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Archive for July, 2012

Garlic and Male Fertility

By Tracey Minella

July 31st, 2012 at 10:31 am

free image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s National Garlic Month. It’s also the last blogging day of the month…which means it’s “Just for Guys” day, too.

So, how can I do garlic and the guys justice in one post? Easy. I’ll tell you how garlic can affect male fertility.

For thousands of years, garlic has long been widely regarded as one of the top natural fertility enhancers for men. It’s also an aphrodisiac. Sound like a win-win, guys? Well, I’m not sure your lady will see your garlic-chomping bedtime routine in the quite the same light.

True it has selenium, which is an antioxidant mineral that’s necessary for properly-shaped sperm and to maintain sperm count. And it has Vitamin B6, which (along with zinc) fortifies the immune system and is responsible for formation of the male sex hormones.

A compound in garlic has even recently been shown to be 100x more effective than traditional antibiotics in fighting the intestinal bacteria that causes food poisoning. http://bit.ly/KFGhzo. Its benefits for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, helping diabetes, clearing blood vessels, and thinning blood are well-known.

However, a report in the journal, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, published on June 24, 2009 cautioned that excessive use of crude garlic may negatively impact spermatogenesis (sperm production) by causing the death of the germ cells which develop into sperm cells. The study was conducted using rats given higher concentrations of crude garlic than humans typically consume. However, it was noted that human spermatogenesis is more sensitive to stress than rat spermatogenesis, and that human spermatogenesis could therefore still be negatively impacted by excessive crude garlic consumption, even at a lower concentration. In fact, the study suggested the possibility of crude garlic consumption inducing azoospermia (lack of sperm) in men with low sperm counts. See the abstract here: http://bit.ly/R1Vw95

So while many naturalists and homeopaths (and your great grandma) may encourage the mass consumption of garlic as a cure for male infertility, there are two important take-aways here. First, do everything in moderation. Something between a garlic knot and eating a garlic bulb like it’s an apple may be in order. Unless, of course, you know you have a low sperm count. This brings me to the second point…

Second, nothing is a substitute for a thorough male fertility evaluation by a medical professional, preferably a urologist who specializes in male infertility. Few things are sadder than seeing patients who wasted valuable time exploring unproven natural alternatives which did not address or correct an underlying problem that required medical intervention. Also, if you are taking a garlic supplement, or any herbal/holistic supplements, be sure to let your R.E. know.

Long Island IVF has renowned urologist and male infertility specialist, Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, on staff for anyone in need of an evaluation.

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Love garlic? What’s your favorite garlic-laden food? A favorite pizza, or a dip on game day? Please share the recipe and give props to its creator!

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T is More Than a Song Title

By David Kreiner MD, and Tracey Minella

July 30th, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Free Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net /Danilo Rizutti

Here’s an oldie of Dr. Kreiner’s. I’ve dusted it off as a farewell to Jennifer Lopez as she leaves American Idol. Her position on IVF may be upsetting to many patients who need help conceiving…especially since she has been blessed with twins.

Interestingly, Mariah Carey, the newly-signed Idol judge, is also a celebrity mom of twins. But she has a different view on getting medical help when trying to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. After the birth of her twins, Mariah (who’d suffered a previous miscarriage) told Barbara Walters that she used progesterone each month while TTC and then for 10 weeks after becoming pregnant.

Like it or not, many people view celebrities as role models. So it’s nice to see a celebrity who is respectful of the feelings of those who need medical assistance to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Post your gut reaction now.

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 19: Fertility Drugs Do Not Increase Risk for Ovarian Cancer

By David Kreiner, MD

July 29th, 2012 at 12:04 am

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Nineteen: Fertility Drugs Do Not Increase Risk for Ovarian Cancer. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://podcast.eastcoastfertility.com/?p=109 

Fertility Drugs Do Not Increase Risk for Ovarian Cancer 

I am often asked whether the medications we use in our fertility treatments can cause ovarian cancer.  In 2009, the largest study to date concluded that they do not.  Instead the data suggests that factors related to the diagnosis of infertility such as genetic or biological factors and not the use of fertility medications can increase the overall risk of ovarian cancer. 

The study was reported in the British Medical Journal online February 5, 2009.  These data are reassuring but cannot absolutely rule out a very small increase in ovarian cancer that could perhaps occur much later in life, at an age beyond that which was studied. 

A review of the specifics are in the chapter but the bottom line appears to be that fertility medications either do not increase the risk whatsoever of ovarian cancer but if they do perhaps at a much later stage than was studied and/or the effect is so slight that it still has not been detected.  Now that these medications as they are currently given or in their earlier form have been used for 50 years it is reassuring that data fail to demonstrate an increased risk for ovarian cancer. 

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about fertility medications and ovarian cancer? 

Are you aware that Long Island IVF is giving away a free basic Micro-IVF cycle, valued at $3,900.00? Patients who undergo micro-IVF cycles, also known as mini-IVF cycles, use less fertility medications than they’d use in traditional IVF. Check out the contest here: http://bit.ly/LHbmQR 

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions.

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Connecting with Your Olympic Spirit

By Tracey Minella

July 27th, 2012 at 10:55 am

Swept up in the excitement of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London?

Imagine being an Olympian. One of the “chosen” ones. Different from all the rest. The one everyone is rooting for. The one with the big dream that sometimes feels out of reach.

Come to think of it, it’s not that hard to imagine living as a member of a select group, focused on a single goal, different from others, and complete with your own cheering section. Chasing the dream.

Basically, you are an athlete in the Fertility Olympics. And unfortunately, our team uniform is a paper gown.

When you embarked on your fertility journey, you probably never imagined it’d be like this. Not this hard. Not this long. You’ve had all the tests and preliminary procedures. You’ve set and met goals for good general health. You’ve sacrificed more than you ever thought possible. You focus on your goal every minute of every day… like tunnel vision. In fact, everything you do is connected with making that dream come true. With getting your one moment in time…

Of course, there is a difference between you and an Olympic athlete in an individual sport. (And it’s not just that no one’s approaching you from Nike or Wheaties.) Whether they win a medal or not is entirely in their own hands. It’s their moment to succeed or fail. But your outcome is not entirely in your hands. And that can be frustrating to say the least. You are not ultimately in control of your dream coming true. A doctor, nurse, and maybe even an embryologist are the ones in control.

You are more like the Olympic team athlete. Your success depends, in part, on your teammates’ performance. So be sure you choose the right team. Find the right Reproductive Endocrinologist. Check out the success rates, including the live birth rates. Because the right team will be your dream team.

Now, bring home the gold.

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How did you find your fertility dream team? The internet? A friend’s recommendation? An ad?

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=23151&picture=london-2012-olympic-torch

 

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NWW Photo Caption Contest No.30

By Tracey Minella

July 25th, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Sometimes, we need a mid-week “pick-me-up” when Wednesday rolls around. Something fun to get us through the rest of the work week.

Well, it’s NWW time! That stands for Nearly Wordless Wednesday… 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. Anyone need a super-charged tall, vente, grande steaming drink to get you going? Or maybe a frappuccino? What is your favorite?  Win the contest and the gift card is yours to choose it!

But first let’s announce last week’s winner: Laboradores! Congrats! Remember the lady on the boardwalk who lost her treat to a bold and brazen seagull? Well, we liked Laboradores’ caption: “You may have my lunch, but you’re gonna be my dinner!” the best.

Laboradores, please email your address and the words “NWW Contest #29-Baskin Robbins” to Lindsay at lmontello@liivf.com to claim your gift card.

Now on to this week’s challenge…

Give this photo a caption on the blog. Judging from the photo, it looks like this girl needs a little help getting through the day! Wonder what tuckered her out or what might wake her up?

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. 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.funnychix.com/august/funny-pictures-tired.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 18 Medications for IVF Treatment

By David Kreiner MD

July 24th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Eighteen: Medications for IVF Treatment. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://podcast.eastcoastfertility.com/?p=106 

 Medications for IVF Treatment 

Prior to Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones initiating gonadotropin therapy for IVF, success rates were a pitiful 1%.  Utilizing Follicle Stimulating hormone (FSH) and Leuteinizing Hormone (LH) to stimulate the ovaries and recruit a number of eggs improved pregnancy rates for IVF  to a more respectable 10% by 1980 in Norfolk, Virginia in what later became known as the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. 

Dr. Jones had pioneered the use of FSH and LH in the U.S. for ovulation induction in the 1960′s.  Today, nearly 50 years later, these hormones are used annually in hundreds of thousands of cycles and have resulted in over 5 million births by IVF alone with success rates for IVF at Long Island IVF for example greater than 50% live birth rate per fresh embryo transfer. 

Still, concern has been expressed regarding the safety of these hormones.  Multiple pregnancies, a common side effect of IVF in the 1980′s and 1990′s due to the inefficiency of the procedure necessitating multiple embryo transfer is seen in less than 25% of cases and rarely results in more than twins. 

The risk of cancer, which has been a concern raised by many over the years, is either minimal or nonexistent. 

Recently, the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) has been raised in the media with a sensationalized 10% incidence reported.  OHSS is a syndrome whereby a woman’s ovaries enlarge, fluid accumulates in the abdomen, sometimes in the soft tissues of the legs and occasionally around the lungs.  It rarely can cause clotting in the blood that increases the risk of a pulmonary embolus, a complication I have seen twice since 1985 (both women had babies and did fine afterwards). 

In fact most studies identify a 3% incidence of OHSS which due to recent prophylactic treatments is becoming less common with less severe symptoms.  At Long Island IVF, patients at increased risk identified by having an estradiol of greater than 3000 are prophylactically treated with a medication, cabergoline, which minimizes the OHSS.  Additionally, the final stage of maturation in these cases is triggered using lupron and a very low dose of hCG further minimizing the risk for OHSS.  In patients with the greatest risk for OHSS, all embryos are cryopreserved and the patient undergoes embryo transfer in a subsequent unstimulated cycle. 

As a result of these measures, OHSS has become a rare serious side effect of gonadotropin use in IVF at Long Island IVF while live baby rates have flourished. 

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about medications for IVF treatment? 

Are you aware that Long Island IVF is giving away a free basic Micro-IVF cycle, valued at $3,900.00? Check out the contest here: http://bit.ly/LHbmQR 

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions.

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Should Parents Have to Take a Parenting Course?

By Tracey Minella

July 23rd, 2012 at 12:42 am

Ever want to tell the fertile folks: Just because you CAN procreate, doesn’t always mean you SHOULD!

I’m sure this has happened to you. You’re out and about doing errands or something and suddenly you see it. In the interest of decorum, I’ll call it “parental incompetence”.

Now maybe we’re just so good at spotting it because we’re acutely aware that we’ll be better parents someday than most of the people for whom parenthood came easy. Or because part of our coping mechanism involves zeroing in on morons whose actions announce to the world that they clearly don’t deserve to be parents.

In today’s episode of The Young and the Ridiculous, I was driving on the LIE when I spied one of those popular Jeep Wranglers ahead of me. You know the ones where all the doors and windows and roof come off, leaving you tooling around in a death trap with a roll-bar…

Well there are two young guys in the front and a young woman in the back with her long, loose hair whipping around in a frenzy in the 70 mph winds. The woman put her arm around the seat next to her and leans over. But there’s no one sitting there.

Then I see it.

A car seat.

“Are you *#%&* kidding me???!!!” I hear my mind scream. So, I pull up beside them because I cannot imagine they’d actually have a baby in that thing, doing 70+mph on the LIE.

Sure enough, this little baby with its short blonde hair whipping all around was noticeably distressed and uncomfortable, with its head turned toward the idiot woman. OMG, I think, as the “What ifs” start to flood in.

What if it can’t breathe with the force of the 70+ mph winds in its little face? What if the wind rushing into its ears causes an infection, or worse? What if something blows into its eye? And then I looked at the roll-bar. What if, heaven forbid 1000x, there was an accident?

In this day and age, it can be dangerous to confront a stranger…especially a stupid one. You just never know who’s armed and dangerous. Yet it’s hard to live with yourself if you don’t speak up.

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What would you do? Have you ever confronted someone about their questionable parenting? Do you think you have a shorter fuse for these things because of your infertility?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=15127&picture=baby

 

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Does the Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Make You Question TTC?

By Tracey Minella

July 20th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Another senseless mass murder. Not Columbine or Virginia Tech. Not a school. But just as senseless.

More than fifty unsuspecting movie-goers at a Batman midnight premiere were injured. Twelve are dead. Reportedly, one of the victims was only three months old. A baby. It could have been any of us at any theater in any state.

Sadly, while this is tragic, it is no longer shocking. No doubt movie theaters will now enhance their security measures, joining airports and schools in the metal detector line-up. And it shouldn’t take long before a politician backs a bill to ban midnight premieres. But it’s too late to help today’s victims. And the sickos will find another way.

I was newly pregnant on Sept 11, 2001, my seventh IVF. And for a split second… no, a nanosecond…  the thought actually crossed my mind that day “Should I be bringing a defenseless baby into this world?” Of course, I squashed it immediately and hoped no one actually heard me think it, for I knew how truly lucky I was.

But that day was a day like no other.

Until Columbine, or Virgina Tech, or today.

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Anyone pregnant or TTC out there willing to admit they’ve thought the same thing when these tragedies occur?

 

Photo credit: http://www.wpclipart.com/cartoon/people/comic_situations/irate_at_the_theater.jpg

 

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Does Having a Baby After a Loss Heal the Pain?

By Tracey Minella

July 19th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

No one should ever have to experience the loss of a child. Ever. It’s quite simply not the natural order of life.

Whether through a miscarriage, still birth, or after birth, the pain is unspeakable, unbearable. And so personal.

When comforting someone who has suffered this loss, please choose your words wisely…if you even use words at all. Sometimes a look, a squeeze of the hand, or a hug is all that’s in order…or welcome.

Sometimes just doing a task that needs doing speaks volumes more than the well-meaning but awkward chatter. Bring a casserole, do an errand. Offer to listen over a cup of coffee. You don’t understand the loss. Even if you suffered a similar loss yourself, everyone’s experience is different.

Which brings me to the question: Does having a baby after losing a baby heal the pain?

Some people hold their grief close and never let go, even after the blessing of another child… for one cannot replace another. Others manage to let go of the loss, almost completely, in their joy over a new beginning, a new life… for what’s the use of looking back.

For me, a twin loss at 9 weeks, on my third IVF attempt, coming two weeks after an emergency surgery, was a tough loss to process. The surgery left me in a state that would further handicap my chances of conceiving again. I was devastated.

But after three more IVFs, I had my little girl. At that moment, all was made right in my world. I was healed. And part of me feels guilty about that.

But I look back now that I do have two children and find comfort in the idea that it is these two children, not the earlier two, that I was supposed to have. Sure, I think about what age those angels would be and what they’d be doing sometimes, but if I’d had them, then I would not have these exact children that I do have now. And that thought is also unbearable.

Without in any way minimizing a loss by early miscarriage, I wonder if grief is generally harder to bear the longer you’ve loved the child, the longer the attachment. Or whether grief subsides faster for those who do experience a subsequent birth than for those whose arms remain empty. Sure, it sounds logical. Except there’s no place for logic here.

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What do you think?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=1463&picture=mother-and-baby

 

 

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NWW Photo Caption Contest No.29

By Tracey Minella

July 18th, 2012 at 11:20 am

July is National Ice Cream Month! I’m inspired!

And luckily it’s Wednesday again! It’s NWW time! That stands for Nearly Wordless Wednesday… 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 Baskin Robbins’ gift card. Come on and play. Anyone need a super sundae to get you going? Or maybe a milkshake? What is your favorite flavor?  Win the contest and the gift card is yours to choose your favorite!

But first let’s announce last week’s winner: Jason! Congrats! Remember the gigantic public pool that was crowded with seemingly half the population of China? Well, we liked Jason’s caption: “If this is Plan “A” for keeping cool…I think I’ll go with Plan “B”!” the best.

Jason, please email your address and the words “NWW Contest #28-Starbucks” to Lindsay at lmontello@liivf.com to claim your gift card.

Now on to this week’s challenge…brought to you in honor of National Ice Cream month (National Ice Cream Day was this week).

Give this photo a caption on the blog. It can be a general caption. Or it can be what the woman is about to scream. It’s up to you.

Best entry winner gets Baskin Robbins 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. 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://wtfoodge.com/tag/ice-cream/page/2/

 

 

 

 

 

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