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Long Island IVF Announces Brew for the Family Event!

By Tracey Minella

April 10th, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Would winning a free IVF cycle make a difference in your life or the life of someone you know?

Has the stress of infertility and the depression that often comes with it caused you and your partner to withdraw from social situations? Are you slipping away from your friends and family because you just don’t feel like going out? Are date nights few and far between?

Well, we’re going to change that. At least for one special night in June.

Long Island IVF has again partnered with the Cade Foundation’s  to bring you another first of its kind event….Brew for the Family …and it’s coming this summer on Thursday, June 4, 2015 from 7:30-10:00 pm at the Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore, N.Y.

Each attendee will have a chance to win a great door prize: A FREE IVF CYCLE donated by Long Island IVF*.

Let me repeat that. Every attendee has a chance to win that free IVF cycle door prize (and VIP ticket holders will have two chances!). So gather all your friends and family…you know, all those folks who love you and have been saying how they wish they could help you in some way…and come out for a fun night at the brewery. If they win the free IVF cycle prize, they can transfer it to YOU!

In addition to giving one lucky winner the chance to have a baby, we’re out to have a fun night at one of Long Island’s premier microbreweries and spread the message the infertility can be overcome!  All attendees will enjoy beer sampling, a brewery tour, a souvenir glass, tons of great food, music, and a silent auction. In addition to all that, VIP ticket holders will also enjoy additional beer samplings, a private guided brewery tour with a master brewer, access to the VIP lounge, and a second ticket for the IVF cycle door prize.

The three (3) different ticket options are as follows:

 

Regular Tickets $55.00   

Ticket includes entrance to the event, 6 beer tastings, private tour and a single entry into the drawing for the free IVF cycle door prize.

 

Date Night Package  $100.00  Ticket includes entrance for two into the event, 6 beer tastings each, brewery tour, and TWO entries into the drawing for a free IVF cycle door prize.

 

VIP Ticket  $90.00   Ticket includes entrance for one into the event, sampling of 9 craft beers, private guided brewery tour by a master brewer, commemorative souvenir glass, access to the VIP lounge, a beer themed gift bag, and TWO entries into the drawing for a free IVF cycle door prize.

 

Last year, we brought you Dancing for the Family, which was a ton of fun. Now we’re changing it up and going for the suds! So raise a glass (or up to six) and forget infertility for the night. Non-alcoholic options available, too, of course!

Remember: The coveted door prize is even transferable once*, so encourage your generous friends and family… who may not personally need the Free IVF cycle… to join you at this special event to help increase your odds of winning.

Why not make it a party! Share this event with your friends and bring your own crowd! Who wouldn’t like a night at the brewery?!

While we wish every attendee could win the free IVF cycle, and there’s bound to be disappointment among those who don’t win it, we hope you’ll leave with an overall feeling of satisfaction for being part of this ground-breaking event, since all proceeds raised will enable the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation to offer education-based programming and Family-Building grants to help people overcome infertility. All attendees are strongly encouraged to learn more about the great work the Cade Foundation does and to apply for one of their Family Building Grants for up to $10,000 in financial assistance to pursue fertility treatment or adoption. Visit their website at www.cadefoundation.org. Oftentimes, there are more grants to give away than people who apply for assistance, so be sure to check it out. The application process is easy.

To purchase tickets and learn more about this event please visit: www.librewforthefamily.eventbrite.com.

A portion of each ticket may be tax deductible. See details on the Eventbrite link. Don’t delay. Tickets are first-come, first-served. Click the link and reserve your spot today! Go on. Click. Now.

Someone will win that free IVF cycle*.

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Will you be coming to the event?

 

*See Long Island IVF website and eventbrite ticket purchase site for full details, rules, and restrictions. You must be present at the event to win the IVF cycle door prize.

 

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The Fertility Awareness Opportunities Angelina Jolie Missed

By Tracey Minella

March 27th, 2015 at 11:57 am

 

 

credit: Paul Sherman/ wpclipart


Actress, director, humanitarian, ambassador, mom of twins, adoptive mom, wife of Brad Pitt. And she’s gorgeous.

What’s not to hate?

Oh, I’m just sort of  kidding. No, really. But despite all the good she does, there will always be haters. People who want her money, her talent, her babies, or her man. Jealousy can do that.

I don’t admire many celebrities… and that’s fine, because their only job is to entertain me, not impress me. But I am impressed with Angelina Jolie. She’s charitable with her time and money and seems pretty grounded for a megastar. And she uses her celebrity for good.

It’s been only two years since Jolie made headlines for undergoing a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation… a mutation that significantly increases the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. At that time, she was open about her decision and used her celebrity to increase breast cancer awareness.

Now Angelina revealed that she took those preventative measures to the next level. This time, she had both of her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in the hope of avoiding ovarian cancer…another deadly cancer linked to the same gene mutation. Jolie lost her mom to ovarian cancer and said in a recent New York Times Op Ed piece that she doesn’t want her children to experience the same loss. Her openness is raising awareness of ovarian cancer.

But there is another untold story here, too…a fertility awareness story…and it needs to be heard.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know Jolie has six children. She adopted three children internationally and gave birth to a singleton and a pair of twins. Practically eliminating her risk of getting ovarian cancer is not the only result of her surgery.

The media is reporting that she can no longer have biological children. And Jolie acknowledged how hard her decision would be for a woman who has not completed her family-building. Perhaps because of the size of her family, this point seemed lost on the general public. But it’s not lost on you, is it? This surgery is a big deal. And before others who may not be done with their family-building journeys emulate Jolie and follow her path, some crucial missing information needs to be shared.

In fact, there are three opportunities here to increase fertility awareness and educate the public about advances in the field of reproductive technologies, namely PGD, Egg donation, and Egg-freezing.

First, there’s pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (“PGD”). PGD enables couples who are concerned about passing a life-threatening genetic disease on to their children to have their embryos pre-screened for gene mutations. This screening can only be done in conjunction with an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, where eggs are retrieved and fertilized in a lab and the resulting embryos can be tested. Then, only those embryos that did not test positive for the mutated gene would be transferred into the uterus…virtually eliminating the chance of passing on that hereditary disease. BRCA is one of the many genes that can be screened through PGD. Long Island IVF offers PGD.

Second, there’s egg donation. If a woman has her ovaries and tubes removed, she cannot thereafter have a biological child…one created using her own eggs… however she may still experience childbirth. If she still has a healthy uterus, it may be possible for her, through IVF, to use eggs from an egg donor and the sperm of her partner or a donor, and have the resulting embryos transferred into her uterus where a pregnancy can implant and grow to term. Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Program brought Long Island its First donor egg baby decades ago.

Finally, there’s the latest breakthrough in women’s fertility preservation technology: egg freezing. Egg-freezing offers an exception to the egg donor statement above. If… prior to removing her ovaries… a woman undergoes IVF for the purpose of either freezing her retrieved eggs (or freezing the embryos resulting from the fertilization of her retrieved eggs), then instead of needing donor eggs, she would be able to later have her own frozen eggs (or embryos) thawed and transferred into her uterus in the hope of becoming pregnant with her own biological child. Or if her uterus was unsuitable or absent, she could still have a biological child by having someone else carry a pregnancy for her. (Note: Surrogacy and gestational carrier laws vary from state to state.) Long Island IVF has an Egg Freezing Program.

These three fertility awareness opportunities, when coupled with Jolie’s breast cancer and ovarian cancer awareness, will further empower women everywhere to make better medical choices and take charge of their fertility and general health.

Shame on the haters. It’s wonderful that Jolie is open about her health in a way that raises awareness for others. She is a just a mom. A selfless mom who just wants to be there to see her children and future grandchildren grow up.

Is there something wrong with being proactive after tests show you carry a gene that could one day take your life, like it took your mother’s? Are the haters just jealous of her? Is she a hero?

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What do you think? What would you do?

 

 

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Why TCM Thrives in a Sick Western Society

By David Kreiner, MD

March 19th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

 

image courtesy of stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


Why is it that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has survived for some 2500 years and in fact remains a viable medical option for common health complaints in many contemporary societies?

Few other medical methodologies and treatments experience as much use as TCM even in the US which shares no common tradition, history or beliefs that may otherwise explain its popularity. Need I compare it to the history of Western Medicine, the bulk of which has been thankfully replaced by more contemporary scientific and technological advances?  These new innovations truly appear to be offering more good benefit than the dangerous, risky and unethical medicine popularly practiced in the West as recently as 85 years ago.

In fact, Western Medicine caused much iatrogenic illness until Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis introduced the importance of sterility in medical procedures and Dr. Joseph Lister did the same for surgery in the mid and late 1800’s respectively. It took until 1928 that Penicillin, the first antibiotic, was invented and it was not until 1953 that Jonas Salk invented the first vaccine to prevent polio.

Medical science has made great advances in immunizations which have been enormously successful in preventing disease.  These vaccinations have saved millions from life-threatening diseases.  So why is this not universally accepted as the medical panacea some of us perceive it to be?  The latest knock on this 20th century medical miracle thought by many to be worthy of the Nobel Prize in health and medicine is believable reports that autism is somehow related to these magic vaccines.  After all the experience and research, reasonably scientific folk are having difficulty completely ruling out a relationship.

Antibiotics and immunizations have saved more lives in the past 85 years than the compilation of all infectious deaths comprised from the beginning of time.  We have come a long way from the original discovery of the antibiotic benefits of some moldy bread transmuted to penicillin. However, a malady we face with modern medicine is that Western medical treatment has been developed in total disregard for our society, culture, traditions and environment.  A potential cure must be acceptable with not just proper use but strict disallowance of its improper use.

In the years that we have been blessed by the antibiotic revolution, we have seen commercial abuse in the form of common treatment on farm animals essentially creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria that destroys the effectiveness of that magic bullet that proved the savior against devastating disease making it oft times worthless.  Common overuse of antibiotics among physicians adds to this conundrum.

Environmental pathogens are making people ill including tobacco, stress, and recreational drugs as well as unhealthy diets rich in chemicals, medications, sugar, animal fats, and excess carbohydrates lacking nutritional value.  Food is over-processed and is often eaten to such excess that in combination with sedentary lifestyles in Western Medicine leads to obesity, diabetes and hypertension and in TCM to pathology related to stagnation of Qi, development of damp and other pathogens.

TCM is unique in that it works to improve these underlying factors responsible for making our society so sick.  This is why, though ancient, Traditional Chinese Medicine thrives in our modern albeit sick society.

Prior to the invention of the modern day antibiotic, TCM doctors discovered over the ages the “antibiotic” properties of certain herbs they discovered in their environment.  These ancient medicinals were derived from plants, animals, and minerals.  Other herbal decoctions were created to treat common complaints such as headache, pain, cough, cold, etc. as well as diseases such as gallstones, diabetes, hypertension, menstrual disorders and infertility. Dietary prescriptions are given by TCM practitioners and result in effective diminution of patient symptoms as well as acupuncture treatments aimed to eliminate pathology and correct unhealthy constitutions.

The goal of the TCM practitioner is to improve the individual’s health and well-being by focusing attention on the potential hazards of his/her environment such as stresses, emotions, bad habits, sleep, rest and activity, and diet.  An acupuncture treatment may help nourish deficiencies in the individual’s constitution that can put one at risk of contracting illness.  Herbal remedies can do same as well as eliminate pathologies before they turn into serious disease.

These TCM treatments are not only helping patients live healthier in their environment, the remedies themselves are actually coming from nature without artificial chemical contamination and are much less likely to have deleterious side effects.  It stands to reason that though the science behind TCM precedes the precision offered by the tools available with modern technology, the potential benefits are very much real today.

If you’d like to know more about TCM and how it may enhance your fertility, Long Island IVF is offering a free event on April 23, 2015, during National Infertility Awareness Week, entitled AN Evening of Alternative Medicine and Holistic Approaches to Enhancing Fertility.

All events during NIAW are FREE, but pre-registration is required. Events will fill up quickly. Attendance is limited. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our Patient Services Coordinator, Lindsay Montello at 631-386-5509 or lmontello@liivf.com. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend. Please feel free to bring your partner or a friend.

 

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Have you considered TCM for fertility enhancement or any other health issues?

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“Synthetic Babies”: The Shot Heard Round the World

By Tracey Minella

March 16th, 2015 at 10:50 pm

 

Credit: Iamnee/freedigitalphotos.net


Can’t we all just get along?

Boycott is the word of the week in the IVF world. In the GLBT world. And the fashion world as well.

Popular gay fashion designers, Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) crossed the line this week with some insensitive comments about GLBT parenting, claiming that children should only be born to a mother and a father.

The comments were apparently made by the designers known for pushing the “traditional family model” (one mom and one dad) as a focus in their fashion campaign. One of the pair reportedly used terms like “children of chemicals”, “synthetic children”, “uterus for rent” and “sperm from catalogs” in slamming the children produced through IVF for the GLBT community.

Leading the boycott charge is pop icon Elton John, who along with his husband David Furnish, are parents of two IVF babies. John responded on Instagram:  “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’… And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.” Then: #BoycottDolce&Gabbana.

Other celebrities, many of whom are gay or lesbian parents who used IVF and/or surrogacy to create their families, quickly jumped on the bandwagon to boycott the designers. Of course, fertility practices and infertility organizations weren’t far behind in expressing their dismay and outrage. The social media world exploded with #BoycottDolce&Gabbana hashtag, and claims that the designers’ mindset was as archaic as their designs. Ouch. People of privilege promised never to buy D&G again.

But what does this mean for the average infertile person who never even heard of D&G before… much less bought their pricey designs or fragrances? Budget-conscious folks, gay or straight, just trying to afford their fertility treatments.

Not much from a practical standpoint.

But let’s look at the silver lining of this storm cloud.

Although it has come a long way over the decades and is widely accepted, IVF has always been… and will always be…criticized by those who feel it is against their religion. Personhood amendments are a threat, but we’re still winning that long, familiar battle. At the risk of being overdramatic, IVF knew who its enemy was. And it was never the GLBT community.

Then D&G happened. To have two openly gay men bash the science that is responsible for giving the GLBT community the ability to become biological parents was just so… unexpected. It caught the breath in our throats. It not only offended heterosexuals, but it outraged the GLBT community. No doubt it felt like a betrayal. And with that handful of insensitive and hurtful remarks, the old sci-fi stigma of “test tube babies” came flooding back to the forefront.

Momentarily.

Until it was promptly and forcefully beaten with a stick into the ground with a vengeance.

The swift and deafening response to the attack on gay parenting via IVF was positively electric! The passionate defense of this science and the countless children it’s responsible for creating was beyond heartening. And the collective protective instincts of the many gays and straights who stepped up against this latest enemy of medically-assisted family-building for all came through with all the ferocity of a pride of lions guarding its cubs.

For better or worse, society places great weight on the opinions of celebrities. So while no one will lose sleep over whether or not the boycott bankrupts D&G, this incident has actually helped IVF. Sad and disgusting as it was, the incident has increased public awareness of infertility and incited a “call to arms”, particularly among the GLBT and celebrity communities, in support of the rights of all people to become parents and in support of the science of IVF. And IVF needs all the support it can get.

Stand united against any threat to the science of IVF and its accessibility to all.

#BoycottD&G today.

Boycott the next threat tomorrow.

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Do you boycott companies that threaten your religious, moral, or political beliefs? What do you think about the D&G scandal?

Do you have D&G items you no longer want? Parents Via Egg Donation had a good suggestion: Rather than throwing D&G items in the trash, consider selling them and donating the proceeds to charity or a fertility-friendly organization.

 

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Long Island IVF Celebrates National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) 2015

By Tracey Minella

March 11th, 2015 at 7:19 pm

NIAW is April 19-25 this year and Long Island IVF has several fun and educational events planned. Egg Donation, Fertile Yoga, Stress reduction techniques, Acupuncture and more! All events are FREE…and you don’t have to be a patient to attend. It’s our part in the movement to increase Infertility Awareness.

Here’s what’s going on all week long:

Tuesday 4/21: Donor Egg Recipient Program Night:

Thinking about using an egg donor to build your family? Then we’ve got the night for you. Learn everything you ever wanted need to know about the Donor Egg process. Learn why some women can benefit from donor eggs, how egg donors are thoroughly screened, how the process works, the competitive success rates of our program, and so much more. Meet the Donor Egg Team and hear a testimonial from one of our many successful and happy moms.

When you’re ready to move forward with egg donation, we have pre-screened egg donors of many ethnicities just waiting to help you! Come see what it’s all about. Light refreshments.

 

Wednesday 4/22: Fertile Yoga Night:

Yoga with a Baby Goal!

Created for both newbies and yoga devotes, this is your chance to participate in a yoga session specifically geared to potentially enhance your fertility. Bring your mat or a towel (and yoga pants or gym wear) and experience meditation, breathing and stretching designed to reduce stress, lessen muscle tension and increase blood flow to the pelvis.

You’ll be guided by Lisa Pineda, of Yoga For Fertility, an instructor experienced in yoga for fertility who will leave you relaxed and wanting more. Light refreshments.

 

Thursday 4/23: Alternative Medicine & Holistic Approaches to Fertility Enhancement Night:

Stress reduction is the name of the game tonight!

This interactive evening will highlight Mind-Body and holistic medicine practices including meditation techniques, breath work, Reiki, massage therapy and a live demonstration of fertility-focused acupuncture. Learn how fertility-focused alternative medicine options  may complement traditional medical fertility protocols.

LIIVF’s own Dr. David Kreiner will discuss acupuncture and Bina Benisch, MS RN and other affiliated local practitioners will lead the other discussions/demos. Additionally, Rachel Liberatore, LMT, from Nu Touch Therapy will be providing free chair massages. And Jim Vitale, licensed acupuncturist and owner of Suffolk County Acupuncture will fascinate you with a live fertility acupuncture demonstration!

Don’t miss this chance to learn how to help yourself reduce stress and improve your own fertility. Light refreshments.

You’ll leave all these events feeling more empowered and relaxed, knowing ways you can optimize your chances of conceiving. Take back some control over your fertility.

 

Please join us from 7:00- 9:00 each evening at:

Long Island IVF

8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101

Melville, NY

 

All events are FREE, but pre-registration is required. Events will fill up quickly. Attendance is limited. If you’ve been trying to conceive without success, please RSVP immediately to reserve your spot by contacting our Patient Services Coordinator, Lindsay Montello at 631-386-5509 or lmontello@liivf.com. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend. Please feel free to bring your partner or a friend. Come to any or all of these great events.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

 

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Which of these events do you find interesting? What other kinds of events would you like to see us host?

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The Birds and the Bees…Or The Shots and the Cup?

By Tracey Minella

March 6th, 2015 at 10:39 am

 

credit: digitalart/ freedigitalphotos.net


Many a parent has squirmed over “the talk”. Explaining to their innocent child the answer to that age old question: “Where do babies come from?”

How detailed do we get? Should we use a book? Where do we begin?

Fifty years ago, that story probably started like this: “Well, honey, when a mommy and a daddy love each other very much…and after they get married and get a house…they decide that they want to have children to love [cue the squirming] so they wish on a star, um, pray really hard, [panic sets in] call the stork who flies to their house with a little baby.” Seriously?

Today’s parents are a far cry from the so-called traditional parents of that era. There are many intentionally single parents, LGBT parents. Babies are created through assisted reproductive technologies including IUI, or IVF. There may be donor eggs, donor sperm, or donor embryos. Surrogates and gestational carriers. Adoptions of many different methods. These parents certainly got some ‘splainin’ to do!

Forget the birds and the bees. Our truthful talk might include shots and a specimen cup. But how in the world…and when…do we do this?

As an IVF mom of two myself, with a daughter too smart for her own good, I wrongly assumed the talk would be years in the future. But Miss Precocious blind-sided me one day at the ripe age of 3, when I was pregnant with her brother.

“Mom, where do babies come from?”

Oh no. I’m not ready. Though the stork script came rushing to mind, I knew she’d never buy that lame cop out. So in an instant, this epic gem came rolling out: “When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much and want a baby, um, they can go to a special doctor to get one.” Perfect. True… sort of. I could feel the sides of my lips curling into a Grinch-like grin.

“So where did you get me?” the little urchin pressed on.

Check mate. I had to see it through. “Well, actually, um, Dr. Kreiner,” I blurted out. “Hey how about we go get some ice cream…”

Some quick casual mention of the baby growing in my uterus and a gesture to my growing belly and the grilling session was complete. [Note: Mint chocolate chip is a great distraction.] Other than her correcting a nurse months later who asked her if she was excited that mommy had a baby in her belly (“It’s not in her belly; it’s in her uterus!”), the topic was dormant for several years.

It was revisited when the topic of sex ed came up in school. It was our personal choice to tell her she was an IVF baby at that time as we wanted to be honest and it somehow felt right. She was always mature for her age, but it still made her feel a little different and maybe a little uncomfortable on some level, even though we explained how long it took us and how very much we loved and wanted her. And we even named several of her friends and family that had a doctor’s help to conceive. I wonder if she was also affected by the way sex ed is presented in Catholic school. But it was never really a big issue and she’s very comfortable with it now in her late teens. As she’s grown, more age-appropriate details about our fertility challenges have been and will continue to be shared as she asks.

Telling or not telling, and when and how to tell, are personal choices. If you’d like to share yours, please do.

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How and or when did/do you tell your child they were conceived with assistance? How did it go over?

 

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Can Sunshine Boost Your Fertility?

By David Kreiner MD

March 4th, 2015 at 7:29 am

 

photo courtesy of stock images/freedigitalphotos.net


Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is present in a variety of forms but has recently been recognized as playing a critical role in reproduction.  It is essential in the production of sex hormones in the body.  It is thought that a deficiency of Vitamin D may lead among other things to ovulation disorders.

It has been demonstrated that Vitamin D deficient rats had a 75% reduced fertility and a 50% smaller litter size that was corrected with Vitamin D treatment.  In addition, sperm motility in males was reduced in the presence of a Vitamin D deficiency.

A study at the Yale University School of Medicine revealed that only 7% of 67 infertile women studied had normal Vitamin D levels and not a single woman with an ovulatory disorder had normal levels.  Nearly 40% of women with ovulatory dysfunction had a clinical deficiency of Vitamin D.

At a past conference of American Society of Reproductive Medicine, a study presented by Dr. Briana Rudick from USC showed that a deficiency of Vitamin D can also have a detrimental effect on pregnancy rates after IVF, possibly through an effect on the endometrial lining of the uterus.

In her study only 42% of the infertile women going through IVF had normal Vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D levels did not impact the number of ampules of gonadotropin utilized nor the number of eggs stimulated, embryos created or embryo quality.  However, Vitamin D levels did significantly affect pregnancy rates even when controlled for number of embryos transferred and embryo quality.  In this study the pregnancy rate dropped from 51% in Caucasian women undergoing IVF who had normal Vitamin D levels to 44% in those with insufficient levels and 19% in those that were deficient.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes

Vitamin D can be obtained for free by sitting out in the sun and getting sun exposure on the arms and legs for 15-20 minutes per day during peak sunlight hours.  The sunlight helps the skin to create Vitamin D3 that is then transformed into the active form of Vitamin D by the kidneys and liver.   An oral supplement is available also in the form of Vitamin D3, with a minimum recommended amount of 1000 IU a day for women planning on becoming pregnant.  For those with clinical insufficiencies a higher dose may be administered by injection.

Our study and many others suggest that the effect is endometrial, but we don’t know for sure.

 

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Does this information cause you to reconsider how much time you’ll spend in the sun this spring and summer and how you’ll use sunscreen or other sun protection?

 

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Fibroids and Fertility

By David Kreiner MD

February 24th, 2015 at 6:59 am

 

photo courtesy of dream designs/freedigitalphotos.net


Fertility is dependent upon so many things!

We must have healthy gametes (eggs and sperm) capable of fertilizing and implanting in a uterus with a normal endometrial lining unimpeded by any uterine or endometrial pathology. The sperm need be in sufficient number and capable of swimming up through a cervix which is not inflamed and provides a mucous medium that promotes sperm motility. The eggs need to ovulate and be picked up by normal healthy fimbriated ends (finger like projections) of the fallopian tubes. The tubes need to be covered with normal micro hairs called cilia that help transport the egg one third of the way down the tube where one of the sperm will fertilize it.

The united egg and sperm (the “conceptus”) then needs to undergo cell division, growth and development as it traverses the tube and makes its way to the uterine cavity by the embryo’s fifth day of life at which point it is a blastocyst. The blastocyst hatches out of its shell (“zona pellucidum”) and implants into the endometrial lining requiring adequate blood flow.

And you wonder why getting pregnant is so hard?

All too often patients, in some groups as many as 30% of women, are told that they have fibroids that may be contributing to their infertility. Fibroids or leiomyomata are non malignant smooth muscle tumors of the uterus. They can vary in number, size and location in the uterus including; the outside facing the pelvic cavity (subserosal), the inside facing the uterine cavity (submucosal) and in between inside the uterine wall (intramural). Fortunately, most fibroids have minimal or no effect on fertility and may be ignored.

The subserosal myoma will rarely cause fertility issues. If it were distorting the tubo- ovarian anatomy so that eggs could not get picked up by the fimbria then it can cause infertility. Otherwise, the subserosal fibroid does not cause problems conceiving.

Occasionally, an intramural myoma may obstruct adequate blood flow to the endometrial lining. The likelihood of this being significant increases with the number and size of the fibroids. The more space occupied by the fibroids, the greater the likelihood of intruding on blood vessels traveling to the endometrium. Diminished blood flow to the uterine lining can prevent implantation or increase the risk of miscarriage. Surgery may be recommended when it is feared that the number and size of fibroids is great enough to have such an impact.
However, it is the submucosal myoma, inside the uterine cavity, that can irritate the endometrium and have the greatest effect on the implanting embryo.

To determine if your fertility is being hindered by these growths you may have a hydrosonogram. A hydrosonogram is a procedure where your doctor or a radiologist injects water through your cervix while performing a transvaginal ultrasound of your uterus. On the ultrasound, the water shows up as black against a white endometrial border. A defect in the smooth edges of the uterine cavity caused by an endometrial polyp or fibroid may be easily seen.

Submucosal as well as intramural myomata can also cause abnormal vaginal bleeding and occasionally cramping. Intramural myomata will usually cause heavy but regular menses that can create fairly severe anemias. Submucosal myomata can cause bleeding throughout the cycle.

Though these submucosal fibroids are almost always benign they need to be removed to allow implantation. A submucosal myoma may be removed by hysteroscopy through cutting, chopping or vaporizing the tissue. A hysteroscopy is performed vaginally, while a patient is asleep under anesthesia. A scope is placed through the cervix into the uterus in order to look inside the uterine cavity. This procedure can be performed as an outpatient in an ambulatory or office based surgery unit. The risk of bleeding, infection or injury to the uterus or pelvic organs is small.

Resection of the submucosal myoma can be difficult especially when the fibroid is large and can sometimes take longer than is safe to be performed in a single procedure. It is not uncommon that when the fibroid is large, it will take multiple procedures in order to remove the fibroid in its entirety. It will be necessary to repeat the hydrosonogram after the fibroid resection to make sure the cavity is satisfactory for implantation.

The good news is, when no other causes of infertility are found, removal of a submucosal fibroid is often successful in allowing conception to occur naturally or at least with assisted reproduction.

 

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Anyone have a fibroid story to share?

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/female-reproductive-system-photo-p284491

 

 

 

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Additional Extended Evening Office Hours at Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

February 23rd, 2015 at 11:23 am

 

Did you know that Long Island IVF offered evening office hours? Well not only have we offered extended hours in all of our offices for ages, we’ve added even more!

 

Infertility treatment can be stressful. And while some appointments and blood tests simply need to be done in the early morning hours, there are times when an evening appointment is feasible and might be more convenient. Especially for those who work full-time or who might be taking off certain mornings for less flexible monitoring appointments.

 

We’re pleased to announce that in an effort to be even more accessible to her patients, Dr. Satu Kuokkanen will be available on Wednesday evenings in the Lake Success office, starting in March.

 

The hours, nights, and doctors covering these evening appointments vary for each office so check with your doctor or LIIVF office for the specifics. Or if you are a new patient, contact the office you’re interested in for more information.

 

 

 

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Is the availability of evening doctor appointments an important factor in your decision to choose a reproductive endocrinologist?

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Will You Conceive in the Chinese Year of the Sheep, Um, Goat?

By Tracey Minella

February 19th, 2015 at 8:40 pm

credit: Feelart/ free digitalphotos.net

You don’t have to be Chinese to appreciate the richness of that culture’s traditions and the mystique of the Chinese methods of enhancing fertility.

 

The Chinese zodiac consists of a cycle of 12 years, with each year being named for a different animal, and supposedly bestowing upon those born in that year certain characteristics which are similar to the traits of the featured animal.

 

It’s the celebration of Chinese New Year. The 2014 Year of the Horse is ending. Each year, the passage of one animal year to the next is clear and routine. Except for the year that follows the year of the Horse. This year. Why?

 

An apparent ambiguity in the interpretation of the term “yang” has led to a difference of opinion among Chinese people on whether the year after the horse is the year of the ram, sheep, or goat. But the Chinese zodiac symbol recognizes it as the year of the Goat, so we’re going with that.

 

Children born in the Year of the Goat will be among other things “gentle, mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice”. * How wonderful!

 

But despite these great Goat qualities, many Chinese people try hard to avoid having children born during the year of the Goat. This is due in part to a popular Chinese folk saying ‘Only one out of ten people born in a year of the Goat finds happiness’ (十羊九不全). While this may seem to be a silly superstition to many…especially to infertile couples who usually wouldn’t care what day or year their baby was born…there is a real concern among many Chinese that Goat babies will be followers, not leaders, and may be destined for failed marriages, unhappy families, and bad luck.*

 

So, in the spirit of seeking all the good luck we can get when trying to conceive, I offer these four tips taken from Chinese New Year traditions.

 

Make Dumplings: On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese often celebrate by eating dumplings called “jiaozi”, which translates literally to “sleep together and have sons” according to http://www.theholidayspot.com. If you’re not “culinarily-challenged”, consider making these challenging dumplings.

 

Sweep Away the Bad Luck: Then, sweep out the house from top to bottom with a broom and give it a good cleaning. It symbolizes the sweeping away of all the bad luck of the past year so the good luck can enter. I do this religiously every single year. It feels authentic. You must try it.

 

Wear Red: Wear something red. It’s the color of good luck and symbolic of wealth. The Chinese elders often give young ones red envelopes with money inside on Chinese New Year. Maybe you can start a new tradition and break out a red envelope and get your relatives to contribute to the IVF fund.

 

Hide the Knives: Put away the knives…this is good advice for hormonal women anyway. Using knives and scissors at this time symbolizes the “cutting off” of the good luck and is an omen of bad luck in the year to come. Remember this one at mealtime.

 

You don’t have to be Chinese to embrace some of the Chinese culture

and have some fun with Chinese New Year traditions. Wear red. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a batch of jiaozi from an internet recipe. Or just buy some wonton soup! Try your hand at chopsticks. Surround yourself with the richness of red and gold. Sweep out that old bad luck and embrace the New Year that awaits.

 

Basically, do whatever floats your goat.

 

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Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or follow any other cultural traditions with fertility-related traditions? Would the characteristics associated with children born in a particular year of the Chinese zodiac impact your family-building plans in any way?

 

 

* http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/goat.asp

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Other_Holidays_and_E_g321-Chinese_Lanterns_p140201.html

 

 

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