By David Kreiner MD
August 18th, 2016 at 9:50 am
I was cooling off in my community pool and a former patient recognized me and proudly showed off her 13 year old daughter…”just Clomid® right?”, I asked, a trite too brash. “Yes, and insemination after a couple of failed attempts,” she replied.
I sometimes assume if a patient doesn’t have to do IVF to conceive that they have not sufficiently suffered the infertility rites of passage. Shame on me…for someone facing the challenge of conceiving, the pain can be most severe and if solved with fertility pills—Clomid®–then it is just as miraculous a cure as the newer technologic marvel of IVF.
I have experienced in my 31 years as a reproductive endocrinologist specializing in fertility several hundred such successes and babies born from this highly successful fertility pill that was developed by a team in the 1950’s led by Frank Palopoli who died last week at the age of 94.
Clomiphene®, the generic form of the estrogen receptor inhibitor that came on the market in 1967, works by blocking the negative feedback of estrogen resulting in an increase of pituitary hormones, FSH and LH which in turn stimulates the ovaries to ovulate.
Clomid® may be used by itself or augmented with injections of LH and/or FSH as well as HCG used as a trigger for ovulation when the ovarian follicles stimulated by Clomid® have reached maturity. The pills are usually taken in the beginning of the cycle for five days and the response carefully monitored with serum estradiol and LH levels as well as follicular ultrasounds.
As tens of millions of babies have been born since Mr. Palopoli developed Clomid® we in the field and those who have reaped the rewards of this medication owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.
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Did Clomid® play a part in your fertility journey?
By Tracey Minella
August 12th, 2016 at 5:51 pm
These days are pretty emotional around the office as the Long Island IVF babies of a few of the current and former staff are going off to college and military academies!!! Imagine that. We’ve been making IVF babies so long here—since 1988– that a bunch of our babies are flying the coop all at once! It seems we were all just pregnant together, nearly 18 years ago. (Good luck Tori, Eric, and Nicolette!)
Maybe yours are leaving, too?
Or maybe they’re starting kindergarten. Or you just brought them home from the hospital. Or maybe you’re pregnant at last and waiting with baited breath for the big arrival. Or you’re currently in treatment and hopeful during the two week wait.
All those moments seem like just yesterday…*sigh*
Consider sharing your Long Island IVF baby moments! After all, we’re all family.
Please join us as we share these milestones on social media. Whether you’re a Facebook fan, or love to Tweet, or are heavily into Instagram, we’d love it if you’re comfortable sharing your posts and pics on our social media accounts– so just tag us if you’d like to share your pride and joy.
These photos and shared experiences give hope to current and prospective patients that they will have their miracles and their lifetimes of shareable moments, too. Too often, we see the babies shortly after birth and then life gets in the way. We’d love to see our your babies more often, especially when they are celebrating milestones.
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What’s your little miracle up to?
By David Kreiner MD
August 11th, 2016 at 1:41 am
What treatment might Olympic athletes and fertility-challenged women have in common?
Evidence of Cupping on many competing in the Olympics, especially the swimmers, has made quite a splash…but what is cupping and why the purplish circular marks on the skin?
Cupping is a form of traditional medicine found in many cultures throughout the world. This treatment involves placing cups containing a negative pressure which exerts suction onto the skin that if left on long enough breaks small blood vessels or capillaries resulting in a bruise in the affected area. This sounds painful, but it isn’t.
Cupping is a popular form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that works to unblock “Qi”, a form of life energy. Once unblocked, the energy can flow smoothly throughout the meridians or pathways in the body.
With cupping, TCM practitioners, commonly called acupuncturists, help to remove congestion and stagnation (stagnant blood and lymph) from the body and to improve the flow of “Qi” throughout the body. It also will increase the blood flow to the area upon which the cup is applied.
Musculoskeletal disorders are aided by increasing the flow of blood and “Qi” to the muscles underlying the applied cups. Hence, Michael Phelps and other Olympians have been going for cupping treatment to alleviate their sore muscles. Some TCM practitioners will also use cupping to treat breathing problems or respiratory conditions such as a cold, bronchitis or pneumonia.
Cupping may also be utilized to improve fertility in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion (heat applied to acupuncture point through burning herbs) and/or herbal therapy. From a TCM perspective, improving the flow of “Qi” at specific points or meridians may correct an imbalance that is preventing conception. From a Western scientific view, cupping and acupuncture cause the body to release endorphins. The endorphin system consists of chemicals that regulate the activity of a group of nerve cells in the brain that relax muscles, dull pain, and reduce panic and anxiety.
It is believed that these therapies may also trigger the release of more hormones, including serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that has a calming effect resulting in a serenity that aids the fertility process. Cupping, like acupuncture, reduces inflammation which could also benefit fertility. Whether it be the challenge of an Olympic trial or a battle against infertility cupping may be a valuable addition to one’s program.
By Dr. Michael Zinger
August 4th, 2016 at 3:43 pm
Every woman is born with a limited supply of eggs. As this supply ages, the likelihood of each remaining egg to have the capability to become a baby diminishes. However, this loss of potential is not spread evenly over the years, rather it is a shallow decline that usually continues into the mid-30’s, followed by a steeper loss that typically happens from the late 30’s into the early 40’s. Over a matter of 5 years, the odds of one egg having the potential to make a baby decreases by about 80%. Of course, not every woman is typical and the age at which this transition starts can vary quite a bit.
The only way to effectively protect the potential of eggs over time is cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing. Once frozen, the capacity of the eggs to create a successful pregnancy is maintained through the years.
Gynecologists often ask me at which age to refer their single patients to me to discuss egg freezing. The answer is not simple. Certainly we do not want to put a patient through this process if it is likely that she will meet the right partner and form a family without ever using those eggs. It would have been an unnecessary medical procedure with associated expense and lost time and effort.
On the other hand, we have to weigh the risk that the steeper decline in the eggs’ potential will happen before the woman has met her future partner and completed her family. If we could predict when that decline will happen in each woman then this question would be much easier. Unfortunately, our testing is only accurate in identifying this steeper decline when it is already occurring, at which point we have already missed the opportunity to freeze high-potential eggs.
Most of my egg-freeze patients are in their mid-30’s. On average, at this point, only subtle changes in the potential of eggs have occurred, whereas within a few years, more drastic changes usually start. Therefore, this timing does make sense for most women, but not everyone.
A concern about waiting until the mid 30’s is the possibility of an earlier decrease in egg potential. While that is unusual, it tends to also be unpredictable. Factors that contribute may include a history of smoking, a history of ovarian surgery or conditions that may lead to such surgery (e.g. endometriosis), or having a mother or older sister that experienced either an earlier menopause or infertility due to loss in egg potential. Women with these factors should consider freezing eggs in their early 30’s or even late 20’s. But, most often, if an early decrease occurs, it is without any predisposing factors and with no known cause. Therefore, even without predisposing factors, cautious women, who want to minimize the risk of missing the opportunity, should also consider freezing their eggs in their early 30’s.
Of course, just as some women unpredictably have an earlier loss, some also have good potential that persists even past 40. This can be determined at an initial visit with a fertility specialist through sonogram and blood tests. So, for women who have not yet frozen eggs, even at 41 or 42 it makes sense to come in for evaluation and determine if this could still be worthwhile.
By Tracey Minella
July 30th, 2016 at 4:00 pm
When you’re diagnosed with a life-altering disease, you find out who your true friends really are. And sometimes, life brings new friends your way…friends to celebrate each day…especially today, which is Friendship Day.
Infertility is a disease that affects 1 in every 8 couples. Yet despite all the advances in assisted reproductive technologies since the birth of the world’s first IVF baby 38 years ago this week, an infertility diagnosis still carries a social stigma. It makes many sufferers reluctant to share their secret—even with those closest to them.
One of the hardest parts about infertility is waiting– sometimes for years– and watching all your friends and family getting pregnant, again and again. Being a good friend to them means being happy for them—or at least faking it well. Besides, your day will likely come and you want them to be happy for you when it does.
If you are lucky—really lucky—you will find a true friend to support you along this journey. One who knows how to listen, when to be quiet, what to say and more importantly what not to say. One who is the best cheerleader, hand-holder, and advocate. One who knows how to console you, cheer you up, pamper you, and get you to try again. The soul-mate kind of friend who never tires of hearing you complain about infertility or cry over the pain it inflicts—or at least never shows it. The friend who has your back through it all.
Sometimes this may be a sister, friend, or co-worker. Sometimes it may be someone else who is also suffering from (or had suffered) from infertility. Some amazing, life-long friendships have been forged in Long Island IVF’s support groups with women who met as struggling infertiles and went on to become parents. Call the office or email our caring counselor at BinaBenisch@gmail.com if you’d like more information.
Who do you want to celebrate?
Why not give that BFF a big “shout out” right here—or privately—and let them know you’d be lost without them. Got a picture of you together? Post it!
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What has your special friend done or said to make your infertility journey a little easier to bear? Or what do you wish your friends would do—or not do—that would help you?
By Tracey Minella
July 25th, 2016 at 10:01 am
Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Louise Brown. Happy Birthday to you.
Many of you are too young to remember where you were when news of the birth of the World’s first “test tube” baby hit the stands. Maybe you were playing with Barbies, or maybe you weren’t even born yet. I remember it though.
I was a young teen just learning about reproduction, reading the newspaper in our brown, gold, orange and white classic 70’s kitchen. I remember hearing the sensational, seemingly sci-fi news and thinking it was cool. Dad was intrigued. Mom was mortified.
Little did I know then how important this day in history would be in my own life. And how IVF technology would be the answer to my own dream of becoming a mother some twenty years later.
For the past several years, I recognize Louise Brown’s birthday in some little way. It may be a blog post, or just a moment of reflection on how thankful I am for her mom’s courage way back then. I’ve even had a cupcake or raised a glass on her behalf. It’s my little way of honoring the woman whose birth led to the births of my own children decades later.
Here’s an IVF trivia question in her honor:
Louise is not the first IVF baby to have her own baby, but Louise is related to the first IVF baby to have her own baby. What is the woman’s name and what is their relationship?
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If you could say anything to Louise Brown’s mother, what would you say?
By Tracey Minella
July 24th, 2016 at 6:56 am
When you’re infertile, every day is “Auntie’s Day”. And no day is Mother’s Day. Well, that’s how it feels, anyway.
National Auntie’s Day falls on July 24th– obviously a day to celebrate the wonderful aunts in our lives. Being an aunt is a great thing. Really. Unless, of course, you’ve been trying to conceive forever…in which case the aunt thing might be getting old. Because you really just want to be a mother already.
Did I just say that out loud?
Becoming an aunt before trying to have your own baby and finding out that you’re infertile is amazing. Becoming one after you’ve had kids is awesome. But becoming one—over and over again—while suffering from the highs and lows of your own prolonged infertility journey, well, that can hurt. It can be hard to be (or even to fake being) happy for your siblings and close friends–people you genuinely love– when it feels like it’s never going to be your turn.
Before or after your own infertility, you might be the aunt who excitedly plans baby showers for others, enjoys rifling through baby clothes and toys, and loves every minute you can get spoiling the nieces and nephews. You’re every kid’s favorite aunt.
Maybe being an aunt gives you the baby-fix you need to keep going even after infertility hits. Maybe you can keep up being that Number 1 because you believe your moment is just around the corner. Your hope is strong and you don’t let the setbacks knock you down for long. More power to your amazing, strong auntie self.
But sometimes, something ugly happens to aunts when infertility enters the picture. You hurt and maybe you have to pull away to protect your own heart. And then you feel guilt.
Stop with the guilt. This journey, though it feels otherwise, really won’t last forever. It simply can’t– from a physical, emotional, and financial perspective. After it’s resolved, and hopefully with a child of your own, you can embrace your role as everyone’s favorite aunt again.
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Does being an aunt help or hurt during infertility? Do you celebrate Auntie’s day?
By Tracey Minella
July 11th, 2016 at 9:23 pm
It seems everywhere you turn there are pregnant women. It’s a difficult but universal reality for those TTC. In the quest to have a baby, it’s easy to get tunnel vision about everything else going on around us. The focus is on the steps needed to have that baby: the treatment and tests, the insurance and injections, the drugs and dates of importance. The rest of the world spins past in a blur in our peripheral vision.
But sometimes, events happen that shake us out of our baby zone and bring the outside world into focus…into ugly focus.
Lately, every time we turn on the news, there is another mass tragedy… more unrest. Threats against us from evil abroad… and worse…from evil within. The recent Dallas police incident is the latest in a string of frightening events.
Watching the news brought me back to 9/11…when I was a few weeks pregnant with my IVF baby. I vividly remember the clear, blue sky that morning and thinking to myself when the reality sunk in: what kind of world am I bringing this baby into?
Maybe you are thinking the same thing now if you’re pregnant. Or maybe you’re questioning having children at all.
If you need help sorting through your feelings, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, is Long Island IVF’s caring psychologist. Bina is specially-trained in helping those battling infertility and can help you sort through your feelings—whether you are currently a patient or not. She offers individual and group therapy sessions. Some lasting friendships have been formed in her popular groups.
It’s been almost 15 years since I asked myself that question and I can say without hesitation that at the end of the ugliest days, a baby to love makes all the difference. Yes, there’s fear for the future when looking at the world outside. But when looking inside, into those little faces, there is love and hope, too. These babies we’re moving mountains to create… and that we understandably will raise with the fiercest degree of over-protection imaginable… may be the hope for a better future. We need them. The world needs them.
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Do current events ever cause you to question your decision to bring a baby into the world?
By Tracey Minella
July 7th, 2016 at 3:27 pm
Have you ever met a woman who became a mother through egg donation? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to hear about her experience and ask her some questions face-to-face?
Well, if you’re considering using an egg donor in order to build your family…but have a lot of questions about the process…you won’t want to miss this seminar!
On Tuesday, July 26, 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, 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 or embryos 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?
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 July 26, 2016
Time: 7:00 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! 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 so we can make other arrangements to help you.
By Tracey Minella
June 20th, 2016 at 11:10 am
On June 11th, from our table in the Family Services Pavilion at Pridefest 2016, the Long Island IVF team was able to witness the pride and happiness of the LGBT community mingling peacefully and openly on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
Little did anyone know at that time that only hours after the event would end, the worst mass shooting in US history would happen in Orlando. Fifty innocent lives would be taken and as many others would be injured. People just like those whose company we had just enjoyed. Regular people with their whole lives in front of them…targets of hatred in an increasingly unstable world.
It didn’t feel right to post Pridefest photos or talk of the positivity surrounding it in the wake of such a loss. But continued “radio silence” on Pridefest would be a disservice. It would be a lost opportunity to talk of and celebrate all that it was and, more importantly, all it must continue to be. There must be pride. There must be solidarity. In the face of hate, there must be love. And there must be real change.
There must be more than just a uniting of the LGBT community within itself –there must be support from those outside the LGBT community, too. Just as the world came together in vigils to support the LGBT community and to mourn those lost in Orlando, it must continue to look out for all people until the hatred is replaced by acceptance. Until there isn’t a need to designate “communities” anymore.
Prejudice and ignorance are frustratingly slow learners, so this change will require persistence. But despite the Orlando tragedy, we mustn’t lose sight of how far the gay rights movement has come, especially in recent years. And Pridefest is one of so many milestones of the movement.
Long Island IVF is proud to have supported the LGBT community and helped its members fulfill their dreams of parenthood for decades. None of us can undo these senseless deaths, but we can join together to create new life. If you’re ready to become parents, we can help you create your family. The next generation.
In the face of hate, there must be love.
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If you were at Pridefest, share your favorite memory.