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Archive for the ‘Satu Kuokkanen MD’ tag

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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The Difference Between Genetic Carrier Screening and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening

By Satu Kuokkanen, MD, PhD

June 6th, 2016 at 12:35 pm

image: cooldesign/ freedigitalphotos.net

Many infertility patients want to know the difference between genetic carrier screening and comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS), as well as why we perform these screening tests.

 

Genetic carrier screening refers to testing of one or both partners for a large scale genetic carrier status of select conditions that often result in severe early childhood diseases in their offspring. Some examples include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and spinal muscular atrophy.  It is important to know that these devastating conditions are rare in the general population; however, some of them cluster in certain ethnic backgrounds or geographical regions.

 

Most diseases tested are inherited in recessive fashion, which essentially means that a person will need to have two mutated copies of the gene (one inherited from each parent) to actually get that disease. On the other hand, the carrier status by definition indicates that a person has only one mutated gene of the disease in their genome (DNA) and therefore will never contract the disease, but can pass this mutated gene to their offspring. This situation becomes particularly problematic if both partners are carriers for the same condition because, in such case, each of their offspring will have 1 in 4 or 25% risk of getting that disease. Thus, genetic carrier screening attempts to identify parental carrier status prior to pregnancy to avoid conception with a fetus with severe disease(s).

 

If both parents are carriers for the same genetic condition, the couple can proceed with in vitro fertilization (IVF) in combination with preimplantation genetic diagnosis (often referred as PGD) to essentially weed out affected embryos. Performed on the embryos created after fertilization, PGD tests the embryos for specific gene mutations, prior to transferring any embryos back to the woman’s uterus.  Theoretically, in such scenarios 1 in 4 of the embryos are affected and the rest should be unaffected for the tested condition. The unaffected embryos are transferred to the female partner’s uterus in the hope of establishing a healthy pregnancy.

 

On the other hand, Comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS), also known as preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) refers to the testing of an embryo’s numeric chromosome component and can be done as part of IVF whether a couple is concerned about genetic diseases or not. Normal female chromosome component is 46, XX and male 46, XY.  Some conditions typically screened for through CCS are Down’s syndrome (extra chromosome 21) and Turner syndrome (missing chromosome X).

 

When CCS is elected, embryos are cultured to day 5, the blastocyst stage, allowing biopsy of a number of cells from each embryo.  The numeric chromosome component of each embryo is then analyzed, thus providing the selection of embryos with normal chromosome numbers for transfer. The improvement in pregnancy rates with CCS makes an elective single embryo transfer a feasible option for many patients, thereby avoiding multiple pregnancies and associated adverse maternal and fetal effects.

 

Importantly, the patients who need genetic carrier screening for specific gene mutations, such as cystic fibrosis, can have their embryos simultaneously analyzed for CCS from the same biopsy.

 

In addition, CCS includes the sex chromosomes: X and Y. When the chromosome screening results of the embryos are available, the information on sex chromosomes becomes optional for patients. Patients can either elect to transfer embryos of a particular gender or may decide not to know the gender of their embryos.

 

As the field of genomics continues to evolve, the ongoing research and clinical trials will provide more information on how and to what extent CCS and other tests can be applied to improve IVF outcomes and establish healthy pregnancies for our patients.

 

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Have you considered genetic carrier screening or comprehensive chromosome screening?

 

 

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6 Potential Causes of Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)

By Satu Kuokkanen, MD, PhD

May 2nd, 2016 at 11:31 am

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ freedigitlaphotos.net

Experiencing a pregnancy loss is always devastating for individuals hoping to establish or expand their family. Patients describe a range of grieving emotions related to the loss of a person they never had a chance to meet, love and share the future.  This grieving process may last anywhere from few weeks up to several years.  Not surprisingly, I have heard from many patients that one of the most difficult coping times was around the expected due date of the pregnancy that they miscarried.

 

It may be somewhat comforting for patients to know that they are not alone. In fact, miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication and it affects 1 in every 6-8 confirmed pregnancies, that’s 12-15%. The risk of miscarriage increases with maternal age. While women younger than 30 years old have a 10-12% risk of pregnancy loss, the risk is four fold higher for women in their 40’s. Identifying a potential cause may help with the emotional impact of the pregnancy loss whether it is isolated or recurrent loss.

 

Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is diagnosed after a woman has had two or more consecutive miscarriages and RPL affects 1 in 20 couples who are attempting to conceive. While isolated miscarriages are commonly due to chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, other factors are responsible for RPL. These factors vary depending on the gestational age of the pregnancy loss. Evaluation of potential RPL causes is important in determining whether therapy is available to the patient.

 

6 Potential causes of RPL:

 

  1. Congenital and acquired structural uterine factors. A uterine septum, a partial or complete division of the uterine cavity, is the most common congenital structural uterine abnormality.  Uterine septum and bicornuate uterus (“heart shaped womb”) have been linked to RPL. Acquired structural uterine pathologies that distort the normal uterine cavity include endometrial polyps that are skin tag-like growths of the uterine lining, fibroids that are affecting the uterine cavity, and intrauterine scarring that can develop after surgical procedures, such as dilatation and curettage (also known as D&C).  Radiology studies of the uterus with saline ultrasound (‘water sonogram”) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are standard methods to evaluate the womb.

 

  1. Chronic endometritis is inflammation of the uterine lining. This condition is diagnosed by sampling of the uterine lining with an endometrial biopsy or D&C.

 

  1. Structural chromosome abnormalities of the parents is a rare but known cause of RPL. A simple blood test of both parents to assess numeric and structural chromosomal component (karyotype) is done.

 

  1. Abnormalities of blood clotting.  The well-known condition in this category is anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome (APAS) which women can acquire during their reproductive years. Anti-phospholipid antibody levels can be measured in blood for diagnostic purposes.

 

  1. Endocrine-related abnormalities include elevation in alterations in thyroid hormone secretion and diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugar levels.  Also, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) appear to have heightened risk of pregnancy losses.

 

  1. Environmental and lifestyle factors have also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriages. Such factors may include maternal obesity, cigarette smoking, and exposure to environmental toxins. How these factors may impact pregnancy or pregnancy loss differs and is still being studied at the current time.

 

It is important to remember that, although painful, an isolated miscarriage may often be followed by a healthy and successful pregnancy. And that, RPL, while devastating, can be caused by a factor that may be treated with proper, specialized medical care. In either case, your dream of parenthood may still be within reach.

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Have you suffered one or miscarriages, been treated for an underlying cause, and gone on to have a successful pregnancy?

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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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Long Island IVF and LGBT Network Alliance

By Tracey Minella

April 7th, 2016 at 4:25 am

 

image courtesy of LGBT Network


Long Island IVF is proud to partner with the Long Island LGBT Network as the exclusive family planning service for the LGBT Network community.

On April 7, 2016, Long Island IVF physicians, Dr. David Kreiner, Dr. Steven Brenner, and Dr. Satu Kuokkanen presented a check in the sum of $17,000 to LGBT Network’s Jonathan Chenkin, Development Officer for Corporate and Business Relations and Robert Vitelli, COO – Director of Development. This donation will fund and support our mutual educational and outreach efforts here on Long Island.

Long Island IVF has been building families in the LGBT community for decades and has long practiced its belief that every person is entitle to become a parent. Not only are some staff members also members of the LGBT community, but our entire staff has been trained to be sensitive to our LGBT patients. Your needs and treatment are unique and your comfort is important to us.

Long Island IVF will again sponsor the Family Services Pavilion at the Long Island Pridefest on June 11, 2016. Be sure to come by and meet our team. Some of our patients and their little miracles often drop in, and they love to share their LIIVF family-building experience with others just starting their journeys.

If you’d like to schedule an initial consultation with one of our physicians, please call 877-838-BABY today. With six offices across Long Island and Brooklyn, there is sure to be one convenient to you.

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Will we see you at Pridefest?

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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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Long Island IVF WINS– AGAIN!! Best of Long Island 2016: Best In Vitro Fertility Practice!

By Tracey Minella

January 10th, 2016 at 8:32 am

We are beyond excited to announce that… for the second consecutive year… Long Island IVF was voted the Best In-Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2016 contest.

And it’s all because of YOU!

To be the best infertility practice on Long Island means that you’ve trusted us not only with your care…but with your biggest dream. And that we came through for you in a way that compelled you to recommend us to others by voting.

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so humbled by this honor and so thankful to each and every one of you who took the time to cast a vote in our favor. From the moms juggling LIIVF toddlers… 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 get to do every day…build families. And that’s all the thanks we really need. However, when you recommend us to your friends and families and endorse us to the public by voting for us, you enable us to help even more infertile couples fulfill their dreams of building a family. And we’re thankful for that as well.

As we’ve done for almost 28 years, we offer patients our unique blend of cutting-edge medical technologies and holistic, personal support… wrapped in the comfort of a private, non-hospital setting. Because we believe all people have the right to pursue their dream of parenthood, we have long-offered family-building treatments specially designed for the LGBT community’s unique needs. We also offer grants and other programs to help make treatment options more affordable. https://www.longislandivf.com/ivf_grants.cfm

Thanks again for your vote and for trusting us with your care.

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Long Island IVF Family Reunion 2014 Memories

By Tracey Minella

November 11th, 2014 at 4:26 pm


Long Island IVF just celebrated its 26th Annual Family Reunion event. With schools closed and many people off from work, we were blessed with an exceptionally high turn-out of babies and new parents. And we couldn’t have been happier!

The family reunion is the highlight event of our year because it’s when the doctors and staff get to meet the newest crop of little miracles. The last time some of these babies were held, they were only a few cells in size! It’s such an emotional experience for doctors and patients alike. This year, 99 of the newest babies came out. Maybe we’re biased, but they were all gorgeous! And their parents were bursting with smiles and pride…happiness and gratitude replacing the worry and stress of the past. A photographer was capturing the little dickens in a fall-themed pumpkin patch.

It was remarked that if we’d had all of the babies we helped to create for the past 26 years, we’d have filled the Nassau Coliseum!

We were also so lucky to have the event covered by several media outlets, including CBS, Fox, FIOS, and News 12. Not only did that coverage expose our practice’s success to potential patients who may need our family-building services, but it enabled all of our patients, past and present, to share in the reunion experience. You could feel the happiness in the air.

Please check out some of the videos of that news coverage on our Facebook page or at these links and check back often as we will update them as they are available:

http://longisland.news12.com/news/long-island-ivf-celebrates-26-years-of-helping-families-1.9608352

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/10839273-proud-parents-reunite-with-doctors-to-celebrate-birth-of-little-miracles/

 

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Have you been to a LIIVF family reunion? If so, what was the best part? If not yet, what part do you imagine would be the most fulfilling?

 

 

 

 

 

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Long Island IVF Designated an Aetna Institute of Excellence™ Infertility Clinic

By Tracey Minella

July 17th, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Long Island IVF is proud to announce it has been recognized as an Aetna Institute of Excellence™ Infertility Clinic for Assisted Reproductive Technology services.

Aetna makes information about the quality and cost of health care services available to its members to help them make informed decisions about their health care needs. In line with this goal, Aetna recognizes hospitals and facilities in its network that offer specialized clinical services for certain health conditions. Facilities are selected for their unique expertise in consistently delivering evidence-based, safe care.

Long Island IVF has been selected as one such specialized, unique, and safe facility.

“From the day LIIVF first opened its doors 26 years ago, we’ve been committed to providing the safest, most advanced medical care to the infertility community on Long Island”, said Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, Reproductive Endocrinologist and co-founding partner of Long Island IVF. “So to be recognized by Aetna as an ‘Institute of Excellence’ is not only an honor, but a validation of that commitment.”

Dr. David Kreiner, Reproductive Endocrinologist and co-founding partner of Long Island IVF, agrees. “Infertility is very stressful and the pressure on infertile couples to choose the right fertility practice can be overwhelming,” adds Dr. Kreiner. “The ‘Institute of Excellence’ distinction helps direct infertile patients to the doctors who have been recognized as leaders in the field of infertility and assisted reproductive technology.”

While recommendations from successful patients have always been a great source of new patient referrals, many couples who are trying to conceive may not know someone who has used assisted reproductive technology to get pregnant, or they may not be ready to openly admit that they’re suffering from infertility. So, the Aetna Institute of Excellence™ Infertility Clinic designation is a great resource to direct patients to quality care.

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What factors do/did you consider important when choosing a reproductive endocrinologist?

 

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“Windows of Implantation” and Recurrent IVF Implantation Failure

By Satu Kuokkanen, MD, PhD

June 27th, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Recurrent implantation failure is a devastating problem for infertile couples and a challenging clinical dilemma for physicians.  

It is hard for patients to accept an unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle outcome and discontinue infertility therapy attempts when their physician reviews everything in their cycle as being fine… with normal follicle development, egg fertilization and embryo development as well as sonographically-appropriate endometrial thickness.  However, there are still factors beyond our visual scope that may not be quite perfect.

Human endometrium, which is the inner lining of the uterus, undergoes extensive changes under the influence of female hormones, estrogen and progesterone in each cycle.  These sequential endometrial events are critical in the preparation of the endometrium becoming receptive for a fertilized egg to implant.  Indeed, there is only a specific time during the cycle, called the “window of implantation”, when the endometrium is receptive for implantation.  

Extensive research has focused on identifying either morphological characteristics or molecular level markers of the endometrium to determine when the endometrium allows implantation of an embryo.  The hypothesis behind this research is that an endometrium lacking the required features and markers is considered abnormal and thus non-receptive for embryo implantation.  However, it has recently become clear that there are not only one or two such biological markers of endometrial receptivity, but instead a whole group (hundreds) of molecular signals that together describes receptive endometrium.

Interestingly, recent research has indicated that the window of implantation in some women with recurrent implantation failure has shifted from what has been traditionally considered the window of implantation.  

Dr. Carlos Simon (University of Valencia, Spain) presented his findings on this phenomenon at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Gynecological Investigation (SGI) in March this year. He described that the window of implantation for some women can be either earlier or later than the typical window of implantation.  Thus, if embryos are transferred when the endometrium is not fully prepared or when it has passed its peak receptivity, implantation cannot occur.  

When his research team determined the correct window of implantation for women with multiple past implantation failures and the embryo transfer was performed during their “personalized” window of implantation, these women had comparable pregnancy rates to the control women of their age group.  If these research results can be confirmed in larger patient groups, there will be therapeutic options available for some women with unexplained implantation failure. 

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