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Archive for December, 2017

Coming Out for the Holidays

By Tracey Minella

December 29th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

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“Coming out” has a special meaning in the LGBT community. And all members who are “out” remember the way it ultimately happened—and the stress, fear, worry, and hesitation that surrounded that revelation. And the liberating feeling that followed… regardless of the initial response.

Heterosexual couples “come out”, too. But their “coming out” is in reference to breaking their silence about suffering from infertility. Similar feelings–stress, fear, worry, and hesitation. Now, mix that with a bit of unwarranted, social stigma-based shame over not being able to conceive naturally. Come out, and you get the same liberating feeling.

But sometimes, LGBT couples have to “come out” twice.

Consider this: You’ve met someone special and are ready to start a family.

Obviously, biology is a problem. Everyone knows that. It’s why LGBT members—even those who might never have had any problems conceiving if they were heterosexual– need the services of an infertility specialist. In virtually all situations, LGBT unions will require a “missing piece”—either a donated egg, sperm, or embryo—from someone outside the partnership in order to have a baby that’s connected biologically to at least one member of the couple. At a minimum, lesbians need donor sperm. Gay men will need two pieces—a donated egg and a gestational carrier’s uterus to carry the baby to term.

But sometimes, it’s more than basic biology or just getting the “missing piece”. Sometimes, there are issues with the “non-missing piece”. For example, a gay man may have a sperm issue, too. Or a lesbian may have poor egg quality, uterus issues, or other female infertility-related problems.

For these community members, it’s time to come out …again. This time as infertile.

Cue those hard feelings again. And now add in the worries or doubts that—despite great IVF success rates– you could possibly not be able to have children. Because when you are infertile, you just worry. It’s what we do when something so important is outside of our control.

So as the holiday season is in full swing and some family interaction is likely, consider dropping the truth bomb before the ball drops. Free yourself from the burden of the secret and come out about your struggle to conceive. You never know who may step-up and help in some way.

If you need help coming out to your family and friends, Long Island IVF’s caring counselor and Mind-Body expert, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., specializes in helping heterosexual and LGBT couples trying to conceive with the many challenges this journey brings.

Coming out may not get you the emotional support you need—but then again, it may. Either way, it’s liberating.

Long Island IVF has been helping the LGBT community become parents for decades. With a staff that includes both heterosexual and LGBT employees, we pride ourselves on understanding and satisfying each couple’s unique family-building needs. We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network in bringing cutting-edge reproductive medicine education and family-building technologies to Long Island’s LGBT community. If you are ready to learn more about your parenthood options, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation with one of our physicians in one of our conveniently-located offices throughout Long Island and in Brooklyn.

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Why Being Voted the Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice on Long Island Matters to Us

By Tracey Minella

December 14th, 2017 at 10:47 pm

Long Island IVF has been fortunate enough to have won the “Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice” category of the Best of Long Island contest for the past several consecutive years.

It’s an honor we don’t take for granted.

Being nominated and then voted for by our patients and their families each year is humbling and we are thankful for your confidence in our program. We are especially touched that votes come not only from our patients who have had success already, but also from others who are still undergoing treatment and keeping the faith that their own little miracle is coming.

By voting for us—just like when you leave positive reviews for your personal LIIVF doctor on our Facebook page and medical review sites– you are helping others who are struggling with infertility make that tough decision as to what program they should trust with their own fertility care. (Not to mention that you make our day even brighter.)

If you are so inclined, you can still vote for Long Island IVF tonight and tomorrow before the contest closes on Dec 15th while you are supporting your other local favorite goods and services providers. We are listed in the HEALTH & WELLNESS section, under “In-Vitro Fertility Practice”. It only takes a moment. Vote here. You will also notice our own co-founder, Dr. David Kreiner is up for Best “Acupuncturist” in the same section for his fertility acupuncture services.

2018 will be our 30th anniversary of making babies on Long Island, and the thrill of family-building never gets old. In fact, some of our own IVF babies have already grown up and they vote for us, too! And what a concept and thrill THAT is!

Thanks again for trusting us with one of the most important health care decisions of your life and for your positive feedback and your vote.

Many blessing for a peaceful holiday season.

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Hanukkah Wishes for the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

December 12th, 2017 at 9:52 am


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With the festival of lights now underway, everyone at Long Island IVF wishes all those who celebrate it a very Happy Hanukkah.


Like many holidays throughout the year, Hanukkah and its traditions can bring both peace and stress to those suffering from infertility.


Seeing the little ones squealing as they spin dreidels can be hard to take when all you want is a child of your own. Same thing goes for the gelt collection—chocolate-covered or otherwise. Of course, many of you are anxiously awaiting the day you can pass these rich traditions on to your own children.


The stress can even make you over-indulge in the fried-food favorites of the holiday. And no one would blame you if you did. Especially if having a mouthful of latkes is your way to avoid answering Aunt Muriel’s nosy baby questions.


For those who are frustrated or losing faith due to the delay in your family-building plan, I hope you’ll draw strength from the Hanukkah story and embrace the light from the candles as they are lit each evening.


When you feel you have only enough left in you to go on for one more day, you can.. and will… somehow inexplicably, go on for much longer than you ever thought possible. So, keep the faith.


And for many, you will witness a miracle.



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7 Tips on Holiday Survival for the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

December 1st, 2017 at 6:17 am

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How will we make it through this month?


The 2017 winter holiday season has officially kicked off with turkey day–where many a tongue was likely bitten to avoid lashing out at insensitive clods.


So, who needs to vent already?


The winter holidays bring about a whole different kind of stress. First of all, there are waaaaay too many events back-to-back that bring large groups of family (including waaaay too many kids) together for waaaaay too many hours. Depending on your holiday customs, you could be with these people up to 10 times between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Each holiday can inflict a unique pain for the infertile heart to bear.


Thanksgiving is a fun kick-off event. Really, who doesn’t love being forced to feel thankful. Some of us have suffered losses this year or had to delay treatment and may not be feeling very grateful right now. Plus, it’s hard to feel thankful when the thing you want most of all is not yet in reach…and you’re worried if it ever will be. And you may be keeping your struggle a secret from friends and family—which not only gets you no support but makes you a sitting duck during all those hours gathered around the table talking about so many things– like are you guys ever going to have a baby.


Like anyone, we tend to take the good things for granted and focus on what we don’t have. But infertility makes us focus on what we don’t have 24/7, especially if we are in a treatment cycle—so it’s easy to be down…and even bitter. And the assault of nosy questions is draining. Wishing on a wishbone gets old…and using it as a make-shift mashed potato sling-shot for a nagging relative is apparently not socially acceptable behavior. Go figure.


Speaking of wish lists…Christmas and Chanukah and the focus on children are understandably unbearable when waiting for a baby. Can I get a Bah-Humbug? Look, sometimes it’s hard to just be the aunt and uncle–especially if the rest of your overly-fertile family keeps effortlessly popping out babies. It doesn’t mean you don’t adore the little devils, it just means part of your heart is still empty, waiting for your own child to fill it. That’s normal.


New Year’s Eve and Day are also weirdly stressful. But at least you can generally be alone if you prefer to without too much protesting from family or friends. Looking back on the year is hard, especially if there have been failed cycles or painful losses to bear. Looking forward with hope—yet again– can also be hard if the journey is taking years. Like I said, it’s weird. For those who don’t want to party hardy, huge celebrations with champagne toasts may feel frivolous and fake as you battle the lure of the comfortable den couch. Don’t fight it—stay home. Reconnect. Celebrate your strength as a couple and that you made it through the dreaded holiday season. Or just go to bed early. That’s normal, too.


Do anything to protect the heart this season such as:


  • Shop online instead of in toy stores for those kids on your list. Or consider a gift that’s an experience you can share if that would make you both happy—like a concert or outing. Nothing says “I love you” like Bieber tickets.
  • Pamper yourself this season by getting rest and making time for things that you love—like a massage, facial, brunch, or a movie.
  • Buy yourself something. Who says the season of giving can’t include a gift to ourselves?
  • Keep within (and possibly reduce) your budget on gifts for others so as not to overburden yourself with debt or impact your own treatment needs. Suggest a family grab-bag if the extended family has grown faster than your wallet.
  • Consider opening up about your infertility struggle if the stress of the secret is too much. Long Island IVF’s infertility specialist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN can help.
  • Volunteer with a charity.
  • Adopt a family that can’t afford presents or drop off a toy in a Toys for Tots box. You may feel better about yourself if you help others.


And I know you love unsolicited advice, so on a personal note: Year after miserable year, I was pretty bitter and completely overlooked anything good in my life during the holidays…unable to focus on anything at all other than my infertility struggle. My mind was jam-packed with cycle info, drug inventories, numbers of follicles or embryos, hormone levels, and the ever present mental calculation of “if I get pregnant this cycle, the baby will be born in [insert month]”. There was nothing else that mattered. Nothing.


And then, against all odds, after what felt like an eternity, it finally worked out for me– as it eventually does for many. Suddenly, like flipping a switch, the pain was gone—the void was filled. But in hindsight I looked back and realized all the years I lived consumed by sadness. All those years I couldn’t get back. All those holidays I didn’t enjoy…like this year’s holidays may be for you.


So, I get it. I feel your misery and remember. I know it’s hard to fake it ‘til you make it and you shouldn’t have to do that for anybody—except yourself. So, I’m asking you for your own sake, to just try to find some part of each holiday that makes you feel good—or at least willing to get out of bed to face that day. Maybe a family tradition that brings a smile to your face, a present you’re dying to give someone, a favorite dish that will be served, a holiday movie or cookie exchange. Or do something different and make a new tradition—maybe something you plan to continue even after your journey is done.


Because as much as you may be wishing these seemingly dark days away now, you can’t get these days back. And the loved ones here today may not be well or even be here at all next year. So, try to enjoy them. Keep making memories. Snap those selfies even though your heart may not be into it. How I wish I had been better with that.


But keep that wishbone in hand. And make that wish again. Believe and hope. But also remember it makes a great slingshot.


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What are your tips for getting through the holidays?

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