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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About LGBT Family-Building Options at Long Island IVF

By admin

June 16th, 2017 at 2:37 pm

 

Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/gender-fluid, you aren’t any different than heterosexuals who want to start a family but need medical intervention to do so.

You have the same dream of becoming a parent, the same longing in your heart for a baby of your own, the same frustrations and embarrassment about needing medical intervention for such a private matter, the same worries about affording and financing the treatment, and the same paralyzing fear of it not working.

And yet, you are different from the heterosexuals who are suffering from infertility. Your treatment needs are different. Your emotional needs are different. We understand that.

Long Island IVF pioneered IVF on Long Island, bringing Long Island its first IVF baby, first baby from a cryopreserved embryo and first donor egg baby. For almost 30 years, we’ve been serving both the heterosexual and LGBT communities on Long Island. Several of our staff are members of the LGBT community as well and many staff members were former patients—so we really do understand where you are coming from.

The easiest way to illustrate the differences between heterosexual and LGBT family-building is to begin with the similarities.

In heterosexual family-building, any number of factors may be causing the couple’s infertility. It could be female factors like poor egg quality, blocked fallopian tubes, uterine issues like fibroids, endometriosis, hormonal disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome, recurrent miscarriage, and more. It could be male factor infertility due to poor quality sperm. Or it could be a combination of male and female factors—or simply be due to the frustrating diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. When a couple is unable to get pregnant after 6-12 months of trying (the number of months differs based on age), they are considered to be infertile. Sometimes less aggressive medical approaches—such as intrauterine insemination (“IUI”) with or without ovulation induction do result in pregnancy. Oftentimes, more aggressive Assisted Reproductive Technologies (“ART”) like in-vitro fertilization (“IVF”) are in order.

Here’s a crash course in IVF 101.

In IVF, the goal is to have the woman develop more than the one mature egg she would normally produce in a typical monthly menstrual cycle. To accomplish this a woman’s ovaries are stimulated through the use of injectable hormone medications and careful monitoring by ultrasound and bloodwork so that at just the right time, the multiple eggs that have matured are retrieved from the ovaries transvaginally through needle aspiration under sedation. Then the eggs are either frozen or are combined with the partner’s sperm to produce embryos. The resulting embryos are then either transferred back into the woman’s uterus where they will hopefully implant and result in a pregnancy, or are frozen for future use, or a combination of the two options. Because the number of embryos transferred back into the uterus is both limited and controlled, IVF minimizes and virtually eliminates the risk of a multiple pregnancy, making it a safer treatment option.

Sometimes, a heterosexual couple needs help from a third party to build their family. They may need a sperm donor or an egg donor if the couple’s own sperm or eggs are not sufficient or of good quality. Or they may need a woman to act as a gestational carrier to carry their embryo(s) and resulting pregnancy if the uterus of the woman of the couple is either absent or not otherwise suitable.

Now let’s look at how LGBT family-building is different.

Well, for starters, virtually all LGBT couples need some kind of help from a third—or even a fourth—party in order to build their family. In fact, in virtually all cases, sex alone will never result in a pregnancy for the LGBT couple without outside intervention. So, while it does happen that a LGBT patient could have a medical factor making them infertile, in the vast majority of cases, LGBT couples seek out an infertility specialist to obtain the “missing contribution” that is required to make a baby. The exception is the transitioning individual who has not begun hormonal treatment to transition from male to female or from female to male.

Here are the general treatment options and the ways “missing contributions” for LGBT couples can be obtained. They are slightly more straightforward in the cases of lesbians and gay men than in transgender cases.

Lesbian couples:

Two women will need a sperm donor. Depending on their age and the health of their eggs and uterus, they can do IVF and may even be able to do an IUI. If doing IVF, some couples decide to use one woman’s egg and have the other woman carry the pregnancy in her uterus.

Gay couples:

Two men will need an egg donor. They will also need a gestational carrier who will carry the pregnancy in her uterus for them. Gay couples may decide to divide the number of eggs retrieved from the egg donor in half and then each partner may contribute a semen specimen to fertilize half of the eggs—thereby each being a biological father to the embryos that resulted from their contribution.

Transgender couples:

Transgender family-building is relatively new in comparison to lesbian and gay family-building which the LGBT community has been able to access for decades. There are varied options for transgender family-building, but they all require knowledge and proactive steps on the part of the transgender person.

The single most important takeaway from this article for transgender folks who do (or may in the future) want to have a biological child is this: See a reproductive endocrinologist BEFORE taking any medical or surgical steps on the transgender transition or sexual reassignment journey.

In “Woman to Man” reassignment, before the woman hormonally, medically, or surgically becomes a man, she should consider having her eggs retrieved and frozen for future use. Or if she has a male partner now, her eggs can be fertilized with his sperm and the embryos either implanted in her uterus now so she can carry the baby before she transitions, or if the woman does not want to carry the pregnancy and prefers to move ahead with the transition, then the embryos can be frozen and transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier at any time.

However, if the woman who transitions prefers a female partner, then the couple has most of the same options as any lesbian couple. They could use either woman’s eggs with donor sperm and the resulting embryos could be implanted into the partner with the uterus or into the uterus of a gestational carrier if needed. Some couples choose his eggs and her uterus so both can be involved.

Now the opposite case.

In “Man to Woman” reassignment, before the man hormonally, medically, or surgically becomes a woman, he should consider having his sperm frozen for future use. Sperm freezing is so much cheaper and easier than egg freezing. If he has a female partner now and they want to become pregnant now, his sperm can be used to impregnate her through IUI or, if she undergoes IVF, then her retrieved eggs can be fertilized with his sperm and the resulting embryos either implanted in her uterus now or frozen for later use. Some couples choose his sperm and her eggs and/or uterus so both can be involved. If his female partner’s eggs or uterus are not optimal, they will need an egg donor and/or gestational carrier.

However, if the man who transitions prefers a male partner, then the couple has the same options as a gay couple. They could use either of their sperm with the egg donor’s eggs and transfer the resulting embryos into a (gestational carrier) woman’s uterus.

If you identify as queer or gender-fluid, you can utilize donor egg, donor sperm, a gestational carrier or any combination of the above options as they fit you and your partner.

Sadly, not all physicians realize or advise transgender individuals of their fertility-preservation and family-building options before the transition process has begun, so it is up to you to initiate the discussion or take action. It is absolutely critical that egg and sperm freezing be done before the hormonal, medical or surgical transition or reassignment begins. Or it will be too late.

Despite the current and uncertain political climate, there has never been a better time for LGBT members to pursue family-building. As a result of rapidly advancing ART, today’s LGBT community has choices beyond the noble but limited options of foster parenting and adoption—choices that allow for biological children. The lesbian and gay parents of recent decades have blazed a path of slow but ever-increasing acceptance that has not only benefitted today’s lesbian and gay parents, but has helped open the door for the transgender population to come out and claim their own fertility and parenting rights.

All people of reproductive age who are considering becoming parents at some point would benefit from a fertility screening by a reproductive endocrinologist—ideally sooner rather than later. At that exam, screening tests would be conducted to identify any actual or threatened obstacles to fertility, such as diminished ovarian function or premature ovarian failure or other factors in women, or sperm issues in men. Depending on what is found, proactive steps could be taken to preserve your fertility, including egg freezing for women who just want to preserve their young and healthy eggs for use at a future date.

Also file this important bit of information away and hope you will never need to remember it: If you or a loved one are ever faced with a cancer diagnosis and time allows for it, egg-freezing and sperm freezing done prior to starting certain chemotherapy or radiation protocols for certain cancers are options to preserve your fertility. That way, your healthy eggs and sperm are waiting for you when you’re ready to build your family after your cancer battle has been won. Be sure to call a reproductive endocrinologist to discuss fertility preservation before cancer treatment.

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 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. Click here for information and to preregister for the June 29th event.

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Long Island IVF’s “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg” Fall Seminar

By Tracey Minella

October 18th, 2016 at 10:12 am

Do you think you might need an egg donor to build your family?

Have you ever met a woman who became a mom through egg donation? Wouldn’t it be helpful to hear about her experience and ask her questions in person knowing she once shared the same concerns you may have about the process?

Well, you won’t want to miss this seminar!

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 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.

Women whose eggs have been compromised by advanced age, premature ovarian failure, failed IVF treatment, cancer, or poor egg quality should consider donor egg therapy. Long Island IVF offers many ways to build a family through the donor egg program. Gay men wanting biological children also need the help of an egg donor.

Admittedly, conceiving with donor eggs is rarely the first choice, but often is an acceptable alternative after weighing many personal, physical, emotional, psychological, and financial considerations. Decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made.

Maybe you’re not yet ready to act on the information you’ll receive. No problem. We’re just here to offer information and emotional support. So, why not attend the seminar and learn about Egg Donation as an opportunity to create your family? It’s the last seminar of the year and a perfect time to get educated and empowered about this powerful family-building option.

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.

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

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

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 use a known donor if you prefer.

Register here for “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg”. 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 November 1, 2016

Time: 7:00 pm- 9:00 pm

 

LONG ISLAND IVF: WINNER “BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE” in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015 and 2016″ contests. We are humbled and excited by the honor and thrilled to be nominated again for 2017 (voting is now through December 15, 2016)! Can we help you build your family as well?

 

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Will you be there? If you’d like to attend but can’t, please call anyway and ask for Vicky Loveland, so we can make other arrangements to help you.

 

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National Coming Out Day and Reproductive Options for the LGBT Community

By Tracey Minella

October 11th, 2016 at 6:29 pm


Long Island IVF has been proudly building families for the LGBT community for decades and we are mindful and supportive of LGBT rights and days of significance to the community.

Today, we mark National Coming Out Day—a day to support the men, women, and gender-fluid among us who are, in some cases, summoning the courage to “come out” to their friends, families, and others and begin to live their lives in an open and true to themselves way. Some of these people are teens, or even younger and sadly, the threats against them from various sources are very real. Laws may change, but people often do not…or at least not as quickly.

Long Island IVF is a long-time friend to the LGBT community, and has partnered with the Long Island’s LGBT Network to present seminars specifically designed to address the unique family-building needs of the LGBT community. The next free seminar will be on October 25, 2016 at the Long Island IVF Melville office. Register here.

Reproductive options for lesbian couples will be discussed including topics such as donor sperm insemination, in vitro fertilization, reciprocal IVF, use of gestational carriers, donor eggs, and more. The limitations and the workup for women wishing to donate eggs and/or carry a pregnancy will be covered. Surrogacy and gestational carriers for gay male couples will also be addressed. In addition, the fertility preservation options available to transgender people prior to transitioning will be covered. The social, legal, financial, and medical issues will be discussed.

If you are…or love…a member of the LGBT community, you won’t want to miss this information–packed seminar.

Long Island recognizes that your needs and rights to parenthood are universal, but that the approach to your care and particular fertility obstacles is unique. Our staff, some of whom are members of– or parents of –the LGBT community themselves, is sensitive to your needs and eager to help you build your family.

You may have come out today. Why not come meet us in two weeks?

If you would like to attend our next seminar, please register here.

 

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Building Families in the LGBT Community Seminar at Long Island IVF

By Tracey Minella

October 4th, 2016 at 10:03 am

Long Island IVF has been helping the LGBT community become parents for decades. So, if you’re thinking about having a baby and want to know all of your family building options, you won’t want to miss this event!

We’ve partnered up with the LGBT Network to bring you a quality LGBT family building seminar on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Long Island IVF Melville office located at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York.

In about two hours, the speakers at our seminar will answer everything you ever wanted to know about today’s many LGBT Family-Building options. Two of our reproductive endocrinologists, Dr. Steven Brenner, and Dr. Satu Kuokkanen, along with other key Long Island IVF team members will introduce you to the fascinating world of assisted reproductive technology and specifically how it’s used to help the LGBT community become parents. In addition, our Donor Egg Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, MS, RN, and Melissa Brisman, owner and founder of Reproductive Possibilities http://www.reproductivepossibilities.com/ will be there.

LGBT family-building is different in many ways from so-called “traditional” family-building. As a practice made up of both LGBT and non-LGBT employees, we truly understand the nuances that make your parenthood quest unique to you, whether you are gay, lesbian, transsexual, or bi-sexual. Believing that everyone has the right to become a parent, LIIVF is committed to using the best available medical technologies to help you overcome or circumvent biological obstacles to parenthood.

Whether we met at LI Pridefest 2016 in June and you’d like to learn more about our LGBT Family Building program at Long Island IVF, or this is the first time you’ll be meeting us, we hope you’ll join us and the LGBT Network at our Melville office to learn about the many ways we can help you achieve your dream of parenthood.

For more information and to register for this free event, please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/building-families-in-the-lgbt-community-tickets-25604913987

Need to reach someone? You can email lmontello@liivf.com.

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Will you be attending the “Building Families in the LGBT Community” seminar? Do you have any specific questions or particular topics you want to see covered?

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

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

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

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

 

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Gay Rights Taking Baby Steps Towards Family Building

By David Kreiner MD

July 3rd, 2015 at 10:13 am

 

photo credit: Sarah Allison Photography


Today, same sex marriage is a constitutional right.

It was a long time coming with much frustration, discrimination and actual blood, sweat and tears but thanks to the recent Supreme Court landmark ruling, equal rights is now protected by the law of the nation.

Now that SCOTUS has declared same sex marriage legal in every state, what affect will that decision have on alternative family building for the LGBT community? And how quickly will any changes be implemented?

Currently, insurance companies require that lesbian couples go through 6-12 cycles of inseminations without offering their insurance benefit because they “have not been proven to be infertile”…hint-you need sperm to make a baby.  Allowing lesbian partners access to their insurance for fertility treatment without first spending thousands of dollars on inseminations to “prove infertility” would seem to be a right that follows from such legislation.

And don’t get me started on the inaccessibility of insurance for fertility for gay male couples. Currently, depending on where they live, they must obtain surrogates who receive about $25,000 as compensation and pay additional $35-60,000 agency and legal fees plus the cost of obstetrical care on top of IVF fees.  This brings the overall cost to an average of approximately $125,000.  Of interest, Apple, Google and some of the other big high tech companies have offered such coverage.

It seems to me that if we recognize that all citizens are equal regardless of sexual orientation that offering equal rights to family building is merely a logical extension of the Supreme Court decision.

Today, we rejoice for the liberating decision regarding gay marriage…tomorrow we work towards equal access to care for family building. In the meantime shall we say we are taking baby steps…

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What changes, if any, in LGBT family-building access/coverage, do you hope will come from the recognition of same-sex marriage? What roadblocks have you faced and how have they affected your family-building?

 

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

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 contest.

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

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 27 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help.

 

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Long Island IVF Hosts Seminar: “Family-Building the LGBT Way”

By Tracey Minella

June 15th, 2015 at 11:42 am

If you’d like information on family-building from a practice that’s been helping the LGBT community become parents for decades, we’ve got the event for you!

We’ve partnered up with the LGBT Network to bring you a very special seminar on June 25, 2015 from 7-9 pm at the LGBT Network Community Center in Woodbury, NY. http://lgbtnetwork.org/the-center

Long Island IVF’s “Family-Building the LGBT Way” seminar will answer everything you ever wanted to know about today’s LGBT Family-Building options. Two of our reproductive endocrinologists, Dr. Steven Brenner, and Dr. Satu Kuokkanen, along with other key LIIVF team members will introduce you to the fascinating world of assisted reproductive technology and how it’s used to help the LGBT community become parents. In addition, Vicky Loveland, our Donor Egg Coordinator and Melissa Brisman, Esq. owner and founder of Reproductive Possibilities http://www.reproductivepossibilities.com/ will be there. Ms. Brisman is a nationally known reproductive attorney.

LGBT family-building is different in many ways from so-called “traditional” family-building. As a practice made up of both LGBT and non-LGBT employees, we truly understand the nuances that make your family-building adventure unique to you.

Whether you met us briefly at LI Pridefest 2015 and you’d like to learn more about our LGBT Family Building program at Long Island IVF, or this is the first time you’ll be meeting us, we hope you’ll join us at the LGBT Network Community Center to learn about the many ways we can help you achieve your dream of parenthood.

Please pre-register for this free event by emailing lmontello@liivf.com. Light refreshments will be served.

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Will you be attending the “Family-Building the LGBT Way” seminar? Do you have any specific questions or particular topics you want to see covered?

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

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 contest.

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

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 27 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help.

 

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