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Archive for the ‘Egg Donor’ Category

Flip the Script and Banish the Closets Beyond NIAW 2018

By Tracey Minella

May 4th, 2018 at 10:44 am

image: shutterstock

How do heterosexuals and LGBT members experience infertility? There are two different “scripts” for those suffering from infertility. One for heterosexual couples and the other for the LGBT community. Both can play out like horror movies for those unfortunate enough to be cast.

National Infertility Awareness Week (“NIAW”) was the brainchild of Resolve, The National Infertility Association. Each year the week– generally celebrated during the last week of April–has a different theme. The theme for 2018 was #FlipTheScript. As its name suggests, NIAW was created to recognize and support people suffering from infertility and to raise awareness of a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples.

In addition to raising awareness of infertility and supporting those suffering, NIAW is designed to mobilize forces to advocate for change and to get people talking—beyond just one week each year– so that the stigma associated with infertility can disappear and those suffering don’t need to add shame to the list of other emotions and fears that infertility already brings.

The International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART) defines infertility as “a disease characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse or due to an impairment of a person’s capacity to reproduce either as an individual or with his/her partner,” (emphasis added), according to the Resolve website*. The latter part of the definition was added only after years of advocacy by the LGBT community and its allies to expand the definition so it would be relevant, beneficial, and inclusive of the LGBT community which sought medical coverage for infertility treatment.

So, if infertility is defined differently for LGBTs and heterosexuals, how is the NIAW experience similar or different for both groups?

When infertility statistics are cited, the phrase “1 in 8” is a likely reference to heterosexual couples. For the vast majority of the LGBT community—including all lesbians and all gay men– it would be “8 in 8”. That’s because they (and many transsexuals) cannot get pregnant or get someone pregnant without the use of assisted reproductive technologies like intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), donor sperm, donor eggs, and/or gestational carriers.

For heterosexuals, the painful infertility stigma they experience is often born from feelings of failure and inadequacy upon learning that one partner or the other (or both) has a medical condition, problem, or disease that makes them unable to achieve or maintain a pregnancy as a couple. Society expects a heterosexual couple to be able to produce a baby the “old-fashioned way” so when they can’t, they often feel shame.

Looking at it that way, LGBT couples should be free of the stigma. Society doesn’t yet place the same expectation on LGBT couples to reproduce. For most, their infertility is simply due to a need to obtain the missing biological piece – – eggs or sperm – – to create a baby within the LGBT union. Not the same shame here. Society recognizes that LGBT couples are infertile by biological necessity. So, for those LGBT couples not further burdened with a specific infertility-causing disease or condition (like male factor infertility or poor egg quality or uterine fibroids) or an unexplained infertility diagnosis, society doesn’t place the same expectation of procreation on the union or the same stigma of shame and failure.

In fact, sometimes the opposite is true. Some haters oppose the LGBT’s pursuit of biological parenthood. Instead of fighting a social stigma of shame like heterosexuals, the LGBT community fights ignorance, intolerance, and prejudice of those who fail to recognize that all people regardless of sexual orientation have the right to become parents.

Social stigmas drive guilt, shame, fear, anger, and frustration. If we truly want to “flip the script” as National Infertility Awareness Week’s theme encourages us to do in 2018, we need to acknowledge the words, emotions, and actions that have been written into our “scripts” to date and change them.

To the heterosexuals, society’s harsh script (including certain religious influences) reads that you have what it takes as a couple to make a baby. We expect you to procreate. You should be able to do this without help. What kind of a man can’t get his wife pregnant? What is your worth as a woman if you can’t be a mother? So, when you can’t get pregnant, the message is “What’s wrong with you? We don’t understand you or support you or sympathize with you.” Couples who can’t procreate often feel like failures and feel shame or guilt. So, they don’t speak. They keep their struggles secret and suffer in silence due to this stigma.

To the LGBT community, the horrible script is a different version of the cold shoulder. It sometimes reads, (including certain religious influences) that even though you have the legal right to marry, we don’t recognize your union as one meant for procreation or parenthood. Your union isn’t “natural” so you can’t and shouldn’t become biological parents. Kids need a mommy and a daddy. “What’s wrong with you? We don’t understand you, support you or sympathize with you.”  LGBT couples, accustomed to haters and frankly tired from fighting for the right to everything, just want what most people want–the same rights to have a biological child if they so choose.

To this, we say #FlipTheScript.

To this we say, banish the closets. The LGBT community didn’t come out of the closet to go back inside…and they’re not going to leave their suffering heterosexual friends in there alone.  They haven’t fought so many battles for so long just to stop now. They have the right to marry. They’ve changed the definition of infertility to include the LGBT community. And armed with a definition that includes all people, the LGBT community and its heterosexual friends will continue the fight for compassionate, quality, accessible, affordable healthcare and insurance coverage for the assisted reproductive technologies necessary to overcome this barrier to parenthood.

In order to banish closets in which infertile LGBT and heterosexuals hide, we all need to step up the advocacy efforts and show society we’re loud, we’re proud, we all have a right to be parents and we all have a right to affordably access the medical technology to get us there. That’s when acceptance may eventually happen and stigmas may end. That’s when the only thing hiding in closets will be those clothes you swear you’re going to fit in again someday.

If you are interested in LGBT family-building, Long Island IVF has decades of experience helping the community become parents.  Please contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial consultation.

We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network to provide information, education, support, and access to the most advanced traditional and holistic assisted reproductive technologies. All while understanding, respecting, and being sensitive to the unique needs of the LGBT community.

And we are excited to again be a major sponsor of Pridefest this June!

In addition to Pridefest festivities, Long Island IVF and the LGBT Network will be offering our popular Building Families in the LGBT Community seminar on Thursday June 21, 2018 from 6:00-8:00pm at the Long Island IVF Melville office. It’s a free, casual, and informative session that addresses everything you would ever need to know about how you can become a parent through assisted reproductive technologies. All are welcome. No need to be a patient. Just click the link above to preregister now.

This year, Long Island IVF is celebrating a milestone–our 30th anniversary. If you are ready for parenthood, we would love the opportunity to assist you with your own milestone. Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for info on our upcoming free events.

 

* https://resolve.org/infertility-101/what-is-infertility/

 

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Who Will Carry the Baby in LGBT Family-Building? (Part Three): For Transgenders

By Tracey Minella

April 4th, 2018 at 9:37 am

 

Eggs with symbol of transgender, female and male gender symbols

At Long Island IVF, we take pride in our history of building families for the LGBT community. While gays and lesbians have historically made up the majority of LGBT cases, recent years have brought transgender people and their family-building options into the spotlight.

For the third and final part in this series on “Who Will Carry the Baby in LGBT Family-building?”, we’re going to examine the options that transgender couples and individuals have for starting their families.

In many ways, building a transgender family is very similar to building other families in that many of the same assisted reproductive technologies are utilized, such as in vitro fertilization, egg-freezing, donor sperm and more, depending on the needs of the transgender individual or couple. Yet, in some ways, the transitioning factor of the transgender lifestyle can bring some unique challenges to transgender family-building.

Before diving in to the several different scenarios that transgender individuals and couples who want to build families may face, a basic understanding of some of the methodologies that may be used is necessary.

As we all know, biology requires an egg, a sperm, and a uterus to make a baby. When gay men want a family, they generally have the sperm requirement covered between the two of them, but they need to find an egg donor to donate the egg and a gestational carrier to carry the pregnancy in her uterus for the intended parent(s). When lesbians want a baby, they often have the egg and uterus requirements covered between the two of them but need donor sperm (which is relatively inexpensive to procure).

But when a transgender person wants a child that is genetically-connected to them, things can become a bit more complicated—especially depending on where they are in the transitioning process.

So, it’s imperative that anyone even remotely considering have a baby that’s genetically-tied to them at some point in the future see a reproductive endocrinologist as soon as possible and prior to proceeding with any transitional hormonal treatments. Failure to do so may negatively impact your ability to have a biological child.

When assisted reproductive technology is needed to help people conceive, it often involves either intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) or in vitro fertilization (“IVF”). So, let’s summarize what IUI, IVF, Egg-freezing, and egg donation entail.

For an IUI, at the time of ovulation, sperm is deposited via catheter into the uterus of a woman (who generally took oral or injectable hormonal medications to encourage ovulation of a couple of mature eggs) in the hope that fertilization will occur naturally and a pregnancy will result.

IVF is more involved and expensive than IUI but has a higher statistical success rate per cycle. It involves a woman taking hormonal injections for a couple of weeks to encourage the production of multiple eggs (rather than the one that would normally be produced each month) and being monitored closely through blood work and ultrasounds. Then when the time is right and just prior to them being ovulated, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries through a fine needle aspiration under light sedation. The eggs are then mixed with sperm in a petri dish and incubate in the lab in the hope fertilization will take place, or in cases where sperm quality is an issue, sperm may be injected into the eggs in a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (“ICSI”) to assist in fertilization. A few days later, 1-2 resulting embryos are generally transferred vaginally via catheter into the uterus in the hope of implantation and a resulting healthy pregnancy. The unused embryos are often frozen, or cryopreserved, for future use. Sometimes, no embryos are transferred back in the fresh cycle and all are frozen for use in a future cycle.

When women undergo egg-freezing, the procedure is identical to IVF described above except that after the retrieval, mature eggs are frozen prior to being fertilized and no transfer takes place in that cycle. At some future date, the eggs can be thawed as needed and fertilized in the lab, then resulting embryos can be transferred to the woman’s uterus (or another woman’s uterus, if need be) in the hope a pregnancy will occur.

When a woman is an egg donor, she, too undergoes the procedure identical to IVF described above except that after the retrieval, her participation is over and all of the eggs are turned over to the parties who are the intended recipients for freezing and/or fertilization in accordance with their agreement.

Now that the procedures have been explained, let’s examine how transgender individuals and couples can take advantage of the available technologies. Again, we stress the need to see a reproductive endocrinologist before transitioning and beginning hormonal treatment.

We’ve broken the options down by the gender the person was biologically born into and the gender they are attracted to, so readers can skip ahead to which of the four sections best applies to them.

  1. Born female but identifies as male–Attracted to females:

If you were born female but identify as male and are attracted to females and you want to have a genetically-linked baby someday, you will need to use the eggs you were born with to make that connection. You may or may not want to also use the uterus you were born with, but the genetic connection comes from the eggs, not the uterus. Usually, those females who identify as male are not interested in carrying a pregnancy before transitioning.

Here are your options:

  • Have an IUI using donor sperm (provided you have no egg, uterine, or tubal issues) and carry the baby yourself before transitioning;
  • Have IVF using donor sperm (provided you have no egg or uterine issues) and carry the baby yourself before transitioning;
  • Have IVF using donor sperm before transitioning (provided you have no egg issues) and freeze all the embryos for future use. They can be transferred to your uterus or a partner’s uterus before transitioning or to a partner’s uterus after transitioning.
  • Have your eggs frozen for future use (provided you have no egg issues). They can be thawed and fertilized with donor sperm as needed and transferred to your uterus or a partner’s uterus before transitioning or to a partner’s uterus after transitioning.

Many of these transgender couples find that using the eggs of the partner born female who identifies as male and having them transferred to the uterus of the partner who was born female and identifies as such allows both partners to be invested in the pregnancy—one provides the egg and the other carries the pregnancy and is the birth mother. In fact, many lesbians elect to do something similar and have one partner carry the pregnancy using the eggs of the other partner for the same reason.

 

  1. Born female but identifies as male–Attracted to males:

If you were born female but identify as male and are attracted to males and you want to have a biological child someday, you will also need to use the eggs you were born with to make that connection. You may or may not want to also use the uterus you were born with, but the genetic connection comes from the eggs, not the uterus. Again, many females who identify as males are not often interested in carrying a pregnancy prior to transitioning.

If your goal is transitioning to male and partnering with a male, your family-building options would be very similar to those of a gay couple. However, you have a potentially-huge advantage in being able to use your own eggs and possibly your own uterus if desired.

Here are your options:

  • Have an IUI using donor or a partner’s sperm (provided you have no egg, uterine, or tubal issues) and carry the baby yourself before transitioning;
  • Have IVF using donor or a partner’s sperm (provided you have no egg or uterine issues) and carry the baby yourself before transitioning;
  • Have IVF using donor or partner’s sperm before transitioning (provided you have no egg issues) and freeze all the embryos for future use. They can be transferred to your uterus or a gestational carrier’s uterus before transitioning or to a gestational carrier’s uterus before or after transitioning;
  • Have your eggs frozen for future use (provided you have no egg issues). They can be thawed and fertilized with donor or a partner’s sperm as needed and transferred to your uterus or a gestational carrier’s uterus before transitioning or to a gestational carrier’s uterus after transitioning.

Many of these transgender couples find that using the eggs of the partner born female who identifies as male and having them fertilized with the sperm of the partner who was born male and identifies as such and then transferring them to the uterus of a gestational carrier not only saves them the expense of an egg donor but allows them both to have a biological connection to the baby. Before hormonal treatment/transitioning occurs, it is possible the partner with the uterus may even be able to carry the pregnancy, though most don’t pursue that option. One of the biggest obstacles to gay family-building is the cost of an egg donor and a gestational carrier. These transgender couples may be able to build their families without incurring one or both of those costs.

  1. Born male but identifies as female–Attracted to females:

If you were born male but identify as female and are attracted to females and you want to have a biological child someday, you will need to use your sperm to make that connection. As much as transition surgery can do for one who identifies as a female, it unfortunately cannot create a functional uterus in which a baby can be carried (at this time, anyway). But the genetic connection to your baby comes from the use of your sperm.

If your goal is transitioning to female and partnering with a female, your family-building options would be very similar to those of a lesbian couple. However, you have the wonderful possible advantage of being able to use your own sperm to create a baby.

Here are your options:

  • Have your sperm frozen for future use in IUI and/or IVF procedures before transitioning or beginning hormonal treatment! Multiple times. Samples can be thawed and used to fertilize your partner’s eggs via IUI or IVF as indicated (or an egg donor’s eggs via IVF, if needed) and transferred to your partner’s uterus (or a gestational carrier’s uterus if needed). You may need to undergo IVF with your partner if you have a sperm issue which ICSI (described above) may overcome.
  • Have your partner do an IUI using your sperm (provided she has no egg, uterine, or tubal issues and your sperm is of acceptable quality);
  • Have your partner do IVF using your sperm (provided she has no egg or uterine issues and use ICSI if sperm quality is an issue);
  • Have your partner do IVF using your sperm (provided she has no egg issues) and freeze all the embryos for future use. They can be transferred to a gestational carrier’s uterus if your partner has uterine issues;
  • Have IVF with donor egg using your sperm if your partner has egg issues and freeze the embryos for future use. They can be transferred into your partner’s uterus (if no uterine issues) or a gestational carrier’s uterus.

Many of these transgender couples find that using the sperm of the partner born male who identifies as female to fertilize the eggs of the partner who was born female and identifies as such either through IUI or IVF allows them both to have a biological connection to the baby. As long as the one partner’s eggs and uterus are fine, and the other partner’s sperm is fine, IUI or IVF could be the pathway to parenthood without the need for sperm or egg donors or a gestational carrier.

 

  1. Born male but identifies as female–Attracted to males:

If you were born male but identify as female and are attracted to males and you want to have a biological child someday, you only have your sperm to use to make that genetic connection. At least until science makes a uterine transplant possible in a transgender individual. But the genetic connection to your baby comes from the use of your sperm.

If your goal is transitioning to female and partnering with a male, your family-building options would be very similar to those of a gay couple. You have presumably got the sperm issue covered between the two of you but need both an egg donor and a gestational carrier in order to have a baby.

Here are your options:

  • Freeze your sperm before beginning hormonal treatment or transitioning! Multiple times. Multiple vials. It’s relatively inexpensive, especially in comparison to egg-freezing. There is virtually no reason not to do this for security– you can’t change your mind later. If an analysis determines your sperm has some issues (i.e. factors like its volume, shape, speed), ask your doctor if you should freeze even more. As discussed earlier, if you have a sperm issue ICSI (see above) during IVF may overcome it.
  • Have IVF using your sperm from before transitioning and using an egg donor and a gestational carrier. Your egg donor can be anonymous or known to you. She will undergo IVF (as previously explained above) but at the point of the egg retrieval, she turns the eggs over to you and she’s done. The eggs are then mixed with your sperm and/or your partner’s sperm for fertilization. After fertilization, the resulting embryos are frozen, to be implanted in the uterus of a gestational carrier. A gestational carrier is a woman (one different than the egg donor) who agrees to carry the baby for you, the intended parent(s). At the birth, the baby is turned over to you pursuant to your contract.

Many of these transgender couples find that using the sperm of both the partner that was born male who identifies as female and also the sperm of the partner born male who identifies as such to fertilize the eggs of the egg donor allows them both to potentially have a biological connection to their babies, though not currently both being connected to a single baby at the same time. For example, embryos fertilized by one partner’s sperm might be transferred into a gestational carrier first and then in a later pregnancy attempt, embryos fertilized with the other partner’s sperm are transferred. If successful, this gives each dad a biological connection to the child fathered with their sperm.

* * * * * * * * * *** * * * * * *

Fortunately, there are donor programs at Long Island IVF to help transgender, homosexual and heterosexual folks with any donor egg, donor sperm, or egg donor needs.

Whether you are a gay man, lesbian, or transgender—single or married—if you are interested in family-building, Long Island IVF has decades of experience helping the community become parents.  Please contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial consultation. In addition, follow us on social media for info on our many free upcoming events.

We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network to provide the community with information, education, support, and access to the most advanced traditional and holistic assisted reproductive technologies. We also understand, respect, and are sensitive to the unique needs of the LGBT community when it comes to building its families.

This year, Long Island IVF is celebrating a milestone–our 30th anniversary. If you are ready for parenthood, we would love the opportunity to assist you with your own milestone.

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Don’t Miss Long Island IVF’s Free Donor Egg Seminar

By Tracey Minella

March 19th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Let’s face it. Having a baby using donor eggs is just not most people’s first choice. The vast majority of women understandably want a baby with a genetic connection to both them and their partner. So, it can be hard to get past the fear that a donor egg baby may not feel like it’s really yours. And there are so many questions about the process itself and what life is like afterwards. Questions only a mom who used donor eggs can really answer.

That’s why if you are considering using an egg donor to start your family, you should come to Long Island IVF’s free “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg” seminar tomorrow night, March 20, 2018 at our Melville office, from 7:00-9:30 pm. Pre-register here now. You will not only meet our compassionate and experienced Donor Egg Team, but you’ll get to meet one of our many successful and happy donor egg recipient moms. Bring your partner or a friend or come alone. We’re waiting to meet you.

One of our recipient moms is going to share her story of how she was able to become a mom because of our donor egg program. She’s going to tell you the challenges she faced, how she came to accept the idea of using an egg donor, and what life is like now that she is a mother.

She’s going to answer all those questions you have right now, because it wasn’t so long ago that she was in your shoes and had the very same questions and concerns.

We understand that if you are considering donor eggs, you are likely at a difficult crossroads in your fertility journey–one that was likely arrived at after a long, hard road of treatments and sometimes devastating losses. You’re probably on the fence. A bit hesitant.

Come down and get those questions answered, even if you think you aren’t ready to act on the information just yet. Hear a success story. Learn if using young, healthy eggs might be the missing piece for your IVF success. Get educated and empowered about this powerful family-building option.

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. 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. In addition, gay men wanting biological children also need the help of an egg donor.

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.

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 March 20, 2018

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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Who Will Carry the Baby in LGBT Family-Building? (Part Two): For Lesbians

By Tracey Minella

February 28th, 2018 at 12:25 pm

 

image: shutterstock

At Long Island IVF, we take pride in building families for the LGBT community. And the first question in LGBT family-building is the same whether you are a single gay man, a gay couple, a lesbian couple, or a single lesbian: Who will carry the baby?

Don’t jump to the seemingly obvious conclusion that a single woman or a lesbian couple necessarily has a uterus—or two—that would be suitable for carrying a pregnancy. Things are not always that simple. That’s why if the idea of having a baby now or someday is something you’re considering, it might be wise to see a reproductive endocrinologist for a baseline fertility evaluation now to catch any “red flags” that could compromise your fertility.

One (or both females) may have uterine or other medical issues that either prohibit her or them from carrying a pregnancy or would make attempting to do so unsafe or unadvisable. In addition, there may be non-medical factors that make a woman an uninterested, unwilling, or otherwise a poor candidate for baby-carrying. When that happens, a gestational carrier would be needed to carry the baby for the intended parent(s). That’s assuming there are healthy eggs.

In addition to a uterus in which to carry the pregnancy, the single woman or lesbian couple needs to produce healthy eggs. Again, it may be easy to assume that a woman—or especially two women—would have that requirement covered. And they generally do. But if premature ovarian failure, poor egg-quality, or another medical condition precludes the use of the intended parent’s eggs, an egg donor may be required.

In the vast majority of cases, a lesbian couple will not need a gestational carrier to overcome uterine issues. And, depending on their age, most lesbian couples won’t need an egg donor. The availability of two female reproductive systems instead of one basically gives lesbian couples a second chance at overcoming many fertility obstacles one might face. But there is one thing all lesbians do need for family-building.

Lesbians have the obvious need for donor sperm. Fortunately, obtaining that missing biological piece is far easier and cheaper for them than obtaining donor eggs is for their gay male friends. Pre-screened donor sperm is readily available and relatively inexpensive. A single woman or lesbian couple generally selects an anonymous donor after reviewing the profiles of available sperm donors. Frozen specimens from the sperm donor would be shipped to the reproductive endocrinologist’s lab so they may be thawed and used at the time they are needed for conception.

Although sperm donation from a known individual or friend is possible, that option comes with additional complexities related to medical pre-screening, a mandated quarantine period and re-testing period as well as psycho-social and legal considerations, which need to be considered. These additional elements may complicate as well as add time to the process.

In many cases, where no tubal or other fertility issues have been identified, the partner wishing to carry the pregnancy –or the partner who wants to carry a pregnancy first–would be monitored for ovulation and, at that time, inseminated with the donor sperm through an intrauterine insemination (“IUI”).

Here’s how an intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) works: The woman who wants to carry the baby is carefully monitored through blood work and ultrasounds to determine when she is ready to ovulate and her insemination is scheduled to coincide with ovulation. She can do a natural cycle, without added hormones, or she can do a medicated cycle in which oral or injectable hormones are added to the protocol. For the IUI, the donor’s specimen is thawed and deposited into the woman’s uterus via a thin, flexible catheter during a fast and simple office visit at the time of ovulation.

Through careful monitoring and minimal or no ovarian stimulation, the risk of a high-order multiple pregnancy in IUI can generally be reduced but not eliminated. Since the egg(s) remain inside the woman’s body in IUI and are therefore capable of being ovulated (rather than being retrieved from the body as in IVF), there may be a greater chance for multiple eggs becoming fertilized and multiple pregnancies implanting with an IUI than there is in the more-controlled IVF procedure.

If the lesbian partner (or the single woman) who wants to carry the pregnancy doesn’t become pregnant after a few IUI cycles, she might want to consider undergoing in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) — or in the case of a lesbian couple they might decide that the other partner will carry the pregnancy instead. In the event neither partner is willing or able to conceive or maintain a pregnancy for health or other reasons, the lesbian couple or single woman would still have the option of using donor eggs and/or a gestational carrier as mentioned above.

Here’s how IVF typically works for lesbians: The woman whose eggs are being used to create the baby will receive hormonal injections, blood work, and ultrasound monitoring over a period of weeks that is designed for her to produce multiple egg-containing follicles rather than the one egg she would generally produce naturally each month. When the time is right based on close monitoring, the eggs are retrieved by the reproductive endocrinologist transvaginally–using a needle aspiration procedure–and combined with the donor sperm in the hope that fertilization occurs. If it does, generally one or two embryos will later be transferred back into the woman’s uterus in the hope of a pregnancy implanting and developing. In IVF, the hope is to produce many more eggs than in IUI because they are being retrieved instead of ovulated. The excess embryos can be frozen for future use. Sometimes, enough eggs can be retrieved in a single IVF cycle to create a couple’s entire family—which can be built over time through successive pregnancies.

Sometimes, one partner in a lesbian couple will become pregnant first and then the other will follow. Sometimes only one partner may want to carry all of the couple’s pregnancies. Other times, both may attempt pregnancy at the same time.

But there is another exciting family-building option for lesbian couples that is rapidly gaining popularity: reciprocal IVF.

Because reciprocal IVF involves one of the women in a lesbian couple undergoing IVF, it is a more expensive treatment option than a relatively simple IUI cycle, but it’s increasingly popular because it allows both partners to be involved in the creation, pregnancy, and birth of the baby.

This is how reciprocal IVF works: One partner undergoes a typical IVF cycle, including routine hormonal injections, blood work, ultrasound monitoring, and the egg retrieval. Those eggs would be fertilized using donor sperm. Now, here is the twist: After fertilization, instead of the resulting embryos being transferred into the partner the eggs were retrieved from, they get transferred into the uterus of the other partner. If the embryo implants and a pregnancy occurs, one partner is the genetic mother of the baby growing inside the uterus of the other partner who gets to carry the pregnancy and experience childbirth!

If you are interested in LGBT family-building, Long Island IVF has decades of experience helping the community become parents.  Please contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial consultation.

We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network to provide information, education, support, and access to the most advanced traditional and holistic assisted reproductive technologies. All while understanding, respecting, and being sensitive to the unique needs of the LGBT community.

This year, Long Island IVF is celebrating a milestone–our 30th anniversary. If you are ready for parenthood, we would love the opportunity to assist you with your own milestone. Please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for info on our upcoming free events.

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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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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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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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The Egg Donor and LGBT Family-Building

By Tracey Minella

July 20th, 2017 at 12:07 pm


Despite making decades of progress, obstacles, frustrations, and inequities are still part of daily life for the LGBT community. And for same-sex couples who want to build a family, having to seek medical attention to do so is an unwelcome but necessary reality. It’s particularly frustrating when simple biological necessity–rather than an infertility diagnosis–lands the couple in the fertility doctor’s office.

Depending on the particular couple’s situation, the “missing piece” they seek could be anything from the relatively inexpensive and easy intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) with donor sperm to the more involved and costly in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) using an egg donor and sometimes a gestational carrier. Very often, egg donation is needed in LGBT family-building.

What is egg donation?

In egg donation, a healthy young woman (the egg donor) agrees to undergo what is essentially an IVF procedure that ends at the egg retrieval stage when her eggs are turned over to a person/couple (the egg recipient/s) who uses them to create their family. The egg donor undergoes hormonal injection treatments over a couple of weeks designed to make her ovaries produce multiple mature eggs, rather than the single egg generally produced each monthly cycle.

As in IVF, the egg donor’s mature eggs will be retrieved, but instead of keeping the eggs for her own use, she donates them to another person/couple. Her role is done upon retrieval of the eggs. The donated eggs are then fertilized with the sperm of a male partner or a sperm donor and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus of the female partner or gestational carrier.

When is an egg donor needed?

The simple answer is: Anytime a single person or couple–heterosexual or homosexual–needs an egg to create a baby. That’s either because the woman trying to become pregnant can’t or doesn’t want to use her own eggs or because the single person or couple seeking parenthood is male. Gay men, lesbians with egg-related challenges, and some transgender people will need an egg donor.

How does it work for LGBT family-building?

A gay man or couple could have all the love in the world to give a child, but still needs an egg from a woman in order to make a baby. And a uterus, too. The embryo created from the egg donor’s egg and the sperm of the gay man/men or sperm donor needs to be transferred into the uterus of yet another woman –a gestational carrier – – who will carry the pregnancy to term. The gestational carrier, who has no biological tie to the baby, turns it over to the proud daddy or daddies at the time of birth.

Lesbian couples (or single women) using a sperm donor may be able to conceive with an IUI or through IVF using their own eggs. But sometimes, they may need an egg donor if there is an issue with egg-quality, genetic, or other concerns. (If there are uterine issues, a gestational carrier may also be needed to carry the baby.)

In certain situations, transgender people will need an egg donor. It is important to note that transgender people who transition from female-to-male can have their own eggs retrieved and frozen for future use (and male-to-female transgender people can their freeze sperm for future use) — if done prior to taking any medical or surgical steps on the transgender transition or sexual reassignment journey. Be sure to see a reproductive endocrinologist to discuss these options before it’s too late.

If you would like more information on LGBT parenting options  or would like to schedule an initial consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist, the doctors and staff at Long Island IVF have been helping build LGBT families for decades and would be happy to help you. With several offices throughout Long Island and one in Brooklyn, we’re conveniently located near you.

As a partner of the LGBT Network on Long Island, Long Island IVF is committed to continuing to build families for the LGBT community through cutting-edge medical technology, complementary holistic therapies, and sensitivity to all patients’ individual needs.

Long Island IVF, along with the LGBT Network, offers free LGBT family building seminars every June and periodically throughout the year.

Register here for our next free “Building Families in the LGBT Community” event, which will be held on October 26, 2017 at the LGBT Network at 34 Park Avenue, Bay Shore, NY. Follow our blog, Twitter, and Facebook for more information.

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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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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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