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Archive for the ‘ASRM Boston’ tag

ASRM Retrospective 30 Years Later

By David Kreiner MD

October 17th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

image courtesy of renjith krishnan/freedigital photos.net

 

Flying into Boston this week it occurred to me that this was the 30 year anniversary of the first ASRM meeting I ever attended.  In 1983, the American Fertility Society “AFS” meeting (as it was called then) was held in San Francisco and I attended as a third year ob-gyn resident. I was in awe attending this huge conference of about 3-5,000 held at the Hyatt Hotel as I recall.


Though I was required to man the Ovcon 35 birth control pill exhibit (since Ovcon’s manufacturer was paying my way), I was drawn to the microsurgery and in vitro fertilization exhibits and presentations.  

In the ballroom, the presenters presided over a few thousand of us eager to hear about the most recent successes in IVF.  Already, Norfolk had achieved dozens of births through this new scientific process which brought gynecological surgeons (laparoscopists) together with embryo biologists, endocrinologists, andrologists and numerous nurses, technicians and office staff.  For me, hearing Dr. Howard Jones, American IVF pioneer, and others speak about their experiences with this life creating technique was exhilarating.

Years later, as a Jones Institute reproductive endocrinology fellow, I would hear Dr. Howard proclaim that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.  IVF required every link to maintain its integrity for the process to work.

In 1985, I presented my own paper at the AFS meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.  My wife and two sons joined me.  My presentation on endometrial immunofluorescence in front of hundreds of experts and specialists in the field remains one of the strongest memories in my life.

Today, the ASRM must be held in mega convention centers like the one in Boston where it could accommodate tens of thousands of attendees.  One presentation estimated the number of IVF births worldwide at over five million. Interestingly, per capita, the US performs one fifth the number of IVFs as Europe–where IVF is much more accessible and typically covered by government insurance.

Today, success in the US is better than fifty per cent for most people, thereby making single embryo transfer (“SET”) for good prognosis patients a viable option to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy. Minimal stimulation IVF (“Micro-IVF”) is a viable alternative for many patients, offering a lower cost and lower risk option.  Egg freezing offers a means of fertility preservation, especially valuable to women anticipating cancer therapy.  Pre-embryo genetic screening (“PGS”) is an option that allows patients to screen for and eliminate genetically undesirable embryos that may otherwise lead to miscarriage or termination.

Looking back at the past thirty years, I am amazed at the progress and achievements made by my colleagues in IVF and happy that I was able to participate in this most rewarding field that has brought so much joy to millions of people.

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photo credit: renjith krishnan http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10058384

 

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Three Reasons to Keep an Infertility Journal

By Tracey Minella

October 13th, 2013 at 12:39 pm

 

credit: Simon Howden/freedigitalphotos.net

The ASRM …the biggest annual medical conference of infertility professionals…is happening right now in beautiful Boston, Massachusetts. History is being made and discoveries shared in one of the country’s most historic towns.

Imagine the ASRM of bygone days. When decades ago, procedures which are routine today… like embryo cryopreservation and ICSI…were first being studied and proposed. How exciting that the brightest minds in assisted reproductive technology are gathering as we speak and crafting another chapter in the history of IVF.

Which begs the question: What chapter are you on in your personal infertility journey and have you been keeping your own historical journal?

The deafening sound of your collective “no” isn’t surprising. I know why most of you don’t keep the journal. I missed out on the very beginning of my own story for the same reason… because you wish, hope, believe, or pray…that it won’t really become “a journey”. You assume it’ll be resolved fast… that next month will be the lucky one… and you will just get on with your life. That infertility will be just a little speed bump… instead of a potentially long and bumpy road. So you don’t write about it.

Here are 3 reasons to keep and infertility journal:

1. Memory Fades: Even though you have committed every little detail about your failed cycles and the numbers and grades of frozen embryos to memory, those memories are going to fade.  Especially if the journey lingers on… and the details about cycle 2 and 4 start to blend. Trust me on that one. You should have a one place to look back on it all someday. And you will want to look back. Trust me on that, too. While you are living it, you can’t appreciate how strong you are. That only comes from hindsight.

2. It is Therapeutic: It’s another place to vent, and for those who hold it all in, it may be the only place to vent. And venting helps reduce stress. Reducing stress may help you conceive. It’s a good cycle.

3. It is Part of History: Your infertility journey, however long it is or may be, is taking place alongside history itself. Keeping a journal forces you to connect with today’s important news and events, when everything else about battling infertility could otherwise send you into self-imposed isolation. I’ll explain:

My own infertility journal chronicles what is arguably the most important day in U.S. history during my adult lifetime…September 11, 2011. I was newly-pregnant with my son, barely pregnant actually, after IVF cycle #7. And I was working as a medical assistant at Long Island IVF. I wrote about how we frantically tried to reach our patients that worked in NYC, how we inseminated a tearful woman who went on to conceive twins on that day, and how I worried about the world I was bring this baby into. I love that I have that story to share with my kids.

Maybe your story would be woven into events like the election of President Obama, the Boston Marathon bombing, or other historical events, good and bad, yet to unfold. Those events that people look back on and ask: “Where were you when…..happened?”

I know it’s hard to write it down. It’s hard enough to just live it. But do it. The babies you’re working on having will consider it a gift someday.

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Do you keep a journal? Do you have any stories to share about what you were doing…infertility-wise…on historically significant dates?

 

Photo credit: Simon Howden / http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=1005754

 

 

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