Infertility Smack-down

Submitted by Angie Mon 11/10/2008

Welcome to Angie Best-Boss’ new blog. As an infertility expert and consumer advocate, she offers news on the latest research, her budget-conscious advice and tells you the real deal on all those fertility products you don’t think you can live without. Should you pull out your credit card or run in the opposite direction? …… We’ve all seen the ads for special “fertility” pillows and the idea sounds logical. For years, women trying to get pregnant have thrown their hips in the air (think high school PE class bicycle exercises) after sex. The special pillows supposedly make it easier to do so without getting your good pillows dirty. The goal is to make sure semen doesn’t leak out of your vagina after sex. Sounds good, right? There’s just one problem. “There’s never been any data to support the pillows scientifically, says Jay Schinfeld, MD, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Abington Memorial Hospital and associate professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Weighing in at just $139, the Fertility Pillow is composed of three parts. The website describes it as a figure eight pillow on top of the big pillow that is designed to conform to the buttocks. My favorite part – sucker for sentimentality that I am, is the “Lucky Pocket” used to store a special lucky charm, photo or memento for extra luck while you use your Fertility Pillow. Seriously. I don’t know – there’s something kinda creepy about placing a lucky charm on the pillow designed to hold your naked butt after sex. Maybe it’s because I keep thinking of having a baby that looks like Lucky Charm cereal leprechaun dude. The other popular product is the Conception Curve pillow. Just $84.95, it looks less intimidating and more comfy than the other pillow. The company describes it as a contoured pillow cut to fit the shape of a woman’s body made of sturdy polyurethane foam. It even has handles. Handles? “I’d rather see people spend money on good wine and nice perfume and a teddy,” suggests Schinfeld. However, they might be useful as a sex toy, he suggests, for those getting caught up in the science of ovulation tracking and need to be reminded about the excitement and romance of creating a life together. Commenting in an Abington Reproductive Health newsletter, he suggests they may help women reach orgasm more quickly, which just might add incentive for even more frequent trips to the bedroom; there’s just no medical evidence to support the claims of the pillows causing conception. I contacted each company and asked for their research to prove the pillows work, and Conception Curve folks promptly provided me with several doctor quotes that said positioning matters, as well as a study that said position after IUI made a big difference in pregnancy rates. You’re supposed to carry this sucker with you to the doctor’s office? It’s not a deceptive product – it does what is says it will do. But it’s just not cost-effective. Bottom Line: Wanna play it safe and lift your hips afterwards? For $50, buy a new pillow, an absorbent cover, and a bottle of multi-vitamins with folic acid. You’ll still be $50 ahead, and healthier to boot. Unless you want it for a sex toy, and that’s a whole ‘nother blog.

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