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Archive for the ‘Long Island IVF Workshop Keep the Passion in Lovemaking During Infertility’ 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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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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Infertility, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the First Quarter Blues

By Tracey Minella

January 4th, 2018 at 11:56 pm

depressed woman

image credit: nenetus at freedigitalphotos.net

Infertility and depression go hand-in-hand. Just ask any woman who’s not able to conceive or maintain a pregnancy without medical intervention. You’d be down, too. But some couples–yes, men have feelings, too–are seriously depressed. Maybe even clinically depressed.

Any number of factors could impact a couple’s ability to cope with their infertility struggle. There’s often misplaced guilt or blame over whose “fault” the problem is– or alternatively the complete frustration of facing an “unexplained infertility” diagnosis. Some couples may be completely overwhelmed upon the initial diagnosis while others spiral downward as more time passes without a baby. And the stress of the financial burden of infertility treatment on a couple’s budget doesn’t help matters.

But could there be more to “being down” at this time of year?

Many people actually suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder* (“SAD”) –a form of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Generally, the onset of symptoms begins in the fall, continues or escalates through the winter and eases a bit as spring arrives. This actual syndrome causes those affected to become more depressed in the cold, dark, dreary winter season than they tend to be during the sunny, warm, longer and somewhat more carefree days of summer. Therapy may help ease the symptoms.

So, is it harder to be infertile during the winter months? Does it feel that way to you?

It’s certainly understandable to be down after the holiday season is over and to be exhausted by endless weeks of wearing a fake smile and dodging nagging personal questions –all while surrounded by the babies and pregnant bellies of others. The bitter cold weather on Long Island lately would make anyone want to pull the covers over their head and hibernate. Unless you have an upcoming vacation to look forward to, the first quarter of the new year could seem pretty bleak.

However, if you’re feeling particularly depressed and your depression is interfering with your ability to get through the demands of your day, it may be more than just the winter blues. And it might be time to seek counseling from a caring therapist who specializes in helping infertile couples cope with the stress of infertility.

Among the many offerings of the Long Island IVF Mind-Body Program are individual and group counseling sessions with Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. In addition, we offer special workshops hosted by Bina for individuals and couples covering topics like how to “come out” to friends and family about your infertility struggle or how to keep passion in your relationship during your infertility treatment.

Whether you are interested in individual or group counseling with Bina or you want to register here for her upcoming, pre-Valentine’s Day workshop on “Rekindling Romance in the Face of Infertility”, help is here for you. And you don’t have to be a Long Island IVF patient to participate. In fact, many couples’ first experiences with our practice began with Bina’s counseling, or by taking advantage of our free workshops and seminars during the year. Becoming patients—and hopefully parents—often follows that initial contact.

Long Island IVF is celebrating a milestone this year: 2018 marks our 30th anniversary! The same team of doctors who founded the practice responsible for bringing Long Island its first IVF baby, its first baby from a cryopreserved embryo, and its first donor egg baby is still together three decades later and continues to pioneer breakthroughs in the field of assisted reproductive technology. We love what we do and the birth of every baby we’re responsible for is just as exciting as that very first one. Let us help you celebrate a milestone this year, too. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

 

*Source: The Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/nenetus

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Long Island IVF Workshop: Keep the Passion in Lovemaking during Infertility

By Tracey Minella

January 18th, 2017 at 11:35 am


What if the idea of “doin’ it” just ain’t doin’ it for you?

Like a winter storm, battling infertility can beat a couple down over time. Hot on the heels of navigating the winter holidays without children and facing another New Year’s without the baby, is the coming pressure of Valentine’s Day and all its sexy hype.

Who needs a night of chocolates, flowers, satin sheets, and lacy lingerie when all you really want is a night of Dominoes® home delivery, spit-up soaked sweats, and colicky midnight feedings?

So how do you keep the passion in lovemaking even when baby-making is challenging?

Long Island IVF’s own psychologist and infertility specialist Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. is hosting a workshop specifically designed to help infertile couples navigate the challenges of feeling sexual and loving and keeping their passion alive while battling infertility.

The free workshop will be held on Thursday night, January 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm at 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.

Is that Dominoes® at the door?

We hope to see you there! Register today.

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

Are you coming to the workshop? Do you have any specific questions or topics you’d like addressed at the workshop?

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