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Archive for the ‘Fertility Preservation’ tag

Balancing Breast Cancer and Fertility Preservation

By Steven Brenner MD

October 9th, 2016 at 5:22 pm


Dr. Steven Brenner

A diagnosis of breast cancer is one of the most challenging health issues a person could face.  This diagnosis is even more devastating to the woman who desires to have children the future.  Treatments for the breast cancer may have harmful effects on the woman’s ability to conceive by adversely affecting the health of her eggs.  In addition, the hormonal treatments frequently used to help an individual conceive have the potential to worsen the breast cancer.

There is often turmoil surrounding the diagnosis of breast cancer.  The individual, her family and physicians are appropriately focused on getting rapid effective treatment and survival.  The issue of fertility may not be thought of until a chemotherapeutic plan is just about to start or has already been initiated.

Since there are fertility preserving options for the individuals facing breast cancer treatment, these options should be considered.  If time allows eggs or embryos may be frozen for future use.  The use of such procedures depends on many factors, primarily, will such treatment have a negative effect on the woman’s disease.  If in the patient’s and oncologist’s judgment fertility preservation is an option it should occur rapidly to allow for the timely treatment of the breast cancer.

The key is for the oncologist and patient to be aware and discuss the potential for fertility conservation treatment prior to the start of chemotherapy.  This opportunity for discussion may be lost in the unrest that surrounds the diagnosis.  Breast cancer awareness month, October, 2016, creates a platform to raise these issues and help both individuals and health care providers come more cognizant of available treatments and the importance of timing these treatments to maximize future fertility.

Long Island IVF offers women facing cancer the fertility preservation options of elective embryo- or egg-freezing prior to undergoing chemotherapy. This enables the woman to safeguard some of her eggs from the adverse effects of chemotherapy by retrieving and freezing them before she begins her cancer treatment. Her frozen eggs or embryos will be there for her use in family-building once her cancer battle is behind her. For more information, please contact our office at 877-838-BABY.


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Would you consider fertility preservation or mention the option to a friend facing a cancer diagnosis?

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Social Media and the IVF Experience

By Tracey Minella

March 20th, 2016 at 10:11 pm


image courtesy of bplanet/

Snapchat® your IVF retrieval day story? Instagram® your embryo’s first picture*? Live tweet your transfer on Twitter®?

It’s true. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is boldly going where social media has never gone before. Farther than just sharing the positive pregnancy test on Facebook®. And celebrities are leading the way.

Celebrities have often shared their infertility stories on social media after-the-fact, either during or after the resulting pregnancy. Chrissy Teigen caused a stir in the “twitterverse” when she recently came out during her pregnancy about doing IVF (and selecting a girl embryo to transfer) while shooting the Sports Illustrated® swimsuit issue. And there are countless others who speak out later.

But “real-time” social media updating has entered the IVF scene. One example is the Snapchat® retrieval day story of E!News host, Maria Menounos, as reported by, so check it out. The star was also quoted on her reported previous egg-freezing experience and shares her thoughts on the cutting edge fertility-preservation technology.

The benefits of “real-time” social sharing are many:

  • It’s your Coming Out Infertile Day. With one click, you can indirectly “come out” about your infertility struggles to your family and friends on social media.**
  • Remove the stigma and increase awareness of infertility and emotional support by putting a real face to infertility.
  • Embrace the Coolness Factor. We all know the drawbacks, but what makes IVF family-building unique in a good way? Being able to document in photos and videos the literal creation of your baby…and share it all live… is exhilarating, emotional, and, yes even cool. Not everyone can do it, so in a twisted sense, it is a privilege. (And these photos and videos are priceless keepsakes to share with your eventual children, too.)

But there’s an obvious down-side to real-time social sharing. Unforeseen and unfortunate developments sometimes happen that you may not be prepared to experience… much less share on the spot… such as fewer eggs retrieved than hoped for, poor fertilization, or a negative pregnancy test. Once you share the start of the story, you create an expectation for the ending. And while it’s often happy, there can be no guarantees.

Maybe these real-time infertility stories are the inevitable and natural answer to the never-ending flood of pregnancy posts and baby pictures on social media. What do you think?

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Would you/did you share your treatment in real-time on social media? If so, how? Would you/did you share your experience after-the-fact?

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*Many fertility practices, including Long Island IVF, do not provide embryo photos.

**Long Island IVF, sponsor of Coming Out Infertile Day, invites you to visit the Coming Out Infertile Day Facebook page for a helpful graphic and easy instructions to help you come out any day and start getting the support you need.

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.


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ASRM Retrospective 30 Years Later

By David Kreiner MD

October 17th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

image courtesy of renjith krishnan/freedigital


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


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Answer the Call…Make the Call

By Tracey Minella

November 27th, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Would over $13,000 for IVF help you build your family? How about fund an adoption? It’s within your grasp. But only if you act now.

Join RESOLVE’s “Call to Congress” campaign …today through Thursday… and help get the Family Act enacted and the Adoption Tax Credit expanded and made permanent.

By calling your representatives and using the step-by-step instructions and script provided by RESOLVE, you can make your dream of having a family through IVF or adoption, that much closer to a reality by removing a large financial obstacle. The proposed legislation also offers assistance for the costs of fertility preservation in patients facing cancer, so the loss of affected reproductive organs (or the effects of chemotherapy) will not rob them of their ability to have a biological child once their cancer crisis has passed.

This three day movement, organized by RESOLVE, has been strategically planned to make a noticeable impact on legislators nationwide. Fertility advocates across the entire country are mobilizing forces to join in the effort to get the Family Act passed and the Adoption Tax Credit expanded and made permanent. Fertility patients everywhere, current or former, are being asked to speak up and be heard.

Does this sound like a battle? Well, it is! Will you answer the call…and make the call?

Please click here for more information about this ground-breaking legislation and for easy access links to help you show your support: Then make the calls…today through Thursday. Thanks.


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After you make the call, please tell us here (or on Facebook) that you did it! Please share this information with whomever you are comfortable sharing it with. Together we can make a difference.

Photo credit:


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Long Island IVF Supports the Family Act

By Tracey Minella

November 18th, 2012 at 11:37 am

credit: photostock/

Thanksgiving is over and the December holidays are coming fast. Think back on the beauty of that Thanksgiving feast. More than any other holiday Thanksgiving is a celebration of families, pure and simple.

Just being together as a family, sharing a meal of thankfulness.

But for people suffering from infertility, it can be hard to celebrate anything. It can be hard to feel thankful for the good things when the ache for a child is so overwhelming. For some, Thanksgiving was just the beginning of a long month of painful holiday events which remind them of the families they don’t yet have.

But there is something that can be done to help the 1 in 8 couples suffering from infertility to have their families. It’s called the Family Act. And it needs your immediate attention and support.

Right now important legislation is pending in both the Senate and the House that seeks to provide over $13,000.00 in tax credit assistance to cover the medical costs associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) for people suffering from infertility.

It also can be used for fertility preservation for patients facing cancer.

Please click on this link for a short, easy-to-read summary of the benefits of this important legislation. Then act on the easy instructions for how to contact your representatives to show your support. All the contact information and links are provided, including the words to use when making contact.

You wouldn’t be reading this if infertility hadn’t touched your life in some way. You are either suffering from infertility yourself, previously suffered from it, or know someone who is. We all know someone, even if they haven’t shared their secret pain.

We’ve never been so close to mandating IVF infertility medical assistance through a tax credit before now. But we need your help.

Please act. And please share this information and ask others to act on it. Talk about this at your holiday tables.

We need to be heard. Now. Please check our website and The Fertility Daily blog for information on how you and your family and friends can make a real difference in the passage of this legislation by attending Long Island IVF’s and RESOLVE’s big Town Hall Event on December 18, 2012!

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What have or will you do to support the Family Act?

Image courtesy of free digital

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Fertility-Saving Options for Breast Cancer Patients

By Tracey Minella

October 2nd, 2012 at 8:11 pm


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The movement to remind women to get mammograms is in full swing.  Pink… the color for breast cancer awareness… is everywhere. It is no longer taboo to talk about breasts! Silicone bracelets proclaiming “Save the Tatas” and “I Love Boobies” have been spotted on the wrists of young and old alike.

Society’s newfound comfort with the word “breast” …and its slang…is evidence of how far breast cancer awareness has come. And it offers hope that the infertility awareness campaign will someday join breast cancer in terms of public awareness, funding, and support. If we can openly talk openly about breasts, can ovaries be far behind?

When you’re trying to conceive and you can’t, and then you go to a fertility specialist for help, and it still doesn’t happen, some women might think their life is over. That nothing could be worse. That no one has it harder than they do. Some may even feel that there’s no reason to go on if they can’t have a baby.

That probably sounds melodramatic to anyone who hasn’t faced down infertility… who hasn’t faced the possibility that the most maternal of our instincts, desires, and needs could be denied. But while the infertile woman is absolutely justified in feeling the whole range of emotions that accompany her diagnosis, things could actually be worse.

“What could possibly be worse than being infertile?” you ask.

You could have breast cancer.

It wasn’t all that long ago that a breast cancer diagnosis, with its accompanying chemotherapy and/or radiation, meant the end of a woman’s dream of having a biological child. The focus…and rightly so…was on saving her life. Not her breast. And certainly not her fertility.

Today there are more options for women. Now, women may have the chance to freeze their eggs or embryos prior to undergoing chemo or radiation or prior to surgically removing their ovaries. By doing that, women may be able to preserve their fertility for a future time when their breast cancer…or any cancer… crisis is behind them.

Although some breast cancer survivors do not undergo chemotherapy or radiation and, accordingly don’t compromise their fertility, many women do need these more aggressive cancer treatments. Thanks to egg and embryo freezing now, and IVF and embryo transfers later, more breast cancer survivors will be able to enjoy the post-cancer miracle of giving birth to a biological child.

Hopefully most oncologists and primary care doctors would refer young, newly-diagnosed cancer patients who have yet to start or complete their families to a reproductive endocrinologist for a consultation prior to chemotherapy or radiation or oophorectomy if time permits. If not, it’s an omission that can’t be remedied later.

Even if the referral is recommended, can a newly-diagnosed cancer patient even wrap her head around saving her fertility when she fears for her life? And if so, does her particular cancer allow her the time to explore this option? And what about teens whose health care is effectively still in the hands of their parents? Will the parents even think about their “baby’s” future fertility in the chaos of living through a parent’s worst nightmare?

It’s up to all of us to help spread the word about fertility-saving options so no woman who beats cancer has to find out afterward that she can’t become pregnant using her own eggs. So, file this information away and hope you never need to use it:

If any female you know (except post-menopausal women)…even a teen… is ever diagnosed with breast cancer, tell her or her spouse or parent to consider consulting  a reproductive endocrinologist before having chemotherapy or radiation or before removing her ovaries, if her cancer treatment protocol can accommodate the delay. You just might save her fertility. Of course, any post-menopausal woman diagnosed with breast cancer and any woman who did not pursue fertility preservation efforts prior to undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation could explore conceiving with donor eggs or embryos after her treatment ends.

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Do you know of anyone who preserved her fertility prior to cancer treatment? Would you be able to share this information with someone diagnosed with cancer?

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Getting Information To Women About Their Bodies: Easier Said Then Done

By Pamela Madsen

November 8th, 2010 at 10:36 am

I have spent a great deal of my life working to prevent infertility – and in cases where we can’t prevent infertility – get those affected by infertility into treatment early when treatments are more likely to be successful.

When I was the Executive Director of The American Fertility Association – I did the work through the organization – and now I continue to do this work through my blogging, the media, and through my job at East Coast Fertility where I help to develop patient and professional education and support. One of the things that I do is visit ob/gyns with our doctors to bring education to their door step.

Going directly into the GYN office has been quite a learning experience for me.  About half of the doctors that I have visited in the last two years are women.  Women have not only achieved the right to equal status under the law – woman have become leaders in every field.  Many women are now being born into this expectation of no glass ceilings. These young women own their personal power and their birth right to accomplish anything. They often do not view gender as an obstacle to anything that they want to accomplish in their lives.  I love and support that!

Yet, when it comes to fertility education, I still encounter a kind of odd paternalism towards women and their ability to handle the facts around reproductive health when it comes the very particular subject area of reproductive aging and fertility preservation.   I used to be surprised when I bumped up against this during a presentation – but no longer.

This is how it usually goes. I schedule a presentation with a gynecologist’s office and I usually bring in lunch or breakfast - then I wait for the doctors and nurses to come in and grab something to eat. I often go with one of the reproductive endocrinologists that I work with at East Coast Fertility. We usually dish about life – and then talk about the various programs that we believe in at ECF such as Micro IVF or Single Embryo Transfer.

At some point the conversation usually turns to fertility preservation and fertility education. Now, this is not something that we are "selling". This is a series of simple tests that the gynecologist can do in their office to let women know where they stand in regards to their own personal biological clock. It is our hope that gynecologists will do Fertility Evaluations for women every year – just like they do a pap smear. It is our hope that women are given the information that they need about their own bodies so that they can plan their reproductive futures – and make the best decisions for themselves.

But what sometimes happens is that there will be a gynecologist who will say that while they see many women who have no idea about their  biological clocks – that they do not want to worry women about their fertility. They don’t want to make women "anxious" about their biological clocks. In other words, they don’t want to worry our pretty little heads!! What ever happened to "Knowledge is Power?" Why is it politically correct to talk to women about STD’s, birth control, abortion, but not our reproductive potential? Isn’t this a form of gender bias – believing that women cannot handle information about their own bodies? That some how if we learn the truth about our own fertility – that this particular knowledge will make us go running out into the streets and grab the first man we see to make a baby! Or perhaps learning about our biological clocks will put us into such an emotional state of distress that we will need to be put on anti anxiety medication or worse! Do doctors really think that women can handle all of the information that is needed to go to medical school – but not fertility information?

Where is this coming from?

Doctors never have an issue "worrying" me or creating "anxiety" in me when it comes to my weight! Or when I am late to get a mammogram or pap smear! What is it about fertility that gets some of them all twitched? Is it that talking about a women’s possible  plans to be a mother, or talking about the possibility of becoming pregnant is some how considered anti feminist – where talking about "the pill" is considered pro feminist and politically correct? And who drew these lines?

I think that society has some interesting views about feminism. Sometimes, I feel like I am a permission giver. I walk around giving the facts to gynecologists about what women know and don’t know  – something that they really already know – and then I give them permission to talk about it with their patients. We are introducing a new idea – the idea that women are really entitled to complete information about their bodies. We are introducing this idea of a Fertility Evaluation – so women truly know where they stand.  I trust women. I trust women to be able to handle the truth about their own personal reproductive health and not jump off the Brooklyn Bridge because they learn that fertility begins to decline in the late twenties. I trust that when women are given information that they will make their own decisions. But I do believe that women need to be given this information – right in their gynecologist or general practitioners offices on a regular basis.  I am sorry if giving women this information can make some doctors uncomfortable. Perhaps I should start a support group!!!

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Breast Cancer and Infertility

By Dr. Jessica Mann

November 5th, 2010 at 9:11 am

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women of reproductive age.  Unlike cervical cancer, where the papanikolau test has proven to save lives, diagnosing early breast cancer in premenopausal women continues to be a challenge and no screening test is available to date for women in their 30’s.  Recently, there has been a rise in the number of women of advanced reproductive age seeking fertility treatments.  To date, no study has found a causal relationship between the use of assisted reproduction and breast cancer.  Moreover, as women are winning the battle against cancer, attention has been turned to quality of life of cancer survivors as well as the possibility of childbearing.  Studies have shown that survivors of breast cancer can indeed have a safe pregnancy and remain free of disease and the recommendation is to attempt conception no earlier than two years after being in remission and thought to be cured. 

With the advent of assisted reproduction the options have increased.  We can offer emergency in vitro fertilization utilizing protocols that minimize exposure to high levels of estrogen, which are detrimental in patients with breast cancer.  The concept is to stimulate production of multiple eggs, fertilize them, and freeze embryos which would be stored for later use.  The process can take as little as 14 days.  Depending on the patient’s cycle, the patient can be placed into a state of ovarian quiescence followed by controlled hormonal stimulation with injections for 10-14 days.  During this time, careful monitoring of hormonal response as well as growth of ovarian follicles, which contain the eggs is performed via ultrasound measurements.  The last part of the process includes induction of ovulation, which is accurately timed so that the eggs can be retrieved at the perfect time.  Following retrieval of the eggs, the patient can safely proceed with chemotherapy administration as deemed appropriate by the medical oncologist. 

The creation of embryos prior to chemotherapy treatment has two main advantages over ovarian stimulation after cancer treatment.  First, it allows a woman to use her eggs at an earlier age than if she was to wait for cancer treatment.  This is associated with lower likelihood pregnancy loss and improved chance of conception.  Second, it provides that woman some reassurance that even if her ovarian reserve is severely compromised by chemotherapy drugs, she will have a chance of conception utilizing embryos that were cryopreserved prior to the treatment of cancer. 

For women who do not have a partner, options include using an anonymous sperm donor to create embryos as well as egg freezing, the latter being available only in specialized centers for now. 

The options described do not apply exclusively to patients with breast cancer.  The diagnosis of cancer has many physical and psychological implications for patients.  The amount of information can be overwhelming.  A team approach consisting of patient support groups as well as medical trained professionals is needed for successful treatment.  Education and information is important for patients.   Options counseling for cancer patients should include a discussion of reproductive alternatives when dealing with women of childbearing age.   

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“I Didn’t Know” Said the Woman.

By Amy Demma, Esq.

July 22nd, 2010 at 12:00 am

As professionals involved in the field of fertility, we often hear our clients say, “I just didn’t know”. They didn’t know about the age at which fertility begins to decline, they didn’t know how expensive advanced fertility treatments can cost, they didn’t know how difficult it can be to adopt, they just didn’t know how significant the road blocks might be to family building.

With respect to fertility preservation, based on data presented recently, younger women tells us that they  didn’t know that sexually transmitted diseases can lead to fertility struggles, that riskier lifestyles as young women can lead to challenges with respect to later family building efforts.

But what else about our reproductive selves do we not know? Recently, my oldest girlfriend (we have been friends for more than 30 years, the sort of friendship that blurred the lines and crossed over to “family’ decades ago) was diagnosed with advanced stage fallopian tube cancer. I cannot tell you how many “didn’t knows” have come up since the diagnosis. The most shocking of all, dear friends, was that she was completely asymptomatic until a minor fender-bender coincidentally led to a scan which then led to the diagnosis of a metastasized and pervasive cancer. My friend “didn’t know” that her reproductive organs had developed a malignancy….she just didn’t know.

It was suggested, by her oncologist, that because my friend is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent that there may be a genetic link to her cancer, it was also suggested that because my friend delayed child-bearing, that she was, therefore, at higher risk. Guess what, despite regular gynecological visits and standard screens, my friend did not know that genetically or with respect to lifestyle choices she was more likely to develop this rare cancer, some have suggested to me that likely, even her gynecologist didn’t know.

Given the connection to the nature of my friend’s cancer and the work that I do, I immediately began to reach out to colleagues. Powerful, well-informed and high-profile folks have responded with exclamations of not knowing, as well. “I’ve never even heard of fallopian tube cancer” said one very well-know known IF professional and another said, “my only guess is that it is related to ovarian cancer”. It is true, even within the oncology community that little is known about fallopian tube cancer. Because it is so rare, little funding is made available for research, minimal, if any, efforts are being undertaken for awareness.

I am pondering, this morning, this big picture question about how much we, as women, just do not know about our reproductive risks and wondering what that means for our girlfriends, our sisters, our daughters, ourselves. “I just didn’t know” cannot be acceptable, particularly with matters like fertility and gynecological cancers because not knowing until it is too late is just, well, it seems, too late.

To learn more about Amy Demma, JD,  Founder, Prospective Families 

Please visit:

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