The Egg Freezing Debate Continues
Here are some additional comments about the egg freezing debate that arose last week after the announcement that Facebook and Apple are “paying” for egg freezing. These comments were made by some of the top professionals in the fertility field. The PathtoFertility blog on Friday elicited some of these comments. But like any conversation, of course, it took on a life of its own. Please send any thoughts or comments to me--I will keep them anonymous if you would like--at FertileYoga@gmail.com. This is an important conversation and it’s a way to become more educated, especially for younger woman. I was fascinated by what I learned last week. What do you take away from this conversation?
Professionals Weigh In About Egg Freezing
Thank you for such a well thought out blog. I agree that this is most likely a marketing ploy as well as a recruitment tactic on the part of APPLE and FB. I also agree with Sharon that women need to fully understand the full process, risks, and success rates before undergoing an egg retrieval to freeze eggs. With that said, I am glad to see that this is bringing the issue of women's fertility and egg quality related to age to the forefront. There is such a lack of information and education for women about this subject. The reality is that women can't wait as long as men before having their children. We are taught we can have it all and postpone having children, but not many women understand the risks that come with that postponement...potential infertility. Egg freezing is not perfect. Egg freezing is not a guarantee that a woman will have viable eggs when she is ready to consider using them...but I still think it is worth careful consideration. Will APPLE and FB also pay for embryo freezing? Embryo freezing is actually much more successful in producing a child than egg freezing. If a woman has a spouse or partner, then this offers an even greater option for women who are in a relationship but want to postpone pregnancy. I haven't seen any comments about this.
Not to stir up this pot even more... but...if people are offended by what is going on with APPLE and FB and feel it is simply enticing women to prolong pregnancy, how do you think they will react to the news that some of the IVF centers are now offering women the incentive of getting a couple of frozen eggs for free if they will donate eggs to the center for their egg bank...Egg banks that then sell that woman's eggs to others for a profit? On the surface it looks like a nice gesture to give a donor 1-2 eggs for freezing for herself, but all the literature says a donor needs 10-20 frozen eggs to have a successful pregnancy. What the egg banks are offering is not going to get women what they want or need with egg freezing, but it is going to entice women to donate eggs to that center's egg bank in the belief that they are getting the golden ticket of some frozen eggs for their own use and for free. In the meanwhile, the center is making a profit off of her donation and she could end up with nothing. This is happening now. I find this far more disturbing than anything that APPLE or FB might do. I look forward to your response.
~Darlene Cummings Pinkerton (@apmpresident)
I personally believe that every healthy woman who is considering egg freezing so she can have an "insurance policy" for her future child(ren) needs to be fully educated on what are the possible percentages that her eggs will make the thaw, fertilize and become the pregnancy she was waiting for. And what of the cost of IVF because NOW that she is using frozen eggs the only way to use them is via IVF. Let’s not forget the cost of medication both for the egg retrieval but also for the embryo transfer. (12 weeks of progesterone shots anyone??) So while I think it's great that some companies are expanding their family building option coverage, education is still a key factor for choosing the seemingly convenient choice of putting off child raring for a few more years. (But still with no guarantees!)
~Sharon LaMothe (@SharonLaMothe)
I don't think anyone is arguing the tremendous benefits (potential?) of egg freezing. And for those of us with young daughters, a huge hooray. Even here in this thread, though, we are giving corporations way too much credit. While the outcome may very well be (not sure how it can turn out any other way), that women will have lessened the burden of career pursuits and or finding a partner in a culture where marriage/family making is of less priority to a certain demographic, I find it pretty far-fetched that we assign this level of awareness, compassion or sensitivity to decision makers at a company like Apple. Yes, the benefits to women are many (although someone else, I think it was Risa, cited the economically challenged woman for whom this benefit might be a deal breaker in terms of optimizing her fertility)....if you have been recruited by and are hired by Apple, for the most part, you have already been wooed with the promise of a significant financial package with all sorts of bells and whistles. All of us in this field understand the benefit of this, through our own personal journeys, through the folks we assist and for some as we think about our own daughter's fertility. So, on all of these matters, I agree with all of you (who couldn't, who wouldn't?).
~Amy Demma (@AmyDemma)
Honestly, you would think Apple and Facebook were offering their employees exposure to Ebola with the amount of controversy that has been generated from this news. The sky is not falling because they did this. It may not be perfect, but what I am most surprised about is the low opinion of the intellectual capacity of female Facebook/Apple employees from people who consider themselves feminists.
~Terri Davidson (@marketingmaven)
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Discovering Fertile Yoga While Trying to Conceive
Timing is everything. Or lack of timing. I'm off by about a month, as it's October and I just remembered that September was National Yoga Month.
I spent quite a few Septembers in treatment. And I'm so thankful for the day that I rediscovered yoga while in fertility treatment. It filled me in a way that nothing else did while I was trying to conceive.
Yoga changed my life. With no exaggeration, it may have actually saved my life. An old tired joke I only brag about on special occasions is that while yoga may have saved my life, without a doubt it saved my husband’s life.
Before you get the wrong idea, my husband rarely, if ever, does yoga. He would simply rather not. Yoga is not for everyone, although the benefits are available to anyone even if they do not enjoy the practice. I suspect that the people who do not like yoga have not tried enough different types of classes. I actually do believe there is a yoga class out there for everyone.
Yoga saved my husband’s life not because he participated or practiced yoga but because I did. I was so angry, hurt and resentful that I was lashing out at everyone in my life. Especially those closest to me, including my husband.
So how did yoga save his life?
Relief from Fertility Treatment Stress
The practice relieved stress. Mine. Accumulated from life but more specifically from fertility treatment stress. My heart rate was lower at the end of class in Sivasana than it was first thing in the morning. I felt calmer, less reactive and more capable of handling the frustrations of life.
I felt good about my body, which I was so angry at for failing me in the quest to become pregnant and ultimately create a family. I got to feel my body, in loving and tender ways, even though I couldn’t get pregnant. This was huge. I enjoyed the moments of movement and meditation, unattached to TRYING TO CONCEIVE.
And while I enjoyed the movement and poses of yoga while I was in class, I also found that I was more relaxed and fit even out of class. I felt stronger and more comfortable in my own skin. I breathed more deeply. I ate less because I was less anxious and even a little less sad so my weight came down, lowering my BMI. Because I felt better about my body, I started walking again which created better cardiovascular health.
All of this was great. It was only the tip of the iceberg.
The biggest piece of all was the calm that came through the practice of yoga.
I felt calmer. I breathed more easily. I was less reactive and much less angry.
I felt peaceful.
All those benefits and it saved my husband’s life as well.
If there is no class around you that is dedicated to fertility and yoga, find yourself a gentle, restorative class.
What have you got to lose?
Weight, stress, anxiety, anger and sadness.
Please, do yourself a favor. Give yourself a gift.
Give yoga a try.
CT Fertile Yoga at RMA
I founded and created Fertile Yoga six plus years ago. It was so that I could share and pass on what I had found and discovered for myself. I felt in some ways that I'd found the magic key.
Fertile Yoga, offered through Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), free and open to the public, is available three days a week. Wednesday in Trumbulll at RMACT's office from 5:45-6:45. Thursday in Norwalk at RMACT's office from 5:45-7:00. Friday in Bethel at Yogaspace from 6-7:15. Join me.
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Egg Freezing Debate from Apple and Facebook: Echoes IVF
I’m a skeptic. I freely admit it. If by being a skeptic means I want proof that something’s valid, that’s me, absolutely.
I also have faith, which I define as a belief in something that can’t be proven.
So which is it that comes out with Apple and Facebook’s announcements about “paying” for egg freezing? Skeptic or faith? Is it really true that they are now covering egg freezing? Something that medical insurance companies are most assuredly not covering, except in very specific health-related cases (primarily fertility preservation due to cancer).
It turns out that yes, they are covering egg freezing. Kind of. Sort of. It may be more of a repurposing of money and it does come at a cost. It will come out of other fertility and/or surrogacy benefits, which may also be needed. It sounds like this move is more of a shift in how women are able to use benefits that may already be in place. And it’s certainly not that they are “paying“ for egg freezing. Frankly, none of it is really clear.
Implications for Reproductive Choice
What is clear to me is that this is unequivocally great news for a few different reasons. It’s a giant step forward in assisting women to have reproductive choice, in terms of delaying motherhood until it’s the right time to start their families. Reproductive choice means having children or not, as you determine the time is right for you. That’s choice. It’s also a step forward in setting precedence.
Being able to freeze eggs, first because the technology is there to support the effort, then because the finances are in place to support the effort, gives women a new aspect of reproductive choice that has never existed before. I can understand why it’s being likened to the freedom that the birth control pill offered. In terms of career and being able to be financially sound before starting a family, there couldn’t be better news.
I’m reading that this is partly because Facebook and Apple are in a “perks” race. And that quite a few of the Silicon Valley companies are also involved in that race for their employees.
Great. Keep it coming. Any way in which employees can be treated more humanely and compassionately, I am in favor of.
Is this a subtle message that becoming a mother and working at these companies are not compatible? I saw that question raised in the NBC News article. I can understand the question. Given the other benefits that are being offered, I’d like to think that this is not the case. That’s where my faith comes in.
Still the skeptic in me is not sitting quietly. This is too complicated to be put to rest quickly and easily.
Here are other complications that need to be considered. Oh, yeah, there are quite a few. One that was brought up via a Twitter conversation had to do with the fact that while ASRM and SART may have lifted the term “experimental” for egg freezing, in no way do either of those reproductive health organizations endorse egg freezing or deferring childbearing via egg freezing. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that this technology was developed primarily for fertility preservation--for when women had life- and fertility-threatening treatment. It has evolved since then, to the point that there is now “social egg freezing”. That is what this conversation is really all about.
Another point being discussed is the health and well being of the children born via egg freezing and thawing. And the health and well-being of the women who choose this, who need to be stimulated with medications and then have the eggs surgically removed from their ovaries.
If you are now considering egg freezing, if this perked your ears up a little bit, to hear how mainstream this has become and will likely continue to become, please consider a few very important factors.
About Egg Freezing: Factors to Consider
First, choosing who freezes and stores your eggs is a crucially important decision that you will need to make carefully. Not every fertility program is created equally. Here at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), we have state of the art freezing capabilities. This coming Monday, Katherine Scott, BA, M.Sc., our IVF Laboratory Manager, will discuss what RMACT has to offer that makes us clinically, medically and scientifically different than other REI programs.
Next, is there some possibility that Facebook and Apple are doing this because it benefits them? Well, I’d be truly surprised to find out that wasn’t true. Take a look at the media coverage and exposure they are getting by announcing this. If nothing else, they’ve benefited from that.
Finally, the piece of the conversation regarding long term research and data is eerily familiar to the arguments raised about IVF from several decades ago. Neither of those were in place then either. We didn't know how the health and well being of either mothers or babies would be. Physicians and scientists felt more than reasonably sure based on the research that had been done and their understanding of the science that this was a safe advancement for women who were unable to conceive any other way. But we didn't know. We know more than that now about egg freezing but long term research about the children's health? We still don't know that. This piece of the puzzle raises questions far exceeding this topic of "social egg freezing". Go back further in women's reproductive health history and one will find similar questions regarding the birth control pill.
The skeptic in me in regards to Apple and Facebook covering egg freezing is alive and well. So is the believer in me. I believe that there are ways that women will benefit from this step and conversation and I realize that there are darker sides to this as well.
Most important, is the conversation.
Thanks to everyone who has been participating in this conversation. Special call-outs to Amy Demma, Terri Davidson, Kimberly Logan, Sharon LaMothe, Miriam Zoll and Darlene Cummings Pinkerton. You all made for a very lively, fast moving and compelling conversation.
Next up, Katherine Scott will explain to us what you need to know if you are interested in freezing your eggs.
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Fertility News Recap
Huge day out there for fertility news, conversations, and issues.
A small recap:
Egg freezing - is the conversation piece in the media today. Facebook and Apple offering to allow women to shift some of their fertility/surrogacy benefits to use for egg freezing instead. Amazing. More to follow tomorrow, promise, including our lab at RMACT adding their expertise.
Personhood legislature - in Colorado and North Dakota. Yes, about embryos. Conferring personhood on embryos, why we should all care, whether we live in those states or not. Look for it on Friday.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - How many of us out there feel this one deep down into our very souls? A beautiful piece to read and share, please: "The Loneliness of Grief" from The Broken Brown Egg. Rocked me at the same time it comforted my heart.
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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Words of Hope
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To help raise awareness, the National Cancer Institute has also designated two specific awareness days during the month: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day (10/13) and National Mammography Day (10/17). In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Deb Chitwood from bitsofpositivity.com shared this word art freebie based on Emily Dickinson’s words of hope. I love it. Hope you like it too.
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Our CT Fertility Acupuncturists - A Vital Piece of Our Practice
It’s Medical Monday here at PathtoFertility. Taking liberties with that this morning, by turning towards a different kind of medicine. Acupuncture is an important, vital component of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut’s (RMACT) fertility treatment. It’s not a little something we think you should consider. It’s something that our fertility specialists (board-certified reproductive endocrinologists) really encourage. Really want you to do. Because they think it can help support your quest in becoming and staying pregnant.
So I’m introducing our fertility acupuncturists here today. They are dedicated women who have been in the field of infertility for quite some time. They are gentle warriors and strong advocates for men and women who are trying to conceive. More than that they can help you become pregnant. They can help you become healthier, in all sorts of ways that have nothing to do with conception. They can help you relax. They can help alleviate all sorts of symptoms that are uncomfortable and difficult to live with; they can help you feel better in your own skin.
I waited a long time to try acupuncture. For many usual and typical reasons: scared of pain, worried about bruising, fear of needles, skepticism about it working. I waited twenty years. I did it, I loved it, I recommend it.
Don’t wait twenty years. Try it.
Meet RMACT’s acupuncturists below. Then make an appointment and meet them in person. It will be one of the best decisions you make during this fertility process.~ Lisa Rosenthal
Acupuncture and Fertility
Amy Matton, MS, LAc, A graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with a master’s degree, Amy is a licensed acupuncturist and certified herbalist. While attending the four-year master’s degree program at Pacific, she was awarded the prestigious Kamwo Award for academic excellence. Her clinical internships included Fortune Society and the Hospital for Joint Diseases. At the Hospital her worked focused on disabled women and issues of pain management, sleeplessness, medication side-effects and depression. Her extensive study includes training at the distinguished China Beijing International Acupuncture Centre. Ms. Matton’s areas of expertise include women’s health and fertility issues, pain management, stress, and adjunctive cancer care. In addition to a decade in private practice she has been working with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut for the past six years providing traditional and laser acupuncture to women undergoing treatment for infertility. For more information or an appointment, please call Amy at 203-858-6286.
Jing Zhang, MS, Lac joined our infertility treatment center in August 2006. Jing holds a M.D. degree from Capital University in Beijing, China, and has fifteen years of experience in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. While in the United States, Jing completed a three year postgraduate acupuncture program at the AIA Institute in New York. Besides her work at RMACT and her private office in Stamford, she is an instructor at the Acupuncture Institute of the University of Bridgeport. Her areas of interest include infertility, anxiety, menstruation disorders, weight control and gastrointestinal problems. For more information or an appointment with Acupuncturist Jing Zhang, you may call her at 203-981-5439 or 203-329-9048.
Elaine M. Malin, MTCM, L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and chinese herbalist who works with RMACT patients in the Trumbull office.
Elaine completed an intensive 4-year Masters Program at Five Branches University in Santa Cruz, California, a highly reputable Chinese medicine school founded over 25 years ago. Her Masters of Science degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) included significant Western medical training. She is Board Certified in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine as a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM-Dipl.O.M.), and is licensed in both Connecticut and California.
Elaine completed an externship at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou, China, where Chinese and Western medical disciplines are integrated and performed in hospital clinics. Elaine is the Treasurer and a Board member of the Connecticut Society of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine.
Elaine has specialized training and experience in women’s health issues including fertility, pregnancy, menopause, hormonal and menstrual issues. She has been an acupuncturist with Norwalk Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Program since its inception in 2010.
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Single Moms To Be - Upcoming Events
Please join us for a free educational event "Exploring Options, Available Resources and Community Support" for single women pursuing parenthood, organized by Single Moms To Be.
Single Women Pursuing Parenthood
This free discussion group and social gathering is for single women pursuing parenthood, or seriously thinking about it. This is a chance to meet other women to talk about the decisions, anxieties, excitement and opportunities that you will face along the way to becoming a mother.
Topics may include: choosing a sperm donor, talking to friends, family, and co-workers, creating a support system and what do I tell my child?
Spencer Richlin, MD, Partner, Lead Physician of Single Moms To Be at RMACT
Lisa Schuman, LCSW, Director of Psychological Services, RMACT
Jane Mattes, LCSW, Founder of Single Mothers By Choice
Sunday, November 2, 2014
10:30 am - 12:00 noon ~ Brunch will be served
Even Hotel Norwalk
426 Main Avenue Norwalk, CT
This event is free but registration is required.
Please register here or call Courtney at 203-750-7427 or email RSVP@rmact.com and enter “11/2 event” in the subject line.
Single Women Pursuing Parenthood
Single Women Pursuing ParenthoodSingle Women Pursuing Parenthood
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The Fertile World - When We Isn't Me
When we doesn’t include me. That may be a very well known phrase.
It isn’t to me.
I heard it for the first time the other day on NPR (National Public Radio, not yet another Infertility acronym). The phrase caught my attention. I wish I could give credit to the speaker but I have no idea who was speaking at the time. If you know, could you please email me at FertileYoga@gmail.com?
Back to the point.
Managing the Fertility Treatment Process
Why do we, I, you, feel so isolated, alone and lonely while managing the fertility treatment process?
Not all of us. Not all the time.
But a lot of us. A lot of the time.
That’s where this phrase comes in.
Me? I felt alone because I was alone. That was the simple answer. I didn’t know many other people, women, who were going through fertility treatment when I was. Thank goodness for my dear friend, Pamela Madsen, who eventually led me to Resolve and then to The American Fertility Association.
If it weren’t for Pamela, Resolve and The AFA, I would have been sunk.
Because we didn’t apply to me.
We were people who didn’t know they were having a problem having children.
We were having morning sickness and swollen ankles.
We were pregnant friends.
We were mommy and me programs.
We were happily married couples conceiving in the privacy in their own bedrooms.
We were the “normal” procession of dating, engagement, wedding, baby shower, baby. (How grateful are all of us for the new normal?)
We weren’t me.
No wonder I felt lonely. No wonder at all.
I found we in groups with Resolve and The AFA. That was my we. That was where I fit in, whether it was the we I really wanted to be part of or not, it was the we that I felt a part of. A place where we fit me.
Maybe you too don’t fit with we right now. Not the we that you are used to, anyway. There are other we’s. That’s what I found out.
Why not try Ladies Night In at RMACT? Carrie Van Steen and I would love to meet you. We have a place where you may fit right in.
The we you are looking for.
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fertiFamilia: a Complete Spanish-Speaking Fertility Team
We are pretty single minded here at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT). Our focus? Our patients. Their needs. Your needs. How to make everyone comfortable while they are in fertility treatment. A natural place to start? Let’s speak the same language.
Infertility is a confusing enough language all on its own. Then try translating it into Spanish. It’s way too much to expect, so we don’t. We created a new program that allows our Spanish-speaking patients to be able to more easily understand all the nuances and considerations of el tratamiento de la esterilidad -- fertility treatment options.
Simple. Easy. Understandable.
Read below for more specific information about this new program, specially located in our Danbury RMACT office but available in all four of our locations (Norwalk, Stamford, Trumbull and Danbury).
Please remember that it takes one simple click on our website to turn it into Spanish. Just click on the flag right next to the monitoring schedule.
Also, next week, Angie (Angela) talks about fertiFamilia in her own words. Of course you can read it in English or Spanish~ Lisa Rosenthal
RMACT Launches fertiFamilia to Better Serve Hispanic Infertility Patients
fertiFamilia Includes a Complete Spanish-Speaking Fertility Team at Fairfield County’s Leading Infertility Practice
DANBURY, CT – Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) is launching fertiFamilia, a special program for individuals and couples who are most comfortable discussing their medical care in Spanish. fertiFamilia has a complete fertility team that addresses the medical, financial, logistical and cultural needs of Spanish-speaking fertility patients. The program is the first of its kind in Connecticut; the team includes:
- Dr. Shaun C. Williams, Board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist
- Angela P. Rojas, Program Coordinator and Patient Navigator
- Carmon Ramos, Front Desk Receptionist, Team Leader
- Jennifer Oliveras, Medical Assistant
- Beatrice Abshire, Financial Services Representative
- Nancy Gil, Laboratory Technician
The fertiFamilia team will dedicate a full day to seeing Hispanic patients at RMACT’s Danbury office twice a month, as well as appointments throughout the month at RMACT’s Norwalk, Danbury and Trumbull locations. As an additional service, RMACT has partnered with Mandell’s Pharmacy, whose Spanish-speaking pharmacists and fertility coordinators are available to help patients with their infertility medications in their primary language.
“It is important for every patient to feel comfortable and confident with their infertility treatment plan,” says Dr. Williams, a fertility expert at RMACT. “One of the primary goals is to empower Hispanic patients to learn about their diagnosis, treatment plan and medications in a language they are comfortable with.”
As an additional resource, RMACT’s website is fully translated into Spanish by clicking on the Spanish flag at www.rmact.com. Launched in 2013, this website contains over 100 pages of information about infertility, treatments and even a glossary of infertility terms, all written in Spanish. Like RMACT’s main website, this website has a section that outlines what new patients can expect during their first visits, including a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist and diagnostic testing. It also describes a range of treatment options, ranging from non-invasive paths such as nutrition counseling to sophisticated procedures such as invitro fertilization (IVF) and Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (SelectCCS).
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Ladies Night In Fall 2014
Come and meet a dynamic group of women that gather monthly at Ladies Night In to share their stories, feelings, questions and laughs.
Experience the relief of talking with other women who understand what you are going through.
Build friendships with women who will be by your side throughout your family-building journey.
Free Peer Support Group - Open to the public
Facilitated by Lisa Rosenthal & Carrie Van Steen
These are upcoming dates and locations for this free peer support group, which is open to the public:
Danbury, CT (6:00-7:30) 67 Sand Pit Rd
Tuesday Oct 7th
Tuesday Nov 11th
Norwalk, CT (7:00-8:30) 20 Glover Ave
Thursday Oct 16th
Thursday Nov 6th
Trumbull, CT (7:00-8:30) 115 Technology Drive
Wednesday Oct 22nd
Wednesday Nov 19th
To RSVP or for inquires please email Carrie at email@example.com. RMACT also offers a private Facebook page for our patients who can use support 24/7. Email Carrie for that information as well. Ladies Night In is free of charge and a light dinner is provided.
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