Couples who take advantage of public funding for fertility treatments are changing the demographics of what has traditionally been a group of higher earners with more education.  That’s what a recent study  in Canada discovered once the government decided to cover the cost of up to three rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.

Since IVF generally costs an average of $12,000 per cycle, and it isn’t normally covered by most insurance policies, it is a select group of couples who are in a position to afford the treatments. In the U.S., it’s estimated that about one out of every eight women of reproductive age, and their partners are affected by infertility issues.

The recent study took place in Quebec, and it found larger numbers of lower income, less well-educated and unemployed couples seeking fertility treatment when public funding was available to cover the costs.  More than 3600 couples participated.

Interestingly, similar studies in the U.S. completed earlier, run counter to these findings.  They showed that when patients have access to public funding, it doesn’t make the patient base more diverse.  The conclusion was that even though the funding barrier was removed, other challenges (including social, economic and ethnic issues) remain.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.


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At one time or another, we have all claimed to be too busy for something we simply didn’t want to do. Claiming to be busy has become an acceptable stock response to the standard greeting question, “How are you?” And being too busy is an easy excuse to not participate or contribute when invited. To some people, being busy makes them feel important, even worthy. And it’s no secret that the opposite of busy is a bad sign for some, maybe even indicating laziness.

There’s an internal prioritization calculation made when deciding how to spend precious time. The problem with using the “too busy” pronouncement is that it implies a ranking of options and a determination of which are more important. Would a mother ever admit she’s too busy to love her child? Or a true artist too busy to create? Of course not.

The bottom line is that if something is important, we make time for it. If a person decides that a healthy sexual relationship is on that list, it needs to be protected against other demands. That’s the idea behind a date night. It’s become a widely accepted concept for couples to protect their time together from things getting in the way. Not only does “date night” carve out time to devote to the partnership, it also sets a tone for the evening that’s relaxed and intimate.

If your sexual relationship is not what you want it to be, the first step may be to consider setting aside time with your partner – call it a date night – to stop the world and be together. When one person is routinely too busy or too tired to be at their best in a relationship, it begs the question of what’s important. And being too busy to get busy speaks volumes about a change in priorities.


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It isn’t unusual for women to notice that their sex drive often slows down at different stages of their lives. Many times there are easy-to-identify reasons that could be easily overlooked. Here are the topics to explore when trying to determine the reason for a lack of desire.

Physical causes – the first things to consider

  • Hormone changes caused by childbirth or menopause
  • Thyroid issues 
  • New symptom of a chronic disease or condition 
  • Pain during intercourse

Prescription drugs – many can affect sex drive (and function)

  • Anti-depressants
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure medicine

Emotional Issues – common reasons of lowered libido

  • Stress (job stress for an example) workplace
  • Family drama
  • Issues with the relationship
  • Fatigue
  • Mental health problems, like depression

While there isn’t a magic potion to jump-start sex drive, some of these remedies may help.

  • Erectile dysfunction medication 
  • Hormone therapy – estrogen, testosterone or others
  • Some anti-depressants
  • Sexual lubricants, vibrators and masturbation lubricants

The good news is that a libido that’s lacking isn’t something that women simply have to live with. A solution can be as simple as asking a healthcare professional to help determine what’s at play and talk through the possible solutions. A competent expert on women’s sexual health will make the process comfortable and confidential, and on the road to feeling like yourself again.


Interested in women’s sexual health? Contact us for an appointment.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of GreyIt’s either a guilty pleasure or an example of subservient sexploitation. Or both. One thing is certain – Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James’ bestseller has people thinking about sex, maybe in a new way. If you’re able to consider it objectively, the book and all the talk about it can have a significant benefit, especially to many of my patients. Let me tell you why it makes sense to suspend judgment on the politics of the sexual relationship at the core of the story, to consider its value.

It’s no secret that many post-menopausal women struggle with a lack of sexual desire and the physical changes that may make intimacy difficult. Hormone production changes mean a decreased libido; and that’s the plain and simple science of it. But thankfully, that’s not the only factor in sexual appetite. For many people, the suggestion of new positions, scenarios and roles can stimulate an interest in sexual activity. In the case of Fifty Shades, the themes of domination and submission are explored, which isn’t really a new concept. It is a bit groundbreaking, however, for that kind of sexual role-playing and its impact on a relationship to be featured in something it seems that everyone is reading.

The allure of sexual fantasy has long played a part in ramped-up excitement levels, even if never overtly expressed. Therapists and other professionals have promoted role-playing for years. The difference now is that Fifty Shades of Grey has got us demanding it from our libraries and openly discussing with our book clubs.

It’s enough to make any reader (or eavesdropper of readers) curious, and that is such a positive result, especially for anyone struggling with the loss of interest in sexual activity. Think about it. And then think about it some more. Thankfully, we’re complicated creatures when it comes to intimacy. Some people may have trouble getting beyond the taboo nature of the domination/submission scenario, and that’s a shame. For my patients, especially those who have struggled in a post-menopausal sexual interest-free zone, this book may be just what they need.


Interested in women’s sexual health? Contact us for an appointment.

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