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Archive for July, 2011

DJ3K and the IVF Factor

By Tracey Minella

July 29th, 2011 at 1:26 am

Hey boys! It’s the last post of the month and… in keeping with the tradition here at The Fertility Daily blog… this one’s just for you guys. And boy was it hard for me to wait to post this one.

Whether you’re a Yankee fan or you… as Dr. Kreiner says… "fancy" a different team, you probably watched the big moment in baseball history earlier this month. You know what I’m talking about. The moment Derek Jeter got his 3,000th career hit. The moment he joined 27 others in this elite club. The moment he became the first Yankee to do it exclusively with the Yankees.

And true to the magic that is Derek Jeter…look, like it or not, the guy has these magical moments that even Disney couldn’t script better…he does it with a homerun. And he goes 5-5 on top of that. Did we really expect anything less of Mr. November?

Even if you missed it, you must have seen the replays…over and over again. And the stories. And the interviews. Over and over again.

So you know who Christian is. And here is where my post is going.

The moment that homerun, 3000th hit ball went sailing into the hands of a fan, like the shot heard round the world, the media speculated on whether the fan would keep the ball, return the ball for a king’s ransom, or give it back to Jeter.

In a nanosecond, we knew the answer. And I was shocked. And that sparked quite the debate between my husband and me.

Like most of America, hubby ate up the feel-good, wow-that-boy-was-raised-right story of the starry-eyed Jeter fan “doing the right thing” and giving the ball back. Asking for nothing in return. Of course, it was the perfect ending to the perfect fairy tale that day. Like a Disney script. And he said he’d have done the same thing. WHAT?!

Enter, me. The villain.

“What an idiot!” I said in disgust. It was like he won the lottery and then ripped up the ticket. And what sports the Yankees were, giving him a couple bats and jerseys and seats…that will cost him money in taxes! Gee, thanks. Didn’t they just give some retiring trainer or groundskeeper some houses, boats, trips, a pickup truck with a dog in it, and a lawnmower, etc. etc.?

Here’s a young man with student loans, a girlfriend he might like to give a ring to someday, and who knows what other burdens. Would it have killed the Yankees or Jeter to have even bought him a car? Heck, Jeter could’ve given him the Ford Edge none of us believe he really drives.

Ok. I admit that way down deep in my heart, I can admire the young man for doing the morally right thing. However, is it always immoral and wrong to profit from your fortuitous situation? Are you automatically the dog if you try to?

In the few seconds after the ball was caught…before we knew the story…I already wondered: What if the guy who caught the ball is suffering from infertility? What if he and his wife need the money for IVF? This could be their dream come true. So why can’t they finance their baby fund with some of the Yankees’ money?

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So guys…what would YOU have done if you caught the ball? And what would your wife’s reaction have been to that?

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Channel Your Inner Speilberg

By admin

July 28th, 2011 at 9:29 am

Your next chance to win a free Micro-IVF cycle is coming! I know you’re all excited to hear about East Coast Fertility’s third contest of the summer. We will be kicking it off on Monday morning!

All I will say right now is that you may want to charge the camcorder or FLIP video recorder and be sure it’s in working order. This one’s gonna be very fun and exciting!!! It’s killing me to hold off the details until Monday.

This one will require a bit more effort than the prior two contests, but the prizes will be better. And of course, let’s not lose sight of the one Grand Prize that’ll go to one of the winners of our summer contest series…a free Micro-IVF cycle! Now if a chance to win that…valued at $3,900.00!…isn’t reason enough to enter the contest, I don’t know what is!

Actually, I can share another small detail today. This contest is gonna run all the way til August 28th! It may sound far away, but don’t procrastinate…you know how fast the end of the summer seems to get here!

Prior contest winners are encouraged to enter this one as well!

And speaking of our prior winners…Hey, this is the last call for claiming your prize from June’s “Make Us Gasp” contest. (You know who you are!). Cause ya know, there’s a cute pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing lately and that VISA gift card of yours is burning a hole in my pocket!

While you’re playing around with the camcorder this weekend and brushing up on your videographer skills, I have a thought that will make you smile:

Your baby could be a three minute video away.

See you back here in about 96 hours…

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Negative Pregnancy Test Again…What Do I Do?

By Tracey Minella and David Kreiner MD

July 27th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Throwing the negative pee stick …or anything else … through the window isn’t going to help anything. So what’s a woman to do when faced with yet another horrible disappointment in the bathroom?

Fortunately, Dr. Kreiner of East Coast Fertility has some helpful advice:

Women confronted with a negative result from a pregnancy test are always disappointed, sometimes devastated. Many admit to becoming depressed and finding it hard to associate with people and go places where there are pregnant women or babies, making social situations extremely uncomfortable. A negative test is a reminder of all those feelings of emptiness, sadness and grief over the void infertility creates.

We don’t have control over these feelings and emotions. They affect our whole being and, unchecked, will continue until they have caused a complete state of depression. This article can arm you with a strategy to fight the potentially damaging effects that infertility threatens to do to you and your life.

First, upon seeing or hearing that gut-wrenching news, breathe.
Meditation — by controlling and focusing on your breathing — can help you gain control of your emotions and calm your body, slow down your heart rate and let you focus rationally on the issues. It’s best to have your partner or a special someone by your side who can help you to calm down and regain control.

Second, put this trauma into perspective.
It doesn’t always help to hear that someone else is suffering worse — whether it’s earthquake or cancer victims — but knowledge that fertile couples only conceive 20% of the time every month means that you are in good company with plenty of future moms and dads.

Third, seek help from a specialist, a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
An RE has seven years of post-graduate training with much of it spent helping patients with the same problem you have. An RE will seek to establish a diagnosis and offer you an option of treatments. He will work with you to develop a plan to support your therapy based on your diagnosis, age, years of infertility, motivation, as well your financial and emotional means. If you are already under an RE’s care, the third step becomes developing a plan with your RE or evaluating your current plan.

Understand your odds of success per cycle are important for your treatment regimen. You want to establish why a past cycle may not have worked. It is the RE’s job to offer recommendations either for continuing the present course of therapy — explaining the odds of success, cost and risks — or for alternative more aggressive and successful treatments (again offering his opinion regarding the success, costs and risks of the other therapies).

Therapies may be surgical, such as laparoscopy or hysteroscopy to remove endometriosis, scar tissue, repair fallopian tubes or remove fibroids. They may be medical, such as using ovulation inducing agents like clomid or gonadotropin injections. They may include intrauterine insemination (IUI) with or without medications. They also may include minimal stimulation IVF or full-stimulated IVF. Age, duration of infertility, your diagnosis, ovarian condition, and financial and emotional means play a large role in determining this plan that the RE must make with your input.

There may be further diagnostic tests that may prove value in ascertaining your diagnosis and facilitate your treatment. These include a hysteroscopy or hydrosonogram to evaluate the uterine cavity, as well as the HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to evaluate the patency of the fallopian tubes as well as the uterine cavity.

Complementary therapies offer additional success potential by improving the health and wellness of an individual and, therefore, her fertility as well. These therapies — acupuncture, massage, nutrition, psychological mind and body programs, hypnotherapy –
have been associated with improved pregnancy rates seen when used as an adjunct to assisted reproductive technologies.

A negative pregnancy test can throw you off balance, out of your routine and depress you. Use my plan here to take control and not just improve your mood and life but increase the likelihood that your next test will be a positive one.

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What have you done to get through the disappointment? (I’d give my own advice but, as a pee stick thrower, I’m not one to talk…)

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Pixie Dust…and Baby Dust…From Heaven

By C. Tolliver

July 26th, 2011 at 12:00 am

The following essay was one of the winning entries from our first contest in April. The writer has given us permission to reprint it here. In the interim, she has conceived and is currently pregnant in her first trimester. We all wish her the best for a healthy, happy, and uneventful pregnancy!

I always had a very special mother/daughter relationship with my mom. She wasn’t just my mom, but my best friend. She was a very unique and special woman to a lot of people. Imagine everything a mother should be and that was her. She was everybody’s favorite aunt and she babysat for everybody’s kids in the family and the neighborhood. All my friends wanted to hang out at my house because she was so much fun.

She loved all things Disney, insanely decorated the entire house for every holiday, planned the most amazing parties, and always had a smile for everyone and a twinkle in her eye. She was the kind of woman who stayed up all night in the hospital when anyone she knew had their babies and then went into their homes before they were released and cleaned their house, set up the bassinet and baby supplies, and left them a meal for their first night home. She loved her life. As I got older, I started to look at her not just as a mom or a friend but also as a role model of the type of wife and mother I wanted to be.

One of her many dreams was for me to get married and have children so she could be a grandma. As a little girl, I always wanted to be a bride and mommy. It always amazed me that my mother had that same kind of passion and that she wished that for me. I guess wishing those amazing dreams for your children is something you can’t really understand until you’re a mom.

I was only nineteen when my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood/bone cancer, and had just begun my freshmen year of college. I decided to drop out of school and move back so that I could be home to take care of my mother. I couldn’t bear the thought of not being there for her every need. She always put my needs before hers. She was always there for me. It was my turn to help her now.

As I watched my mom slowly lose her 4 year battle, I made the wrong decision to marry, as planning my wedding seemed to give her something to live for. Unfortunately, she never made it to the wedding and passed away seven weeks earlier. In my grief, I kept going through with everything knowing that this wedding was something my mother always wanted for me and I knew she would be there in spirit making sure every detail was just the way she always dreamed it would be.

It wasn’t until months later when trying to conceive unsuccessfully with an unsupportive man that I realized I made a mistake. I later learned that he fathered a child with someone else, and right then the seed was planted that maybe there was something wrong with me… and it has haunted me ever since.

A few years later I was lucky to find and marry my soul mate, a man with a son of his own who is now five. I love and care for him as if he were my own and wish he lived with us full time. Nine months into our marriage we decided to start trying to have a baby. Still in the back of my mind was the idea that something may be wrong, but I went into baby-making with him hopeful… since he too had already fathered a child easily.

Of course I was looking for all of those signs like every woman does when they’re trying to conceive and I had none but I still thought maybe it was just too early and then… I got my period. What a bummer, but there was always next month. Right? So we kept trying month after month with negative results and wacky cycles and we finally decided to meet with my OBGYN.

After several tests it came up that I have PCOS. After talking with each other and the doctor we decide to start on our first cycle of Clomid. Again, I get psyched because now at this point I am thinking this has to work, my husband already has a kid so he has to be fertile and now I know I have PCOS which causes me not to ovulate and this medicine is going to help that so we are in.

So, we’re getting excited, everything is going smoothly I was having some early pregnancy signs and then…once again I get my period and learn what I thought were early pregnancy signs were just symptoms from the medicine. We currently are in our second month of Clomid and as it turns out my results this month are negative and the medicine didn’t even work. At this point we are bummed, we thought the medicine was supposed to help me ovulate and its not even working and who knows, maybe I will get it next week or the week after but without going bankrupt from ovulating strips how else am I supposed to figure out when I am ovulating?

At what point do we decide to move on to a fertility doctor? What kind of expenses is this going to become? We are already struggling with money; we live in a two bedroom apartment and pay a mortgage payment in child support. How we can afford infertility treatments?

My stepson asks when he is going to have a sister or a brother. He prays to God every night to send him a baby sister or brother and he thinks I can’t have a baby because I am not a mommy. This kills me. I cannot wait until the day comes when I can give him the exciting news that he is going to be a big brother and I will be the mommy.

It is hard for me every day of my life not having my mom, but it is especially hard now going through the ups and downs of infertility. So many times I want to pick up a phone and just call knowing she would support whatever it was that I had to say or just hug me and tell me everything will be okay. There’s something about a mother’s hug that just gives you that much more support. I just want that mother/child bond back in my life and the only way it can happen for me is having my own child to love and care for the way my mother taught me to.

Winning a free IVF cycle would make both my …and my mom’s… dream come true. And if it’s divinely possible to do so, I have no doubt that my mom will be looking over that Petri dish and guiding the doctor’s hand when the time comes.

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Happy Birthday to the World’s First Test Tube Baby!

By Tracey Minella

July 25th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Louise Brown. Happy Birthday to you. Are ya one, are ya two, are ya three…?

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the birth of the World’s first “test tube” baby? Probably not. But I do.

I was just learning about reproduction as a young teen, reading the newspaper in my parents’ brown, gold, orange and white classic 70’s kitchen, when I learned the sensational, seemingly sci-fi news. I remember thinking it was cool. Dad was intrigued. Mom was mortified.

Little did I know then how important that day in history would be in my own life. And how that very technology would be the answer to my own dream of becoming a mother some twenty years later.

ECF is celebrating Louise Brown’s birthday with an online trivia contest and an in-office raffle today. It’s our way of honoring the woman whose birth led us to our life’s work… and for some of us… to our own children.

Patients can come in to any ECF office today (no appointment needed) and put their name in the drawing for a Scotto’s Restaurant gift certificate. Take a minute and drop in to enter!

In addition, anyone can enter our online trivia contest right here on The Fertility Daily blog. Just answer a few IVF-related questions by posting your answers as a comment this post. (Or you can answer the same questions on our ECF facebook page as a comment to today’s post.)

The first person to get all of the answers right will win a Scotto’s Restaurant gift certificate (or if not a Long Island resident, then a restaurant finder or national restaurant chain gift card). If no one gets all of the answers right, the winner will be the first person who gets the most right. If no one gets any right, I win…just kidding. I have faith in you guys. [Hint: Google search!] The same person can’t win both prizes. So, in the unlikely event the same person wins both contests, ECF reserves the right to award the prize to the trivia contest winner and then pull a new raffle winner’s name.

The winner of the trivia contest will be announced right here tomorrow as a comment to this post. The raffle winner will be notified through the office. Winners have one week to claim their certificates by contacting Lindsay Montello in the Plainview office. Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited. Decisions of the ECF staff are final.

C’mon, don’t you deserve a romantic dinner for two?

So here’s the questions:

  1. In what country was the World’s first IVF Baby, Louise Brown, born?
  2. Give the last names of Louise Brown’s mother’s two IVF doctors?
  3. In what year was Louise born?
  4. Was she an only child?
  5. Was Louise’s first child conceived naturally or through IVF?
  6. Louise is not the first IVF baby to have her own baby, but Louise is related to the first IVF baby to have her own baby. What is the woman’s name and what is their relationship?

That’s all folks. Good luck!

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IVF, God, and J-Lo… Revisited

By Tracey Minella and David Kreiner MD

July 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 am

Well, well, well. Interesting how things work out sometimes.

I came across this potentially controversial post from early last year, before Jennifer Lopez had her year of American Idol. And while she was still with her husband, Marc Anthony. I’m not sure exactly where it fits in the chronology of their multiple wedding vow renewals during their… what… 7 year marriage. (Maybe truly happy couples are on to something by waiting until 25 years to renew. Or at least 10.) With all those renewal ceremonies, you’d think they’d remember what a vow means! But…no.

I wonder how a woman who was so vocal about God and her faith… and who effectively denounced IVF… justifies getting divorced. Gotta love this “selective Catholicism”?

Anyway, I’m done ranting.

Here’s Dr. Kreiner’s thought-provoking post:

Back in 1985 when I started my fellowship at the pioneering mecca of IVF, the Jones Institute For Reproductive Medicine, there were still many people and religious leaders who objected passionately with the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology to help people in need conceive.  Arguments ranged from accusing IVF of being immoral to the potential dangers of playing God.

Physician defenders of this nascent technology offered comparisons to other medical problems that have been helped by technology, such as immunizations to prevent infectious diseases like polio, chemotherapy to cure cancers like lymphoma, kidney transplants, etc.  To them, a world unwilling to use technology to aid the suffering is unethical.  They see it as criminal to stand by and ignore the cries for help.  To have infertility, is to be cursed with an inability to satisfy that basic human need, sited in the bible as a commandment to “go forth and multiply”, to procreate and build a family.  How, in God’s name can a physician with the technology and know how, ignore such pleas from the suffering?

Yet, Jennifer Lopez feels it appropriate to speak up in 2010 against IVF saying, “I…believe in God and I have a lot of faith, so I just felt like you don’t mess with things like that”…”And if it is (meant to be), it will.  And if it’s not, it’s not going to”.

I wonder if she would feel the same without the ability to cradle her babies in her arms.  Or for that matter, if she developed a disease that required the use of some other “God-like” technology would she let herself suffer rather than take advantage of a potential cure.

I respect others’ opinions and beliefs and would never tell them they were wrong in following their faith.  I wish that people like Jennifer Lopez would share the same respect for suffering infertile couples who think that IVF is an ethical treatment offering these patients their only chance at building their families.

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Do you think IVF is going against God’s will? Or did God give us the ability to develop this technology and bring these doctors into our lives for a reason?


ECF Celebrates Louise Brown’s Birthday on Monday

By Tracey Minella

July 21st, 2011 at 12:00 am

In honor of the world’s first "test tube" (IVF) baby’s birthday, East Coast Fertility will be celebrating big time on Monday July 25, 2011…both online and in the office!

Don’t miss out on the fun!

First, we will have a quick IVF trivia contest, just a question (or two or three), for our blog and facebook friends. So be sure to check in right here at the Fertility Daily blog and/or ECF’s Facebook page this Monday for your chance to win a prize.

Then, get yourself down to the nearest ECF office and throw your name in the hat. It may be Louise Brown’s birthday, but you and your other half may be the ones celebrating if you’re the lucky winner of a dinner gift certificate!

Whether you are scheduled to come in for an exam or bloodwork, or just want to swing by while you’re out and about, take a few minutes to enter for your chance to win that romantic dinner for two. Don’t you deserve it?

We even have a treat in store for some of our favorite OB/GYNs!

So, join in the celebration and check in on Monday…online and in the office. Mark your calendar now.

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Having a Baby With Donor Egg or Sperm

By David Kreiner, MD

July 20th, 2011 at 6:32 am

As a reproductive endocrinologist (and, therefore, a supposed expert on heredity), I’m often asked how much of a child’s development and ultimate personality is a result of genetics (nature) and how much is a result of its environment (nurture). Typically, this question arises when dealing with patients contemplating using donor sperm or donor egg.

I don’t have the answer to this question; it’s one I, myself, have spent much time considering. I’m one of five children and I have four children of my own and, so far, three grandchildren. Though the environment and the genetics of my siblings and and my children doesn’t appear to be so different, each of us has developed unique characters and personalities. Some are significantly different.

I think the nature vs. nuture question is like a Jackson Pollack painting. When you raise a child, different colors of nature and nurture are tossed randomly up in the air and what we call “life” dresses the canvas below. Sometimes the picture it creates is breathtakingly beautiful and other times you wish you could start with a new canvas.

Now, if you are a conscientious parent, then you are most careful about how and what colors of nurture you toss. With nature however, even with that which comes from you, there is no control.

So, I tell my patients who are screening donors and are so concerned that their donor has a particular color hair, eye color or even personality type, that they are putting too much faith in just one can of paint that they get to choose to toss up in the air. People with blue eyes and blonde hair have other colors from ancestors that randomly did not appear on their body. But their gametes contain them and these cans of paint will potentially have more impact on the canvas that the blue eyes and blonde hair that the recipient is hoping for.

The characteristics I prefer in a donor are healthy with good odds for successful conception and a generally appropriate mix of physical and behavioral characteristics to match the recipient.

Then I pray for G-d’s blessing.

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What would be most important to you if you were choosing/chose a donor?

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The IVF Sex Talk: We Have a Stork Named Kreiner

By Tracey Minella

July 19th, 2011 at 12:04 am

“Where do babies come from, Mom?” my IVF daughter asked at the age of  three. Yes, three. (Did I mention IVF kids are exceptionally bright?)

“Well, honey. When Mommy and Daddy wanted to have you, we just went to Dr. Kreiner.” I smugly replied with a big grin. Hey it was a truthful response…and age appropriate for a three-year old.

But, by the time her brother came along the next year, Miss Relentless was savvy enough to hold her own with the high risk nurse practitioner examining me, who innocently said “Your mommy has a baby in her belly”.

She raised her eyebrow and replied matter-of-factly, “Nooo (implied: you idiot). It’s in her UTERUS.” She was four. I was floored.

Anyway, the sex talk has been making parents squirm forever. Adding the IVF piece to it just makes an uncomfortable talk a bit more freaky.

Even my own bright girl, whose been around the IVF office and knew she was an IVF baby all along, didn’t really grasp exactly what it meant to be an IVF baby until recently. I laid it out explicitly after they covered reproduction in school, mistakenly thinking she wouldn’t even blink. I thought I’d been so open about it. We talk about everything. Always have.

But, like any 13 year old having to face the repugnant fact that her parents might actually have sex, she was also pretty uncomfortable with the idea of being created in a lab. Her reaction surprised me and made me a little sad. But I guess it’s “normal”. After all, young teens don’t like to be different. Even though I pointed out six close friends who were also IVF kids, she felt different.

Yet it was also an opportunity to demonstrate how desperately we wanted a baby and the great emotional, financial, physical, and psychological expense we went through to make it happen. And the years we suffered. And the joy at last.

I waited all those years only to have her say embarrassing things to strangers. And it was totally worth it.

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How did you (or do you envision) have “the talk”?

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For Infertile Muggles

By Tracey Minella

July 18th, 2011 at 12:00 am

So the Harry Potter series came to an end this weekend, with the release of the blockbuster final movie, Deathly Hallows 2. It’s hard to believe that a decade has passed since Harry and his friends first went off to Hogwart’s.

So many children and adults love this series. What a legacy JK Rowling left behind! After all, not every book series comes to life as an amusement park!

And who doesn’t love her underdog story of survival and success? Welfare mom typing it out with her baby at her feet. Overcoming several rejected submissions. Then, living the dream. A twist on that tale may sound familiar to many an IVF patient.

Children all over the world love the Harry Potter characters and their magical world. The costumed frenzy at theaters everywhere this weekend was a testament to that adoration. Many high school and college kids grew up with the series.

But what if your children didn’t? What if your infertility journey has taken so long that this series passed your kids by? Had you not been burdened by infertility maybe you’d have taken a young one to the theater this weekend.

When I see cultural trends or events in society that involve youth, I think how unfair it is that those who haven’t yet had their kids, are excluded. Or at least not fully included. Or how the kids missed out on something magical.

Like the Potter craze. Or American Idol. [I’m sure Idol won’t be around long enough for my daughter to audition…but if she hadn’t taken seven years to get here, maybe she’d have beaten out Taylor Hicks.] And my son didn’t arrive in time to catch that elusive Rangers Stanley Cup in 1994, so God only knows if he’ll see one in his lifetime.

So in addition to all the daily annoyances and frustrations …like how Disneyworld isn’t such a happy place without a stroller, how awful baby showers are, how the back-to-school commercials are like a letter opener in the heart, etc.…we have these once in a lifetime events that come and go without a baby or child to share them.

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Do you enjoy these events despite infertility? If so, are there any tips or tricks you can share to help others get through them?

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