics share similar success rates, and we both strive to stay ahead of the national average. But that is only part of the equation. For this new venture, it is our combined passion for our patients on their journey to expand their family that will continue to set us remarkably far apart in the fertility marketplace.”

Adds Dr. Arredondo, “We’ve been courted by numerous other fertility companies but none have been the right fit―until now. We have the utmost respect for Aspire Fertility and we share a critically important cultural commonality in that providing a world-class patient experience is just as important as our ability to help them start or expand their family. To that end, we are excited to work together to help a considerably wider audience achieve their dreams.”

About Aspire Fertility

Aspire Fertility is a subsidiary of Inception Fertility Ventures, headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company’s mission is to shift the paradigm of the IVF market by raising the standard of care, streamlining fragmented components into an integrated system, and enhancing the overall patient experience. In business since 2015, the company operates facilities in Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. For more information about Aspire Fertility, please call 713.300.1123 or visit aspirefertility.com.

About RMA of Texas

In operation since 2008, RMA of Texas is one of the state’s largest and most experienced centers for infertility treatment. RMA’s mission is to know each patient as a person, with their own medical, emotional and financial needs, as well as their own ethical and social values. RMA goes to great lengths to make each patient feel safe, pampered, and stress-free in facilities that feel more like a spa than a medical clinic, even as they provide cost-effective treatment options. The company operates facilities in San Antonio and Austin; their smartIVF fertility center operates in McAllen.

What Ever Woman Should Know About Reproductive Health | Aspire Fertility

How does my body work? Why do I get a period each month? Do I have a sexually transmitted infection? A woman’s reproductive health plays an important role in not only her sexuality but her general health as well. Here are 5 things we think every woman should know about her reproductive health.

5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Reproductive Health Infographic | Aspire Fertility

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1) All about your body: Let’s face it: women’s bodies are complicated! There are many different structures, muscles, nerves and hormones involved, and many women aren’t familiar with the fine details. But knowing and understanding how your body works is absolutely essential! Being educated on your body can not only help you have better conversations with your doctor, but can help you have a better sex life because you can communicate what you like (or don’t!) with your partner.

2) More about your cycle: Even though our periods can be somewhat annoying (or even very irritating!), the menstrual cycle plays an important role in your health. How long is your cycle? Is it regular or irregular? Has your period or cycle changed recently? Having a basic understanding of the menstrual cycle can help you take charge of your reproductive health, be better prepared to deal with your period and even plan for or avoid pregnancy.

3) The symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Did you know that many sexually transmitted infections have few, if any, symptoms? Even without symptoms, it is possible to transmit these infections to someone else, or get them from another partner. Other infections, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, can have vague symptoms like pain with urination, vaginal discharge, or bleeding between periods. If you are not in a monogamous relationship, it is important to use barrier contraception and be tested regularly. In addition, some HPV infections are associated with cervical diseases, making it essential that you don’t skip your yearly pap smear or well-woman visit.

4) Fertility declines with age: A woman’s fertility begins to decline in her 30’s and will significantly decrease by the time she reaches her early 40’s. Despite numerous celebrities becoming pregnant in their 40’s, this definitely is not the norm. It is important to think about your family building goals early on and consider freezing your eggs.

5) There are many fertility resources available: Many women feel very alone and overwhelmed when starting a fertility cycle. They may not want to talk to friends about what they are going through, or not aware of just how many resources are available to them. Some reputable online sites are:

 

You can also speak with your doctor for a recommendation; your doc should be able to refer you to a reproductive therapist or let you know of local support group or resources.

What Every Woman Should Know About Ovulation

Ovulation is one of the most important, yet most commonly misunderstood events in the menstrual cycle.

In 2014, Fertility and Sterility published a study where researchers surveyed 1,000 women to look at what they know about their own bodies and menstrual cycles, and the results were surprising! The researchers found that almost 40% of women surveyed didn’t understand the process of ovulation, the menstrual cycle, or the role that these processes play in their health and ability to conceive.

Understanding how our bodies work is important! Knowing how ovulation works can make it easier for you to get pregnant (or avoid pregnancy until you aren’t ready) and can even help you have more productive conversations with your doctor about your symptoms. Read on for the answers to some common questions about ovulation.

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is the release of a mature egg from the ovary. It occurs once each month, about halfway through the menstrual cycle from the time a woman gets her first period until she goes through menopause.

In fact, you are born with all of the eggs you’ll ever have already in your ovaries. Once you go through puberty, a group of eggs will be recruited each month. Usually, one (or two in the case of fraternal twins) will mature and the rest of that group of eggs will be reabsorbed into the body. The number of eggs will continue to decline until you reach menopause, when ovulation stops completely. There are quite a few symptoms when you reach menopause including headaches and hot flushes. This is because there are lots of changes happening to your body at this time. If you are being affected daily then you should go to a gynecology like Advanced Gynecology (http://www.gyngeorgia.com/) for help.

How does ovulation happen?

Your menstrual cycle lasts from the beginning of one period to the beginning of the next and lasts about 28 days on average, though anywhere from 23 to 35 days is considered to be normal.

At the beginning of a cycle, an egg starts to develop inside of a fluid filled sac called a follicle. As the follicle grows and the egg matures, your estrogen level increases and causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. This is known as the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle.

Once the egg is mature, another hormone (luteinizing hormone, or LH) surges, triggering ovulation, or the release of the egg from the ovarian follicle. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus, and if a sperm doesn’t fertilize the egg in the fallopian tube, then the egg degrades and is reabsorbed.

How long is an egg “good” for after ovulation?

An egg is usually viable, or “good” for around 12-24 hours after ovulation. After that, the egg is no longer able to be fertilized or able to lead to a pregnancy.

When is the best time to have sex to get pregnant?

The best time to have sex when trying to conceive is the two days before ovulation occurs. Sperm can survive in the body for up to 4 or 5 days, but the egg is only viable for about 24 hours. Having sex a few days early means that the sperm will already be in the body when the egg is released.

Can I get pregnant during my period?

Yes! If you have shorter cycles and have sex towards the end of your period, it is possible for sperm to survive inside your body until ovulation occurs. It is important to always use contraception if you aren’t ready for a pregnancy, no matter where you are in your cycle.

Am I ovulating if I get a regular period?

Usually, but not necessarily. It is possible to have irregular, light spotting or a regular, heavy period even if you are not ovulating. Many women are surprised to discover that they are not ovulating or that they have problems with their fertility, even though they have regular periods.

How do ovulation kits work?

Ovulation kits test for the surge in LH that occurs 24-36 hours before ovulation occurs. When you get a positive result on the test, it means that you are about to ovulate and you are in your most fertile time.

It is best to start testing a few days before you think you will ovulate. It’s also important to remember to test at the same time every day, although the actual time isn’t that important. You can figure that out by looking at how long your cycle is and subtracting 14 days. For example, if your cycle is 28 days long, you are probably ovulating around day 14, and you should begin testing a few days before that, around day 10.

It is important to check in with the doctor if you never get a positive result on your LH testing, or if you always get a positive result. Both situations can indicate that something is going on with your ovulation and fertility and need to be checked out.

What is ovulation pain?

Some women experience some discomfort towards the middle of their cycle. This is also known as mittelschmerz, which is German for “middle pain.” Some women don’t have any discomfort during their ovulation, but other women may notice twinging, a dull aching, or a sharp pain on one side. Ovulation can be very brief, or it can last up to a day. Other signs of ovulation can include:

  • Bloating
  • Spotting
  • Increased vaginal discharge

If you have additional questions regarding your fertility or reproductive wellness, contact Aspire Fertility to learn more about the fertility treatments available at our Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta locations.

IVF Treatment for Teachers | Aspire Fertility

Teaching while going through IVF can present some unique challenges for couples. This often leads to many teachers trying to squeeze in an IVF cycle over the summer while on break before heading back into the classroom.

You may be surprised to find that waiting until summer to get started may actually make it more difficult in the long run. The ideal time for teachers to start an IVF cycle is in the springtime.  Here’s why.

The Time Involved

While the IVF cycle itself may only take a few weeks to a month or so, the time needed to prepare for the cycle often catches people off guard.

At your initial visit, the doctor will suggest diagnostic testing that often includes hormonal testing on day three of your menstrual cycle. Certain other types of diagnostic testing, like hysterosalpingogram (HSG), can also require that you be at a specific point in your cycle as well. This can add up to several weeks or even a month or so, depending on where you are in your cycle.

Some women may also need to see their primary care physician, obstetrician or other medical specialists before they can proceed with a cycle. This is decided on a case-by-case basis but is usually necessary when a woman is older or has health problems that can potentially make it unsafe or more difficult for her to carry a pregnancy. Again, depending on the reason for these extra consults, it can add up to a delay of several weeks or even months.

There are many other things that can come up in the course of preparing for an IVF cycle, which may cause a delay. Just a few examples include:

  • Having an ovarian cyst that needs a cycle or two to go away
  • Needing to be on birth control pills for a month or two
  • Getting your period late or skipping a period
  • Having an infection that needs to be treated
  • Unexpectedly needing to select donor sperm or eggs
  • Meeting insurance requirements and obtaining authorizations if you are lucky enough to have fertility benefits
  • Having additional questions or not feeling ready to proceed

Sometimes, delays can happen due to unforeseen or unpredictable circumstances. While these delays can be understandably frustrating, it’s important to remember that the goal is a healthy and happy pregnancy and delivery.  Starting early can help to minimize frustration if/when delays come up.

Making a Plan

At your initial consultation with the doctor, make sure to have a discussion about your timeframe, including when you’d like to get started, the date by which you’d like to finish the cycle, and any other dates that might be problematic for you. Having the dates of your last few periods can also be helpful for future cycle planning.

Since you may need to have time- or cycle day- sensitive testing, you may need to coordinate additional time off from work, even before the cycle begins. Ask your doctor about what can be expected before and during your cycle, and how much time you’ll need to take off. You might also ask whether the appointments can be scheduled before or after school hours.

Another consideration is the timing of your embryo transfer.  Doing IVF and freezing your embryos allows you some control over when your transfer will be, therefore controlling (to a certain extent) when you will deliver.  If your desire is to deliver during the summer months, you should aim to do your embryo transfer in September or October.  Doing your transfer just before heading back to school in late August would result in delivering sometime in May.

IVF Cycle During the School Year

If you decide that you’d rather not wait until summer for your cycle, no problem!  There are many teachers who go through infertility treatment during the school year. You may need to work with your employer so that you can get the time off you’ll need. Much of the required testing prior to the start of your IVF cycle can be done in the late afternoons after school.  Once you are in-cycle, you will have a period of approximately two weeks where you will be required to come to the clinic for blood testing and ultrasounds to monitor your cycle.  These appointments are done in the mornings prior to 10 am so that blood results can be back the same day to allow your physician to make any necessary medication dosage adjustments.

You will need a full day off the day of your egg retrieval.

It would be ideal to be able to plan for that day off specifically, however, the timing of your egg retrieval is based on your bodies response to the medication.  You will have an approximate date range but will not know until about 36 hours in advance when your retrieval will be.  The date for your embryo transfer is usually set a few weeks in advance, making it easier to schedule a sub in advance.  It is not required to take the entire day off on the day of your transfer as there is no anesthetic used for the procedure and the appointment should not be more than an hour to an hour and a half. Planning ahead for missed lessons can help to make time-off less stressful.

Getting Started

If you’re ready to get started, or start planning for your summer cycle, get in touch with us today to book an appointment with one of our doctors!

The Aspire Fertility family in participating in the Walk of Hope events in both Dallas and Houston. Below is information on each event if you would like to join us in the walk or contribute to our fundraising:

Walk of Hope Houston

  • Sunday, April 22 at 8am
  • Sugarland Town Square, Houston TX

Walk of Hope Dallas

  • Saturday, April 28th at 9am
  • Addison Circle Park, Dallas TX – around the corner from the clinic.

 

 

Both walks coincide with National Infertility Awareness Week from April 22-28. Learn more about NIAW.

 

 

 

“We are one in 8 – That’s why Aspire Fertility was born.” – TJ Farnsworth

To learn more about Aspire’s Practice, contact or visit one of our locations below:

 

Women often experience many emotions when they find out that their male partner has an infertility diagnosis. Sometimes male infertility can be the sole issue that prevents conception.

According to Resolve: The National Infertility Association, approximately 30 percent of all infertility is attributed to male factors

This organization says men are not as willing as their female partners to talk about their experience, adding that “perhaps this is because we traditionally think of children as a woman’s province, or because over the ages, conception has been thought of as the woman’s responsibility.”  However, infertility is a couple’s problem that must be faced as a team.

Male Factor Infertility from the Female’s Perspective

The female partner will typically be very sad and also surprised. Many times the female partner has already believed that for long periods of time that she was the “problem” as to why they can’t get pregnant. Some women experience relief knowing that they are not the problem.  However, this is then replaced with concern and anger as she knows it’s not her partner’s fault.  Shifting the focus from the cause onto the next steps to take to manage the issue is helpful in getting a plan for moving forward.

It is best to face the issue together and not attempt to assign blame. It’s crucial to be supportive of one another and seek professional advice in an environment that is medically safe and reassuring.

Male Infertility from the Male’s Perspective

Often, the male partner feels embarrassed, less “manly”, and is reluctant to want to talk about their feelings, because they feel shame and guilt at being identified as the problem. There is still a stigma in which male patients are apprehensive to discuss their diagnosis for fear that their difficulty reflects negatively on their masculinity.

This is a good time to seek support from a counselor to help provide guidance and resources to help you communicate with your spouse about this issue.  Consider also joining a local or online support group for infertility to gain support from those with a similar diagnosis and facing the same choices you are.

What Should Women Do After Male Partner’s Infertility Diagnosis

The first thing to do is not lose hope that you can still have a baby. Many male infertility diagnoses can be resolved. The first step to take is to go see a urologist if the male partner hasn’t yet. Seeing a urologist can help, because the urologist can try treating the problem.

Some issues that create male infertility can be treated or corrected with surgery. Treatment may often consist of antibiotics for an infection, surgical correction to remove a varicocele, reverse a vasectomy, or repair an obstruction with a duct and medications to improve sperm production.

Keep in mind that donor sperm can also always be used along with an IUI or IVF. Next, you should consult with your reproductive endocrinologist for the best plan for having a baby.

Support is paramount when dealing with a male infertility diagnosis. At Aspire Fertility, we have counselors on-site that can provide a safe environment in which to have these conversations and to provide hope for alternate roads to successful conception. Contact our Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta locations to help you through this process.

 

Top-Misconceptions_About-Fertility-Aspire

Despite the fact that infertility is a common issue facing many couples—nearly 10%, or 6.1 million American women will have difficulty getting pregnant—there are still many myths floating around about infertility. Here are 7 common misconceptions about fertility and the truth behind them.

  1. Infertility is always caused by a female health problem. In fact, infertility is caused by only female factors around a third of the time.
  2. “Just relax and you’ll get pregnant!” Infertility is an actual disease of the female or male (or both!) reproductive systems. Just relaxing or not trying so hard is enough to overcome some of these conditions.
  3. You can get pregnant at any time. Despite what you may have been told in high school health class, there are only a few days each month when pregnancy can occur.
  4. Women don’t start to lose their fertility until their early 40s. The age of fertility loss is different for every woman. Some women go into premature menopause as early as their 20s. On average, however, a woman’s fertility will start to decline between age 30 and 35.
  5. Men should wear boxers to protect their sperm. A series of research studies looking at scrotal temperature in men who wear boxers vs briefs has found that there is no real difference, which would have minimal impact on sperm production. So go ahead and wear whatever is most comfortable!
  6. A man’s fertility doesn’t change with age. Think only a woman’s fertility declines as she gets older? Think again. Research has shown a definite age-related decrease in sperm quality and ability to achieve a pregnancy.
  7. It takes longer to get pregnant when coming off of the birth control pill. The hormones in the pill are short-acting and leave your body very quickly. There should be no delay in getting pregnant after taking the pill.

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Aspire Baby of The Month: March 2018

March 2018

His parent’s story:

My husband and I tried for over a year to get pregnant. After trying several fertility treatment avenues with all failed attempts, we decided to take our chances with IVF and Aspire Fertility. From our very first consultation, I knew this was the place for us.

Sure enough, after our first attempt at IVF we found out we were expecting! We could not have been more overcome with joy and excitement. But within the first 5 days of finding out our exciting news, things took a turn for the worse. My hormone levels were not at the level they were supposed to be and with that, we found out we would most likely lose the baby. Dr. Elkins wanted to watch me very closely, so for 4 days straight I would come to the clinic for both the baby and I to be monitored. Those 4 days were the hardest days of my life and emotionally exhausting, but I never once felt alone or unsupported by the Aspire staff. They went above and beyond to make sure I was comforted and completely taken care of. On the one week mark of us finding out I was pregnant, a miracle happened and my levels completely spiked! We were cautiously optimistic that this baby would make it. On October 24, 2017 we welcomed Asher Joe into the world and our lives were completely changed for the better! We have so much gratitude for Dr. Elkins, our nurse-Kim, and the entire Aspire staff! They were all true blessings to us and did everything they could to help us conceive and have the joy of a first child.

Our entire experience was wonderful and we are thrilled to have Aspire alongside us in growing our family even more!

Meet baby Asher:

Aspire Baby of The Month: March 2018

Aspire Baby of The Month: February 2018

February 2018

Her parent’s story:

Having married in our early 30s, we had always imagined that having a family would be immediate, easy, and natural…. It was, simply put, not that immediate and definitely not an easy path. Our journey spans over 10 years, dozens of IUIs, tracking cycles, acupuncture, Clomid cycles, attempted adoption, and more….and finally, a decade later and at 41 (mother) and 43 (father) we found ourselves at a crossroads.

We knew that IVF was our “final” option, but the fear of the unknown was overwhelming. Would we spend all of our savings on the IVF process only to end up with nothing? Would Mom’s body be able to handle the stress of IVF? Would our marriage thrive under the pressure of the stress of this last option? As a last resort, we sat in our OB’s office pouring out our hearts, discussing our fears, and praying for answers. In late fall 2016, our OB decided that she would help us out. She took a tour of the newly established Aspire Fertility clinic, and, having a working knowledge of many clinics in the DFW area, came back to us with raving reviews and our answer.

“You should go all in. Try this. Step out in faith,” she said.

After meeting with Dr. Linda Elkins and Kimberlee, we knew that IVF was going to be a path that we would pursue. In December 2016, we harvested Mom’s eggs, and in February we did a frozen embryo transfer. All throughout the process, Aspire kept in touch with us, letting us know the results of our egg harvesting (we had over 20 to start, and after the five day wait period ended up with 9). At the time of the biopsy, we discovered only two of the embryos were considered “normal”. Our hopes dipped again, but Kimberlee and Dr. Elkins continued to reassure us that though there were no promises, “it only takes one”.

On the day of the transfer, Dad was allowed to sit with Mom – comforting and encouraging as the transfer occurred. (Aspire even sent us home with a lovely lavender-themed gift basket to help us relax!) Though the waiting period was challenging between the transfer and the blood tests, finally, we heard (at the end of February) that we were pregnant! Our precious daughter was born in October 2017, perfectly healthy. We wrapped her in her cozy, soft Aspire blanket for her homecoming and have thanked God every day since for our miracle. We cannot thank our Aspire family enough for their knowledge, attentive care, successful procedure, and ultimately for giving us the most precious gift of the life of our little girl. We are consistently recommending the Aspire clinic to our friends, employees, and family who are struggling with fertility.

There IS hope, and Aspire will help you every step of the way.

Meet baby Katherine:

Tips for Finding a Gestational Carrier

Finding out from your doctor that you need to use a gestational carrier to have a baby can be upsetting and stressful. However, some patients choose to use a gestational carrier because they don’t feel the desire to carry their own child. Some patients don’t want to have carrying a baby negatively affect their body. No matter your reason, there are many characteristics that you should look for when choosing an excellent gestational carrier. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your gestational carrier.

Physical health

First, you want to make sure that the person is physically healthy. A doctor should examine the carrier, and complete a full physical to ensure that they are healthy. You want to be sure that the person’s uterus and all other important organs related to carrying a baby are very healthy. The carrier should be free of any fertility issues, and should not have diabetes, high blood pressure, or any chronic illnesses. Make sure your carrier doesn’t smoke or drink. You want to be able to know that the carrier will make healthy decisions for your baby related to what they eat, and how they treat their body. At Aspire, we highly suggest families obtain the medical records of the potential gestational carrier indicating that they are indeed healthy so that you have written proof.

Mental and emotional health

Just as important as physical health is the mental and emotional health of your gestational carrier. Requesting a psychological evaluation is common. This is extremely important so that you trust the person who is carrying your baby. You want to know that the carrier is eating healthy food, not abusing substances, not physically harming the baby, and taking good care of their body to ensure that the baby is as healthy as possible.

Good communication

Excellent communication is critical when it comes to your carrier. You should make sure that they will willingly and openly communicate with you and your treatment team. The carrier will need to attend many doctor appointments, communicate with doctors and nurses, and you want to be informed of what is going on so that you are fully engaged in the process.

Compensation

Compensation is something that you definitely need to discuss with your carrier. Most couples pay for all of the medical expenses for their carriers. This includes medication, doctor visits, co-pays, etc. They also often offer to bring them meals once in a while. If you find a carrier through an agency, you pay the agency fee and also a fee to the carrier. The cost of an agency fee is around $20,000. Most people pay carriers around $30,000. Then you should add to that number the total cost of medical bills.
Some people use a family member or friend as their gestational carrier. There are also agencies that screen gestational carriers thoroughly and can help you find a gestational carrier for a fee. Two agencies that do this are: 3 Sisters Surrogacy and Family Source Consultants. You want to have full confidence in your gestational carrier so that you have the healthiest baby possible.