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Archive for the ‘LGBT parenting’ Category

Our Pride at Long Island Pridefest

By Tracey Minella

June 13th, 2018 at 6:35 am

One of the best things about building LGBT families on Long Island and being a major sponsor of Long Island Pridefest each year is the interactions with past, current, and prospective LGBT patients. This year was no exception.

Throughout the day yesterday, the Long Island IVF booth was bursting with pride. Pride when past patients came up to us to show off the children we helped them to have. Pride when a current patient came up showing off her baby bump. But there was another kind of pride that we felt–pride for the future and the families yet to come. We were touched by so many stories, so here are a few we’d like to share.

One family was so excited to reunite with Dr. Brenner as both of their children were conceived with his help. It was touching to hear the father repeat several times “This was life-changing for us, we are so grateful.”

Got serendipity? It was a wonderful surprise that a nearby vendor couple were also prior patients who built their LGBT family through Long Island IVF. The father was actually moved to tears expressing his gratitude.

One lesbian couple, who were newlyweds, hadn’t really talked about having children yet but were noticeably excited to think about it and were surprised when we told them all the options available.

Another newly-married female couple with more of an age disparity was very interested in starting the process of having a family together because the younger partner had not yet experienced the parenting joy which the older partner with grown children has known.

A third newlywed couple—lots of newlyweds were out Sunday! — had already done a lot of homework on family-building options, but still had questions. They spoke in depth to Dr. Brenner and, since one of the women was a teacher, they were happy to learn we offer early hours to accommodate her work schedule.

And there were tons of other meaningful interactions that made us so proud to be able to help build families for the community.

Whether you were able to speak with us at Pridefest or not, we encourage any members of the LGBT community who are interested in building a family– now or maybe in the future—to come down to our free seminar on June 21st in our Melville office.

The seminar, “Building Families in the LGBT Community” is held in conjunction with our partners at The LGBT Network. Pre-registration is requested so click this link to reserve your spot.

Long Island IVF has always been a friend to the LGBT community and has been building families here on Long Island for 30 years. We hope to see you on the 21st!

 

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Celebrating Three Decades of LGBT Pride and IVF on Long Island

By Tracey Minella

June 1st, 2018 at 2:11 pm

What better way to kick off the long-awaited Long Island summer than with the spectacular three-day weekend known as Long Island Pridefest? Organized by our partner, The LGBT Network, this year marks the 28th anniversary of the event and the second year it will take place in beautiful Long Beach, New York. As a proud sponsor of Pridefest for many years, Long Island IVF is also celebrating an anniversary this summer – – our 30th year.

As the first successful IVF program on Long Island, Long Island IVF brought Long Island its first IVF baby, its first baby from a cryopreserved embryo, and its first donor egg baby. For decades, Long Island IVF has built families for Long Island’s LGBT community.

Looking back on the history of both Pridefest and IVF technology on Long Island, much has changed over the past three decades. And those changes are overwhelmingly for the better.

When the first IVF baby was born in England in 1978, the world collectively gasped at the idea of creating life outside of the womb in a “test tube”. When America’s first IVF baby was born shortly thereafter in 1981 through the ground-breaking work of Dr. Howard Jones of the Jones Institute in Virginia, the “sci-fi” label still hadn’t worn off the public’s mind.

In 1985, a young doctor accepted a fellowship position at the prestigious Jones Institute in the newly-emerging field of Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility and IVF. In 1988, that young doctor – – Dr. David Kreiner – – co-founded Long Island IVF with Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg. Dr. Kenigsberg– who had trained at the prestigious National Institutes of Health and whose nationally-recognized, award-winning research at the time led the way to modern-day IVF stimulation protocol– left his position as Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at University Hospital at Stony Brook Medical School to partner with Dr. Kreiner.  Together they pioneered IVF right here on Long Island. The two doctors, along with other doctors, nurses, and staff are still together today building families on Long Island for both the heterosexual and LGBT communities.

Pridefest has also grown over its 28-year history. And while this year’s theme is “Brave. Strong. United.”, it’s really the embodiment of those same three attributes in past Pridefest participants that has brought the event to the size, scope and impact it enjoys today. How many people have “come out” in those years? How does the community support members of all ages – – from teens to the elderly through workshops, education, counseling, and programs? How have advocacy efforts over the decades resulted in gains in civil rights, marriage rights, and reproductive rights just to name a few advances? How many community members can now—in addition or as an alternative to adoption– have biologically-linked children due to rapid advancements in assisted reproductive technology?

The many fights for rights over the decades by the pioneers of the gay rights movement have resulted in greater visibility of, gradual de-sensitization to, and increased acceptance of the LGBT lifestyle. Not from all, but from many. From baby steps to big steps, the LGBT community’s “in-your-face” relentless pursuit of equality and acceptance has made a difference. But facing down potential threats to these gains requires continued vigilance and advocacy—as well as joyful noise. So, while she may have started it, today’s Pridefest is not your grandma’s Pridefest.

Last year’s Pridefest and its 30+ events, drew tens of thousands of people and this year’s event promises to be even better. From the Pride Carnival kick-off at 6 PM on Friday June 8 until the Pride Market Fair wraps up on Sunday night, the weekend is jam-packed with something for everyone including but not limited to:

  • A Taste of Long Beach- restaurant and bar specials
  • Pride Shabbat service
  • Junction kick-off party
  • Nature’s Bounty 5K Run
  • Family Fun Run
  • Pride Beach Party and Fashion Show
  • Pride Pet Parade
  • Pride Boat Parade
  • Pride Cabaret Night
  • Pride on the Tide Party
  • Pride Market Fair
  • Pride Mass
  • Pride Parade
  • Concert on the Beach
  • Memorial Paddle Out honoring Pulse Nightclub Massacre victims

 

Pridefest is a time for serious fun. “Fun” as evidenced by the laundry list of incredible activities packed into one long weekend on the beach. “Serious” because there is an important message of pride, inclusion, and unity underlying it all. It’s a Pride party with a purpose.

As a sponsor of Pridefest and as a partner to The LGBT Network year-round, Long Island IVF is committed to providing compassionate and inclusive care. We encourage all members of the LGBT community to come to our free seminar “Building Families in the LGBT Community” being held in conjunction with The LGBT Network on the evening of June 21st at our Melville office. Our doctors, nurses, staff and reproductive law attorney, Amy Demma, will address the many family-building options available to the LGBT community and will be happy to answer any of your questions. All are welcome. Pre-register here.

The Long Island IVF team loves seeing the parents and children of the LGBT families we’ve helped create each year at Pridefest so please stop by and say hello. We also look forward to meeting new friends and prospective parents, so come by our booth to connect with us and grab some freebies. We’ll be there on Sunday! Hope to see you then.

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Surviving Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 12th, 2018 at 9:44 pm

image courtesy of witthaya phonsawat at freedigitalphotos.net

Surviving Mother’s Day when struggling with infertility is the pits. No way to sugarcoat it. Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year for those longing to be mothers.

So, what are you going to do this year?

If you have a close relationship with your own mother and she is still living, she might be able to cheer you up a bit. But even she won’t be able to make it “all better” like she used to. It’s just not that simple. And if she’s gone, that’s a really black hole—it’s so hard to be both motherless and childless on Mother’s Day and living with the unsettled feeling of having no connection to a parent or a child.

Of course, being in the company of a mother or mother-in-law who pushes your “baby buttons” isn’t a picnic either.

And being a mother who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other infant or child loss is an unspeakable pain only those strong women will ever understand. If you know one of them, resist the urge to avoid what feels awkward and mention her lost angel by name–it will help her in some small way to know her baby hasn’t been forgotten.

On the hardest day of the year, it’s important to do whatever you want and not to be guilted, shamed, or coerced to be in the company of people who will make the day even a drop harder on your hurting heart.

Whether you’re a mother through resolving your infertility journey, a bereaved mother, a mother-to-be, or a mother-in-waiting, you ARE a mother. The day is yours; mark the day as you see fit.

One nice idea might be to plant a tree or a garden dedicated to your child or future child. Something you could watch grow over the years. Something you could explain the significance of to any future children and use as a backdrop for those milestone pictures they grow.

Here’s a mind trick for the day, or for any day: If you are currently on an infertility journey, believe you will ultimately have a happy resolution – – not because it’s guaranteed, but because it’s very possible and positivity can only help.

This is tough advice and it isn’t meant for Mother’s Day but try not to let your sadness and frustration keep you from enjoying some moments of the present. Because the future is coming and regardless of how your journey ends, you can’t get this time back. And you may look back and have regrets on how your life was “on hold” for so long, wishing you only knew back then that it was eventually going to work out somehow. So, trust that the future will be bright and make the best of these times. Hopefully, you will be right. And hopefully, next Mother’s Day will be different.

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Happy National Nurses Week to Our Long Island IVF Nurses

By Tracey Minella

May 7th, 2018 at 7:39 am

image courtesy of imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net

Oh, the nurses. As National Nurses Week begins, we should stop for a moment and ask ourselves: Where would we will be without our Long Island IVF nurses?

Our nurses do it all – – and then some. They are the liaison between you and your doctor and they are charged with keeping all the details of your treatment cycle on track. But then they go the extra mile because they know the importance of what you’re going through and want to help you get to the goal.

Our nurses understand you are more than a chart, more than a patient–you’re a person who wants to be a parent and you need their help to get there. Or you have a child, but need help to give them a sibling. Because some of our nurses were once Long Island IVF patients themselves, they really do understand the highs and lows of the infertility treatment experience. So, they have your back, they’re on your team. They’ll lend their shoulders, dry your tears, and celebrate your successes.

Long Island IVF nurses have a special calling for this mission. Playing a part big part in helping their patients’ dreams of becoming mothers and fathers come true is amazingly fulfilling work. They love what they do and it shows. Nothing makes them happier than seeing newly-pregnant patients return to their ObGyns with an ultrasound photo in hand…except when they come back to the office to show off their little miracles.

Is there a particular Long Island IVF nurse or nurse practitioner that comes to mind as you’re reading this? Are you smiling as you think of her? If so, consider a shout out to let her know she’s made a difference in your life. It would make her day.

Long Island IVF wishes all of our caring and compassionate nurses a wonderful National Nurses Week. We couldn’t do it without you—nor would we want to try.

 

 

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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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Long Island IVF Celebrates National Infertility Awareness Week 2018 with Several Exciting Events!

By Tracey Minella

April 4th, 2018 at 11:29 pm

image: Resolve @ www.infertilityawareness. org

 

Each year, Long Island IVF celebrates National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) with a series of fun and educational events. This year, NIAW runs from April 22-28. The theme for this year is “Flip the Script”!

NIAW is devoted to raising awareness of infertility and advocating for change and better accessibility to and affordability of infertility treatment. This year through the theme “#FlipTheScript—RESOLVE wants to change the conversation around infertility so the public, media, insurers, healthcare professionals and lawmakers” understand the scope of the problem of infertility, the barriers to treatment, and its far-reaching impact. Learn more here.

So be sure to mark your calendars with these upcoming events—all of which are free and open to the public. No need to be a Long Island IVF patient to attend.

You’ll find a nice mix of offerings—some traditional favorites and some new things in the mix! Register now by clicking each link below. Here is the thrilling line up:

Tuesday April 24thNutrition for Fertility Workshop with Renee Barbis, Holistic Health Coach

Wednesday April 25thYoga for Fertility Session with Lisa Pineda of Lisa Pineda Yoga

Thursday April 26thAcupuncture for Fertility Seminar with Dr. David Kreiner and guests

Thursday May 3rd (NOT NIAW)—Losing the Stigma Workshop with Bina Benisch, MS, RN

 

If you’ve been trying to conceive without success and could use a fun night out with other women in the same boat, this invitation is for you.

All events will take place after business hours at the Long Island IVF office in Melville. Don’t delay, register today!

Will we see YOU at any or all of these great events???

 

image courtesy of Resolve, the National Infertility Association at www.infertilityawareness.org

 

 

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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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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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Groundhog’s Day–The Infertility Movie

By Tracey Minella

February 2nd, 2018 at 2:04 pm

image: wpclipart.com

Groundhog’s Day for infertility patients is about more than just pulling a sleeping rodent out of a hole to find out the forecast. Infertility patients relate more to Groundhog’s Day, the Movie. Remember how Bill Murray’s character was trapped reliving Groundhog’s Day all over again? Every. Single. Day? And how he desperately tried to tweak things each day in order change the outcome and finally get the thing he wanted that was always just out of his reach?

Well, that’s essentially the life of the infertility patient on their journey—especially if the baby quest is dragging out like a long, dreary winter with no hope of spring in sight. Day after day of blood work, ultrasounds, injections that blend into each other. And a frustrating hell of repetitive negative pee sticks month after disappointing month.

So, if you need extra support, Long Island IVF offers it. Our innovative Mind-Body Program, which includes group and individual counseling, may help you cope.

Or register here and come down for our free “Rekindling the Romance in the Face of Infertility” workshop on February 8th. All are welcome—no need to be a patient.

Here on Long Island for the second straight year, two local groundhogs can’t seem to agree on whether we’re going to have to suffer through more ugliness or be blessed with an early spring.

So, what do we do?

We have faith that the outcome we wish for is going to be the one we actually get. And we look forward to the morning when we will wake up from this difficult repetitiveness to a new day where the shadow of infertility is no longer in sight.

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Rekindling the Romance in the Face of Infertility Workshop

By Tracey Minella

February 2nd, 2018 at 10:42 am

Rekindling the Romance

When baby-making get serious– and infertility treatment dictates when you can and cannot have sex– romance goes right out the window. If only there was a fun and supportive workshop where you could learn how to rekindle your romance while struggling with infertility…

Well, actually, there is! Find out how to recapture the passion at Long Island IVF’s free workshop “Rekindling Romance in the Face of Infertility”— open to all infertile couples.

Over the past few years, Long Island IVF has been offering this special workshop for infertile couples, timed right before Valentine’s Day. Led by our popular counselor and infertility specialist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, the workshop explores ways couples can navigate the challenges of feeling sexual and loving – – and keeping their passion alive – – while battling infertility. Ask anyone who’s attended one of Bina’s past workshops and you will hear how easy she is to open up to and how much she understands what infertile couples go through.

If your interest has been piqued– but your “awkwardness alarm” is ringing– then you are in good company. For those blushing at the thought of what’s going to happen here, rest assured no one has to reveal anything personal or even speak at all. This workshop is generally attended by a small group of couples just like you. Wouldn’t it be nice to be around other couples who “get it” for a change—people who understand what you’re going through in a way fertile friends and family just don’t–because they are feeling the same way, too?

Some past attendees tell us they were hesitant and nervous coming in, but were so happy that they did. Just being in the presence of others who are in your shoes makes the isolation of infertility feel less overwhelming. We’ve even had some real friendships begin at this workshop each year as strangers are converted to friends who want to keep in touch beyond the workshop.

The free workshop will be held on Thursday night, February 8, 2018 at 7-9pm the Long Island IVF office at 8 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, New York.

All are welcome to attend—no need to be a patient of our practice. Can’t get your partner to come with you? Bring a friend or come alone. Pre-registration is required so secure your spot and sign up here now.

Let us help you dig out of the depression of scheduled sex, negativity, self-criticism, and fear and rekindle the romance and spontaneity that’s buried under that pile of negative pee sticks.

You love your partner and you are in this together. Let us help you reconnect…because reducing stress and rekindling romance can only help in the end.

We hope to see you there! Register today.

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