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Archive for the ‘Health’ tag

Diva Run Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

September 13th, 2016 at 7:54 am

 

photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net-stockimages


The team at Long Island IVF loves building ties in the community as much as we love building Long Island families. And we’re so excited to be part of the Long Island Diva Run Health & Fitness Boutique this year!

The Diva Run is taking place on Sunday, October 2, 2016 but it’s a WHOLE WEEKEND OF FREE FUN FOR THE PUBLIC starting on Friday afternoon!!! It’s “the most fun and glam women’s half-marathon and 5k series in the nation”.

Non-runners (and runners who are picking up their pre-race packets) can join us for the kick-off of the Health & Fitness Boutique at Mitchel Athletic Complex Butler Building 1 Charles Lindberg Blvd., Uniondale, NY on Friday night, Sept 30 from 4-7  pm. Or spend the whole day Saturday October 1st from 9am-5pm at the Health & Fitness Boutique.

Check out all the great offerings from many local service providers and vendors including the latest women’s trends, designs, and advances in running shoes and apparel. Be sure to stop by the Long Island IVF table to say hello, meet some staff, get some cool free stuff, and check out all of our great events coming up this fall.

Ever consider becoming an egg donor? If you’re a young, healthy woman with a generous heart, you can help another woman fulfill her dream of motherhood while being compensated $8,000 for your time. For details, please stop by our table or call our office at 631-752-0606 to speak with our Donor Egg Program Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, MS, RN.

Interested in the race? Participants in the Diva Run choose either a half-marathon or a 5K challenge. Channel your young girl self by stopping by the boa and tiara stand before the finish line. Let your standard issue pink tutu blow in the wind as you complete the course, where a glass of bubbly awaits. It’s not your grandma’s race.

Whether you shop til you drop– or run til you drop– we hope to see you at the Diva Run weekend!

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Companies That May Cover IVF, Infertility Treatment, and/or Adoption Costs

By Tracey Minella

September 18th, 2015 at 9:28 am

 

Credit: Stuart Miles/ freedigitalphotos.net


Can I get a show of hands of people who need IVF but don’t have medical insurance that covers it?

Well, misery loves company and you’ve got lots of it. But that’s no comfort when you’d give anything to have infertility insurance.

If you’re tired of working two jobs, forgoing vacations, and maxing out credit cards to finance your fertility treatments… while the rest of the fertile world is off at Disneyland with their brood… I’ve got a great little resource for you.

Here is a comprehensive, alphabetically-organized list of companies that may offer coverage for infertility and/or adoption costs* according to The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc.’s website. Not only that, but it provides details about the purported amounts and particular treatments covered. http://inciid.org/?q=node/252#A

If you would consider a job move or career change in exchange for the potential to have your infertility treatments covered, grab a cup of coffee… and start updating that resume.

Good luck!

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Would you consider changing your job if you got infertility benefits?

 

* LIIVF makes no representations about the accuracy of any information in this list and provides it for informational purposes only.

 

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Plastics, Infertility, and Paleo: A Throwback Post

By David Kreiner MD

January 10th, 2015 at 8:45 am

 

 

credit: KeattiKorn/ freedigitalphotos.net


It’s a beautiful day in Boston today.  I am here not because of the Red Sox playoffs or Sunday’s Patriots game but rather to attend our annual ASRM national fertility meeting.

I was delighted upon greeting some former colleagues of mine from my old stomping grounds, the Jones Institute, to hear compliments about how good I looked.  (Well, if you lose 55 lbs. of “baby fat” people tend to notice.)  I explained that my son, Dan, convinced me to try the Paleo Diet, modeled after the diet of Paleolithic man.

I am intrigued that so much is known about how man from the Paleolithic age ate.  I guess he left menus and recipes on the walls of his man caves.  Anyway, the focus… aside from elimination of dairy and gluten from his diet… is avoiding processed foods and chemical additives such as artificial sweeteners.

It was while eating my veggies and bun-less burger that I came upon one of the lead stories at the ASRM in the Wall Street Journal.  The chemical BPA, or Bisphenol A, found in plastic is tied to the risk of miscarriage.  BPAs can leach into the food that is heated on it such as in a microwave or in water stored in plastic and left out in the sun.  Additionally, it was recommended to limit the use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contains BPA.

I’m not sure “Paleo” man extended his life, avoided disease or lived any healthier with his “natural only” diet but we have some evidence of some benefits by doing so today.  Oh, and did I mention I can fit into those jeans from my college days?

For more information on the effects of BPAs on fertility as being discussed at the ASRM, see http://bit.ly/19Q28Bt

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Did you know that plastics and other items made from BPAs may be harmful to your fertility or contribute to miscarriage? Do you use these products and if so, will you consider stopping now?

Photo credit: Keattikorn/freedigitalphotos.net

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TCM and Infertility Part 6: TCM Pathogens of Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness, Phlegm and Emotion

By David Kreiner MD

April 18th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

 

credit: stuart miles/freedigitalphotos.net


Welcome, to my new world where I often feel like Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”.  

UnIike Heinlein’s protagonist, I am not accustomed to eating the bodies of the dead (though some natural holistic purists may consider this act the ultimate in sustainability.)  But to the previously unexposed who’ve been brought up from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, perhaps some of the Western Medical physicians’ practices may appear a bit barbaric.

In our recent Western Medical history such practices as lobotomy for psychological disorders, certain hard core diet therapies including high risk bowel resection surgery, and nearly routine hysterectomies for perimenopausal women would be considered potentially dangerous malpractice today.  However, if we thought drastic high-risk unnecessary medicine were a thing of the past, then consider the fact that excessive plastic surgery and some other unnecessary current Western therapies are more common now and have resulted in occasional deaths and disfigurement. 

Greed is a strong motivator and is one of the ills pervading our society… and the health care field has not been immune to its seduction.  Greed too often factors into determining the direction of treatment for individuals today.  Corporate greed is the reason insurance companies fail to cover many in need of health care and force physicians to see more patients than they have time to care for.  It is also a reason some providers order and perform some expensive and potentially risky tests and procedures.  

Western Medicine has had its share of iatrogenic disasters, yet I have seen many ill or infertile patients reap the benefits as a result of modern Western Medicine.  Even so, I as well as other physicians am left without answers all too often to explain or cure some of the complaints we hear from our patients.  For this reason I study TCM to learn its explanations and its treatments for some of these common ailments and complaints that elude the expertise of the Western physician.

I have been involved in the health care field for 37 years and I am quite comfortable communicating about pathogens such as bacteria and viruses and parasites and about pathophysiologic processes such as atherosclerotic heart disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis to name a few.   Today, as I study Traditional Chinese Medicine, I now read and speak an additional language.  

The pathogens of TCM are Wind, Cold, Heat, Summer Heat, Dryness and Dampness, Phlegm and an individual’s emotions.  They may attack from outside the body such as wind cold (the equivalent to the common viral cold) or internally as a result of a disharmony among one or more of the organ systems.  Emotions such as Grief and sadness, anger, fear, worry and even joy according to TCM can be pathogenic when carried to an excess and lead to a disharmony of an organ system or to a blockage of the flow of Qi which can result in dampness and other pathologic events or pathogens. 

These pathogens are the “root” cause of the individual’s disharmony resulting in the manifestations or symptoms.  For example, complaints such as fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, etc. ., are the result of these pathogens.  Interestingly, ancient Chinese texts refer to insects or bugs as being carried by the wind as a cause of some syndromes such as the Wind Cold referred to earlier.

There are also multiple ways to categorize and classify pathologic syndromes. They may be classified as cold or hot, internal or external, excessive or deficient or yin or yang conditions.  They may be identified as affecting one of the organ systems which are defined more based on their physiologic role from a traditional Chinese perspective rather than by their Western anatomic and physiologic identity that we learn in medical school.  There are four different layers of pathogenic attack from the most superficial to the deepest and most internal. There are even other theories of disease which may be used to classify pathology usually described as a disharmony affecting one or more organ systems.

The treatment prescription is based on the identified syndrome(s) and may be geared towards eliminating the root cause of the disease as well as the clinical manifestations and associated symptoms.  One may use acupuncture to tonify a particular weakened organ or Qi, yin or yang.  Acupuncture can eliminate heat or cold from one or more of the channels of Qi.  Or there may be excess body fluids in the form of edema, dampness or phlegm that needs to be eliminated.  Chinese herbal prescriptions are often given as an adjunct to the acupuncture to improve the efficacy of an individual’s treatment.

It does sound bizarre to this Western-trained physician, but I am impressed that the science of TCM has lasted thousands of years.  I imagine there must be something to this needling patients to modify the Qi in the body that has some benefit to the patients’ health and well-being.

I look forward to new adventures and greater understanding as I become more familiar navigating this strange land.

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Do you believe that TCM pathogens could be impacting your fertility?

 

 

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Nutrition, BMI, and Infertility

By Tracey Minella

March 28th, 2014 at 5:38 am

 

credit: surachaifreedigitalphotos.net


The practice of eating well while you’re pregnant is pretty common.  Most women know that, in addition to taking prenatal vitamins, eating the right foods during pregnancy can have a positive impact on their baby’s development. Even women who didn’t have stellar eating habits before conceiving often make healthier choices once they learn they are eating for two.

But did you know that proper nutrition and reaching a healthy weight for your height (also known as having a healthy body mass index, or “BMI”) prior to conceiving may help boost your chances of conception, whether naturally or through assisted reproductive technologies like IVF?

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine*, a BMI outside the normal range of 19-24 can impact the fertility of men and women. Obesity can contribute to low sperm count and motility in men and can cause irregular ovulation and irregular cycles in women. Underweight women may also experience irregular cycles or stop having periods altogether. In addition, there are several conditions that can impact achieving or maintaining a pregnancy… including PCOS, thyroid disease, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia… which are often obesity-related.

To help you get to your nutritional peak and optimum fertility BMI, Long Island IVF offers nutrition counseling and safe, effective weight loss planning. If you are overweight, we can help you reach a healthy weight in a quick but safe way through the Take Shape for Life/Medifast program. In addition to medically- supervised weight loss, clients in the program learn lifestyle and behavior changes that support maintaining their weight loss success and improved health. If you are underweight, we offer nutritional counseling and life style change suggestions as well. If interested in either of these programs, please contact Mary Ann Vuolo, RN in the Melville office.

If you’d like to learn how fun eating fertility-friendly foods can be, join Long Island IVF for “Fun in the Fertile Kitchen”, a live cooking demonstration and multi-course dinner event on April 24, 2014, in celebration of National Infertility Awareness Awareness Week. For more details on this exciting, limited seating event, please see our website, our Facebook, or the previous blog post. To RSVP, contact our patient advocate, Bina Benisch at binabenisch@gmail.com

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Do you struggle with maintaining a healthy BMI? What tips have you tried, or foods have you eaten, to improve your BMI or overall nutrition?

 

*https://www.asrm.org/Weight_and_Fertility_factsheet/

 

 

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To Qi or not to Qi? That is the Question

By David Kreiner MD

February 1st, 2014 at 5:27 pm

 

credit: StuartMiles/freedigital photos.net

It has been a month since I started my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture at the New York College of Health Professions in Syosset, NY. 

Why does this 58 year old Reproductive Endocrinologist want to go back to school for an additional career after practicing for 27 years you may ask?  Is it because I am jealous of my younger daughter starting the University of Michigan this past fall and I want to enjoy the Greek life?  Eh…I cannot deny the coincidence is suspicious.

However, my interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) dates back to my own college days. While I bought a copy of the “Barefoot Doctor’s Manual”, the thick red book sat on a shelf for years.  I never got past a few lines about “dampness in the lower burner” and treating “excess phlegm”.  After all, my goal was to become a physician and I liked wearing my clogs back then anyway.

TCM appears quite strange to a Western-trained physician.  The language is unique to TCM and bears little resemblance to the medical physiology that we are familiar with.  As I become more knowledgeable about the fundamentals of TCM, I am fascinated by the elaborate construct of ideas on which TCM is based. 

Unlike modern Western Medicine which is based on scientific study and experimentation, the wisdom of TCM was built upon hundreds of generations of experience by the wise healers of China.  Observations of thousands of cases led to the development of theories regarding disease, illness and healing.  To my physician friends who question the concept of treating pain and illness by impacting channels of Qi, a form of life energy, I ask them: Who are we to question the collective wisdom and experience of hundreds of generations of the wisest healers of China when Modern Medicine has been helping more people than it has been hurting only for the past 80 years or so?  I personally have seen many examples of accepted “Medical Truths” rejected and disproved since graduating medical school in 1981.

My goal is to help my patients any way I can.  Yes, I am a Western-trained physician but more than that I am my patients’ healer who is helping them in their journeys to build their families.  We have great tools in Western Medicine including gonadotropin medications, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in particular In Vitro Fertilization.  But sometimes they may not be enough. 

I am reminded of the book and movie “Life of Pi”.  The protagonist, Piscine or Pi,tells his story about how he survived 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.  The official representatives investigating the incident reject his story as unbelievable and insist on hearing the “truth”.  Pi then offers them a second story in which he is adrift on a lifeboat not with zoo animals, but with the ship’s cook, a Taiwanese sailor with a broken leg, and his own mother. The cook amputates the sailor’s leg for use as fishing bait, then kills the sailor and Pi’s mother for food. Pi then kills the cook and dines on him. 

Pi points out that neither story can be proven and neither explains the cause of the shipwreck and in the end of each story the outcome is the same… that he still lost his family.  We are left without an answer as to which story is real. Why does it matter which story was true?  We are asked which story we preferred.

Similarly, with TCM, if we can achieve the desired outcome…in my specialty, the much sought after pregnancy and healthy baby, why does it matter if we do not fully understand the science or principles behind the therapy? The story we choose for that much desired baby…for our “journey to the crib”… can include TCM if it could help us to attain our goal. 

PLEASE FOLLOW MY TCM AND FERTILITY SERIES OF BLOGS AS I CONTINUE THIS JOURNEY.

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Do you think the blending of TCM and Western medicine principles could benefit infertility patients? Have you ever used or considered using TCM in your own fertility journey?

Photo credit: Stuart Miles http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10055066

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Is Your Biological Clock Running Out?

By David Kreiner, MD

January 10th, 2014 at 10:35 pm

 

image courtesy of photo stock/freedigital photos.net

Tears start to course down the cheeks of my patient, her immediate response to the message I just conveyed to her. Minutes before, with great angst anticipating the depressing effect my words will have on her, I proceeded to explain how her FSH was slightly elevated and her antral follicle count was a disappointing 3-6 follicles. I was careful to say that though this is a screen that correlates with a woman’s fertility, sometimes a woman may be more fertile than suspected based on the hormone tests and ovarian ultrasound. I also said that even when the tests accurately show diminishing ovarian reserve (follicle number), we are often successful in achieving a pregnancy and obtaining a baby through in vitro fertilization especially when age is not a significant factor.

These encounters I have with patients are more frequent than they should be. Unfortunately, many women delay seeking help in their efforts to conceive until their age has become significant both because they have fewer healthy genetically normal eggs and because their ability to respond to fertility drugs with numerous mature eggs is depressed. Women often do not realize that fertility drops as they age starting in their 20s but at an increasing rate in their 30s and to a point that may often be barely treatable in their 40s.

A common reason women delay seeking help is the trend in society to have children at an older age. In the 1960’s it was much less common that women would go to college and seek a career as is typical of women today. The delayed childbearing increases the exposure of women to more sexual partners and a consequent increased risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease with resulting fallopian tube adhesions.

When patients have endometriosis, delaying pregnancy allows the endometriosis to develop further and cause damage to a woman’s ovaries and fallopian tubes. They are more likely to develop diminished ovarian reserve at a younger age due to the destruction of normal ovarian tissue by the endometriosis.

Even more important is that aging results in natural depletion of the number of follicles and eggs with an increase in the percentage of these residual eggs that are unhealthy and/or genetically abnormal.

Diminished ovarian reserve is associated with decreased inhibin levels which decreases the negative feedback on the pituitary gland. FSH produced by the pituitary is elevated in response to the diminished ovarian reserve and inhibin levels unless a woman has a cyst producing high estradiol levels which also lowers FSH. This is why we assess estradiol levels at the same time as FSH. Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) can be tested throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and levels correlate with ovarian reserve. Early follicular ultrasound can be performed to evaluate a woman’s antral follicle count. The antral follicle count also correlates with ovarian reserve.

By screening women annually with hormone tests and ultrasounds a physician may assess whether a woman is at high risk of developing diminished ovarian reserve in the subsequent year. Alerting a woman to her individual fertility status would allow women to adjust their family planning to fit their individual needs.

Aggressive fertility therapy may be the best option when it appears that one is running out of time. Ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination, MicroIVF and IVF are all considerations that speed up the process and allow a patient to take advantage of her residual fertility.

With fertility screening of day 3 estradiol and FSH, AMH and early follicular ultrasound antral follicle counts, the biological clock may still be ticking but at least one may keep an eye on it and know what time it is and act accordingly.

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Did you realize that aging is not the only factor in the biological clock race? Did you know that certain conditions, like endometriosis, can play a part, too?

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10049499

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Overweight and Infertile

By Dr. David Kreiner and Tracey Minella

January 3rd, 2014 at 1:41 pm

 

image courtesy of OhMega 1982/free digital photos.net

Raise your hand if you made a resolution to lose weight this year…again. C’mon, get that hand up, sister.

To a woman TTC, nothing is worse than being told you can’t have a baby without medical intervention…unless you’re then told you’re too overweight to have the treatments.

Fortunately, there are compassionate RE’s out there who are willing to give overweight patients the respect and the treatment they deserve.

Dr. Kreiner brings this prejudice and injustice to the forefront in his thoughtful, compassionate post:

The most shocking thing I’ve experienced in my 30+ year career in Reproductive Endocrinology has been the consistent “resistance” among specialists to treat women with obesity. This “resistance” has felt at times to both me and many patients to be more like a prejudice. I have heard other REI specialists say that it is harder for women to conceive until they shed their excess weight. “Come back to my office when you have lost 20, 30 or more pounds,” is a typical remark heard by many at their REI’s office. “It’s not healthy to be pregnant at your weight and you risk your health and the health of the baby.” Closing the door to fertility treatment is what most women in this condition experience.

An article in Medical News Today, “Obese Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment Advised Not To Attempt Rapid Weight Loss”, suggested that weight loss just prior to conception may have adverse effects on the pregnancy, either by disrupting normal physiology or by releasing environmental pollutants stored in the fat. The article points out what is obvious to many who share the lifelong struggle to maintain a reasonable Body Mass Index (BMI): Weight loss is difficult to achieve. Few people adhere to lifestyle intervention and diets which may have no benefit in improving pregnancy in subfertile obese women.

The bias in the field is so strong that when I submitted a research paper demonstrating equivalent IVF pregnancy rates for women with excessive BMIs greater than 35 to the ASRM for presentation, it was rejected based on the notion that there was clear evidence to the contrary. Here’s the point I was trying to prove: IVF care must be customized to optimize the potential for this group.

Women with high BMI need a higher dose of medication. Those with PCOS benefit from treatment with Metformin. Their ultrasounds and retrievals need to be performed by the most experienced personnel. Often their follicles will be larger than in women of lower weight. Strategies to retrieve follicles in high BMI women include using a suture in the cervix to manipulate the uterus and an abdominal hand to push the ovaries into view.

Most importantly, a two-stage embryo transfer with the cervical suture can insure in utero placement of the transfer catheter and embryos without contamination caused by inadvertent touching of the catheter to the vaginal wall before insertion through the cervical canal. Visualization of the cervix is facilitated by pulling on the cervical suture, straightening the canal and allowing for easier passage of the catheter. The technique calls for placement of one catheter into the cervix through which a separate catheter, loaded with the patient’s embryo, is inserted.

Using this strategy, IVF with high BMI patients is extremely successful. With regard to the health of the high BMI woman and her fetus, it’s critical to counsel patients just as it is when dealing with women who live with diabetes or any other chronic situation that adds risk.

We refuse to share in the prejudice that is nearly universal in this field. It’s horrible and hypocritical to refuse these patients treatment. Clearly, with close attention to the needs of this population, their success is like any others.

Women who have time and motivation to lose significant weight prior to fertility therapy are encouraged to do so and I try to support their efforts. Unfortunately, many have tried and are unable to significantly reduce prior to conception.

What right do we have to deny these women the right to build their families?

It can be hard to deal with obesity and even more so when combined with infertility. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition. I advise you to ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you including fertility treatment.

Remember, though this condition can be annoying, aggravating and even depressing, seek an REI who is interested in supporting you and helping you build your family and reject those who simply tell you to return after you have lost sufficient weight.

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Have you been turned away from an RE because you’re overweight or obese? Do you think that’s fair?

 

Photo credit: Ohmega 1982 http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10073481

 

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Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

December 27th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

 

image courtesy of david Castillo dominici/freedigital photos.net


Since many may still be reeling from the emotions and stress of the holidays, it’s a good time to remind you of Long Island IVF’s many supportive counselors on staff, and to call your attention to the Mind Body Program and its benefits.

Bina Benisch is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is the support group coordinator, patient advocate, and stress management psychotherapist for Long Island IVF, working with both female and male patients. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

 

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

 

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF.

photos credit: David Castillo Dominici

 

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IVF and Virgin Births

By Tracey Minella

December 23rd, 2013 at 9:55 am

 

photo: Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

What better season to contemplate the idea of a virgin birth? Or miracles?

The Medical Daily reported this week that virgin births made up 0.5% of births, according to a survey out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Of the 7,870 respondents, having a median age of 19.3 years at the time of giving birth, 45 reported having given birth despite never having had sex. And without the use of assisted reproductive technology, like IVF. It’s noteworthy that about one third of those claiming virgin births had previously signed chastity pledges. As for the plausibility of this phenomenon, the lead researcher stated there are “no medically-validated reports of virgin births in humans, or other mammals” to her knowledge.” http://bit.ly/1c16LXS

As an infertile woman, there are two striking takeaways from this story. And they are not the debate about miracles vs. science. Or the apparent need to improve sexual education. Or even the cultural pressures on young girls to remain virgins until marriage.

Need a hint? It was that simple statement tucked in the middle of it all: “And without the use of IVF.”

The first thing that came to mind was the idea that someone…a virgin, to be precise…could actually use IVF to have a baby. Technically, a virgin birth. Imagine that!

But the other epiphany is now my message of hope to all of you non-virgins still on your infertility journeys…juggling things like partners, temperature charts, syringes, and annoying relatives this holiday season:

IVF is today’s miracle. Every day, it creates babies for women who medical science has determined cannot otherwise have children. We call them “miracle babies”.

In this season of hope, may you find the strength to cope with the added stress of the holidays and continue to believe in your dream. Miracles do happen every day.

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Do you believe in miracles?

 

Photo credit; Stuart Miles http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100144418

 

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