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Archive for the ‘Fertility’ tag

Remembering 9/11 Sixteen Years Later

By Tracey Minella

September 11th, 2017 at 6:43 am

Credit: Pixabay/Ronile

 

I don’t think anything is more appropriate on this anniversary than to remember that day, so I’m sharing this classic.

 

You’ll always remember where you were that fateful day. And so will I.

 

I was working as a medical assistant for Long Island IVF. I was also a patient of Dr. Kreiner’s…and about 9 weeks pregnant with my son. Could life be any happier on a blindingly clear, crisp September morning?

 

It started out as a typical day, with the usual morning rush. Lots of busy women…many trying to get their blood and sono done so they cold hurry off to work. A few rushing to catch a train to the city. Men dropping off specimens on their way to the office. Some trying to catch a train to the city.

 

A train to the city.

 

By the time news of the second plane crash hit, most of the morning’s patients had already been seen and were gone. Disbelief was quickly followed by panic as we and the rest of the nation scrambled to figure out if our friends and family who worked in NYC were ok.  And what about our patients?

 

Doesn’t “So-and-So” work downtown? Isn’t “Mr. X” a trader on Wall Street? We spent the morning pouring over the employer info in the patients’ charts, making calls on jammed phone lines, and accounting for everyone’s whereabouts.  We went through the motions of the day on auto-pilot, glued to a 13” black and white TV in the nurse’s station, watching the horror unfold.

 

What kind of world was I bringing this baby into?

 

But just as there were stories of heroism, good deeds, and miracles amid the atrocity of the attacks, there was something positive that day in the Long Island IVF office.

 

A patient learned that, despite the chaos unfolding around her, it was indeed going to be her insemination day. When it’s your day, it’s your day. Not even an act of war will intervene. And 9/11 was to be her only day. One insemination. That afternoon. Amid the sadness and silence and sobs of the patient and everyone in the office.

 

And we came to learn a couple weeks later, that on the day the Twin Towers and the lives of so many innocent people were lost, we had participated in one ironically beautiful beginning. That patient got pregnant and had…twins.

 

Usually, it’s the patient who is thankful to the doctor and staff. But I will always be grateful to that patient for giving us one little happy something…well, actually two…to remember from that fateful day. And for being a sign to me that the world would go on, that we’d keep making babies, and that maybe it was going to be all right.

 

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You WILL Survive Your IVF Baby Leaving for College or Kindergarten

By Tracey Minella

September 6th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

 

T. Minella


By now, just about all college kids have checked in for the new school year. And the little ones started school yesterday and today on Long Island. So, all across the country there are moms and dads feeling the sting…or rather, the devastation…of saying good-bye to their babies.

But IVF parents have it worse. We love harder.

There, I said it.

It’s not that we are better parents (okay I’m lying because I think we kind of are better), but we love differently. That’s entirely because we faced the frightening reality of never becoming parents. We don’t take parenthood for granted. We worked for it. It’s something the fertile folks won’t ever understand and it doesn’t just disappear after the infertility battle is won. It’s a part of us and is always there. It often manifests itself in over-protectiveness and over-involvement. From triple-checking the baby is still breathing, to fearing sleepovers or letting others watch or drive our kids, to tracking their iPhones and monitoring their social media, the vigilant watch unfolds until one day…poof…they are gone.

First, it’s kindergarten, where you are handing them off to another adult for the better part of the day. It’s not all unicorns, rainbows, and “ready confetti”. Stressing over things like whether they will do well academically, make friends, eat alone, be included at recess, or get bullied is normal. Major stuff.

Blink and you will be dropping them off at the dorm—maybe in another state—and wondering where the heck all the years went? Wasn’t it just yesterday that life was all blood work and sonograms? How did it all fly by so fast? Did I do a good enough job? Is my job over? Are they prepared? How will I make until Parent’s Weekend or Thanksgiving without seeing my baby? I want a do-over!

So, here is the deal…

To the kindergarten parents: You will adjust. And you will be amazed at how your baby learns and grows and makes friends. They are ready, even if you are not. It will be fine. They will come home and tell you about their day at school and you will sit in wonder at this little person you created. And there will still be plenty of hours in the day to hover over them and teach them to navigate their new wonderful world. It’s going to be okay. I promise. (Still need to feel better? Read on for the college version.)

To the college freshman parents: You will adjust. True, when someone told me that a year ago as I sent my first IVF baby off to college in Virginia, I admit that I smiled and nodded politely but I secretly thought to myself “Nope, you’re an idiot.” (Look, those moments of “mom desperation” when your baby is moving 8 hours away can bring out the worst in us. Am I right?)

But really, somehow, life does go on without them home. I know it is unimaginable (and that you’re thinking I’m an idiot). It’s truly unthinkable. And the hole in your heart and life is so big, raw, and real right now. I get that completely. But as they start this next big phase on their own, you will marvel at their ability to juggle it all. Watch in pride as they begin “adulting” based on the foundation you gave them. The schoolwork, activities, eating, even the occasional laundry. All mostly on their own now. They will thrive in the place they feel they belong—which will become a second home to them in time as new friendships bloom.

But they will still need you and they will reach out for advice–and money– so look forward to those moments to come. And with your heart in your throat, keep on them (gently but firmly) about the parties and your expectations of them as they adjust to their newfound freedom. They’ll make the friends who will be their friends for life, and maybe even meet their soulmate. Look forward to seeing them at Parent’s Weekend. You will be amazed at how they’ve grown. And Thanksgiving will have a whole new meaning this year.

I’ve been in your shoes and I know you can do this. You are going to make it. Things are different and sad. Change is hard, but it can be good. And it will be good. Just maybe not today.

So, let them fly. (Really, let go of their foot.)

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With decades of miracles behind us, Long Island IVF parents have sent countless numbers of babies off to school (and some down the aisle!). Feel free to pics of your baby’s back-to-school pics.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

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September is PCOS Awareness Month

By David Kreiner MD

September 1st, 2017 at 9:05 am

, via Wikimedia Commons”]

By Anne Mousse (Own work) [CC0

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or “PCOS”,  is the most common hormonal disorder of reproductive age women, occurring in over 7% of women at some point in their lifetime.  It usually develops during the teen years.  Treatment can assist women attempting to conceive, help control the symptoms and prevent long term health problems.

The most common cause of PCOS is glucose intolerance resulting in abnormally high insulin levels.  If a woman does not respond normally to insulin her blood sugar levels rise, triggering the body to produce more insulin.  The insulin stimulates your ovaries to produce male sex hormones called androgens.  Testosterone is a common androgen and is often elevated in women with PCOS.  These androgens block the development and maturation of a woman’s ovarian follicles, preventing ovulation resulting in irregular menses and infertility.  Androgens may also trigger development of acne and extra facial and body hair.  It will increase lipids in the blood.  The elevated blood sugar from insulin resistance can develop into diabetes.

Symptoms may vary but the most common are acne, weight gain, extra hair on the face and body, thinning of hair on the scalp, irregular periods and infertility.

Ovaries develop numerous small follicles that look like cysts hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.  These cysts themselves are not harmful but in response to fertility treatment can result in a condition known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS.

Hyperstimulation syndrome involves ovarian swelling, fluid accumulating in the belly and occasionally around the lungs.  A woman with Hyperstimulation syndrome may become dehydrated increasing her risk of developing blood clots.  Becoming pregnant adds to the stimulation and exacerbates the condition leading many specialists to cancel cycles in which a woman is at high risk of developing Hyperstimulation.  They may also prescribe aspirin to prevent clot formation.

These cysts may lead to many eggs maturing in response to fertility treatment also placing patients at a high risk of developing a high order multiple pregnancy.  Due to this unique risk, it may be advantageous to avoid aggressive stimulation of the ovaries unless the eggs are removed as part of an in vitro fertilization procedure.

A diagnosis of PCOS may be made by history and physical examination including an ultrasound of the ovaries.  A glucose tolerance test is most useful to determine the presence of glucose intolerance and diabetes.  Hormone assays will also be helpful in making a differential diagnosis.

Treatment starts with regular exercise and a diet including healthy foods with a controlled carbohydrate intake.  This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.  It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Quitting smoking will help reduce androgen levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.  Birth control pills help regulate periods and reduce excess facial hair and acne.  Laser hair removal has also been used successfully to reduce excess hair.

A diabetes medicine called metformin can help control insulin and blood sugar levels.  This can help lower androgen levels, regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility.  Fertility medications, in particular clomiphene are often needed in addition to metformin to get a woman to ovulate and will assist many women to conceive.

The use of gonadotropin hormone injections without egg removal as performed as part of an IVF procedure may result in Hyperstimulation syndrome and/or multiple pregnancies and therefore one must be extremely cautious in its use.  In vitro fertilization has been very successful and offers a means for a woman with PCOS to conceive without a significant risk for developing a multiple pregnancy especially when associated with a single embryo transfer.   Since IVF is much more successful than insemination or intercourse with gonadotropin stimulation, IVF will reduce the number of potential exposures a patient must have to Hyperstimulation syndrome before conceiving.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS.  If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition.  Ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you with your symptoms.  Remember, PCOS can be annoying, aggravating even depressing but it is fortunately a very treatable disorder.

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Do you suffer from PCOS? Do you have any advice to share for other “cysters”?

 

Photo credit:

By Anne Mousse (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AEchographie_pelvienne%2C_aplio_toshiba_ssa_700_5_2004_03_detail.jpg

 

 

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Long Island IVF New Beginnings with Donor Egg Seminar

By Tracey Minella

September 1st, 2017 at 7:37 am

Do you think—or know—that you will need an egg donor in order to build your family? Does the idea of using a donor egg to create your family overwhelm or worry you? Well, you can relax.

All of your questions area about to be answered.

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, at 7:00 pm, Long Island IVF will host a free event, “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg”, that could potentially change the course of your family-building journey. Our caring doctors and staff…and one of our donor recipient moms… will go over everything you could ever need to know about egg donation.

Doesn’t the idea of hearing the personal story of a woman who was once in your shoes sound wonderful? Someone who once had doubts and questions and, like many who ultimately choose donor egg, suffered losses and feared she might not ever have the family she envisioned. Yet she sought out the information and took a chance. And now she’s a mom.

There are many reasons women ultimately choose to use donor eggs to build their families. Women whose eggs have been compromised by advanced age, cancer treatment, poor general quality, or other factors, have many ways to build a family through the donor egg programs at Long Island IVF. For many of these women, a healthy egg is their only obstacle to pregnancy. Gay men wanting biological children also need donor eggs.

True, conceiving with donor eggs is rarely the first choice, but after weighing many personal physical, emotional, psychological, and financial considerations, many people come to find it is an acceptable alternative path to parenthood. And decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made—and many wish they did it sooner.

Maybe you’re not yet ready to act on all the information you’ll receive. No problem. We’re just here to offer information and emotional support. So why not come over and just listen to our team discuss the many different egg and embryo donation options?

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.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when we tell you about how stream-lined our programs can be and how competitive the success rates can be, too.

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

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

 

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 choose to use a known donor.

Register here now for this free event. Walk-ins are always welcome, too. Bring a friend or partner. Take that first step, even if you’re hesitant. We look forward to seeing you and answering your questions about the exciting option of egg donation.

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

Date: Tuesday September 12, 2017

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 so we can make other arrangements to help you.

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“Unsung hero to LGBT community” Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr., the Father of Fertility

By David Kreiner, MD

August 23rd, 2017 at 11:04 am

 

Dr.David Kreiner with Drs. Georgeanna Jones and Howard W. Jones, Jr.


You may already know that Dr. Howard W. Jones, Jr. was the doctor responsible for the birth of America’s first in vitro fertilization “IVF” baby in 1981. IVF and its related technology is the therapy used most often in LGBT family-building.

But you probably didn’t know that the “Father of Fertility” also did ground-breaking work in another medical area that would impact the lives of those in the LGBT community? Work that might raise some eyebrows today, but was positively unfathomable in the 1960s. Let me tell you more about my fascinating mentor.

I first met Howard W. Jones Jr, when I was 29 years old while still an obstetrics and gynecology resident in 1984.  It is now two years since his passing at the age of 104 and his legacy lives on growing greater with each passing year.

He interviewed me back then for a fellowship position in Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility and IVF at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Va., the first successful IVF center in the Western Hemisphere.  I was in awe of this 74-year-old statesman of the Infertility world.  He was after all famous in the field even before America’s first IVF baby, Elizabeth Carr, was delivered on Dec. 28, 1981 — that first IVF success that Howard W. Jones Jr. and his wife Georgeanna were responsible for in the United States.

I have aspired to live my life and career as the mentor and man I knew as “Dr. Howard” had taught me.  As such, I have been active in the fertility world of the LGBT community, building your families for decades. In addition, my “LGBT Family Building New York” Facebook page is an endeavor I have undertaken to increase awareness. I also enjoy the partnership between Long Island IVF and the LGBT Network on Long Island which serves to improve access to and increase awareness of quality family-building treatment options for the LGBT community.

Dr. Howard was the ultimate medical scientist who did not have a social agenda or prejudice… only an inclination to help all those whom he was capable of helping and if there was not an established way to do so, he worked tirelessly to pave the way.

In the 1960′s– before the general public was aware of what transgender was– Dr. Howard opened the first gender reassignment surgery clinic in the U.S.  For him, this was a way he could utilize his skills learned from performing work on children with ambiguous genitalia to helping those whose gender identities differed from their appearances.

When Dr. Howard established the first successful IVF program west of the Atlantic he did not limit the technology to the married heterosexual couple.  It was his vision that if an individual or couple was in need and desired to start a family that he could offer the latest advances in medicine to assist them.

Remarkably, Dr. Howard was 70 years old when he succeeded with America’s first IVF success.  Rather than accept the retirement his former employer, Johns Hopkins University, had imposed on him due to age, Dr. Howard embarked on arguably the most significant project of his life…IVF.

As I just begin to enter the twilight years of my professional career I look at the accomplishments of my mentor and realize that there is still much good to accomplish.  For me, among other things that means continuing my commitment to making available family building to those in the LGBT community and in so doing perpetuating the legacy of groundbreaking reproductive assistance that was started by the “Father of Fertility”, Dr. Howard W. Jones. Jr.

I encourage all members of the LGBT community who long for a family of their own to meet me and some of the medical staff of Long Island IVF and reproductive attorney, Amy Demma, at our upcoming free event “Building Families in the LGBT Community”, held in conjunction with the LGBT Network at the Center at Bay Shore at 34 Park Avenue, Bay Shore, NY 11706 on October 26, 2017. Register here now.

 

 

 

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4 Reasons Why Infertiles Are Conflicted About the Solar Eclipse

By Tracey Minella

August 21st, 2017 at 11:19 am

credit: pixabay by hypnoart

There is an uncomfortableness– a conflict– in the hearts of the infertile community when it comes to the solar eclipse. Anything from a nagging fear to a raging paranoia. Why? What is driving these emotions? What is it about the solar eclipse that makes us uneasy?

1.      FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.

If anyone knows FOMO, it’s infertile people. Actually, it’s really the “Missing Out” part that we’re experts in. Regardless, FOMO is driving countless Americans to potentially risk permanent eye damage to view the eclipse.

We are used to missing out, but we don’t like it. So, the conflict over being part of the fun or feeling like an outsider and feeling deprived (yet again) is unsettling.

2.      “Just Relax”

What could go wrong? When we say we’re considering skipping the eclipse-viewing fun, many are met with “the look”. The one that says we’re over-reacting. Oh, it’s safe. Oh, those reports of counterfeit, defective, scratched glasses aren’t true.

Just relax…

Just as we hate to hear those two words with respect to our fertility, we don’t need that lame advice about our eyesight.

What are the odds your safety glasses are unsafe? Hmm. Seeing as we are the 1 in 8 suffering from infertility, do we feel particularly lucky? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

3.      Conflicting opinions are stressing us out.

Do we view it or not? What’s the best or safest way? The so-called safety eclipse glasses from Amazon or the homemade cereal box viewer from You Tube? Or the completely safe but totally boring TV viewing option? We infertiles have enough stressful decisions to filter through about our safety and health, so this eclipse thing doesn’t help.

It’s like us deciding on what’s the right infertility protocol. Clomid, IUI, or IVF? If IVF, what do we add to it? Donor egg? Gestational carrier? Add complementary holistic therapies like acupuncture? Then we have to decide which doctor to use. The wrong decision could have life-altering consequences. No wonder the magnitude of the eclipse-viewing decision makes us uncomfortable.

4.      Bonus stress for IVF parents:

You’re making decisions about your eyes and theirs.

It took so much to have that kid. You dreamed for years of doing cool stuff like this with them. And now it’s here. But you’re worried. Should you be out there with a cereal box viewer with the rest of the neighborhood or outside taking selfie’s donning so-called safety glasses? Or do you cave to your overprotective side and institute a full-blown lock down in the basement playroom for the duration?

The solar eclipse presents tough personal decisions. But regardless of whether you are a concerned parent or still on your infertility journey, or whether you choose to view it or not, here’s a tip to solar eclipse day –make it an outta sight party with moon pies and Sun chips.

How are you spending it?

 

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Remembering My Mentor, Dr. Howard W. Jones, Jr.

By David Kreiner, MD

August 4th, 2017 at 6:14 pm

 

I first met Howard W. Jones Jr, when I was 29 years old while still an obstetrics and gynecology resident in 1984.  It is now two years since his passing at the age of 104 and his legacy lives on ever greater with each passing year.

He interviewed me back then for a fellowship position in Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility and IVF at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, Va., the first successful IVF center in the Western Hemisphere.  I was in awe of this 74-year-old statesman of the IVF/Infertility world.  He was after all famous in the field even before Elizabeth Carr was delivered on Dec. 28, 1981, that first IVF success that Howard W. Jones Jr. and his wife Georgeanna were responsible for in the United States.

In the 1950′s, it was HWJ Jr. who biopsied the cervical cancer of Henrietta Lacks who was made famous from the book and movie, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”.  These cells from his biopsy were later utilized in nearly all scientific experiments for the next several decades.

In the 1960′s HWJ Jr. opened the first gender reassignment surgery clinic in the U.S. as well as performing pioneering work on ambiguous genitalia.

In 1965, he and Robert Edwards, the Nobel Prize winner for the world’s first successful IVF birth of Louise Brown, fertilized the first human egg.

In 1975, at the age of 65, Howard W. Jones Jr. was forced to retire from Johns Hopkins.  Ultimately, in 1978, Dr. Howard and Georgeanna retired to Norfolk, VA where he planned to work part-time as Emeritus Professor at the local medical school.  All this changed when Robert Edwards succeeded in creating the first successful IVF that resulted in Louise Brown.

Local journalists, aware of Dr. Jones’s reputation and past work with Prof. Edwards interviewed Howard.  At the conclusion of the interview the journalist asked Dr. Jones what it would take to perform IVF in Norfolk to which he simply replied “money”. The next day a former patient pledged that money and within 2 years the first successful IVF program west of the Atlantic was up and running and quickly became arguably the world’s most successful IVF program.

In his final decades Dr. Howard dedicated himself to promoting IVF as a successful medical treatment for those otherwise unable to conceive and to exploring bioethics in the field of reproduction.  Howard Jones never retired as he loved his work and recognized purpose and the satisfaction of achieving his life’s goals in his endeavors.

At a speech he gave during a celebration of his 100th birthday in a huge gathering of hundreds of professionals in the field, he quoted a professor of his at Amherst College from 80 years earlier, Robert Frost.  These seven lines, he said, exemplify, for him, the way to live:

My object in living is to unite 
My avocation and my vocation 
As my two eyes make one in sight. 
Only where love and need are one, 
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done 
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

I have aspired to live my life and career as Dr. Howard had taught me. When I am asked what I do for a living I smile and ramble on about feeling privileged to do what I love…helping those in need build families. By doing so I truly feel my endeavors perpetuate Dr. Howard’s standard of making a significant impact on the future of humanity.

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

By Tracey Minella

July 25th, 2017 at 9:04 am

 

image: wpclipart.com

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So here are the questions:

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

 

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

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The Egg Donor and LGBT Family-Building

By Tracey Minella

July 20th, 2017 at 12:07 pm


Despite making decades of progress, obstacles, frustrations, and inequities are still part of daily life for the LGBT community. And for same-sex couples who want to build a family, having to seek medical attention to do so is an unwelcome but necessary reality. It’s particularly frustrating when simple biological necessity–rather than an infertility diagnosis–lands the couple in the fertility doctor’s office.

Depending on the particular couple’s situation, the “missing piece” they seek could be anything from the relatively inexpensive and easy intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) with donor sperm to the more involved and costly in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) using an egg donor and sometimes a gestational carrier. Very often, egg donation is needed in LGBT family-building.

What is egg donation?

In egg donation, a healthy young woman (the egg donor) agrees to undergo what is essentially an IVF procedure that ends at the egg retrieval stage when her eggs are turned over to a person/couple (the egg recipient/s) who uses them to create their family. The egg donor undergoes hormonal injection treatments over a couple of weeks designed to make her ovaries produce multiple mature eggs, rather than the single egg generally produced each monthly cycle.

As in IVF, the egg donor’s mature eggs will be retrieved, but instead of keeping the eggs for her own use, she donates them to another person/couple. Her role is done upon retrieval of the eggs. The donated eggs are then fertilized with the sperm of a male partner or a sperm donor and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus of the female partner or gestational carrier.

When is an egg donor needed?

The simple answer is: Anytime a single person or couple–heterosexual or homosexual–needs an egg to create a baby. That’s either because the woman trying to become pregnant can’t or doesn’t want to use her own eggs or because the single person or couple seeking parenthood is male. Gay men, lesbians with egg-related challenges, and some transgender people will need an egg donor.

How does it work for LGBT family-building?

A gay man or couple could have all the love in the world to give a child, but still needs an egg from a woman in order to make a baby. And a uterus, too. The embryo created from the egg donor’s egg and the sperm of the gay man/men or sperm donor needs to be transferred into the uterus of yet another woman –a gestational carrier – – who will carry the pregnancy to term. The gestational carrier, who has no biological tie to the baby, turns it over to the proud daddy or daddies at the time of birth.

Lesbian couples (or single women) using a sperm donor may be able to conceive with an IUI or through IVF using their own eggs. But sometimes, they may need an egg donor if there is an issue with egg-quality, genetic, or other concerns. (If there are uterine issues, a gestational carrier may also be needed to carry the baby.)

In certain situations, transgender people will need an egg donor. It is important to note that transgender people who transition from female-to-male can have their own eggs retrieved and frozen for future use (and male-to-female transgender people can their freeze sperm for future use) — if done prior to taking any medical or surgical steps on the transgender transition or sexual reassignment journey. Be sure to see a reproductive endocrinologist to discuss these options before it’s too late.

If you would like more information on LGBT parenting options  or would like to schedule an initial consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist, the doctors and staff at Long Island IVF have been helping build LGBT families for decades and would be happy to help you. With several offices throughout Long Island and one in Brooklyn, we’re conveniently located near you.

As a partner of the LGBT Network on Long Island, Long Island IVF is committed to continuing to build families for the LGBT community through cutting-edge medical technology, complementary holistic therapies, and sensitivity to all patients’ individual needs.

Long Island IVF, along with the LGBT Network, offers free LGBT family building seminars every June and periodically throughout the year.

Register here for our next free “Building Families in the LGBT Community” event, which will be held on October 26, 2017 at the LGBT Network at 34 Park Avenue, Bay Shore, NY. Follow our blog, Twitter, and Facebook for more information.

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