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Archive for September, 2017

Mind Body Medicine and Fertility- Free Reiki Series

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

September 27th, 2017 at 9:35 pm

I am excited to report that Long Island IVF’s’ Fertility Meditation Reiki series has been an amazing addition to our Mind Body Medicine program. The most recent free series runs from October 2-October 30 at 6:30-7:30 pm each Monday night.

Register here to reserve your spot. Come to any or all of the sessions—no need to be a patient.

The interconnection between mind and body makes it imperative that we treat the whole person, and not just one organ or one system of the person.  Our mind influences our thoughts.  Our thoughts influence our feelings, our feelings influence the biochemistry of our physical body.  Physiological changes in the brain are reflected in our hormones – stress hormones (cortisol) and reproductive hormones.

The chicken/egg dilemma:

It doesn’t really matter which came first — physical/biochemical issues affecting the mind OR the mind affecting the physical/biochemistry.   It’s all connected, so what DOES matter is treating the WHOLE system – mind and body.

A factual premise of Mind Body Medicine is based on eliciting what has been termed  “The Relaxation Response (RR).”   The RR is the physiological opposite of the stress response.  Therefore, when the RR is elicited, stress hormone levels (cortisol) decrease, and allow a more harmonious flow of reproductive hormones, as well as creating a cascade of positive changes in the physiological body.  This all works toward treating infertility!

The methods to achieve these changes are active meditation work, breath work,  as well as Reiki healing (opening and clearing of energy centers in the body). These methods cause the interference of the body’s stress responses including the interference of the brain’s release of stress hormones.

Research has shown that the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, etc. from the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, can actually inhibit the release of our reproductive hormones!  Additionally, other physiological symptoms of stress hormones cause constriction of blood vessels and put the body in a hypervigilant state –NOT conducive to fertility. You may not even be aware of these symptoms, but the constant day-in and day-out stress of infertility often causes consistent overflow of these stress hormones, therefore impacting your fertility.

 

A powerful way to increase the energy of Mind Body work is by working in a group.

The Fertility Meditation and Reiki sessions have been a wonderful example of increased healing energy flow. We proceed through guided breath work, guided meditation, and guided Reiki healing, joining our energy to bring about physical, emotional, and spiritual changes.  You don’t have to have had experience in meditation or Reiki – anyone can do it!  The Mind Body group is a place where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support. I am often told by group members that the sharing of information has been enormously helpful to them.

Reiki is a Japanese method of stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. “Ki” means life force energy, and “Rei” means universal/spiritual. We are alive because of life force energy flowing through us. We all feel energy – or the lack thereof – without having to see it or touch it. So, we know it exists.

Life force energy flows through pathways in the body which are energy centers – also known as chakras. The chakras will affect, and are affected by emotions. When certain energy centers have low energy or blocked energy, we may become sick or “dis-eased” in certain areas. The practice of Reiki heals by guiding Ki – life force energy – throughout the energy centers in the body. By guiding energy to flow freely, we clear and open the energy centers, healing both the physical and emotional “dis-ease.”

The first time we offered our free Reiki series last summer, the response to this holistic and healing therapy was overwhelmingly positive. If you missed the last series, or can’t make the October 2017 series, we will have upcoming series scheduled throughout the year.

Infertility, and life in general, is stressful. Why not let us help you reduce that stress and regain some control? If you are experiencing fertility issues, you are encouraged to attend these sessions to fully do all that you can to treat infertility and provide coping and healing skills you will then have for life! Register for free now.

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Donor Egg and LGBT Family-Building

By Tracey Minella

September 26th, 2017 at 8:25 am

Most LGBT couples may have at one point or another considered adoption as the way to build a family. That’s because adoption was the only option before the advent of assisted reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization “IVF” and other medical advances. And truth be told, it wasn’t (and still isn’t) the best option for many LGBT couples.

There are usually obstacles, delays, and significant costs to adopting a baby—especially for homosexual couples. In the past (and in some places today), LGBT couples seeking to adopt newborns often had to consider taking children who were older, minorities, and/or had special needs or medical challenges to avoid endlessly waiting for a baby. Even foster parenting doesn’t guarantee you’ll eventually get to adopt that child you’ve grown to love.

But as noble and fulfilling as adoption can be as a family-building choice, LGBT wannabe parents have more choices today, too. The many medical options to LGBT family-building have been extensively covered in this blog.

Donor egg has revolutionized family-building for both the heterosexual and homosexual communities.

As we all know from biology class, it takes an egg and sperm to make a baby. So, what is an LGBT couple or individual to do when they are missing one half of the equation? They can borrow from their neighbor. (But wait, isn’t that math class terminology?) Actually, the phrase fits well. They need to get the missing piece from someone else who donates it.

Gay men need an egg donor to provide eggs for them to fertilize with their sperm (and they need a gestational carrier, too). Lesbians need a sperm donor for sure, but may also need an egg donor if they do not have or don’t want to use quality eggs of their own. So, egg donation is the cornerstone technology for much of LGBT family-building.

The Long Island IVF Donor Egg program and our LGBT services has been helping LGBT couples start and grow their families for decades.

There are many advantages to choosing donor egg over traditional adoption, including savings in time and money. For gay men, it enables them to have a biological connection to their children, which some men prefer over adopting. For a lesbian woman who needs it, donor egg provides healthy, young eggs so she can conceive, carry the pregnancy and be in control of her developing baby’s health, experience childbirth, and be recognized as the legal birth mother—none of which is the case in adoption.

And since egg donation generally yields multiple eggs, you may be able to repeat the process–potentially experiencing additional pregnancies over time—all from a single donor egg cycle.

Please contact Long Island IVF’s Donor Program Coordinator, Vicky Loveland RN, if you are interested in egg donation at victorial@longislandivf.com .

If you would like to know more about LGBT family- building options, please come to Long Island IVF’s free seminar “Building Families in the LGBT Community” on October 26, 2017. It’s held in conjunction with our partner, the LGBT Network, at its Bay Shore Center at 34 Park Avenue, Bay Shore, New York. Register here to reserve your spot.

 

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Would you consider egg donation to build your family?

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Remembering 9/11 Sixteen Years Later

By Tracey Minella

September 11th, 2017 at 6:43 am

Credit: Pixabay/Ronile

 

I don’t think anything is more appropriate on this anniversary than to remember that day, so I’m sharing this classic.

 

You’ll always remember where you were that fateful day. And so will I.

 

I was working as a medical assistant for Long Island IVF. I was also a patient of Dr. Kreiner’s…and about 9 weeks pregnant with my son. Could life be any happier on a blindingly clear, crisp September morning?

 

It started out as a typical day, with the usual morning rush. Lots of busy women…many trying to get their blood and sono done so they cold hurry off to work. A few rushing to catch a train to the city. Men dropping off specimens on their way to the office. Some trying to catch a train to the city.

 

A train to the city.

 

By the time news of the second plane crash hit, most of the morning’s patients had already been seen and were gone. Disbelief was quickly followed by panic as we and the rest of the nation scrambled to figure out if our friends and family who worked in NYC were ok.  And what about our patients?

 

Doesn’t “So-and-So” work downtown? Isn’t “Mr. X” a trader on Wall Street? We spent the morning pouring over the employer info in the patients’ charts, making calls on jammed phone lines, and accounting for everyone’s whereabouts.  We went through the motions of the day on auto-pilot, glued to a 13” black and white TV in the nurse’s station, watching the horror unfold.

 

What kind of world was I bringing this baby into?

 

But just as there were stories of heroism, good deeds, and miracles amid the atrocity of the attacks, there was something positive that day in the Long Island IVF office.

 

A patient learned that, despite the chaos unfolding around her, it was indeed going to be her insemination day. When it’s your day, it’s your day. Not even an act of war will intervene. And 9/11 was to be her only day. One insemination. That afternoon. Amid the sadness and silence and sobs of the patient and everyone in the office.

 

And we came to learn a couple weeks later, that on the day the Twin Towers and the lives of so many innocent people were lost, we had participated in one ironically beautiful beginning. That patient got pregnant and had…twins.

 

Usually, it’s the patient who is thankful to the doctor and staff. But I will always be grateful to that patient for giving us one little happy something…well, actually two…to remember from that fateful day. And for being a sign to me that the world would go on, that we’d keep making babies, and that maybe it was going to be all right.

 

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You WILL Survive Your IVF Baby Leaving for College or Kindergarten

By Tracey Minella

September 6th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

 

T. Minella


By now, just about all college kids have checked in for the new school year. And the little ones started school yesterday and today on Long Island. So, all across the country there are moms and dads feeling the sting…or rather, the devastation…of saying good-bye to their babies.

But IVF parents have it worse. We love harder.

There, I said it.

It’s not that we are better parents (okay I’m lying because I think we kind of are better), but we love differently. That’s entirely because we faced the frightening reality of never becoming parents. We don’t take parenthood for granted. We worked for it. It’s something the fertile folks won’t ever understand and it doesn’t just disappear after the infertility battle is won. It’s a part of us and is always there. It often manifests itself in over-protectiveness and over-involvement. From triple-checking the baby is still breathing, to fearing sleepovers or letting others watch or drive our kids, to tracking their iPhones and monitoring their social media, the vigilant watch unfolds until one day…poof…they are gone.

First, it’s kindergarten, where you are handing them off to another adult for the better part of the day. It’s not all unicorns, rainbows, and “ready confetti”. Stressing over things like whether they will do well academically, make friends, eat alone, be included at recess, or get bullied is normal. Major stuff.

Blink and you will be dropping them off at the dorm—maybe in another state—and wondering where the heck all the years went? Wasn’t it just yesterday that life was all blood work and sonograms? How did it all fly by so fast? Did I do a good enough job? Is my job over? Are they prepared? How will I make until Parent’s Weekend or Thanksgiving without seeing my baby? I want a do-over!

So, here is the deal…

To the kindergarten parents: You will adjust. And you will be amazed at how your baby learns and grows and makes friends. They are ready, even if you are not. It will be fine. They will come home and tell you about their day at school and you will sit in wonder at this little person you created. And there will still be plenty of hours in the day to hover over them and teach them to navigate their new wonderful world. It’s going to be okay. I promise. (Still need to feel better? Read on for the college version.)

To the college freshman parents: You will adjust. True, when someone told me that a year ago as I sent my first IVF baby off to college in Virginia, I admit that I smiled and nodded politely but I secretly thought to myself “Nope, you’re an idiot.” (Look, those moments of “mom desperation” when your baby is moving 8 hours away can bring out the worst in us. Am I right?)

But really, somehow, life does go on without them home. I know it is unimaginable (and that you’re thinking I’m an idiot). It’s truly unthinkable. And the hole in your heart and life is so big, raw, and real right now. I get that completely. But as they start this next big phase on their own, you will marvel at their ability to juggle it all. Watch in pride as they begin “adulting” based on the foundation you gave them. The schoolwork, activities, eating, even the occasional laundry. All mostly on their own now. They will thrive in the place they feel they belong—which will become a second home to them in time as new friendships bloom.

But they will still need you and they will reach out for advice–and money– so look forward to those moments to come. And with your heart in your throat, keep on them (gently but firmly) about the parties and your expectations of them as they adjust to their newfound freedom. They’ll make the friends who will be their friends for life, and maybe even meet their soulmate. Look forward to seeing them at Parent’s Weekend. You will be amazed at how they’ve grown. And Thanksgiving will have a whole new meaning this year.

I’ve been in your shoes and I know you can do this. You are going to make it. Things are different and sad. Change is hard, but it can be good. And it will be good. Just maybe not today.

So, let them fly. (Really, let go of their foot.)

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With decades of miracles behind us, Long Island IVF parents have sent countless numbers of babies off to school (and some down the aisle!). Feel free to pics of your baby’s back-to-school pics.

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September is Back-to-Baby-Making Time

By Tracey Minella

September 1st, 2017 at 9:34 am

 

image: designerpics.com Jeshu John


What’s better than spending the summer on Long Island?

Beaches less than a 15-minute ride in any direction. Great food, drinks, entertainment, and everyone kicking back and relaxing.

It’s no wonder many of those struggling with infertility decided to take the summer off from treatment and just relax. Not “relax, it’ll happen”. But relax as in filling your life with fun distractions that prevent you from obsessing about infertility 24/7. A mix of laid back and wild adventures. Soaking in the rays and Vitamin D. You know, just chillin’.

Basically, just doing what you’ve always loved—with those you loved to laugh with– before infertility messed it all up.

If you did this and conceived, that’s the best news ever. But if you’re still tossing negative pee sticks into the final summer bonfire, maybe it’s time to get back in the stirrups. If you don’t have a treatment plan already waiting, make that doctor’s appointment to decide the next step. If you know what the next step must be and you’re ready, then take it.

Back-to-school shopping ads can feel like a pencil through the heart when you’re infertile. But September is about more than back-to-school for kids you don’t have yet. It’s like a second New Year’s for everyone—a time to start anew. A time to make new plans or re-commit to old resolutions. A time to try again at parenthood, if that’s possible.

We’re here to help everyone–whether you are a patient of ours yet or not. To that end, we offer a steady stream of free seminars and events open to the public that give people a chance to meet our doctors and staff outside of an exam room for the first time—without the paper gown. And for those who are already patients, it’s bonus benefits and extra time with us in a more relaxed setting (again, no gown…)

Check out all the free events coming up this fall that will appeal to many different parents-in-waiting still on their journeys and come down with your partner or another friend. Or come alone. We have a donor egg seminar on Sept 12th, a series of Monday night Reiki and Guided Meditation sessions in October, and a seminar on Building families in the LGBT Community on October 26th—and we are constantly adding more so follow us on our blog or on social media.

There’s already a chill in the Long Island air. So, let’s not look back. The beauty of autumn is upon us and a fresh start is waiting. It’s back to baby-making.

Hope to see you soon.

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Did you take the summer off from treatment or power on through it?

 

 

 

 

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September is PCOS Awareness Month

By David Kreiner MD

September 1st, 2017 at 9:05 am

, via Wikimedia Commons”]

By Anne Mousse (Own work) [CC0

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or “PCOS”,  is the most common hormonal disorder of reproductive age women, occurring in over 7% of women at some point in their lifetime.  It usually develops during the teen years.  Treatment can assist women attempting to conceive, help control the symptoms and prevent long term health problems.

The most common cause of PCOS is glucose intolerance resulting in abnormally high insulin levels.  If a woman does not respond normally to insulin her blood sugar levels rise, triggering the body to produce more insulin.  The insulin stimulates your ovaries to produce male sex hormones called androgens.  Testosterone is a common androgen and is often elevated in women with PCOS.  These androgens block the development and maturation of a woman’s ovarian follicles, preventing ovulation resulting in irregular menses and infertility.  Androgens may also trigger development of acne and extra facial and body hair.  It will increase lipids in the blood.  The elevated blood sugar from insulin resistance can develop into diabetes.

Symptoms may vary but the most common are acne, weight gain, extra hair on the face and body, thinning of hair on the scalp, irregular periods and infertility.

Ovaries develop numerous small follicles that look like cysts hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.  These cysts themselves are not harmful but in response to fertility treatment can result in a condition known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS.

Hyperstimulation syndrome involves ovarian swelling, fluid accumulating in the belly and occasionally around the lungs.  A woman with Hyperstimulation syndrome may become dehydrated increasing her risk of developing blood clots.  Becoming pregnant adds to the stimulation and exacerbates the condition leading many specialists to cancel cycles in which a woman is at high risk of developing Hyperstimulation.  They may also prescribe aspirin to prevent clot formation.

These cysts may lead to many eggs maturing in response to fertility treatment also placing patients at a high risk of developing a high order multiple pregnancy.  Due to this unique risk, it may be advantageous to avoid aggressive stimulation of the ovaries unless the eggs are removed as part of an in vitro fertilization procedure.

A diagnosis of PCOS may be made by history and physical examination including an ultrasound of the ovaries.  A glucose tolerance test is most useful to determine the presence of glucose intolerance and diabetes.  Hormone assays will also be helpful in making a differential diagnosis.

Treatment starts with regular exercise and a diet including healthy foods with a controlled carbohydrate intake.  This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.  It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Quitting smoking will help reduce androgen levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.  Birth control pills help regulate periods and reduce excess facial hair and acne.  Laser hair removal has also been used successfully to reduce excess hair.

A diabetes medicine called metformin can help control insulin and blood sugar levels.  This can help lower androgen levels, regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility.  Fertility medications, in particular clomiphene are often needed in addition to metformin to get a woman to ovulate and will assist many women to conceive.

The use of gonadotropin hormone injections without egg removal as performed as part of an IVF procedure may result in Hyperstimulation syndrome and/or multiple pregnancies and therefore one must be extremely cautious in its use.  In vitro fertilization has been very successful and offers a means for a woman with PCOS to conceive without a significant risk for developing a multiple pregnancy especially when associated with a single embryo transfer.   Since IVF is much more successful than insemination or intercourse with gonadotropin stimulation, IVF will reduce the number of potential exposures a patient must have to Hyperstimulation syndrome before conceiving.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS.  If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition.  Ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you with your symptoms.  Remember, PCOS can be annoying, aggravating even depressing but it is fortunately a very treatable disorder.

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Do you suffer from PCOS? Do you have any advice to share for other “cysters”?

 

Photo credit:

By Anne Mousse (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AEchographie_pelvienne%2C_aplio_toshiba_ssa_700_5_2004_03_detail.jpg

 

 

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Long Island IVF New Beginnings with Donor Egg Seminar

By Tracey Minella

September 1st, 2017 at 7:37 am

Do you think—or know—that you will need an egg donor in order to build your family? Does the idea of using a donor egg to create your family overwhelm or worry you? Well, you can relax.

All of your questions area about to be answered.

On Tuesday, September 12, 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 one of our donor recipient moms… will go over everything you could ever need to know about egg donation.

Doesn’t the idea of hearing the personal story of a woman who was once in your shoes sound wonderful? Someone who once had doubts and questions and, like many who ultimately choose donor egg, suffered losses and feared she might not ever have the family she envisioned. Yet she sought out the information and took a chance. And now she’s a mom.

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 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.

True, conceiving with donor eggs is rarely the first choice, but after weighing many personal physical, emotional, psychological, and financial considerations, many people come to find it is an acceptable alternative path to parenthood. And decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made—and many wish they did it sooner.

Maybe you’re not yet ready to act on all the information you’ll receive. No problem. We’re just here to offer information and emotional support. So why not come over 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 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.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when we tell you about how stream-lined our programs can be and how competitive the success rates can be, too.

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

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

 

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 choose to use a known donor.

Register here now for this free event. 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.

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

Date: Tuesday September 12, 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 so we can make other arrangements to help you.

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