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April Fool’s Day Pregnancy Jokes are NOT Funny

By Tracey Minella

March 31st, 2018 at 1:01 pm

image: gratisography-ryan mcguire

This year, Easter and April Fool’s Day fall on the same day. So maybe there’s some hope that Easter will draw attention away from April Fool’s Day which, despite being insignificant, has traditionally been a minefield for those suffering from infertility.

What should be a harmless day of dodging innocent pranks always turns ugly with the inevitable April Fool’s Day prank post: “I’m pregnant”.

Just. Stop. Now.

It’s not only soooooo last year (and the year before that… and the year before that) but it’s not even believable or funny anymore. In fact, it never was. It’s simply hurtful to those who can’t have children. And we are not oversensitive. Infertility is no joke. It’s a disease. Would you joke about having another serious disease? Of course not.

So how about you think before typing that lame joke this year?

Think about all the infertile couples who suffer every day of the year as their newsfeeds are bombarded by countless legit pregnancy announcements, baby pictures, and other kid-related posts. We’re already going to struggle with  all the cute Easter bonnet babies and egg hunts tomorrow.

Give us a break. Better yet, post something that is actually laugh-out-loud funny. Lord knows, we could use a momentary diversion from the pain with a rare and honest belly laugh.

Don’t be the Fool on April 1st.

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Are you bothered by April Fool’s Day pregnancy pranks? How do you respond?

 

 

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Don’t Miss Long Island IVF’s Free Fertility Acupuncture Seminar

By Tracey Minella

March 28th, 2018 at 10:01 am

Long Island IVF is the first infertility practice in the region with a reproductive endocrinologist who is also a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner AND also a certified acupuncturist. So, we can offer acupuncture along with IVF to our patients who are interested.

By offering different and complementary treatment options like acupuncture for fertility into a single comprehensive blended protocol, our patients may benefit from the best therapies of both the Eastern and Western medical worlds.

If there was something holistic—an ancient, trusted treatment—that might improve your chances of success with IVF would you want to learn more about it?

What if this exclusive, yet very affordable, natural therapy might even help if you’ve had prior unsuccessful IVF cycles? And what if this complementary therapy cost less than $200 per IVF cycle? Are you ready to learn more from the doctor who actually performs it on our patients?

We get it–you’re tired of needles. But acupuncture needles are so tiny and thin that they are a walk in the park to anyone who has taken on hormonal injections already! Check it out and see at our free seminar.

Motivated by a desire to find holistic approaches to enhance today’s best Western medical technologies– especially for those who may have failed at IVF before–Long Island IVF co-founder and REI, Dr. David Kreiner, went back to school to study TCM after over 30 years of making IVF babies.

Dr. Kreiner is now applying that acupuncture training in the IVF procedure room, both pre- and post-IVF transfer–exclusively to ALL interested Long Island IVF patients.

Long Island IVF’s Acupuncture Program is hosting a free and interesting seminar with Dr. Kreiner and a special guest–local acupuncturist James Vitale, M.S., LAc–to discuss topics related to improving IVF success with acupuncture. All are welcome to attend.

Don’t miss this special FREE program on Thursday, March 29, 2018 from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm at our Melville office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. Register here now. https://goo.gl/GDcB4F

We look forward to seeing you there. Please contact Marj Satnick, Patient Services, at 631-768-8722 or msatnick@longislandivf.com with any questions.

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Are you coming to the Acupuncture Seminar?

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

By Tracey Minella

March 19th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women whose eggs have been compromised by advanced age, premature ovarian failure, failed IVF treatment, cancer, or poor egg quality should consider donor egg therapy. Decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made and many wish they’d come around to the idea sooner. In addition, gay men wanting biological children also need the help of an egg donor.

Victoria Loveland, RN & Donor Egg Nursing Coordinator, Aviva Zigelman, LCSW & Donor Egg Program Director, and Long Island IVF partner and reproductive endocrinologist Steven Brenner, MD will all be there to answer your questions. You can even speak to them privately if you’re more comfortable.

Long Island IVF offers several different egg donation options, including:

  • Sole Recipient Fresh Egg Donation,
  • Shared Recipient Fresh Egg Donation, and
  • Frozen Egg Donation.

Each option offers its own unique benefits, costs, and other considerations. We have young, healthy, pre-screened, anonymous egg donors representing multiple ethnicities ready to help build your family. Or you can use a known donor if you prefer.

This seminar is generally intimate, low-key and not overly-crowded.

Location: Long Island IVF 8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101, Melville, NY

Date: Tuesday March 20, 2018

Time: 7:00 pm- 9:30 pm

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Will you be there? If you’d like to attend but can’t, please call anyway and ask for Vicky Loveland, so we can make other arrangements to help you.

 

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

By Tracey Minella

February 28th, 2018 at 12:25 pm

 

image: shutterstock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Will You Conceive in the Year of the Dog?

By Tracey Minella

February 17th, 2018 at 7:22 pm

image courtesy of 9comeback at freedigitalphotos.net

The celebration of Chinese New Year has begun. Out with the Year of the Rooster. Welcome the Year of the Dog. You don’t have to be Chinese to appreciate the richness of that culture’s traditions and the mystique of the Chinese methods of enhancing fertility.

In addition to being a pioneer in cutting-edge Western medicine and assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, Long Island IVF offers fertility acupuncture to its interested patients. This inexpensive, complementary holistic therapy is a hallmark of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”) and is administered by our own Dr. David Kreiner–Long Island’s first reproductive endocrinologist who is also a certified acupuncturist.

Want to learn more about how fertility acupuncture might influence your ability to conceive? Register here for our free upcoming Fertility Acupuncture Seminar on March 29, 2018 at the Long Island IVF Melville office.

The Chinese zodiac consists of a cycle of 12 years, with each year being named for a different animal, and supposedly bestowing upon those born in that year certain characteristics which are similar to the traits of the featured animal.

Children born in the Year of the Dog are said to be loyal above all else. They are also honest, popular, give good and helpful advice, but can be worried and anxious, too. Of course, having a healthy baby any day of any year is likely all that really matters to most.

A Chinese co-worker enlightened me years ago about some Chinese New Year’s traditions, and since many involve luck and good fortune, it’s no wonder people—especially those experiencing infertility– might want to get in on the celebrations, which last a couple weeks.

On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese often celebrate by eating dumplings called “jiaozi”, which translates literally to “sleep together and have sons” according to http://www.theholidayspot.com. They also sweep out the house from top to bottom with a broom and give it a good cleaning. It symbolizes the sweeping away of all the bad luck of the past year so the good luck can enter.

On New Year’s Day, celebrants wear something red. It’s the color of good luck and symbolic of wealth. Elders often give children red envelopes with money inside on Chinese New Year. (And wouldn’t you know—there’s an app for that.) Maybe you can break out a red envelope, start a new tradition, and get your relatives to contribute to the IVF fund.

Tradition dictates that you put away the knives…this is good advice for hormonal women anyway. Using knives and scissors at this time symbolizes the “cutting off” of the good luck and is an omen of bad luck in the year to come. Finger foods today.

My point is that you don’t have to be Chinese to embrace some of the Chinese culture and have some fun. Wear red. Try your hand at jiaozi from an internet recipe—or order Chinese take-out and help a local business start its year of good fortune! Surround yourself with the richness of red and gold. Sweep out that old bad luck and embrace the new year that waits.

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Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or follow any other cultural traditions with fertility-related traditions? Would you like to learn about fertility acupuncture?

 

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Infertility and Anti-Valentine’s Day

By Tracey Minella

February 14th, 2018 at 5:30 pm

image: gratisography.com-ryan mcguire

Ugh. Valentine’s Day…another rough day for many infertile couples.

Sure you can have a romantic night alone. But there’s all kinds of stress with tonight’s “expectations”. Don’t you want to scream “I really just want a snotty, crying, feverish baby to keep me up all night!”?

Frankly, there’s been enough alone time—maybe years of it. It’s time for a bunch of kids to ruin all that. Hello, universe? We’re still waiting!

Then there’s your friends. The ones with kids (which is basically ALL of them, right?) who complain how they don’t want to stay home with their little ones and can’t wait until the sitter arrives tonight so they can toast each other over a peaceful candlelight meal. That’s rough–especially when you’d give anything to have a baby hanging on your neck as you pay the Dominos delivery guy.

You can’t win. You don’t have the kids– yet. And the emotional and financial stresses of infertility take the romance out of your time alone.

So, what do you do if you don’t want to do the traditional Valentine’s Day stuff?

Why not take VD to the extreme and get all silly about it? Over-do it. Do the candy, the flowers, the candles, the rose petals, the satin sheets…the whole, cheesy cliché of it. And then laugh at yourselves. You know the laugh I’m talking about. “Your” laugh. It’s that special thing between you where one can just look at the other and you laugh uncontrollably. You could both use it.

Or do the opposite. Anti-Valentine’s Day. Defy it. No card or gift. No succumbing to the pressure of Hallmark’s holiday. Save a rose garden somewhere by rejecting flowers.

Need inspiration on how to practice extreme defiance of all things traditionally Valentine-y?

  • Skip the primp and be the low-key version of yourself.
  • Run 80 errands for the benefit of people other than yourself.
  • Have that annual GYN exam that’s overdue. It’s the easiest day to get an appointment. Who needs a card when you can have a prescription for a mammogram and a sonogram?
  • Hit the golden arches for lunch. Because nothing says Valentine’s like a Big Mac meal. Go on, supersize it.
  • The Finale: Invite your mother-in-law for dinner.

Bet your day’s looking better already. No need to thank me.

Seriously, just make it whatever you and your partner need it to be today. Don’t succumb to society’s pressures about how you should look, act, or behave. Play it up– or down. But do take a moment to be thankful for each other to lean on during these hard days. Don’t ever downplay that.

And have faith.

Because maybe next year, you’ll be greeting that Dominos guy with a baby hanging on your neck. (How’s that for extra cheese?)

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So, what are YOUR Valentine’s Day plans?

 

 

 

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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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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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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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