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Archive for October, 2012

It’s ASRM Conference Time!

By Tracey Minella

October 19th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

credit: photographic 1980/

As we speak, Long Island IVF’s Drs. David Kreiner and Steven Brenner, along with other members of the LI IVF team, are heading to the airport, getting ready to board a flight to the annual American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Conference in sunny San Diego.

It is the most anticipated conference of the year. Long Island IVF always sends representatives to the ASRM.  (Of course, others stay behind to take care of the patients.)

There’s a social mixer for this multi day event tomorrow. Opening ceremonies are on Sunday. This year’s theme is “Setting the Course for Reproductive Medicine.” It is the most popular and largest educational gathering of reproductive endocrinologists and related medical professionals in the country. Day after day, the team attends a series of seminars on the latest in cutting edge techniques and technologies. The evenings are for mingling socializing, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. The final seminar is on Thursday.

Every year, there is at least one big “takeaway” to share. Sometimes there are several really promising developments. And as soon as the Long Island IVF team discovers it, we’ll be sharing it. Look for a wrap up post by Dr. Kreiner.

Want to learn more about what they’ll be discussing? Check out the ASRM conference details at:

Do you have any questions about a particular topic on the schedule? Let us know.

On Twitter? Stay up-to-date with the #ASRM2012 hashtag.

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Do you think all practices should send representatives to conferences such as the ASRM to keep abreast of new developments in the field? Does your clinic participate?

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 32: Octomom

By David Kreiner, MD

October 18th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Thirty-Two: Octomom. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here:


A year ago, the Medical Board of California revoked the license of Dr. Michael Kamrava, finding he “did not exercise sound judgment” in transferring 12 embryos to Nadya Suleman, who already had six children at home. The ruling, while not surprising, was illuminating, and it’s worth reflecting on the five things we learned from Octomom: 


  • Know How to Say “No”: There is a point where physicians have to make a judgment call. Pregnancies with triplets – let alone eight infants – put the mother at high risk of serious medical complications and put unborn children at risk for developmental disabilities. Physicians need to rely on their professional expertise and experience to know when to turn down a patient request no matter how vehemently it is made.


  • Beware the Patient with Tunnel Vision: Often when a patient comes to a fertility doctor, unsuccessful pregnancy attempts have made her anxious and determined. She might want to get pregnant regardless of the risks that pregnancy may present.


  • Less is More: In 1999, 35 percent of all transfers involved four or more embryos. In 2009, only 10 percent had four or more. And those high-number transfers are generally reserved for patients with significant fertility challenges. In contrast, Octomom already underwent multiple successful IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedures and had given birth to six children when she had her 12-embryo transfer.


  • Know When to Deviate: While Dr. Kamrava’s deviation from guidelines was an extreme departure, deviations do occur for specific reasons, such as repeated IVF failure, age-related infertility and poor egg quality. It is important to know when implanting several embryos is appropriate.


  • “Reduce” Risk: Dr. Kamrava complained that Octomom refused to undergo “selective reduction,” which would have reduced the number of embryos she carried to term. Here, again, is an argument for fewer transfers. Had he transferred fewer embryos, Octomom would not have had to face such a difficult decision.

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about what could have been done differently to prevent the Octomom case? How much weight do you give your doctor’s recommendation on the number of embryos to transfer?

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions and Dr. Kreiner will answer them.


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A Patient’s Story

By Jessica Upham

October 16th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

credit: victor habbick/freedigital

For no special reason, it felt like the right time to unearth and again share a beautiful essay received from a patient in 2011, in response to the free micro-IVF contest that year. For those who missed it or want to re-read it, here is Jessica’s essay:

Bobby’d be the Best Big Brother

A few months ago I ran into an old childhood friend while grocery shopping with my little miracle. We reminisced about how much fun we would have playing together with all of our dolls. She mentioned a specific day when she got angry with me for “always wanting to be the mommy”. I could remember that day clearly…she asked “why do YOU always get all the dolls? Why are YOU always the mommy?” My reply was simple, “Well, because I really want to be the mommy & I think I’ll be really good at it”. Boy, some things never change!

Even then I knew I wanted children, although I never knew just how badly I wanted to be a mother until I met my amazing husband. Everything came so naturally with us. In a way, each day was new, yet, at the same time I felt like he had been part of me for my whole life. We had a short courtship…wedding planning was a cinch…the honeymoon was bliss…the first year was a fairy tale. We did everything right…we followed the rules – first comes LOVE (o.k. check), then comes MARRIAGE (o.k. got it)… now where the heck is that baby carriage already?

We made the decision on a plane, returning home from our 1 year anniversary trip (where on the third day we knew that yet another month has passed without the news we were hoping for), to make an appointment with my GYN. After a year of trying the “good old fashioned way” we knew we might need a little help. It was an easy decision to make…but it was a hard decision to accept. Easy because I already knew I would do anything for my children (even if they don’t exist yet). Hard because I had grown accustomed to the “breeziness” of our relationship. How would this affect our love?

It seemed like every other day I was asked, “So when are you gonna have a baby?” For the first year I’d laugh it off and say “Oh trust me, we’re trying – OH BOY are we trying.”, then give a little wink- wink, nudge- nudge…laugh on the outside, cry on the inside (and in the parking lot, and in the car, and in my husband’s arms). It’s a natural question, but for someone who is having trouble trying to conceive, it can be very intrusive. It also gets harder as the months would pass to think of new “clever ways” to change the subject.

After a few procedures (2 HSGs and one laparoscopic surgery) to determine what we were really up against, we picked a specialist that we stayed with for 1 full year. We did quite a number of I.U.I.’s without success. I thought that all the negative pregnancy tests were hard before – but it did not compare to getting the same old results after all of that work and all of those injections. After a year we began to loose hope and decided it was time for a break. But I couldn’t sit still for long.

Armed with my laptop I began to research all of the specialists in our area. Almost instantly I found East Coast Fertility (now merged with Long Island IVF)…and for some reason through all of my searching, I just kept going back to them. Reading more, learning more, gaining more confidence…something told me that THEY would be the ones to help us begin our family. I spoke with my husband and we set up our consultation. It did not take long for us to make our decision. It was time to move on to IVF and we were going forward with East Coast Fertility.

From our initial orientation and all of the wonderful staff, we knew this was where we needed to be…but it still didn’t ease our nerves the day that BIG BOX arrived.

I remember walking slowly to the door and taking a deep breath as I signed the driver’s electronic tablet to accept this “special delivery”. I laid everything out on the kitchen table and had what can only be described as “momentary stress amnesia”. OH MY GOODNESS…how much of this do I inject? OH NO, where are my Menopur Q caps? What needs to be refrigerated? I forgot EVERYTHING! One phone call and I was back on track and ready to go.

On Friday, May 1st 2009, we had our eggs retrieved. I laughed with my husband as he snapped pictures of me in my gown and hat before going in to the operating room (thanks babe!). I love him so much for being so strong… I think sometimes people lose sight of the fact that just because it’s the woman that’s getting the injections, this is just as hard for the amazing men in our lives as well. We got the call the following day that we had 5 fertilized eggs. “Our babies are there waiting for us” I told him.

Monday, May 4th 2009 was our transfer day…this time I wasn’t the only one in a gown and hat…he held my hand so tightly the entire time. I didn’t turn away from his eyes for the whole procedure. We just smiled and kept telling each other how lucky we were and how much we loved each other. They implanted 3 embryos and before we left I got a picture of all three. They also let me go home with our dish…or as I like to call it “his first apartment”. We started a new tradition that day. Every morning before my husband left for work from then until today I get 4 kisses 1 for me and 1 for each embryo. Earlier I mentioned having questioned how IVF would affect our love…well it only makes the strong – STRONGER.

Friday, May 15th 2009 – We tried to start the day as if it were any other day – as if either one of us could forget that later today we’d find out we might be pregnant. I was at work when I got a voicemail from Dr. Pena. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he had the news we were hoping for. Still, when I dialed him back I held my breath for what seemed like forever. Our entire long hard journey flashed before my eyes. When he said I was pregnant, our future immediately wiped away all of the past. Now flashing before my eyes, like a big bright neon light was the word FAMILY…FAMILY…FAMILY! We did it! We are going to be a family! I have my husband’s reaction to the news on video. We watch it every now and then and relive that life changing moment.

Every day since then has been amazing! I LOVED being pregnant! Boy, was I ever proud of that belly of mine! We found out we were having one healthy boy; there was no question that we would carry on the family name.

January 9th 2010 we gave birth to Robert Ellis Upham III (his friends call him Bobby!). At 12:21 AM I first looked into the eyes of my son. I kissed his little “gooey” head and introduced myself – but he already knew me (we go way back). Before they took him from my chest to clean him up I whispered in his ear, “Baby, I am so proud of you. Welcome to the world. We waited so long to meet you. I promise I will love you forever and ever, and I promise I will NEVER skip pages when I read to you”.

He is now almost 16 months old. He has mommy’s eyes and daddy’s chin. He has the most infectious laugh. He loves to dance and he has 11 teeth. I can’t get enough of him. He has a great sense of humor and knows just how to make me smile. I need him just as much as he needs me. I can’t think of what my life would be like without him. I still marvel at just how amazing it is to be his mommy- I still can’t believe he came out of me!

I am so grateful for what I already have. I thank my lucky stars every day! Infertility hurts, be it your 1st attempt or be it secondary infertility – pain is pain, heartbreak is heartbreak. The desire to be a mother doesn’t always end after you’ve had your 1st, often…it becomes stronger.

Winning a free Micro IVF would mean so much to my family. Thinking about the possibility of expanding our love, giving Bobby a sibling, carrying and loving another child who is SO VERY wanted, is overwhelming! As I look into my son’s eyes, tears come to mine….he would be the best big brother any kid could ever ask for!

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Anyone else want to share their story? We’d  love to hear yours.



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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

By Tracey Minella

October 15th, 2012 at 8:24 am

Perhaps the only thing harder to imagine living through besides infertility, would be the loss of a child.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Many women undergoing infertility treatment are understandably so focused on just becoming pregnant, that they don’t even contemplate the possibility of a loss in the event they are successful. I think part of that mindset has to do with self-preservation during the infertility process.

Infertility is such a hard journey to endure that it’s only natural to tell yourself that getting pregnant is all you need to do to return to a happy and typical life. It’s only natural to think there could not possibly be anything else awful in the future. It’s only natural to believe this is the only roadblock and once you get pregnant, it’ll be smooth sailing. After all, how much heartache and pain could the universe lay at your feet?  Surely infertility is more than enough grief for one person to bear. Right?

Well, while the majority of infertility patients who do conceive go on to enjoy uneventful and healthy pregnancies with happy outcomes, there are others who do not. They may suffer a miscarriage at any point during their pregnancy…even more than once… or lose a baby during or just after childbirth. They may also lose a child to illness or accident at any time before adulthood. It’s hard to even let your mind go there.

None of us are immune from the possibility of this unthinkable experience. Many of us push the thought away, believing no more misfortune will come our way…that we’ve paid our dues. Others may hover over their miracle babies, half believing their reality is a dream that could be taken away at any moment. I admit to being a tad overprotective of my IVF babies out of fears many of my friends don’t share. Ok, maybe more than a tad.

For those who have suffered such unspeakable losses and live in the Long Island area, Long Island IVF’s counselor/psychologist, Bina Benisch, can help.

But I’d also recommend a beautiful and supportive online community for all grieving mothers to check out. The young woman who maintains this site, CarlyMarie, lost her son Christian. Her site needs to be experienced to believe. It is impossible to describe how powerfully healing her site is unless you see it yourself. Her beautiful photography and words and projects designed to help you heal are inspiring. Her website may be found at And another helpful resource would be Still Standing OnLine Magazine at

If you or someone you know is suffering with the loss of a child, please pass this information along.

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If you’ve suffered the loss of a child and want to share your experience, or want to recommend a site or service that is helping you through the grief, please do so.

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 31: When Are You Too Old to be a Mother?

By David Kreiner MD

October 12th, 2012 at 9:44 am

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Thirty-One: When Are You Too Old to be a Mother? You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here:

 When Are You Too Old to be a Mother?

Over the years, there have been reports of women as old as in their 70’s having babies as a result of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) performed using donated eggs from a young fertile donor.  Immediately after these reports appear, I am bombarded with questions and criticisms about how wrong it is that we (somehow I am included as part of the responsible party as an IVF practitioner) allow women to have children beyond that which is not just natural but also reasonable. Those of us in IVF have had many experiences with making the news as this medical technology pushes to the edges of what society views as acceptable. 

We are often put in the position of making decisions with our patients that have even larger implications to society than the individual patient.  I do my best to look at each patient and each situation as unique and treat them accordingly.  Regarding the age of a prospective egg recipient however we are dependent on the patient’s honestly reporting such to us.  Unfortunately, there are circumstances where patients have misled their doctors and in the case of one 70 year old mother, she had reported to the clinic that she was in fact 53. 

Even so, it is the responsibility of the IVF provider to ensure that a woman is healthy and capable of bearing the pregnancy, giving birth and being a mother.  There is not an absolute age cutoff at which point a woman is universally unfit to undergo IVF and become pregnant. 

My personal oldest woman I helped achieve a pregnancy was a 53 year old who delivered at age 54.  She had a normal stress test, EKG and was cleared by an internist, perinatologist and psychologist. 

Some point out that beyond a certain age, it is unnatural to become a mother and that it puts the family at risk that she may not be around to help raise the child or that perhaps the woman lacks the energy and stamina to raise the child properly.  I personally struggle to separate my own feelings about the proper age to have a child which may be inappropriate for others who have a different perspective.  My responsibility as the physician is to the health of my patients, the well-being of the child and for the good of society. 

Many women in their 50’s have the health and energy to carry a pregnancy and bear a child with no more risk than many women 10-20 years younger.  That being said, what about the risk that the mother may not be around to raise the child to maturity?   There is no question that a young healthy couple with sufficient financial support and emotional maturity is ideal to raise a family.  But, happy, successful families can take on many different faces.  Single parent families exist, survive and often thrive.  One can never be certain that the condition of the couple at the time of conception will continue through the child’s birth or for that matter until the child has reached maturity.  In addition, at least 50% of couples in the U.S. become divorced.  One can argue that couples at risk of divorce should not get pregnant. 

I apologize that I cannot offer an answer to this question, when are you too old to be a mother.  For me personally, it is more a question of health …for the mother and baby… which needs to be evaluated individually for each case utilizing testing and experts to make the best assessment.  Otherwise, I feel it is an individual’s right to choose as long as society is unaffected or supports the individual in those cases where the pregnancy has a significant impact beyond the immediate family. 

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about what fertility doctors might consider when questioning if an older woman may be able to conceive and carry a pregnancy?

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions and Dr. Kreiner will answer them.


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Long Island IVF Supports the Carol M. Baldwin Fund for Breast Cancer Research at the Long Island Women’s Expo this Weekend!

By Tracey Minella

October 11th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

credit: idea go/

What better way to support breast cancer awareness this month than to attend a fun and informative weekend event that is focused on exclusively on women…and benefits the Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund? Meet us at the Long Island Women’s Expo Weekend!

Ladies, ladies…you do not want to miss this two-day spectacular event. Admission is just $5.00 (cash only). So, head on down the Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood Campus to get in on the action. They’ve got everything of interest to Long Island’s women in the areas of health and beauty, fashion and fitness, wellness and wine! There are tons of freebies…wine-tastings, cooking and fitness demonstrations, and FREE hair and cosmetic makeovers! Plus tons more to see…that’s why it’s a two day event!

Feeling lucky? There are tons of giveaways, raffles and prizes, and the first 250 visitors get a free gift bag. Some of the highlights include:

  • a $500 Expo shopping spree;
  • a $500 Spa “Day of Beauty”  and
  • a Gurney’s “Getaway Weekend” for 4 Ladies

Of course, Long Island IVF’s Lindsay Montello will be there with a special surprise of her own, so be sure to come by our booth for your chance to win!!

Now is the perfect time of year to focus on your health and make some new goals…AND TO SHOP the hundreds of vendors’ booths! Need a new purse? A cool scarf? A divorce? (Surprised you there, right? Well, apparently there are divorce lawyers there, too!) Truly something for everyone!

Or if money is a bit tight, check out all the free stuff… like hair and cosmetic makeovers and wine-tasting! Only $5.00 cash admission, a portion of which goes to benefit breast cancer research! It’s a win-win.

The Long Island Women’s Expo is this weekend Saturday, October 13th  from 10 am-8 pm and Sunday, October 14th from 10 am- 6 pm at the SCCC, Brentwood Campus. For more information, including a list of vendors, sponsors, directions, and the schedule of presentations, click here:

So grab your girlfriends and head out into the fresh fall air. If you go, be sure to snap a picture by our booth and share it on LIIVF’s Facebook page at , so everyone can see the fun they missed.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Do you like to attend Health and Wellness Fairs? What kinds of booths and raffles interest you?


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Discoveries Along Your Infertility Journey

By Tracey Minella

October 8th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

image courtesy of nuttakit/free

Today, celebrate the day Columbus discovered America.

Imagine starting out on a journey on uncharted waters… a handful of nervous strangers in the same boat. As you’re leaving shore, almost everyone on the dock thinks you’re crazy, or at a minimum, doesn’t understand your need to go on this adventure. Time passes with no end in sight as you plod along fighting bouts of nausea and depression. Then, the journey gets really long. Your patience grows thin. Mutiny crosses your mind.

Hey, I didn’t sign up for this!

Come to think of it, you don’t need to imagine this scenario…you’re in the same boat. Well, a similar boat. Sure, you don’t have to worry about scurvy (thanks, pre-natals!) but navigating those IM needles is no picnic. Walk the plank or take Clomid? Tough call.

When you’re diagnosed with infertility, your life veers off the path you thought it’d take. And a new journey begins. It could be relatively quick and inexpensive or it could steal years from your life and be so emotionally, physically, and financially challenging that you just want to jump overboard.

But there are discoveries along the way, though we don’t always realize the lessons until looking back years later. Those experiences shape us into who we are meant to be, and show us what we are made of. They test relationships and build friendships. Some people face unspeakable losses and others unimaginable joy.

And, like Columbus, we don’t always end up where we thought we would at the outset.

But the journey does end for all of us, whether it’s with a biological baby… a baby through donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryos… a baby through surrogacy or a gestational carrier… a baby through adoption… or even a decision to live child-free.

And the place you land is a place of new beginnings.

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Was/Is your infertility journey longer than you thought? What have you discovered as a result of your infertility journey?


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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 30: The Gift of Life and Its Price

By David Kreiner MD

October 5th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Welcome to the Journey to the Crib Podcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Thirty: The Gift of Life and Its Price. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here:

 The Gift of Life and Its Price

 IVF has been responsible for over 1 million babies born worldwide who otherwise without the benefit of IVF may never have been.  This gift of life comes with a steep price tag that according to a newspaper article in the New York Times in 2009 was $1 Billion per year for the cost of premature IVF babies.

 According to the CDC reported in the same NY Times issue, thousands of premature babies would be prevented resulting in a $1.1 Billion savings if elective single embryo transfer (SET) was performed on good prognosis patients. 

 The argument often given by a patient who wants to transfer multiple embryos is that to do SET would lessen their chances and to go for additional frozen embryo transfers is costly.

 In fact, if one considers the combined success rate of the fresh and frozen embryo transfers that are available from a single stimulation and retrieval, the success rate is at least as high if not higher in the cases of fresh single embryo transfers. 

At Long Island IVF, in an effort to eliminate the financial motivation for multiple embryo transfers, we offer free cryopreservation and embryo storage for a year to our single embryo transfer patients.  In addition, we offer them three (3) frozen embryo transfers for the price of one for up to a year after their retrieval.

IVF offered with single embryo transfer is safer, less costly and probably the most effective fertility treatment available for good prognosis patients.                     

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about single embryo transfers?  Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions and Dr. Kreiner will answer them.


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Long Island IVF Doctor Surprises Recipient with a Free Micro-IVF Cycle

By Tracey Minella

October 4th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

At long last, we have the video footage of the moment when Long Island IVF’s Dr. Joseph Pena surprised our 2012 Extreme Family Building Makeover recipient with a FREE Micro-IVF cycle back on September 4, 2012!*

It was the pre-dawn hours on the rainy morning of September 4, 2012. It was the day most of Long Island’s children were going back-to-school, but this was before even the most punctual parent would have been awake and getting the troops ready. It was still dark!

We chose this day to surprise our recipient because it’s often a day when infertile couples are particularly sad… since many do not have a child to send to school yet. It’s another day that is focused on families and children. Backpacks and lunch boxes. Mommies bonding at the bus stop.

But in the background, in the silence, many an infertile woman is heading past the school buses on her way to the fertility clinic for morning monitoring… if she is lucky enough to be able to afford treatment. This is our day to bring happiness to one woman who needs but doesn’t have infertility coverage. Our day to give back. It is a day that offers hope where things may have seemed hopeless.

Even in the dark. Even in the rain. There was light.

Please enjoy Jessica’s big moment, shared with her consent and captured on tape forever, in this video: Jessica also provided the photo for use in this post.

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Feel free to wish Jessica your best as she moves forward with her journey. We were so moved by the stories of all of our entrants. We hope that those of you who did not win in your first year of entering will… like Jessica did… try again in the future.

*As stated in the contest rules, this contest was in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Facebook.  All entrants or participants completely released Facebook for any claims. Participants disclosed their entry information to LIIVF, not Facebook. Participants could not enter on LIIVF’s Facebook (since this was not a Facebook Contest). Winner was notified in person as indicated in the Sept. 4, 2012 video herein and after being notified in person, the winner was announced on this blog on Sept. 4, 2012; winner was not notified on Facebook.

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Fertility-Saving Options for Breast Cancer Patients

By Tracey Minella

October 2nd, 2012 at 8:11 pm


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The movement to remind women to get mammograms is in full swing.  Pink… the color for breast cancer awareness… is everywhere. It is no longer taboo to talk about breasts! Silicone bracelets proclaiming “Save the Tatas” and “I Love Boobies” have been spotted on the wrists of young and old alike.

Society’s newfound comfort with the word “breast” …and its slang…is evidence of how far breast cancer awareness has come. And it offers hope that the infertility awareness campaign will someday join breast cancer in terms of public awareness, funding, and support. If we can openly talk openly about breasts, can ovaries be far behind?

When you’re trying to conceive and you can’t, and then you go to a fertility specialist for help, and it still doesn’t happen, some women might think their life is over. That nothing could be worse. That no one has it harder than they do. Some may even feel that there’s no reason to go on if they can’t have a baby.

That probably sounds melodramatic to anyone who hasn’t faced down infertility… who hasn’t faced the possibility that the most maternal of our instincts, desires, and needs could be denied. But while the infertile woman is absolutely justified in feeling the whole range of emotions that accompany her diagnosis, things could actually be worse.

“What could possibly be worse than being infertile?” you ask.

You could have breast cancer.

It wasn’t all that long ago that a breast cancer diagnosis, with its accompanying chemotherapy and/or radiation, meant the end of a woman’s dream of having a biological child. The focus…and rightly so…was on saving her life. Not her breast. And certainly not her fertility.

Today there are more options for women. Now, women may have the chance to freeze their eggs or embryos prior to undergoing chemo or radiation or prior to surgically removing their ovaries. By doing that, women may be able to preserve their fertility for a future time when their breast cancer…or any cancer… crisis is behind them.

Although some breast cancer survivors do not undergo chemotherapy or radiation and, accordingly don’t compromise their fertility, many women do need these more aggressive cancer treatments. Thanks to egg and embryo freezing now, and IVF and embryo transfers later, more breast cancer survivors will be able to enjoy the post-cancer miracle of giving birth to a biological child.

Hopefully most oncologists and primary care doctors would refer young, newly-diagnosed cancer patients who have yet to start or complete their families to a reproductive endocrinologist for a consultation prior to chemotherapy or radiation or oophorectomy if time permits. If not, it’s an omission that can’t be remedied later.

Even if the referral is recommended, can a newly-diagnosed cancer patient even wrap her head around saving her fertility when she fears for her life? And if so, does her particular cancer allow her the time to explore this option? And what about teens whose health care is effectively still in the hands of their parents? Will the parents even think about their “baby’s” future fertility in the chaos of living through a parent’s worst nightmare?

It’s up to all of us to help spread the word about fertility-saving options so no woman who beats cancer has to find out afterward that she can’t become pregnant using her own eggs. So, file this information away and hope you never need to use it:

If any female you know (except post-menopausal women)…even a teen… is ever diagnosed with breast cancer, tell her or her spouse or parent to consider consulting  a reproductive endocrinologist before having chemotherapy or radiation or before removing her ovaries, if her cancer treatment protocol can accommodate the delay. You just might save her fertility. Of course, any post-menopausal woman diagnosed with breast cancer and any woman who did not pursue fertility preservation efforts prior to undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation could explore conceiving with donor eggs or embryos after her treatment ends.

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Do you know of anyone who preserved her fertility prior to cancer treatment? Would you be able to share this information with someone diagnosed with cancer?

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