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Archive for October, 2014

There’s No Sugar-Coating Halloween’s Impact on the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

October 31st, 2014 at 11:59 am

 

Credit; Stuart Miles/free digital photos.net


I’ve got nothing.

Usually, I can muster up some tips to get you through the roughest days of the year. But this one is hard and I find the tips I’m brewing up are either too lame or too sinister to share. What makes Halloween so tough?

Halloween is the one universal children’s holiday…celebrated by all children. We all remember Halloween fondly, the costumes, the candy, the parties, the doorbells. The sugar-rush, shaving cream fights, and the eggs… for you rebels out there. Bolting from house to house for hours, until our feet dragged from the weight of a pillowcase that rivaled Santa’s sack. Mom and dad watching from the curb.

“Just one more house, PUH-LEEEZE?”

Halloween by its very nature is the most “in-your-face” of the holidays. Literally. It’s an onslaught. Even worse than Christmas or Chanukah… where you only have to deal with the kids in your immediate families. Today, kids are everywhere. All day and night. In the streets and at your door. You can’t hide. No place is safe.

Childhood memories of Halloween make us want to be kids again. And simultaneously makes us want to have our own so they can experience the same wonder. And so we can be the one at the curb today, the one who checks the bags for safety, the one posting 102 pictures to Facebook.

And not having it feels like a little pirate’s plastic dagger in the heart.

Another year that the dream of dressing up a little boy or girl in the perfect costume hasn’t come true. Another year to wait. How can I sugar-coat all this pain?

So I’m telling you to hide as best as you can. Stay off social media once the onslaught begins later. If you can go to an adults-only party or a romantic restaurant to escape children tonight, that’s great. But if it hurts to answer the door 372 times, lower the lights, put a bowl of treats out, and retire early… with a bag or two of your own favorite candy.

Or you could always open the door in the middle of an injection, screaming “TRICK!” and frighten the bejeebers out of the nineteenth Anna and Elsa that come knocking. (Oops, did I just say that out loud?)

The choice is yours. You can “let it go”… or you can be a witch if you want to. After all, it is Halloween.

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How do/did you handle Halloween when infertile?

 

LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

photo credit: Stuart Miles/free digital photos.net

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/halloween-kids-indicates-trick-or-treat-and-children-photo-p271393

 

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Should You Delay Infertility Treatment Due to Ebola Fears?

By David Kreiner MD

October 27th, 2014 at 8:15 am

 

credit: imagery majestic/ freedigitalphotos.net


When disasters like Ebola strike, it’s natural for people to get nervous.

When a potentially lethal contagion is found as close as New York City then it is understandable that many New Yorkers are approaching panic mode…even here on Long Island.

It is the responsibility of the health care professionals to advise their patients and take precautions as deemed necessary and prudent. And to educate patients and reassure them.

Personally, for me it is premature to discuss drastic measures. However, we should all take added and reasonable precautions to help contain and prevent the spread of this disease.   I recommend avoiding unnecessary exposure to large amounts of people or, if that cannot be avoided, protecting yourself by minimizing contact with anything that can be exposed to bodily fluids and using hand sanitizers liberally.

For my fertility patients, let me reassure you that in our office we use universal precautions. We take additional comfort in the fact that our patients and staff do not have the exposure to sick and infected individuals that you may find in hospitals or general doctors’ offices.

Yes, Ebola is serious and its recent arrival requires swift action and close monitoring. But this is not the time to delay treatment as… for many of you… time is of the essence and fertility can only diminish if you put off treatment.  As there is currently no apparent additional risk to proceeding with fertility therapy by virtue of the limited presence of Ebola in New York City, I recommend that you proceed as you and your doctor think is best in your case. Please know that at Long Island IVF we are taking all possible precautions to minimize all risks of any kind.

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Are you worried about continuing/starting fertility treatments in light of Ebola? If so, would you be more or less likely to seek treatment in a hospital or outpatient office setting?

 

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Infertility Care: Starting with the Basics

By Steven Brenner MD

October 18th, 2014 at 10:52 am

credit: wpclipart.com

“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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Long Island IVF’s Annual Family Reunion is Coming!

By Tracey Minella

October 17th, 2014 at 7:10 am

 

credit: imagery majestic/ freedigitalphotos.net


With a feeling of thanksgiving in the autumn air, we’re eagerly preparing for LIIVF’s Annual Family Reunion…a celebration of the births of our newest batch of special babies.

I remember waiting a long, long time for my chance to attend this special celebration. I actually aspired to it. It was one of those things on my mental list of perks of getting pregnant. I’d heard talk of it in hushed tones among newly pregnant patients in the waiting room. My turn finally came on the LIIVF 10th Anniversary in 1998.

Back then, it was held outside the Long Island IVF office in Port Jefferson, behind Mather Hospital. And a huge fire truck…the kind with the bucket that soars amazingly high…would arrive to take a group photo of all the parents and their babies. Shortly thereafter, space limitations unfortunately necessitated limiting the attendees to the most recent crop of newborns.

If you haven’t experienced or heard of it, the reunion is a fun-filled, camera-clicking day where proud new parents show off their little miracles and our doctors and staff gets to meet the latest additions to the LIIVF family. (Just ask any “alumni” parents of our older babies if their infants’ reunion party was special.)

We know it may be hard to hear about this event if you’re still on your journey to parenthood. And we’re really sorry for that, and look forward to seeing you at a future reunion. But we want to be sure we haven’t missed any patient who is eligible to attend this year…

So… if your special little bundle was born between January 1, 2013 and today, please email Lindsay Montello at lmontello@liivf.com  so we can put you on the invitation list. (And if your baby’s older and you missed the last reunion…or you just really, really want to come this year, please email Lindsay anyway!)

This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 from noon until 2:30 pm, so save the date! More exciting details will come in your invitation.

We’re so looking forward to seeing you again and meeting your new little pumpkins!

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Have you been to a reunion? What’s the best part?

 

LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net and imagery majestic http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100116728

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Treating International Fertility Patients

By David Kreiner MD

October 16th, 2014 at 9:33 am

 

credit: photomyheart/ freedigital photos.net


My wife says I don’t show my emotions enough.  Perhaps this is a flaw in my character. However, as a reproductive endocrinologist whether it is in the midst of surgery or under the gun of treating a patient from far-away lands like Sicily or Mongolia…keeping my cool has its benefits.

With international travel very much in the news lately, it made me think of my experiences treating international patients for infertility. And the added stress and honor that comes with being chosen for the job.

The patient from Taormina, Italy had already gone through gonadotropin/IUI cycles without success in Italy.  The wife barely spoke English. She was very nervous, not just because of her fertility challenge, but being so far from home and not being able to communicate well added greatly to her angst.  For me, a patient’s anxiety level is something that I am very sensitive to, and it could raise my own stress level…which it did.  However, add to that the fact that this couple left their home, lives and jobs to come all the way here for an IVF attempt that– if it failed– would require yet another transatlantic flight and additional weeks away from their normal lives.

I suppose distance plays into the potential stress factor since another patient– from Mongolia– who came to me at Long Island IVF was travelling, according to my astute Long Island sense of geography…from the opposite end of the world.  Yes, even for an unemotional seasoned infertility specialist like myself, I have to admit my heart pounds a little stronger in these situations.

Like for all my patients, I prefer to oversee their care personally and if possible perform their procedures even though I have complete confidence in the exceptional abilities of my partners.  I think patients like to see their own doctors that they have bonded with and trusted during the preceding weeks and months.

The intervening 10-14 days of nail biting time is rough for patient and doctor alike.  Fortunately, my Mongolian patient had the most beautiful baby from her first attempt and my patients from Taormina who I have become very friendly with, now have two of the most gorgeous children from two separate embryo transfers three years apart.

I guess sometimes I do let my emotions get the best of me…when I look at the baby pictures remembering all that I have been through with my patients including when I injected the embryos that we all saw as a drop of fluid in the uterus on the ultrasound machine…I still get choked up.

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Have you traveled out of state or the country (or would you ever consider it) for medical care? If so, why, and how far would you be willing to go?

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LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

Photo credit: photomyheart

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/place-flying-in-sunset-sky-photo-p231570

 

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Long Island IVF Hosts Free Donor Egg Recipient Seminar

By Tracey Minella

October 9th, 2014 at 10:47 am

 

On October 21, 2014, Long Island IVF is hosting free event that could potentially change the course of your family-building journey. The topic is egg donation.

There are many reasons women ultimately choose to use donor eggs to build their families. Women whose eggs have been compromised by advanced age, cancer treatment, poor general quality, or other factors, have many ways to build a family through the donor egg and donor embryo programs at Long Island IVF. For many of these women, a healthy egg is their only obstacle to pregnancy.

Admittedly, conceiving with donor eggs or embryos is rarely the first choice, but often is chosen after weighing many personal physical, emotional, psychological, and financial considerations. Decades of happy moms would surely agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made. In fact, you can ask one yourself at the seminar as one or two often stop by to share their experience!

You may or may not yet be ready to act on the information you’ll hear. But it’s never too early to become informed about your options… and knowledge is power, right? So why not come out and just listen to our team discuss the many different egg and embryo donation options?  Victoria Loveland, RN & Donor Egg Nursing Coordinator, Aviva Zigelman, LCSW & Donor Egg Program Director, and Steven Brenner, MD will all be there to answer your questions, privately if you prefer.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when we tell you about how affordable and stream-lined our programs can be, especially our embryo donation program. And how competitive the success rates can be, as well.

Long Island IVF offers several different egg donation options, including Sole Recipient Fresh Egg Donation, Shared Recipient Fresh Egg Donation, Frozen Egg Donation, and Frozen Embryo Donation cycles. Each option offers its own unique benefits, costs, and other considerations. We have young, healthy, pre-screened egg donors representing multiple ethnicities ready to help you build your family.

Take that first step, even if you’re hesitant. We look forward to seeing you and answering your questions about the exciting option of egg donation. Light refreshments will be served. Bring a friend. Please RSVP to Debra Mathys at dmathys@longislandivf.com and say you’ll be there, but walk-ins are always welcome.

Location: Long Island IVF 8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101, Melville, NY

Date: October 21, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm

 

LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

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Will we be seeing you there?

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Tracey Minella

October 3rd, 2014 at 6:01 pm

 

 

image: wpcliptart.com


Those desperate to have a baby may feel that nothing is more devastating than suffering from infertility. But if anything can trump infertility on the list of unfair hands dealt, it would most certainly be cancer.

So, in the spirit of raising breast cancer awareness this month, there are two important messages to share.

First, is to echo the bandwagon message about staying current with preventative measures like vigilant, routine breast self-exams between equally-vigilant annual exams at the gynecologist’s office. Also keep current with your annual mammogram. If you are still walking around with that tattered mammogram prescription in your bag, pick up the phone today and schedule that appointment. Go on, now.

This is particularly true for infertility patients who have understandably had enough of daily paper gowns and stirrups, and mistakenly assume that the constant medical “activity” down there takes the place of a GYN exam. The stirrups at the RE’s office are not the same as those at the GYN’s office. Staying current with your pap, mammo, and other GYN matters is especially important when trying to conceive. The last thing you want is to find yourself finally pregnant and then facing what might have been a preventable GYN issue.

The second message is spread awareness of fertility preservation to those facing a cancer diagnosis. Men and women, and teens, too. Fertility preservation through egg/sperm/or embryo freezing… when done prior to certain cancer treatments that may impair future fertility… is an important but often over-looked part of the cancer patient’s experience.

Understandably, newly-diagnosed cancer patients (breast or otherwise) are grappling with so much and are focused on saving their lives. When the patient is only a teen, the last thing worried parents may think of is the child’s future fertility. But fertility preservation must be considered early in the treatment plan.

Here’s how you can help others. If your friends or family are diagnosed with cancer during fertile years (including young teens), gently and quickly remind them to ask their doctor if the cancer treatment being recommended will affect or destroy their fertility and, if so, whether fertility preservation prior to cancer treatment is an option.  (Yes, it may be uncomfortable treading in such a personal area, but they will thank you when they can think clearly.) Fertility preservation can usually be done very quickly and the cancer treatment may be able to accommodate it. That way, when the cancer battle is won, the survivor will have more options when they’re ready to move forward with any family-building plans.

Fertility preservation offers a great window of opportunity for many cancer patients, but it sadly is not open indefinitely. Sharing this information may be the difference between a cancer survivor being able to have his or her own genetic offspring one day…or not.

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Did you know that fertility preservation was an option for cancer patients?

LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 in the Health and Wellness category, here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

Photo credit: public domain image provided courtesy of wpclipart.com

http://www.wpclipart.com/medical/breast_cancer_awareness/breast_cancer_ribbon_black_bg.png.html

 

 

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Long Island IVF-Cade Foundation Dancing Event Wrap Up

By admin

October 1st, 2014 at 9:08 am


It was a blur. Glossy wood floors, brass accents, perfect lighting. Intoxicating music and palpable excitement filled the air.

Stepping off the red carpet and into the breath-taking Dance With Me Studio… onto the very dance floor that Dancing With the Stars® champion dancers have graced… made most attendees feel like celebrities themselves.

Be sure to check out a slideshow of some of the photos on our website and Facebook page and You Tube http://youtu.be/w5_mHGkl4Xk

And, like those champions, many attendees were on that floor with the dream of winning. Not a trophy, but something even better… a chance to build a family. They were there hoping to win the free IVF cycle door prize donated by Long Island IVF for themselves or a loved one.

And while there were understandably some disappointed hearts, every attendee should realize that as a result of their support of this event, the Cade Foundation raised funds that will be used to help infertile couples receive education and financing opportunities for fertility treatment or adoption. In fact, ideas for next year’s big event are already being discussed.

Nothing brings us greater satisfaction than being able to give away such a valuable door prize as an IVF cycle to a couple struggling to conceive and who would not otherwise be able to proceed with their infertility treatment.

This year’s winner donated the IVF cycle to her friend. We wish her, and everyone still on their journey, the best of luck.

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Any suggestions for next year? Should we consider a new venue or dance the night away again? Would you prefer a different time of year? Let us know what you think so we can craft the night of your dreams.

 

 

 

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