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Archive for the ‘Reproductive Rights’ Category

Who Will Carry the Baby in LGBT Family-Building? (Part One): For Gay Men

By Tracey Minella

January 26th, 2018 at 3:58 pm

In family-building for heterosexual couples, this is not generally a question. But in LGBT family-building, single gay men or gay couples who want a baby that shares a genetic connection with them, the first question to answer is: Who will carry the baby?

Except in cases where a single gay man or both partners in a gay couple have male factor infertility, sperm is usually readily available for baby-making purposes. But the need for a woman’s egg– as well as a uterus in which the baby will grow– is obvious. Fortunately, there are donor programs at Long Island IVF.

In general, and depending on where they live, gay men can choose either a surrogate OR an egg donor and gestational carrier to carry the baby. Both of these options involve another woman carrying the pregnancy for the single gay man or gay couple as intended parent(s), so it helps to understand the difference, even though surrogacy is not legal in New York State.

In a surrogacy arrangement, the woman surrogate uses her own egg to become pregnant with the gay intended parent father’s sperm. Just to be clear –and to the relief of all involved –the pair does not have sexual relations to establish the pregnancy. Instead, a semen specimen is collected from the gay man who intends to be the biological father, and it’s processed and frozen in advance. The surrogate will be monitored for ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary and the limited window for conception begins). At that time, in a fast and simple office visit, the father’s specimen is thawed and deposited into her uterus via a thin catheter– through a procedure called an intrauterine insemination, or (“IUI”).

If the IUI is successful, the surrogate carries the pregnancy to term, and gives the newborn to the gay father(s) upon birth, thereafter relinquishing her parental rights (in the manner dictated by that particular state’s laws). The newborn is genetically-linked to both the surrogate birth mother and the gay father. Again, this is not an option in New York.

Those of a certain age may remember the infamous New Jersey “Baby M” case of the mid-80s, which thrust the validity of surrogacy agreements into the national limelight. The birth mother, who was genetically-connected to the baby, changed her mind and wanted to keep the baby instead of turning her over to the biological father and his wife, who were the intended parents pursuant to a surrogacy contract.

A long legal battle ensued, and in a nutshell, the court ruled that the paid surrogacy agreement was invalid and against public policy, and that the birth mother and the biological father were the baby’s legal parents. Further, the case was remanded to Family Court for a judge to decide which parent would be awarded legal custody of the baby, using the “best interests of the child” standard that’s used in regular child custody cases. Custody was given to the father, but the mother was awarded visitation rights. *

Times have changed.

While surrogacy in some form is legal in some states, the advancements in reproductive medicine that followed in the decades since Baby M have now made the use of gestational carriers and donor eggs not only medically possible and popular, but also often the only legal way to have someone carry a baby for you.

Gestational carrier with donor egg is the alternative option to surrogacy for a gay man or gay couple to have a genetically-linked baby and it’s the only legal option in New York State. It involves finding two different women to help you– an egg donor and a gestational carrier. That’s how it’s different from surrogacy.

First, the egg donor only provides the eggs, not the uterus. She could be someone you know (like a sister or friend) or could be an anonymous donor who you select after reviewing an extensive profile of donor egg candidates. At Long Island IVF, we have pre-screened donor egg candidates ready to help you build your family.

Lady #2 is the gestational carrier. She only provides the uterus, not the eggs. She can be someone you know, or someone you don’t yet know but who you select through an agency. In most cases, you will get to know and develop a relationship with the gestational carrier.

With the gestational carrier and donor eggs option, the woman chosen to be the egg donor undergoes what is essentially an in vitro fertilization or (“IVF”) procedure up to the point of the egg retrieval. That means she will receive hormonal injections, bloodwork, and ultrasound monitoring of her ovaries (and the developing follicles/eggs inside them) over a period of a few weeks. The purpose of the treatment is for her to produce multiple egg-containing follicles rather than the one egg she would normally produce that month.

When the time is right, the eggs are retrieved prior to ovulation by a reproductive endocrinologist using a transvaginal needle aspiration procedure and injected with the sperm from the gay man (or men) intended parent(s) in the hope that fertilization occurs.

placed in a petri dish with sperm from the gay man (or men) intended parent(s) in the hope that fertilization occurs.

The resulting fertilized eggs, now known as embryos, will be frozen (a/k/a cryopreserved) until such time as they are ready to be thawed and transferred into the waiting uterus of the chosen gestational carrier. [Note that if pre-genetic screening (“PGS”) is elected, it is done prior to the freezing of the embryos.]

The thawed embryos—generally one or two– are placed into the gestational carrier’s uterus through a thin catheter in a fast and simple procedure performed by the reproductive endocrinologist, aptly called “the transfer”. The intention is for an embryo to implant in the uterine wall and a healthy pregnancy to result. If the gestational carrier gets pregnant, she turns the baby –who unlike in surrogacy has no genetic connection to her – –over to the gay man (or men) who is the intended parent(s).

In accordance with applicable state laws, these women are generally well-compensated for their time and effort. Because of the need for gay men to involve two different women in the process, costs are higher than what lesbians and straight couples using assisted reproductive technology typically incur. However, the good news is that a single egg donor cycle may produce enough eggs that gay male intended parents may be able to build their families through more than one pregnancy using just the eggs retrieved from that initial cycle. So, future pregnancy attempts would require the compensating the gestational carrier, but not the egg donor.

Here is how that could work: They might transfer 1-2 embryos into the gestational carrier on the first try (leaving the rest frozen), and if successful, they have a baby (or two). Then maybe a year or more later, they transfer another 1-2 embryos into the same (or another) gestational carrier, and if successful, they have another baby (or two). And so on, until all the embryos are used or they no longer want to use the embryos for additional children.

While there would be the expense of the gestational carrier for each birth (as well as for the medical treatment expenses for the gestational carrier to undergo a frozen cycle), there would be no additional egg donor costs– until you exhausted your supply of embryos from the first egg donor. As exciting and promising as this process is, each case is different and no program can guarantee a baby in the end for any couple. That said, we do have patients who have successfully used embryos retrieved from a single IVF cycle to build their multi-children families—a child at a time—in separate births spaced a few years apart.  So, there is reason to consider this wonderful family-building option that wasn’t available—especially to gay men—all that long ago.

[The second part on this topic on who will carry the baby—for lesbian singles and couples—will be posted next month.]

If you are a gay man or lesbian—single or married– 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.

 

*Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_M

 

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Happy Birthday to the World’s First Test Tube Baby!

By Tracey Minella

July 25th, 2017 at 9:04 am

 

image: wpclipart.com

 

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Louise Brown. Happy Birthday to you. Are ya one, are ya two, are ya three…?

 

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the birth of the World’s first “test tube” baby? Probably not. But I do.

 

I was just learning about reproduction as a young teen, reading the newspaper in my parents’ brown, gold, orange and white classic 70’s kitchen, when I learned the sensational, seemingly sci-fi news. I remember thinking it was cool. Dad was intrigued. Mom was mortified.

 

Little did I know then how important that day in history would be in my own life. And how that very technology would be the answer to my own dream of becoming a mother some twenty plus years later.

 

Let’s celebrate Louise Brown’s birthday with a Q&A to honor the woman whose birth led us to our life’s work… and for some of us… to our own children.

 

So here are the questions:

  1. In what country was the World’s first IVF Baby, Louise Brown, born?
  2. Give the last names of Louise Brown’s mother’s two IVF doctors?
  3. In what year was Louise born?
  4. Was she an only child?
  5. Was Louise’s first child conceived naturally or through IVF?
  6. Louise is not the first IVF baby to have her own baby, but Louise is related to the first IVF baby to have her own baby. What is the woman’s name and what is their relationship?
  7. Who was America’s first IVF baby?

 

So…any smarty pants IVF historians out there? Let’s see what you’ve got!

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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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Long Island IVF Seminar on Family-Building for the LGBT Community

By Tracey Minella

June 27th, 2017 at 11:36 am

Long Island IVF has been celebrating LGBT Pride all month long beginning with again sponsoring LI Pridefest. We’ve helped the LGBT community become parents for decades. So, what better way to close out Pride month than with an info-packed evening of everything you ever wanted to know about LGBT family-building options. If you’re thinking about having a baby and want to know all the ways we can help you pursue that dream, come down and meet us!

We’ve partnered up with the LGBT Network to bring you a quality LGBT family-building seminar on Thursday, June 29, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Long Island IVF Melville office located at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York.

In about two hours, the speakers at our seminar will answer everything you ever wanted to know about today’s many LGBT Family-Building options. One of our reproductive endocrinologists, Dr. Steven Brenner, along with other key Long Island IVF team members will introduce you to the fascinating world of assisted reproductive technology and specifically how it’s used to help the LGBT community become parents. In addition, Melissa Brisman, owner and founder of Reproductive Possibilities http://www.reproductivepossibilities.com/ will be there.

LGBT family-building is different in many ways from so-called “traditional” family-building. As a practice made up of both LGBT and non-LGBT employees, we truly understand the nuances that make your parenthood quest unique to you, whether you are gay, lesbian, transsexual, bi-sexual, or queer. Believing that everyone has the right to become a parent, LIIVF is committed to using the best available medical technologies to help you overcome or circumvent biological obstacles to parenthood.

Whether we met at LI Pridefest this month and you’d like to learn more about our LGBT Family Building program at Long Island IVF, or this is the first time you’ll be meeting us, we hope you’ll join us and the LGBT Network at our Melville office to learn about the many ways we can help you achieve your dream of parenthood.

For more information and to register for this free event, please click here.

Need to reach someone? You can email lmontello@liivf.com.

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Will you be attending the “Building Families in the LGBT Community” seminar? Do you have any specific questions or particular topics you want to see covered?

 

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About LGBT Family-Building Options at Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

June 16th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

 

Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/gender-fluid, you aren’t any different than heterosexuals who want to start a family but need medical intervention to do so.

You have the same dream of becoming a parent, the same longing in your heart for a baby of your own, the same frustrations and embarrassment about needing medical intervention for such a private matter, the same worries about affording and financing the treatment, and the same paralyzing fear of it not working.

And yet, you are different from the heterosexuals who are suffering from infertility. Your treatment needs are different. Your emotional needs are different. We understand that.

Long Island IVF pioneered IVF on Long Island, bringing Long Island its first IVF baby, first baby from a cryopreserved embryo and first donor egg baby. For almost 30 years, we’ve been serving both the heterosexual and LGBT communities on Long Island. Several of our staff are members of the LGBT community as well and many staff members were former patients—so we really do understand where you are coming from.

The easiest way to illustrate the differences between heterosexual and LGBT family-building is to begin with the similarities.

In heterosexual family-building, any number of factors may be causing the couple’s infertility. It could be female factors like poor egg quality, blocked fallopian tubes, uterine issues like fibroids, endometriosis, hormonal disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome, recurrent miscarriage, and more. It could be male factor infertility due to poor quality sperm. Or it could be a combination of male and female factors—or simply be due to the frustrating diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. When a couple is unable to get pregnant after 6-12 months of trying (the number of months differs based on age), they are considered to be infertile. Sometimes less aggressive medical approaches—such as intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) with or without ovulation induction do result in pregnancy. Oftentimes, more aggressive Assisted Reproductive Technologies (“ART”) like in-vitro fertilization (“IVF”) are in order.

Here’s a crash course in IVF 101.

In IVF, the goal is to have the woman develop more than the one mature egg she would normally produce in a typical monthly menstrual cycle. To accomplish this a woman’s ovaries are stimulated through the use of injectable hormone medications and careful monitoring by ultrasound and bloodwork so that at just the right time, the multiple eggs that have matured are retrieved from the ovaries transvaginally through needle aspiration under sedation. Then the eggs are either frozen or are combined with the partner’s sperm to produce embryos. The resulting embryos are then either transferred back into the woman’s uterus where they will hopefully implant and result in a pregnancy, or are frozen for future use, or a combination of the two options. Because the number of embryos transferred back into the uterus is both limited and controlled, IVF minimizes and virtually eliminates the risk of a multiple pregnancy, making it a safer treatment option.

Sometimes, a heterosexual couple needs help from a third party to build their family. They may need a sperm donor or an egg donor if the couple’s own sperm or eggs are not sufficient or of good quality. Or they may need a woman to act as a gestational carrier to carry their embryo(s) and resulting pregnancy if the uterus of the woman of the couple is either absent or not otherwise suitable.

Now let’s look at how LGBT family-building is different.

Well, for starters, virtually all LGBT couples need some kind of help from a third—or even a fourth—party in order to build their family. In fact, in virtually all cases, sex alone will never result in a pregnancy for the LGBT couple without outside intervention. So, while it does happen that a LGBT patient could have a medical factor making them infertile, in the vast majority of cases, LGBT couples seek out an infertility specialist to obtain the “missing contribution” that is required to make a baby. The exception is the transitioning individual who has not begun hormonal treatment to transition from male to female or from female to male.

Here are the general treatment options and the ways “missing contributions” for LGBT couples can be obtained. They are slightly more straightforward in the cases of lesbians and gay men than in transgender cases.

Lesbian couples:

Two women will need a sperm donor. Depending on their age and the health of their eggs and uterus, they can do IVF and may even be able to do an IUI. If doing IVF, some couples decide to use one woman’s egg and have the other woman carry the pregnancy in her uterus.

Gay couples:

Two men will need an egg donor. They will also need a gestational carrier who will carry the pregnancy in her uterus for them. Gay couples may decide to divide the number of eggs retrieved from the egg donor in half and then each partner may contribute a semen specimen to fertilize half of the eggs—thereby each being a biological father to the embryos that resulted from their contribution.

Transgender couples:

Transgender family-building is relatively new in comparison to lesbian and gay family-building which the LGBT community has been able to access for decades. There are varied options for transgender family-building, but they all require knowledge and proactive steps on the part of the transgender person.

The single most important takeaway from this article for transgender folks who do (or may in the future) want to have a biological child is this: See a reproductive endocrinologist BEFORE taking any medical or surgical steps on the transgender transition or sexual reassignment journey.

In “Woman to Man” reassignment, before the woman hormonally, medically, or surgically becomes a man, she should consider having her eggs retrieved and frozen for future use. Or if she has a male partner now, her eggs can be fertilized with his sperm and the embryos either implanted in her uterus now so she can carry the baby before she transitions, or if the woman does not want to carry the pregnancy and prefers to move ahead with the transition, then the embryos can be frozen and transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier at any time.

However, if the woman who transitions prefers a female partner, then the couple has most of the same options as any lesbian couple. They could use either woman’s eggs with donor sperm and the resulting embryos could be implanted into the partner with the uterus or into the uterus of a gestational carrier if needed. Some couples choose his eggs and her uterus so both can be involved.

Now the opposite case.

In “Man to Woman” reassignment, before the man hormonally, medically, or surgically becomes a woman, he should consider having his sperm frozen for future use. Sperm freezing is so much cheaper and easier than egg freezing. If he has a female partner now and they want to become pregnant now, his sperm can be used to impregnate her through IUI or, if she undergoes IVF, then her retrieved eggs can be fertilized with his sperm and the resulting embryos either implanted in her uterus now or frozen for later use. Some couples choose his sperm and her eggs and/or uterus so both can be involved. If his female partner’s eggs or uterus are not optimal, they will need an egg donor and/or gestational carrier.

However, if the man who transitions prefers a male partner, then the couple has the same options as a gay couple. They could use either of their sperm with the egg donor’s eggs and transfer the resulting embryos into a (gestational carrier) woman’s uterus.

If you identify as queer or gender-fluid, you can utilize donor egg, donor sperm, a gestational carrier or any combination of the above options as they fit you and your partner.

Sadly, not all physicians realize or advise transgender individuals of their fertility-preservation and family-building options before the transition process has begun, so it is up to you to initiate the discussion or take action. It is absolutely critical that egg and sperm freezing be done before the hormonal, medical or surgical transition or reassignment begins. Or it will be too late.

Despite the current and uncertain political climate, there has never been a better time for LGBT members to pursue family-building. As a result of rapidly advancing ART, today’s LGBT community has choices beyond the noble but limited options of foster parenting and adoption—choices that allow for biological children. The lesbian and gay parents of recent decades have blazed a path of slow but ever-increasing acceptance that has not only benefitted today’s lesbian and gay parents, but has helped open the door for the transgender population to come out and claim their own fertility and parenting rights.

All people of reproductive age who are considering becoming parents at some point would benefit from a fertility screening by a reproductive endocrinologist—ideally sooner rather than later. At that exam, screening tests would be conducted to identify any actual or threatened obstacles to fertility, such as diminished ovarian function or premature ovarian failure or other factors in women, or sperm issues in men. Depending on what is found, proactive steps could be taken to preserve your fertility, including egg freezing for women who just want to preserve their young and healthy eggs for use at a future date.

Also file this important bit of information away and hope you will never need to remember it: If you or a loved one are ever faced with a cancer diagnosis and time allows for it, egg-freezing and sperm freezing done prior to starting certain chemotherapy or radiation protocols for certain cancers are options to preserve your fertility. That way, your healthy eggs and sperm are waiting for you when you’re ready to build your family after your cancer battle has been won. Be sure to call a reproductive endocrinologist to discuss fertility preservation before cancer treatment.

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 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. Click here for information and to preregister for the June 29th event.

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Long Island IVF Joins Lobbying Efforts for Mandated IVF Coverage in New York State

By Daniel Kenigsberg,MD

June 7th, 2017 at 10:10 am

 

Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, Co-Founder Long Island IVF

 

I am lobbying for passage of Senate Bill S3248, a bill sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island, N.Y. which would mandate In-Vitro Fertilization (“IVF”) coverage in New York State –just as it is in neighboring states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Our patients and other New Yorkers struggling with the significant emotional and financial burdens of infertility are under the impression that they live in a progressive state, but little do most know how poorly served they are by existing New York law.

Currently, the law mandates coverage for “correctable” medical conditions causing Infertility–but specifically EXCLUDES coverage for IVF. This has resulted in much emotional and financial cost spent on inferior or inappropriate treatments which ARE covered when, for over 50% of infertile couples, IVF was the best or only treatment.

IVF is far safer in terms of reducing multiple pregnancy risk than less successful and often inferior treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (IUI). There has been waste and needless sacrifice for insured couples denied IVF.

Further, not covering IVF treatment has a disproportionate effect on women (name one male treatment not covered by medical insurance). In Massachusetts, 5% of births result from IVF. In New York, it’s 1.5%. That is how dramatic the current arcane New York law hurts the population it is supposed to protect.

You can help right this wrong. And it won’t take more than 5 minutes of your time.

Call, write and email your state senator. You can find your senator here. Please note that mine is John Flanagan of Smithtown, Senate Majority Leader.

Also, contact Senator Savino of Staten Island because it is her bill to push and prioritize (or not). You can contact her here.

If you are currently suffering from infertility, it can be an overwhelmingly difficult time, but if you have a moment to reach out to your senator and Senator Savino, and any other local representatives, the combined effect of all of our voices can make a big difference. Or if your infertility journey has already been resolved, please reach out as well for the benefit of all that are now– and will someday be– following in your footsteps. And please share this with your family and friends so they may do the same. Thank you.

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National Coming Out Day and Reproductive Options for the LGBT Community

By Tracey Minella

October 11th, 2016 at 6:29 pm


Long Island IVF has been proudly building families for the LGBT community for decades and we are mindful and supportive of LGBT rights and days of significance to the community.

Today, we mark National Coming Out Day—a day to support the men, women, and gender-fluid among us who are, in some cases, summoning the courage to “come out” to their friends, families, and others and begin to live their lives in an open and true to themselves way. Some of these people are teens, or even younger and sadly, the threats against them from various sources are very real. Laws may change, but people often do not…or at least not as quickly.

Long Island IVF is a long-time friend to the LGBT community, and has partnered with the Long Island’s LGBT Network to present seminars specifically designed to address the unique family-building needs of the LGBT community. The next free seminar will be on October 25, 2016 at the Long Island IVF Melville office. Register here.

Reproductive options for lesbian couples will be discussed including topics such as donor sperm insemination, in vitro fertilization, reciprocal IVF, use of gestational carriers, donor eggs, and more. The limitations and the workup for women wishing to donate eggs and/or carry a pregnancy will be covered. Surrogacy and gestational carriers for gay male couples will also be addressed. In addition, the fertility preservation options available to transgender people prior to transitioning will be covered. The social, legal, financial, and medical issues will be discussed.

If you are…or love…a member of the LGBT community, you won’t want to miss this information–packed seminar.

Long Island recognizes that your needs and rights to parenthood are universal, but that the approach to your care and particular fertility obstacles is unique. Our staff, some of whom are members of– or parents of –the LGBT community themselves, is sensitive to your needs and eager to help you build your family.

You may have come out today. Why not come meet us in two weeks?

If you would like to attend our next seminar, please register here.

 

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Long Island IVF Supports PFLAG

By Tracey Minella

September 4th, 2015 at 6:15 pm

 

Dr. David Kreiner, reproductive endocrinologist and co-founder of Long Island IVF…the infertility practice responsible for bringing Long Island its first IVF baby… is excited and honored to be the guest speaker at the upcoming Long Island PFLAG chapter’s September 20th meeting in Commack. His presentation will be on “Fertility Options for Same Sex Couples”.

 

Since its inception in 1988, Long Island IVF has been committed to the belief that all people have the right to have a family. We have a proud history of supporting LGBT family-building in a way that is sensitive to the unique needs of the community. We go beyond LGBT-friendly…several of our staff members are part of the community. And our experienced psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, is also the caring and sensitive mother of an adult transgender child. So, we’ve got you covered.

 

If you are a member of the LGBT community…or a parent or loved one of a member…please come down and meet Dr. Kreiner. He will address all of your questions regarding the many fertility preservation and family-building options for the LGBT community.

 

Date: Sunday, September 20, 2015

Time: 2:00 pm

Place: Suffolk Y JCC

74 Hauppauge Rd. Commack, New York

For more information, call PFLAG at 631-462-9800

 

If you can’t wait until then to meet Dr. Kreiner, you can also attend Long Island IVF’s upcoming event, “An Evening of Holistic Approaches to Fertility”, on September 15th at our Melville office. Details are available on our website here: http://www.longislandivf.com/view_event.cfm?id=191

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Do you have any questions for Dr. Kreiner in advance of the PFLAG presentation?

 

 

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The Male Biologic Drive to Parent

By David Kreiner MD

July 7th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Photo credit: Valentina, proud wife and mom of Devin and Danny

Fatherhood comes in many different varieties that as a reproductive endocrinologist specializing in family building I see on a regular basis.  Whether the man is involved in a traditional heterosexual relationship or is attempting to build a family with his male partner or by himself, man… like woman… feels a biologic drive to parent.  As such, although adoption is a wonderful way to create a family, surrogacy and egg donation is appealing to male-only prospective parents because it affords them the opportunity to have a biological connection to their baby.

 

There are two types of surrogates: traditional and gestational.  A traditional surrogate supplies her own eggs and carries the baby to term.  Gestational carriers do not supply their own eggs and therefore a separate egg donor is utilized.  Unlike donated sperm, donated eggs require the in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) process involving hormonal stimulation of the female egg donor, monitoring during the 2 weeks of stimulation, and transvaginal egg retrieval which is performed under anesthesia.  Typically, the intended male father supplies the sperm and the fertilized eggs or embryos are placed into the uterus of the gestational surrogate.  Surrogates carry the pregnancy to term then surrender the baby and their parental rights to the father or male couple.  The process involves the use of assisted reproduction attorneys, and/or a donor/surrogacy agency. The entire process including IVF with egg donation, surrogacy, and obstetrical care has a cost that can be insurmountable for many men desiring to start a family, estimated to cost between $125-150,000.

 

There have been a few ways some men have successfully cut this expense.  First of all, the fee agencies charge to supply the donated eggs and the surrogates ranges from $10,000-$40,000 independent of the fee the reproductive attorney charges or the cost of psychological screening.  Some IVF programs will supply these services at a much lower cost.  In addition, these IVF programs have relationships with lesbian partners who may be interested in becoming surrogates after they have completed their own families.  Also, some income-based grants exist for male couples in need of surrogates.

 

Whatever your situation, Long Island IVF has the history, the means, the skills, and the desire to assist you in your family building journey.  We can assist you in finding the best agencies/donors/surrogates, reproductive attorneys and counselors to insure that you have the greatest chance of achieving your goal for the family of your dreams.

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How important is it to you to have a biological child and what is the greatest obstacle to you’re facing/faced in achieving that dream?

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“Synthetic Babies”: The Shot Heard Round the World

By Tracey Minella

March 16th, 2015 at 10:50 pm

 

Credit: Iamnee/freedigitalphotos.net


Can’t we all just get along?

Boycott is the word of the week in the IVF world. In the GLBT world. And the fashion world as well.

Popular gay fashion designers, Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) crossed the line this week with some insensitive comments about GLBT parenting, claiming that children should only be born to a mother and a father.

The comments were apparently made by the designers known for pushing the “traditional family model” (one mom and one dad) as a focus in their fashion campaign. One of the pair reportedly used terms like “children of chemicals”, “synthetic children”, “uterus for rent” and “sperm from catalogs” in slamming the children produced through IVF for the GLBT community.

Leading the boycott charge is pop icon Elton John, who along with his husband David Furnish, are parents of two IVF babies. John responded on Instagram:  “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’… And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.” Then: #BoycottDolce&Gabbana.

Other celebrities, many of whom are gay or lesbian parents who used IVF and/or surrogacy to create their families, quickly jumped on the bandwagon to boycott the designers. Of course, fertility practices and infertility organizations weren’t far behind in expressing their dismay and outrage. The social media world exploded with #BoycottDolce&Gabbana hashtag, and claims that the designers’ mindset was as archaic as their designs. Ouch. People of privilege promised never to buy D&G again.

But what does this mean for the average infertile person who never even heard of D&G before… much less bought their pricey designs or fragrances? Budget-conscious folks, gay or straight, just trying to afford their fertility treatments.

Not much from a practical standpoint.

But let’s look at the silver lining of this storm cloud.

Although it has come a long way over the decades and is widely accepted, IVF has always been… and will always be…criticized by those who feel it is against their religion. Personhood amendments are a threat, but we’re still winning that long, familiar battle. At the risk of being overdramatic, IVF knew who its enemy was. And it was never the GLBT community.

Then D&G happened. To have two openly gay men bash the science that is responsible for giving the GLBT community the ability to become biological parents was just so… unexpected. It caught the breath in our throats. It not only offended heterosexuals, but it outraged the GLBT community. No doubt it felt like a betrayal. And with that handful of insensitive and hurtful remarks, the old sci-fi stigma of “test tube babies” came flooding back to the forefront.

Momentarily.

Until it was promptly and forcefully beaten with a stick into the ground with a vengeance.

The swift and deafening response to the attack on gay parenting via IVF was positively electric! The passionate defense of this science and the countless children it’s responsible for creating was beyond heartening. And the collective protective instincts of the many gays and straights who stepped up against this latest enemy of medically-assisted family-building for all came through with all the ferocity of a pride of lions guarding its cubs.

For better or worse, society places great weight on the opinions of celebrities. So while no one will lose sleep over whether or not the boycott bankrupts D&G, this incident has actually helped IVF. Sad and disgusting as it was, the incident has increased public awareness of infertility and incited a “call to arms”, particularly among the GLBT and celebrity communities, in support of the rights of all people to become parents and in support of the science of IVF. And IVF needs all the support it can get.

Stand united against any threat to the science of IVF and its accessibility to all.

#BoycottD&G today.

Boycott the next threat tomorrow.

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Do you boycott companies that threaten your religious, moral, or political beliefs? What do you think about the D&G scandal?

Do you have D&G items you no longer want? Parents Via Egg Donation had a good suggestion: Rather than throwing D&G items in the trash, consider selling them and donating the proceeds to charity or a fertility-friendly organization.

 

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