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Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NYCWFF(NEW YORK) -- Food Network star Katie Lee shared a personal Instagram post Wednesday about her struggle with infertility.

"It is really hard to put on a happy face," Lee, 37, wrote. "Fertility issues are supposed to be private so many of us are silently in pain."

Lee and her husband, Ryan Biegel, planned to start a family soon after they wed last September, she wrote. Their plans were derailed when Lee had to have surgery "to correct a problem," then got an infection and shingles.

An attempt at in vitro fertilization (IVF) resulted in no healthy embryos, according to the chef.

"Not only is IVF physically exhausting, the emotional toll is unparalleled," Lee wrote. "We were filled with hope and excitement only to be crushed."

Lee, who appears on TV weekly as a co-host of The Kitchen, also wrote candidly about both being a woman with no kids in the public eye, and about undergoing IVF in the spotlight.

"When people ask me when I’m getting pregnant, it hurts. It’s just a reminder that I’m not," she wrote. "When they say I look like I’ve gained weight, I have. I can’t exercise as much and the hormones have made me bloated."

"There is so much pressure on women to look a certain way and while most mean well with baby questions, it can be hurtful," she continued.

Lee said she was hesitant to share her story publicly but was motivated by the comfort she felt from hearing other women's stories.

"And I hope any of you in a similar situation know you are not alone," she wrote.

Lee's post received more than 100,000 likes and thousands of comments.

"I feel like this could be written as reflection of my experience," wrote one person.

"I read this 20 times, sitting here in tears understating your pain and hurt. This post strikes so deep for me in EVERY SINGLE WAY and so much of it for women I know," wrote another.

Nearly 12 percent of all women ages 15 to 44 have used infertility services in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lee said in a later Instagram story that she felt "relief" after sharing her story.

"It really means to the world to me that so many of you reached out and shared your stories and shared your support," she said. "I just feel such a sense of relief and it just feels good, so thank you."

Lee's post about her infertility ended on a hopeful note for her family.

"I know a family will happen for us, it is just going to be a different journey than we imagined," she wrote. "We will keep working towards it. Someday we will have our happy new beginning and I pray any of you experiencing the same will have yours too."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News, CDC(NEW YORK) -- The number of reported measles cases in the United States have reached their highest level in nearly 20 years, federal health officials said Wednesday.

There were 695 reported cases of measles across 22 states as of Wednesday afternoon, the highest since the disease was domestically eradicated in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC attributed the "high number of cases" to large outbreaks in Washington state and New York, which began late last year.

"The outbreaks in New York City and New York State are among the largest and longest lasting since measles elimination in 2000," the CDC said in a statement. "The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States."

The World Health Organization noted a 300 percent increase in measles cases worldwide earlier this month in comparison to the first three months of 2018.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said vaccinations are the only way to keep the country safe.

"Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease," Azar said late Wednesday. "We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease."

"All Americans would be safer and healthier if we received measles vaccines on the recommended schedule," Azar added.

Measles are highly contagious and can be transmitted through the air by coughing or sneezing.

The spike in cases stems, in part, from the spread of misinformation about vaccines online. Anti-vaccination activists have gained more traction on social media amid false claims linking vaccinations to autism.

The measles vaccine, now administered along with immunization for mumps and rubella, is regarded by public health practitioners as safe and highly effective. The CDC recommends for all Americans above age 1 to get vaccinated.

"Stopping these measles outbreaks is a priority for CDC and we are working 24/7 to protect Americans from this contagious disease. Vaccination is the best way to protect against measles," the CDC said. "Today, the overwhelming majority of parents choose to protect their children with vaccines, and we’ve seen high and stable immunization rates in the U.S. for several years."

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ivanastar/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Great strides have been made to help people who are visually impaired adapt to life without eyesight. Now, an emerging Lego product may revolutionize how blind children learn braille and encourage more interactive play with all kids.

Approximately 700,000 children and young adults in the United States have a vision disability, but as audio aids have become increasingly available, only about 8 percent of legally blind children are learning to read braille, according to the National Federation of the Blind.

The Lego Foundation’s project, Lego Braille Bricks, aims to create stackable blocks with braille dots in addition to printed letters, numbers and math symbols, the company announced in a press release on Wednesday. Altogether, the pilot program aims to help blind children play their way to learning braille.

Play is such an integral part of childhood development that it should be prescribed by doctors, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Play provides a singular opportunity to build the executive functioning that underlies adaptive behaviors at home; improve language and math skills in school; build the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress; and build social-emotional resilience,” a September 2018 report from the AAP said.

In a day and age where children are playing more with phones and tablets and using toys and their imaginations less, Lego seems to have found a way to turn its traditional blocks -- and all the fun that comes with playing with them -- into an educational tool that could potentially make learning braille more exciting and collaborative.

“Existing hands-on tools available to teach braille are very limited and restricted in terms of giving children the flexibility to trial, fail and try again to learn,” Stine Storm, manager of the Lego Foundation’s New Venture’s team and head of the Braille Bricks project, told ABC News.

Storm said that the new bricks would “break down the barrier and fear of making mistakes because they all of a sudden have a flexible tool in which they can easily play around with — in a way that has not been possible before.”

The American Printing House for the Blind is coordinating with Lego to begin testing the Braille Bricks in select schools starting in the fall 2020.

“American Printing House for the Blind is excited to see the Lego Foundation create a product that is inclusive, and will teach all children about braille,” said Craig Meador, president and CEO of the APH.

Lego Braille Bricks are currently being tested in English, Norwegian, Danish and Portuguese, and they will soon be tested in Spanish, French and German. The Lego Foundation’s goal is to distribute Braille Bricks to associated schools for the vision impaired all over the world, free of charge.

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GrabillCreative/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Like many women, Anna Peña of Des Moines, Iowa, thought that because she conceived relatively easily and had a smooth delivery of a healthy baby girl she and her husband would be able to do the same when it came to a second child.

Instead, Peña and her husband have spent the past three years trying to have a second child. Their daughter is 4 years old.

"We’ve been on this journey in our family, looking at potential causes and meeting with specialists and having testing done as time has progressed," said Peña, now 35, who has learned she has endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), two conditions that can complicate becoming pregnant.

"Now we’re having to look at different fertility options through the specialist or other ways of growing our family, like foster care and adoption, or deciding if our family of three is the right size for our family," she said.

Around 30 percent of infertility cases are classified as secondary infertility, or the inability to become pregnant or carry a baby to term after previously giving birth to a baby.

A significant cause of secondary infertility is a woman's age, experts say. Due to logistics alone, if a woman is pregnant for nine months, breastfeeds and then wants to take some time before getting pregnant again, that could be two to three years later, which means the woman's reproductive system, particularly her eggs, are also that much older.

"Time makes a huge difference when you’re a women," said Dr. Jaime Knopman, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist with CCRM Fertility in New York City. "And male age is not insignificant too. We recognize that sperm quality and quantity decrease with age as well, though not as severely as with females and eggs."

Sometimes it is not age but another underlying cause that brings about secondary infertility, whether it's a problem with the woman's eggs, fallopian tubes or uterus or the male's sperm.

Emily Hertz, an Atlanta-based lifestyle influencer and founder of Born on Fifth, gave birth to her daughter, Elle, at age 29. Three years later, at age 32 -- a few years below the age that women's eggs are thought to sharply decrease -- Hertz is preparing to undergo her second cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) after a miscarriage.

"I don’t think I had really heard of secondary infertility," Hertz said. "I think in retrospect I might have started trying sooner for a second child, but hindsight is 20/20. I felt like I was enjoying time with my child and our family felt like it was where it needed to be."

In addition to age, another factor that can lead to secondary infertility is complications from a previous delivery, for instance, if there is scarring in the uterus after a C-section or if pieces of placenta are retained in the uterus after the delivery. Those factors would hamper a woman's ability to carry a pregnancy, according to Knopman.

The solutions for secondary infertility are the same as those for primary infertility, or the inability to become pregnant with a first child. They include everything from IVF to embryo adoption and gestational surrogacy.

The difference, both patients and doctors say, is that secondary infertility is not talked about enough and also comes with some guilt.

It’s something not a lot of people are talking about yet a lot of people are going through it," said Hertz, who described the guilt she has felt for trying to become pregnant with a second child while someone close to her is struggling with primary infertility.

Peña, of Iowa, said that until recently guilt kept her from talking about her infertility issues even though she is surrounded by a close network of moms, many of whom have faced miscarriages and other difficulties with secondary infertility.

"I thought I am lucky to have a beautiful daughter who is healthy and I'm lucky that my second infertility is what it is," she said, explaining that her turning point came when she spoke with a friend who recently had a miscarriage.

"Her response was that her experience is different but that doesn’t diminish my experience," Peña said. "I can share my pain and my struggle and the hurt that I feel in this experience and the challenges for our family, but it doesn’t take away from others’ experiences."

Secondary infertility can also bring about feelings of frustration and a loss of control for patients, according to Dr. Alan Copperman, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

"There is still shame and blame and secrecy around it," he said. "It is incredibly common to see secondary infertility and I think will continue to be as the population ages for who gets pregnant for a first time."

"As we raise awareness that something can be done I think people are starting to have conversations and go to their doctor," Copperman added. "It's imperative that a patient or couple who wants to get pregnant and isn’t easily conceiving gets a full evaluation."

Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of having regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The time span is shortened to six months without becoming pregnant for women age 35 and older.

Those same time spans apply to secondary infertility, according to both Copperman and Knopman, unless there is an outlying condition, like a difficult labor or irregular periods. In the case of the latter two, a woman should see her doctor earlier in the process.

People who know they want more than one child can also take proactive steps to avoid secondary infertility.

A woman who is in her late 30s could, for instance, stop breastfeeding her child before the age of 1 in order to start the process earlier of trying to become pregnant again, according to Knopman.

Patients are also utilizing embryo banking to preserve their fertility at their current age.

"We’re doing family planning almost prospectively where couples come in and say, 'We’re 35 and just got married and want three children," Knopman said. "Patients will often do IVF then and keep [their embryos] frozen for future use."

The embryo freezing process starts like IVF, with a woman taking fertility medications and having her eggs harvested from her body. The eggs are then placed with sperm to create embryos, which can be stored for future use.

"It doesn’t mean that you’re going to need to use those embryos," said Knopman. "For couples who have children, it’s protective. Knowing you can get pregnant and carry to term, we know your body can do it if given a good quality embryo."

Copperman advises patients to also follow the same tenets of good health -- from not smoking to getting exercise and eating well -- that they did when preparing for and expecting their previous child or children.

"I think patients often think that their body is going to know how to get pregnant again because they did it the first time," he said. "People have to know that they’re not alone and they can be helped and it’s not their fault."

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Courtesy Lisa Rachel Moe(CHINO HILLS, Calif.) -- A video of an 11-year-old boy revealing to his class that he is autistic may be the most powerful moment you'll see today.

Rumari Zalez, a fourth grade student at Eagle Canyon Elementary in Chino Hills, California, stood up in front of his classroom on April 5 and told his peers what it's like to be on the spectrum.

The impromptu footage was filmed by Rumari's teacher, Lisa Rachel Noe. Noe posted it on Facebook where it has garnered 13,000 views.

"I wasn't imagining that I was going to capture what I captured," Noe told ABC News' Good Morning America. "Seeing his confidence to stand up and do has solidified my purpose of being a teacher and creating that environment to say unapologetically, 'Like it or not, this is me.'"

Roe said that during that school day, she was giving a lesson in honor of National Autism Awareness Month. Rumari asked if he could stand up and say something. The other children were unaware that Rumari has autism, Noe said.

"See other people who actually have it and make them feel like a somebody because for a very long time, you guys have not know I had autism," Rumari can be heard saying in the video.

Rumari goes on to address his differences and quirks before taking questions from his classmates. The kids applauded and even asked Rumari for "huggys" -- a word Rumari likes to use when he wants a hug from a friend or family member.

"I think you're amazing pal," one girl said.

A classmate chimed in, "It doesn't matter what a person does or if it may look weird or if they might make weird noises sometimes...they're good just the way they are, like you, Rumari."

"This is not a question, but I think you're awesome just the way you are," another friend said.

Rumari's mom, Olivia Dasso, told Good Morning America her son was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old. Dasso said she and her husband decided from the beginning that they were going to allow Rumari to discover the disability on his own.

"We didn't want it to be an excuse, a barrier or a boundary for him," Dasso said. "We figured if it came up we'd have the talk, and it did come up."

A few months ago, Rumari was watching the trailer for the 1988 film, Rain Man, which features an autistic character, Dasso said.

"He said, 'I have that' and the house kind of stopped," Dasso recalled. "I said, 'You know? Everybody has something.' And then we just dropped it. He never brought it up again until he made that speech."

Dasso said the video of Rumari's speech made her a "proud mom." With thousands of views online, Rumari is enjoying the spotlight.

"The first time we were walking in public he says, 'Are they recognizing me now?'" Dasso said.

 he went on, "He was brave enough and had the courage to say, 'Everybody has something different.' The reaction of the kids so openly wanting to hug him... it was so warming to see that."

Dasso said Rumari has a message to other kids with autism: "You are unique like him and have a superpower. That's something no bully has."

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CDC(WASHINGTON) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a 2018 case in which a blood-sucking insect known as a "kissing bug" bit a child in the face.

In July 2018, the family requested help from the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify an insect that had bitten their daughter's face while she was watching television in her bedroom at night because they were "concerned about possible disease transmission from the insect," the CDC announced last week.

The family, who lives in an older home in a heavily wooded area in Kent County, said at the time they had not recently traveled outside the area, and a window air conditioning unit was located in the girl's bedroom, according to the CDC.

Delaware officials preliminarily identified the insect as the "blood-sucking" kissing bug, or Triatoma sanguisuga, which feeds on animals and humans and have a habit of biting humans in the face, according to the CDC. Texas A&M University's Kissing Bug Citizen Science Program, a research program that documents and collects kissing bugs from across the U.S., identified the insect through a photograph.

The bug was also sent to the CDC, which then confirmed that the species was present in Delaware. Previously, a report of a suspected kissing bug in Kent County was sent to Texas A&M, which confirmed the bug via photograph, but a local institution in Delaware had initially identified the insect as a milkweed bug instead and destroyed the evidence before the university could examine it for further confirmation, according to the CDC.

The bug can transmit a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes a disease known as Chagas.

About 300,000 in the U.S. and 8 million people in Central and South America are living with Chagas, but only a few cases of the disease caused by contact with the kissing bug have been documented, according to the CDC. The rare parasitic disease can lead to heart failure or stroke, but the parasite can hide in the body for decades and most people who are infected do not develop any signs or symptoms.

Initial symptoms may include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache and rash, as well as local swelling where the bite occurred and the parasite entered the body. It is treated with an anti-trypanosomal medication, which is only available through the CDC.

The girl who was bitten in 2018 did not suffer any effects, according to the CDC.

To prevent infestation by the kissing bug, the CDC advises homeowners to place outdoor lights away from the home, dog kennels and chicken coops and to turn them off when they are not in use. Homeowners should also remove trash, wood and rock piles away from the home, clear out any bird and animal nests near the home and consider consulting a licensed pest control professional. In addition, cracks and gaps around windows, air conditions, walls, roofs, doors and crawl spaces should be inspected and sealed, chimney flues should be tightly closed when not in use and screens should be placed on all doors and windows.

The CDC also suggests that pets sleep indoors, especially at night, and that all pet resting areas be kept clean.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines on the importance of physical activity and adequate sleep for young children, which includes recommendations on how little screen time they should get.

One of the most striking suggestions that a WHO panel of experts suggested is that children under the age of 5 should get no more than one hour of "sedentary" screen time, adding that "less is better." When sedentary, children should be engaging in activities such as reading, storytelling, puzzles and singing with a caregiver instead, the agency said in a press release published Wednesday.

Overall, children under 5 must spend less time sitting and watching screens, but also spend less sedentary time sitting in strollers and car seats, according to the recommendations. In addition, they need better quality sleep and more time for active play in order to grow up healthy.

This will improve their mental health and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life, Dr. Fiona Bull, WHO's program manager for population-based prevention of non-communicable diseases, said in a statement.

Early childhood is a "period of rapid development" and a time when family lifestyle patterns should be adapted to "boost health gains," said WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement. If healthy amounts of physical activity and sleep are established early in life, it will shape habits through adulthood, the agency stated.

"Achieving health for all means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people’s lives," Ghebreyesus said.

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Wolterk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Walgreens has risen the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21 years old after it received criticism from the FDA earlier this year for selling tobacco products to minors.

The policy will be implemented chain-wide starting Sept. 1, the drug store company announced Tuesday in a press release, calling the change "the most recent step in an ongoing effort to further prevent youth access to tobacco products."

"We’ve seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales, and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults," said Walgreens President of Operations Richard Ashworth. "Through ongoing training and certification for pharmacists and technicians, we also continue to help and support people looking to quit the use of tobacco in their lives.”

The new policy aligns with recent efforts by states and municipalities to restrict tobacco sales to customers 21 and older, according to Walgreens.

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The dKol la femme Project(NEW YORK) -- Nearly one out of every eight couples in the U.S. are affected by infertility. For National Infertility Awareness Week, “GMA” is spotlighting infertility stories to help demystify and destigmatize all paths to parenthood.

Kerri Morgan, 35, and her husband Chris Morgan, 38, always knew they wanted to have a family, but they never anticipated it would take nearly three years -- and a roller-coaster ride of emotions -- to finally meet their son.

“We were meant to be parents and we were meant even more to be parents to Brian,” Kerri said as she rocked their son in a “Star Wars”-themed nursery at their home in Wappingers Falls, New York.

Just six months into their marriage in 2016, Kerri was diagnosed with low ovarian reserve and faced issues with her fallopian tubes. Her ovaries were not functioning at the level expected for a woman her age; she was producing a diminished number of eggs, and it would be difficult for her to get pregnant.

“For many of us, this is a disease that is not curable,” Kerri told ABC News, which followed the family's path to parenthood for a full year. "Yes, there are treatment options ... But there are many things that we cannot do."

One in eight American couples struggle with infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on 2015 data, 31 percent of the people using assisted reproductive technologies were diagnosed with “diminished ovarian reserve” like Kerri, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).

Kerri, a self-proclaimed “fertility warrior,” opted for in vitro fertilization (IVF), but the couple allotted funds for only one cycle, which, along with associated medications, can cost between $10,000 and $15,000, according to SART.

In the IVF process, eggs are removed from a woman's ovaries during egg retrieval and fertilized in a petri dish, where the fertilized egg cell begins to divide. The resulting embryo(s) are eventually transferred back into the uterus to hopefully grow to a full-term pregnancy and live birth.

The Morgans' doctor was able to retrieve five eggs from Kerri, but the resulting two embryos did not survive.

Kerri said she was heartbroken when they lost the embryos and said it felt like she lost her children.

“Even though it was only two days, it felt like ... we did it. We finally made babies,” she said through tears.

New ways to start a family

During their grieving process, Kerri began to research other ways to start a family and came across the National Registry for Adoption. The site serves as a meeting place for people with leftover embryos from their IVF process, and families who are looking to adopt.

There are more than 620,000 frozen embryos stored in the U.S., according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

When Kerri brought embryo adoption up to Chris, she told ABC News she wasn’t sure if he'd be on board since it would remove his genetic makeup from their child. To Kerri’s relief, he was very supportive.

“Part of me said it's only fair. It's not Kerri's DNA, so why should it be mine?” Chris told ABC News.

He said it felt like it was simply their next step in their path to parenthood.

In September 2017, the Morgans adopted a pair of embryos from Becky and Jim Sykes in West Virginia, who had previously conceived two boys via IVF and then put their remaining two embryos up for adoption.

Kerri and Becky struck up a friendship from across the country, exchanging emails and text messages with one another. Becky sent Kerri care packages and well wishes as she continued her IVF journey.

Unfortunately, the transfer of the first donated embryo failed. Kerri said she felt guilty for the unsuccessful pregnancy, but after she spoke with Becky, she received nothing but love and support.

Kerri wondered, "Is my body just not made to be pregnant?"

After some adjustments to her medication and a few false starts, Kerri’s doctors at Hudson Valley Fertility Clinic in Fishkill, New York, were able to thaw and successfully transfer the second adopted embryo.

When the Morgans received the good news, the first call they made -- after speaking to their mothers -- was to Becky, who screamed almost as loud as Kerri did upon hearing the news.

“I’m so happy for you, pregnant lady!” she said to Kerri.

“We wanted you to have this moment with us,” Kerri said in response.

Celebrating baby Brian Luke

"Kerri's going to be the most amazing mother in the world. I feel as if the world will be a better place with someone that Kerri has guided through their life's journey being in the world," Chris said. "That's why before I met Kerri, I knew I wanted to have a family someday, but once I met Kerri, I knew that we needed to have a family."

Redefining what it means to be a modern family, Kerri and Chris said they have maintained a friendship with the Sykes’.

Brian’s two genetic brothers, 5-year-old Nate and nearly 2-year-old Anthony, have already started to get to know him. Both sets of parents said they’re planning to foster a friendship among the boys. For now, Kerri said that the boys ask to FaceTime with baby Brian and Nate is eager to celebrate Brian’s first birthday to give him presents.

The families are planning to get together in person for the first time in June.

“It's another way that this entire story has been a complete blessing," Kerri said. "We've gained them as a family."

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PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- In the 40 years since the world's first "test tube baby" was born, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, has become a household word.

But IVF is now also no longer the only option for people who want to bring a baby into the world.

From gestational surrogacy to embryo adoption, the number of ways a person can become a parent are both exciting and overwhelming.

"Good Morning America" tapped ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a board-certified OBGYN, to explain what to know about today's most common infertility treatment options.

But first, here are a few basics about infertility.

Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of having regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The time span is shortened to six months without becoming pregnant for women age 35 and older.

The leading cause of infertility in women is the lack of or irregular ovulation, when an egg is released from the ovary and able to be fertilized. Other causes include scarring or blockage of the fallopian tubes (possibly from endometriosis or STIs), problems with the reproductive organs or hormones and problems with the thyroid gland or pituitary gland, according to ACOG.

A woman's fertility also decreases with age, most rapidly starting at age 37.

For men, the most common causes of infertility are problems in the testicles that affect how sperm are made and function, according to ACOG.

Obstetrician–gynecologists (OBGYNs) and reproductive endocrinologists are doctors who can help diagnose and treat infertility.

Now to the treatment options for infertility.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)

IVF is the most well-known treatment for infertility.

In this process, a woman's eggs and a man's sperm are combined in a laboratory to create an embryo, or embryos. The sperm may come from the woman's partner or a donor.

Five to 10 days after the embryo is created, it is examined by an embryologist to determine its viability, according to Ashton. If the embryo is viable, it is transferred into the woman's uterus through her cervix.

"The good news is most of the time IVF can be successful, it’s just a matter of when, how long, how much," said Ashton, who noted that IVF can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $17,000 per cycle.

Donor egg IVF

Women who do not have viable eggs can opt to use a donor egg.

Donors are typically age 30 and under and undergo both medical and psychological testing.

The recipient must take estrogen and progesterone until the pregnancy is underway and the placenta is self-sufficient.

Low Stim IVF

Also known as minimal stimulation IVF, Low Stim IVF stimulates the ovaries through low dosage medications.

Low Stim IVF is often safer and less expensive but it also brings a lower likelihood of success because a smaller number of eggs are retrieved.

Gestational surrogacy

With a gestational surrogate, an embryo is created through IVF and placed into the uterus of a surrogate to carry.

The embryo can be created with eggs from the mother and sperm from the father or with either donor eggs or donor sperm.

Gestational surrogacy can be expensive and is not legal in every state, according to Ashton. There are also important legal hurdles to cross, including making sure that the agreement between the surrogate and the parent(s) is legally documented.

The positive of a gestational surrogate is that the parent(s) not carrying the baby can still be involved with the pregnancy and be present at the birth.

Elective egg freezing

Elective egg freezing is something that women in their 20s should have a conversation about with their doctor, according to Ashton.

"This is not just for famous people. This is not just for rich celebrities," she said. "This is something that should be on the radar of every woman in her 20s. This is an insurance policy for your reproductive health."

Elective egg freezing can still cost as much as $15,000 for the whole process, but the cost is going down across the country as the process becomes more mainstream, Ashton noted.

A woman who chooses to freeze her eggs would first undergo a series of standard tests through a reproductive endocrinologist. If approved for the process, once the woman has her period, she would take stimulatory hormones in the first two weeks of her cycle.

At the two-week mark, the woman would have her eggs harvested while under general sedation. Then the eggs are frozen until the woman is ready to use them.

"For a young, healthy woman we could get 20, 30 eggs in one setting," Ashton said, noting the entire process takes only about two months.

Embryo adoption

Embryo adoption is an "emerging trend," according to Ashton, because so many couples have frozen embryos.

If a couple, or a woman, has more embryos than they plan to use, they can opt to donate their frozen embryos to infertility centers to be adopted by someone else.

"It’s just another example of the plethora of options available now to couples who want to become parents," Ashton said.

Foster care and adoption

Ashton stresses that every conversation about infertility should also include the options of adopting a child or caring for a child in the foster care system.

"I think it’s very important whenever we talk about fertility and infertility to include foster parenting and adoption as well because biology is oftentimes the least of what makes someone a parent," Ashton said.

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Cathryn Hinesley(NEW YORK) -- A 10-year-old girl born with no hands is this year's winner of a national handwriting competition.

Sara Hinesley, a third-grade student in Maryland, won the Nicholas Maxim Award in the 2019 Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. To be eligible for the Nicholas Maxim Award, a student must have a cognitive delay, or an intellectual, physical or developmental disability. A team of occupational therapists judged all of this year's entries.

"I felt excited and proud," Sara told "Good Morning America" about learning she won the award, which comes with a trophy and $500 in prize money as well as $500 in educational materials for her school.

Sara writes by gripping the pencil or pen with both of her arms. She loves to create art and sees writing cursive -- for which she won the award -- as an extension of art.

"Cursive is round and it's trying to connect [letters] so it’s art," she said.

Sara was born in China and adopted by the Hinesley family in the U.S. four years ago, at age six. She could only speak and write Mandarin when she arrived in the U.S., but quickly picked up English from her older sister, Veronica.

She figured out a method of writing on her own.

"Sara is very motivated and a disciplined student," said the girls' mother, Cathryn Hinesley. "She excels really at about anything she tries."

The third-grader has made the decision not to use prosthetic hands, according to Hinesley.

"All of her life she has figured out ways to overcome that challenge and it's really made her a very strategic thinker," Hinesley said. "Before she takes on a task she tends to plot out how she’s going to accomplish it and is usually successful."

She added, "Everything Sara does she really does to the best of her ability and on her own. She's a very independent, 'I can do it,' type of kid."

Sara will receive the award on June 13, the last school day of the year at her school, St. John’s Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland. Sara is the first student from the school to win the Nicholas Maxim Award.

"Sara always has a smile on her face. Nothing gets her down at all," said the school's principal, Karen Smith. "She always seems to cope with whatever task is given. She always figures out a way to do it."

Sara won the Nicholas Maxim Award for excellence in cursive. Another student, in Ohio, won the award this year for excellence in manuscript (printing).

Sara's mom called her daughter's award-winning penmanship a "testament to the human spirit."

"It shows what perseverance and a positive attitude can do," Hinesley said. "Sara is a great example of that."

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Pornpak Khunatorn/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The number of measles cases in the U.S. so far this year is approaching the record for the decade -- and in just four months time, according to new data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been 626 confirmed cases of measles so far this year, an increase of 71 new cases since last week. Two new states -- Iowa and Tennessee -- join the list, bringing the total to 22.

The only year when there were more cases reported in the United States since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 was in 2014 -- 667.

"In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels," the CDC said in its update Monday.


There are more cases in New York than in any other state, though the exact number of cases was not immediately known because the outbreak in some areas started at the end of 2018. The New York City Health Department noted that there have been 359 confirmed measles cases in Brooklyn and Queens from October 2018, to April 18, 2019.

Separately, officials in New York's Rockland County noted that there have been 194 confirmed cases there in 2019. Of those, 80.8% of the infected individuals never received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, Rockland County officials report.

The number of confirmed cases in other states are still in the double-digits, including 74 cases in Washington, 43 cases in Michigan, 23 in California and 13 in New Jersey.

Officials in New York are trying to take action to curb the spread of the highly contagious disease, for example, by fining people who refused to get vaccinated in designated areas as mandated by the mayor's office.


The spike in measles cases in the U.S. comes amid an uptick in global cases. The World Health Organization reported last week that the number of reported measles cases was up by 300% in the first three months of 2019 as compared to the same time period in 2018.

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katleho Seisa/iStock(NEW YORK) -- In spite of the fact that over six million women in America struggle with infertility, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there remain boundless misconceptions about conception.

In honor of National Infertility Awareness week which kicks off Monday, Good Morning America and ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton teamed up to bust or break down some infertility myths about birth control, IVF treatments, age and more.

Infertility Myth 1: Using birth control for years can make you less fertile

Ashton, an OB-GYN, said this is one of the most common questions about infertility that she gets from patients. But rest assured, the answer is that using birth control for years does not make you less fertile.

Ashton says that no matter how long you have been on the pill, your ovaries will always be happy to have you back.

Birth control does not do anything to affect the quality of your eggs, and once the pills are out of your system -- which can only take 48 hours -- you can start a new ovulation cycle and get pregnant as soon as the first month you're off the pill.

Infertility Myth 2: Multiple rounds of IVF will not increase your chances of getting pregnant

Multiple rounds of IVF treatment will increase your chances of getting pregnant, according to Ashton. Studies show that if women do enough IVF cycles, the majority will conceive -- meaning the more rounds, the more chances.

The issue often arises because most women will drop out before that point because of the cost as well as the physical and emotional strain.

Infertility Myth 3: If you are under 30 you won't have fertility issues

While it is absolutely true that age is a massive factor when it comes to fertility (the older a woman gets, she has fewer eggs of lesser quality) there are also many younger women who face fertility issues, Ashton said.

If you are worried that you may be struggling with fertility and are over the age of 35, Ashton recommends getting tested for fertility problems after six months of trying to conceive naturally.

If you are under 35, Ashton recommends getting tested after a year of trying. It's not generally accepted to check your fertility status before trying to conceive, as tests can often be expensive and not covered by insurance, according to Ashton. If you are looking to be preventative and proactive when it comes to your fertility health, women should get screened frequently for STDs and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What can decrease a woman's chance of becoming pregnant?

There are a few lifestyle factors that can decrease a woman's chances of getting pregnant. Those include being age 30 or over, smoking, heavy alcohol use, stress, poor diet, diabetes, or being significantly over or under weight, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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milanvirijevic/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Fundraising, grants, loans and credit card debt are now terms just as commonly associated with infertility as the words baby and pregnancy.

The average cost of one in vitro fertilization, or IVF, cycle in the United States is $12,400, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a non-profit organization founded by fertility experts in the 1940s.

Add to that the reality that most pregnancies require more than one IVF cycle, plus ancillary expenses including medication, doctors appointments, genetic testing and embryo storage, and then subtract the fact that insurance coverage for infertility treatments is limited, and you have what often becomes a cost-prohibitive, or financially crippling, scenario for women trying to get pregnant.

Still, more than seven million women, nearly 12 percent, have used infertility services in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As a result of the rising costs and rising frequency of fertility treatments, a whole separate industry has sprouted to just financially help people have children. Here is a look at some of the resources now available:

Grants and scholarships

Certain hospitals, foundations and even states, such as New York, now offer grants and scholarships to help cover the cost of infertility treatments.

Some require you to live in certain states and to meet certain requirements, and some charge fees for applying. Make sure to carefully vet the grant or scholarship-giving institution before you share any information online.

The Kevin J. Lederer Life Foundation in Chicago is one foundation that offers grants to cover the medical costs of IVF treatments.

Other resources include the Kyle Busch Foundation, the Baby Quest Foundation and the Cade Foundation.

The Baby Quest Foundation offers around 10 grants for every 300 to 400 applications it receives, according to Pamela Hirsch, who founded the charity in 2011 after watching her daughter go through unsuccessful IVF treatments before turning to surrogacy to have her two children.

"Infertility becomes an issue of class because it's only available to those people who can afford it," she said. "There so many different types of issues that we try to address and it's frustrating that we don't have the funds to help more people than we do."

Baby Quest gives scholarships that fill the gap, so if an IVF treatment costs $10,000 and a grant recipient can only contribute $2,000, the foundation will give them $8,000. Other grants and scholarships give certain amounts of money and have different requirements, so applicants must do their research first.

"All we can do is offer an opportunity to remove that financial burden to allow them to pursue IVF or surrogacy," Hirsch said.

FertilityIQ, an online resource started by a couple searching for a fertility doctor, offers a state-by-state guide to available grants and charities, mostly for IVF.

The National Infertility Association, aka RESOLVE, national patient advocacy organization founded by a woman, offers a list online of grant and scholarship opportunities.

Fertility Within Reach, a national non-profit organization, also offers an online guide for everything from infertility treatment grants to adoption grants, fertility medication grants and programs for veterans and current members of the military.

Employers and insurers

More than 400 U.S. companies offer benefits for fertility treatments, according to data collected by Fertility IQ, a fertility information website. Even with some employers adding such benefits, the majority of IVF patients treated last year paid for all or some of their treatment out-of-pocket, according to Fertility IQ.

Fertility-focused organizations have begun to offer tips for employees who want to ask their employers for IVF benefits.

ABC News Chief Business Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, who became pregnant thanks to the help of infertility treatments, also shared these three tips for women.

1. Call your insurance provider
: [Call] whatever insurance you're getting through your company and ask them what fertility benefits they offer. Typically it's the insurance providers themselves that can explain which benefits you're eligible for. Also, ask your insurance provider about different plans -- sometimes it's different coverage depending on which plan you're on, and it might make sense to switch.

2. Look at your partner's insurance: In some cases that's going to be a bigger benefit than the one you're getting from your company.

3. Negotiate: When you're going out and talking to these various fertility providers, negotiate. Caution against just making choice on cheapest option. If they're not the strongest provider, you could be setting yourself up for multiple rounds of treatment which becomes more expensive.

Only a handful of states require insurance providers to cover infertility treatments. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine maintains an online database of state-specific insurance requirements so you can know your rights in your state.


Some fertility clinics offer their own discounted treatment packages and financing, and there are independent companies that offer financing and loans to cover the cost of treatments.

RESOLVE offers a comprehensive online guide to infertility financing programs.


A quick search on GoFundMe, the crowdfunding platform, shows dozens and dozens of couples and individuals asking for financial help with their IVF journey. The website even has a page titled "Get help with IVF fundraising."

One couple profiled by ABC News, LaTanya and James Braxton, of Antioch, Tennessee, turned to GoFundMe after they realized the loan they took out to cover the $19,000 cost of their IVF treatment didn't account for the high cost of medicine that comes with an IVF cycle.

"We decided to be creative in exploring the different ways we could cover the difference and GoFundMe was one of the best opportunities we have," James said.

The Braxtons posted a video on their GoFundMe page explaining their decision to go this route. Using social media in addition to GoFundMe was a way for the couple to keep family and friends up to date on their IVF journey in a personable and relatable way.

The couple's GoFundMe page currently shows they have raised $10,685 of their $16,350 goal.

After experiencing a miscarriage with twins after their first round of IVF, the Braxtons still have nine frozen embryos and intend to try IVF again when LaTanya's body is ready.

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aprilante/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A so-called Sober Curious movement that's been gaining in popularity focuses on eliminating alcohol for health, sleep and wellness reasons, and its founder encourages people to participate by asking them to imagine "what it's like to live hangover free."

Ruby Warrington, author of the book Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, told ABC News' Good Morning America that she believes sobriety "can be a lifestyle choice for anybody."

"We don't have to drink. There's nothing that says, as an adult being, you have to consume alcohol," she added. "And yet, our society doesn't really lead us to believe that. In fact, it's very much the norm to drink."

Her book encourages readers to be more mindful about consuming alcohol.

She also touched on the stigma of saying you're "sober," comparing it to "if you were telling them you weren't eating gluten, or you were taking a break from dairy, they wouldn't bat an eyelid."

"But if you tell them you're not drinking, it can bring up all these issues," she said, adding that our "society is on alcohol as a social lubricant."

Listen Bar in New York City is a pop-up watering hole that caters specifically to the growing Sober Curious movement. All of the drinks -- from the creative cocktails to the shots -- are non-alcoholic.

The bar aims to be a place where people looking for a night out can go without feeling the social pressure to drink.

A 2017 survey found that a third of people wanted to cut back on their alcohol consumption -- some because of regret or embarrassment -- and many others for health reasons.

There's even a new app called "Sober Grind" which helps connect you with people who chose not to drink.

ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who did her own variant of Sober Curious when she gave up alcohol for a month for wellness reasons during her Dry January challenge, came up with five "yes" or "no" questions she encourages you to ask yourself about alcohol -- especially keeping track of how many times you answer "yes."

Question 1: Have you had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?

Question 2: Have you gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt?

Question 3: Have you had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want?

Question 4: Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious?

Question 5: Do you spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or getting over other after-effects?

If you answered "yes" to one or two of those questions, it could be a reason for concern, depending on your particular symptoms and their severity.

The earlier questions tend to be early signs of potential trouble, whereas the latter questions indicate that you have moved further down a risky path.

The questions are based on symptoms for alcohol use disorder in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The DSM is the most commonly used system in the United States for diagnosing mental health disorders.

If you answered "yes" to some of the questions or are simply interested in the Sober Curious movement, Ashton shared some tips to help you stay on track.

First, keep a calendar so you can keep track of how many nights a week you drink. Second, recruit some friends and hold each other accountable to feel less pressure to consume alcohol. Finally, be curious.

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