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Archive for October, 2015

IVF is a Partnership

By David Kreiner MD

October 26th, 2015 at 7:54 am

Credit: Peter Griffin/ publicdomainphotos.net

 

A husband’s experience when going through an IVF cycle varies depending in large part on how involved he gets. When a husband participates actively with the IVF process it helps to relieve much of the stress on the wife and on the relationship. The more involved he is, the more invested he will feel in the entire experience, and the more control he’ll feel over the outcome. (This is equally true for partners in same sex couples as well.)

Many husbands and partners pride themselves in their new found skills of mixing medications and administering injections for their wives. It helps many who are used to caring for their wives to be in control of administering the medication for them. Successful IVF then becomes something he played a very active role in, and he’ll relate better to the experience, his wife and the resulting baby.

Despite a lack of prior experience, most people can learn to prepare and administer the medication. Whether it is the feeling of “playing doctor” or the knowledge that he is contributing significantly in the process and supporting his wife, most partners relate that giving their wives the injections was a positive experience for them and for their relationship.

Along the same line of thinking, accompanying your wife at the time of embryo transfer can be most rewarding. 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 to share this moment with your wife. Perhaps you 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. I strongly recommend that partners don those scrubs, hats and booties and join their wives and partners as the physician transfers the embryos from the dish into her womb. Nine months later, do the same at delivery for memories that last a lifetime.

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Partners: Would you (or have you) been present during the transfer? What was it like?

Ladies: Would you want (or did you have) your partner present during the transfer? What was it like?

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=2163&picture=young-love

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‘Coming Out Infertile” Day

By Tracey Minella

October 23rd, 2015 at 10:40 am

Long Island IVF is proud to sponsor the first annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 11, 2015 and a special workshop for those suffering from infertility.

Infertility is a devastating disease that affects 1 out of every 8 couples. In addition to the pain and fear that comes with this diagnosis, many couples feel the unwarranted stigma of shame and guilt. Consequently, they keep their infertility a secret.

They are often afraid…or don’t know how… to tell their families and friends (or their employers) that they are having trouble getting or staying pregnant and need treatment. So they suffer in silence. Often for many months or years.

Coming Out Infertile Day was conceived to encourage those suffering from infertility to “come out” to their families, friends, and/or employers if they feel ready to do so… and to help them with the tools they need to do so. And most importantly, to come out in a way that feels right for them.

The holiday season, with its focus on children and families, is a particularly hard time for infertile folks who are easy targets for nagging personal questions about baby-making plans.

What we wouldn’t give to have a pregnancy test kit with two lines on it. Which is why we chose 11-11 for this event.

Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the holidays…is a timely public reminder of the pain of infertility and a chance for those suffering to come out and get support.

Long Island IVF is offering a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 11, 2015 from 6-8 pm  at its offices at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Led by our own Mind-Body medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients, attendees will be given the support they need to come out infertile in a manner that’s right for them. In addition to this group counseling, attendees will receive sample scripts and template letters to customize to help them. Are you ready to tell just your parents? Or your best friend? The whole family? Need to know how to break it to your boss? We can help.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. So, for those ready to fully and publicly come out, Workshop attendees will be able to be part of Coming Out Infertile Day’s social media campaign where you can easily upload and share your photo with the official #Comingoutinfertile hashtag and graphic on various social media platforms by using the easy and free app, PicStitch (available in ITunes App Store or Google Play). You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to participate. All are welcome and encouraged to be part of this historic global event!

Be with us virtually!! Those unable to attend can access scripts here:

http://www.longislandivf.com/pdf/LIIVF-COI-verbal.pdf

http://www.longislandivf.com/pdf/LIIVF-COI-Written.pdf

 

On November 11th, everyone is encouraged to use the #ComingOutInfertile social media PicStitch app instructions here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To copy the #ComingOutInfertile graphic for PicStitch, just save this image:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like our Long Island IVF Facebook page and the Coming Out Infertile Day page to stay on top of this movement.

It’s time to end the stigma of infertility. It’s time to unburden yourself from the added weight of this secret and get the support you need. It’s time to #comeoutinfertile. Join us in person or on social media on 11-11. Be part of the movement no matter where you are in your infertility journey.

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What is holding you back from coming out infertile? Are you ready to join the #comingoutinfertile movement?

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ASRM 2015: Looking Back and Moving Ahead “We Could Always Do More and Do Better”

By David Kreiner MD

October 18th, 2015 at 12:58 pm

It was fitting that this year’s national infertility meeting, the ASRM was held in Baltimore, the city where the recently deceased Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr. first trained and rose to prominence in the field of reproductive medicine.  In the 1950′s and during his career at Johns Hopkins, he was involved in the controversial biopsy of cervical cancer patient, Henrietta Lacks, which led to the most widely utilized and researched cell line of all time.  Thereafter, he became an expert in genetic disorders and reproductive developmental issues that led to his opening the first transgender surgery clinic.  Remarkably, however, “Dr. Howard” (as we students called him) is best known for work he performed after his retirement from Hopkins when he moved to Norfolk and started the first IVF clinic in the Western Hemisphere resulting in the birth of the country’s first IVF baby, Elizabeth Carr, in 1981.

 

My first ASRM (called the American Fertility Society at the time) meeting in 1983 was a showcase of this brand new technology of IVF despite a success of 10% in the best clinics. Reproductive surgery was still more successful than IVF so there were presentations by the premier microsurgeons, laparoscopists and hysteroscopists who were demonstrating the latest advances that were becoming available as instrumentation had improved and laser had become a tool of the reproductive surgeon.  IVF was performed laparoscopically and ovarian stimulations were being performed with some variation of human menopausal gonadotropin, Pergonol, derived from the urine of menopausal women and Clomid.

 

In 2015, we reviewed the impact of social media in the opening presidential lecture urging members of the Reproductive Science community to spread the word about reproductive technology advances and utilize social media tools to educate the public.

 

In this meeting, it was now recognized that the LGBT community needed to become a special interest group within the ASRM with focus on alternative family-building that was available not just to lesbian couples but to gay male couples and transgenders.

 

With the successful fertilization and subsequent pregnancies achieved through egg freezing, fertility preservation for women undergoing cancer treatment, gender reassignment or aging prior to a time when they are ready for motherhood is now available. The technology of egg freezing thrusts upon women important new options to be considered (often on an urgent basis) when preparing for chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy or surgery… or simply before aging does irreversible damage to one’s fertility.

 

There was an Acupuncture symposium that presented research demonstrating improved success with IVF when utilized twice a week for at least 4-5 weeks prior to retrieval, before and after transfer.  The use of the mild male hormone, DHEA, was discussed in yet another symposium as a potential benefit to patients with diminished ovarian reserve to optimize number of eggs and embryos and improve pregnancy rates.

 

Elective freezing of embryos to transfer in a non-stimulated cycle and embryo-banking combined with complete genomic sequencing of the embryos to selectively transfer only healthy embryos has demonstrated improved success of IVF. And aside from the increased cost and time involved, it appears to be the ideal approach to IVF today.

 

I think Dr. Howard would be happy with these developments in the field and the direction the society is going both towards a more efficient and safer treatment and to widening its scope to be inclusive of the LGBT community.  Though typical of Dr. Howard, he always thought we could do more and better.  Weeks before his death, he called my friend and former fellow, “Richard S”.  He complemented him on his great work but complained to Richard that he wasn’t measuring some hormone or factor that Dr. Howard thought needed to be checked in Richard’s research…

We have come a long way in the 32 years that I have been active in ASRM. I’m proud that Long Island IVF has always been on the cutting edge of reproductive medical technology with programs and practices already existing for this year’s most popular ASRM topics, including social media, LGBT-focused and friendly alternative family-building, egg-freezing, complete genomic sequencing aka PGS (pre-embryo genetic screening), and acupuncture. Let it never be said that the work is done and that we are satisfied with the status quo.  As Dr. Howard would say, “we could always do more and do better”.

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Have you considered using any of these latest technologies or programs in your family-building plans?

 

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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

By Tracey Minella

October 15th, 2015 at 7:22 am

 

credit: Carlymarie


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 Day though October is the month dedicated to raising awareness of this inconceivable pain.

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. Please call the office if you’d like to make  a private or group appointment with her. You don’t have to be a patient to do so.

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 be believed. 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 http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/. The image in this post is credited to her as well. And another helpful resource would be Still Standing OnLine Magazine at http://stillstandingmag.com/2012/09/parenting-on-earth-and-in-the-clouds/.

At 7pm tonight, all over the world, a Wave of Light movement is happening where bereaved parents are lighting candles in remberance of their lost babies and children. More information is available on CarlyMarie’s site.

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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Donor Egg Recipient Seminar at Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

October 6th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Do you think you might need an egg donor in order to build your family…but have a lot of questions about the process? Then you won’t want to miss this exciting event!

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at 7:00 pm, Long Island IVF will host a free event that could potentially change the course of your family-building journey. Everything you could ever need to know about egg donation will be covered. It should last about 2 and a half hours.

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. Gay men wanting biological children also need donor eggs.

Admittedly, conceiving with donor eggs or embryos is rarely the first choice, but often is an acceptable alternative after weighing many personal physical, emotional, psychological, and financial considerations. Decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made. In fact, you can ask one yourself at the seminar as one of our successful recipient moms will be on hand to share her experience!

It’s okay if you may not be ready to act on all the information you’ll receive. You won’t be pressured in any way. We’re just here to offer information… and emotional support. 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, Steven Brenner, MD, and other key members of our Donor Egg team 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. There is no cost to attend.

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

Date: Tuesday October 13, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm

 

LONG ISLAND IVF: WINNER “BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE” in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. We are humbled and excited by the honor! Can we help you build your family as well?

 

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Will you be there? If you’d like to attend but can’t, please call anyway so we can make other arrangements.

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Infertility and Family Traditions

By Tracey Minella

October 4th, 2015 at 10:12 am

photo credit: T. Minella

 

With the holiday season approaching, and the fall festivals in full swing, the thought of family traditions comes to mind.

 

While you’re waiting to start or expand your family, have you imagined how your baby will fit in to your family’s traditions? Have you thought of any new traditions you’d like to begin when you have children?

 

For over twenty-five years, I’ve been entering fairs in the fall. I compete in baking and canning (yes, me and the little blue-haired eighty year-old ladies). I’ve won hundreds of ribbons in New York, Connecticut, and even Nevada.

 

For years while I was TTC, I imagined having a daughter who would grow up baking beside me, learning to make jams and pickles, and eventually be old enough to enter the fairs, too. It took some time, and a few IVFs, but my dream came true.

 

I’ve been blessed to make my tradition of entering fairs into my family tradition. We added apple picking to the fun as well. Both my daughter and son enter the junior divisions of the fairs and love winning ribbons.

 

Sometimes it can seem like those dreams will never come true, but you need to believe.  In the meantime, it can help to write down your ideas on traditions you’d like to start with your family.

 

We buy ornaments from each vacation, even if it’s a mini “day-cation” and date them. We make a family photo ornament each year, too. We have Chinese food with the whole extended family every New Years Day and make zillions of honey struffoli every Christmas together. We pick berries and make jam. And the list goes on…

 

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What traditions do you do now? What traditions would you like to start when you start or expand your family?

 

 

 

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Long Island IVF Nominated Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice on Long Island Again!

By Tracey Minella

October 1st, 2015 at 8:38 am

 

Long Island IVF is so pleased to announce that it has again been nominated “Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice” in the Best of Long Island (“BOLI”) 2016 Contest. This year’s nomination comes after our practice WON the contest last year!

Thank you to all of our patients and their families for nominating us in this public opinion-based contest again. Word-of-mouth recommendations have always been the cornerstone of our practice and we appreciate you taking a moment to cast a vote in our favor. Now that nominations are done, voting for a winner begins.

Can we count on your votes to help us continue our reign for the upcoming year?

The voting period to determine the one ultimate winner in the “Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice” begins on October 1 and continues until December 15 and voters may cast one vote per day, per category, per IP address. For those interested in voting for any of the many businesses or service providers who have been nominated, you may do so at: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting. You will find us under the Health & Wellness category, under “In-Vitro Fertility Practice”.

Again, thanks for making our day by nominating us. We love what we do… and love who we do it for!

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So how did YOU come to hear of Long Island IVF?

Was it a recommendation from friends or family? Your gynecologist? A print or radio ad? The internet? Research into our success rates and innovative programs? Something else? What brought you into the practice?

 

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