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Archive for April, 2017

Some Confessions of a NIAW Hater

By Tracey Minella

April 30th, 2017 at 9:28 am

 

image courtesy of RESOLVE


I hate infertility. I hate that people are so clueless… and their words and actions are so hurtful …that we have to raise their awareness of our pain and educate them about this disease that affects 1 in 8. And I hate that NIAW is just a week long.

Then, in many ways, life just goes back “normal”. To the unacceptable normal. Starting now.

Sure, last week we certainly raised awareness in the community. We hosted a couple of NIAW events including a wildly popular and fun night of Yoga for Fertility on Wednesday followed by  an Acupuncture for Fertility Symposium on Thursday where a small group gathered in an intimate setting with Dr. Kreiner and James Vitale, LAc, to learn about and discuss fertility-focused acupuncture.

We bonded with patients from our own practice, as well as those from other practices, and they bonded with each other. We welcomed prospective patients, their parents and friends, and interested strangers. We empowered them with therapies and activities they can use to take back some control over their fertility. They were thankful and such a pleasure to get to know. In short, we did some good. As did other infertility practices and organizations around the country.

But, now NIAW is over. And it’s kind of quiet.

How do we keep the momentum of NIAW going? How do we make sure the topic of infertility doesn’t get swept under the rug until next April?

First off, we have two more important events this week— basically extending the NIAW into two weeks instead of one– giving you some extra support as the dreaded Mother’s Day and Father’s Day holidays approach.

We have a seminar called New Beginnings Through Donor Egg” on May 2 for those who’d like more information on conceiving through donor egg and who want to hear from a successful donor egg mom. We also have a ground-breaking workshop called “Tired of the Secret?” on May 4 for those who want to explore the option of coming out of the infertility closet, but need to work through some issues with our infertility specialist and counselor, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. Both events are free and open to the public, but preregistration is required and seats are limited.

Another way to keep infertility in the spotlight is to move on swiftly and loudly to the next thing that keeps infertility in the news. Maybe that means joining thousands of infertility advocates by going to Washington D.C. for Advocacy Day on May 18, 2017.

Or maybe it means participating in the New York City Walk of Hope on May 20, 2017 to raise infertility awareness. The “Baby Hope” team asked us to spread the word in case anyone else wants to join or donate to her team for the walk. It’s just a mile…you can do it!

Let’s keep the conversations about infertility going…

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Will you be there?

 

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Listen Up! World Parenthood: It Takes a Village

By Tracey Minella

April 24th, 2017 at 9:06 am

Hope you can all hear me from up on this soapbox*. So LISTEN UP:

Those tree-hugging hippies who imagined we’d have world peace if we all just loved one another…like, right now…were on to something. Not sure it works for the world peace thing, but for World Parenthood—oh, yes. Definitely. If we all just loved one another, we could all become parents. (No, I don’t mean it that way!) But it will literally take a village to bring parenthood to the world.

Here’s the plan:

To the women who never had fertility problems or experienced loss. Be quiet. Really. Your nagging questions are hurtful, your advice is unsolicited, and you don’t understand. You never will understand. Don’t pretend you can. Want to help? Really want to make a difference? Just say you’re sorry and “listen up” if and when we choose to speak about it. You wish you could do something more? Well, you can.

LISTEN UP: You’ve got working parts—use them for others. Donate your eggs. Donate your uterus and be a surrogate or gestational carrier for another couple. Do it for someone you know. Or for a stranger. Whatever works for you. Too much to ask? Then donate money. Give to a couple that can’t afford fertility treatment. If handing over the cash is awkward, then buy them something they need or pay for a service they use so they can put that freed-up money into their fertility fund instead. Stop with the sweaters and give cash or a credit card gift card for holidays. Give to fertility fundraisers, grant programs, and infertility organizations like Resolve. Just help someone. And for the love of all things holy, lighten up on the relentless Facebook baby posts and false pregnancy jokes.

To the women who overcame their fertility problems. You know better. You do understand. And yet you are different now. You are on the other side. Don’t you dare pretend it didn’t ever happen—or that it was just a black hole in your past. Don’t just move on with your miracle. Look back.

LISTEN UP: You have an obligation to those who haven’t left their journeys—and to those who will suffer after you. Do something. Offer something. Anything. Educate others. Become an infertility advocate. Raise awareness by participating in a Walk of Hope or other event. If you are able to do so, donate eggs or lend your uterus to a needy couple. And please, please, please…if you did IVF and your family is complete, consider Embryo Donation of the embryos you won’t be using—it would be the answer to another couple’s prayers. If more couples really considered and felt comfortable with this option, rather than discarding or donating them to research, the impact on world parenthood would be monumental. And always, offer the right words of encouragement as only you can. Or the shoulder you needed to cry on.

To all men and women, heterosexual or homosexual: Unite. Donate what you have to your cause and the cause of others. Be supportive.

LISTEN UP: We all need something from each other to create our families. Gay men need eggs or embryos and a uterus. Women need sperm. If you have something someone else needs—eggs, sperm, embryos, a uterus—consider giving or lending freely. Make a real difference. Help create a life that will be loved beyond measure by a loving person or couple desperate to have a baby. Your contribution may make the process affordable for couples who would otherwise not be able to access or afford these services on top of standard IVF costs. Look into your heart and see if there is something you can do to help someone else become a parent. Someone you love needs help having a baby. Your help. Give that gift.

It takes a village to make world parenthood a reality. Step up. LISTEN UP.

*This post, for National Infertility Awareness Week 2017, is the view point of the author and may or may not reflect the position or feelings of Long Island IVF and its physicians.

http://www.infertilityawareness.org/

 

 

 

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Happy Infertility Awareness Week?

By Tracey Minella

April 23rd, 2017 at 9:50 pm

 

image courtesy of Resolve


Well, there’s an oxymoron for you. Nothing should begin with the word “happy” and include the word “infertility”, if you ask me. For the infertility patient, every single minute of every draining day is Infertility Awareness Day.  So, giving us just a week in the national spotlight is kind of insulting. Don’t you think?

So, how do we mark this week? Is there a greeting card for this occasion? It certainly doesn’t seem like a celebration is in order, right? No one’s boss is sending flowers or candy. If the boss even knows.

It’s not like we can go around posting pictures of negative pregnancy tests sticks or injection site bruises on social media. Or can we?

So how do we call attention to “our week” when so many of us haven’t even told our closest friends and family that we’re suffering from infertility yet?  In fact, many patients understandably go to incredible lengths just to keep the boss and co-workers in the dark, for reasons ranging from unfounded but real embarrassment to the fear of losing their jobs…and insurance benefits (*insert sarcastic laugh)…upon discovery of their “secret”. [We’ve got a great workshop for you silent types, so check it out below.]

No one can understand the intensity and rawness of the range of emotions of an infertility patient … unless they are an infertility patient. Not your mother, your doctor, your best friend, or even your spouse. It’s something only you can feel the true depths of.  And calling attention to this week may not make you feel better. But it is necessary. Why?

Over the years, raising awareness of infertility has ever so slowly resulted in increased insurance coverage and benefits and more grant programs to defer some of the costs of treatment. In addition, raising awareness has also helped patients find blogs and support groups to help them through this journey, so please consider following Long Island IVF on social media and our blog, The Fertility Daily. Awareness is critically important in today’s political climate– there are “personhood amendment” bills popping up regularly that may threaten the very future of IVF if passed in their current forms—so it’s definitely time to stay vigilant and make our representatives “Listen UP!” And that’s the theme for this year’s NIAW. Listen UP!

Speaking of supporting our patients—and the suffering public as well—Long Island IVF has four (4) free events this week and next in our Melville office to “celebrate” NIAW and we encourage you register to come to as many as you’d like. All are welcome. Here they are:

Yoga for Fertility Night” on April 26th with Lisa Pineda! Learn and do the poses designed to help your body become more receptive to pregnancy through stress reduction, increased blood flow to the uterus, and more. Register here for free. Spots go fast. This was wildly popular last time we offered it!

Acupuncture for Fertility Symposium” on April 27th, offers a live demo of fertility acupuncture—a holistic and ancient therapy offered at Long Island IVF by our own Dr. David Kreiner, the area’s first and only known reproductive endocrinologist who is also a certified and practicing medical acupuncturist. Learn from a panel of experts how some patients may improve their chances of IVF success by using this complementary therapy—even if they tried IVF unsuccessfully in the past. Register here for free.

New Beginnings through Donor Egg Seminar” on May 2nd. Donor Egg is not usually the first step for people seeking to build a family and many people have suffered a long time, through disappointment and loss, before opening up to the possibility of building their family with donor egg. If you find yourself open to exploring a program that many women later confess they wish they considered sooner, please join us to learn more from our supportive and compassionate donor egg team of doctors and nurses. Hear from one of our many successful donor egg recipient moms and ask your questions. Register here for free.

Tired of the Secret? Workshop” on May 4th. In an effort to help those couples who want or need to come out of the infertility closet and tell their family and friends or employers—but don’t know how to do it—we are bringing back this popular workshop from Coming Out Infertile Day last November. Led by our Mind-Body Program and infertility specialist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, couples or individuals who want to “come out” are given counsel and guidance to work through the issues that are blocking them, as well as suggestions on how to navigate that important conversation so they can unburden themselves and get the support they need from their loved ones. Register here for free.

And just as National Infertility Awareness Week will come and go, so too will this journey you are on. Even if it seems never-ending at times. It will end.

And because we raise infertility awareness, the technology gets better every day, and your chances for a happy ending get better daily, too.

Well, look at that…a sentence with the words “happy” and “infertility” in it. Things are looking up.

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Are you coming to one of our NIAW events? Which one(s)?

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“New Beginnings through Donor Egg” Seminar at Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

April 14th, 2017 at 9:15 am

Right on the heels of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 23-29) is a seminar especially for women who think they might need an egg donor to build their family. It’s called “New Beginnings through Donor Egg”.

Have you ever met a woman who became a mom through egg donation? Wouldn’t it be helpful to hear about her experience and ask her questions in person knowing she once shared the same concerns you may have about the process?

Well, you won’t want to miss this seminar! The donor egg recipient mom who is coming can’t wait to tell you all about her experience. Like many women who turn to donor egg, she suffered through disappointment and loss before finally considering and then deciding to use an egg donor to build her family. Her story is fascinating and her heart is big.

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at 7:00 pm, Long Island IVF will host a free event “New Beginnings through Donor Egg” that could potentially change the course of your family-building journey. Our caring doctors and staff…and that happy donor recipient mom… will go over everything you could ever need to know about egg donation.

Women whose eggs have been compromised by advanced age, premature ovarian failure, failed IVF treatment, cancer, or poor egg quality should consider donor egg therapy. Long Island IVF offers many ways to build a family through the donor egg program. Gay men wanting biological children also need the help of an egg donor.

Admittedly, conceiving with donor eggs 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 and many wish they’d come around to the idea sooner.

Maybe you’re not yet ready to act on the information you’ll receive. No problem. We’re just here to offer information and emotional support. So, why not attend the seminar and learn about Egg Donation as an opportunity to create your family? It’s right before the often-dreaded Mother’s Day and a perfect time to get educated and empowered about this powerful family-building option.

Victoria Loveland, RN & Donor Egg Nursing Coordinator, Aviva Zigelman, LCSW & Donor Egg Program Director, and Long Island IVF partner and reproductive endocrinologist Steven Brenner, MD will all be there to answer your questions. You can even speak to them privately if you’re more comfortable.

Long Island IVF offers several different egg donation options, including:

  • Sole Recipient Fresh Egg Donation,
  • Shared Recipient Fresh Egg Donation, and
  • Frozen Egg Donation.

Each option offers its own unique benefits, costs, and other considerations. We have young, healthy, pre-screened, anonymous egg donors representing multiple ethnicities ready to help build your family. Or you can use a known donor if you prefer.

Register here for “New Beginnings through Donor Egg”. Walk-ins are always welcome, too. Bring a friend or partner. 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. This seminar is generally intimate, low-key and not overly-crowded.

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

Date: Tuesday May 2, 2017

Time: 7:00 pm- 9:30 pm

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

 

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National Siblings Day and Infertility

By Tracey Minella

April 10th, 2017 at 12:26 pm


What better time to discuss the potentially explosive combination of siblings and infertility than on National Siblings Day?

Sibling rivalry has been around since the creation of the world—especially if you happen to believe that Adam and Eve’s children, Cain and Abel, were the first siblings–and since one killed the other, they’d pretty much be the poster children for sibling rivalry. Regardless of your beliefs, we can all agree that rivalry no doubt existed between whoever evolved into the first set of siblings.

Sibling rivalry gets kicked up a notch in families where some children are fertile and others are not. Just look at the Kardashians…or not.

The universal pain and stress of infertility is further multiplied when your siblings…especially younger ones…are getting pregnant when you can’t. That “filter” that often prevents us from ripping into insensitive acquaintances who say hurtful things just doesn’t exist with siblings. So you mix up infertility’s pain, fear, and frustration of not being able to achieve your dream of motherhood with a big spoonful of that potent sibling “competitive thing” and…

BANG.

Infertility is enough to break up sibling relationships, especially in an already dysfunctional family. We’ve all seen it. Some of us may be living it.

But there is another side of siblings. The “best-friends-for-life” side. The “I’ll carry a baby for you” or “I’ll donate my eggs to you” side.

Some siblings are so close that they can complete each other’s sentences or communicate tons without saying a word. And a few are lucky enough that infertility for one becomes a rallying cry for the others and actually brings them closer. Infertility becomes the common enemy. And depending on the state you live in and the particulars of your infertility challenge, siblings can act as egg donors or recipients, sperm donors, surrogates or gestational carriers. Speaking of generous siblings (or generous strangers)…

Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Program is hosting a free New Beginnings Through Donor Egg seminar on May 2nd in the Melville office from 7:00 pm- 9:30 pm! Register here now for free.  We’d love to meet you there.

So I wish you all not only a swift and happy end to your infertility journey, but also the strength and wisdom to build the kind of family where the rivalry is kept at bay and the unconditional love and support of your children for one another flows freely.

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How has your relationship with you siblings changed as a result of your infertility? Are things strained? Or are they your biggest supporters?

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Listen Up! National Infertility Awareness Week Events are coming to Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

April 4th, 2017 at 6:28 am

It’s that time of the year again. That time when we have the attention of the rest of the world…a/k/a the fertile folks…and get a chance to school their basically clueless selves about the daily and often debilitating struggles of the fertility-challenged.

It’s not their fault they are fertile. Or clueless. But that doesn’t make them or their remarks any less irritable all year long. So the theme for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (“NIAW”)–“Listen Up!”—is really appropriate! NIAW runs from April 23-29, 2017. Let’s take advantage of the chance to make them listen up.

Each year, before, during, and after NIAW, Long Island IVF offers some events to help those struggling with infertility and to raise awareness of infertility. All events are presented in our Melville office and are free and open to the public—no need to be a patient of ours. They are designed to help support you physically and emotionally no matter where you are on your journey to parenthood. Did I mention they are FREE?

Some events give you a mental and physical leg up, so to speak—like our “Yoga for Fertility Night” on April 26th with Lisa Pineda! Learn and do the poses designed to help your body become more receptive to pregnancy through stress reduction, increased blood flow to the uterus, and more. Register here for free. Spots go fast. This was wildly popular last time we offered it!

Similarly, our “Acupuncture for Fertility Symposium” on April 27th, offers a live demo of fertility acupuncture—a holistic and ancient therapy offered at Long Island IVF by our own Dr. David Kreiner, the area’s first and only known reproductive endocrinologist who is also a certified and practicing medical acupuncturist. Learn from a panel of experts how some patients may improve their chances of IVF success by using this complementary therapy—even if they tried IVF unsuccessfully in the past. Register here for free.

Right on the heels of NIAW is the most dreaded day of the year for many infertile ladies: Mother’s Day (followed by the also-awful Father’s Day for the guys). These two days are difficult for all of us, but they’re particularly hard on those who have been on their infertility journey a long time and have exhausted many available family-building options or those suffering in silence and stressing over keeping the secret.

Right before Mother’s Day we are offering our “New Beginnings through Donor Egg Seminar” on May 2nd. Donor Egg is not usually the first step for people seeking to build a family and many people have suffered a long time, through disappointment and loss, before opening up to the possibility of building their family with donor egg. If you find yourself open to exploring a program that many women later confess they wish they considered sooner, please join us to learn more from our supportive and compassionate donor egg team of doctors and nurses. Hear from one of our many successful donor egg recipient moms and ask your questions. Register here for free.

 

Also before Mother’s Day is our “Tired of the Secret Workshop” on May 4th. In an effort to help those couples who want or need to come out of the infertility closet and tell their family and friends or employers—but don’t know how to do it—we are bringing back this popular workshop from Coming Out Infertile Day last November. Led by our Mind-Body Program and infertility specialist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, couples or individuals who want to “come out” are given counsel and guidance to work through the issues that are blocking them, as well as suggestions on how to navigate that important conversation so they can unburden themselves and get the support they need from their loved ones. Register here for free.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with infertility please join us at any or all of these events for free, so we can support you on your journey. If your personal journey is resolved, please share the information so friends who are suffering in silence may see it and benefit.

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Which event(s) seem interesting to you? Are there any other events you’d like to see offered?

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015- 2016- 2017

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 and 2016 and 2017 contest…three years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… 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’ve gotten to do every day more than 29 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

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No More April Fool’s Day Pregnancy Jokes

By Tracey Minella

April 1st, 2017 at 1:58 pm

 

image: wpclipart

Even a holiday as insignificant as April Fool’s Day has become a minefield for the infertile.

What should be a harmless day of dodging innocent pranks always turns ugly with the inevitable April Fool’s Day prank post: “I’m pregnant”.

Just. Stop. Now.

It’s not only soooooo last year (and the year before that… and the year before that) but it’s not even believable or funny anymore. In fact, it never was. It’s simply hurtful to those who can’t have children. And we are not oversensitive. Infertility is no joke. It’s a disease. Would you joke about having cancer? Of course not.

So how about you think before typing that lame joke this year? Think about all the infertile couples who suffer every day of the year as their newsfeeds are bombarded by countless legit pregnancy announcements, baby pictures, and other kid-related posts.

Give us a break. Better yet, post something that is actually laugh-out-loud funny. God/Goodness knows, we could use a momentary diversion from the pain with a rare and honest belly laugh.

Don’t be the Fool on April 1st.

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Are you bothered by April Fool’s Day pregnancy pranks? How do you respond?

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