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In the Genes: Where Baby's Looks Come From

From the color of her eyes to the shape of her nose, what (and who) Baby looks like has everyone speculating. Learn how your cutie's features are formed.

Once I got pregnant, my then husband and I became obsessed with whom our baby would resemble. So when Jason debuted at 7 pounds 3 ounces, with a shock of black hair, we were positive he'd inherited my family's average build and his dad's thick mane. Even so, he looked like he belonged to another couple -- an Inuit one, perhaps.

While you can't help but make predictions, you can never be sure what your little one will look like. "If we examined all a fetus's DNA, we still wouldn't be able to truly anticipate things," says Barry Starr, Ph.D., geneticist in residence at The Tech Museum, in San Jose, California. "So much is unknown about genes."

Genetics and Your Baby

How genetics influence your baby's looks and personality.

How Does Genetics Work?
As you wait for baby, you've probably tried to picture what he might look like. Will he be tall like his father? Will he have curly hair like yours? Or is he going to inherit his grandfather's sense of humor?

Experts estimate that there are 60,000 to 100,000 genes (made up of DNA) in a human being's 46 chromosomes. A baby gets 23 chromosomes from his mother and 23 from his father. With all the possible gene combinations, one pair of parents has the potential to produce 64 trillion different children. This probably gives you an idea of how impossible it is to predict just what your baby will look like. The science of genetics is complicated, but with a short course you can get some information to guide your imagination.

Do Fertility Treatments Cause Breast Cancer?

Experts weigh in on this important question and discuss who should have a mammogram before getting pregnant.

Between 2007 and 2011, two high-profile women -- Elizabeth Edwards, the late wife of former senator John Edwards, and E! News host, Giuliana Rancic, 37, announced breast cancer diagnoses after having undergone fertility treatments. The timing between their treatments and their diagnoses have caused some people to wonder whether there's a link between IVF and breast cancer, but experts say there is no known connection between the two at this time.

"IVF drugs do not cause cancer," says Cynthia Austin, M.D., Director of the In-Vitro Fertilization Program at the Cleveland Clinic.

10 Best Fertility Centers

In the first-ever investigation of its kind, find out which of the nation's centers offer the greatest chance of success.

Introduction

Fertility stories are always filled with emotion, uncertainty, and controversy -- childless couples who would make great parents, thrifty insurers who refuse to pay for treatments even though infertility stems from a medical problem, and ethical dilemmas that would make Hippocrates' head spin. So when we embarked on the search for the best fertility centers in the country almost two years ago, we were prepared for challenges. But we didn't expect that they would be nearly insurmountable.

Fertility Treatment Options

We explore 10 different types of fertility treatment options and examine the pros, cons, and costs of each one.

Some 7.3 million Americans, or 12 percent of the population in their reproductive years, are infertile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although these statistics are staggering, and infertility can take a huge toll on your emotional health, there are lots of reasons to be hopeful if you're infertile and you hope to have a baby. Science keeps advancing, treatments keep getting better, and more and more babies are being born using techniques such as the ones listed below. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of couples with infertility issues become pregnant after treatment--and that's not including high-tech, high-priced procedures like IVF.

Should You Be Evaluated for Infertility?

Learn who should be evaluated, what to expect at your first appointment, and which tests you and your partner can expect to undergo. We'll also give you tips for making the process easier.

More than 7.3 million Americans are infertile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you and your partner have had difficulties getting pregnant for a specific length of time, and/or you meet other criteria, your doctor may recommend that you be evaluated for infertility. Here, we give you general guidelines for who should be evaluated, and we tell you what to expect at your initial infertility consultation. We'll also offer detailed information on how infertility testing differs for men and women.

More than 7.3 million Americans are infertile. In many cases, an ob-gyn or family physician will recommend that a couple seek an infertility evaluation if:

They've been having regular, unprotected intercourse for one year (or six months if the female partner is over 35) and they're still not pregnant.

What Is Infertility Really Like? Inside The Struggle To Conceive

It's rude to ask "What is infertility like?" when a couple is struggling to conceive, but it's something we should all know more about.

Most of us grow up believing that we'll be able to start a family when we're ready. So the extreme disappointment and sorrow that come with trying to get pregnant without success is a huge blow to the majority of couples. Most of us are too afraid (and polite!) to ask a struggling couple "What is infertility like?," but it's something we should all learn a lot more about.

"People who are ready to have children are usually at a good place in their lives. Most people assume they are fertile and are excited to take the next step in their relationship, so when they have trouble conceiving, it takes them from a very high place to a very low place," says Mindy R. Schiffman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City who often works with couples struggling with infertility.

Coping with the Stress of Infertility

Why infertility is stressful, and what you can do about it.

Infertility is a medical condition that can touch every aspect of your life -- from the way you feel about yourself, to your relationship with your partner, to your overall perspective on living. It can also be particularly stressful in that it creates a great deal of uncertainty and emotional upheaval in a couple's day-to-day world. If you've been struggling with infertility, you're probably no stranger to stress. But as overwhelming as your situation may seem at times, there are ways to reduce your anxiety. Here are 12 steps to focus attention on your mind and body -- and bring a calmer perspective to your life.

1. Acknowledge your feelings. The first step in reducing stress is to understand that what you're feeling is completely normal. Going through infertility tests and procedures month after month can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining. And feeling as if you have no control over your body -- or the ultimate outcome of your treatments -- can be stressful and debilitating as well. For many couples, wanting a biological child has been a lifelong dream. But through infertility, that dream has been shattered, or at least temporarily put on hold.

Secondary Infertility Facts

Even if you've successfully conceived before, you might have fertility issues later in life.

Are you or is someone you know facing secondary infertility? These facts can help you begin to understand the condition.

What is secondary infertility?
Secondary infertility refers to a couple's inability to conceive a baby, even though they've had at least one child in the past, either together or with a previous partner. Couples who experience this condition may confront a range of physical and emotional frustrations, despite the fact that they've been able to successfully reproduce in the past.

Infertility in Men

If you've been struggling to get pregnant, you've probably got lots of questions. Here, find out what causes infertility in men, how your partner can reduce his risk of infertility, when to see a doctor for infertility, how your partner may be treated for infertility, and more.

What is infertility?

Infertility is a medical condition in which a couple is unable to conceive a baby. Experts don't consider a couple to have fertility problems until they've been actively trying to get pregnant for at least one year, or if the woman is older than 35, for more than six months. Some couples who experience recurrent miscarriages may also be considered infertile and should seek help from their doctor or a fertility expert.

Experiencing infertility, though, doesn't mean you won't ever have a baby. For some couples, it just takes longer; for others, it may require drugs, surgery or high-tech help. Take heart in the following stats from the Mayo Clinic:

After 12 months of unprotected sex, about 85 percent of couples will get pregnant.
Of the remaining 15 percent, about half will get pregnant over the next three years, using methods like medications, surgery, assisted reproductive technology, or even naturally.
According to other research, about two-thirds of all couples who seek treatment for fertility problems are able to have a baby eventually.

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