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Archive for April, 2012

Don’t Ignore Infertility Support Available

By Tracey Minella

April 24th, 2012 at 11:10 pm

 

There’s something wrong with me. I see infertile people.

As an infertility blogger and an IVF mom, my mission is to support the women still on their fertility journeys. To listen to them and, when the time is right, to share my own stories to give them strength to go on…or to let go.

And to remind them that their infertility journeys will come to an end. Someday. It may be the day a baby is born or adopted, or with an eventual decision to live child-free. But someday, all this stuff…the charting, injections, inseminations, blood work, retrievals, transfers, miscarriages, stillbirths, and two week waits…all the stuff that now makes up every moment of every day… will end. “Really”, I tell them. “Trust me”…

But I lied.

True, the infertility journey will end. But the infertility itself never goes away.

Most people don’t know that.

After six years… three IUIs, six fresh IVFs, a twin loss, OHSS, ovarian torsion, and countless other obstacles to happiness, then a seventh IVF, for two problematic, bed-rest, preterm labor, gestational diabetic pregnancies which each delivered 6 weeks early…I was sure I’d put infertility behind me. Shop’s closed. Time to let that little smokin’ piece of charcoal I call “my remaining ovary” rest in peace.

But infertility remains.

It’s like in those movies where people see dead people. Except I see infertile people.

It’s there in the faces of young married couples who have the careers, the houses, and the “fur babies”, but have no obvious reason not to have had children yet. The woman awkwardly avoids eye contact when someone unknowingly brings up children. Those of us who’ve been there see it. It is blindingly obvious—like infertile radar.

It’s there in our faces, too. It’s in the little nagging worries about whether the countless vials of injectable medications are going to come back to bite us some day, some way. Or in the resentment we feel about having children later…possibly a decade later…than fertile folks did– and the fear of having less energy to parent them the way they deserve, or of living long enough to see them settled.

I’ve seen division in the infertility world. Among the childless, you have the rookies and the veterans defined by the number of failed IVF cycles they’ve endured. Then you have the secondary infertility patients, often claiming to be resented by the childless for being “greedy” enough to come back for another child. Finally, you have the newly pregnant or newborn success stories– the envy of all. Harsh, but often true. The world can be ugly, and the infertile world is no exception. Self preservation prevails.

When a patient passes into the success story group, something wonderful happens to them. But something sad happens, too. They get the boot. Like some kind of graduation rite, the new moms get ejected from the ranks of the infertile. Their infertile former friends think they’re different now. They think they’re just like all the other fertile folks.

You have a baby now. You no longer understand us.

Are you reading this and saying “So what? Bring it on. Just let me get pregnant and kick me out! I can’t wait until infertility is over!”

It’s not so easy to be a woman without a country. You don’t fit in with your old infertile friends who are still trying to conceive, but you also don’t fit in with the fertile people who, by their words and actions, often take the ease with which they conceived for granted.

Enter one of the best kept secrets of the infertility world… the survivor’s guilt.

Infertility will always be part of you. Sorry. Even as you push your child on a park swing, you’ll be acutely aware of the sad, detached woman on the bench. You’ll always remember the date of your long-awaited positive pregnancy test and will often think of the waiting room and the people still waiting there. You may find you are far too overprotective of the child you worked so hard to have. That infertile radar is always on.  And your heart will hurt for those still struggling…even if they’ve forgotten you.

I blog about infertility for the doctors who didn’t give up on me when I wasn’t an easy case, or an easy patient, or truth be told, much help to their success stats. I blog for the doctors who built my family. For today’s patients and the patients yet to come. Some of the drug names have changed, but the stories are all relevant and the support is heartfelt.  It didn’t feel right to just turn my back and go on with my life after my journey ended.

Sadly, many IF bloggers gravitate only to blogs by women currently on their journeys. Of course, they are wonderful sources of support. But to overlook the value of informative commercial blogs or blogs by those whose journeys have ended is to overlook another source of support. (And you may just miss an opportunity to win a free Micro-IVF cycle, too.)

Don’t ignore the infertility support that is available from those who’ve walked a mile in your stirrups. Don’t shun us because you think we don’t understand you anymore. Don’t lump us in with the fertile people just because our journey has ended. Take advantage of the fact that we want to focus only on you.

We are here to help and support you. We will never forget. Don’t ignore us.

http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

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This year’s National Infertility Awareness Week theme is “Don’t Ignore Infertility…” How have you or others ignored it?

7 comments

Win a FREE Basic Micro-IVF Cycle in Long Island IVF’s “Extreme Family-Building Makeover” Contest!

By Tracey Minella

April 23rd, 2012 at 11:18 am

 

Long Island IVF kicked off National Infertility Awareness Week with another “Extreme Family-Building Makeover” Contest, where the Grand Prize is a free Micro-IVF cycle*, valued at $3,900.00!

 That’s right…one lucky woman will win the ultimate chance at starting or building her family. All from the practice that brought Long Island its very first IVF baby, first cryo baby, and first donor egg baby! Imagine it.

A prior free Micro-IVF contest winner tucks her baby boy into bed in Georgia! So winners can come from anywhere!

Will YOU be next?

Contest Rules are in this post!!! Enter essays right here or follow the instructions for video entries below!

At Long Island IVF, we’ve been building families every day since 1988. How many other fertility practices can boast that several of their medical and support staff were also previously infertility patients of their practice?! I’m just one of them! We totally “get it” when it comes to the emotional roller coaster you’re on. And we encourage you to check out our success rates.

You can enter the contest in two ways: (1) by an essay on our The Fertility Daily blog; and/or (2) by a video entry to our YouTube channel. All entries must be submitted in accordance with the rules herein in order to be eligible to win. So be sure to read to the very end of this post for all of the rules and details!

We are seeking out the most emotional or entertaining essays and home-made amateur videos, showing us why you need an Extreme Family-Building Makeover from Long Island IVF. Make us laugh with you or cry with you. Tell your story straight from the heart. No need to be Shakespeare or Spielberg. Just be you. And follow the rules, of course.

The contest will run from April 23, 2012 through August 26, 2012. Winner of the Grand Prize will be announced on September 4th… the day after Labor Day. If it’s geographically possible, you may even find out in person! Check out the video of Dr. Kreiner announcing last year’s winner at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZT0bLI53B8I

Monthly Early Entry Incentives:

In addition to the Grand Prize, we will award a series of smaller prizes and/or gift cards, each valued at $20.00 or more, each month (in May, June , July and August) to the essay entry AND the video entry that gets the most comments. Being a monthly winner (or not) does not affect your ability to win the Grand Prize in any way as the Grand Prize will be chosen by a panel of Long Island IVF doctors and staff from among all essay and video entries submitted.

Monthly winners will be announced in the beginning of the following month. (So, look for the May winners in early June, the June winners in early July, etc.)  The Grand Prize winner of the free basic Micro-IVF cycle, valued at $3,900.00, will be announced right after “Labor Day”. All winners will be announced right here on TheFertilityDaily blog. And… depending on where the Grand Prize Winner lives… possibly in person!

It’s easy to enter:

For Essay Entries:

You must enter online (no mail-in or handwritten entries) by commenting/replying to this April 23, 2012 Contest post on TheFertilityDaily blog at http://blog.longislandivf.com/

  1. You can enter with your real name or a user name.
  2. There is no minimum or maximum words requirement as long as it fits as an online comment on the blog.
  3. The essay MUST include the words “Long Island IVF” at least once in the first 25 words, and must address what winning a free Micro-IVF cycle from LIIVF would mean to you.
  4. Do not include any video or photos or images with your essay entry.
  5. You may enter more than one essay or video.
  6. If you choose to do so, you may share your entry on your own social media platforms, but such sharing is NOT required for entry or participation or to win any early entry or Grand Prize.
  7. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Facebook.  All entrants or participants completely release Facebook for any claims. Participants are disclosing their entry information to LIIVF, not Facebook. You may not enter on LIIVF’s Facebook (since this is not a Facebook Contest). You must enter essay entries on the blog TheFertilityDaily (or for video entries, on YouTube as outlined herein).
  8. SEE ADDITIONAL RULES BELOW!

 

For Video Entries:

    1. Create a 3 min (MAX) video about why you deserve or what it would mean to win a free Micro –IVF cycle “Extreme Family Building Makeover” from Long Island IVF (video must be smaller than 2GB, and in accordance with You Tube accepted formats: WebM files, .MPEG4, 3GPP,  MOV files, .AVI, .MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV – Please see YouTube.com for additional info).
    2. Your video must mention the words “Long Island IVF” at least twice if there are any words spoken, or alternatively, must legibly display the words “Long Island IVF” at least twice.
    3. Upload the video to your You Tube account. It’s easy and free! And be sure to name your video (Ex. “HopefulBaby”) prior to sending us the link. In the “Video Information” section, insert the name of the video in the “title” section; and then in the “description” section insert http://www.longislandivf.com; and finally in the “tags” section insert the following tags: “Micro-IVF”, “Long Island IVF”, “free Micro-IVF contest”. YOU MAY NOT CHANGE THE NAME OF YOUR VIDEO AFTER YOU SEND US THE LINK TO IT SO CHOOSE WISELY. (Note: if you already have gmail, you can use a gmail login, but your user name on youtube will be the same as your gmail account name so be warned that you may lose your anonymity if you do.) Really, just open the free account, click the “upload” button and browse for your file!
    4.  Send us the link for your video by email to: dankreiner@liivf.com, along with your name, address, and contact information, including phone number(s).
    5. After we pre-screen entries, we will then post the videos under “Favorites” on Long Island IVF’s You Tube channel at http://www.youtube.com/ecfertility, where you can share the video on your social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and encourage your friends and family to view your submission–only if you want to. Sharing is NOT a requirement and doing so or not doing so will not affect your ability to win any early entry or Grand Prize herein. Note: You cannot enter by posting a video entry (or essay entry) on LIIVF’s Facebook since this is NOT a Facebook contest; BUT you are permitted to share your entry on your own social media platforms if you choose to do so.
    6. SEE ADDITIONAL RULES BELOW!

 

  IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, HERE ARE THE REST OF THE CONTEST RULES:

      1. You must be 18 or over to enter.
      2. You do NOT have to be a current Long Island IVF patient to enter.
      3. If you have already won a free Micro-IVF cycle from Long Island IVF or East Coast Fertility in the past, you are ineligible to enter.
      4. You must enter by uploading your video or submitting your essay entry in accordance with the above rules for submission.
      5. You can name the video with your real name or some other video name, but once you send us the link, you can not change the video name. All entrants MUST email their names, addresses and contact phone numbers the time you submit an essay entry or at the time you email the link to your video entry or so we can contact you if we have questions or problems viewing your entry and so we can contact you if you ultimately win the Grand Prize. FAILURE TO PROVIDE US THIS INFORMATION UPON ENTERING THE CONTEST (AND UPDATING IT IF THE INFORMATION CHANGES DURING THE CONTEST) MAY RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION OF YOUR ENTRY OR THE AWARDING OF YOUR PRIZE TO ANOTHER ENTRANT.
      6. Do not enter essays or videos on Facebook; if you do that, it will not be considered a valid entry. You may share them there only if you choose to do so, but may not enter them there. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by or associated with Facebook.
      7. All entries meeting the criteria herein will be considered for the Grand Prize and the monthly early incentive prizes. Monthly early incentive prizes for the months of May, June, July and August, will be awarded to the essay on the blog and the video on YouTube that gets the most feedback. Those winners will get a special prize or gift card valued at $20 or greater to be determined by LIIVF. In the event of a tie, or a lack of comments and/or activity, early incentive prize winners will be chosen by a LIIVF panel.
      8. Winner of the Grand Prize Free basic Micro-IVF cycle ($3,900.00 value) will be decided by a panel of LIIVF physicians and staff and the judges’ decisions are final. LIIVF reserves the right at any time to remove and/or disqualify any video(s) or essays with content that LIIVF, in its sole discretion, determines is inappropriate or offensive.
      9. The monthly early incentive prize winners, once announced, can either pick up their prizes or LIIVF will mail them. Failure to provide LIIVF with an address for mailing and an email address at the time of entry as outlined above may result in forfeiture of the prize.
      10. Winner of the Grand Prize Micro-IVF cycle must undergo the Micro-IVF procedure on or before December 31, 2012, unless LIIVF, in its sole discretion grants an extension of time to the winner in writing.   If the winner is or subsequently becomes pregnant at or after the announcement of the winning entry and prior to undergoing the Micro-IVF prize, she will forfeit the prize and LIIVF may award it to another eligible entrant.
      11. The Grand Prize is NOT transferable and may not be redeemed for cash value or for a credit against any other services rendered, past or future.
      12. *The Free Micro-IVF cycle is valued at $3,900.00 and is the basic Micro-IVF cycle offered by LIIVF. It covers the monitoring services of the LIIVF physicians and nurses for the duration of the cycle. It does NOT include the anesthesiologist, if needed, donor gametes, if needed, medications, cryopreservation, if applicable, required lab and screening tests, or other procedures, including but not limited to discretionary embryology services such as ICSI, assisted hatching, embryo glue, co-culture or other surgical or diagnostic procedures beyond the scope of the basic Micro-IVF program, if needed. The winner expressly understands and that these uncovered fees are payable prior to the commencement of treatment. It does not include any travel, lodging, food, or other such expenses.
      13. The LIIVF physician retains the right, based on a review of the winner’s particular medical condition and other related factors, to determine at any time from the initial visit through retrieval and/or transfer, that Micro-IVF is either not medically advisable to commence or, if already commenced, then not medically advisable to continue, in the winner’s case. The denial or cancellation of the Micro-IVF is in the sole discretion of the LIIVF physician, as the patient’s safety and compliance with screening guidelines are of utmost concern. In such a case, the winner understands that LIIVF is under no obligation to provide winner with any substitute prize, or monetary or any other compensation for time, out-of-pocket costs or disbursements or damages of any kind whatsoever.
      14. The grand prize winner must undergo all pre-requisite testing and screening, including physical and psychological testing, which is standard procedure for IVF patients in the ordinary course of LIIVF’s practice, prior to commencing the Micro-IVF cycle. It is possible that some (if not all) of this screening may be done through the winner’s hometown OBGYN, but as noted previously, it is the financial responsibility of the winner to undergo said testing.
      15. The grand prize winner must represent in writing at the time of the initial office visit to discuss commencing the free Micro-IVF cycle, that she does not currently have medical insurance coverage for IVF on any medical plan whether through herself, her partner or spouse, or her parent, or that if she does, the IVF allowance has been exhausted.
      16. By submitting an essay entry or by uploading your video and submitting a video link to LIIVF you represent that you have the full release and express written permission of all persons appearing therein (or their legal representatives or parents/guardians) to upload their video images and names to YouTube, the blog, the website, and/or social media platforms, and have their express written permission for the further distribution, publication, publicity, and use thereof by Long Island IVF , East Coast Fertility, and their agents in LIIVF’s and East Coast Fertility’s blogs, websites, forums, social media platforms, and marketing materials, without limitation and that you indemnify Long Island IVF, East Coast Fertility, and their agents from any violation of privacy or other claims by or on behalf of anyone depicted or appearing in or in any way connected to the video. You further release Facebook from all claims as well.
      17. By submitting an essay entry to the blog or a video entry to You Tube and its link to LIIVF, even by doing so with an unidentifiable name or anonymously, you expressly consent to its further distribution, publication, publicity, and use by Long Island IVF and East Coast Fertility and their agents in their blogs, websites, forums, social media platforms, and marketing materials, including use of your name and images, without limitation and that you indemnify Long Island IVF, East Coast Fertility and their agents from any violation of privacy or other claims by or on behalf of anyone depicted or appearing in or in any way connected to the video or essay. Your submission constitutes your full release. Further, you release Facebook from all claims as well.
      18. Long Island IVF is not responsible for any technical difficulties or malfunctions with respect to You Tube or any of the online sites on which video contest or essay contest entries can be submitted or are publicized on, whether or not same are in the ultimate control of LIIVF or East Coast Fertility.
      19. Further, LIIVF and ECF are not responsible if the identity of an entrant who attempts to enter anonymously is somehow revealed.
      20. It is the responsibility of the entrant to properly and successfully post an entry on You Tube and forward LIIVF the link thereto in a timely manner. Entries will be accepted beginning 12:01 am EST on Monday April 23, 2012 and end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, August 26, 2012. In addition, LIIVF reserves the right to modify the rules of the contest up until the Grand Prize is awarded.
      21.  All entrants understand and agree that their actual name (and possibly their likeness) will be revealed if they win the Grand Prize. (For the smaller monthly early incentive prizes, winners will be announced online by the names they chose to enter under, either user names or actual names.)
      22. In the event the Grand Prize winner is from the Long Island/Metropolitan area, the winner understands and accepts that a Long Island IVF physician may personally surprise the Grand Prize Winner at their home on the morning of September 4, 2012, and that said moment may be videotaped and distributed without limitation by LIIVF, its agents, or news media.

 Phew!! Glad all that stuff is over!

 So, now that you know what the contest is about, start sending in those essays and videos!

 Remember, be creative! For videos, you can use your regular selves, or consider make-up or costumes. Create a skit. Use family and friends as actors or to give testimonials on your behalf. Maybe use the kids in your life. Camera shy? Consider using nice footage and speaking from off-camera. The straight-forward tear-jerker works too. The possibilities are endless. Make us feel something.

 So lights, camera, action! Or start tapping that keyboard!

 The next family Long Island IVF builds may be yours!

 Good luck everyone! And if you have any issues entering your video or essay, let us know right here and we’ll try to help.

 We can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with!

HELPFUL HINT FOR ESSAY ENTRIES: Please take the time to gather and organize your thoughts and emotions. You may find it helpful to write your essay entry as a word doc, put it aside for a day or so, go back and review it (grammar and spell-check it) and make any changes or additions, then…when you’re happy with it…cut and paste it as a comment to this post. That way you put forth your very best and give yourself the best chance to win the substantial Grand Prize that we’re offering. You will also wind up with a beautiful keepsake to reflect upon (or hopefully show future children) what you felt and went through while trying to conceive.

 UPDATE SEPT.4, 2012: THE CONTEST IS CLOSED AND A WINNER HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED AND PLEASE FOLLOW THE BLOG FOR FUTURE CONTESTS.

84 comments

There’s Something BIG Coming Next Week…

By Tracey Minella

April 19th, 2012 at 9:19 pm

If you’re here for the podcast, waiting with baited breath to hear Dr. Kreiner’s fifth and latest chapter of his book, Journey to the Crib, you’ll have to check back tomorrow…sorry! But it’ll be worth the wait. I promise.

And speaking of things that are worth the wait…

We’ve got something HUGE planned for National Infertility Awareness Week next week.

You are not going to want to miss it, so be sure to check in here next week at The Fertility Daily. But it’d be mean of me not to at least hint about what’s coming. So, here’s the hint: It’s a contest. Its grand prize, worth almost $4,000.00, could be a life-changing dream come true.

That’s all I’m saying for now.

And to those of you checking in for April’s ICLW…WELCOME!!

So glad you stopped by and hope you like it here and come back often. We’ve got a mix of doctor and patient posts. You’ll find patient perspective pieces from me, a veteran IVF mom, with “battle scars” and stories to share. As they say, no one can understand what you’re going through unless they’ve walked a mile in your shoes. (Of course I’m paraphrasing.) Well, I’ve walked a thousand miles in them. In fact, I’ve worn them out. I’ve even crawled a few hundred miles. So I “get it”. If you comment, I will follow you back.

We’re here to make you laugh with our weekly Wednesday photo caption contests, to cry with you, to help guide you with tips and new information, wherever you are on your infertility journey. You’ll also have access to our doctors’ informative posts on the latest medical fertility news. Feel free to ask them your questions! Check out Dr. Kreiner’s weekly podcasts on Thursdays. Want to read a post on a certain topic? Just tell us and we’ll deliver. We also post links to our blog on the Long Island IVF Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/longislandivf

So, mark those calendars to check back next week when we celebrate National Infertility Awareness Week with the kick-off of an amazing contest!

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

Anyone have any suggestions for the smaller prizes/gift cards we’ll be giving away in addition to the big mystery Grand Prize? (And, no, Paris is not an option…)

photo credit: http://www.wpclipart.com/cartoon/assorted/xtra_cartoons/telling_a_secret.jpg

 

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Long Island IVF Brings You Two Seminars in One Big Night!

By Tracey Minella

April 17th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

 

Having trouble getting pregnant? Thinking about Donor Egg? Curious about IVF?

Well, Long Island IVF has two seminars next Tuesday night which will answer all of your questions!

 DONOR EGG SEMINAR:

Learn how you can have a new beginning with Donor Egg! Hear presentations by Long Island IVF’s Dr. Steven Brenner, Donor Egg Nursing Coordinator, Victoria Loveland, R.N., and Donor Egg Program Director, Aviva Zigelman, L.C.S.W.

 Plus listen to a previously successful recipient who created her family using donor egg!

The great news is that there is no waiting list for egg donors at Long Island IVF. Pre-screened anonymous egg donors are ready to help you when you’re ready to choose this course of treatment. Or, your cycle can be coordinated with a donor of your choosing.

Relax and get your questions answered in a caring and supportive environment. Enjoy the refreshments. See if donor egg is right for you.

The Donor Egg Seminar takes place on Tuesday April 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm at Long Island IVF’s offices at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York.

Everyone is welcome. Please RSVP by calling Susan at 631-881-5299, so we can order enough refreshments!

IVF INFORMATION SEMINAR:

Get all your questions about IVF answered in one place. Hear about all aspects of IVF from the medical, embryology, nursing, and psychologist team. Get financial questions answered and meet some key staff members who are committed to making your IVF journey run smoothly. Mingle with the Long Island IVF team! (Only the best outings are planned for Tuesday nights, you know!) Dr. Kreiner will be there leading it off.

Grab a friend and come down for some refreshments and an evening of education and cutting-edge fertility information.

Can’t get your friends to come with you? Well, you still have US…and we’re the best friends someone suffering from infertility could ask for…we understand AND can help!

As if that’s not enough…did I mention we’ll have cookies? That’s right. Cookies to snack on. It’s a party now.

Plus, after you’ve learned everything there is to know about IVF, you can have all your personal questions answered privately right after the speakers wrap up their quick presentations. And the best part is that you don’t even have to be a current patient to come! Just come in off the street. Have an early dinner and come over afterwards. Or swing by after work.

Have you been trying to conceive without success? Maybe suffered one or more miscarriages? Is your day 3 FSH in the stratosphere? Have other programs told you to give up?  Have they said you’re too heavy to conceive? Do you need info on grant programs and financing? Would you like to hear of contests where you could win great prizes like restaurant certificates and free or discounted infertility services? If so, you really need to come down and meet the some of our professional team.

Don’t you owe it to yourself to just check it out? When was the last time you could corner a RE and ask all your questions without them politely dashing out? For free.

IVF Information Seminar begins Tuesday,  April 24th at 6:30 pm at: LIIVF, 245 Newtown Rd., Suite 300, PLAINVIEW, New York 11803 Yes we’ve merged, but the sign here in PLAINVIEW may not yet be replaced and may still say “East Coast Fertility”)

 Please RSVP to Lindsay at 877-838-BABY

 We’ll be there ‘til the last question is asked and answered…or we run out of cookies…whichever comes first ;-) Be there.

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If you could ask any team member a question about Donor Egg or IVF, what would it be?

 Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=10553&picture=young-couple&large=1

 

 

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Infertility Care: Beginning with the Basics

By Steven Brenner MD

April 16th, 2012 at 12:01 am

 “Don’t Ignore Infertility” is this year’s theme for National Infertility Awareness Week, which runs from April 22-28, 2012. Sometimes people may suspect a fertility problem, but like an ostrich with its head in the sand, they ignore it out of fear.

 If you fit that profile, Long Island IVF’s Dr. Steven Brenner’s post may calm your fears:

 “Thinking the worst” is a very common reaction for individuals experiencing adversity.

 This is especially true for people experiencing infertility. Concerns regarding the question of establishing the family someone has dreamed of since they were young is daunting and can leave a person with significant anxiety and doubt regarding her/his future.

 In this context it is important to go back to basics regarding fertility and understand that many people suffering from this disorder will be successfully treated with relatively simple techniques and therapies. For the more severe abnormalities, it is comforting to know current available therapies can address these issues with great success.

Establishing a pregnancy without infertility treatment requires a healthy egg, functioning sperm and an anatomic path that allows sperm to ascend the genital tract and an egg to travel into a fallopian tube where fertilization takes place. The anatomic path needs to allow the fertilized egg to travel into the uterine cavity. A receptive uterine lining is then required for the pregnancy to implant and grow. To make things more challenging, sperm and egg have a very small window of time to find each for fertilization to take place.

Many couples have experienced infertility as a result of improperly timed intercourse.  This often results from the couple not being aware of the timing of ovulation and the short duration of egg viability. The “fix” for something like this is very simple, requiring merely an understanding of the basic physiology.  Sexual dysfunction can plague a relationship, but it is often not until fertility is compromised that couples seek treatment. The simple fix for fertility may involve nothing more than inseminations timed to natural ovulation. Much more in depth therapies may be required to overcome the other, additional concerns associated with sexual dysfunction.

Ovulatory dysfunction, while a very complex issue, is often very easily addressed with simple treatments. Weight loss or gain may be all that is needed to establish regular ovulatory cycles. Correction of hormonal abnormalities leading to problems with ovulation can often be treated with medications that do not require the intense monitoring of injectable fertility medications associated with in vitro fertilization procedures.  Sluggish thyroid activity and elevations in a hormone named prolactin are such issues that readily respond to oral medications.

A receptive uterine lining to allow for implantation of an embryo that formed in the fallopian tube is needed to allow a pregnancy to be established in the uterus. Although a scarred endometrium or one that is distorted from fibroids may require surgical repair, other disorders of the lining can be treated with local hormonal supplementation. The endometrium, the uterine lining, may not develop appropriately after ovulation secondary to hormonal abnormalities. This may reflect an abnormality in egg production and the hormones associated with ovulation.

Therapies directed at improving ovulation or directly supporting the lining of the uterus with vaginal application of the hormone progesterone may be all that is needed to correct this problem.

Anatomic problems such as scarring of the fallopian tubes may require surgical correction. However, blocked tubes may be opened by minimally invasive procedures at the time of a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). In such procedures, a tube blocked where it inserts into the uterus is opened with a catheter in a setting that does not require general anesthesia.

 Many patients will be successfully treated with simple techniques and procedures that are not associated with the expense and invasiveness of the therapies that most people think they will require.

 For each infertile person a plan of evaluation and therapy needs to be developed, beginning with the basics. It does not necessarily lead to those treatments that are more detailed and invasive.

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Did you put off an infertility evaluation out of fear of needing expensive, invasive fertility treatments?

 

Photo credit: http://www.wpclipart.com/phps.php?q=ostrich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Donating Eggs Does Not Appear to Affect Future Fertility

By Tracey Minella

April 14th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

If you…or someone you know…is thinking about donating eggs to help another woman conceive a child, that’s an amazingly generous gift you’re considering giving. Maybe it’s something you’ve already done.

Chances are, somewhere along the way, this thought has crossed your mind:

“If I donate my eggs now, will I be able to get pregnant myself later?”

Well, you’ll be happy to hear that a recent, small study conducted at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Brussels, Belgium reports that, in the short term, donating eggs does not appear to negatively affect the donor’s ability to conceive in the future. Of course, long term studies are needed. But this is good news for now. Read the full article at Reuters Health: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/12/us-egg-donors-idUSBRE83B1EM20120412

According to the study, led by Dr. Dominic Stoop and just published in Fertility and Sterility in April 2012:

“Of the women that indicated having pursued conception after oocyte donation, 95% (57/60) became pregnant unassisted. Before oocyte donation, 41 women in this cohort had already been trying to conceive, of which 38 had delivered a child and 3 (7.3%) had needed infertility treatment.”

Long Island IVF’s donor egg program, dating back to 1988, is the premier donor egg program on Long Island and has been responsible for the birth of many donor egg babies over nearly a quarter century.

Hopefully, egg donors…past and present…will find comfort in this study’s findings and in the knowledge that Long Island IVF  will continue to report the results of future fertility studies that are of interest to its patients.

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Did you donate eggs or consider donating eggs? Did you ever worry that doing so might affect your ability to conceive later?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=15695&picture=flower-and-pregnant-belly

 

 

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IVF and Acupuncture at Long Island IVF

By David Kreiner MD

April 10th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

It has been proposed by many that acupuncture could positively impact the results of In vitro Fertilization – IVF.  The mechanisms proposed for this effect are several.  

Acupuncture affects the levels of pituitary and ovarian hormones as demonstrated in several studies. Other studies show that it may help improve blood flow to the uterus which might improve implantation.  

Another explanation attractive to me is that acupuncture may “relax” the uterus at the time of embryo transfer. Several studies have demonstrated uterine contractions and that these contractions can expel transferred IVF embryos. If these contractions were reduced by acupuncture then that could improve IVF pregnancy rates.  

Reducing stress and improving the general health and wellness of an individual undergoing IVF was scientifically demonstrated to improve our IVF success rates.  If acupuncture is able to achieve some reduction in stress and/or some improvement in patient wellness than statistically it should improve the likelihood of achieving a pregnancy.  

There are claims that acupuncture will help patients respond better to stimulation medication, get more eggs, even healthier eggs, and get higher pregnancy rates. Many women with diminished ovarian reserve and a high FSH level or history of miscarriages have been promised that acupuncture can cure these problems. The challenge has been to objectively prove these claims with scientific studies. Thus far, there have been a few studies examining the use of acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy to IVF.  A study published in 2008, combined the results of many of these smaller studies, concluding that one additional live birth would be obtained for every 10 IVF embryo transfers performed when acupuncture was added to the therapeutic regimen.  

Acupuncture and IVF Studies

Study 1  

The first published study, which received a great deal of attention, was conducted by Paulus and published in Fertility and Sterility.  

The study looked at 160 women aged 21 to 43.  In this study, IVF patients received acupuncture 25 minutes before and 25 minutes after the embryo transfer. No patients received acupuncture before or during treatment with fertility medications.  

The acupuncture points chosen for the study were supposed to result in:

  • Better blood perfusion and “energy” in the uterus
  • Sedation of the patient
  • “Stabilization” of the endocrine system

IVF patients who had acupuncture had a 42% pregnancy rate. IVF patients who did not have acupuncture had a 26% rate.

Some critics claimed that improvement was due to the placebo effect. To examine this Paulus presented a placebo-controlled study at the annual meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. Two hundred patients with good embryo quality were randomized to receive either real or faked acupuncture for 25 minutes before and after ET. There were clinical pregnancies in 43% of the real and 37% of the faked acupuncture patients. Statistical analysis of the results was not significant but there was the trend towards improved success with the acupuncture.  

Study 2

The study was conducted on 300 couples and was randomized to one of three groups on the day of egg retrieval. After randomization, 27 patients were excluded for various reasons. Of the remaining 273 patients, 87 were allocated to no acupuncture (control group), 95 to acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer, and 91 to receive acupuncture on the day of ET and again 2 days later.

 There was no difference between the three groups in the number of eggs retrieved or the number of embryos available to transfer to the uterus.

The ongoing pregnancy rate was higher in both of the acupuncture groups compared to the control group. The ongoing pregnancy rate in the group which received acupuncture once was 36%, in the group that received acupuncture twice, the rate was 33% and in the group that did not receive acupuncture at all it was 22%.

Study 3

In this third acupuncture study, a total of 225 infertile patients were included: 116 women were randomized into group I (the acupuncture group), and 109 women were randomized into group II (the no acupuncture group). The physician who performed the embryo transfer was not aware of which couples were in which group. On the day of embryo transfer, the patients in the study group received acupuncture.  At the same time, a special Chinese medical drug (the seed of Caryophyllaceae) was placed on the patient’s ear. The seeds remained in place for 2 days and were pressed twice daily for 10 minutes. Three days after the embryo transfer, the patients received a second acupuncture treatment. In addition, the same ear points were pressed at the opposite ear twice daily. The seeds were removed after 2 days.

 The control group received a faked acupuncture. As in the treatment group, patients received the phony acupuncture treatment for 30 minutes. This placebo treatment was repeated three days after the embryo transfer. Equal numbers of needles were applied to the study and control groups. The placebo acupuncture treatment was designed not to influence fertility.

Both groups were similar in terms of age, weight, duration of infertility, cause of infertility, and number of previous IVF attempts. No differences were found in the specifics of the ovarian stimulation, the number of eggs retrieved, the fertilization rate, or the number of embryos transferred.

The real acupuncture group had an implantation rate per embryo of 14.2% whereas the faked acupuncture group’s implantation rate was only 5.9%. The ongoing pregnancy rate was 28.4% in the real acupuncture group compared to 13.8% in the control group.

 Study 4

 This next acupuncture and in vitro fertilization study subjected the patients to three acupuncture treatment sessions. The first took place before the egg retrieval on the 9th day of ovarian stimulation, and the second and third acupuncture treatments were performed immediately before and after the embryo transfer. Women were randomly allocated to receive treatment with either real therapeutic acupuncture or with faked acupuncture.

 Of the 228 subjects randomized, 15% were unable to complete the treatment protocol because their IVF cycle was cancelled prior to the embryo transfer. No difference in the grading of embryos was found between groups. The pregnancy rate, defined by a positive fetal heart beat, was 31% in the acupuncture group and 23% in the control group.

I am very proud that Long Island IVF offers acupuncture. For more information on our acupuncture practitioners and our mind-body program, click here: http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm

 It’s our hope to support you in every way to build your family.

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Do you believe holistic infertility treatments, like acupuncture, complement traditional, more clinical methods? Have you tried acupuncture? Please share your experience.

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=5109&picture=pin-points

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Does Infertility Make You a Better Parent?

By Tracey Minella

April 9th, 2012 at 12:01 am

If I just said “Yes!” and ended the post right here, you’d feel cheated, right? So, I’ll back it up.

 But before I do, I have to say that, of course, there are great parents out there who got pregnant without even trying. And there are some patients that undergo infertility treatment, have a baby, and make lousy parents.

 However, generally speaking, infertile women who eventually have children either through birth or adoption are better moms primarily because we don’t take motherhood for granted.

 Think about it.

 Remember back when you first decided to get pregnant? How you were naïve enough to think you could choose which month you wanted the baby to be born in and just count back nine months, have wild baby-making sex that one month, and Voila! Admit it. My dream baby was supposed to be born in October, 1991. She arrived in January, 1998.

 The black hole that others called the 90’s and my collective infertility experience from that decade slowly changed me from naïve, impatient, and demanding… to frightened, depressed, and frustrated… to profoundly grateful expectant mom.

 And when you go from expecting to be expecting…to thankful to be expecting…over a long period of time, it can change your mindset forever. It can make you a different parent than you would have been if you didn’t take this long journey. If you didn’t face the real and unbearable possibility of never becoming a mom.

I’ve noticed another trait among many IVF moms: over-protectiveness. Perhaps it’s from a heightened sense of how precious this child’s life truly is and a need to go to extremes to insure its safety. For example, my friend with IVF twins won’t let anyone else drive them anywhere.

And it took me years longer than most parents to allow my daughter to sleep over another friend’s house. I’d torture myself with thoughts of fires, vicious dogs, intruders, gun accidents, even pedophiles. ”Sorry honey, that girl’s father has shifty eyes…her older brother has blue hair, bad grades, and a police record…her grandpa hunts and keeps a rifle…she’s one of four kids, so no one will save you in a fire.” The list goes on and on. Suffice it to say, mine is the big sleepover house.

This brings me to another observation about IVF parents: We tend to get more involved in our kids’ lives and not sweat the small stuff. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear a fertile parent complain about some trivial thing that infertile parents never would.

Despite being almost ten years older than I thought I’d be when doing this stuff, I relish every moment of being super mom. And you will too. I am the PTA mom, the Girl Scout leader, the coach, the taxi driver, the party-planner extraordinaire, and basically the one who volunteers (or gets volunteered) for anything remotely related to my kids. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dust bunnies be damned. There is certainly something more fun to be doing. Kids love my house and twenty years from now they’ll hopefully remember the Halloween parties of mummy dogs and jello brains, instead of the couple of genuine cobwebs.

During the infertility years, it was promises I made to myself (and bargains I made with God) that I’d be this kind of mom that helped get me through it all.

It’s not easy to notice the transformation as it’s happening to you on this journey, but I promise you this… It’s making you a better parent already.

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Do you think infertility patients make better parents? Why or why not?

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=11153&picture=mother-and-baby-isolated

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Surviving Easter When Trying to Conceive

By Tracey Minella

April 6th, 2012 at 12:01 am

If you’re ready to do harm to the guy in the Easter Bunny suit, I sure won’t judge you. Infertility during the holidays is like putting salt in an ever-open wound.

If you can’t avoid the mall with its Easter Bunny line of adorably-dressed babies, then you need to either focus on the handful of kids that are wailing uncontrollably or on the frazzled moms who are waiting on line for an hour or more. Go on, sit down and leisurely sip your Starbucks and watch. It will be an eye-opener to the fact that some parts of motherhood are not  necessarily fun.

If you can’t avoid the fancy baby clothes stores with their frilly dresses and bonnets and suits and shoes, take a look at the price tags for things that will be worn only once…if you’re lucky enough to get it on the poor kid. Scratchy tulle dresses and stiff collars. Hot suit jackets or tights. Why some think it’s borderline child abuse! Allow yourself to question now whether you will partake in this tradition when your time comes, or will you choose organic cotton comfortable clothes?

If you can’t avoid the chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps, focus on the fact that the kids who get them will be bouncing off the walls and making their parents crazy. And for the ones whose moms steal their treats, smirk as you envision them popping those peeps. For they rot out the teeth, are often made with ingredients of questionable edibility, and they wreak havoc on the complexion and waistline. Feel better yet?

Look, I know the holidays are harder than every day. Especially the ones focused on children. And while I am trying to lighten the mood here, I know your heart will be heavy this weekend.

The best advice I can give, having watched many an egg hunt through teary eyes, is to do your best to protect your heart. Avoid situations that are too hard for you, regardless of pressure from family and friends.

And believe that your day to put your own sweaty, crying baby in its stiff holiday outfit into the paws of that creepy mall Easter Bunny will come. Maybe as soon as next spring.

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Do you have any tips on getting through Easter or Passover while infertile?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=14454&picture=easter-eggs-in-hand

 

 

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The Perfect Game

By David Kreiner MD

April 3rd, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Well, the fantasy baseball drafts are over and baseball season is upon us. Welcome Spring! Time to enjoy longer, warmer days filled with All-American things like baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.

 Speaking of baseball as an American past-time, I’ve dug out a great post Dr. Kreiner penned two summers ago (Get it? “Dug-out”!). He’s made an interesting connection between infertility and baseball. And I’m posting it even though he actually admitted to “fancying” the Mets as a kid.

I grew up on baseball in the 1960’s with the likes of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.  A few years later Tom Seaver and the Miracle Mets held my fancy.  Over the years I have been intrigued by many baseball spectaculars such as Mark McGwire and his run to break Roger Maris’s homerun record and Barry Bonds’ overcoming Mark McGwire’s record.  Roger Clemens winning his 300th game and pitching his 3000th strikeout was unforgettable.  I was enchanted with these baseball heroes when they achieved their record breaking accomplishments.

Then the story about how modern day athletes were using steroids became public and the glory of those heroes from the past 20 years disappeared.  Many of us lost our youthful innocence with the discovery that steroids had intruded into the daily routines of professional baseball.  But as my bubby (my Russian grandma) used to say; c’est la vie.  At least that was the French translation.

This week someone’s little boy who was pitching in the big leagues for the first year had a perfect game, meaning no batter reached first base the entire game with only one out to go.  This is a rarity in baseball having previously occurred only 20 times in major league history.   The final out was weakly hit, a ground ball to the infield, the pitcher covering first base beat the batter, and the throw was caught before the batter reached the bag.  Replays documented the batter was out but unfortunately, the umpire mistakenly shot his arms out signifying a safe sign thus preventing the last out which would have made this a rare perfect game.

So why should I blog about a botched call ruining a perfect game?  This arbitrary wrong turn of events which prevented a perfect game crushed me emotionally the same day my patient who I wanted so much to have her baby, miscarried after 3 years of trying to conceive.  She, like the rookie, Galarraga, deserved to have their day, the perfect game, the perfect baby.  Randomly, both were denied.  How is an individual who has such hopes, dreams and aspirations focused on the denied event to deal with this catastrophic disappointment?

As an observer of both, I was feeling distraught, angry, pushing me to cry out for justice for some supernatural power to make things right again.

Forty five minutes after the game after umpire, Jim Joyce, had the opportunity to review the play he went to the dugout to speak with pitcher, Armando Galarraga.  He apologized to the pitcher for spoiling his slice of fame. … There were few words, just a deep apology, as tears welled in Joyce’s eyes. “He feels really bad, probably worse than me,” said Galaragga, who began the season in the minors inToledo. “I give a lot of credit to that guy, to say he’s sorry. I gave him a hug. His body English said more than the words. Nobody’s perfect, everybody’s human.”

We, in the field of infertility face disappointments as regularly and the menstrual cycle.  When a pregnancy is conceived, in our minds, the “perfect baby” is essentially created.  Miscarriage, the loss of one’s “perfect baby” seems to be a life crushing blow.  Perhaps, we can gain strength from the story about these two men, Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce, who were able to reconcile this catastrophic schism in their path to obtaining their “perfect” goal and move forward to the next game.

Thank you, Armando and Jim for helping us to see the way.  After all, if you can get this close once only to miss because of a random mistake, then why can’t we expect that we have a good shot that it will work next time?

In the mean time, again as my Bubby would say, “Play ball”.

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So this question is for the real sports lunatics out there: Your doc is a crazy, out-spoken nut case fan of YOUR team’s most-hated rival. Can you bite your tongue and get through your treatment? Do you switch to another doc in the practice?

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=3025&picture=home-plate

 

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