Archive for January, 2015
By Tracey Minella
January 26th, 2015 at 3:58 pm
So, you went through all the blood work, sonograms, and injections for your IVF cycle and you wake up on the morning of your retrieval…if you even got any sleep the night before… ready for the big day.
Only problem is that blinding white glare streaming into the room.
“What the #@*%!” A snow storm hit overnight. Three feet down already and still falling fast. It’s gonna take all morning to dig out the car. Hey, where is the car?
Then your blood runs cold as you remember the biggest rule of all: “Don’t be late for your retrieval!”
Timing of the HcG shot and the subsequent retrieval is critical, so that the eggs are retrieved before they are ovulated. Then the next worry hits: “Even if I get there, will my doctors make it in?”
Fortunately, today’s meteorologists generally predict major storms enough in advance for patients and doctors to put contingency plans into place. Retrieval and transfer patients may be given special instructions and suggestions when a blizzard is expected.
If you anticipate a winter retrieval, in addition to allowing lots of extra time and filling the gas tank up, consider these 5 IVF Retrieval Blizzard Preparedness Tips:
- If there’s talk of snow, line up driveway plowing or shoveling extra early, or park the car down near the end of the driveway (but not in the street) so there’ll be less to shovel to get out. (Note: Ladies with swollen ovaries full of follicles should not shovel.)
- Call your town offices the day before, explain your medical situation, and beg them to have your road plowed early and often, if possible.
- If you don’t have one, line up borrowing an SUV or have a friend with an SUV drive you to the retrieval.
- Know the names of hotels near your clinic or hospital and consider staying in a hotel the night before retrieval if you live far away.
- Last resort: Call your local police department or fire department for help. Explain the situation and your need to get to the hospital or clinic immediately.
If despite the best planning, you’re running late on retrieval day, call your doctor’s office or service and tell them what’s going on and follow whatever instructions they give you.
There’s usually a small time window built into the schedule to accommodate for such an emergency, so don’t panic until you talk to them.
Because a retrieval can’t be postponed once the HcG shot has been given…even for a blizzard of potentially historic proportions… arrangements are made for Long Island IVF’s team of doctors, nurses and embryologists to stay local and to have reliable transportation so you can rest assured they will be there for your big day.
Remain positive and calm. And when it’s all over, you’ll have an interesting story to tell or excerpt to write in your fertility journal.
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Did you ever have a retrieval or transfer in a blizzard? How did it go and do you have any other tips to add?
Credit: Peter Griffin/http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4893&picture=snowed-in&large=1
By David Kreiner MD
January 24th, 2015 at 8:13 am
Tagged with coping with infertility, David Kreiner MD, Dr. David Kreiner, Fertility, Infertility, Infertility Support, Infertility Treatment, IVF, IVF specimen production, Long Island IVF, male infertility, man's role in IVF, pregnancy, specimen production for IVF, stress of infertility
Many husbands complain that they feel left out of the whole IVF process as all the attention and care is apparently directed towards the woman. If anything they may feel that at best they can show up for the retrieval at which time they are expected to donate their sperm on demand. If you should fail at this then all the money, time, hope and efforts were wasted all because you choked when you could not even perform this one “simple” step.
I have not witnessed the terror and horrors of war but I have seen the devastation resulting from an IVF cycle failed as a result of a husband’s inability to collect a specimen. Relationships often do not survive in the wake of such a disappointment. Talk about performing under pressure, there is more at stake in the collection room than pitching in the World Series.
Husbands and male partners view IVF from a different perspective than their wives. They are not the ones being injected with hormones; commuting to the physician’s office frequently over a two week span for blood tests and vaginal ultrasounds and undergoing a transvaginal needle aspiration procedure. At least women are involved in the entire process, speak with and see the IVF staff regularly and understand what they are doing and are deeply invested emotionally and physically in this experience. So what is a husband to do?
Those couples that appear to deal best with the stress of IVF are ones that do it together.
Many husbands learn to give their wives the injections. It helps involve them in the efforts and give them some degree of control over the process. They can relate better to what their wives are doing and take pride that they are contributing towards the common goal of achieving the baby.
When possible, husbands should accompany their wives to the doctor visits. They can interact with the staff, get questions answered and obtain a better understanding of what is going on. This not only makes women feel like their husbands are supportive but is helpful in getting accurate information and directions. Both of these things are so important that in a husband’s absence I would recommend that a surrogate such as a friend, sister, or mother be there if he cannot be. Support from him and others help diminish the level of stress and especially if it comes from the husband helps to solidify their relationship.
Husbands should accompany their wives to the embryo transfer. This can be a highly emotional procedure. Your embryo/s is being placed in the womb and at least in that moment many women feel as if they are pregnant. Life may be starting here and it is wonderful for a husband to share this moment with his wife. Perhaps he may keep the Petri dish as a keepsake as the “baby’s first crib”. It is an experience a couple is not likely to forget as their first time together as a family.
With regards to the pressure of performing to provide the specimen at the time of the retrieval, I would recommend that a husband freeze a specimen collected on a previous day when he does not have the intense pressure of having to produce at that moment or else. Having the insurance of a back-up frozen specimen takes much of the pressure off at the time of retrieval making it that much easier to produce a fresh specimen. There are strategies that can be planned for special circumstances including arranging for assistance from your wife and using collection condoms so that the specimen can be collected during intercourse. Depending on the program these alternatives may be available.
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If you did IVF, was your partner involved? How did it go? Any funny or sweet stories to share?
If your partner wasn’t involved, are you happy about that decision, and if so, why was it the right decision for you?
January 20th, 2015 at 2:28 pm
Tagged with Best in Vitro Fertility Practice Long island, Best Long Island Infertility Practice, Best of Long Island 2015 Winner, Best of Long Island Infertility Practice, BOLI 2015, BOLI Winner 2015, David Kreiner MD, Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, Dr. Joseph Pena, Dr. Kathleen Droesch, Dr. Michael Zinger, Dr. Satu Kuokkanen, Dr. Steven Brenner, Fertility, Infertility, Infertility Treatment, IVF Long island, LI-IVF, Long Island IVF, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Trying to Conceive
It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 contest. Unlike prior years, for the 10th anniversary of the BOLI contest, there could only be one winner per category with no runners-up.
We just received word that we won. Thanks to all of you!
The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to each and every one of you who took the time to cast a vote in our favor. From the moms juggling LIIVF toddlers… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.
We love what we get to do every day…build families. And that’s all the thanks we really need. But your endorsement of us to your friends, families, and the public (by voting for us) means so much and will enable us to help even more infertile couples fulfill their dreams of building a family.
As we usher in 2015…our 27th year…we will continue to offer our unique blend of cutting-edge medical technologies and holistic, personal support… wrapped in the comfort of a private, non-hospital setting.
Thanks again. Happy New Year to all.
By Tracey Minella
January 16th, 2015 at 10:04 am
Tagged with Infertility, infertility information, Infertility Treatment, IVF, IVF Long island, IVF North Shore LI, IVF South Shore LI, IVF Success Stories, LI-IVF, Long Island IVF, Trying to Conceive, You Have To See The Baby
When you’re struggling to conceive, it can be frustrating to hear the ever-present nagging of your friends and family who’ve become new parents. “You have to see the baby!” It’s like being trapped in a Seinfeld episode. Except no one’s laughing.
But “You have to see the baby” can be a good thing, too. Whether you’ve completed your journey to the crib or are still on the way, Long Island IVF has given this phrase new meaning.
Anyone who’s needed medical intervention to build their family knows that while there are ups and downs along the way, the one thing to never lose is hope. Hope sees you through the rough times.
So, we’ve created something wonderful at Long Island IVF: “YouHaveToSeeTheBaby.com” Take a peek here http://bit.ly/16OZQD7 . Potential new patients who would like information about Long Island IVF are encouraged to complete the blue contact form on the YouHaveToSeeTheBaby.com page for more information.
The page is a beautiful testimonial of hope, a snapshot of lives in progress, a mosaic of stories of what Long Island IVF’s miracle babies are doing today, up to a quarter century later. Some are in college or getting married. Others are performing at Carnegie Hall and having Sweet Sixteens. Many are enjoying first soccer games and dance recitals. And tons are celebrating milestones like walking, talking, and sleeping through the night.
YouHaveToSeeTheBaby is by you and for you.
We invite our patients to submit your own Long Island IVF children for inclusion. The instructions for submitting are attached at the bottom of this post, so read through to the end. And if you are still on your journey to parenthood, we hope you will visit YHTSTB and be inspired by the sight of so many lives created by LIIVF. And that your hope is renewed by the vision of your own future addition.
Here are the instructions:
YouHaveToSeeTheBaby.com Easy Upload Instructions:
If you’d like to submit your child(ren) for inclusion in our YouHaveToSeeTheBaby.com photo and profile montage, easy submission instructions are below.
By submitting your child(ren)’s names, photos, and stories you expressly consent to Long Island IVF and its agents using, displaying, and sharing same on its website and social media platforms without providing compensation of any kind. You realize that submitting these materials for inclusion on our website and social media may result in your child(ren) being recognized as being created through the use of assisted reproductive technologies with the assistance of Long Island IVF and you indemnify Long Island IVF and its agents from any and all claims whatsoever with respect thereto. Submitted content may be edited at the discretion of Long Island IVF, for space or other considerations. Submission of content does not guarantee placement or use on the website or elsewhere. Photos may be removed at any time by Long Island IVF for any reason.
Photos should be non-professional and not subject to copyright (or must be accompanied by a written release by the photographer for this intended use). We are not able to give photo credit to photographers. Photos may only include the featured Long Island IVF child(ren) and should be clear and high definition jpeg photos.
- To submit your child(ren) for consideration, please provide the following by email or regular mail to email@example.com :
- One clear high definition photo of your child(ren) in jpeg format (or if by mail then not to exceed 5×7 size)
- Your Child(ren)’s name(s):
- A Short paragraph on your experience with LIIVF (subject to editing)
- A Short statement about a recent milestone of your child(ren) (subject to editing)
- Your Full Name(s)
- Your Signature (or if by email, you must reply to this email consenting to it’s terms)
- Your contact info (phone number or email or preferably both)
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Have you uploaded your story yet?
By Tracey A. Minella
January 11th, 2015 at 7:31 am
Tagged with adoption, Adoption grants, Fertility Grants, Financing Fertility Treatment, Free IVF, free IVF funding, Infertility, infertility help, Infertility Treatment, IUI, IVF, IVF grants, LI-IVF, Long Island IVF, Trying to Conceive
Chances are, if you are struggling with infertility, one of the biggest obstacles is the financial burden of the fertility treatments. A New Year often causes infertile couples without the benefit of infertility treatment insurance to revisit their family-building plans and reassess their options.
Some forgo the usual things like fine-dining, vacations, houses, new cars, and other luxuries of a typical life, putting the savings into their treatment. Many work over-time or take second jobs. Others max out credit cards, dip into retirement funds, or borrow from family. And some raise treatment money through on-line fundraising campaigns.
What if there was an easier way…a free way…to finance IVF (or fund an adoption)? You’d consider it, right?
Well, there is a grant opportunity you should consider pursuing that is offering grants of up to $10,000 to use toward your family-building goals. That’s money you don’t have to pay back. Enough to pay for all or a substantial portion of an IVF cycle or an adoption. But you need to act quickly because there is a February 1 deadline for the Spring Grant Cycle.
You may remember that Long Island IVF co-sponsored an exciting event last year…Dancing For the Family… with the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation. Not only did Long Island IVF donate a free IVF cycle as a door prize, but the event raised money that enables the Cade Foundation to fund these family-building grants. All you need to do now is apply.
Don’t like forms? Think you’ll never be chosen? Well, you’re in good company. Do you realize that so many people think like that, or are just beaten down by the stress of infertility, that there are often more funds than applicants for grants like these?! That’s right…grant money is often sitting there waiting for applicants to apply for it! And that’s a shame.
To apply, go here: http://www.cadefoundation.org/?page_id=10
And keep your eyes open for upcoming news of this year’s Long Island IVF and Cade Foundation new and exciting event.
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Are you going to apply? If not, why not?
By David Kreiner MD
January 10th, 2015 at 8:45 am
It’s a beautiful day in Boston today. I am here not because of the Red Sox playoffs or Sunday’s Patriots game but rather to attend our annual ASRM national fertility meeting.
I was delighted upon greeting some former colleagues of mine from my old stomping grounds, the Jones Institute, to hear compliments about how good I looked. (Well, if you lose 55 lbs. of “baby fat” people tend to notice.) I explained that my son, Dan, convinced me to try the Paleo Diet, modeled after the diet of Paleolithic man.
I am intrigued that so much is known about how man from the Paleolithic age ate. I guess he left menus and recipes on the walls of his man caves. Anyway, the focus… aside from elimination of dairy and gluten from his diet… is avoiding processed foods and chemical additives such as artificial sweeteners.
It was while eating my veggies and bun-less burger that I came upon one of the lead stories at the ASRM in the Wall Street Journal. The chemical BPA, or Bisphenol A, found in plastic is tied to the risk of miscarriage. BPAs can leach into the food that is heated on it such as in a microwave or in water stored in plastic and left out in the sun. Additionally, it was recommended to limit the use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contains BPA.
I’m not sure “Paleo” man extended his life, avoided disease or lived any healthier with his “natural only” diet but we have some evidence of some benefits by doing so today. Oh, and did I mention I can fit into those jeans from my college days?
For more information on the effects of BPAs on fertility as being discussed at the ASRM, see http://bit.ly/19Q28Bt
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Did you know that plastics and other items made from BPAs may be harmful to your fertility or contribute to miscarriage? Do you use these products and if so, will you consider stopping now?
Photo credit: Keattikorn/freedigitalphotos.net
By David Kreiner MD
January 2nd, 2015 at 9:01 am
Tagged with BMI and fertility, David Kreiner MD, fat and infertile, Infertility, Infertility Treatment, infertility treatment for obese, IVF and obese, IVF help for obese, Long Island IVF, Obesity and fertility, prejudice against obese, stress of infertility, TTC
The most shocking thing I’ve experienced in my 30+ year career in Reproductive Endocrinology has been the consistent “resistance” among specialists to treat women with obesity. This “resistance” has felt at times to both me and many patients to be more like a prejudice. I have heard other REI specialists say that it is harder for women to conceive until they shed their excess weight. “Come back to my office when you have lost 20, 30 or more pounds,” is a typical remark heard by many at their REI’s office. “It’s not healthy to be pregnant at your weight and you risk your health and the health of the baby.” Closing the door to fertility treatment is what most women in this condition experience.
An article in Medical News Today, “Obese Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment Advised Not To Attempt Rapid Weight Loss”, once suggested that weight loss just prior to conception may have adverse effects on the pregnancy, either by disrupting normal physiology or by releasing environmental pollutants stored in the fat. The article pointed out what is obvious to many who share the lifelong struggle to maintain a reasonable Body Mass Index (BMI): Weight loss is difficult to achieve. Few people adhere to lifestyle intervention and diets which may have no benefit in improving pregnancy in subfertile obese women.
The bias in the field is so strong that when I submitted a research paper demonstrating equivalent IVF pregnancy rates for women with excessive BMIs greater than 35 to the ASRM for presentation, it was rejected based on the notion that there was clear evidence to the contrary. Here’s the point I was trying to prove: IVF care must be customized to optimize the potential for this group.
Women with high BMI need a higher dose of medication. Those with PCOS benefit from treatment with Metformin. Their ultrasounds and retrievals need to be performed by the most experienced personnel. Often their follicles will be larger than in women of lower weight. Strategies to retrieve follicles in high BMI women include using a suture in the cervix to manipulate the uterus and an abdominal hand to push the ovaries into view.
Most importantly, a two-stage embryo transfer with the cervical suture can insure in utero placement of the transfer catheter and embryos without contamination caused by inadvertent touching of the catheter to the vaginal wall before insertion through the cervical canal. Visualization of the cervix is facilitated by pulling on the cervical suture, straightening the canal and allowing for easier passage of the catheter. The technique calls for placement of one catheter into the cervix through which a separate catheter, loaded with the patient’s embryo, is inserted.
Using this strategy, IVF with high BMI patients is extremely successful. With regard to the health of the high BMI woman and her fetus, it’s critical to counsel patients just as it is when dealing with women who live with diabetes or any other chronic situation that adds risk.
We refuse to share in the prejudice that is nearly universal in this field. It’s horrible and hypocritical to refuse these patients treatment. Clearly, with close attention to the needs of this population, their success is like any others.
Women who have time and motivation to lose significant weight prior to fertility therapy are encouraged to do so and I try to support their efforts. Unfortunately, many have tried and are unable to significantly reduce prior to conception.
What right do we have to deny these women the right to build their families?
It can be hard to deal with obesity and even more so when combined with infertility. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition. I advise you to ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you including fertility treatment. Long Island IVF has a complete Mind-Body program with counselors for men and women suffering from infertility and we welcome those who are not yet our patients. See http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm
Remember, though this condition can be annoying, aggravating and even depressing, seek an REI who is interested in supporting you and helping you build your family and reject those who simply tell you to return after you have lost sufficient weight.
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Have you been turned away from an RE because you’re overweight or obese? Do you think that’s fair?
Photo credit: Ohmega 1982 http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10073481
By Tracey A. Minella
January 1st, 2015 at 9:32 am
Tagged with coping with infertility, Fertility, gratitude jar project, Infertility, Infertility and New Year's Day, Infertility Support, Long Island IVF, stress of infertility, Tracey Minella, Trying to Conceive
“This could be the year.”
No matter how you spend your evening on New Year’s Eve…brave-facing it through a big party or sleeping through the ball-drop…there is still a new year to face this morning. How will you meet it?
If you’ve been saying “this could be the year” for more New Year’s than you care to remember, it gets harder to believe it will happen. It gets harder to think of anything except having a baby. Your mind is laser-focused on the baby goal, while the rest of your life, well, is sort of just out there passing by in the blur of your peripheral vision. And you’re missing or forgetting some good things while you wait.
I’ve been there. I suffered for more than 7 empty New Years. I let it make me miserable. But you don’t have to make the same mistake.
Sure I can tell you to have hope and to believe. But those words tend to ring hollow on pivotal days like New Year’s Day. So I’m going to give you one simple, but concrete job to do instead.
I’m challenging you to make a Gratitude Jar for 2015. I did this and promise it will be worth it. Get a mason jar from a craft, hardware, or grocery store. Decorate it (or not), depending on your mood and your talents. (I’m not crafty, so mine’s embarrassingly and totally plain as you can see).
Make a point to make a small note as good things happen throughout the year. Anything that makes you smile or laugh. Something nice someone did for or with you. Fun outings or events. Cherished notes or letters you receive. Basically, anything good. It’s so easy to forget. Toss those notes into the jar all year long.
Then, next New Year’s Eve or Day, (or any time you’re particularly hurting), you open the jar and read all the notes. It’s guaranteed to jog your memory and make you smile and focus on what you do have to be grateful for…at a time when it’s so hard to do so.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll be reading those little scraps to your newborn next year at this time…
Wishing you all a magical 2015 full of hope and dreams come true.
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What, if anything, do you do on New Year’s Day as far as your family-planning journey is concerned?