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Archive for the ‘Trying to Conceive’ tag

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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March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

By David Kreiner MD

March 1st, 2017 at 12:20 pm

 

photo: Ryan McGuire/gratisography.com


I don’t have to tell you that endometriosis can be a very painful illness and that it can cause infertility. It is often a reproductive lifelong struggle in which tissue that normally lines the uterus migrates or implants into other parts of the body, most often in the pelvic lining and ovaries. This leads to pain and swelling and often times difficulty conceiving.

If you have endometriosis, you are not alone. Five to ten percent of all women have it. Though many of these women are not infertile, among patients who have infertility, about 30 percent have endometriosis.

Endometriosis can grow like a weed in a garden, irritating the local lining of the pelvic cavity and attaching itself to the ovaries and bowels. Scar tissue often forms where it grows, which can exacerbate the pain and increase the likelihood of infertility. The only way to be sure a woman has endometriosis is to perform a surgical procedure called laparoscopy which allows your physician to look inside the abdominal cavity with a narrow tubular scope. He may be suspicious that you have endometriosis based on your history of very painful menstrual cycles, painful intercourse, etc., or based on your physical examination or ultrasound findings. On an ultrasound, a cyst of endometriosis has a characteristic homogenous appearance showing echoes in the cyst that distinguish it from a normal ovarian follicle. Unlike the corpus luteum (ovulated follicle), its edges are round as opposed to collapsed and irregular in the corpus luteum and the cyst persists after a menses where corpora lutea will resolve each month.

Women with any stage of endometriosis (mild, moderate, or severe) can have severe lower abdominal and pelvic pain – or they might have no pain or symptoms whatsoever. Patients with mild endometriosis will not have a cyst and will have no physical findings on exam or ultrasound. It is thought that infertility caused by mild disease may be chemical in nature perhaps affecting sperm motility, fertilization, embryo development or even implantation perhaps mediated through an autoimmune response.

Moderate and severe endometriosis are, on the other hand, associated with ovarian cysts of endometriosis which contain old blood which turns brown and has the appearance of chocolate. These endometriomata (so called “chocolate cysts”) cause pelvic scarring and distortion of pelvic anatomy. The tubes can become damaged or blocked and the ovaries may become adherent to the uterus, bowel or pelvic side wall. Any of these anatomic distortions can result in infertility. In some cases the tissue including the eggs in the ovaries can be damaged, resulting in diminished ovarian reserve and reduced egg quantity and quality.

The treatment for endometriosis associated with infertility needs to be individualized for each woman. Surgery often provides temporary relief and can improve fertility but rarely is successful in permanently eliminating the endometriosis which typically returns one to two years after resection.

There are no easy answers, and treatment decisions depend on factors such as the severity of the disease and its location in the pelvis, the woman’s age, length of infertility, and the presence of pain or other symptoms.

Treatment for Mild Endometriosis

Medical (drug) treatment can suppress endometriosis and relieve the associated pain in many women. Surgical removal of lesions by laparoscopy might also reduce the pain temporarily.
However, several well-controlled studies have shown that neither medical nor surgical treatment for mild endometriosis will improve pregnancy rates for infertile women as compared to expectant management (no treatment). For treatment of infertility associated with mild to moderate endometriosis, ovulation induction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) has a reasonable chance to result in pregnancy if no other infertility factors are present. If this is not effective after about three – six cycles (maximum), then I would recommend proceeding with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Treatment for Severe Endometriosis

Several studies have shown that medical treatment for severe endometriosis does not improve pregnancy rates for infertile women. Some studies have shown that surgical treatment of severe endometriosis does improve the chances for pregnancy as compared to no treatment. However, the pregnancy rates remain low after surgery, perhaps no better than two percent per month.

Some physicians advocate medical suppression with a GnRH-agonist such as Lupron for up to six months after surgery for severe endometriosis before attempting conception. Although at least one published study found this to improve pregnancy rates as compared to surgery alone, other studies have shown it to be of no benefit. The older a patient is, the more problematic post surgical treatment with Lupron will be as it delays a woman’s attempt to conceive until she is even older and less fertile due to aging.

Unfortunately, the infertility in women with severe endometriosis is often resistant to treatment with ovarian stimulation plus IUI as the pelvic anatomy is very distorted. These women will often require IVF in order to conceive.

Recommendations

As endometriosis is a progressive destructive disorder that will lead to diminished ovarian reserve if left unchecked, it is vital to undergo a regular fertility screen annually and to consider moving up your plans to start a family before your ovaries become too egg depleted. When ready to conceive, I recommend that you proceed aggressively to the most effective and efficient therapy possible.

Women with endometriosis and infertility are unfortunately in a race to get pregnant before the endometriosis destroys too much ovarian tissue and achieving a pregnancy with their own eggs becomes impossible. However, if you are proactive and do not significantly delay in aggressively proceeding with your family building, then I have every expectation that you will be successful in your efforts to become a mom.

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Do you suffer from endometriosis? How has it impacted your fertility journey? Do you have any advice for others who are suffering?

 

 

Photo credit: Ryan McGuire at http://www.gratisography.com/

 

 

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Long Island IVF Free Seminar and Live Demo: Improving IVF Success with Acupuncture

By admin

February 28th, 2017 at 9:27 am

If there was something holistic—an ancient, trusted treatment—that might improve your chances of success with IVF would you want to learn more about it?

What if this exclusive, yet very affordable, natural therapy might even help if you’ve had prior unsuccessful IVF cycles? And what if this complementary therapy cost less than $200 per IVF cycle? Are you ready to learn more… even see a live demo of the treatment?

With so much riding on the outcome of an IVF cycle—emotionally and financially—many patients are looking closely at ways to “customize” their traditional IVF cycle. Depending on a patient’s particular case, customized “add-on” treatments might include such things as ICSI, PGS/PGD, and other cutting-edge Western medicine offerings.

Now, there is something from the East that shows promise, too… Acupuncture for fertility.

Long Island IVF is the first infertility practice with a Reproductive Endocrinologist who is also a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and a NYS certified medical acupuncturist.

Motivated by a desire to find complementary holistic approaches to enhance today’s best Western medical technologies, Long Island IVF co-founder and REI, Dr. David Kreiner, went back to school to study TCM after over 30 years of making babies.

Dr. Kreiner is now applying that acupuncture training in the IVF procedure room, both pre- and post-IVF transfer–exclusively to ALL interested Long Island IVF patients. IVF patients… especially those for whom Western medicine alone has not yet produced a baby…may benefit from adding this ancient therapy.

Long Island IVF’s Acupuncture Program is hosting a free seminar with Dr. Kreiner and a special guest–local acupuncturist James Vitale, M.S.,L.Ac–to discuss topics related to improving IVF success with acupuncture. You can also see a live demonstration of fertility acupuncture.

Don’t miss this special FREE program on Thursday, March 9, 2017 from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm at our Melville office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. Register here now: http://bit.ly/2kBnYV7

We look forward to seeing you there. Please contact Lindsay Montello, Patient Services, at 631-752-0606 or LMontello@liivf.com with any questions.

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Are you coming to the Acupuncture Seminar?

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 and 2016 and 2017!

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 and 2017 contest…three 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 for almost 30 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 Best In Vitro Fertility Practice on Long Island… Again!

By admin

February 8th, 2017 at 10:05 am

For the third consecutive year, we humbly and excitedly announce that Long Island IVF was again voted the “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice” on Long Island in the Best Of Long Island 2017 contest. We won the same wonderful honor in 2015 and 2016 as well.

We recently received word that we won again… and it’s thanks to all of you! Literally. Your votes made this possible.

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so genuinely 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. But your endorsement of us to your friends, families, and the public (by voting for us) means so much and will enable us to help even more infertile couples fulfill their dreams of building a family.

By voting for us in this public contest—and leaving positive reviews on MD review sites about your experiences with our doctors– you help other couples decide to trust us with their care, too. So thanks for doing that.

As we usher in 2017…our 29th year…we will continue to offer our unique blend of cutting-edge medical technologies and holistic, personal support… wrapped in the comfort of a private, non-hospital setting.

Thanks again, everyone.

 

 

 

 

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Long Island IVF Workshop: Keep the Passion in Lovemaking during Infertility

By Tracey Minella

January 18th, 2017 at 11:35 am


What if the idea of “doin’ it” just ain’t doin’ it for you?

Like a winter storm, battling infertility can beat a couple down over time. Hot on the heels of navigating the winter holidays without children and facing another New Year’s without the baby, is the coming pressure of Valentine’s Day and all its sexy hype.

Who needs a night of chocolates, flowers, satin sheets, and lacy lingerie when all you really want is a night of Dominoes® home delivery, spit-up soaked sweats, and colicky midnight feedings?

So how do you keep the passion in lovemaking even when baby-making is challenging?

Long Island IVF’s own psychologist and infertility specialist Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. is hosting a workshop specifically designed to help infertile couples navigate the challenges of feeling sexual and loving and keeping their passion alive while battling infertility.

The free workshop will be held on Thursday night, January 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the Long Island IVF office at 8 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, New York.

All are welcome to attend—no need to be a patient of our practice. Can’t get your partner to come with you? Bring a friend or come alone. Pre-registration is required so secure your spot and sign up here now.

Let us help you dig out of the depression of scheduled sex, negativity, self-criticism, and fear and rekindle the romance and spontaneity that’s buried under that pile of negative pee sticks.

You love your partner and you are in this together. Let us help you reconnect…because reducing stress and rekindling romance can only help in the end.

Is that Dominoes® at the door?

We hope to see you there! Register today.

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Are you coming to the workshop? Do you have any specific questions or topics you’d like addressed at the workshop?

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Infertile People Have a Dream

By Tracey Minella

January 16th, 2017 at 6:01 pm

image credit: David Castillo Dominici/ freedigitalphotos.net

 

As Americans celebrate the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we usually remember his most famous quotation from his 1963 speech for racial equality.

 

“I Have a Dream…”

 

Those trying to conceive a baby live by these same words. They are the mantra of the suffering, infertile woman.

 

To be clear, infertility is not on the same “life-and-death” level as the civil rights movement.  Yet there is no mistaking the parallels that do exist between the passion MLK Jr. felt for his cause and the passion infertile women feel for their quest for motherhood.

 

When you are infertile, you are ever-aware of a different unfairness and inequality in the world. How fertile couples take their fertility for granted. How others have what you’ve been denied. You suffer unimaginable pain and despair at what is effectively a denial of your right to the pursuit of happiness. And you passionately dream your dream…of a day when you will hold a baby in your arms.

 

MLK Jr.’s peaceful protesting of the injustices of segregation and racial inequality ultimately changed a nation. But for the infertile woman, there is no protest that can make that dream of motherhood come true. Sure, we can and must demand the government do more to help infertile women… such continually advocating for legislation mandating more comprehensive medical insurance for infertility treatment. But ultimately, your plight is based on individual circumstance, not oppression by others. New legislation may help financially, but it alone won’t guarantee you get pregnant. So how do you deal with the frustration over the situation? How do you keep your dream alive?

 

Dr. King…a spiritual man and motivational speaker…gave us more than that one famous quote.  Here’s another one, which speaks to the heart of the infertile woman:

 

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

 

So when you remember the courage of this great man, think about becoming an advocate for political change that will advance the cause for infertile women. Keep the faith.

 

And never give up on your dream.

 

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How do you keep your dream alive? What’s the biggest obstacle?

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Hating the Waiting of Infertility

By Tracey Minella

December 24th, 2016 at 9:37 pm

 

 

photo credit: Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net


I was never very patient and infertility only made that worse.

At the risk of sounding like a spoiled child, I wanted what I wanted—a baby. And I wanted it, well, now. Actually, more like yesterday.

Why should I have to wait? I already did all those things I planned to do before starting a family. School. Career. Marriage. Wild newlywed life. Travel. House. Got off birth control and onto prenatal vitamins. Ditched the booze, briefs, fast food, hot tubs–basically all the fun stuff.

The pre-parenthood bucket list has been checked off.  Hello, Universe? Let’s go already.

The winter holidays always make the impatience worse. Not my year to buy a Baby’s First Christmas ornament. Not my turn to drop a wailing infant into the lap of a creepy mall Santa. Not my moment to see two lines on the stick.

Just not my time. Again.

There’s the two week wait. Waiting on lines in stores. Waiting in the doctor’s office. Waiting for the ball to drop on another New Year’s without the baby. Again.

I’m sorry you have to wait. And I’m sorry your wait is longer than you expected—longer than you ever imagined. I know how hard it is to wait because my own wait took several years.

But I also know how worth the wait it can– and hopefully will–be once it’s finally over.

Wishing you peace and patience during once of the hardest weeks of waiting for your dreams to come true.

 

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Long Island IVF Family Reunion Throwback Memories

By Tracey Minella

December 14th, 2016 at 11:11 am

Long Island IVF held its 28th Annual Family Reunion event recently and celebrated a bumper crop of our newest babies and new parents! What an exceptional showing of cute little miracles and beaming moms and dads. It is without a doubt our favorite day of the year!

Why? Well, because the family reunion is when the doctors and staff get to meet the newest additions to the Long Island IVF family! The last time some of these babies were held, they were only a few cells in size! And the last time we saw most of these brave and determined parents-to-be was when we sent them off– newly-pregnant with a sonogram photo– to continue their pregnancy under the care of their obstetricians.

It’s such an emotional experience for doctors and patients alike. This year, about 150 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 captured the munchkins in a pumpkin patch scene and, with their thankful parents’ permission, you can view these cuties here.

We always wish we could see all of the babies and families we helped to create for the past 28 years, but we’d have needed a sports stadium!

Attending the family reunion is a goal many of our patients look forward to as they go through their treatment cycles. It also makes it easier to say good-bye at the last office visit knowing we’ll see many of them again to celebrate once their miracles are born.

 

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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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The 12 Pains of Christmas and Infertility

By Tracey Minella

December 5th, 2016 at 9:36 am

 

image credit: james barker/free digital photos.net

There’s a funny Christmas song that parodies “The Twelve Days of Christmas” called “The 12 Pains of Christmas”, by Bob Rivers. It starts out calm and as the verses go on repetitively, the frustration escalates. My favorite parts are the lines about rigging up the lights (“One goes out, they ALL GO OUT!”), facing my in-laws (“She’s a witch, I hate her!”) and sending Christmas cards (“I don’t even KNOW half these people!”).

But when you’re suffering from infertility, the holiday season is particularly hard and just about everything having to do with it is frustrating. It’s hard to be festive at office parties when that water you’re drinking is sure to prompt smirks or comments about the pregnancy your co-workers think you must be hiding. Maybe you don’t feel like decorating a tree or attending a cookie swap. The idea of facing the toy stores for the kids in your life’s wish list is simply daunting.

And don’t get me started on the cards. The photo cards. The perfect little baby photo cards. The deluge of pictures of families that flood the mailbox. Every. Single. Day. It hurts to receive them. And it hurts to have to send your own out without a baby photo on it—again.

And it hurts to feel guilt and sadness over feeling how you’re feeling.

So in a small attempt at levity, I propose the following song—an anthem if you will—“The 12 Pains of Christmas with Infertility”, set to the same tune as The 12 Days of Christmas:

Here goes:

The first pain of Christmas with Infertility is…

1-    Hiding Your Infertility;

2-    Pregnancy announcements;

3-    Nosy in-laws’ questions;

4-    Specimen collection;

5-    FIVE GRAND IN MEDS!!!

6-    Facing Toys R Us®;

7-    Booze-free office parties;

8-    One line on the pee stick;

9-    Photo cards with babies;

10- Daily injections;

11- Hiding blood work bruises;

12- Aunt Flo comes to visit.

I’m offering you hope and humor, strength and peace this holiday season.

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What would you add to the list?

 

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Election Day, Politics, and Infertility

By Tracey Minella

November 8th, 2016 at 5:33 pm

 

image: coward_lion/free digitalphotos.net


Today, what feels like the longest, most controversial, and unprecedented presidential election campaign will finally come to an end. Sadly, and on a level not seen before, families and friendships have been broken over this election and we are all watching and holding our collective breath for the results as well as the potential aftermath.

But this post is not to persuade anyone on whom to choose. We each have issues that are important to us and, for some, the choice today may come down to which candidate supports our most important issue.

This post is to reflect on how the infertility community affects political change and public awareness of infertility.

Behind the scenes—and often center stage—countless people fight continuously for the rights of the infertility community. Some advocates are infertile right now; others may have already resolved their infertility but want to help those suffering today—and tomorrow. Some want to see certain groups, such as military veterans, get medical coverage for assisted reproductive technology. While others just want mandated infertility and adoption coverage for all.

There’s a lot going on in the political and infertile world—some front-burner and other back-burner movements.

A couple of months ago, after years of advocacy, the commonly-called #IVF4Vets bill, also known as MilCon-VA, was finally passed, removing the VA-bar on IVF treatment for veterans. This change is the first step toward providing IVF to military veterans who are infertile as a result of their military service. Unfortunately, it’s often one step forward and two steps back when it comes to gaining political ground. At practically the same time, what’s been coined the proposed Harris Embryo Amendment entered the picture. It’s also been called “the worst piece of federal legislation ever introduced”*.

The Harris Embryo Amendment would be a real threat to federally-funded IVF. In a nutshell, it would prohibit the federal funding of any IVF treatments in a federal government facility in which there is a possibility that any resulting viable embryo could be discarded or destroyed. Since excess embryos are not only commonplace in IVF, but generally an unavoidable result of the treatment, the mandated transfer of all fresh embryos would actually, in most cases, be detrimental, since the current standard practice is generally transferring only one or two embryos per cycle. In addition, the survival and use of all embryos thawed after cryopreservation cannot be guaranteed. So, the proposed amendment may threaten federally-funded IVF and cryopreservation as it now exists.

There have been other political initiatives in recent years on behalf of the infertile, including but not limited to the Family Act and the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act. As assisted reproductive technology continues to advance and the demand for these services grows, we can expect to continue to advocate both for and against new legislation.

So, after this election—and maybe just a short break from the politics—consider becoming more involved in infertility-related advocacy and legislation. The first and best step would be to reach out the RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association—the group that fights tirelessly for the rights of the infertile community. (Thanks, RESOLVE!) You can check out the political initiatives here.

And if you are overcome with infertility-related sadness and stress as the holiday season is approaching, please let us help you.

In an effort to increase public awareness of infertility before the special stress of the winter holiday season hits those who are suffering in silence, Long Island IVF is sponsoring the second annual Coming Out Infertile Day with “The Reveal: A Coming Out Infertile Workshop” on November 17th from 6:30-8:00 pm at our Melville office.

This free workshop will be led by our own Mind-Body Medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients and will focus on helping infertile people work through the obstacles that may be preventing them from coming out to their family and friends. The focus is to help those who would like to “come out” to do so in a way that’s right for them, so they can get the support they need. All are welcome. Pre- registration is required here. Like our Facebook page or Coming Out Infertile Day page for information on how to join the social media movement on Nov 17 to come out infertile with one easy graphic and one click-again for those who are ready to do so.

Now, go ahead and vote!

*Barbara Collura, RESOLVE

 

 

 

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