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Archive for January, 2012

Putting All Your …Sperm in One Basket

By Tracey Minella

January 31st, 2012 at 10:05 am


It’s the last day of the month and that means it’s “Just for Guys” day here at the Fertility Daily blog! For those who don’t know it, I always post something of particular interest to the boys on the last blogging day of the month. You know, just to remind them where their place is…Oh, just kidding! (Where would we be without them?)

So, today I’m sharing a true miracle story especially to inspire the guys with male factor infertility (and their loving wives).

The man was tested. No sperm. Not low motility or low count.

None.

But thanks to advancements in assisted reproductive technology, he underwent a testicular biopsy…a procedure to search tissue for sperm, one at a time. A team of three scientists spent 9 hours searching his tissue for sperm.

They found one. A single sperm. And they froze it.

The wife underwent IVF and wasn’t a super egg producer herself, according to the article. But, with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), they fertilized one of her eggs with that single sperm cell.

And she conceived. Against the odds.

They have a little girl now. To read the whole story, click here: http://todayhealth.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/19/10191182-miracle-baby-born-from-single-frozen-sperm

Fortunately, Long Island IVF patients have easy access to our on-staff male reproductive specialist, Dr. Yefim Sheynkin. His unique experience and many years of expertise in reproductive medicine, microsurgical treatment of male infertility, and sperm retrieval techniques for in vitro fertilization are unparalled.

If you have male factor infertility, please ask your RE about all of your options. Get evaluated by their on-staff reproductive urologist. The best centers will have one. You may have more options than you think.

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Do you find stories like this inspiring? If you were diagnosed with severe male factor infertility and were a candidate for a procedure like the couple in this article had, would you consider it?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=18939&picture=driving-away

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Negative Pregnancy Test Again! What Do I Do?

By David Kreiner MD, and Tracey Minella

January 30th, 2012 at 6:08 pm


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 Long Island IVF 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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Long Island IVF’s Mind Body Program

By Tracey Minella and Bina Benisch, M.s., R.n

January 27th, 2012 at 7:52 pm


One of the many unique and wonderful programs at Long Island IVF is the Mind Body Program. You won’t find anything exactly like its variety of support services anywhere else on Long Island.

The support group coordinator, patient advocate and stress management psychotherapist… Bina Benisch, M.S.,R.N. …is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is working with both female and male patients at LI-IVF. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

In addition, Bina is a private practice Psychotherapist in Huntington.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

 All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF.

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Have you joined a group yet?

If you have worked with Bina, please share your thoughts about the support services she offers so others can learn more.

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GNO Tonight, Come to Women Rock!!

By Tracey Minella

January 26th, 2012 at 10:09 am


Come to Women Rock! tonight from 6-10 pm in Rockville Centre.

Would a free swag bag (valued at over $100) entice you to hurry down to a fashion show and women’s expo tonight? Tickets are only $20 (or $25.00 at the door).  The event promoters promise swag bags to the first 250 women to enter. Plus lots of great information especially for women.

What? You don’t need a bag to have “swag”? I like how you think. Then, come down to see us! Come meet Long Island IVF’s own Lindsay Montello. She’ll be manning the LI-IVF table with her own raffle prize offer.

There will be a DJ and music, dancing and fashion…why it sounds like the Copacabana! (Ooops, I’m probably dating myself now.) For more information on the event, celebrating the power and general awesomeness of women, click on this link: http://elephantnetworkingwomenrock.eventbrite.com/ If the link doesn’t work (since we’re transitioning our website and blog yesterday and today and have had some little glitches) google “elephant networking women rock” for the details.

Now, grab the phone and call your friends. Reach out to your facebook friends. Share this link. Tweet it. Treat yourself to a GNO (there…did I redeem myself with my use of a trendy Hanna Montana term? LOL)

Lindsay is looking forward to seeing you…and your swag… tonight.

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NWW Photo Caption Contest No. 4

By Tracey Minella

January 25th, 2012 at 12:00 am


It’s Nearly Wordless Wednesday! It’s our weekly photo caption contest where anyone anywhere can enter to win by submitting a clever caption for the photo of the week. Try it and you’ll soon be addicted to the fun. And what infertile couple, or generally stressed out person, can’t use a fun distraction?

Each week, the winner gets a gift card. It’s our little thank you for playing our game.

This week’s contest winner will get a Starbuck’s gift card. Maybe there’s a tall, vente, grande something you’re dreaming about right now? Win this contest and it’s on us!

But hang on. First, let’s crown last week’s winner: Tiffany W ! Congrats!

Remember that woman holding a sleeping baby while totally engaged in a video game? Well, we liked Tiffany’s caption: “Every mom thinks her baby looks like an angel when she sleeps. This mom actually sees the HALO video game over her baby’s head.” And she’ll like her Starbucks! Easy, right?

Tiffany, please email your address and the words “NWW Contest #3” to Lindsay at lmontello@eastcoastfertility.com to claim your gift card. We are changing over to another email system this week, so if you have any difficulties, please also try lmontello@liivf.com. Thanks!

Now on to this week’s challenge.

Give this photo a caption either below on this blog or on our Facebook page.

Best entry winner gets Starbucks on us! It’s a fast, fun and free contest open to anyone, whether infertile or not, and whether a patient of our practice or not.

Bookmark our blog or like us on Facebook and check back next week to see if you won and we’ll mail you your gift card.

Plus, if you “LIKE” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/longislandivf , we may be able to send you the prize as an e-gift right through Facebook, depending on what this week’s prize is, so you could be enjoying your winnings as early as on the day we choose the winner! (And as much as we’d love you to “LIKE” us on Facebook, it is absolutely not required to either enter or win our contests!… But did I mention we’d love it if you did ;-)

Enter today! Or at least before next Tuesday!

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Why not bookmark us so you remember to check back often…at least every Wednesday…so you don’t miss our NWW contests. And we also run bigger contests, too. And feel free to suggest other fun places we could get gift cards from that you’d like to win as prizes for these fun contests or topics you’d like to see discussed on the blog. Now go enter the contest!

Photo credit: http://www.killmydaynow.com/2011/03/funny-pictures-of-bad-parenting-part-3-58-pics.html/

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Baby Dust From Heaven

By C.t.

January 24th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

The following essay was one of the winning entries from our contest in April. The writer had been eligible to win the Grand Prize of a free Micro-IVF cycle in September. She has given us permission to reprint it here. In the interim, she conceived and gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Incredibly, the baby’s actual due date was today…the anniversary of her mother’s death. When you read this essay, that fact will make the hair on your neck stand up.

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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Do you believe that those who have passed away influence anything down here? Does this story make you believe?

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Will You Have a Dragon Baby?

By Tracey Minella

January 23rd, 2012 at 4:53 pm


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.

Today is the celebration of Chinese New Year. Out with the Year of the Rabbit. Welcome the Year of the Dragon.

The rabbit was to be a peaceful year. Children born in the Year of the Rabbit are said to be among other things sweet, sensitive, obedient, observant, clever, resilient and well-liked. How wonderful! Why would it be nice to see that year end?

Because the Year of the Dragon…well, that’s the biggest deal of all. It is considered to be THE luckiest year of the entire Chinese Zodiac and the most coveted year to have a child! And it only comes around every 12 years, so it’s a pretty big deal.

If you’d like to read about the extremes some people are going to just to ensure they conceive a dragon baby, check out this link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203806504577177011519558088.html

But be forewarned, it could upset you, especially if you believe that having a baby any day of any year is all that really matters.

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.

In the early years of my own fertility battle, I worked with Mai, a friendly Chinese girl, in law firm near Chinatown. Whenever she spoke of her family’s traditions, I listened in fascination…especially whenever anything related to good luck or fertility came up. I figured so what if I’m Italian and Irish. I want a baby and I’ll try anything!

So now I can share some of Mai’s wisdom with all those trying to conceive at this enchanting time in the Chinese calendar.

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. Mai was adept at making these challenging dumplings. I, however, was inept.  So, I’d improvise and order wonton soup instead. (No wonder it took me so long to conceive…)

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.

On New Year’s Day, wear something red. It’s the color of good luck and symbolic of wealth. Mai’s older relatives used to give her and her siblings red envelopes with money inside on Chinese New Year. Maybe you can break out a red envelope, start a new tradition, and get your relatives to contribute to the IVF fund. Wish I’d thought of that one sooner.

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.

My point is that you don’t have to be Chinese to embrace some of the Chinese culture

and have some fun. Wear red. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making a batch of jiaozi from an internet recipe. Or do the wonton soup thing. (I still do to this day!) Try your hand at chopsticks. Surround yourself with the richness of red and gold. Sweep out that old bad luck and embrace the peaceful year that waits.

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or follow any other cultural traditions with fertility-related traditions? What do you think about the actions of those in the article?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=5572&picture=dragons-head

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Can Twins Be Born Years Apart?

By Tracey Minella

January 19th, 2012 at 2:14 pm


Unless you’re the Octomom, chances are that if you’ve done IVF, you may have frozen…or cryopreserved… a number of embryos above and beyond the number you elected to transfer back on your fresh IVF cycle. If you were lucky enough to have an excess, that is. (Alas, my first few IVFs back in the dark ages, never produced enough for cryo. But later cycles did.)

So, let’s assume you had a baby from that fresh cycle. You breathe a sigh of relief at your motherhood dream coming true and proceed to enjoy a few years of normalcy with your little miracle. So you’re out there doing the play date thing, having great birthday parties, doing Disney. Not to mention suffering–happily–  through Yo Gabba Gabba  as you catch yourself singing things like “Don’t bite your friends”…

All the while in the back of your brain there’s some security  knowing you’ve got “potential” children…literally frozen in time from when your eggs were younger than they are today. No guarantee, but some level of security nonetheless. They do cross your mind at times.

So the time comes to revisit the clinic with the hope of a successful cryo transfer. Imagine it works again.

The question: Are your two children “twins”?

Well, they were conceived at the same time, as fraternal twins would be. But one has been out living its life for a few years. A big head start. The other was tossed in the freezer. (Oh, I’m just kidding…) But the reality is that one… merely through the judgment call of an embryologist … was ever so carefully placed in a frozen state of existence. It’s potential for life on hold. For years.

So are they “twins”?

Is it defined at conception? Is it occupying the same uterus at the same time?

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What do you think?

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NWW Photo Caption Contest No. 3

By Tracey Minella

January 18th, 2012 at 9:05 am


Yay. It’s Nearly Wordless Wednesday! A fun diversion for the infertile couple’s stressful life. It’s our weekly photo caption contest where anyone anywhere can enter to win by submitting a clever caption for the photo of the week. Try it and you’ll soon be addicted to the fun.

Each week, the winner gets a gift card. We change it up a bit, too. It’s our little thank you for playing our game.

This week’s contest winner will get a Starbuck’s gift card. Couldn’t you go for a tall, vente, grande something or other right now?

But hang on. First, let’s crown last week’s winner: Cathy ! Congrats!

Remember that black and white photo of the bewildered baby perched in a cage outside a window several stories high? Well, Cathy’s caption: “Aw. I know my diaper’s stinky, but it’s not THAT bad!” just won her a free Starbucks card. Easy, right?

Cathy, please email your address and the words “NWW Contest #2” to Lindsay at lmontello@eastcoastfertility.com to claim your gift card.

Now on to this week’s challenge.

Give this photo a caption either below on this blog or on our Facebook page.

Best entry winner gets Starbucks on us! It’s a fast, fun and free contest open to anyone, whether infertile or not, and whether a patient of our practice or not.

Bookmark our blog or like us on Facebook and check back next week to see if you won and we’ll mail you your gift card.

Plus, if you “LIKE” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/longislandivf , we may be able to send you the prize as an e-gift right through Facebook, depending on what this week’s prize is, so you could be enjoying your winnings as early as on the day we choose the winner! (And as much as we’d love you to “LIKE” us on Facebook, it is absolutely not required to either enter or win our contests!… But did I mention we’d love it if you did ;-)

Enter today! Or at least before next Tuesday!

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Why not bookmark us so you remember to check back often…at least every Wednesday…so you don’t miss our NWW contests. And we also run bigger contests, too. And feel free to suggest other fun places we could get gift cards from that you’d like to win as prizes for these fun contests or topics you’d like to see discussed on the blog. Now go enter the contest!

Photo credit: http://www.killmydaynow.com/2011/03/funny-pictures-of-bad-parenting-part-3-58-pics.html/

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How Old is Too Old to Get Pregnant?

By David Kreiner MD, and Tracey Minella

January 17th, 2012 at 11:44 pm


I’m the first to admit it would’ve been easier on many levels if infertility hadn’t delayed motherhood for me. I’d have a kid in college instead of a third grader. Sure some days I feel like I’m aging in dog years… but on others I’m sure chasing him keeps me young.

I can make judgments about myself. We all do. But if someone else were to judge whether or not I was too old to become a mother…now that’s a whole different story!

We can probably all agree that, say 65, is too old. But is 60? Or even 55? As we slide that scale downward, we get into a gray area. But what’s a fertility doctor to do?

Read on for Dr. Kreiner’s thoughtful post on how he has handled this controversial issue:

When I saw that Maria de Carmen Bousada (the oldest mother to conceive at the time with donated eggs and the help of an IVF program) had died, my first thought was to extend my sincere condolences to her family and in particular to her two year twin boys. My heart truly went out to them. It is a great tragedy when a death occurs especially when it is the mother of such young children. I hope and pray that Maria’s family and friends find the strength to replace the love and nurturing typically given by a mother to her child. My second thought as a fertility doctor was that once again – the world of infertility was making the news because we continue to push the edges of what society views as acceptable.

This is one of the hardest things about being a doctor in a cutting edge field such as reproductive medicine. We are often put in the position of making decisions with our patients that have even bigger implications to society than the individual patient. I do my best to look at each patient, and each situation individually, but I do rely on my patients to treat me as honestly as I treat them. It is a two way street – and unfortunately, Maria lied to the clinic about her age, telling them she was only 53 years of age.

Questions are being raised regarding the responsibility of the IVF program to verify the veracity of information supplied to them by their patients in addition to confirming their health condition to carry a pregnancy.

Others add that beyond a certain age, it is unnatural to become a mother and it puts the family at risk that she may not be around to help raise the child as what occurred in this case, or even if she is perhaps she lacks the energy and stamina to raise the child properly.

At East Coast Fertility, we had a cutoff of age 50 which was admittedly random and that limit was often broken when faced with an energetic couple with a woman who passes her stress test, medical and high risk maternal fetal medicine clearances. We recently celebrated our latest 54 year old patient’s delivery of a healthy baby that was highly reported in the press.

As I said, it is a struggle to separate my own personal feelings about the proper age to have a child which may be inappropriate for others who have a completely different perspective. My responsibility as the physician offering assistance to patients in need of help with procreation is to the health of my patients, the well being of the child and for the good of society.

Many women in their 50’s have the health and energy to carry a pregnancy and bear a child with no more increased risk than many woman 10-20 years younger whose interest in achieving pregnancy we would never consider questioning. That being said what about the risk that the mother may not still be around to raise the child to maturity.

There is no question that a young healthy couple with sufficient financial support and emotional maturity is ideal for raising a family. But, happy, successful families can take on many different faces. Single parent families exist, survive and often thrive. One can never be certain that the condition of the couple at the time of conception will continue through the child’s birth or for that matter until the child has reached maturity. We do not know that a healthy woman of 30, 40 or 50 may not develop a lethal disease before a child has grown up. In addition, at least 50% of couples in the United States become divorced. One can argue that couples at risk of divorce should not get pregnant. I do not think that society is ready to conclude that any of these women should not be allowed to procreate.

So, what about the clinic’s responsibility regarding confirming that a patient is giving them truthful information? We have been deceived in the past that a couple who is requesting fertility assistance was unmarried when in fact at least one partner was married to someone else. This issue is especially acute as it can raise potential liability to the clinic. As in the case of Maria de Carmen Bousada, she lied about her age and perhaps was beyond the limit the doctors and society was comfortable assisting.

For me and for our program we have raised our bar to do the proper due diligence realizing that we will not be able to get the truth in all cases but minimize the risk that we missed picking up a crucial lie. But I don’t want to be “The Fertility Police”. I am a fertility doctor – and my job is to help people have families no matter how different those families may look to you and me.

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What’s your opinion? Should there be an age limit? Or should it be determined on a case-by-case basis?

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