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Archive for the ‘Infertility Support’ tag

A New Year’s Plan Beats a Resolution When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

January 2nd, 2018 at 8:41 am

breaking resolutions

image credit: Ryan McGuire-Gratisography

We’ve barely cracked into the New Year and I’m already tired of hearing about people’s resolutions. Including yours, I bet. And here’s why…

We all make them. We all break them. The thing that frustrates me about other people’s resolutions is that they are generally related to things that are within the maker’s control to make happen. Something the person can do themselves… or can stop doing. Something that doesn’t require the assistance of somebody else. Something that could be guaranteed to be successful if the person merely put in the required effort.

That’s what’s so hard about infertility and the fertility-based resolutions that come from its sufferers.

How many of you struggling to have a child made the same New Year’s resolution yet again…To have a baby this year?

It’s a wish. It’s a dream. And, yes, it’s everything… but it’s not a resolution. At least not to infertile people. Because it is not something within your power to control. At the very least it requires a third-party – – a reproductive endocrinologist– to make it happen. Plus, it requires money which could be an obstacle for some people.

So, the outcome of your so-called “baby resolution” is not in your sole control. And as important a role as your doctor plays, and as great as IVF success rates have become at a quality practice, success is not guaranteed on the first try– or even at all in some cases. The sad reality is that only the fertile folks can make baby resolutions.

Making a resolution to have a baby is setting yourself up to fail, like the dieters who have already cheated and the smokers already back outside puffing away in the bitter cold. And don’t we already heap enough feelings of failure on ourselves?

So, make a New Year’s plan not a resolution.

It may sound like semantics, but the mere word “resolution” in general is tied so often to failure that you need to leave it behind when it comes to your fertility. Choose to plan.

When you plan, you take action. When you plan, you take control. Rather than weakly resolving that you’re going to have a baby this year, get proactive and plan for it. Take control of what is within your control.

So many factors that could positively impact your fertility (as well as your general health) are within your control, so:

 

  • get adequate sleep,
  • drink lots of water to stay hydrated,
  • eat healthy and/or organic foods,
  • take vitamins and exercise with your doctor’s approval,
  • lose excess weight with your doctor’s approval,
  • stop bad habits like smoking or drinking excessively,
  • consider complementary holistic mind-body therapies and fertility acupuncture,
  • research financial options for infertility treatment.

 

Long Island IVF’s payment options, including grants, may help finance your infertility treatment. While it’s never easy to change jobs (or add an extra job) especially in economically-challenging times, more companies are offering insurance coverage for infertility treatment these days, including positions that don’t require special skills or advanced education, such as at Starbucks.

Listen to the voice in your head if it’s telling you something may be wrong and stop delaying having a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist about the state of your fertility.

In fact, even if you are not currently trying to get pregnant, you may benefit from a fertility screening to see if there are any noticeable “red flags” about your reproductive health that might impact your future fertility plans. While it might be scary, knowing is always better than not knowing because it can let you take proactive steps before it’s too late, such as freezing your eggs while you are younger as “insurance” for use later if needed. Or just bumping up your baby plans if there are signs that that would be advisable, like a diminished ovarian reserve.

If you would like a fertility screening, or if you have been unable to become (or remain) pregnant and would like an initial consultation for fertility treatment, please contact us at any of our Long Island or Brooklyn offices.

2018 is a milestone year for Long Island IVF as we are celebrating our 30-year anniversary this summer. We are proud to have pioneered IVF here and to have brought Long Island its first IVF baby… and we treasure every baby we’ve helped bring into this world ever since.

Let us help you make 2018 a milestone year as well. Contact us today.

 

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Coming Out for the Holidays

By Tracey Minella

December 29th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

image credit: jeshoots.com

“Coming out” has a special meaning in the LGBT community. And all members who are “out” remember the way it ultimately happened—and the stress, fear, worry, and hesitation that surrounded that revelation. And the liberating feeling that followed… regardless of the initial response.

Heterosexual couples “come out”, too. But their “coming out” is in reference to breaking their silence about suffering from infertility. Similar feelings–stress, fear, worry, and hesitation. Now, mix that with a bit of unwarranted, social stigma-based shame over not being able to conceive naturally. Come out, and you get the same liberating feeling.

But sometimes, LGBT couples have to “come out” twice.

Consider this: You’ve met someone special and are ready to start a family.

Obviously, biology is a problem. Everyone knows that. It’s why LGBT members—even those who might never have had any problems conceiving if they were heterosexual– need the services of an infertility specialist. In virtually all situations, LGBT unions will require a “missing piece”—either a donated egg, sperm, or embryo—from someone outside the partnership in order to have a baby that’s connected biologically to at least one member of the couple. At a minimum, lesbians need donor sperm. Gay men will need two pieces—a donated egg and a gestational carrier’s uterus to carry the baby to term.

But sometimes, it’s more than basic biology or just getting the “missing piece”. Sometimes, there are issues with the “non-missing piece”. For example, a gay man may have a sperm issue, too. Or a lesbian may have poor egg quality, uterus issues, or other female infertility-related problems.

For these community members, it’s time to come out …again. This time as infertile.

Cue those hard feelings again. And now add in the worries or doubts that—despite great IVF success rates– you could possibly not be able to have children. Because when you are infertile, you just worry. It’s what we do when something so important is outside of our control.

So as the holiday season is in full swing and some family interaction is likely, consider dropping the truth bomb before the ball drops. Free yourself from the burden of the secret and come out about your struggle to conceive. You never know who may step-up and help in some way.

If you need help coming out to your family and friends, Long Island IVF’s caring counselor and Mind-Body expert, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., specializes in helping heterosexual and LGBT couples trying to conceive with the many challenges this journey brings.

Coming out may not get you the emotional support you need—but then again, it may. Either way, it’s liberating.

Long Island IVF has been helping the LGBT community become parents for decades. With a staff that includes both heterosexual and LGBT employees, we pride ourselves on understanding and satisfying each couple’s unique family-building needs. We are proud to partner with the LGBT Network in bringing cutting-edge reproductive medicine education and family-building technologies to Long Island’s LGBT community. If you are ready to learn more about your parenthood options, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation with one of our physicians in one of our conveniently-located offices throughout Long Island and in Brooklyn.

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Long Island IVF “Coming Out Infertile” Day Workshop

By Tracey Minella

November 13th, 2017 at 8:46 am

If you’re suffering in silence, you’ve got a date with us tonight.

Are you dreading the winter holiday season that’s only a week away? More silent suffering with your secret struggle of trying to start or build your own family? All those nagging questions about when are you finally going to have that baby? Being surrounded with nieces and nephews and their wish lists? Surprise pregnancy announcements at almost every gathering? Ugh.

Well, Long Island IVF can help. We’re proud to sponsor the third annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 13, 2017 with a “Tired of the Secret?” special workshop for those suffering in silence from infertility. All are welcome and its free. No need to be a patient. If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time to come down.

Coming Out Infertile Day was conceived to encourage those suffering from infertility to “come out” to their families, friends, and/or employers if they feel ready to do so… and to help them with the tools they need to do so. And most importantly, to come out in a way that feels right for them.

Infertility is a devastating disease that affects 1 out of every 8 couples. In addition to the pain and fear that comes with this diagnosis, many couples feel the unwarranted stigma of shame and guilt. Consequently, they keep their infertility a secret—even from their family and closest friends.

They are often afraid…or don’t know how… to tell their families and friends (or their employers) that they are having trouble getting or staying pregnant and need treatment. So they suffer in silence. Often for many months or years.

The holiday season, with its focus on children and families, is a particularly hard time for infertile folks who are easy targets for nagging personal questions about baby-making plans. So, a week before the emotional onslaught is the perfect time to offer help “coming out”. You can come out today or plan to come out on Thanksgiving or some other time during the holiday season that feels right.

Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the holidays…is a timely public reminder of the pain of infertility and a chance for those suffering to come out and get support.

Long Island IVF is offering “Tired of the Secret?”—a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 13, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 pm at its offices at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Led by our own Mind-Body medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients, attendees will be given the support they need to come out infertile in a manner that’s right for them. Are you ready to tell just your parents? Or your best friend? The whole family? Need to know how to break it to your boss? We can help. The workshop is free but pre-registration is requested, so register here.

It’s time to end the stigma of infertility. It’s time to unburden yourself from the added weight of this secret and get the support you need. It’s time to #comeoutinfertile.

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What is holding you back from coming out infertile?

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Important Infertility Insurance Coverage Issues for the LGBT Community in New York

By Tracey Minella

June 22nd, 2017 at 8:31 am

From Stonewall to date, the LGBT community has always had to fight for rights equal to those of the heterosexual community, often in an atmosphere of “us against them”. Persistence has always paid off…eventually. As we’ve seen from winning battles on openly serving in the military with the repeal of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” and the legalization of same-sex marriage (#LoveWins), we can move mountains as a community united.

 

The latest major gay rights fight involves insurance coverage for infertility treatment in New York.

 

The subject of mandated infertility insurance coverage in New York State has been in the news lately, but before addressing an important pending bill that could positively impact the infertility insurance rights of all New Yorkers– heterosexual and non-heterosexual– we must examine and understand the existing obstacles to LGBT infertility treatment coverage.

 

Currently, New York State has a mandate which requires coverage for infertility treatments. It’s one of only 15 states to do so, which sounds promising, but it’s not. With so many existing definitions, restrictions, qualifications, and loopholes, the mandate in its current form does very little to benefit New York’s infertile heterosexual couples– and does even less for non-heterosexual couples or single women who need advanced reproductive technologies in order to start their families.

 

Some of the major problems with the current New York State infertility coverage mandate include:

 

  • It does not cover in vitro fertilization (“IVF”), but only applies to intrauterine inseminations (“IUIs) and other low-level/less successful infertility treatments, which are also riskier in terms of causing a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.);
  • Small group employers can opt out of having to provide this coverage;
  • Insurance carriers may impose certain restrictions and rules that impact the employees’ ability to access the benefits.

 

Some insurance carriers that do offer IVF require both heterosexual and non-heterosexual couples to undergo 6-12 unsuccessful IUI cycles before moving on to IVF treatment (6 IUIs if the woman is over 35, or 12 IUIs if under 35, though some require less).

 

In addition to the above multiple-failed-IUIs prerequisite for IVF coverage, the employee must satisfy the insurance carrier’s definition of “infertility”. “Insurance companies define ‘infertility’ as the inability to conceive after one year of frequent, unprotected heterosexual intercourse, or six months if patient is over the age of 35”.

 

Applying this definition to heterosexual couples merely costs them 6-12 months of time before moving onto IVF treatment—provided they can somehow prove they’re doing it often enough and without protection. And while up to a year of time wasted really is a big deal to all infertile folks, the impact on non-heterosexuals and single women is far worse.

 

When applying this definition to a same-sex couple or a single woman, they not only lose valuable time, but they also lose money that a heterosexual couple would not. Because for same-sex couples or single women to meet the current definition of “infertility”, they would have to undergo six or 12 months of IUI with donor sperm treatments — in many cases, at their own expense –just to prove their infertility so that they could qualify for covered infertility treatments.

 

This issue was thrust into public view when two lesbian couples in New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the language of the New Jersey insurance mandate “discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation”.

 

There is also disparity among insurance companies with respect to requiring authorizations for IUIs, requiring IUIs with donor sperm prior to approving infertility treatment, and coverage for the cost of donor sperm or thawing the sperm. In addition, companies offer different levels of coverage, which may be dependent upon copayments, deductibles and other restrictions on certain services like embryo cryopreservation, embryo storage, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (“PGD” or “PGS”) of embryos, and more. To further complicate matters, even within the same insurance company, there are different individual plans that are chosen by the employer which provide different benefits coverage and different qualifications or benefits structure.

 

That’s why Long Island IVF assigns each patient a personal financial counselor to help guide them through the complicated insurance process to maximize any benefits to which they may be entitled.

 

Despite the obstacles that currently exist, there is good news to report and even more promising change on the horizon.

 

As a result of New York Governor Cuomo’s mandate to New York State insurance companies, they may no longer exclude same-sex prospective parents or single prospective parents from infertility coverage. While this is a victory, the sticking point for true reform and open access to appropriate infertility coverage for both heterosexual and non-heterosexual patients requires a redefinition of “infertility” and direct access to IVF.

 

There have already been noticeable changes in policies and the provision of coverage for IUIs with donor sperm in same-sex couples, presumably collectively-driven by Gov. Cuomo’s mandate, along with the New Jersey lawsuit, and forward-thinking, large-scale employers like Facebook and Google now offering high-end infertility insurance coverage for egg-freezing services. But the bottom line is that until a patient meets the “infertility” definition, they still have to self-pay.

 

That’s why we need the definition of ‘infertility’ to change. And we need access to IVF, which is the more successful treatment in terms of a singleton birth outcome.

 

And it is within our grasp right now.

 

As this article is being written, a bill that would revolutionize the infertility insurance law in New York for the benefit of heterosexuals, same-sex couples, and single women is awaiting consideration by the Senate after having passed in the Assembly this week.

 

The Senate Bill S.3148A known as the “Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act”, or (“FAFTA”), if enacted, would not only mandate coverage for IVF treatment, but it would change the application of the definition of “infertility” to:

 

“a disease or condition characterized by the incapacity to impregnate another person or to conceive, as diagnosed or determined (I) by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state, or (II) by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse in the case of a female 35 years of age or older.”

 

According to Long Island IVF co-founder and reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, who has been advocating for the passage of the FAFTA bill, “the current mandate’s specific exclusion of coverage for IVF has resulted in much emotional and financial cost spent on inferior or inappropriate treatments which ARE covered by the mandate when, for over 50% of infertile couples, IVF was the best or only treatment.” He further notes that “IVF is far safer in terms of reducing multiple pregnancy risk than less successful and often inferior treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (IUI). There has been waste and needless sacrifice for insured couples denied IVF.”

 

It is time for both the heterosexual and the LGBT communities to get active and push our respective representatives to pass this legislation. You can find your local senator here or can access their phone number here. Armed with Senate Bill number S. 3148A, a simple phone call expressing your support of the bill may make all the difference. It takes less than one minute to help support this latest gay rights fight for fair access to appropriate infertility treatment and insurance coverage. Do it now.

 

There has never been a better time for non-heterosexuals to fulfill their dream of parenthood. If you would like more information on the many available LGBT family-building options, we encourage you to join Long Island IVF and our partner, The LGBT Network, on June 29, 2017 for a special free seminar entitled “Building Families in the LGBT Community”. Pre-register here.

 

This progressive legislation not only opens the door to IVF access for all, but it changes the definition of infertility to one that encompasses everyone, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Instead of “us against them” it’s “one for all”. Its passage would put everybody suffering from the disease of infertility one giant step closer to our common dream of parenthood– and maybe, just maybe, a step closer to us all being one united community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Support an Infertile Man on Father’s Day

By Tracey Minella

June 17th, 2017 at 9:06 am

 

image: tminella


Infertile “dads-in-waiting” are no different when it comes to being infertile on Father’s Day than infertile wannabe moms are on Mother’s Day.

They want a baby.

A daddy’s little girl around whose little finger to be proverbially wrapped. A “mini-me” son to hang out with.

But society doesn’t seem to see his pain… because he is quiet. Maybe even to his wife or partner.

Women are more likely to chat with their sisters or closest girlfriends about their infertility—they cry on each other’s shoulders and talk about treatment—but men just don’t really do that. They don’t open up like that. Women talk. But guys’ group conversations tend to gravitate towards sports or politics—not how they injected their wife with a two-inch needle last night or held her as she cried over another negative pregnancy test.

Many men think they have to be the strong one– because if she sees him crumble, she may unravel herself. How unfair is that? Yet that’s how it is for so many guys and it’s completely understandable, and yes, a bit sexist, how they are willing to take all the pain on their shoulders if it’d shelter her.

Imagine that pressure to be strong and not cry? Imagine the totally unfounded but very real guilt he may feel if the diagnosis is male factor infertility? Or the stress he’s under if they can’t afford infertility treatment because his insurance or his salary doesn’t cover it? Or how he’s keeping the secret and hoping the guys don’t find out and rag on him about specimen collection or awkwardly joke about how they can help get her pregnant.

And don’t think for a minute he’s not aware of the children of other men at the gathering. Especially on Father’s Day. Kids playing catch with their dads. Dads showing pictures from the dance recital.

If his relationship with his own father is a good one, it may help to spend some one-on-one together on Father’s Day focusing on his role as the son. Maybe reflect on what kind of father he plans to be when the time comes for him—what he loved about his dad’s parenting style and what he might do differently.

Most importantly, let him do what he wants. See or be with who he wants and be sure to run interference for him with difficult people when you can. If he wants to be around the nieces or nephews, indulge his wish even if you feel differently. Or be alone together—or let him do his own thing–if that’s what he needs for that day.

And don’t ask him about starting a family. Just don’t. Ever. Especially on Father’s Day.

There is no substitution for a baby on Father’s Day, but you can give him hope for one next year. And if you think he’d benefit from talking it out with a caring infertility specialist, Long Island IVF offers group and individual counseling. Some couples have found a special connection to others who understand what they are going through and have even remained friends after their infertility journeys have resolved.

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What are your plans for Father’s Day?

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One Year Later: Reflections on #OrlandoStrong and Hate Crimes against the LGBT Community

By Tracey Minella

June 12th, 2017 at 9:45 am

 

Image: Ryan McGuire/Gratisography.com


Today marks a somber day in LGBT history—one to reflect upon and remember.

Last June, from our sponsor table in the Family Services Pavilion at Long Island’s Pridefest 2016 celebration, the Long Island IVF team was able to witness and be a part of the pride and happiness of the LGBT community mingling peacefully and openly on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Little did anyone know at that time that only hours after the event would end, the worst mass shooting in US history would happen in Orlando.  Fifty innocent lives would be taken and as many others would be injured. People just like those whose company we had just enjoyed. Regular people with their whole lives in front of them…targets of hatred in an increasingly ugly world. A world which in the months since then has become politically altered and alarmingly unstable for all—particularly the LGBT community.

It didn’t feel right to post Pridefest photos or talk of the positivity surrounding it in the wake of such a loss. But continued “radio silence” on Pridefest would be a disservice. It would be a lost opportunity to talk of and celebrate all that it was and, more importantly, all it must continue to be. There must be pride. There must be solidarity. In the face of hate, there must be love. And there must be real change.

There must be more than just a uniting of the LGBT community within itself –there must be support from those outside the LGBT community, too. Just as the world came together in vigils to support the LGBT community and to mourn those lost in Orlando, it must continue to look out for all people until the hatred is replaced by acceptance. Until there isn’t a need to designate “communities” anymore.

Prejudice and ignorance are frustratingly slow learners, so this change will require persistence. But despite the Orlando tragedy, we mustn’t lose sight of how far the gay rights movement has come, especially in recent years. And Pridefest is one of so many milestones of the movement. We mustn’t lose ground despite the political climate and a rising swell of previously-stifled but ever-brewing bigotry, hate, and violence.

Long Island IVF is proud to have supported the LGBT community and helped its members fulfill their dreams of parenthood for decades. None of us can undo these senseless deaths, but we can join together to create new life. If you’re ready to become parents, we can help you create your family. The next generation.

In the face of hate, there must be love.

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The Best Way to Survive Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 11th, 2017 at 12:19 pm

 

photo: ryanmcguire/ gratisography


This might seem unconventional for an infertility blogger to suggest, but…

Stop looking for something online that will make you feel better this weekend. Chances are it isn’t out here. And even if there was one special nugget of wisdom that might somehow ease your pain, you’ll have to sift through so much useless and painful content that your heart will be in shreds before you find that elusive gem.

The worst place you can be when you’re infertile is on social media on Mother’s Day. The day photos of moms and babies posted are multiplied 10,000 times more than the already unbearable daily number you endure. Why subject yourself to millions of pictures of mothers and children or hundreds of blog posts like this one – – trying and failing to make you feel any better? Please hide. Resist the habit of Facebook. Protect your heart.

Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, but it was before the hell that is social media. I only had to endure real life pregnant people and babies in my actual face—not the flood of thousands of them in my virtual face 24/7. You have it so much worse in that respect—though IVF success rates have soared since I did it. Our experiences are the same, yet different. Only other infertile women could understand how you are feeling–currently infertile women.

Ten stressed-out Mother’s Days without a baby I suffered. I have walked that long and lonely path you are on now, and I do remember it like it was yesterday. Yet I know my well-meaning words of hopeful advice– that I so want you to find comfort in today– can’t help but somehow fall short because I finally became a mom while you are still waiting for your day. I walked before you, and it’s frustrating to know that I can’t comfort you the way someone walking beside you can. So while I do remember, speaking to you from where I am now instead of where I was then makes my words just one small step above those of others not currently walking in your shoes. Maybe the words of one who succeeded at IVF, even after many, many failures and losses are as unwelcome on such a difficult day as the words of those who conceived easily and effortlessly.

So on this hardest day of the year I won’t try further than to say that I know you can get through this day and I’m sorry for your pain. There is no magic answer in this post or any of the others you may read about Mother’s Day.

Despite constant advances in assisted reproductive technologies, no one can promise you a baby this cycle or in the future despite the technology advancing with lightning speed. For me, not knowing if it’d ever work was the hardest thing. Had I only known for certain that at some point– even years away– I’d definitely have a baby in my arms, it would’ve made all the difference in managing the highs and lows during those 10 long years. But there is no crystal ball. While many people might become parents if they just kept undergoing treatment, many people’s wallets are exhausted before their spirit is ready to stop treatment—or even before they can begin it. That fear kept me up at night.

You know what you need to get through this day– and only you know what you need. Time as a couple, alone time, or time with family and friends. Do what you need to do so it will pass.

For what it’s worth, know that I and the many women who walked before you will be looking backwards on Sunday with hope and strength for you as you walk on. Strength to get through this day– and hope that by this time next year you will be looking back on your journey as well.

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The Best Way to Survive Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 11th, 2017 at 9:06 am

 

photo credit: ryanmcguire/gratisography


This might seem unconventional for an infertility blogger to suggest, but…

Stop looking for something online that will make you feel better this weekend. Chances are it isn’t out here. And even if there was one special nugget of wisdom that might somehow ease your pain, you’ll have to sift through so much useless and painful content that your heart will be in shreds before you find that elusive gem.

The worst place you can be when you’re infertile is on social media on Mother’s Day. The day photos of moms and babies posted are multiplied 10,000 times more than the already unbearable daily number you endure. Why subject yourself to millions of pictures of mothers and children or hundreds of blog posts like this one – – trying and failing to make you feel any better? Please hide. Resist the habit of Facebook. Protect your heart.

Yes, I’ve been in your shoes, but it was before the hell that is social media. I only had to endure real life pregnant people and babies in my actual face—not the flood of thousands of them in my virtual face 24/7. You have it so much worse in that respect—though IVF success rates have soared since I did it. Our experiences are the same, yet different. Only other infertile women could understand how you are feeling–currently infertile women.

Ten stressed-out Mother’s Days without a baby I suffered. I have walked that long and lonely path you are on now, and I do remember it like it was yesterday. Yet I know my well-meaning words of hopeful advice– that I so want you to find comfort in today– can’t help but somehow fall short because I finally became a mom while you are still waiting for your day. I walked before you, and it’s frustrating to know that I can’t comfort you the way someone walking beside you can. So while I do remember, speaking to you from where I am now instead of where I was then makes my words just one small step above those of others not currently walking in your shoes. Maybe the words of one who succeeded at IVF, even after many, many failures and losses are as unwelcome on such a difficult day as the words of those who conceived easily and effortlessly.

So on this hardest day of the year I won’t try further than to say that I know you can get through this day and I’m sorry for your pain. There is no magic answer in this post or any of the others you may read about Mother’s Day.

Despite constant advances in assisted reproductive technologies, no one can promise you a baby this cycle or in the future despite the technology advancing with lightning speed. For me, not knowing if it’d ever work was the hardest thing. Had I only known for certain that at some point– even years away– I’d definitely have a baby in my arms, it would’ve made all the difference in managing the highs and lows during those 10 long years. But there is no crystal ball. While many people might become parents if they just kept undergoing treatment, many people’s wallets are exhausted before their spirit is ready to stop treatment—or even before they can begin it. That fear kept me up at night.

You know what you need to get through this day– and only you know what you need. Time as a couple, alone time, or time with family and friends. Do what you need to do so it will pass.

For what it’s worth, know that I and the many women who walked before you will be looking backwards on Sunday with hope and strength for you as you walk on. Strength to get through this day– and hope that by this time next year you will be looking back on your journey as well.

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Spring Into Action Ideas for Infertility Warriors

By Tracey Minella

March 23rd, 2017 at 1:10 pm

 

credit: Gratisography-Ryan McGuire


Are you the “all happy for the official start of spring” type? Or a crank who can’t adjust to losing that hour of sleep? (There’s no correct answer!)

Worn down by winter and overwhelmed by infertility’s challenges? You’re not alone. But spring is here now…at least on the calendar if not by the forecast. It’s time to change things up a bit.

The most frustrating thing about infertility is the lack of control over everything– your dreams, your life, and your body. The longer you live in this frustrated state, the greater the chance you’ll feel stressed or depressed. Your “fuse” gets shorter and the littlest thing that upsets your routine can…understandably…throw you off. Even that single hour lost may have affected your routine and added to your exhaustion and crankiness for days!

Why not turn it all back around to your benefit?

Start with a small block of time. Make a change for the better and take back some control this spring. Just a bit.

Imagine committing to even one small change in your day…one that you choose. One that you want. One that you… control.

No need to be drastic or crazy or set a lofty goal you can’t reach (which will defeat the purpose here). Pick something do-able and fun that is just for you. If it happens to have an added fertility-boosting benefit, that’s even better. But the main goal is that you feel better, either physically or emotionally, or both. And that you feel more in control of your life.

Here are a few examples of little things you can consider:

  • Drink more water. You’ll feel and look better and the health benefits are countless.
  • Make a “To Do” list before bed. You’ll sleep better knowing your next day is planned out and you haven’t forgotten something. Then, spend 15 minutes on your most important task first thing in the morning if you can, so you start off on a positive, less stressed note.
  • Exercise…even for just 10 minutes each day. Even a walk to clear your mind will help. If that seems like root canal, just pick something fun that makes you move. Anything.
  • Keep a daily gratitude journal. List 3 things you have to be thankful for. It will keep you grounded in positivity and give you an outlet for your feelings.
  • Sleep more. Take a power nap at lunchtime of you’re feeling tired or treat yourself to an early turn-in at bedtime. Even 30 minutes would feel indulgent. Trust me.
  • Meditate. It could be in a fertile yoga class or just grabbing 15 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted “you” time on your den floor– or outside if it ever warms up again. Why not come to Long Island IVF’s upcoming free fertility yoga event during National Infertility Awareness Week in April? Register here.

Of course, if you’re really feeling overwhelmed, you might consider a group or individual therapy session with Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., our counselor who specializes in helping those suffering from infertility.

What kind of big impact could these small changes make for you? How about committing to one of them…or some other change that works for you? Let’s see what a difference a small change that you control can make in your life in 30 days.

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What is your “take control” action plan for spring?

 

 

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Infertile on Valentine’s Day

By Tracey Minella

February 14th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

 

image credit: OZphotography/ freedigitalphotos.net


Most holidays are hard on those struggling with infertility, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be one of them. It’s one of the few holidays that are focused on couples, not children. You’re expected to be alone as a couple…no family gatherings to endure.

While a fancy dinner, candy, roses, or even diamonds can’t substitute for the gift you really want to give or receive from your partner today, try not to focus on the baby quest for just this one day…or at least for a good part of it…and instead focus on your partner.

Battling infertility can make you lose sight of pretty much everything else. It can make you understandably cranky and depressed. And it can make you take your loved ones…especially your partner…for granted.

If you’ve fallen into that rut, today is the perfect day to change things. Start by stealing a moment and clearing your mind of everything else. Then, make a list of five things you love about your partner. If you need help getting started, think about how he/she is right beside you in this battle. What have you weathered together already? Remember how much he/she can make you laugh or the special inside jokes only you two share?(Consider telling your partner you’re doing this and ask them to do the same so you can exchange lists over dinner tonight or wait until you’re together tonight and make the lists together.)

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially when financing infertility treatments. If you do want to go out, kick back and enjoy yourself knowing that most places will be child-free tonight.

Of course, a great Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to cost anything at all. A quiet and simple dinner at home may be all you need to spiritually reconnect. Candles and the right companion can make even mac and cheese incredibly romantic. And those lists of what you love about each other will be treasured keepsakes to look back on later. Trust me.

And having walked many miles in your shoes let me tell you a little secret…

Infertility can be a gift. A twisted kind of gift on nobody’s wish list, of course. But it’s a gift that is often not realized until after the battle is won. If it doesn’t break your marriage, infertility can make your love stronger than you ever imagined it could be. Every tear and painful loss or setback can be cement for your union. Many infertile couples look back and feel that if they got through infertility together, they can handle anything else the future may throw at them. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say.

So this is a night to give thanks for…and celebrate… your soul mate and your union. Focus on that. Reconnect. It will strengthen you for when you resume the battle again tomorrow.

Now, pencils ready…

 

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How do you celebrate your love when battling infertility?

 

 

photo credit: OZphotography/freedigitalphotos.net

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