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IVF and the State of the World Today

By Tracey Minella

July 11th, 2016 at 9:23 pm

 

image: StuartMiles/freedigitalphotos.net


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?

 

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Long Island IVF Donor Egg Recipient Summer Seminar

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.

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Reflections on Pridefest 2016 and #OrlandoStrong

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.

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Long Island IVF Sponsors LI Pride 2016

By Tracey Minella

June 10th, 2016 at 9:16 am

Long Island IVF is proud to again be the sponsor of Long Island Pride’s Family Services Pavilion on June 11, 2016 in Suffolk County’s beautiful Heckscher Park in Huntington, NY. http://lgbtnetwork.org/pride.  There will be 10,000 Maniacs at this fun annual event—that’s the headliner musical act, of course!

LIIVF has been creating families for the region’s LGBT community for decades. We’ve always believed that every person has a right to be a parent. We pride our practice… which includes members of both the non-LGBT and LGBT communities… on acceptance and inclusion. And we address the unique aspects of LGBT family-building from both a personal and medical perspective. In many ways, your needs are the same as the non-LGBT community, but in some ways they are different. We get that and embrace it.

Why not stop by our booth at LI Pridefest and meet some of the team on Saturday! Our prior successful LGBT parents always stop by for impromptu reunions throughout the event, too, and are often eager to share their experiences as well. The Long Island IVF booth will be in the Health & Wellness area of the Family Services Pavilion the entire event, from noon until 5:00pm.

Don’t want to stay long or chat with so many festivities to see? Swing past and grab some of our fun giveaways, including bracelets, balloons, and informational brochures to read later. We’ve even got water bottles if it’s a hot one!

You can also get to know us later this month as we host “Family-Building the LGBT Way”, a very special event with the LGBT Network at our Long Island IVF office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York on Monday June 27, 2016 at 6:30pm. Some of our doctors will join other key LIIVF team members to bring you a seminar on everything you ever wanted to know about today’s LGBT Family-Building options. Please pre-register for this free event by emailing lmontello@liivf.com. Light refreshments will be served.

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So who is coming to Pridefest?!

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

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The Difference Between Genetic Carrier Screening and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening

By Satu Kuokkanen, MD, PhD

June 6th, 2016 at 12:35 pm

image: cooldesign/ freedigitalphotos.net

Many infertility patients want to know the difference between genetic carrier screening and comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS), as well as why we perform these screening tests.

 

Genetic carrier screening refers to testing of one or both partners for a large scale genetic carrier status of select conditions that often result in severe early childhood diseases in their offspring. Some examples include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and spinal muscular atrophy.  It is important to know that these devastating conditions are rare in the general population; however, some of them cluster in certain ethnic backgrounds or geographical regions.

 

Most diseases tested are inherited in recessive fashion, which essentially means that a person will need to have two mutated copies of the gene (one inherited from each parent) to actually get that disease. On the other hand, the carrier status by definition indicates that a person has only one mutated gene of the disease in their genome (DNA) and therefore will never contract the disease, but can pass this mutated gene to their offspring. This situation becomes particularly problematic if both partners are carriers for the same condition because, in such case, each of their offspring will have 1 in 4 or 25% risk of getting that disease. Thus, genetic carrier screening attempts to identify parental carrier status prior to pregnancy to avoid conception with a fetus with severe disease(s).

 

If both parents are carriers for the same genetic condition, the couple can proceed with in vitro fertilization (IVF) in combination with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (often referred as PGD) to essentially weed out affected embryos. Performed on the embryos created after fertilization, PGD tests the embryos for specific gene mutations, prior to transferring any embryos back to the woman’s uterus.  Theoretically, in such scenarios 1 in 4 of the embryos are affected and the rest should be unaffected for the tested condition. The unaffected embryos are transferred to the female partner’s uterus in the hope of establishing a healthy pregnancy.

 

On the other hand, Comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS), also known as preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) refers to the testing of an embryo’s numeric chromosome component and can be done as part of IVF whether a couple is concerned about genetic diseases or not. Normal female chromosome component is 46, XX and male 46, XY.  Some conditions typically screened for through CCS are Down’s syndrome (extra chromosome 21) and Turner syndrome (missing chromosome X).

 

When CCS is elected, embryos are cultured to day 5, the blastocyst stage, allowing biopsy of a number of cells from each embryo.  The numeric chromosome component of each embryo is then analyzed, thus providing the selection of embryos with normal chromosome numbers for transfer. The improvement in pregnancy rates with CCS makes an elective single embryo transfer a feasible option for many patients, thereby avoiding multiple pregnancies and associated adverse maternal and fetal effects.

 

Importantly, the patients who need genetic carrier screening for specific gene mutations, such as cystic fibrosis, can have their embryos simultaneously analyzed for CCS from the same biopsy.

 

In addition, CCS includes the sex chromosomes: X and Y. When the chromosome screening results of the embryos are available, the information on sex chromosomes becomes optional for patients. Patients can either elect to transfer embryos of a particular gender or may decide not to know the gender of their embryos.

 

As the field of genomics continues to evolve, the ongoing research and clinical trials will provide more information on how and to what extent CCS and other tests can be applied to improve IVF outcomes and establish healthy pregnancies for our patients.

 

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Have you considered genetic carrier screening or comprehensive chromosome screening?

 

 

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Long Island IVF’s New Donor Egg Website

By Tracey Minella

June 1st, 2016 at 10:09 am


The practice that brought Long Island its first donor egg baby decades ago just completely revamped its Donor Egg Program website! Now, the most pressing info you want is even easier to access on a site that exudes the warmth of the people behind this established program’s success.

 

Potential egg donors as well as donor recipients will not only find comfort in the history of Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Program, but in the steps we take to fully screen potential egg donor candidates and our donor recipient patients. This process… simply explained on the new nydonoregg.com website… has been fine-tuned over the program’s long history to assure safe and thorough screening and patient care and a positive, completely anonymous experience for both donors and recipients.

 

Have you ever thought of becoming an egg donor? Do you know someone who is young and healthy and generous of spirit that might consider the wonderful gift of egg donation to help another woman enjoy the dream of motherhood? A visit to our new website is the perfect place to start this journey. (Or just pick up the phone and call the Program Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, MS, RN at 877-838-BABY…we’re flexible that way!)

 

The financial compensation is generous, with our egg donors currently receiving $8,000 per donated cycle. Many of our donors enjoy the experience so much that they come back to donate again. Repeat donors can even choose to freeze some of their eggs for their own future use and still receive compensation for the eggs that were donated. So you can help others and preserve your own future fertility at the same time.

 

Please check out our new Donor Egg Program website and consider becoming an egg donor. Or share this post on social media in case a friend would like to consider egg donation. You never know who might need donor eggs to start their family or who might benefit from the $8,000 compensation that comes from being an egg donor. By sharing, you might be helping a friend or loved one who is silently suffering from infertility.

 

We have healthy and prescreened egg donors ready and willing to help infertile couples become parents and are always looking to welcome more generous women to our egg donor family. Will you be next?

 

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Would you consider becoming an egg donor?

 

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

 

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Who Are You Remembering This Weekend?

By Tracey Minella

May 28th, 2016 at 1:54 pm

credit: wpclipart

 

Seems to me that any time there’s a party or celebration going on…and you’re infertile…it can be a tough time. This weekend is no exception.

 

First off. Let’s not lose sight of the real reason for Memorial Day…to remember our fallen heros. The men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we could live in the world’s best country. The generations of soldiers who’ve protected our borders and solidified our status as a superpower…as a nation where we can enjoy many freedoms, and where most can access the best medical care available through cutting edge technologies, like IVF.

 

So, remember to be thankful for that. In fact, why not attend a parade in their honor? Or visit a military cemetery and take in the magnitude of their sacrifice by viewing the perfectly aligned, seemingly endless rows of headstones adorned with American flags. It’ll take your breath away, give you some perspective, and get you away from that barbeque you’re dreading for a bit.

 

The other reason for the day is the inescapable celebration kicking off the start of the summer. It’s pretty much un-American not to host or attend some form of outdoor party or barbeque this weekend. That means mingling with often insensitive family and friends and sometimes strangers. Add some beer or umbrella drinks. Now that can be a recipe for disaster…

 

Give yourself permission not to go if it’s too difficult for you or to leave after a short time. Unlike major celebrations, it’s just Memorial Day. Your absence won’t be glaring. Besides, hotdogs and beer are not exactly on the fertile foods list. A picnic and walk on the beach with your partner can be just what you need to regenerate your “couple’s energy” and connect again in a stress-free environment. Can you hear the waves now?

 

If you’re in the mood to party, think of it as the start of a new season…the best one of all. Or at least the least stressful. Go to…or host…the type of gathering that works best for your needs.

 

If you host, you control the food and drink, so you can make healthy choices and need not feel deprived. Better yet, you control the guest list. I always thought that was well worth the cost of hosting. If you’re a guest, ask the host politely in advance who will be there and what they’ll be having. No one wants to be surprised with a menu they can’t eat or a guest they can’t stand. Then decide if you’ll go and what to bring.

 

The stress of infertility and TTC makes every day stressful and any holiday…even Memorial Day… brings the potential for added stress. I hope you all find a way to get some stress-free time over this three day weekend.

 

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What did/will you do this Memorial Day weekend? Was it stressful or stress-free?

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Teachers, Take Note: Long Island IVF is the “A+” Answer

By admin

May 22nd, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Everything is better in the summer. Even IVF.

This is especially true if you are a Long Island teacher or NY State or local government worker with infertility coverage through United Healthcare’s Center of Excellence (UCOE) provided under the NY State Empire Plan (NYSHIP).

We have some exciting news to share: Although Long Island IVF has previously been one of only a few designated United Healthcare Centers of Excellence (UCOE) infertility providers through the NY State Empire Plan – effective June 1st, we’re now the only UCOE infertility services provider with practice offices and laboratory facilities on Long Island. And that’s great news for Long Island’s insured teachers and others who want to take advantage of the substantial financial benefits that come with choosing a UCOE provider for your fertility care and have those services provided exclusively on Long Island.

Even those who aren’t able to take advantage of the Empire Plan’s UCOE benefits, can confidently trust Long Island IVF with their fertility care. Our doctors are consistently voted Top Docs and Super Doctors by their peers and the practice has been voted “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice” by the public for the past two years straight–ever since the category was added to the Long Island Press contest. We brought Long Island its first IVF baby and many other firsts in the field.

Summer is just starting. The sun is bright and the mood is as relaxed as it ever gets. We’d love to help you start your family this summer. Call today for your consultation.

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Are you planning to have fertility treatment during the summer?

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

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Long Island IVF Celebrates National Nurses Week!

By Tracey Minella

May 9th, 2016 at 1:19 pm

image courtesy of wpclipart

You’ve yelled at them. Cried on their shoulders. Squeezed their hands. Lent them your sore and weary veins. And celebrated (or will celebrate) your success with them.

They are your Long Island IVF Nurses. And they are the embodiment of all that National Nurses Week is meant to celebrate.

They’ve been right there in the trenches with you on the most important journey you may ever take. They’re the link between you and your doctor. Maybe the link between you and your sanity at times, too.

They know your name and your history. Taught you how to do injections. Ordered your meds. Wiped your tears. They’re your biggest fan and are ready with a hug of support or congratulations. They’ve got your back.

If there is a special nurse at Long Island IVF (or anywhere) that has touched your life, please drop her a note, give her a call, or just give her a “shout-out” right here in the comments to let her know how much she means to you. It will make her day!

As a 7 time IVF patient from the “dark ages” of the 90’s, my personal shout out goes to my own LIIVF nurses: Joey, Maryann, Sue and Vicky (pre-donor egg coordinator days!)

Joey, you rode the ups and downs like they were your own and you always knew how to make me laugh, even when I was dying.

Maryann, your Katie stories and special humor were always day-brighteners. Your perfect mix of realism and optimism kept me grounded and hopeful.

Sue, no one…and I mean no one… could ever be more organized and on the ball than you. Thanks for giving me the peace of mind of knowing that every single minor detail of all my IVF cycle stuff was in order on your watch.

Vicky, I’ve never met anyone who oozes comfort, calm, and hope like you. Having you as a nurse was like wrapping all the stress of IVF in some fluffy, happy, insulating cloud. It’s no wonder you moved on to Donor Egg Coordinator.

My other nurses, Denise, Patty, and Dotty retired or moved on, but are all special to me. And I’ll never forget Gail, Dina, Karen F., and Pat.

Now it’s YOUR turn…

Shout out begins now!

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Who is your favorite LIIVF nurse and why?

 


 

 

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Infertility, Mother’s Day, and Something Promising

By Tracey Minella

May 8th, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Hands down, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year if you’re an infertile woman. There are just too many ways you are suffering with hearts too heavy for words to soothe.

Most ache from the pain of not having children yet or of having suffered the loss of children through miscarriage, stillbirth, or death. Some suffer from not being able to have additional children and the lack of sympathy toward secondary infertility. Then, there are the painful assumptions of strangers wishing all women a “Happy Mother’s Day” and the agony of spending Mother’s Day in the company of women with young children. Finally, there is the special darkness that infertile women who have lost their mothers feel.

Nothing I say will help your heart feel better…so I will speak to your head instead.

I’ve got something more tangible than just hope that next Mother’s Day will find you pregnant or celebrating. Something promising that may make a big difference in your journey to motherhood.

What if I told you there is a time-tested, holistic treatment that may improve the chance of your IVF cycle succeeding? And what if the cost of that treatment was less than $200? And what if it might even help women who have experienced failed IVF cycles in the past? Would you want to know more?

I’m talking about fertility acupuncture. Long Island IVF’s Dr. David Kreiner is the only reproductive endocrinologist in the region who is also a certified acupuncturist. This treatment…an Eastern medicine therapy to complement Western medicine’s cutting-edge IVF technology…is now available to all IVF patients at Long Island IVF.

Why not promise yourself this Mother’s Day to learn more about whether fertility acupuncture is right for you? You can take back some of the frustrating lack of control over your fertility by learning about all the possible treatments that may optimize your family-building plans. It’s impossible to know for sure, but maybe this is the missing piece. You owe it to yourself to learn more.

Join us on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at our Melville office for an exciting Acupuncture Symposium and listen to Dr. Kreiner and a full panel of 7 other medical experts discuss how IVF success may be improved with acupuncture and holistic therapy. The event is free, but registration is required.

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Will we see you on Thursday night??

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

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