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Archive for the ‘TTC’ Category

A New Year’s Plan Beats a Resolution When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

January 2nd, 2018 at 8:41 am

breaking resolutions

image credit: Ryan McGuire-Gratisography

We’ve barely cracked into the New Year and I’m already tired of hearing about people’s resolutions. Including yours, I bet. And here’s why…

We all make them. We all break them. The thing that frustrates me about other people’s resolutions is that they are generally related to things that are within the maker’s control to make happen. Something the person can do themselves… or can stop doing. Something that doesn’t require the assistance of somebody else. Something that could be guaranteed to be successful if the person merely put in the required effort.

That’s what’s so hard about infertility and the fertility-based resolutions that come from its sufferers.

How many of you struggling to have a child made the same New Year’s resolution yet again…To have a baby this year?

It’s a wish. It’s a dream. And, yes, it’s everything… but it’s not a resolution. At least not to infertile people. Because it is not something within your power to control. At the very least it requires a third-party – – a reproductive endocrinologist– to make it happen. Plus, it requires money which could be an obstacle for some people.

So, the outcome of your so-called “baby resolution” is not in your sole control. And as important a role as your doctor plays, and as great as IVF success rates have become at a quality practice, success is not guaranteed on the first try– or even at all in some cases. The sad reality is that only the fertile folks can make baby resolutions.

Making a resolution to have a baby is setting yourself up to fail, like the dieters who have already cheated and the smokers already back outside puffing away in the bitter cold. And don’t we already heap enough feelings of failure on ourselves?

So, make a New Year’s plan not a resolution.

It may sound like semantics, but the mere word “resolution” in general is tied so often to failure that you need to leave it behind when it comes to your fertility. Choose to plan.

When you plan, you take action. When you plan, you take control. Rather than weakly resolving that you’re going to have a baby this year, get proactive and plan for it. Take control of what is within your control.

So many factors that could positively impact your fertility (as well as your general health) are within your control, so:

 

  • get adequate sleep,
  • drink lots of water to stay hydrated,
  • eat healthy and/or organic foods,
  • take vitamins and exercise with your doctor’s approval,
  • lose excess weight with your doctor’s approval,
  • stop bad habits like smoking or drinking excessively,
  • consider complementary holistic mind-body therapies and fertility acupuncture,
  • research financial options for infertility treatment.

 

Long Island IVF’s payment options, including grants, may help finance your infertility treatment. While it’s never easy to change jobs (or add an extra job) especially in economically-challenging times, more companies are offering insurance coverage for infertility treatment these days, including positions that don’t require special skills or advanced education, such as at Starbucks.

Listen to the voice in your head if it’s telling you something may be wrong and stop delaying having a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist about the state of your fertility.

In fact, even if you are not currently trying to get pregnant, you may benefit from a fertility screening to see if there are any noticeable “red flags” about your reproductive health that might impact your future fertility plans. While it might be scary, knowing is always better than not knowing because it can let you take proactive steps before it’s too late, such as freezing your eggs while you are younger as “insurance” for use later if needed. Or just bumping up your baby plans if there are signs that that would be advisable, like a diminished ovarian reserve.

If you would like a fertility screening, or if you have been unable to become (or remain) pregnant and would like an initial consultation for fertility treatment, please contact us at any of our Long Island or Brooklyn offices.

2018 is a milestone year for Long Island IVF as we are celebrating our 30-year anniversary this summer. We are proud to have pioneered IVF here and to have brought Long Island its first IVF baby… and we treasure every baby we’ve helped bring into this world ever since.

Let us help you make 2018 a milestone year as well. Contact us today.

 

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Coming Out for the Holidays

By Tracey Minella

December 29th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

image credit: jeshoots.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Tracey Minella

December 14th, 2017 at 10:47 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many blessing for a peaceful holiday season.

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Hanukkah Wishes for the Infertile

By Tracey Minella

December 12th, 2017 at 9:52 am

 

image: digitalart at freedigitalphotos.net


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

And for many, you will witness a miracle.

 

 

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Mind Body Medicine and Fertility- Free Reiki Series

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

September 27th, 2017 at 9:35 pm

I am excited to report that Long Island IVF’s’ Fertility Meditation Reiki series has been an amazing addition to our Mind Body Medicine program. The most recent free series runs from October 2-October 30 at 6:30-7:30 pm each Monday night.

Register here to reserve your spot. Come to any or all of the sessions—no need to be a patient.

The interconnection between mind and body makes it imperative that we treat the whole person, and not just one organ or one system of the person.  Our mind influences our thoughts.  Our thoughts influence our feelings, our feelings influence the biochemistry of our physical body.  Physiological changes in the brain are reflected in our hormones – stress hormones (cortisol) and reproductive hormones.

The chicken/egg dilemma:

It doesn’t really matter which came first — physical/biochemical issues affecting the mind OR the mind affecting the physical/biochemistry.   It’s all connected, so what DOES matter is treating the WHOLE system – mind and body.

A factual premise of Mind Body Medicine is based on eliciting what has been termed  “The Relaxation Response (RR).”   The RR is the physiological opposite of the stress response.  Therefore, when the RR is elicited, stress hormone levels (cortisol) decrease, and allow a more harmonious flow of reproductive hormones, as well as creating a cascade of positive changes in the physiological body.  This all works toward treating infertility!

The methods to achieve these changes are active meditation work, breath work,  as well as Reiki healing (opening and clearing of energy centers in the body). These methods cause the interference of the body’s stress responses including the interference of the brain’s release of stress hormones.

Research has shown that the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, etc. from the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, can actually inhibit the release of our reproductive hormones!  Additionally, other physiological symptoms of stress hormones cause constriction of blood vessels and put the body in a hypervigilant state –NOT conducive to fertility. You may not even be aware of these symptoms, but the constant day-in and day-out stress of infertility often causes consistent overflow of these stress hormones, therefore impacting your fertility.

 

A powerful way to increase the energy of Mind Body work is by working in a group.

The Fertility Meditation and Reiki sessions have been a wonderful example of increased healing energy flow. We proceed through guided breath work, guided meditation, and guided Reiki healing, joining our energy to bring about physical, emotional, and spiritual changes.  You don’t have to have had experience in meditation or Reiki – anyone can do it!  The Mind Body group is a place where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support. I am often told by group members that the sharing of information has been enormously helpful to them.

Reiki is a Japanese method of stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. “Ki” means life force energy, and “Rei” means universal/spiritual. We are alive because of life force energy flowing through us. We all feel energy – or the lack thereof – without having to see it or touch it. So, we know it exists.

Life force energy flows through pathways in the body which are energy centers – also known as chakras. The chakras will affect, and are affected by emotions. When certain energy centers have low energy or blocked energy, we may become sick or “dis-eased” in certain areas. The practice of Reiki heals by guiding Ki – life force energy – throughout the energy centers in the body. By guiding energy to flow freely, we clear and open the energy centers, healing both the physical and emotional “dis-ease.”

The first time we offered our free Reiki series last summer, the response to this holistic and healing therapy was overwhelmingly positive. If you missed the last series, or can’t make the October 2017 series, we will have upcoming series scheduled throughout the year.

Infertility, and life in general, is stressful. Why not let us help you reduce that stress and regain some control? If you are experiencing fertility issues, you are encouraged to attend these sessions to fully do all that you can to treat infertility and provide coping and healing skills you will then have for life! Register for free now.

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September is Back-to-Baby-Making Time

By Tracey Minella

September 1st, 2017 at 9:34 am

 

image: designerpics.com Jeshu John


What’s better than spending the summer on Long Island?

Beaches less than a 15-minute ride in any direction. Great food, drinks, entertainment, and everyone kicking back and relaxing.

It’s no wonder many of those struggling with infertility decided to take the summer off from treatment and just relax. Not “relax, it’ll happen”. But relax as in filling your life with fun distractions that prevent you from obsessing about infertility 24/7. A mix of laid back and wild adventures. Soaking in the rays and Vitamin D. You know, just chillin’.

Basically, just doing what you’ve always loved—with those you loved to laugh with– before infertility messed it all up.

If you did this and conceived, that’s the best news ever. But if you’re still tossing negative pee sticks into the final summer bonfire, maybe it’s time to get back in the stirrups. If you don’t have a treatment plan already waiting, make that doctor’s appointment to decide the next step. If you know what the next step must be and you’re ready, then take it.

Back-to-school shopping ads can feel like a pencil through the heart when you’re infertile. But September is about more than back-to-school for kids you don’t have yet. It’s like a second New Year’s for everyone—a time to start anew. A time to make new plans or re-commit to old resolutions. A time to try again at parenthood, if that’s possible.

We’re here to help everyone–whether you are a patient of ours yet or not. To that end, we offer a steady stream of free seminars and events open to the public that give people a chance to meet our doctors and staff outside of an exam room for the first time—without the paper gown. And for those who are already patients, it’s bonus benefits and extra time with us in a more relaxed setting (again, no gown…)

Check out all the free events coming up this fall that will appeal to many different parents-in-waiting still on their journeys and come down with your partner or another friend. Or come alone. We have a donor egg seminar on Sept 12th, a series of Monday night Reiki and Guided Meditation sessions in October, and a seminar on Building families in the LGBT Community on October 26th—and we are constantly adding more so follow us on our blog or on social media.

There’s already a chill in the Long Island air. So, let’s not look back. The beauty of autumn is upon us and a fresh start is waiting. It’s back to baby-making.

Hope to see you soon.

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

Did you take the summer off from treatment or power on through it?

 

 

 

 

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One Year Later: Reflections on #OrlandoStrong and Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community

By Tracey Minella

June 12th, 2017 at 9:45 am

 

Image: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography.com


Today marks a somber day in LGBT history—one to reflect upon and remember.

Last June, from our sponsor table in the Family Services Pavilion at Long Island’s Pridefest 2016 celebration, the Long Island IVF team was able to witness and be a part of the pride and happiness of the LGBT community mingling peacefully and openly on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Little did anyone know at that time that only hours after the event would end, the worst mass shooting in US history would happen in Orlando.  Fifty innocent lives would be taken and as many others would be injured. People just like those whose company we had just enjoyed. Regular people with their whole lives in front of them…targets of hatred in an increasingly ugly world. A world which in the months since then has become politically altered and alarmingly unstable for all—particularly the LGBT community.

It didn’t feel right to post Pridefest photos or talk of the positivity surrounding it in the wake of such a loss. But continued “radio silence” on Pridefest would be a disservice. It would be a lost opportunity to talk of and celebrate all that it was and, more importantly, all it must continue to be. There must be pride. There must be solidarity. In the face of hate, there must be love. And there must be real change.

There must be more than just a uniting of the LGBT community within itself –there must be support from those outside the LGBT community, too. Just as the world came together in vigils to support the LGBT community and to mourn those lost in Orlando, it must continue to look out for all people until the hatred is replaced by acceptance. Until there isn’t a need to designate “communities” anymore.

Prejudice and ignorance are frustratingly slow learners, so this change will require persistence. But despite the Orlando tragedy, we mustn’t lose sight of how far the gay rights movement has come, especially in recent years. And Pridefest is one of so many milestones of the movement. We mustn’t lose ground despite the political climate and a rising swell of previously-stifled but ever-brewing bigotry, hate, and violence.

Long Island IVF is proud to have supported the LGBT community and helped its members fulfill their dreams of parenthood for decades. None of us can undo these senseless deaths, but we can join together to create new life. If you’re ready to become parents, we can help you create your family. The next generation.

In the face of hate, there must be love.

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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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Reiki for Fertility Free Sessions at Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

June 1st, 2017 at 9:50 am

 

Are you ready for four weeks of free Reiki therapy to reduce the stress of infertility and possibly increase your chances of conceiving?

 

As anyone who has melted down monthly over negative pregnancy tests knows all too well, infertility is beyond stressful—as in constant, unrelentingly awful levels of stressful. But there are holistic ways to reduce stress and potentially increase the odds of conceiving that longed-for pregnancy.

 

The Mind-Body Medicine Program at Long Island IVF has long-offered specialized group and individual therapy sessions for infertiles, led by our infertility specialist and psychologist Bina Benisch, MS, RN. In addition to these wildly popular sessions, Bina also conducts occasional workshops on keeping the romance in lovemaking while trying to conceive, and on how to “come out” of the infertility closet to family and friends.

 

Bina is also an experienced Reiki Master and now, she’s offering something else that’s really exciting. Or should we say really relaxing?

 

It’s Reiki. Only at Long Island IVF. Open to all—you don’t have to be a patient of the practice. Get in on this 4-week free program while spots are available. Pre-registration is required so click here to sign up now.

 

Reiki is a “simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement.” It’s a stress reduction and relaxation technique from Japan founded on the belief that a “life force energy” flows through the body and that our health is connected to its strength. If the energy is low, we may be stressed or sickly and raising it may make us feel happier or healthier. Meditative in nature, Reiki “feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you” and “treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.”*

 

Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are using assisted reproductive technology like IVF to conceive, the holistic Reiki therapy may enhance your efforts by helping you to relax.

 

In an effort to bring attention to Reiki therapy through Long Island IVF’s Mind-Body Medicine program, we are offering this limited-time, free four-week Reiki series. With such positive feedback from our innovative Acupuncture for Fertility program and our recent free Yoga for Fertility Night, patients seeking holistic alternatives to complement their Western medicine fertility treatment protocols have found all of these options under one roof.

 

Do something relaxing for yourself this summer and come down for Reiki with Bina.

 

The four (4) Reiki sessions will be held at Long Island IVF’s Melville office 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York on the following Monday nights from 6:30-7:30 pm:

 

  • Monday June 12
  • Monday June 19
  • Monday June 26
  • Monday July 10

 

Remember, the sessions are free but spots are limited, so pre-register now here.

 

Can’t wait to see you there. Please contact Lindsay Montello, Patient Services, at 631-752-0606 or LMontello@liivf.com with any questions.

 

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

 

Are you coming to Reiki?

 

 

 

* http://www.reiki.org/faq/WhatIsReiki.html

 

 


 

 

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The Best Way to Survive Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 11th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

 

photo: ryanmcguire/ gratisography


This might seem unconventional for an infertility blogger to suggest, but…

Stop looking for something online that will make you feel better this weekend. Chances are it isn’t out here. And even if there was one special nugget of wisdom that might somehow ease your pain, you’ll have to sift through so much useless and painful content that your heart will be in shreds before you find that elusive gem.

The worst place you can be when you’re infertile is on social media on Mother’s Day. The day photos of moms and babies posted are multiplied 10,000 times more than the already unbearable daily number you endure. Why subject yourself to millions of pictures of mothers and children or hundreds of blog posts like this one – – trying and failing to make you feel any better? Please hide. Resist the habit of Facebook. Protect your heart.

Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, but it was before the hell that is social media. I only had to endure real life pregnant people and babies in my actual face—not the flood of thousands of them in my virtual face 24/7. You have it so much worse in that respect—though IVF success rates have soared since I did it. Our experiences are the same, yet different. Only other infertile women could understand how you are feeling–currently infertile women.

Ten stressed-out Mother’s Days without a baby I suffered. I have walked that long and lonely path you are on now, and I do remember it like it was yesterday. Yet I know my well-meaning words of hopeful advice– that I so want you to find comfort in today– can’t help but somehow fall short because I finally became a mom while you are still waiting for your day. I walked before you, and it’s frustrating to know that I can’t comfort you the way someone walking beside you can. So while I do remember, speaking to you from where I am now instead of where I was then makes my words just one small step above those of others not currently walking in your shoes. Maybe the words of one who succeeded at IVF, even after many, many failures and losses are as unwelcome on such a difficult day as the words of those who conceived easily and effortlessly.

So on this hardest day of the year I won’t try further than to say that I know you can get through this day and I’m sorry for your pain. There is no magic answer in this post or any of the others you may read about Mother’s Day.

Despite constant advances in assisted reproductive technologies, no one can promise you a baby this cycle or in the future despite the technology advancing with lightning speed. For me, not knowing if it’d ever work was the hardest thing. Had I only known for certain that at some point– even years away– I’d definitely have a baby in my arms, it would’ve made all the difference in managing the highs and lows during those 10 long years. But there is no crystal ball. While many people might become parents if they just kept undergoing treatment, many people’s wallets are exhausted before their spirit is ready to stop treatment—or even before they can begin it. That fear kept me up at night.

You know what you need to get through this day– and only you know what you need. Time as a couple, alone time, or time with family and friends. Do what you need to do so it will pass.

For what it’s worth, know that I and the many women who walked before you will be looking backwards on Sunday with hope and strength for you as you walk on. Strength to get through this day– and hope that by this time next year you will be looking back on your journey as well.

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