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Archive for the ‘Trying to Conceive’ tag

Surviving Mother’s Day When Infertile

By Tracey Minella

May 12th, 2018 at 9:44 pm

image courtesy of witthaya phonsawat at freedigitalphotos.net

Surviving Mother’s Day when struggling with infertility is the pits. No way to sugarcoat it. Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year for those longing to be mothers.

So, what are you going to do this year?

If you have a close relationship with your own mother and she is still living, she might be able to cheer you up a bit. But even she won’t be able to make it “all better” like she used to. It’s just not that simple. And if she’s gone, that’s a really black hole—it’s so hard to be both motherless and childless on Mother’s Day and living with the unsettled feeling of having no connection to a parent or a child.

Of course, being in the company of a mother or mother-in-law who pushes your “baby buttons” isn’t a picnic either.

And being a mother who has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other infant or child loss is an unspeakable pain only those strong women will ever understand. If you know one of them, resist the urge to avoid what feels awkward and mention her lost angel by name–it will help her in some small way to know her baby hasn’t been forgotten.

On the hardest day of the year, it’s important to do whatever you want and not to be guilted, shamed, or coerced to be in the company of people who will make the day even a drop harder on your hurting heart.

Whether you’re a mother through resolving your infertility journey, a bereaved mother, a mother-to-be, or a mother-in-waiting, you ARE a mother. The day is yours; mark the day as you see fit.

One nice idea might be to plant a tree or a garden dedicated to your child or future child. Something you could watch grow over the years. Something you could explain the significance of to any future children and use as a backdrop for those milestone pictures they grow.

Here’s a mind trick for the day, or for any day: If you are currently on an infertility journey, believe you will ultimately have a happy resolution – – not because it’s guaranteed, but because it’s very possible and positivity can only help.

This is tough advice and it isn’t meant for Mother’s Day but try not to let your sadness and frustration keep you from enjoying some moments of the present. Because the future is coming and regardless of how your journey ends, you can’t get this time back. And you may look back and have regrets on how your life was “on hold” for so long, wishing you only knew back then that it was eventually going to work out somehow. So, trust that the future will be bright and make the best of these times. Hopefully, you will be right. And hopefully, next Mother’s Day will be different.

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Happy National Nurses Week to Our Long Island IVF Nurses

By Tracey Minella

May 7th, 2018 at 7:39 am

image courtesy of imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net

Oh, the nurses. As National Nurses Week begins, we should stop for a moment and ask ourselves: Where would we will be without our Long Island IVF nurses?

Our nurses do it all – – and then some. They are the liaison between you and your doctor and they are charged with keeping all the details of your treatment cycle on track. But then they go the extra mile because they know the importance of what you’re going through and want to help you get to the goal.

Our nurses understand you are more than a chart, more than a patient–you’re a person who wants to be a parent and you need their help to get there. Or you have a child, but need help to give them a sibling. Because some of our nurses were once Long Island IVF patients themselves, they really do understand the highs and lows of the infertility treatment experience. So, they have your back, they’re on your team. They’ll lend their shoulders, dry your tears, and celebrate your successes.

Long Island IVF nurses have a special calling for this mission. Playing a part big part in helping their patients’ dreams of becoming mothers and fathers come true is amazingly fulfilling work. They love what they do and it shows. Nothing makes them happier than seeing newly-pregnant patients return to their ObGyns with an ultrasound photo in hand…except when they come back to the office to show off their little miracles.

Is there a particular Long Island IVF nurse or nurse practitioner that comes to mind as you’re reading this? Are you smiling as you think of her? If so, consider a shout out to let her know she’s made a difference in your life. It would make her day.

Long Island IVF wishes all of our caring and compassionate nurses a wonderful National Nurses Week. We couldn’t do it without you—nor would we want to try.

 

 

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Goodbye Shame: Losing the Stigma of Infertility Workshop

By Tracey Minella

May 3rd, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Let’s talk about the stress, shame, and stigma of infertility. No, really, let’s talk about it.

When a couple cannot conceive without assisted reproductive technology, they often feel guilt and shame. Society sends a message that procreation should happen without assisted reproductive technology. And those who can’t get pregnant the old-fashioned way often feel like failures. Their shame often forces them to suffer in silence, hoping this month will be the month. Hoping no one will ever have to know they had a problem conceiving.

Overwhelmed, many infertile couples throw themselves into their treatment. They go through the hectic schedule of sonograms, lab work, and injections. They deal with the financial burdens, the insurance headaches, and the job stress. But they don’t realize that keeping the secret and the toll it places on their mind and body may be detrimental. And nobody needs another obstacle to conceiving.

The stigma of infertility is real. It is completely unwarranted, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that it exists in society and it impacts countless infertile couples who are struggling on so many levels: physically, mentally, financially, emotionally, and socially.

Unburden yourself tonight. Long Island IVF is offering a free workshop hosted by our infertility specialist counselor Bina Benisch, MS, RN in our Melville office on “Losing the Stigma of Infertility”. All are welcome, no need to be a patient to attend. Preregister here.

Past attendees often say they were a bit hesitant to come in but were so happy they took the chance. There’s never any pressure to join the discussion.

Imagine being in a room with a small group of people who are struggling and feeling so much of what you are going through right now. The in-law pressures, juggling work and treatment, the endless baby showers, the jealousy and fear and frustration. Imagine being with others who also only have each other to confide in, but now having the chance to unload—the chance to process those emotions and unburden yourself with the help of a caring specialist. What an amazing opportunity for healing. In fact, many past attendees were so comfortable by the end of the session that they stayed connected and lasting friendships were formed.

Nobody understands. Nobody other than those who are walking in your stirrups and the skilled professionals who help you along the way.

Let’s heal tonight. Please join us for a transformative experience.

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Long Island IVF Nutrition for Fertility Workshop

By Tracey Minella

April 19th, 2018 at 8:11 am

 

Drive right past those golden arches and get yourself over to Long Island IVF for a fun, free event on “Nutrition for Fertility” on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 PM. Learn how nutrition impacts fertility and find out how your diet may be sabotaging your ability to conceive.

Register here for this nutrition event and several other National Infertility Awareness Week events on yoga, acupuncture, and losing the stigma of infertility. All #NIAW events are free and all are welcome–no need to be a patient to attend. But preregistration is required to claim your spot.

Infertility is hard and the stress understandably sends many toward comfort food. Unfortunately, many comfort foods aren’t healthy and a poor diet can negatively impact your fertility. In fact, some common diets may increase your likelihood of infertility by as much as 85%! So, put down that milkshake and greasy fries and learn about great-tasting, healthy-eating options that may work for– instead of against– your fertility.

Break the vicious cycle and get some control over your fertility back by learning how important good nutrition is in the infertility battle. There isn’t a lot we can control when getting pregnant requires assisted reproductive technologies like IVF or IUI, but we are in control of what and how we eat. So, let’s take advantage of it.

Why not come down to this fun and free nutrition workshop led by certified holistic health coach, Renée Barbis, and learn what to eat when you’re trying to conceive and how proper nutrition can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy and nourish your growing baby.

This event is the first in a series of four events celebrating National Infertility Awareness Week 2018 at Long Island IVF.

Register now to claim your spot for what will surely be a fun and informative evening. Bring your partner or a friend or come alone. All are welcome. Adults only. You will leave feeling inspired and empowered to enhance your own fertility through proper nutrition.

We hope to see you there!

 

 

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Don’t Miss Long Island IVF’s Free Donor Egg Seminar

By Tracey Minella

March 19th, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Let’s face it. Having a baby using donor eggs is just not most people’s first choice. The vast majority of women understandably want a baby with a genetic connection to both them and their partner. So, it can be hard to get past the fear that a donor egg baby may not feel like it’s really yours. And there are so many questions about the process itself and what life is like afterwards. Questions only a mom who used donor eggs can really answer.

That’s why if you are considering using an egg donor to start your family, you should come to Long Island IVF’s free “New Beginnings Through Donor Egg” seminar tomorrow night, March 20, 2018 at our Melville office, from 7:00-9:30 pm. Pre-register here now. You will not only meet our compassionate and experienced Donor Egg Team, but you’ll get to meet one of our many successful and happy donor egg recipient moms. Bring your partner or a friend or come alone. We’re waiting to meet you.

One of our recipient moms is going to share her story of how she was able to become a mom because of our donor egg program. She’s going to tell you the challenges she faced, how she came to accept the idea of using an egg donor, and what life is like now that she is a mother.

She’s going to answer all those questions you have right now, because it wasn’t so long ago that she was in your shoes and had the very same questions and concerns.

We understand that if you are considering donor eggs, you are likely at a difficult crossroads in your fertility journey–one that was likely arrived at after a long, hard road of treatments and sometimes devastating losses. You’re probably on the fence. A bit hesitant.

Come down and get those questions answered, even if you think you aren’t ready to act on the information just yet. Hear a success story. Learn if using young, healthy eggs might be the missing piece for your IVF success. Get educated and empowered about this powerful family-building option.

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. Decades of happy moms agree that using donor eggs was the best decision they ever made and many wish they’d come around to the idea sooner. In addition, gay men wanting biological children also need the help of an egg donor.

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.

This seminar is generally intimate, low-key and not overly-crowded.

Location: Long Island IVF 8 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 101, Melville, NY

Date: Tuesday March 20, 2018

Time: 7:00 pm- 9:30 pm

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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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Will You Conceive in the Year of the Dog?

By Tracey Minella

February 17th, 2018 at 7:22 pm

image courtesy of 9comeback at freedigitalphotos.net

The celebration of Chinese New Year has begun. Out with the Year of the Rooster. Welcome the Year of the Dog. You don’t have to be Chinese to appreciate the richness of that culture’s traditions and the mystique of the Chinese methods of enhancing fertility.

In addition to being a pioneer in cutting-edge Western medicine and assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, Long Island IVF offers fertility acupuncture to its interested patients. This inexpensive, complementary holistic therapy is a hallmark of ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (“TCM”) and is administered by our own Dr. David Kreiner–Long Island’s first reproductive endocrinologist who is also a certified acupuncturist.

Want to learn more about how fertility acupuncture might influence your ability to conceive? Register here for our free upcoming Fertility Acupuncture Seminar on March 29, 2018 at the Long Island IVF Melville office.

The Chinese zodiac consists of a cycle of 12 years, with each year being named for a different animal, and supposedly bestowing upon those born in that year certain characteristics which are similar to the traits of the featured animal.

Children born in the Year of the Dog are said to be loyal above all else. They are also honest, popular, give good and helpful advice, but can be worried and anxious, too. Of course, having a healthy baby any day of any year is likely all that really matters to most.

A Chinese co-worker enlightened me years ago about some Chinese New Year’s traditions, and since many involve luck and good fortune, it’s no wonder people—especially those experiencing infertility– might want to get in on the celebrations, which last a couple weeks.

On New Year’s Eve, the Chinese often celebrate by eating dumplings called “jiaozi”, which translates literally to “sleep together and have sons” according to http://www.theholidayspot.com. They also sweep out the house from top to bottom with a broom and give it a good cleaning. It symbolizes the sweeping away of all the bad luck of the past year so the good luck can enter.

On New Year’s Day, celebrants wear something red. It’s the color of good luck and symbolic of wealth. Elders often give children red envelopes with money inside on Chinese New Year. (And wouldn’t you know—there’s an app for that.) Maybe you can break out a red envelope, start a new tradition, and get your relatives to contribute to the IVF fund.

Tradition dictates that you put away the knives…this is good advice for hormonal women anyway. Using knives and scissors at this time symbolizes the “cutting off” of the good luck and is an omen of bad luck in the year to come. Finger foods today.

My point is that you don’t have to be Chinese to embrace some of the Chinese culture and have some fun. Wear red. Try your hand at jiaozi from an internet recipe—or order Chinese take-out and help a local business start its year of good fortune! Surround yourself with the richness of red and gold. Sweep out that old bad luck and embrace the new year that waits.

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Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or follow any other cultural traditions with fertility-related traditions? Would you like to learn about fertility acupuncture?

 

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Infertility and Anti-Valentine’s Day

By Tracey Minella

February 14th, 2018 at 5:30 pm

image: gratisography.com-ryan mcguire

Ugh. Valentine’s Day…another rough day for many infertile couples.

Sure you can have a romantic night alone. But there’s all kinds of stress with tonight’s “expectations”. Don’t you want to scream “I really just want a snotty, crying, feverish baby to keep me up all night!”?

Frankly, there’s been enough alone time—maybe years of it. It’s time for a bunch of kids to ruin all that. Hello, universe? We’re still waiting!

Then there’s your friends. The ones with kids (which is basically ALL of them, right?) who complain how they don’t want to stay home with their little ones and can’t wait until the sitter arrives tonight so they can toast each other over a peaceful candlelight meal. That’s rough–especially when you’d give anything to have a baby hanging on your neck as you pay the Dominos delivery guy.

You can’t win. You don’t have the kids– yet. And the emotional and financial stresses of infertility take the romance out of your time alone.

So, what do you do if you don’t want to do the traditional Valentine’s Day stuff?

Why not take VD to the extreme and get all silly about it? Over-do it. Do the candy, the flowers, the candles, the rose petals, the satin sheets…the whole, cheesy cliché of it. And then laugh at yourselves. You know the laugh I’m talking about. “Your” laugh. It’s that special thing between you where one can just look at the other and you laugh uncontrollably. You could both use it.

Or do the opposite. Anti-Valentine’s Day. Defy it. No card or gift. No succumbing to the pressure of Hallmark’s holiday. Save a rose garden somewhere by rejecting flowers.

Need inspiration on how to practice extreme defiance of all things traditionally Valentine-y?

  • Skip the primp and be the low-key version of yourself.
  • Run 80 errands for the benefit of people other than yourself.
  • Have that annual GYN exam that’s overdue. It’s the easiest day to get an appointment. Who needs a card when you can have a prescription for a mammogram and a sonogram?
  • Hit the golden arches for lunch. Because nothing says Valentine’s like a Big Mac meal. Go on, supersize it.
  • The Finale: Invite your mother-in-law for dinner.

Bet your day’s looking better already. No need to thank me.

Seriously, just make it whatever you and your partner need it to be today. Don’t succumb to society’s pressures about how you should look, act, or behave. Play it up– or down. But do take a moment to be thankful for each other to lean on during these hard days. Don’t ever downplay that.

And have faith.

Because maybe next year, you’ll be greeting that Dominos guy with a baby hanging on your neck. (How’s that for extra cheese?)

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So, what are YOUR Valentine’s Day plans?

 

 

 

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Groundhog’s Day–The Infertility Movie

By Tracey Minella

February 2nd, 2018 at 2:04 pm

image: wpclipart.com

Groundhog’s Day for infertility patients is about more than just pulling a sleeping rodent out of a hole to find out the forecast. Infertility patients relate more to Groundhog’s Day, the Movie. Remember how Bill Murray’s character was trapped reliving Groundhog’s Day all over again? Every. Single. Day? And how he desperately tried to tweak things each day in order change the outcome and finally get the thing he wanted that was always just out of his reach?

Well, that’s essentially the life of the infertility patient on their journey—especially if the baby quest is dragging out like a long, dreary winter with no hope of spring in sight. Day after day of blood work, ultrasounds, injections that blend into each other. And a frustrating hell of repetitive negative pee sticks month after disappointing month.

So, if you need extra support, Long Island IVF offers it. Our innovative Mind-Body Program, which includes group and individual counseling, may help you cope.

Or register here and come down for our free “Rekindling the Romance in the Face of Infertility” workshop on February 8th. All are welcome—no need to be a patient.

Here on Long Island for the second straight year, two local groundhogs can’t seem to agree on whether we’re going to have to suffer through more ugliness or be blessed with an early spring.

So, what do we do?

We have faith that the outcome we wish for is going to be the one we actually get. And we look forward to the morning when we will wake up from this difficult repetitiveness to a new day where the shadow of infertility is no longer in sight.

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Rekindling the Romance in the Face of Infertility Workshop

By Tracey Minella

February 2nd, 2018 at 10:42 am

Rekindling the Romance

When baby-making get serious– and infertility treatment dictates when you can and cannot have sex– romance goes right out the window. If only there was a fun and supportive workshop where you could learn how to rekindle your romance while struggling with infertility…

Well, actually, there is! Find out how to recapture the passion at Long Island IVF’s free workshop “Rekindling Romance in the Face of Infertility”— open to all infertile couples.

Over the past few years, Long Island IVF has been offering this special workshop for infertile couples, timed right before Valentine’s Day. Led by our popular counselor and infertility specialist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, the workshop explores ways couples can navigate the challenges of feeling sexual and loving – – and keeping their passion alive – – while battling infertility. Ask anyone who’s attended one of Bina’s past workshops and you will hear how easy she is to open up to and how much she understands what infertile couples go through.

If your interest has been piqued– but your “awkwardness alarm” is ringing– then you are in good company. For those blushing at the thought of what’s going to happen here, rest assured no one has to reveal anything personal or even speak at all. This workshop is generally attended by a small group of couples just like you. Wouldn’t it be nice to be around other couples who “get it” for a change—people who understand what you’re going through in a way fertile friends and family just don’t–because they are feeling the same way, too?

Some past attendees tell us they were hesitant and nervous coming in, but were so happy that they did. Just being in the presence of others who are in your shoes makes the isolation of infertility feel less overwhelming. We’ve even had some real friendships begin at this workshop each year as strangers are converted to friends who want to keep in touch beyond the workshop.

The free workshop will be held on Thursday night, February 8, 2018 at 7-9pm 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.

We hope to see you there! Register today.

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Could You Use $13,570 to Build Your Family?

By Tracey Minella

November 16th, 2017 at 2:07 pm

 

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You wouldn’t want to lose $13,570, would you? Well, if you are even remotely considering adopting a child someday, you need to read on.

Both LGBT and heterosexual couples often turn to adoption to create their families. Some may go straight to adoption. Others may first try Assisted Reproductive Technologies (“ART”) like in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) and then pursue adoption if those attempts fail. And some try both adoption and ART simultaneously, ready to accept whichever brings them a child first.

For ages, adoption was the primary route many LGBT couples took to become parents. Gay men (having no eggs or uterus to work with) had little choice before the advent of donor egg and gestational carriers. Unfortunately, private newborn adoptions historically favored placement with heterosexual couples, often leaving LGBT wannabe parents to seek adoption through the foster care system. Sometimes, to reduce the wait time for placement, they’d be encouraged to consider older or special needs children.

While more open-minded than in the past, some of today’s birth parents still cling to those old prejudices when choosing adoptive parents, holding out for the so-called “traditional” parental unit–a married heterosexual couple– rather than an LGBT couple or single parent.

At Long Island IVF, rapidly-advancing assisted reproductive medical technology has opened many avenues to family-building for LGBT couples who want to have a biological child. Depending on the particular circumstances, these options may include using donor egg, donor sperm, gestational carriers, or reciprocal IVF. These advancements, coupled with hard-fought legal victories for LGBT marital and parental rights, did—and continue to– change the parenting options landscape for members of the LGBT community.

In spite of these the medical and legal developments, adoption is still the choice of many couples. The idea of giving a stable home to a foster child that is waiting for love is preferable to many couples, even those who could pursue or had success with medical options.

But whether you choose adoption or ART to build a family, there are financial concerns and the costs of either option can pose a barrier to many couples. Every financial family-building resource, benefit, insurance, or credit that exists must remain accessible to all who need it. For those who choose to adopt, that means preserving the federal Adoption Tax Credit.

There’s a lot going on in the political and infertile world—some front-burner and other back-burner movements. One of the hottest items in the news right now is the fate of the federal Adoption Tax Credit.

The federal Adoption Tax Credit is available to American families to help off-set the costs of adoption. It applies to all adoptions– private domestic, international, and through foster care.

In a nutshell, it’s a federal tax credit currently capped at $13,570 for qualified adoption expenses, though it is affected by the family’s income and tax liability. According to Resolve, the National Infertility Organization’s website:

  • Families earning over $203,540 may only claim a partial credit
  • Families earning over $243,540 are not entitled to any credit
  • Families adopting a special needs foster child may claim the maximum credit
  • The credit may be used for up to five additional years if there is not enough tax liability to apply the full amount of the credit in the first year, and it’s non-refundable.
  • The government saves an estimated $65,000-$127,000 per child that’s adopted out of long-term foster care.

The federal Adoption Tax Credit made headlines after appearing to be on the chopping block as part of the current administration’s upcoming Tax Reform proposal. This caused adoption and infertility rights advocates and religious organizations to leap into action to save the tax credit. Without it, countless children will remain in foster care because those who want to adopt them will not be able to afford to do so. Further, those pursuing private domestic or international adoptions may not be able to afford to those options without the credit.

Fortunately, the most recent reports from last week indicate that the political tide is turning in favor of saving the Adoption Tax Credit, but all those who believe it should be saved need to step up and support it. Do it for yourself or someone you love. Or just do it for the good of orphans and kind-hearted strangers. If you were adopting a child today, wouldn’t you want that tax credit?

If you’d like to lend your voice to the effort, you can contact your local representatives or join the efforts of RESOLVE–the group that fights tirelessly for the rights of all members of the infertile community. You can check out the political initiative here.

1/1/18 UPDATE: The Federal Adoption Tax Credit has been saved in the Final Tax Reform Bill! https://adoptiontaxcredit.org/

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Are you or would you consider adopting a child? Would losing the Adoption Tax Credit impact your ability or choice to adopt?

 

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