CALL US AT: (877) 838.BABY


Archive for March, 2012

Are At-Home Sperm Tests Any Good?

By Tracey Minella

March 30th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

 

Nothing can substitute for a complete, professional medical evaluation of your sperm. And these kits don’t even come close.

The new at-home sperm test kit may be convenient and private, but even in the best light, it only gives a small amount of information…information that many men might misinterpret. And it can’t definitively answer your question about whether you can father a child.

It’s the last blogging day of the month, so this post is dedicated to the guys.

At-home sperm tests only test sperm count. You mix your semen with drops from the kit and, similar to a woman’s ovulation test kit, you wait for a reaction and try to interpret what the lines mean. Simply put, if the lines show, your count is considered in “Normal” range, or at least 20 million per milliliter. If you get a negative result, your count is considered “Low”, or under 20 million per milliliter.

The danger here (aside from doing the test wrong or interpreting it wrong) is that the guys who get a “normal” result may wrongly assume their sperm is fine, and not follow up with an evaluation by a Reproductive Endocrinologist or Urologist specializing in male infertility.

And their sperm may NOT be fine at all.

There is more to an evaluation of sperm than measuring the count. You need to know the motility…which is how the sperm moves. You need to know the morphology…which is how the sperm is shaped. These at-home tests do not evaluate these two crucial factors in determining if male infertility is an issue.

A man with a normal sperm count may make enough sperm, but what if they don’t swim (move) well enough to meet the egg? What if they have two-heads or other mutations (morphology) that would affect their ability to fertilize an egg?

Consider all the time, expense, and sometimes invasive testing a woman has to undergo for her own complete evaluation. Shouldn’t the man who wants to father a child have a complete, thorough semen analysis (and any other recommended fertility-related tests) by a medical professional rather than relying on a $40 OTC kit, that doesn’t answer the question “Can I father a child?”

Long Island IVF’s male reproductive specialist, urologist Yefim Sheynkin, MD, can answer your questions and more. Read about his qualifications, specialties, and expertise here: http://www.longislandivf.com/employee.cfm?id=17

So, here’s the re-cap:

You take the at-home test, get a positive result, and interpret it to mean you have no sperm issues. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. You have no idea if you can father a child. And you’re out $40.

Or, you take the test, get a negative result, and hopefully, that result at least forces you to make the appointment with the medical professional to investigate the reason for the low count, and to find out if there are other issues with your sperm, hormones, and/or anatomy that will give you an idea if you can father a child. And you’re out the $40.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Would you rely on an at-home sperm kit? (Or let your partner rely on one?)

no comments

Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib Chapter 2

By David Kreiner MD

March 29th, 2012 at 6:23 pm

 

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Two. You, the viewer, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://www.longislandivf.com/podcast/Chapter_2-TheJourneyBegins-ThePregnancyTestIsNegativeAgain-WhatDoIDo.mp3

A negative pregnancy test is a reminder of all the feelings of emptiness, sadness and grief over the void created by infertility.  This chapter was written to arm the reader with infertility with a strategy to fight off the potentially damaging effects that this condition can do to the afflicted individual.

The first step in dealing with the emotional onslaught that infertility brings includes focusing on breathing, meditation and seeking support from a partner or friend.  Perspective through knowledge in the fact that fertile couples only conceive every five months means that the infertile couple is in good company with many future moms and dads.

 The next step is seeking help from a trained professional, a reproductive endocrinologist, whose focus is on helping infertility patients.  He/she works with infertile couples to develop a plan based on diagnosis, age, years of infertility, motivation as well as financial and emotional means to support that therapy.

 Therapy may be surgical or medical.  They may include intrauterine inseminations or IVF with minimal or full stimulation.  There may be diagnostic tests, yet undone that may prove to be of value in ascertaining a cause for the problem and facilitate treatment.

 Complementary and adjuvant therapies may offer additional success potential and emotional support by improving the health and wellness of an individual.  The mind body programs and acupuncture are the most popular of these.

A strategy for dealing with the negative pregnancy test is offered with the intent of helping patients take control of their lives, improve their health and well being and increase the likelihood that the next test will be a positive one.

* * * * ** ** * *** * *

Please share your thoughts on the podcast.

no comments

NWW Photo Caption Contest No. 13

By Tracey Minella

March 28th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

 

Ready to play? Ready to meet the challenge? It’s Nearly Wordless Wednesday! Time for our weekly wacky photo caption contest where anyone anywhere can enter to win by submitting a clever caption for the photo of the week. And what infertile couple, or generally stressed out person, can’t use a fun distraction once a week? Come on and play!

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 Starbucks gift card. Come on and play. The weather is crazy, so any hot or cold brewed item would be great! Win this contest and the gift card is yours to choose your favorite!

But first let’s announce last week’s winner:  Tiffany! Congrats!

Remember the men at the picnic either tossing or catching babies from about ten feet in the air?! Well, Tiffany’s caption: “Cloudy with a chance of …babies!” made our spirits soar. Not only the first entry to do the raining babies theme, but tied it in to a popular children’s book and movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Tiffany, please email your address and the words “NWW Contest #12-Starbucks” to Lindsay at lmontello@liivf.com to claim your gift card.

Now, on to this week’s challenge.

Some parents just leave you shaking your head in disbelief.

Give this photo a caption below on this blog.

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!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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. Please 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/

5 comments

What’s on Your NIAW Wish List?

By Tracey Minella

March 27th, 2012 at 10:42 pm

National Infertility Awareness Week is next month.

And we plan on rolling out a major contest to kick-off NIAW, so be sure to bookmark us or follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss out on the details.

We’ve got an awesome Grand Prize in mind already, but aren’t telling just yet. But we’re still working on what smaller prizes we’ll also be giving away. Any particular books, shows, events, or gift cards you think would make a great gift for our infertile friends? Let us know. Maybe we’ll agree. We want to pamper you a bit on your journey.

Are you planning on doing anything special to celebrate or spread awareness of NIAW? It begins April 22-28. It could be something big like taking part in an event, march, or protest to effect change in the area of infertility coverage or benefits. Or it could be something small and private and more personal that helps you mark the week in a meaningful way. Let us know.

This year’s NIAW theme is “Don’t Ignore Infertility”. There’s some great information on events all over the nation at http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html  

Infertility is such a devastating personal experience and many patients prefer to suffer through it alone for a number of reasons. Understandable. I did the same thing for years. But once I finally unburdened myself of the secret, it made those nagging loudmouths stop their nagging. (Though to be honest, then they started asking all the nosy medical questions next!)  Just remember, LIIVF has great support groups and counselors ready to help you each step of the way if you’re considering opening up this year. (One subtle trick used by a woman who wanted to open up but didn’t know how to tell people, was to “LIKE” her reproductive endocrinologist’s Facebook page.)

Click here if you want to “like” Long Island IVF’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/longislandivf

Each year, patients tell us that they’ve been inspired to come out of hiding during NIAW. Maybe this is your year?

* * * ** * * * * * * * * * *

So how are you going to mark National Infertility Awareness Week this year?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=8077&picture=gift

 

 

 

2 comments

The “Dream Team”

By David Kreiner MD

March 26th, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I once had a dream that my lab would be staffed by the most skilled embryologists I could find and that my physician partners would be the recognized experts in the field. 

Throughout my career, I have met some of the world’s best specialists in Reproductive Endocrinology and IVF from my time at the Jones Institute and in my 24 years of practice since I left Norfolk to found Long Island IVF with Dr. Dan Kenigsberg. Together, in 1988, we developed the first successful IVF program onLong Island. 

I am most excited to announce that we have assembled since the merger of Long Island IVF and East Coast Fertility such a “Dream Team”. Three of our embryologists have been directors of very successful IVF labs. The other embryologists by virtue of their experience, advanced degrees, and skills could start a successful IVF lab of their own. Instead, we have assembled under the leadership of Dr. Glenn Moodie arguably the strongest embryology team in the nation. 

Likewise, Drs. Joseph Pena, Michael Zinger and myself have joined nationally recognized, Castle Connolly’s “Best Doctors in America”, Drs. Dan Kenigsberg and Steven Brenner, as well as Drs. Kathleen Droesch and Satu Kuokkanen. 

This “Dream Team” of Reproductive Endocrinologists and embryologists in our first three months together produced remarkably successful IVF as good as anywhere in the country.  

For women under 35, during our first three months as a combined program, October 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011, Long Island IVF achieved 35 clinical pregnancies in 53 fresh transfers (66.0%).  For women 35-37, 18/30 (60.0%), 38-40, 20/37 (54.1%) and for women 41 and 42, 8 of 28 (28.6%) achieved clinical pregnancies. 

Additionally, the East Coast Fertility MicroIVF program featuring minimal stimulation and a cost of $3900 achieved 5 pregnancies in 8 women under 38 yrs of age. 

It is apparent that the whole of the combined Long Island IVF is greater than the sum of its independent parts of the two merging practices (East Coast Fertility + Long Island IVF). 

There is perhaps no more rewarding work than to help build families for those who would otherwise never be able to do so but for our efforts. Working as part of the Long Island IVF “Dream Team” is that much more enjoyable knowing that we can give our patients their very best chance to realize their own dreams of creating their families.

no comments

Survey: How Do Infertile Women Feel About The Hunger Games?

By Tracey Minella

March 24th, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Chances are you’ve at least heard of The Hunger Games unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately. It is the first book in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the movie of the same name just opened yesterday.

The books are being devoured by people of all ages from tweens to old folks. The hype surrounding this movie is on par with Harry Potter.

THG is set in a disturbing futuristic world where freedom and food is scarce. The world consists of the Capitol and its 12 chronologically-numbered, outlying Districts. It is the story of a 16 year old girl named Katniss, from District 12.

Each year, a bizarre lottery run by the government is held wherein one boy and one girl (age 12-18) from each of the 12 districts are chosen as “Tributes” to represent their respective districts in The Hunger Games. This is no honor; it’s a death sentence.

Horrified when her young sister, Prim, was chosen as a District 12 Tribute, Katniss volunteered to go in her place. She was the first volunteer in history.

THG, a several day event, is a vicious fight to the death… with only one winner. A fight among children.

Think of The Running Man, Rambo, Survivor, American Idol, and the Olympics… combined. But with children.

Twenty-four kids released into the wild. Hand-to-hand combat, throat slashing, neck-snapping…all by children to children, commencing with a bloodbath that takes out half of the kids. And these “Games”… broadcast via hidden cameras all over the arena… are viewed by all of the citizens of the world.

District inhabitants, eyes glued to large screen monitors, root for their own Tributes, and mourn them when they die. Meanwhile, the garishly-dressed, wealthy Capitol residents “sponsor” their favorite Tributes by providing money to pay for things Tributes need to survive during the games, like medicine delivered by remote-controlled parachutes.

So adding to the mental stress of being chosen, Tributes must win the hearts of the public by heeding the advice of their district’s mentors who advise them on how to act, what to wear, and what to say on tomorrow’s version of the Oprah show.

In an age where so much of our entertainment consists of rehashing, remixing, re-recording and re-telling the same old music, movies, and stories over and over again, THG story is a refreshingly new and amazingly creative tale.  But how do you imagine a world in which parents succumb to the government taking their children away to fight and die in the name of entertainment?

And how do you feel about children fighting to the death? Is it just another film to be shrugged off as today’s style of entertainment…something that’s a welcome and entertaining two hour diversion from life’s daily grind? Or is it disturbing?

And if it’s unsettling to you, do you think you’d feel differently if you weren’t trying so hard to conceive?

While you are pondering that, I’ll leave you with this closing thought:

I wish you the same thing people wished the Tributes going off to battle: “May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor.”

* * * * * * ** **** **

What did you think about The Hunger Games and do you think your feelings have been affected by your infertility journey? If you saw the movie, what was your favorite…or least favorite…part?

 

Photo credit Public domain clip art: http://seanandonandon.tumblr.com/

 

 

no comments

Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib Chapter 1

By David Kreiner MD

March 22nd, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Welcome to the Journey To the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  You, the viewer, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here:http://www.longislandivf.com/podcast/Chapter_1-ThroughMyEyes-AnHistoricalPerspectiveOnIVF.mp3

 The first chapter introduces the reader to the writer, me, and my early experiences in the field of reproductive endocrinology, infertility and IVF.  This was during the early years of IVF and I was a new doctor driven by a passion for fertility; the science, the surgery and the new technology of in vitro fertilization.

 

I dedicated the book to my parents who were both still alive when it was published.  They taught me the importance of family as it was the most precious commodity they owned.  My father recently passed but he was excited and proud of the work his son did even if he suggested making more revisions to my original drafts than I wanted to hear.  My mother, who suffered a ruptured cerebral aneurysm twenty five years ago and as a result has significant cognitive issues, remains my biggest fan.

 

It was with great anticipation that I sent to my mentor, Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr., this first chapter as much of it describes my impressions of him and his wife, Georgeanna Seegar Jones, the American pioneers in In vitro fertilization.  Today, he is 101 years old and remains the sharpest individual I have ever met.  I am proud to say that he was touched and impressed with my memories as I recorded them. 

 

If you have not had the opportunity to hear him speak, please do yourself a favor and listen to any one of many videos recorded of him.  “Dr. Howard” describes how he initiated his efforts to develop the first IVF program in the U.S. on http://vimeo.com/asrm/howardjones

I have a YouTube video discussing this pioneering couple at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b790aiFLzJI&feature=related

If you have time, Dr. Howard gives an exceptional speech on the future of fertility on http://vimeo.com/17418251 .  He starts speaking about 19 minutes into the video.

 

The reproductive endocrinologist who had the greatest impact on my career was Dr. Zev Rosenwaks.  I unfortunately did not sufficiently credit him with the huge influence he had on my career and in shaping the physician that I have become.  As Zev was a fellow of both Joneses at Johns Hopkins and I was a fellow of his, it is this family of Reproductive Endocrinology from which my career was born.  There is not a thing that I do in practice today that cannot be traced back to Zev or Drs. Howard and Georgeanna or to any of the other fertility giants that were in Norfolk in those days including Suheil Muasher, Mason Andrews, Annibal Acosta, Gary Hodgen, Sergio Oehninger and Richard Scott.

* * * * * * * * * *

Please let us know what you think of the podcast.

3 comments

NWW Photo Caption Contest No. 12

By Tracey Minella

March 21st, 2012 at 5:42 pm

 

Here we go again! It’s Nearly Wordless Wednesday? Time for our weekly wacky photo caption contest where anyone anywhere can enter to win by submitting a clever caption for the photo of the week. And what infertile couple, or generally stressed out person, can’t use a fun distraction once a week? Come on and play!

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 Starbucks gift card. Come on and play. Have you tried their fresh brewed iced tea yet? It’s amazing! Win this contest and the gift card is yours to choose your favorite!

But first let’s announce last week’s winner:  Curt! Congrats!

Remember the minivan at the bottom of the inground pool? Well, Curt’s caption (of what one man was telling the other): “Does the car come with the house?” sunk the competition this week!

Curt, please email your address and the words “NWW Contest #11-Dunkin Donuts” to Lindsay at lmontello@liivf.com to claim your gift card.

Now, on to this week’s challenge.

You never know what kinds of games men may play when a group of them get together.

Give this photo a caption below on this blog.

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!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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. Please 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/

5 comments

IVF With Donor Embryos Can Be Citizenship Nightmare

By Tracey Minella

March 20th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

 

Here’s a lesson on family building and citizenship:

If a child is born in America, it is an American citizen, whether its parents are American or not.

If a child from abroad is adopted by an American citizen, it’s eligible to become an American citizen.

So, you knew those two facts already? Well, did you know this:

If an American citizen gets pregnant from IVF with donor embryos (donor eggs and donor sperm) and delivers abroad, the child is NOT eligible for citizenship …unless one of the DONORS is American!

And good luck trying to prove that with all the confidentiality regulations surrounding donors.

That’s right…an American woman delivers her [donated embryo IVF] baby outside of America and the baby that emerges from the American’s womb is not an American citizen. If she delivers in America, it is an American citizen because anyone born here is. Or if it was her egg, no problem.  What?

Should all the focus be on the origin of the egg and sperm? Should the uterus from which the baby emerged get equal weight?

Don’t believe this? Well, according to news reports, it happened to a Chicago woman who delivered in Israel. http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/03/ivf-insanity-is-your-donor-a-u-s-citizen

We’ve been covering the recent “Personhood Amendment” proposals and how devastating such legislation could be to the future of IVF. Here’s another example of government complicating the lives of IVF patients. And, if an IVF patient affected by this regulation leaves the country and delivers abroad, the citizenship consequences are serious.

So, if you are planning on using donor embryos and want your baby to be an American citizen, stay off that transatlantic flight or world cruise any time after the baby is viable and park your pregnant butt firmly on American soil until the delivery. Or see if you can get acceptable documentation to prove the citizenship of one of the donors before wandering off.

It’d be a real shame if after all you’ve gone through to get pregnant, you end up having a baby who can’t grow up to be the President!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Did you know this? What do you think of this seemingly bizarre regulation?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=12502&picture=fourth-of-july

 

no comments

IVF Today: One Baby at a Time

By David Kreiner MD, and Tracey Minella

March 19th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Single embryo transfers. Free cryopreservation, free cryo transfers, and free embryo storage. What a concept!

Back when I was doing IVF in the mid-90’s, transferring FOUR embryos was the norm! Sometimes even more, depending on the patient’s history! After a few failed IVFs, I did a GIFT/ET in 1994 with 4 eggs for the GIFT plus another 3ET. Technically, I could have been the “Septomom”, though prior history didn’t make that seem possible. I did get pregnant that cycle with twins, but later miscarried.

Also back then, my best friend was doing IVF at a clinic upstate. She had elected on medical advice to reduce a triplet pregnancy to a twin pregnancy, but miscarried after the selective reduction. A few years later, she got pregnant with triplets again. She did not reduce and, despite many complications, has generally healthy 13 year old triplets now.

It’s refreshing to see that technology at some of the finest fertility clinics now enables couples to choose single embryo transfers (SETs) and avoid the expense and potential complications that a high order, high risk multiple pregnancy brings.

Dr. Kreiner of Long Island IVF believes so strongly in the success rates and safety of SETs that the practice offers an amazing financial incentive to patients undergoing traditional IVF. Read on for details:

I entered the field of IVF in 1985 when the pregnancy rate at the Jones Institute, the most successful program in the country, was 15 percent. This rate was achieved by transferring six embryos at a time. As a consequence, we experienced many high order multiple pregnancies. Unfortunately, these were often complicated and did not always end well. Aside from pregnancy and neonatal complications, many of the marriages also suffered.

Thankfully, today IVF is so much more successful and we can attain pregnancies in greater than 60 percent of retrievals for women under 40. These rates are accomplished while transferring one, two, or at most three embryos at a time. Cryopreservation, or freezing embryos, has also improved our pregnancy rates per retrieval giving us multiple opportunities to get a patient to conceive from a single IVF stimulation and retrieval.

In an effort to encourage safer single embryo transfer and avoid risky multiple pregnancies, we introduced a program in 2007 at East Coast Fertility…and continue it at Long Island IVF today… for patients who transferred one embryo at a time. For these patients we offered free cryopreservation, storage and frozen embryo transfers until a live baby was born.

Still, patients don’t commonly choose single embryo transfer.

From our experience, similar to others’, there was no significant difference in pregnancy rates between patients who chose to transfer one embryo vs. those who chose to transfer two embryos. There was a trend, however, towards higher rates for the two-embryo transfer group that was practically eliminated when frozen embryo transfers were added. These groups were age matched with no difference except for a 40 percent twin rate and one triplet in the two-embryo transfer group compared to the single-embryo transfer group in which no twins were created.

It is hoped that these results will encourage a higher percentage of good prognosis patients to transfer a single embryo, which is the safer option.

* * * * * * *  ** * * * * * *

Would incentives and stats like those above make you consider SET for yourself? Why or why not?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=15665&picture=ultrasound-and-belly

 

no comments


The Fertility Daily Blog by Long Island IVF
© Copyright 2010-2012