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Archive for May, 2010

A Little East Coast Fertility Brag Mail!

By admin

May 28th, 2010 at 6:38 am

We are very pleased to share with you that East Coast Fertility’s Medical Director and Founder – Dr. David Kreiner was quoted yesterday in CNN’s Health Section in a wonderful story reported by Elizabeth Cohen (CNN Senior Health Correspondent) in her Empowered Patient Column. The story titled "Pregnant at 47: Can I Do That?" explored the issue of egg donation in the older patient. So check it out – and read what Dr. Kreiner had to say – and by the way – he got the last word!

Pamela Madsen – East Coast Fertility’s Patient Advocate also got acknowledged yesterday by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association – when they included her blog "The Fertility Advocate" in a new section of their website called "My Destination Family" under links for "Other Voices".  They linked to The Fertility Advocate because RESOLVE felt that The Fertility Advocate was important for people with struggling with infertility to read.

Congratulations Dr. Kreiner and Pamela Madsen!

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5 Popular Misconceptions Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By admin

May 27th, 2010 at 7:36 am

This week Joseph Peña, MD, FACOG  is exploring the myths that surround PCOS. On Wednesday we explored Myth #1 and today – we are onto Myth #2!

Myth #2 – “Regular menstrual periods means I’m ovulating”.

The menstrual bleeding that occurs in a woman with inconsistent or absent ovulation is more likely due to breakthrough bleeding rather than post-ovulation withdrawal bleeding.  Thus, vaginal bleeding cannot be assumed to be an indication of ovulation in these women.

In addition, while many women and some clinicians use a history of regular menstrual cycles as a predictor of normal ovulatory function, ~40% of normally-menstruating women who exhibit hirsutism (excessive hair growth) are, actually, not ovulating and may be classified as having PCOS or other diagnosis associated with hyperandrogenism.

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5 Popular Misconceptions Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By Joseph Peña, Md, Facog

May 25th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Joseph Peña, MD, FACOG has created a special five part series dispelling many of the common myths around PCOS.

Myth #1 – “If I have irregular periods, I have PCOS”.

Women with irregular menstrual periods are often unaware of the reason for their menstrual irregularity.  Many women are placed on hormonal contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills) by their gynecologist to regulate their mensetrual periods and prevent an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus that may lead to cancer if left unchecked.  Some women are told they have PCOS as this is the most common etiology for irregular menstrual periods (4-7% of women of reproductive age, ~60-85% of anovulatory women), while others are not given a specific reason for their irregular menstrual periods. 

While there is no universally accepted definition for PCOS, there are a few expert groups which have generated diagnostic criteria.  The Rotterdam Consensus Criteria (2006) requires two of the three signs/symptoms of PCOS (hyperandrogenism, irregular menstrual periods, polycystic-appearing ovaries on pelvic ultrasound) to be present for the diagnosis to be made.  The Androgen Excess Society (2006) requires hyperandrogenism plus one of the other two signs/symptoms (irregular menstrual periods, polycystic-appearing ovaries on pelvic ultrasound).  The hyperandrogenism criteria may be satisfied by either the presence of hirsutism (excessive hair growth) or elevated androgen levels, such as testosterone.  However, both criteria recommend excluding other possible causes of these signs and symptoms.  The differential diagnosis of someone with irregular menstrual periods and/or hirsutism is listed in the table below.

Differential Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

—  Thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism)

—  Prolactin/Pituitary disorders

—  Nonclassical congenital adrenal hyperplasia (Nonclassical CAH)

—  Androgen-secreting tumor (ovary, adrenal gland)

—  Exogenous androgens

—  Primary hypothalamic amenorrhea (stress-related, exercise-related, eating disorders, low body weight)

—  Central nervous system tumors/disorders

—  Primary ovarian failure

—  Cushing syndrome

—  Insulin-receptor defects

The proper evaluation of a woman with irregular menstrual periods and confirmation of PCOS is important because this affects treatment (e.g. combined hormonal contraceptives for PCOS, thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism, corticosteroid replacement for nonclassical congenital adrenal hyperplasia, surgery for androgen-secreting tumor, etc.), as well as determining future fertility treatment (e.g. clomiphene citrate for PCOS, dopamine agonist for hyperprolactinemia, in vitro fertilization using donor oocytes for ovarian failure, etc.).  Thus, it is important for women to ask their physicians for a diagnosis for their irregular menstrual cycles.

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Being An Infertility Survivor

By Pamela Madsen

May 24th, 2010 at 7:30 am

Yesterday my sister in law had surgery for cancer. The surgeons cut her from her chin to her arm pit. This was her second surgery. Next there will be chemo and in six months they will do her other side. She is grateful to have her vocal cords and to be able to speak. My sister struggles with the after math of breast cancer.  There are so many kinds of personal courage. Watching her in a Japanese Bath House allowing herself to be seen naked with a body that people struggle to not stare at – because it frightens them. That they too could become a person that struggles with cancer. There are so many ways that people get to really touch their own well of personal courage.  The ways that we get to touch that brave part of ourselves is quite endless.

Infertility is a disease that affects people from all races, professions and economic levels. We struggle to do what others think “comes naturally.” We desire to be a part of a community which often centers on family and children. We too, would like told hold our infant among adoring relatives, push our strollers down the avenue, and see simple wonders of the world through the eyes of our child. We want what most people in America and indeed, around the world value the most in their lives…a family.

Often, we feel set apart of the daily rituals of our community. Something as commonplace as a family gathering, a baby’s Bris or Christening or even how we choose to spend a Saturday afternoon, can be yet another line of division between ourselves and our fertile friends and family. I would like to take a minute, acknowledge those of you who are reading this, and have been affected by infertility  – for  your personal courage..

But it is only in my life time, that infertility has come out of the closet. For the television shows and print media, one would think that infertility is a very public issue these days. But today, the media, if not us, have come out of the closet. We only have to turn on the television or open a magazine to see the personal dramas of infertility played out through the eyes of a script writer, reporter or producer. It might be encouraging for you to know, despite the coverage, that on average, the infertile as a group spend less than three years in treatment and most of us leave treatment with biological connected children.

Much has been said about the patient perspective of the perfect infertility physician. In doing my reading on the topic, I read a wonderful joke that has been used to describe the doctor/patient relationship. Angels in heaven were all lined up in the cafeteria waiting to be served dinner. Suddenly, a conspicuous angel appeared wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope, who started pushing his way to the front of the line. A new angel turned to an older one and asked, “Why in heaven would an angel act like that?” The senior angel shrugged his shoulders and responded, “Oh, that’s just G-d. Sometimes He likes to play doctor!”

What this joke plays to is the public perception of the physician as G-d. But we often do not discuss the qualities of the perfect patient, except of course the advantages of youth and having infertility as part of your health care package! Using this example of the heavens, an image can also be made of the patient as an angel, who allows herself to be pushed aside and quietly suffers. Interestingly, the word patient comes from the Latin word, “pati”, meaning “to suffer.” In fact, the adjective patient is defined as “bearing pains and trials calmly or without complaint.” The implication is that a patient must suffer silently like an angel.

I was never a silent angel. I was not a perfect patient either. But I gradually learned to be an effective patient. This transformation became about as I gradually figured out that I did not have to be a victim of infertility. I could be a survivor.

I think that the first step in surviving, is that we as patients in infertility have an especially difficult time dismissing the image of “The Doctor as G-d”. After all, especially in the treatment of infertility, the doctor can be seen as the giver of life. And let’s face it, we hang on every word. But to be an effective patient, we must learn to see the doctor that cares for us as a person with special skills instead of a G-d like figure. Only then, when we feel less intimidated, can we communicate more naturally with our doctor.

Effective patients approach infertility as a couple’s problem (when there is a partner!). Even when only one half of the couple has been identified as having the medical condition, it does not mean that both halves are not affected by the disease of infertility. The infertility work up, evaluation, and treatment is handled so much more effectively when both members of the couple participate in the office visits and have an understanding of the tests and procedures they have to go through. A couple who approaches infertility as a unit and shares the involvement in their treatment, is better able to support each other and make better decisions about their treatment and options. Remember when you try to divide an elephant in half, you have a mess, not two small elephants. In order for us to get through this we have to communicate and support each other with this elephant and not go off in different directions.

To be a survivor, we have to learn to ask questions about their treatment. Ask your physician direct questions about treatment shortcomings, alternative tests and therapies. For example, Is age a factor in this success rate? Will it hurt? How much will it hurt? What are the complications? What are the benefits of this treatment over others? It can be helpful to come prepared with your questions written down. To be an effective patient, you need to fully understand your tests and treatments in order to follow directions properly.

Survivors tell the doctor when he or she is failing them. This is probably the hardest thing for patients to do. I think we all have this fantasy, that if our “doctor really, really likes us” and we are “very good patients”, our doctor will try harder to get us pregnant. Communicating to a physician when we are unhappy about how we are being treated or the way our treatment is going can be very intimidating. It may one day happen, while you are in treatment, that you get upset about how certain procedures were handled or how you were handled while going through the procedure.

The emotional pain from such incidences can dig deeply when you are chronically in treatment and feel like so much depends on each cycle. These feelings can ultimately affect the doctor/patient relationship. But your doctor cannot be held responsible without first being made aware of how you feel and then being allowed the opportunity to respond. The doctor/patient relationship in infertility treatment is an intense one. And as in any relationship, both the positive and negative issues that occur need to be discussed and not avoided. Sometimes when we have been in treatment with a physician for an extended period of time without a pregnancy everybody gets frustrated, including the doctor! We can feel as if our doctor does not see us anymore. At times like these it can really help to schedule a sit down consultation when you can be sure your doctor has reviewed your treatment and you have her undivided attention.

Survivors understands that they have to be their own best advocate and seek education on both the medical and emotional aspects of infertility. The fact that you are reading this blog… tells me that you are a survivor. The professionals that take care of us, will probably tell you that infertility patients are probably most medically versed of all patients. However, we may overlook information about the feelings brought on by our infertility. A good way to begin is to check out the resources that I have listed in this blog and the links section. Check out our support groups or try reading about the emotional aspects of infertility. Infertility is one of the most stressful life crises you are likely to ever experience.

Infertility can shake the core of your being. But try to remember that while infertility is stressful, the feelings of stress are normal and expected, but not permanent. I promise you, you will not feel the way you feel today, forever. However, while we are in treatment and daily dealing with the pain of infertility, we need to find ways to cope and come out of this experience a whole person.

Check out the The East Coast Fertility community message boards or the various educational and support groups that exist in our community such as RESOLVE. Trying yoga, meditation, and exercise can also be helpful. I know it’s hard, and I couldn’t always do it, but try not to give up your life while you are going through this. Try not to let the stress of infertility isolate you. If you can find an infertility buddy through the message boards, or being friendly with other patients in the waiting room – this can be a life saver. Who else will listen to how many follicles you produced and the condition of uterine lining for hours on end?

The patient who is a survivor who have learned to take an active role in the medical team, interpret success rates, is an educated consumer, gets emotional support in order to gain insight and encouragement for our personal choices, and sometimes, the effective patient has to know when it is time to stop being a patient.

Take one step towards leaving being a victim behind. Try being an active participant in the treatment process rather than a passive recipient of medical intervention. Make contingency plans with your doctor and spouse, what will we do if this treatment option or adoption plan does not work out. Remember, patients who are able to see the physician as a person, not a deity, don’t have to act like angels sitting silently in the wings.

It is has been said that the measure of success is how we handle the journey rather than its actual outcome. I know what you want. I wish for all of you the same thing you are wishing for yourselves – a healthy baby.

But try to not let the achievement of this goal be the only measure of your success. While you are riding the infertility roller coaster, try taking control of the moment and feel the success in just that. .

Through this experience, that you never wanted; through the tears and frustration, you and your partner will grow in a positive way. Maybe in a way you can’t even see yet. And your love and strength for each other will tighten like a vine on a tree.

I believe in your strength and your courage. I have sat where you are sitting today. I have felt like the floor was opening beneath my feet, and my biggest accomplishment for the moment was that I was breathing. You will come through this. And you will write your own individual “happily ever after”. I hold out my hand to you and wish you a short journey.

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Overweight, Overwrought and Trying To Conceive (TTC)

By Dr. David Kreiner

May 20th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

The most shocking thing I’ve experienced in my 30 year career in Reproductive Endocrinology has been the consistent “resistance” among specialists to treat women with obesity. This “resistance” has felt at times to both me and many patients to be more like a prejudice. I have heard other REI specialists say that it is harder for women to conceive until they shed their excess weight. “Come back to my office when you have lost 20, 30 or more pounds,” is a typical remark heard by many at their REI’s office. “It’s not healthy to be pregnant at your weight and you risk your health and the health of the baby.” Closing the door to fertility treatment is what most women in this condition experience.

A new article appearing in Medical News Today, “Obese Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment Advised Not To Attempt Rapid Weight Loss”, suggests that weight loss just prior to conception may have adverse effects on the pregnancy, either by disrupting normal physiology or by releasing environmental pollutants stored in the fat. The article points out what is obvious to many who share the lifelong struggle to maintain a reasonable Body Mass Index (BMI): Weight loss is difficult to achieve. Few people adhere to lifestyle intervention and diets which may have no benefit in improving pregnancy in subfertile obese women.

The bias in the field is so strong that when I submitted a research paper demonstrating equivalent IVF pregnancy rates for women with excessive BMIs greater than 35 to the ASRM for presentation, it was rejected based on the notion that there was clear evidence to the contrary. Here’s the point I was trying to prove: IVF care must be customized to optimize the potential for this group.

Women with high BMI need a higher dose of medication. Those with PCOS benefit from treatment with Metformin. Their ultrasounds and retrievals need be performed by the most experienced personnel. Often their follicles will be larger than in women of lower weight. Strategies to retrieve follicles in high BMI women include using a suture in the cervix to manipulate the uterus and an abdominal hand to push the ovaries into view. Most importantly, a two-stage embryo transfer with the cervical suture can insure in utero placement of the transfer catheter and embryos without contamination caused by inadvertent touching of the catheter to the vaginal wall before insertion through the cervical canal. Visualization of the cervix is facilitated by pulling on the cervical suture, straightening the canal and allowing for easier passage of the catheter. The technique calls for placement of one catheter into the cervix through which a separate catheter, loaded with the patient’s embryo, is inserted.

Using this strategy, IVF with high BMI patients is extremely successful. With regard to the health of the high BMI woman and her fetus, it’s critical to counsel patients just as it is when dealing with women who live with diabetes or any other chronic situation that adds risk.

We refuse to share in the prejudice that is nearly universal in this field. It’s horrible and hypocritical to refuse these patients treatment. Clearly, with close attention to the needs of this population, their success is like any others.

Women who have time and motivation to lose significant weight prior to fertility therapy are encouraged to do so and I try to support their efforts. Unfortunately, many have tried and are unable to significantly reduce prior to conception.

What right do we have to deny these women the right to build their families?

It can be hard to deal with obesity and even more so when combined with infertility. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition. I advise you to ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you including fertility treatment.

Remember, though this condition can be annoying, aggravating and even depressing, seek an REI who is interested in supporting you and helping you build your family and reject those who simply tell you to return after you have lost sufficient weight.

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Miscarriage Prevention – The Berkley Method

By Mike Berkley

May 20th, 2010 at 6:11 am

At The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness, we frequently see patients with endometriosis, pcos (polycystic ovarian syndrome), low sperm count, high fsh, poor egg quality, low ovarian reserve, those with advanced maternal age, sperm dna fragmentation, immunological causes of infertility, implantation failure and other common causes of infertility and recurrent miscarriage.

Most infertility clinics or IVF Centers see patients with these kinds of disorders.  Many of these causes of infertility can be successfully treated with intra uterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), but Traditional Chinese Medicine increases the odds of having a successful pregnancy.

Through eleven years of research, treatment, and success we can now positively say that acupuncture, herbal medicine, and nutrition can be used to effectively treat both male and female infertility, as well as repeated miscarriage.

The constant challenge and one that we constantly meet is to remain at the cutting-edge of knowledge in reproductive medicine. As acupuncturists, herbalists and nutritional counselors, we must, as practitioners of complementary medicine, be able to fully understand how to treat complicated cases.

We must be knowledgeable about the causes of infertility and the treatment options available from both Western medicine and Chinese medicine models.

We must be aware of and be able to treat the most challenging disorders in order to help those suffering from primary infertility, secondary infertility and chronic miscarriage.

 

The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness is the first complementary medicine Center in the U.S. to specialize in the treatment of infertility.

For the past ten years I never needled the abdomen of a pregnant woman for fear of causing miscarriage. This method of behavior stems in part from fear of over-stimulating blood flow to the embryo or placenta. This thinking, as I have recently discovered, is incorrect. It has taken me ten years of study and research to enable me to fully understand what is happening in the uterus after a successful pregnancy and why abdominal acupuncture for the first three months of pregnancy is not only safe but serves to significantly reduce the chances of miscarriage.

At the luteal phase or secretory phase of the menstrual cycle the predominant hormone is progesterone. Progesterone is created from the follicle that has ovulated the mature egg. This follicle is now known as the ‘yellow body’ or corpus lutuem.

The corpus luteum, under the influence of luteinizing hormone which emanates from the anterior pituitary in the brain secretes progesterone. This action is done to enable the uterine lining to be amenable to a successful embryo implantation and pregnancy.

If pregnancy is not successful, the corpus luteum becomes atretic (dies) and progesterone levels diminish and menstruation starts.

When a woman does successfully become pregnant, the LH which is required to maintain high levels of progesterone (P) no longer comes from the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. It comes in fact, from the developing blastocyst itself. The blastocyst (developing baby), secretes HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin which has a very similar molecular structure to LH. The HCG causes the corpus luteum to continue to secrete P (this is called corpus luteum-rescue), until the placenta is fully formed at which point the placenta itself secretes appropriate amounts of P to help maintain pregnancy.

So, if the developing blastocyst is responsible for secreting HCG to keep itself alive it made sense to me to use very few and well placed needles in the abdomen to gently stimulate blood flow to the blastocyst so that P would continue to be secreted from the corpus luteum.

This, in my opinion is one of the major ways that miscarriage prevention can be achieved with acupuncture. I am the first one to arrive at this idea and have been using it with great success.

After 6 or 7 weeks the placenta starts to form and it secretes progesterone. The corpus luteum is no longer necessary. But, one of the major causes of miscarriage is inappropriate blood flow to the placenta. One of the causes of this is due to thrombophilic disorders (The tendency to form blood clots).  But clinically what does this mean? Blood carries oxygen, hormones and nutrients to the placenta and excretes dead cells from it.

These dead cells are called ‘debris’. By continuing to use abdominal acupuncture, we continue to gently stimulate  blood flow to the placenta (reducing the effects of poor hemodynamics which can occur due to thrombophilic disorder or just poor circulation), maintaining its ability to secrete P, estrogen, human placental-lactogen, relaxin and other hormones necessary for the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy.

I am constantly studying Western reproductive medicine and translating my findings into a Chinese medical model which serves to increase a useful knowledge-base to help couples achieve pregnancy. However, achieving pregnancy is only half the battle. The other half is maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

The focus of many acupuncturists is to help their patients become pregnant. This too is my first goal, but only my first. My second goal is to maintain a viable pregnancy and this is where studies are now taking me.

Acupuncture for the pregnant patient should be continued to increase the odds of a successful, full-term pregnancy.  As 90% of miscarriages occur within the first trimester, treatment should be continued for thirteen weeks at the frequency of two times weekly. This protocol may help to reduces miscarriage rates.

 

About Mike Berkley:
Mike Berkley, Licensed Acupuncturist and Board Certified Herbalist; Fellow, American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.
Founder and Director, The Berkley Center for Reproductive Wellness
Specializing in the care and treatment of infertility – naturally.

212-685-0985

Visit our website
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Visit The Berkley Center Blog

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Top Ten Surrogacy Arrangement Mistakes

By Sharon Lamoth

May 19th, 2010 at 6:43 am

Intended Parents who are considering surrogacy to complete their family, Gestational or Traditional, independently should do their research before making this life changing decision. Often times, when trying to cut financial corners and when desperation and vulnerability are a part of the picture, some Intended Parents may find themselves in a courtroom fighting for their baby just because one (or more) of these top 10 mistakes were made. Although some of these tips seem to be common sense, others may not have been a thought until it’s too late. Most Intended Parents think they are saving money by not hiring a consultant or an agency but the harsh reality is that they spend more money and time in the long run then they save.  

Top 10 Don’ts When Planning a Surrogacy Arrangement  

10) Don’t work with a woman under the age of 21  

9) Don’t work with a woman who has never given birth to a child of her own  

8) Don’t use a contract downloaded from the Internet with no legal guidance  

7) Don’t use the sperm from an ex boyfriend  

6) Don’t work with a Surrogate who lives in a state that makes "commercial surrogacy contracts" unenforceable  

5) Don’t ‘do’ in home inseminations  

4) Don’t have the compensation payments to your surrogate come directly from you-use an escrow agent/account  

3) Don’t forget to pay all the bills regarding the surrogacy and pregnancy in a timely manner  

2) Don’t have your surrogate stay with you for more then a week if at all possible (offer a hotel or condo near by)  

1) Don’t forget or forgo the Psychological Evaluation  

Even if all of these mistakes are avoided any surrogacy arrangement will still offer it’s own unique challenges. It’s always a good idea to have periodic meetings with a psychologist or mental health professional who is an expert in Third Party Family Building and can guide both the Intended Parents and their Surrogate throughout the pregnancy, birth and for at least six weeks after leaving the hospital. The best case scenario is to hire a full service agency.   

About Sharon:

Sharon LaMothe has been in the Infertility Industry since 1998 when she signed her first Gestational Surrogacy contract. She subsequently gave birth to twin girls and in 2000 was invited to join a FL law firm recruiting & managing surrogacy arrangements.  After leaving the legal arena in 2003, Sharon then co-owned and operated Surrogacy Consultants of Florida, LLC, the first successful independent surrogacy agency in Florida. In January 2005 Sharon once again became a Gestational Carrier and gave birth to girl/boy twins for a same sex couple using Donor Eggs. Sharon participates on many advisory boards as well as being a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. She is currently the owner of Infertility Answers, Inc. http://infertilityanswers.org/, & the Creator of Surrogacy 101 http://infertilityanswers.typepad.com/surrogacy_101. Sharon is also the Owner of LaMothe Services, LLC http://lamotheservices.com, an Assisted Reproductive Technology business solutions service. Sharon currently guides couples who need information and assistance while researching their Third Party Family Options. You can contact Sharon at info@LaMotheServices.com or call 727-458-8333. Sharon currently resides in Seattle WA with her family.  

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People First, Then Things, Then Money….

By Pamela Madsen

May 18th, 2010 at 7:12 am

I don’t know about you – but the sense of anxiety around financial survival seems to be permeating my pores and has taken residence up in my stomach.  It is not my own personal circumstances that is affecting me – it is the constant pounding of the media keeping me constantly informed of the shaky state of our economy.

If it is not news about the credit crunch, the falling of the stock market, the high job loss rate and the people who are "at risk" for hunger.

On Saturday, I went to the supermarket and the place was packed. It seemed that people may be cutting back – but they are not willing to give up their family gatherings, tail gate parties, picnics and other types of celebrations. Watermelon, pies, burgers, and huge platters were over flowing from shopping carts.  I started to smile – even though I could barely move for the jam of shopping carts. 

When we drill it down – what are we willing to cut? 

Suze Orman says "People First,  Then Money, Then Things…." Amen. I agree. What about couples who are in the midst of struggling to have a baby? How will the financial crisis effect them? Will these couples decide to postpone their baby making plans because of financial anxiety? And if they do, that begs the question can they really afford to postpone? Because the cost of postponing may be much higher than an economic cost – postponing actually may cost them the opportunity to ever have a child that is genetically connected to them.  For many women who are struggling to conceive – time is already not on their side – and six months or a year delay – can for many be the difference between a baby or not.

So…let’s go back to our premise – "People First – Then Money – Then Things".  How are IVF Centers, and physicians and pharmacies stepping up to support patients during these difficult times? How are they putting people before money?

EMD Seronowww.fertilitylifelines.com or 1-866-LETS-TRY  is offering fertility medications at a reduced cost for their cash paying customers.  Please call them for details.  And  Ferringwww.ferringfertility.comis offering a new and improved Heart Rx Program that can save patients up to $2,100 on their fertility meds. It is good to see them step up. And what are the IVF Programs doing to put "People before Money"?

At East Coast Fertility that has been a big topic of conversation these days. What can East Coast Fertility do to support patients to not have to put their dreams of a family on hold – and possibly hurt their chances of conceiving forever? To that end, continues to offer consultations at no cost to the patients. The doctors are willing to give of their time to speak directly to patients and help them make the right and best decisions in keeping their baby making dreams on track. Perhaps it is time for that second opinion – but you were feeling stuck – and financially pressed? Well – this is the opportunity to do that and make sure that you are where you need to be. Or the opportunity to finally get started.  

Dr. David Kreiner, Founder and Medical Director of ECF has taken his commitment to access to care even further with a new Money Back Program, Single Embryo Transfer Program and access to care through the participation in studies at ECF.

Like the rituals of our daily life – from the soft ball games to the family reunions -is putting our dreams of a family something that any person can really afford to put back on the shelf until later? Or is having a baby something that is so sacred to us as humans that it is non negotiable?   I contend that it is.

It is our job as patient advocates – as health care providers - to step up and stand beside our patient community during these difficult times. It is our job to do everything that we can to create even more access to care.  Having a family is something that is not expendable and sacred.  If you are a patient – call your health care provider and ask how they can help you.  Don’t put your dreams on hold.

People first, then money…then things.

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Remembering 9/11 at the IVF Office

By Tracey Minella

May 16th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Tagged with , ,

You’ll always remember where you were that fateful day. And so will I.

I was working as a medical assistant for Dr. Kreiner. I was also his patient…and about 9 weeks pregnant with my son. Could life be any happier on a blindingly clear, crisp September morning?

It started out as a typical day, with the usual morning rush. Lots of busy women…many trying to get their blood and sono done so they cold hurry off to work. A few rushing to catch a train to the city. Men dropping off specimens on their way to the office. Some trying to catch a train to the city.

A train to the city.

By the time news of the second plane crash hit, most of the morning’s patients had already been seen and were gone. Disbelief was quickly followed by panic as we and the rest of the nation scrambled to figure out if our friends and family who worked in NYC were ok.  And what about our patients?

Doesn’t “So-and-So” work downtown? Isn’t “Mr. X” a trader on Wall Street? We spent the morning pouring over the employer info in the patients’ charts, making calls on jammed phone lines, and accounting for everyone’s whereabouts.  We went through the motions of the day on auto-pilot, glued to a 13” black and white TV in the nurse’s station, watching the horror unfold. What kind of world was I bringing this baby into? 

But just as there were stories of heroism, good deeds, and miracles amid the atrocity of the attacks, there was something positive that day in the IVF office.

A patient learned that, despite the chaos unfolding around her, it was indeed going to be her insemination day. When it’s your day, it’s your day. Not even an act of war will intervene. And 9/11 was to be her only day. One insemination. That afternoon. Amid the sadness and silence and sobs of the patient and everyone in the office.

And we came to learn a couple weeks later, that on the day the Twin Towers and the lives of so many innocent people were lost, we had participated in one ironically beautiful beginning. That patient got pregnant and had…twins.

Usually, it’s the patient who is thankful to the doctor and staff. But I will always be grateful to that patient for giving us one little happy something…well, actually two…to remember from that fateful day. And for being a sign to me that the world would go on, that we’d keep making babies, and that maybe it was going to be all right.

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East Coast Fertility Still Celebrates the Miracle of IVF Babies

By admin

May 14th, 2010 at 6:31 am

Even though In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments have become more prevalent in today’s society, the staff at East Coast Fertility still sees reason to celebrate the miracles that assisted reproductive technologies help create.  ECF is preparing to hold its Sixth Annual Fertility Family Reunion – a function where they invite back all of the families they’ve worked with to commemorate their successful journeys.  The Reunion will take place on Wednesday, May 19th at the Mid-Island Y JCC from 12pm-2pm.

Dr. David Kreiner, medical director at East Coast Fertility, says he looks forward each year to reuniting with the families that his clinic has helped.  “Just because more people are having success with fertility treatments now than in the past, doesn’t diminish the fact that each birth we achieve is its own miracle.  When I see couples coming back to celebrate their children, it reminds me not to take anything for granted, and it reminds me that each success is a personal triumph for those who have struggled to have a family.”

The media has played a big part in making IVF seem very commonplace, but it is still an amazing scientific achievement.  Also, using assisted reproductive techniques can be a very difficult process for many couples.  The physical, emotional and financial implications of fertility treatments cannot be overlooked simply because more people are achieving pregnancies with medical intervention.  The end result is still a miracle to those couples who have struggled with infertility.

For more information on The East Coast Fertility Family Reunion please contact Lindsay Montello at lmontello@eastcoastfertility.com or 516 939–2229 x5509

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