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Archive for the ‘Surrogacy’ tag

A Long Island IVF Rainbow Baby Story

By admin

September 27th, 2016 at 7:36 am

image:wpclipart.com

This beautiful story of light after loss was shared by and printed with the permission of one of our patients, Susan:

“Rainbow Baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean the storm never happened or that the family is still not dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope”. – Anonymous

 

 

Our storm began April 23,, 2013, when at 23 weeks pregnant, we lost our beautiful twin boys James and Logan. There was no reason, no cause given, just that we lost them. We never got to hear them cry or breathe or hold living babies in our arms. To save me, the doctors took our babies and my uterus, eliminating my chance of ever carrying another baby. When you lose a baby in utero, you don’t get a birth certificate or even a death certificate – in the eyes of the law they never existed.

Leaving the hospital with only their footprints and memory boxes was the worst possible feeling I could have ever imagined. The days, weeks, and months that followed were dark and stormy. Every day we questioned how we could ever go on. Would we ever feel the love and happiness we experienced the day we learned we were pregnant with James and Logan?

I have to believe that our baby boys led us to our rainbows. As sad and distraught as we were, we felt drawn to find another option to complete our dream of becoming parents, of someday hearing the words “mommy” and “daddy”.

Through our fertility clinic, Long Island IVF, we were sent to an agency where we were matched with a surrogate. Little did we know that she would become our angel on Earth – she would bring our rainbow babies to us. Her due date was April 20th, my birthday and almost three years to the date we lost our baby boys.

On March 28, 2016, Alexa Grace and Ashley Hope– our rainbow babies– entered our world and we felt the love and joy we doubted we would ever know. Losing James and Logan was the worst possible storm we will hopefully ever have to weather, but with them watching over us we became a family. As the quote says, the rainbows don’t take away the storm clouds but these little girls make us cherish what we have here on Earth and what we have in Heaven.

In an effort to help others who may be struggling in a similar way, I wanted to share our story–including a piece about the struggles and decisions we made that only people going through similar situations would understand. Our journey to have Ashley and Alexa was not easy – there were many times we wanted to give up, but we always came back to the belief that we were MEANT to be parents.

Our first attempt with our surrogate resulted in a miscarriage – another devastating loss, but we still had embryos remaining so we had those genetically-tested and we had one, genetically normal, male. We did that transfer in April 2015 and it didn’t take. Mark and I took some time to reflect and think of other options – adoption, donor egg, or live childless.

We met with Vicky Loveland, the nurse in charge of the Donor Egg Program at Long Island IVF, and decided the best choice for us would be donor egg. Vicky and her staff were wonderful, they walked us through each step of the process and made me feel like a “mom”. Don’t get me wrong, I did grieve – the loss of ever carrying a child and the loss of ever having a genetic child of my own, but it always came back to knowing I was meant to be a mom and Mark a dad. With Vicky’s help we quickly found a donor that we felt most matched me and the process began. We ended up with four embryos and decided to put two in for transfer.

The moment we held Alexa and Ashley I sighed and smiled – my babies were here and we were finally a family. We have brought the girls in to the clinic to meet all the amazing people that made our girls possible. Mark and I were blessed to find Long Island IVF and all the caring individuals who gave us hope.

-Susan and Mark

 

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The Male Biologic Drive to Parent

By David Kreiner MD

July 7th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Photo credit: Valentina, proud wife and mom of Devin and Danny

Fatherhood comes in many different varieties that as a reproductive endocrinologist specializing in family building I see on a regular basis.  Whether the man is involved in a traditional heterosexual relationship or is attempting to build a family with his male partner or by himself, man… like woman… feels a biologic drive to parent.  As such, although adoption is a wonderful way to create a family, surrogacy and egg donation is appealing to male-only prospective parents because it affords them the opportunity to have a biological connection to their baby.

 

There are two types of surrogates: traditional and gestational.  A traditional surrogate supplies her own eggs and carries the baby to term.  Gestational carriers do not supply their own eggs and therefore a separate egg donor is utilized.  Unlike donated sperm, donated eggs require the in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) process involving hormonal stimulation of the female egg donor, monitoring during the 2 weeks of stimulation, and transvaginal egg retrieval which is performed under anesthesia.  Typically, the intended male father supplies the sperm and the fertilized eggs or embryos are placed into the uterus of the gestational surrogate.  Surrogates carry the pregnancy to term then surrender the baby and their parental rights to the father or male couple.  The process involves the use of assisted reproduction attorneys, and/or a donor/surrogacy agency. The entire process including IVF with egg donation, surrogacy, and obstetrical care has a cost that can be insurmountable for many men desiring to start a family, estimated to cost between $125-150,000.

 

There have been a few ways some men have successfully cut this expense.  First of all, the fee agencies charge to supply the donated eggs and the surrogates ranges from $10,000-$40,000 independent of the fee the reproductive attorney charges or the cost of psychological screening.  Some IVF programs will supply these services at a much lower cost.  In addition, these IVF programs have relationships with lesbian partners who may be interested in becoming surrogates after they have completed their own families.  Also, some income-based grants exist for male couples in need of surrogates.

 

Whatever your situation, Long Island IVF has the history, the means, the skills, and the desire to assist you in your family building journey.  We can assist you in finding the best agencies/donors/surrogates, reproductive attorneys and counselors to insure that you have the greatest chance of achieving your goal for the family of your dreams.

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How important is it to you to have a biological child and what is the greatest obstacle to you’re facing/faced in achieving that dream?

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Long Island IVF Builds Families for GLBT Community

By Tracey Minella

November 4th, 2014 at 6:57 pm

 

credit: david castillo dominici/free digital photos.net


Long Island IVF is so excited to return to the Long Island GLBT Expo this weekend on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at the Long Island Hilton in Melville, New York. We’ll have a raffle again, too, so be sure to stop by.

Long-committed to helping the GLBT community build their families, we love being able to reach out in person in a supportive environment like the expo. It gives you a chance to get a feel for us in a casual, rather than clinical, atmosphere. Some of our staff belongs to the GLBT community, so we understand what you’re feeling. Choosing a fertility practice is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make, so come over to our booth and say hello and ask us some questions.

Here’s a true story: Last year, a couple of guys (let’s call them “Max” and “Larry”~ not their real names) came by our booth at the expo. We talked. We bonded. And today, Max and Larry are a couple of proud new dads!  Their beautiful baby’s birth announcement just recently arrived. And it all started with a conversation at this expo.

There are so many options available and amazing new advances in assisted reproductive technologies that can help resolve your unique family-building challenge. We offer the most cutting edge technologies, including PGS (Pre-implantation Genetic Screening), and EEVA (Early Embryo Viability Assessment), many of which are only available at a handful of fertility centers in the country. We have pre-screened, multi-ethnic anonymous donors ready to help you, if needed. And we offer personal financial representatives to help navigate insurance issues and explain our many grant programs and flexible payment options.

We look forward to welcoming you into our family as we help you build yours.

 

LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

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Will we be seeing you at the expo on Sunday?

 

Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/latin-mother-with-daughter-and-aunt-photo-p200021

 

 

 

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Infertility and The Greatest Gift

By Tracey Minella

April 12th, 2014 at 7:02 am

 

credit: artur84/freedigitalphotos.net


Ever wish you could make a real difference in someone’s life? A life-altering difference?  Well, you can, and you just may improve your own life in the process.

Egg donation is a gift you can give to a friend, family member, or stranger who desperately wants to conceive, but for any number of reasons, is unable to do so with her own eggs. She needs the eggs of a young, healthy, generous woman. Possibly you.

Donor egg recipients are often women who have struggled with infertility for years. Many have exhausted all other medical options to conceive using their own eggs or may have suffered the pain of repeated miscarriage along their journey. Sadly, some women battle cancer only to find that chemotherapy and/or radiation robbed them of the ability to use their own eggs to start a family afterwards.  

Egg donors are special, empathetic people.

Although they are financially compensated in the sum of $8,000, most women donate their eggs simply because they want to help someone else.

Some donors have had children and know how much motherhood means. Others may be students who aren’t ready to have their own families just yet, but want to help someone else do so. Most healthy, young women under the age of 31 can be candidates.

Long Island IVF gave Long Island its first donor egg baby. For more than two decades our Donor Egg Program has been helping donor egg recipients find the right egg donor and build their families.

If you’re interested in giving someone the ultimate gift…the chance to become a mother…and want to learn more about becoming an egg donor, including details regarding compensation for participation in the program, please contact the Donor Egg Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, RN, at (631) 752-0606 and view our website at http://www.longislandivf.com/egg_donor.cfm

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Are you, or do you know anyone who would be, interested in this opportunity? If so, please call or forward this information to others.

If you have donated… or received… eggs would you share your experience?           

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100169597 artur84

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Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Seminar this Tuesday Night!

By Tracey Minella

April 13th, 2013 at 9:19 am

 

 Having trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant? Thinking about exploring Donor Egg?

Well, Long Island IVF has the perfect seminar for you next Tuesday night which will answer all of your questions! In fact, we’re so excited about this seminar that we simply couldn’t wait a week to have it during National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).

And when you hear about the very special reason why this free seminar is a must-attend-at-all-costs event, you will want to be here. So mark your calendar and come kick off NIAW one week early.

You will learn how you can have a new beginning with Donor Egg! Your knowledge and hope may grow as you hear presentations by Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Program Director Dr. Steven Brenner, Donor Egg Clinical Nurse Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, R.N., and Aviva Zigelman, L.C.S.W.

But here is the real unique and special thing about this seminar…

You will hear the story of a previously successful recipient who created her family using donor egg! Imagine how incredibly moving and valuable that would be if you are a considering using or being an egg donor.

And after you take in all this information, you’ll be happy to know that there is no waiting list for egg donors at Long Island IVF. Pre-screened anonymous egg donors are ready to help you when you’re ready to choose this course of treatment. Or, your cycle can be coordinated with a donor of your choosing.

Relax and get your questions answered in a caring and supportive environment. Enjoy the refreshments. See if donor egg is right for you. Want to get a head start on the terminology? Check our website at: http://www.longislandivf.com/donor_programs.cfm

The Donor Egg Seminar takes place on Tuesday April 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm at Long Island IVF’s office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York.

Everyone is welcome.

BE SURE TO CHECK BACK ON MONDAY FOR THE COMPLETE LINE-UP OF LONG ISLAND IVF’S UPCOMING “EVENINGS OF EDUCATION” SERIES FOR NATIONAL INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK WHICH BEGINS MONDAY APRIL 22!

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If you could ask any team member…or the guest speaker who used donor egg to start her family… a question about Donor Egg, what would it be?

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=10553&picture=young-couple

 

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Are “Child-less” and “Child-free” Living the Same?

By Tracey Minella

December 7th, 2012 at 12:07 pm

As a writer, I can see how other writers might use them interchangeably. But the infertile woman in me knows the difference. And it’s huge.

My infertility battle lasted several years, taking 6 fresh IVF cycles and many setbacks and losses before my daughter was born. My son came from my 7th fresh IVF.

Part of working through each lost cycle involved dealing with the nagging fear that… no matter how hard we fought, or where we found the money, or what we were willing to suffer through, or how long we were willing to wait…we could end up without a child. For us, that meant being childless.

And that thought was unbearable. Unacceptable.

In fact, the possibility of ending up childless after such a long, hard battle was a thought I could only allow to enter my mind for the briefest of moments. I pushed it away quickly, even forcefully, for fear that entertaining it for any length of time might make it real. My doctor didn’t sugar-coat the situation: I had only a 10% chance of conceiving…and that was with IVF.

I remember as cycles failed, agonizing over the decision of whether to repeat IVF or if it was time to consider adoption. While I was open to adoption, I stubbornly clung to the desire to carry my own biological child for longer than many others in my situation might. Although I didn’t feel any particular sense of “control” in doing IVF, I just personally felt more proactive doing IVF than waiting and hoping we’d be chosen for adoption. That was just me. I was so impatient.

I faced my bleak prognosis and my life in general, with blinders on… never believing I wouldn’t be a mom someday. Somehow. I would not be childless.

My desire to have a child was all-consuming. Those years robbed me of my usual self, leaving a bitter, oversensitive, judgmental woman behind. It was hard to be truly happy for those blessed with fertility, especially if they complained about anything. I couldn’t even respect the decision of those couples who actually chose not to have children. Without even knowing their reasons, I stereotyped them as self-centered and cold, preferring to indulge in the fine things without enough love in their hearts to share with a child. And I’d just about melt-down whenever there was news of babies being abandoned, beaten, or killed. (Still do.)

To go through life without parenting a child would simply be… less of a life. It would be child-less. I felt that way. And I imagine all infertile people in treatment do. Why else would we subject ourselves to all that we do to try to conceive? The ultrasounds, blood work and procedures. The plastic cups. So if at the end of our individual journeys, our arms are still empty, it is likely because an insurmountable obstacle has forced a child-less life upon us. Not because we suddenly chose to live a life without children.

Child-free people are the complete opposite of infertile people. While we often can’t wrap our heads around it, they have decided that they don’t want to have children. They want to live a life that is…free of children. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like children; they just don’t want to parent them. The lack of a baby in their arms is by choice. It’s a preference that could be based on many different considerations. Hard as it can be at times, we should try to respect that choice, keeping in mind the ideal that all babies should be loved and wanted as desperately as we want to have them.

Child-free people with no regrets don’t feel a void in their lives. Child-less people likely always will.

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Do you think the terms “child-free” and “child-less” are interchangeable? Most of us understandably feel jealous at times when we see pregnant people. But how do you feel about those who presumably can have children, but purposely choose not to?

 

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil Public domain pictures http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=10591&picture=empty-swing

 

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Discoveries Along Your Infertility Journey

By Tracey Minella

October 8th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

image courtesy of nuttakit/free digitalphotos.net

Today, celebrate the day Columbus discovered America.

Imagine starting out on a journey on uncharted waters… a handful of nervous strangers in the same boat. As you’re leaving shore, almost everyone on the dock thinks you’re crazy, or at a minimum, doesn’t understand your need to go on this adventure. Time passes with no end in sight as you plod along fighting bouts of nausea and depression. Then, the journey gets really long. Your patience grows thin. Mutiny crosses your mind.

Hey, I didn’t sign up for this!

Come to think of it, you don’t need to imagine this scenario…you’re in the same boat. Well, a similar boat. Sure, you don’t have to worry about scurvy (thanks, pre-natals!) but navigating those IM needles is no picnic. Walk the plank or take Clomid? Tough call.

When you’re diagnosed with infertility, your life veers off the path you thought it’d take. And a new journey begins. It could be relatively quick and inexpensive or it could steal years from your life and be so emotionally, physically, and financially challenging that you just want to jump overboard.

But there are discoveries along the way, though we don’t always realize the lessons until looking back years later. Those experiences shape us into who we are meant to be, and show us what we are made of. They test relationships and build friendships. Some people face unspeakable losses and others unimaginable joy.

And, like Columbus, we don’t always end up where we thought we would at the outset.

But the journey does end for all of us, whether it’s with a biological baby… a baby through donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryos… a baby through surrogacy or a gestational carrier… a baby through adoption… or even a decision to live child-free.

And the place you land is a place of new beginnings.

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Was/Is your infertility journey longer than you thought? What have you discovered as a result of your infertility journey?

 

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Uterus Transplants in the News

By Kathleen Droesch MD

September 24th, 2012 at 8:31 pm

credit: david castillo dominici/freedigitalphotos.net

Swedish doctors this week reported on two women who each received a donated uterus from her mother in the hope of one day being able to become pregnant, carry, and deliver their own children.*

Until recently, uterine transplants were only performed successfully in animal models.  After many years of research, a live-to-live donor uterus transplant has now been offered to two women.  One woman was born without a uterus while the other had a hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Previously, these women would have been unable to have a biological child unless they utilized a gestational carrier to carry the pregnancy to term.

Prior to the transplants, both patients underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures for the purpose of stimulating their ovaries to produce multiple follicles (eggs). The eggs were retrieved, combined with a semen specimen for fertilization to occur, and (because the women did not yet have a uterus to transfer the embryos back into) the resulting embryos were cryopreserved (frozen for future use).  The embryos will be transferred after waiting one year to allow for healing and confirmation of the viability of the transplanted uterus.

Certainly there are disadvantages and potential concerns regarding this procedure.  The recipients will need to take immunosuppressive medication to prevent rejection of their transplanted organs. Although, there are studies of women after kidney transplant that have had successful pregnancies while on immunosuppressive medications. It will also be more than a year before they will be able to attempt pregnancy and there are no guarantees that they will ever be successful. Even if the women achieve pregnancies, the ability of a transplanted uterus to function normally in pregnancy has not been studied.

Currently at Long Island IVF, we have patients using donated oocytes (eggs) or embryos. We also have a number of patients who’ve had their embryos transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier.  Not only is this a complicated decision for a couple to make, but a carrier that the couple trusts may not be available.

It is exciting to see the ongoing research into fertility issues.  Although uterine transplants are currently considered experimental, one day they may take their place alongside kidney transplants for women who desire the ability to experience pregnancy after the loss of their uterus.

*For the full report, click here: http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/19/health/uterine-transplant/index.html

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What do you think of this breakthrough in technology?

 

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Sisters and Infertility

By Tracey Minella

August 6th, 2012 at 11:25 am

Sisters are an important part of IVF.

If you have a good relationship with yours, she can be anything from your egg donor, gestational carrier, or surrogate to your shoulder to cry on and your biggest cheerleader. Raised in the same home, she likely shares your values, knows your dreams better than anyone, and has a sense of when you need space and when you need hugs.

On the flip side, if you have a bad (or no) relationship with your sister, the stress of infertility can make things worse. Especially if she easily had the family you’re still trying to have. Or if she married after you or is younger than you and she gave your parents their first grandchild. And it’s worse if she complains about how she wasn’t even trying to get pregnant with that fourth one…or gloats how her husband just has to “look at her” and she gets pregnant. Of course, if your parents show favoritism (or you imagine it), the frustration will grow even more.

Sisters don’t have to be related by blood. Some friends are closer than sisters. And for many, sisters are the friends you choose yourself. As an only child, I consider my closest friends to be my sisters and could not have gotten through my IVF years without them.

If you missed National Sisters Day yesterday, now is your chance to give your own sister a “shout-out” for her role in helping you along your infertility journey. She does so much for you. Why not let her know right now? I’ll start. Thanks to Lisa M., Rose, Lisa G., and my sweet sister-in-law, Sue, in Heaven.

Go on. It’s your turn now…

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=6610&picture=5-sisters

 

 

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The Importance of a Soul Mate in IVF

By Tracey Minella

August 3rd, 2012 at 8:13 am

courtesy of Rosen Georgeiev/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I should begin by applauding the single ladies doing IVF. I didn’t do IVF without a partner by my side, but had the circumstances required it, my desire to have a baby would have put me on the IVF road myself as well. I imagine you all having amazing strength simply for undertaking the challenge of single parenting, never mind the lengths you’re going to to make it happen.

But IVF with a partner is obviously very different. It must be… simply by nature of there being a relationship involved.

There’s the issue of blame. There shouldn’t be. But there often is. If one of the pair has the diagnosis, there’s often guilt to deal with. That’s never good for a relationship.

Sometimes, there are the issues of donation and third parties. Donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos. Or the need for a gestational carrier or surrogate. More complicated stuff.

There are almost always financial issues unless you are lucky enough to have generous insurance coverage. If your jobs don’t offer infertility insurance, or your employers aren’t supportive of your situation, there can be stress at work…which spills over into the home.

Then there’s the stress of watching other couples have it all. The baby you can’t have without the treatment. The house or vacation you can’t afford because of the treatment. Why you?

Infertility is isolating. It’s just the two of you. It’s like living long-term in that moment of your vows where you said “for better or for worse; in sickness and in health” but never thought the bad stuff would really happen to you.

For me, the lows were so low at times that I didn’t always appreciate my husband’s support while we were going through it. I was too consumed by the details, too worried about failing, too focused on the goal. Not focused enough on the guy at the end of that long needle each night. The one who quietly absorbed the brunt of my hormonal outbursts. The one who held me when the bottom fell out of the world. The one who never questioned my need to try again. And again.

There’s no doubt that infertility is one of the toughest tests of a marriage. Most couples that make it through successfully are surely stronger for it. I feel that most couples who come to the end of their journey together…whether it ends with a biological baby, an adopted baby, or a decision to remain child-free…proudly wear an invisible badge of marital courage.

But I feel for those whose marriages crumble from the strain of infertility. Would they have survived if not for those stresses? Would they have been one of those happy couples who skate through life escaping all real adversity? Or were they doomed anyway, and infertility just happened to be the blow to expose their already weak foundations? It’s hard to say.

Looking back, I wish I’d been better at stopping the world from spinning and re-connecting with my partner along the way. Try to do that. You are the only two who understand what you are going through and what is on the line. What you have to lose…what you have to gain. Don’t lose sight of each other when simply going through the motions of your treatment. Show your gratitude.

All journeys end. Most end happily, though not always the way we imagine happiness will be when we started. Then you get to look back on it years later and laugh at things you never thought you would. And realize you’d never have gotten though it all without your soul mate.

Happy 27th Anniversary to mine.

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What’s the one moment on your journey that you realized you were/were not with your soul mate? What would you tell your soul mate to thank him/her?

 

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