By Tracey Minella
November 18th, 2016 at 11:30 am
Even though the presidential election is over, there is still plenty of voting to do!
Long Island IVF is excited to announce that– thanks to your support–we have again been nominated “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice” in the Best of Long Island (“BOLI”) 2017 Contest. This year’s nomination comes after our practice WON the contest for the past two consecutive years!
Thank you to all of our patients and their families for nominating us in this public opinion-based contest again. Word-of-mouth recommendations have always been the cornerstone of our practice and we appreciate you taking a moment to cast a vote in our favor. Now that nominations are done, voting for a winner is underway.
Can we count on your votes to help us continue our reign for the upcoming year?
The voting period to determine the one ultimate winner in the “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice” is underway now and runs until December 15 and voters may cast one vote per day, per category, per IP address.
For those interested in voting for any of the many businesses or service providers who have been nominated, you may do so at: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/ Find us under the Health & Wellness category, under “In-Vitro Fertility Practice”.
Again, thanks for nominating us. We love what we do… and love who we do it for!
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So how did YOU come to hear of Long Island IVF?
Was it a recommendation from friends or family? Your gynecologist? A print or radio ad? The internet? Research into our success rates and innovative programs? Something else? What brought you into the practice?
By Tracey Minella
November 8th, 2016 at 5:33 pm
Today, what feels like the longest, most controversial, and unprecedented presidential election campaign will finally come to an end. Sadly, and on a level not seen before, families and friendships have been broken over this election and we are all watching and holding our collective breath for the results as well as the potential aftermath.
But this post is not to persuade anyone on whom to choose. We each have issues that are important to us and, for some, the choice today may come down to which candidate supports our most important issue.
This post is to reflect on how the infertility community affects political change and public awareness of infertility.
Behind the scenes—and often center stage—countless people fight continuously for the rights of the infertility community. Some advocates are infertile right now; others may have already resolved their infertility but want to help those suffering today—and tomorrow. Some want to see certain groups, such as military veterans, get medical coverage for assisted reproductive technology. While others just want mandated infertility and adoption coverage for all.
There’s a lot going on in the political and infertile world—some front-burner and other back-burner movements.
A couple of months ago, after years of advocacy, the commonly-called #IVF4Vets bill, also known as MilCon-VA, was finally passed, removing the VA-bar on IVF treatment for veterans. This change is the first step toward providing IVF to military veterans who are infertile as a result of their military service. Unfortunately, it’s often one step forward and two steps back when it comes to gaining political ground. At practically the same time, what’s been coined the proposed Harris Embryo Amendment entered the picture. It’s also been called “the worst piece of federal legislation ever introduced”*.
The Harris Embryo Amendment would be a real threat to federally-funded IVF. In a nutshell, it would prohibit the federal funding of any IVF treatments in a federal government facility in which there is a possibility that any resulting viable embryo could be discarded or destroyed. Since excess embryos are not only commonplace in IVF, but generally an unavoidable result of the treatment, the mandated transfer of all fresh embryos would actually, in most cases, be detrimental, since the current standard practice is generally transferring only one or two embryos per cycle. In addition, the survival and use of all embryos thawed after cryopreservation cannot be guaranteed. So, the proposed amendment may threaten federally-funded IVF and cryopreservation as it now exists.
There have been other political initiatives in recent years on behalf of the infertile, including but not limited to the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act. As assisted reproductive technology continues to advance and the demand for these services grows, we can expect to continue to advocate both for and against new legislation.
So, after this election—and maybe just a short break from the politics—consider becoming more involved in infertility-related advocacy and legislation. The first and best step would be to reach out the RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association—the group that fights tirelessly for the rights of the infertile community. (Thanks, RESOLVE!) You can check out the political initiatives here.
And if you are overcome with infertility-related sadness and stress as the holiday season is approaching, please let us help you.
In an effort to increase public awareness of infertility before the special stress of the winter holiday season hits those who are suffering in silence, Long Island IVF is sponsoring the second annual Coming Out Infertile Day with “The Reveal: A Coming Out Infertile Workshop” on November 17th from 6:30-8:00 pm at our Melville office.
This free workshop will be led by our own Mind-Body Medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients and will focus on helping infertile people work through the obstacles that may be preventing them from coming out to their family and friends. The focus is to help those who would like to “come out” to do so in a way that’s right for them, so they can get the support they need. All are welcome. Pre- registration is required here. Like our Facebook page or Coming Out Infertile Day page for information on how to join the social media movement on Nov 17 to come out infertile with one easy graphic and one click-again for those who are ready to do so.
Now, go ahead and vote!
*Barbara Collura, RESOLVE
By David Kreiner MD
November 7th, 2016 at 7:45 am
The theme for the 2016 ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah was “Scaling New Heights in Fertility”. As one whose life on Long Island sheltered me from views of snow-capped mountain tops, the perspective of the attendees appeared to climb higher and perhaps to possibilities never previously conceived.
I summarize here 4 Hot Fertility Questions that were debated and discussed in the conference:
1) Should PGS screening be routine for all IVF patients?
2) Should all IVF transfers be restricted to blastocysts only?
3) Should we freeze all embryos and transfer in an unstimulated cycle?
4) What is the best treatment for the patient with diminished ovarian reserve?
Should PGS screening be routine for all IVF patients?
The theoretical benefit of Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening, or“PGS”, testing is that it allows one to select a single “tested normal” embryo in the presence of multiple embryos which is more likely to implant and less likely to miscarry. Absent testing the chromosome number of the embryos, to insure a similar chance of conception one might transfer two embryos– increasing the likelihood that twins would result in a pregnancy at greater risk for prematurity and complications affecting the health of the babies. Most miscarriages are the result of abnormal chromosomes and if the embryos had normal chromosomes then there should be less of a chance the pregnancy would result in miscarriage.
The argument against routine PGS testing is based mainly on the fact that the test is not 100% accurate or predictive of either normalcy or abnormalcy in addition to not obtaining a result in some cases. It is argued that the error rate is only 1% but there is a phenomenon called mosaicism where an embryo may have more than one cell line. It is not rare that an embryo which has an abnormal cell line in addition to a normal one can, during development, shed the abnormal cells and evolve normally. However, PGS testing may pick up only the abnormal cell or detect both normal and abnormal and then there is the question of what to do with the mosaic embryos since there is no current way to predict whether these embryos will ultimately be normal.
Another argument against routine PGS testing is that most abnormal embryos never implant anyway and that perhaps the reduction in miscarriages with PGS is not as great as predicted. Still another argument that holds true for younger patients in particular is that the pregnancy rate for a single blastocyst transfer is nearly as high without PGS testing and that one can achieve equal success without the risk of discarding potentially normal embryos.
Should all IVF transfers be restricted to blastocysts only?
In addition to improving the ability to select the best embryo, the proposed advantages of a blastocyst transfer (typically 5-6 days old) versus a cleaved embryo transfer (usually 3 days old) include the following:
- an embryo transferred 5-6 days after ovulation is closer to the natural physiologic state
- there are thought to be fewer uterine contractions 5-6 days post ovulation than 3 days;
- blastocysts have a larger diameter and are thought to be less likely to be pushed into the fallopian tubes—which may lead to a lower ectopic pregnancy rate;
- there is a shorter time to implantation and therefore less opportunity for a deleterious event to occur to an embryo in the uterus.
However, there are some patients, in particular older or those with more fragile embryos, which have been shown to fail to conceive on multiple occasions after a blast transfer but successfully get pregnant and deliver healthy babies after transfer of cleaved embryos. Furthermore, there is evidence that in some of these cases embryos that may have been destined to otherwise result in a normal pregnancy may fail to develop to blast in the laboratory.
Should we freeze all embryos and transfer in an unstimulated cycle?
There is a growing consensus nationally among IVF programs that the endometrium is less receptive to embryo implantation during a stimulated cycle–especially one in which the estradiol and/or progesterone levels are high. Although convincing patients to delay transfer to a subsequent unstimulated cycle is a challenge, growing evidence is pushing the field in this direction.
What is the best treatment for the patient with diminished ovarian reserve?
Optimal treatment of the patient with diminished ovarian reserve remains a challenge to the IVF program. There is growing evidence that adjuvant therapy, including such things as acupuncture and Chinese herbs as well as supplements such as CoQ10 and DHEA, may improve a patient’s response to stimulation and improve pregnancy rates. Other strategies include sensitizing follicles with estradiol and/or Growth Hormone pre-treatment and banking embryos from multiple cycles with transfer during an unstimulated cycle. Still another strategy is milder stimulation in an attempt to improve the quality of the retrieved egg/s.
There were many heights achieved during this meeting and to this boy from Queens I was impressed not just with the science and the breathtaking vistas of the regal mountains forming a horseshoe around Salt Lake City but also with the most pleasing goodness of the people native to the city who genuinely offered their time to help make our experience a pleasant one.
By Tracey Minella
November 4th, 2016 at 1:30 pm
Long Island IVF is proud to sponsor the second annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 17, 2016 and The Reveal: a special pre-holiday season workshop for those suffering in silence from infertility.
Infertility is a devastating disease that affects 1 out of every 8 couples. In addition to the pain and fear that comes with this diagnosis, many couples feel the unwarranted stigma of shame and guilt. Consequently, they keep their infertility a secret—even from their family and closest friends.
They are often afraid…or don’t know how… to tell their families and friends (or their employers) that they are having trouble getting or staying pregnant and need treatment. So they suffer in silence. Often for many months or years.
Coming Out Infertile Day (andThe Reveal workshop) was conceived to encourage those suffering from infertility to “come out” to their families, friends, and/or employers if they feel ready to do so… and to help them with the tools they need to do so. And most importantly, to come out in a way that feels right for them.
The holiday season, with its focus on children and families, is a particularly hard time for infertile folks who are easy targets for nagging personal questions about baby-making plans.
What we wouldn’t give to have a pregnancy test kit with two lines on it.
Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the winter holidays…is a timely public reminder of the pain of infertility and a chance for those suffering to come out and get support.
Long Island IVF is offering a The Reveal—a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 17, 2016 from 6:30-8 pm at its offices at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Led by our own Mind-Body medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients, attendees will be given the support they need to come out infertile in a manner that’s right for them. In addition to this free group counseling, attendees will receive sample scripts and template letters to customize to help them. Are you ready to tell just your parents? Or your best friend? The whole family? Need to know how to break it to your boss? We can help. All are welcome. The workshop is free but pre-registration is required, so register here: http://bit.ly/therevealCOI2016.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. So, for those ready to fully and publicly come out, Workshop attendees will be able to be part of Coming Out Infertile Day’s social media campaign where you can easily upload and share your photo with the official #Comingoutinfertile hashtag and graphic on various social media platforms by using the easy and free app, PicStitch. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to participate. All are welcome and encouraged to be part of this empowering event!
Or be with us virtually!! Those unable to attend can use the #ComingOutInfertile social media PicStich app instructions coming soon. So, like our Long Island IVF Facebook page and/or the Coming Out Infertile Day page to stay on top of this movement.
It’s time to end the stigma of infertility. It’s time to unburden yourself from the added weight of this secret and get the support you need. It’s time to #comeoutinfertile. Join us in person or on social media on 11-17. Be part of the movement no matter where you are in your infertility journey.
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What is holding you back from coming out infertile? Are you ready to join the #comingoutinfertile movement?
By Tracey Minella
October 31st, 2016 at 1:31 pm
I’ve got nothing.
Usually, I can muster up some tips to get you through the roughest days of the year. But this one is hard and I find the tips I’m brewing up are either too lame or too sinister to share. What makes Halloween so tough?
Halloween is the one universal children’s holiday…celebrated by all children. We all remember Halloween fondly, the costumes, the candy, the parties, the doorbells. The sugar-rush, shaving cream fights, and the eggs… for you rebels out there. Bolting from house to house for hours, until our feet dragged from the weight of a pillowcase that rivaled Santa’s sack. Mom and dad watching from the curb.
“Just one more house, PUH-LEEEZE?”
Halloween by its very nature is the most “in-your-face” of the holidays. Literally. It’s an onslaught. Even worse than Christmas or Chanukah… where you only have to deal with the kids in your immediate families. Today, kids are everywhere. All day and night. In the streets and at your door. You can’t hide. No place is safe.
Childhood memories of Halloween make us want to be kids again. And simultaneously makes us want to have our own so they can experience the same wonder. And so we can be the one at the curb today, the one who checks the bags for safety, the one posting 102 pictures to Facebook.
And not having it feels like a little pirate’s plastic dagger in the heart.
Another year that the dream of dressing up a little boy or girl in the perfect costume hasn’t come true. Another year to wait. How can I sugar-coat all this pain?
So I’m telling you to hide as best as you can. Stay off social media once the onslaught begins later. If you can go to an adults-only party or a romantic restaurant to escape children tonight, that’s great. But if it hurts to answer the door 372 times, lower the lights, put a bowl of treats out, and retire early… with a bag or two of your own favorite candy.
Or you could always open the door in the middle of an injection, screaming “TRICK!” and frighten the bejeebers out of the nineteenth Trump and Hillary that come knocking. (Oops, did I just say that out loud?)
The choice is yours. You can “let it go”… or you can be a witch if you want to. After all, it is Halloween.
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How do/did you handle Halloween when infertile?
By Tracey Minella
October 21st, 2016 at 12:42 pm
If you’ve done IVF without success or are thinking about doing IVF and would like to maximize your chances of conceiving, you’ll want to come to Long Island IVF’s Fertility Acupuncture Seminar on November 3, 2016 at 6:30-8:30 pm in our Melville office.
Dr. Kreiner will go over how this ancient therapy, when combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF), may boost pregnancy rates in some cases. Many patients are interested in this holistic therapy and are pleased to learn it costs less than $200 to add it to their IVF cycle.
Dr. Kreiner is the only reproductive endocrinologist in the region who is also a certified acupuncturist and this combined Western and Eastern medicine therapy is available to all Long Island IVF patients, not only his patients.
Come hear Dr. Kreiner tell of how he went back to school after three decades of building families on Long Island to learn TCM and acupuncture in an effort to offer couples—especially those for whom Western medicine alone has not yet produced a baby– every chance of conceiving through a blend of the best Western and Eastern medicine therapies.
Dr. Kreiner is now applying that acupuncture training in the IVF procedure room, both pre- and post-IVF transfer.
Why not see a live demonstration of fertility acupuncture for yourself in a relaxed and casual setting and learn more about how this exclusive, yet very affordable, natural therapy might help increase your chances of conceiving? Dr. Kreiner is very friendly and approachable, as is his special guest, James Vitale, LAc. Consider stopping by at the end of your workday to find out if this could be the missing piece to your fertility puzzle.
Register to attend this intimate discussion on Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 6:30 pm at our Melville office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. The seminar is free, but seating is limited, so pre-registration is required.
We look forward to seeing you there. Please contact Lindsay Montello, Patient Services, at 631-752-0606 or LMontello@liivf.com with any questions.
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Can we tell Dr. Kreiner you’ll be there?
By Tracey Minella
October 18th, 2016 at 10:12 am
Do you think you might need an egg donor to build your family?
Have you ever met a woman who became a mom through egg donation? Wouldn’t it be helpful to hear about her experience and ask her questions in person knowing she once shared the same concerns you may have about the process?
Well, you won’t want to miss this seminar!
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at 7:00 pm, Long Island IVF will host a free event “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg” that could potentially change the course of your family-building journey. Our caring doctors and staff…and one of our donor recipient moms… will go over everything you could ever need to know about egg donation.
Women whose eggs have been compromised by advanced age, premature ovarian failure, failed IVF treatment, cancer, or poor egg quality should consider donor egg therapy. Long Island IVF offers many ways to build a family through the donor egg program. Gay men wanting biological children also need the help of an egg donor.
Admittedly, conceiving with donor eggs is rarely the first choice, but often is an acceptable alternative after weighing many personal, physical, emotional, psychological, and financial considerations. Decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made.
Maybe you’re not yet ready to act on the information you’ll receive. No problem. We’re just here to offer information and emotional support. So, why not attend the seminar and learn about Egg Donation as an opportunity to create your family? It’s the last seminar of the year and a perfect time to get educated and empowered about this powerful family-building option.
Victoria Loveland, RN & Donor Egg Nursing Coordinator, Aviva Zigelman, LCSW & Donor Egg Program Director, and Long Island IVF partner and reproductive endocrinologist Steven Brenner, MD will all be there to answer your questions. You can even speak to them privately if you’re more comfortable.
Long Island IVF offers several different egg donation options, including:
- Sole Recipient Fresh Egg Donation,
- Shared Recipient Fresh Egg Donation, and
- Frozen Egg Donation.
Each option offers its own unique benefits, costs, and other considerations. We have young, healthy, pre-screened, anonymous egg donors representing multiple ethnicities ready to help build your family. Or you can use a known donor if you prefer.
Register here for “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg”. Walk-ins are always welcome, too. Bring a friend or partner. Take that first step, even if you’re hesitant. We look forward to seeing you and answering your questions about the exciting option of egg donation.
Location: Long Island IVF 8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101, Melville, NY
Date: Tuesday November 1, 2016
Time: 7:00 pm- 9:00 pm
LONG ISLAND IVF: WINNER “BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE” in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015 and 2016″ contests. We are humbled and excited by the honor and thrilled to be nominated again for 2017 (voting is now through December 15, 2016)! Can we help you build your family as well?
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Will you be there? If you’d like to attend but can’t, please call anyway and ask for Vicky Loveland, so we can make other arrangements to help you.
By Tracey Minella
October 12th, 2016 at 6:26 pm
With an overwhelming feeling of thanksgiving in the cool autumn air, we’re eagerly preparing for Long Island IVF’s Family Event…a celebration of the births of our newest batch of special babies. We’re looking for the IVF, IUI, or other babies we’ve had a humble hand in helping to make their debut.
If you haven’t heard of it, the reunion is a fun-filled, camera-clicking day where our proud new parents show off their little miracles and our doctors and staff get to meet the latest additions to the LIIVF family.
We know it may be hard to hear about this event if you’re still on your journey to parenthood. And we’re very sorry for that, and look forward to seeing you at a future event real soon. But we want to be sure we haven’t missed any patient who is eligible to attend this year…
So… if your special little bundle was born between January 1, 2014 and today, please email Lindsay Montello at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can put you on the invitation list. (And if your baby’s older and you missed the last reunion…or you just really, really want to come this year, please email Lindsay anyway!) This call to action is to ensure that we don’t miss any patient who had a baby during this time frame, so please don’t assume we have your most recent contact information—drop us a quick confirming email so you’ll get your invitation.
Meanwhile… SAVE THE DATE. This year’s event will be held on Friday, November 11, 2016 from noon until 2:30 pm! More exciting details will come in your invitation.
Here’s a bit of nostalgia and Long Island IVF history: Back in the old days, the reunion was held outside the old Long Island IVF office in Port Jefferson, behind Mather Hospital. As the years went on and the babies multiplied quickly, we needed a huge fire truck with a soaring bucket to take our group photo of all the parents and their babies. Shortly after the 10th reunion, space limitations unfortunately necessitated limiting the attendees to the most recent crop of newborns.
We’re so looking forward to seeing you again and meeting your new little pumpkins!
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Have you been to a reunion? What’s the best part?
Thanks to all our wonderful patients who repeatedly nominate us and vote us in as Long Island’s “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice”.
After winning the title for 2015 and 2016, LONG ISLAND IVF was again nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2017″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/
By Tracey Minella
October 11th, 2016 at 6:29 pm
Long Island IVF has been proudly building families for the LGBT community for decades and we are mindful and supportive of LGBT rights and days of significance to the community.
Today, we mark National Coming Out Day—a day to support the men, women, and gender-fluid among us who are, in some cases, summoning the courage to “come out” to their friends, families, and others and begin to live their lives in an open and true to themselves way. Some of these people are teens, or even younger and sadly, the threats against them from various sources are very real. Laws may change, but people often do not…or at least not as quickly.
Long Island IVF is a long-time friend to the LGBT community, and has partnered with the Long Island’s LGBT Network to present seminars specifically designed to address the unique family-building needs of the LGBT community. The next free seminar will be on October 25, 2016 at the Long Island IVF Melville office. Register here.
Reproductive options for lesbian couples will be discussed including topics such as donor sperm insemination, in vitro fertilization, reciprocal IVF, use of gestational carriers, donor eggs, and more. The limitations and the workup for women wishing to donate eggs and/or carry a pregnancy will be covered. Surrogacy and gestational carriers for gay male couples will also be addressed. In addition, the fertility preservation options available to transgender people prior to transitioning will be covered. The social, legal, financial, and medical issues will be discussed.
If you are…or love…a member of the LGBT community, you won’t want to miss this information–packed seminar.
Long Island recognizes that your needs and rights to parenthood are universal, but that the approach to your care and particular fertility obstacles is unique. Our staff, some of whom are members of– or parents of –the LGBT community themselves, is sensitive to your needs and eager to help you build your family.
You may have come out today. Why not come meet us in two weeks?
If you would like to attend our next seminar, please register here.
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By Steven Brenner MD
October 9th, 2016 at 5:22 pm
A diagnosis of breast cancer is one of the most challenging health issues a person could face. This diagnosis is even more devastating to the woman who desires to have children the future. Treatments for the breast cancer may have harmful effects on the woman’s ability to conceive by adversely affecting the health of her eggs. In addition, the hormonal treatments frequently used to help an individual conceive have the potential to worsen the breast cancer.
There is often turmoil surrounding the diagnosis of breast cancer. The individual, her family and physicians are appropriately focused on getting rapid effective treatment and survival. The issue of fertility may not be thought of until a chemotherapeutic plan is just about to start or has already been initiated.
Since there are fertility preserving options for the individuals facing breast cancer treatment, these options should be considered. If time allows eggs or embryos may be frozen for future use. The use of such procedures depends on many factors, primarily, will such treatment have a negative effect on the woman’s disease. If in the patient’s and oncologist’s judgment fertility preservation is an option it should occur rapidly to allow for the timely treatment of the breast cancer.
The key is for the oncologist and patient to be aware and discuss the potential for fertility conservation treatment prior to the start of chemotherapy. This opportunity for discussion may be lost in the unrest that surrounds the diagnosis. Breast cancer awareness month, October, 2016, creates a platform to raise these issues and help both individuals and health care providers come more cognizant of available treatments and the importance of timing these treatments to maximize future fertility.
Long Island IVF offers women facing cancer the fertility preservation options of elective embryo- or egg-freezing prior to undergoing chemotherapy. This enables the woman to safeguard some of her eggs from the adverse effects of chemotherapy by retrieving and freezing them before she begins her cancer treatment. Her frozen eggs or embryos will be there for her use in family-building once her cancer battle is behind her. For more information, please contact our office at 877-838-BABY.
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Would you consider fertility preservation or mention the option to a friend facing a cancer diagnosis?