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Path To Fertility Blogger Lisa Rosenthal  

Lisa Rosenthal has over twenty-five years of experience in the fertility field, including her current roles as Coordinator of Professional and Patient Communications for RMACT and teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a class designed to support, comfort and enhance men and women's sense of self. Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association, where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director

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Infertility - Trick or Treat?

  
  
  

Fertility Events - Reminders

pumpkin for infertility trick or treatSingleMomstoBe Event this Sunday, a social gathering and educational event for Single Women Pursuing Parenthood (or seriously considering it), featuring RMACT’s Surgical Director, Dr. Spencer Richlin and Lisa Schuman, LCSW (RMACT’s Director of Mental Health Services).

 

Also this Sunday, discover your options this upcoming weekend at the 10th Annual NY Men Having Babies 2014 Surrogacy Seminar & Gay Parenting Expo. RMACT’s Medical Director, Dr. Mark Leondires will be attending, along with some of our GayParentstoBe team members. You can schedule a private consultation with Dr. Leondires.

 

One more minor housekeeping item - NO FERTILE YOGA TONIGHT IN BETHEL. Please check RMACT's calendar of events for the next several weeks for Fertile Yoga as some classes will not be meeting.

 

Onto the blog for today, here at PathtoFertility.

Halloween and Infertility - Trick or Treat?

It’s Friday.

 

It’s Halloween.

 

Traditionally a child-based holiday that involves tricks and treats.

 

There’s the kicker of infertility, fertility treatment and trying to conceive.

 

There’s sweetness in trying to have a baby. Anticipatory feelings of delight in seeing the line on the pregnancy test turn the right color, realizing that you are on your way to expanding your family, knowing the reaction of when you announce the news to your friends and family.

 

Maybe this is a moment you’ve waited for since you were very little or maybe it’s been a relatively new realization that you would like to become a parent. Either way, there is often giddiness, excitement and a touch or more of apprehension about the dramatic changes that will occur in your life.

 

But you’re ready. You want it. You arrange your life to accommodate this new, important life phase.

 

That’s the treat. When it happens easily, it’s a treat. You float on cloud nine. Or you’re sick as a dog. Either way, you are on your way.

 

And here’s the trick. Sometimes it does not work that way. Sometimes the anticipation turns scary, not even wanting to hope, for fear that the disappointment of not becoming pregnant, AGAIN, will flood your senses and emotions. Will devastate you, at least briefly.  

 

I’ve been experiencing a lot of treats and lot of tricks lately through the women that I get to know through Ladies Night In and Fertile Yoga. Through many of you, through this blog.

 

Many successful pregnancies and babies. Absolutely heartwarming and affirming to see pictures, get to visit and see families blooming. I can’t tell you how much it means to each of us here at RMACT to get the pictures of your babies when they are born and to be updated. We love it. I love it.

 

Tricks again though, are so very painful. There really needs to be a new word for infertility, pregnancy loss pain and ending fertility treatment. Painful just doesn’t cover it. While we are not personally experiencing it, we do feel it. We feel your pain. Your loss.

 

We grieve with you.

 

The trick of having the struggle of infertility, making the decision to seek help, go through fertility testing and treatment and not having it work is, as I said, beyond words. Some of us accept it as part of our lives and are able to treat it one day at a time, without being pulled into the tidal waves.

 

Sometimes, it’s just too much. Just one crushing disappointment too many.

 

How many people out there stop fertility treatment even if there is a possibility of being successful the next time? Through sheer exhaustion, physically, emotionally and even financially, there are those that say, “enough is enough”.

 

Is there a treat at the door closing and another opening? Is it donor egg/sperm? Is it surrogacy? Is it fostering a child? Adoption? Is it choosing childfree living?

 

Is there a treat simply for making a decision, even if it’s one that you in no way, ever wanted to make? Is that even a decision or just simply something you were forced into, had no choice at all about.

 

Today, whether you are enjoying the treats of fertility treatment or grieving the tricks, we are here for you. We care.

 

I care.

 

Please let us know how you are doing. We’re going to explore all those questions that I’ve asked, together. You are not alone in this. That, I promise. That, I can guarantee. That is one treat upon which you can depend.

 

 

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CT Fertility Acupuncturist, Amy Matton, Talks About Transitions

  
  
  

Acupuncture for FertilityFrom Fertility Acupuncturist Amy Matton

Reconnecting with the Universe


I think we have gotten away from the natural order of things. With the advent of modern technology many of us are less in touch with nature than ever before. Days can go by without our feet ever touching the earth. Notice how long it has been since you have walked in the woods, stood by the ocean, or marveled at the full moon. Temperature controlled climates, fluorescent lighting and our laptops allow us to work whenever and wherever we please. No longer are we bound to the rhythms of the day and season. And yet we are not separate from our environment; there is a relationship between us and our surroundings. The laws of the universe apply to all; I have always found comfort in this.

 

Fall is a time of turning inward. We gather in the harvest and reap the rewards of our work. Like the sap in the tree moving inwards towards the root, we consolidate and store. The expansive outward energy of summer wanes as yang is moving into yin. The organ associated with fall is the Lung. This is a time we may be susceptible to fall allergies or colds and care should be paid to support our defensive (wei) qi. The emotion associated with the season is sorrow or grief. With the withering of leaves on the trees and energy withdrawing inward, some of us will experience feelings of grief and loss during the transition of the seasons, as we experience a shift in energy and weather. Like the function of the Lung, autumn is a time of both taking in and letting go.

 

I am one of those people. I always feel a little sad in the fall as the warm long days of summer are over and the colder days of winter loom ahead. This year instead of ignoring fall and pushing through the transition, I plan to take time to be a part of it, and revel in the parts I do like: long walks with my dog through the fallen leaves, the beauty of the fall foliage, the crisp snap in the air as I leave for work in the morning, smart wool socks, building a fire and cozying up with a good book, the bounty of apples, squash and root vegetables. All these things help me connect with the season.

 

As the energy of the season turns inward so does my own. For me this means taking care of the interiors in my life, both in my home and my being. As I will be spending more time in doors, I have a renewed interest in making the space harmonious and tackling some projects I have let go over the summer. For instance, I might finally get around to hanging those pictures in the living room that have been stacked in the corner for ages. 


I also feel the pull to do those things that matter most for my emotional interior, like meditation, reading, dancing, cooking and time with family and friends. All these small things help me ease the transition into a new season and reconnect with the universe with which I am a part.

 

 

ct fertility acupuncturist amy mattonAbout Fertility Acupuncturist Amy Matton:


A graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with a master’s degree, Amy is a licensed acupuncturist and certified herbalist. Acupuncturist Amy 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.

 


PCOS Parents Event - Special Team Effort to Help With Your Teenager

  
  
  

PCOS Help - Forum for Parents

pcos support ribbonCalling this one out to parents of daughters who are struggling with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). If your daughter is struggling, then chances are, you are too. If you’ve ever felt like you were stepping on eggshells with your daughter, not sure what to say, when to say it, how to say it, this is a place to find out from experts who have research, data and personal experience with PCOS patients to back up what they are sharing with you.


Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) keeps rolling them out. I know I’m patting us on the back. Sorry. Just loving the response from the doctors, all the way down, over and over again, to our communities' needs. Free support, information, education and even dinner. And yes, open to the public.


Come take part in the conversation with Dr. Joshua Hurwitz, Melissa Kelleher, LCSW, Diana D’Amelio, RPA-C, and Carolyn Gundell, MS, Nutritionist. RMACT’s PCOS team is here for you. Your daughter is not in this alone.


And neither are you. ~ Lisa Rosenthal

 

Details below:

PCOS Support Event - Parents Forum

Wed, November 12, 6:00pm – 7:30pm


Where

Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT - Norwalk, 10 Glover Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850, United States

map

Description

My Daughter has PCOS: A discussion to help parents understand PCOS and how best to manage it while supporting their daughter. For parents or support persons of young adolescents/women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Panel will include Dr. Hurwitz, Melissa Kelleher, LCSW, Diana D'Amelio, RPA-C, and Carolyn Gundell, MS Nutritionist. Please RSVP to Chutchinson@rmact.com. Dinner is included.

 

 

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"Single Women Pursuing Parenthood" Event November 2- Norwalk, CT

  
  
  

 

This Sunday! Free event, open to the public for single women considering motherhood. Read below for all the details of this important event. Yes, free. Yes, open to the public. But, please RSVP as it is expected to be a very popular event. Quite a few RSVP's so far, hope you can join us. To read a personal account from Dr. Spencer Richlin, lead physician for SMTB (SingleMomstoBe) about why is spearheading this program, click here

Hope to see you on Sunday~ Lisa Rosenthal


Single Mothers by Choice, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut to Co-Host “Single Women Pursuing Parenthood” Event

Single Women Interested in Parenthood Invited to Social Gathering, Discussion on November 2

 

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), Fairfield County’s largest fertility practice and egg donation center, and Single Mothers by Choice (SMC), a community and resource for single mothers, are co-hosting an event for single women who are considering becoming mothers. “Single Women Pursuing Parenthood” is a social gathering for single women to discuss the decisions, anxieties, excitement and opportunities of becoming a mother.

 

Single Women Pursuing Parenthood

 

What: Single Women Pursuing Parenthood

Where: Even Hotel, 426 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Date: Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cost: Free, but RSVP required (RSVP@rmact.com with “11/2 event” in subject line)

 

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet experts in single motherhood: Jane Mattes, LCSW and founder of SMC; Dr. Spencer Richlin, a partner at RMACT and lead physician for SingleMomsToBe.com; Lisa Schuman, LCSW at RMACT renown for her extensive work with patients and known in the infertility field for her clinical studies and awards. A light brunch will be served while these experts facilitate a discussion about single parenthood; possible topics include choosing a sperm donor, talking to friends, family and co-workers, creating a support system and how to share their stories with children.

 

“Women have more options than ever when it comes to how and when they want to start a family,” says Dr. Spencer Richlin, a board-certified endocrinologist at RMACT and lead physician for SingleMomsToBe.com. “When we started SingleMomsToBe.com, our goal was to give women more information and resources; events such as this are an extension of that goal with the added benefit of meeting other women considering single parenthood.”

 

About SingleMomsToBe.com

Single Moms To Be, in partnership with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), is a program created to provide support for single women through online resources and RMACT’s dedicated medical team, including lead physician Dr. Spencer Richlin, patient navigators, nurses and counselors. SingleMomsToBe.com provides information to single women who want to know more about the emotional and medical process of using assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to become a mom.

 

About Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT)

RMACT specializes in the treatment of infertility, including assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), and Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening (CCS). RMACT, Fairfield County’s largest fertility clinic and egg donation center, is one of 11 leading In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) centers nationwide chosen by In Vitro Sciences to participate in its Centers of Excellence program. RMACT has offices in Norwalk, Danbury and Stamford, and affiliate New York fertility clinics serving Putnam and Dutchess counties. RMACT also offers infertility treatment financing and support services through RMACT Integrated Fertility & Wellness Center, such as nutrition counseling, massage therapy, psychological counseling, acupuncture and yoga.

 

The RMACT team of Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists includes Drs. Mark P. Leondires, Spencer S. Richlin, Joshua M. Hurwitz, Cynthia M. Murdock and Shaun C. Williams. All physicians are members of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) and the Fairfield County and Connecticut Medical Societies. RMACT’s IVF laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and CLIA; other accreditations include the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM). For more information visit http://www.RMACT.com or find us on Facebook.

 

About Single Mothers by Choice (SMC)

Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) was founded in 1981 by Jane Mattes, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist and single mother by choice. Thousands of single women, predominantly in their thirties and forties, have joined us since that time and remain with us as they strive to be the best parents they can be.

 

Whether you are just beginning to consider the possibility of becoming a single mother, are trying to adopt or conceive, or are already a single mother by choice, SMC can provide you with information, resources, and the opportunity to create a unique virtual and local support network of your peers.

 

Our primary purpose is to provide support and information to single women who are considering, or have chosen, single motherhood. Our members meet with one another all over the United States, and in Canada, Europe, and beyond. We network with each other and share information and resources about donor insemination, adoption, and parenting at local levels and/or through our lively online discussion forum and newsletters.

 

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TTC? How Long? Fertility Specialists Answer That Question

  
  
  

TTC - Answers About Trying to Conceive

answers about trying to conceiveYou’ve thrown out the birth control and you’ve actively been trying to become pregnant. It’s been a few months or more of trying to conceive. Or maybe it’s been a few years or more.


How do you know if you’re having a problem getting pregnant? Nothing seems to be wrong. You get your period regularly. Or you don’t. But you’re healthy and everything seems to be ok.


You don’t want to jump to conclusions or create a problem for yourself where none exists.


Right?


Right.


So here are a few, very accepted and standard guidelines on how long it should take to become pregnant if everything is working well with you and your heterosexual partner. (Heterosexual because if you are in a homosexual relationship, while you may not have any fertility problems, you do need to add a sex cell from the opposite sex to become pregnant. That is not necessarily a conception problem.)

What You Need to Know About Becoming Pregnant

So, if you are in a heterosexual relationship and are sexually intimate, here’s what you need to know about becoming pregnant and when you should investigate whether there are some problems:


  1. You have been having sex regularly while you are ovulating, for one year if you are under the age of thirty-five. Ovulation typically occurs fourteen days before day one of your menstrual cycle, so on a twenty-eight day cycle, that would mean day fourteen. Day one is always the day that your menstrual cycle begins. It is a generally accepted practice to suggest that a woman who has not gotten pregnant under the age of thirty-five to see a fertility specialist (board certified reproductive endocrinologist) after twelve months of unprotected sexual intercourse.
  2. The same applies to women over the age of thirty-five. The difference is that in that case, the suggestion is that you try only for six months before seeing a fertility specialist. Here, the explanation is that even if the problem is no different than if you were under the age of thirty-five, there is a precipitous drop in fertility at that age and we want to ensure that best possibility of success in becoming a mother.
  3. If you do not ovulate or menstruate regularly, you need to be seen sooner. A regular menstrual cycle can be as short as twenty days or as long as thirty-eight days, approximately. If your periods are much shorter or longer than that, it would be best to be seen by a fertility specialist sooner than six months.
  4. If you know that there is a genetic history or component that would delay or prevent you from safely conceiving.
  5. If you have gotten pregnant and have miscarried, once or more. Multiple miscarriages are a particularly painful and challenging form of infertility. There is help available for this type of problem and you should discuss with your Obstetrician/Gynecologist when it’s time to see a fertility specialist.

 

Below are some causes of fertility difficulties or infertility. Perhaps you recognize yourself in one or more of the causes. If so, please do find some help. ~Lisa Rosenthal

Fertility Specialists Define Infertility

Primary infertility is defined as when a couple faces challenges with their first pregnancy. In other words, they have trouble conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy. The term is also used when a woman has never had a successful birth of a child or when a man has never successfully impregnated a woman.

 

The causes of infertility can be both physical and emotional, and can be experienced by both men and women.

 

Causes of Female Infertility:


  • Defects of the uterus and cervix (fibroids, polyps, birth defects)
  • Hormone imbalance or deficiencies, often related to age
  • Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Scarring from sexually transmitted disease or endometriosis
  • Tumor
  • Long-term (chronic) disease, such as diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Clotting disorders
  • Obesity
  • Excessive exercising, eating disorders or poor nutrition
  • Exposure to certain medications or toxins
  • Heavy use of alcohol

 

Additionally, there can be egg-related problems, such as egg production in the ovaries, movement of the eggs from the ovary to the uterus, attachment of the eggs to the uterine lining, and survival of the egg or embryo once it has attached to the lining.

 

Causes of Male Infertility:


  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Hormone deficiency or taking too much of a hormone
    Impotence
  • Infections of the testes or the epididymis, the tube that stores and carries sperm
  • Older age
  • Previous chemotherapy
  • Previous scarring due to infection (including sexually transmitted diseases), trauma or surgery
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Exposure to high heat for prolonged periods
  • Radiation exposure
  • Retrograde ejaculation (dry orgasm)
  • Smoking
  • Heavy use of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine
  • Use of certain prescription drugs

 

Additionally, there can be sperm-related issues including a decrease in the number of sperm produced by the man, a blockage of the sperms’ release, or sperm that do not function properly.

 

At RMACT, we create a custom fertility treatment plan for our patients that combines a medical approach to resolving infertility with complementary care services including support groups, individual and couples counseling, yoga classes, acupuncture, and nutritional advice.

 

At RMACT, we’re here for you on your path to fertility.

 

 

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Role Call - Egg Freezing, Personhood, SingleMomstoBe, Fertile Yoga

  
  
  

Egg Freezing News and More

RMACT logoIt’s been some week in the fertility treatment world. Below are just a few of the happenings that have gone on.  

 

Conversation about egg freezing, vitrification and the difference between the two, Katherine Scott, BA,MSc, RMACT’s IVF Laboratory Manager, weighed in on that one. So did Rachel Gurevich with a blog written just for us. If you missed it, please do read it, Rachel’s point of view about egg freezing is well worth the look. Amy Demma, Terri Davidson, Sharon LaMothe and Darlene Pinkerton also expressed their opinions, always appreciated. Who’s paying for what, why and why not were just a few of the questions asked about Facebook and Apple's new policies regarding fertility coverage. We were lucky enough to get lots of opinions and feedback.

Single Women Pursuing Parenthood

single moms to beWe were all supporting SingleMomstoBe and getting the word out there about a fabulous, free event, “Single Women Pursuing Parenthood,”  geared towards educating, supporting and networking for single women who are going ahead with creating their families. Starring RMACT’s own Surgical Director, Spencer Richlin, MD; Lisa Schuman, LCSW, RMACT’s Director of Mental Health Services will also be speaking as well as Jane Mattes, LCSW, Founder of Single Mothers By Choice. This event is free, but registration is required. To Register, please call Courtney at 203-750-7427 or email rsvp@rmact.com and enter "11/2 Event" in the subject line. Brunch will be served and the event will be hosted at the EVEN HOTEL NORWALK: 426 Main Avenue 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM. All are welcome in any stage of their parenting journey. Read here for Dr. Richlin’s blog about what is making this event so compelling to attend. And please share this on your Facebook page, in your Tweets, etc.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

 

As we move our way to the end of October, we had a personal account of a breast cancer awareness walk from one of our RMACT team members. She walked and we were moved. How lucky we are to have such passionate and committed people to work with. Is there anyone reading this who has not been personally affected by breast cancer?

 

Personhood in Legislation

 

A few more important things to consider. One, personhood is on the rise again. It’s hard for me to talk about without getting kind of loud and very upset. Resolve does a great job explaining what it’s about and why it’s important even if you don’t live in North Dakota or Colorado. Read here about personhood for more information. It matters. Whether you are in fertility treatment or you are remaining childfree by choice or you simply believe that people should be able to build their families, it matters.  We’ll talk about it more next week.

 

I realize that this barely scratches the surface of what’s going on in the fertility world this week. Those are some of the big things. Here are a few of the so called smaller things that felt pretty big to me as well.

 

Ladies Night In - Trumbull, CT

 

Ladies Night In - Trumbull. Big laughs. Lots of gratitude. Beautiful, honest, open women sharing hopes, dreams and disappointments. The genuine pleasure and excitement that greeted the announcement of a pregnancy. Discussing IVF and demystifying the process as well as taking the scare element out of it as only someone who’s been through it could do. An honor and privilege to be there with them.

 

Fertile Yoga - Norwalk, CT

 

Fertile Yoga tonight in Norwalk. One of the lovely students showed up with home baked cookies to share and a homemade stew just for me with ingredients specially picked out. As a thank you to her and  to the rest of the class, a guided meditation, a mantra and a new tool to help break them out of obsessive style thinking with regards to pregnancy and fertility treatment. There is something incredibly tender and loving about taking care of someone else. My thanks to my students who did that tonight for me. An unexpected delight.

 

Up for next week? Well, we will see. Meanwhile, there’s Fertile Yoga Friday night in Bethel at the beautiful Yogaspace from 6-7:15. Hope to see you there.

 

 

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Science of Egg Freezing-IVF Lab Manager Talks to Infertility Patients

  
  
  

Egg Freezing Explained by RMACT's IVF Lab Manager

RMACT logoFrom Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT)'s IVF Laboratory Manager, Katherine Scott, an explanation of egg (oocytes) freezing procedures, as promised. She’s busy answering the following questions and more:

 

What is egg freezing? What is vitrification? Does it matter where you freeze your eggs? What are the chances of pregnancy after thawing the oocytes? What do we know and what do we still not know about freezing?

 

This is not about feelings or thoughts or ideas, this is about science and facts and explanations that are based on research and data. This is about differences and similarities. This is about truly understanding from someone who can explain it from top to bottom. ~Lisa Rosenthal

What is egg freezing?

This is a term that is often used and sometimes misused to mean cryopreservation of a woman’s oocytes for fertility preservation.

 

What is oocyte vitrification?

 

Vitrification and warming of human oocytes (women’s eggs) is a high complexity process. Each step must be followed precisely using exact amounts of cryoprotectants in the correct order in order to achieve the best possible outcome. One needs to remember that every woman is born with a finite number of oocytes; no additional oocytes will ever be created. In humans the oocytes are the largest human cell measuring around 0.1mm, however bigger is not always better. Fertility preservation for women has been historically less efficient due to the fragile nature of oocytes. Oocytes have a large surface area, high water content, and delicate chromosomal arrangement. Slow cooling oocytes meant they were actually frozen and stored in a large volume of cryoprotectant solution. It was the freezing itself that was a major concern, because when a solution freezes it forms ice crystals which can cause the cells to lyse (break). 

 

Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) uses a process that is quite different and is called vitrification. Vitrification is different from slow cooling because the oocytes are never actually frozen; instead, they are taken to a glass like state using a specialized type of media and container, removing any possibility of ice crystals forming and cells breaking. Survival rates are greatly improved using vitrification as opposed to slow cooling in preserving oocytes.

 

RMACT only uses the vitrification process to cryopreserve our patients’ oocytes. When the patient is ready to move forward with starting their family, the lab will warm their oocytes on the day of the patients choosing and fertilize them using the ICSI process. The blastocyst embryos are then transferred on Day 5 of a fertility treatment cycle with any supernumerary embryos being vitrified for future cycles.

 

ivf lab managerRMACT’s IVF Laboratory Manager, Katherine Scott, was one of the authors of the 2012 study demonstrating that implantation rates from vitrified oocytes are equivalent to fresh oocytes and that there is no increased risk of aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormalities) once embryos reach the blastocyst stage. See more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22608316 


 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Walk - RMACT Team Member Reflections

  
  
  

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

pink ribbon for breast cancer awarenessToday we are taking a break from the conversation about egg freezing and what it is, what it is not, what it could be. Tomorrow, please read what Katherine Scott, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) IVF Laboratory Manager, describes as the medical and scientific description of egg freezing versus vitrification.


For today, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Me? I don’t want any more awareness about breast cancer. I want a cure. And a cure takes money. A cure takes enough of us saying that it’s time, it’s overtime. Demanding a cure says that we are done losing beloved sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, friends and wives. Taking action is what’s necessary and so today’s blog is about just that; taking action.


Following is a touching and compelling account of an experience at The American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, at Sherwood Island State Park, in Westport, CT, undertaken by one of RMACT's team members. We are so proud to be able to honor one of our beloved employees by posting the thoughts and ideas that ran through her mind while she spent her time and energy at this important event.


While she has asked to remain anonymous, and I of course will honor her wishes, I also applaud her commitment to a cause that she feels so strongly about. I thank her personally, for taking on the demon of breast cancer and fighting back.


It is inspiring~ Lisa Rosenthal

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk 

As I walked over the hill toward the beach where the Making Strides event was being held, I was overwhelmed by the color pink.  There were so many different hues that it was breathtaking.  I felt proud to be looking at the strong survivors who fought such a difficult battle as they walked out of the survivor tent.  Their pink sashes were worn so proudly.  My husband, who has never walked for a cause before, asked if they are all this amazing.  I couldn’t believe the powerful energy was even affecting my husband.

 

As I looked around to see if I knew anyone there, I saw dogs in pink t-shirts, young girls with pink and white pom-poms in their ponytails, young boys in pink headbands, and spouses who proudly displayed their pink shirts.   It didn’t stop there; among the walkers were sons and daughters who were walking for their mothers and grandmothers who had passed away from this cruel disease.  It was so touching to be able to stand and walk with such great people.  I was truly honored.

 

The announcer called all the survivors to the starting line to kick off the walk.  They made a short speech and then sang happy birthday to everyone.  It was so moving that tears rolled down my cheeks.  I watched as a sea of people flooded the beach.  There must have been more than two thousand people walking.  I waited about twenty minutes, then began my walk.  I was walking for all my friends and family members who fought cancer; some who were able to beat “the monster” and others who weren’t so lucky.  I started remembering my mom’s friend, Audrey, who was the most loving and amazing person I have ever met.  Unfortunately, she passed away during her hospice transportation from the hospital to her apartment.  That was the first time I learned of cancer and from that moment on I knew I didn’t like the disease.  It is a plague that has since taken many loved ones from me.

 

Halfway through the race, as I reached the first water table, I looked back.  There were so many people behind me.  I realized my initial guess of two thousand people was totally wrong.  There were many more people than that.  I do not know the actual count but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were five thousand participants.  The momentum of the walk started and before I knew it I was at the home stretch.  I looked over to my right and I could see the line of walkers still going strong at the starting line.  I was speechless, amazed, and thrilled at how many people were making strides.

 

At the finish line, there were teams in clusters taking pictures of themselves and each other with the finish line banner in the background.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw an elderly couple, late seventies to early eighties, holding hands as they walked over the finish line.  They looked so proud to be able to walk.  I could see how much this meant to them because she was a survivor.  They were a little winded, as we all were from the autumn’s cold air.  My husband, brother-in-law, and I just stood there for a moment to take everything in.  We were all honored to be surrounded by everyone and participate in such an amazing event.

 

 

Egg Freezing - Rachel Gurevich, Health and Fertility Advocate

  
  
  

About.com Health and Fertility Advocate on the Egg Freezing Debate

egg freezing for fertility preservation

 

About the Author | Rachel Gurevich


Rachel Gurevich is the fertility expert for About.com and author of three books. She is a 2014 recipient of a Hope Award for Achievement from Resolve: The National Association for Infertility. She invites you to check out her site at http://infertility.about.com and to connect with her onTwitter (@RachelGurevich) or on Facebook at About Fertility.

 


 

The egg-freezing debate has the media up in arms over whether these perks, soon to be offered by Apple and already available to Facebook employees, are good or bad for women.

 

It's 2014, people: let women decide what they want to do.

 

Now, I'm not saying that egg-freezing is a great solution to work-family balance. I'm not saying I think most women should go for it.

 

I really think it should be used only in very special cases or in case of medical need.

 

However, that should not be my decision. It belongs to the woman making the decision about what to do with her body.

 

Just like I don't want corporations, governments, or insurance plans to decide what birth control I can use, I don't think they should have a say in how I plan my family or handle my fertility. 

 

More Options or Corporate Pressure?

 

The biggest fire in the debate is whether Apple and Facebook are somehow trying to hint that women should freeze their eggs so they can advance their careers. 

 

But can't the same be argued for covering birth control? Or fertility-ending procedures like vasectomies or tube tying?

 

Medically speaking, birth control is way more likely to help a woman push off having kids than egg-freezing. Egg-freezing doesn't keep you from getting pregnant... 

 

Remember, too, that some insurance plans don't cover egg-freezing even in the case of medical need.

 

I’d be willing to bet that even those that do cover egg-freezing before cancer treatment may not cover cryopreservation for women with a family history of early menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency.

 

These women have just as much of a medical need to consider egg-freezing as a cancer patient, but they probably wouldn’t be covered. But Apple and Facebook’s plans would cover them.

 

Coverage, in whatever way, should be celebrated, not demonized. 

 

But Isn't Offering Egg-Freezing So Freely Dangerous to Women?

 

There's definitely some disagreement in the medical community on whether egg-freezing should be used to put off childbearing. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists don't recommend it. 

 

I agree with them. However... no one is currently saying it shouldn't be an option. Only that women who choose that path should be well-informed of all the risks.

 

As an aside, egg-freezing is not the only optional medical procedure being covered by insurance providers that may have more risks than benefits.

 

For example, there's lap band surgery.

 

This elective surgery is marketed to obese individuals who have not been able to lose weight through traditional means.

 

The surgery is highly controversial. Many physicians are against it as a solution to obesity, and for a good percentage of people, it’s not a good long-term solution. It also has some seriously long term side effects. It’s way more risky that egg-freezing.

 

But it's still covered.

 

Bottom Line on the Egg-Freezing Debate

 

It’s not a big shock that there’s debate over this issue. It follows along with the general pattern that tends to occur with all women’s health issues in this country, especially reproductive issues.

 

There’s this theme that women can’t be trusted to make informed choices.

 

It also follows the pattern of fear and stigma that surround assisted reproductive technologies.

 

But that’s okay. We know you can make choices for yourself. We also know that sigma only lessens when things are talked about.

 

We, as a nation, need to talk about all these issues.

 

Let them talk... maybe it’ll lead to even more coverage for fertility.

 

For more on this debate, including some things to consider before you freeze your eggs, please read my article here at About Fertility.

 

 

Egg Freezing Debate Continues - Professionals Weigh In

  
  
  

The Egg Freezing Debate Continues

egg freezing debateHere 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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