Fertile Images for Heart and Spirit
Sometimes it's not words that help when you are hurting. Sometimes it's fertile images -- looking outside, seeing the clouds drifting. Or the sun peeking through. Or the wind blowing snow sideways.
Sometimes it's tilting your face at just the right angle to see the sun resting softly on the branches, spreading them wide like a fan.
Sometimes, it's not words at all that help when you're hurting.
Sometimes it's the awareness of beauty entering your heart.
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Best Egg Freezing Practices Established With New Partnership
Building important and valuable relationships means that RMACT (Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut) offers you, our patients, the best opportunities out there to have your babies. Either now, or in the future.
You may not be ready to become a mommy right now. But you surely do want to reserve the right to become one in the future. And if you are going to freeze your eggs, you want to ensure that you are doing it with the best possible chances of success later on.
That’s why we are partnering with EggBanxx. We want you to know who is offering the most affordable, safe and qualified practices around and that’s precisely what they do. EggBanxx is partnering with us because they also want you to know the best fertility practices to go to when freezing your eggs.
Though egg freezing doesn’t stop the biological clock, it does a great job of putting it on an indefinite pause.
Have your family when the time is right for you, without the worry of aging eggs.
Read more below about both RMACT and EggBanxx. ~Lisa Rosenthal
EggBanxx and RMACT Create Partnership to Offer Affordable, Safe Egg Freezing
EggBanxx Provides an Online Resource, Financing, and Directory to Find Qualified Fertility Practices, such as RMACT
NORWALK, CT (December 17, 2014) – EggBanxx, which offers egg freezing financing through a national network of fertility doctors, and Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), the leading fertility practice in Fairfield County, are now partners. Through the partnership, women in Connecticut and surrounding areas interested in oocyte cryopreservation – commonly called egg freezing – can easily identify a board certified expert and secure a financial plan.
“When choosing a fertility doctor, EggBanxx recommends women find a practice with board certified reproductive endocrinologists that proves itself skilled through exemplary pregnancy rates, has a reputation of a caring staff, and maintains a superior embryology lab,” says Jay Palumbo, Director of Patient Care at EggBanxx. “That is why RMACT is the right partner for us.”
RMACT uses the most scientifically advanced form of egg freezing, called vitrification, which significantly improves oocyte survival and pregnancy rates compared to older techniques. Vitrification uses a combination of sugar molecules, electrolytes, and liquid nitrogen, to rapidly freeze eggs in just 15 minutes. This maintains the delicate architecture of the human egg, or oocyte, and virtually eliminates crystallization that had plagued older techniques.
“Vitrification turns the idea of egg freezing into a scientifically sound, viable option for women,” says Cynthia Murdock, MD, a fertility specialist with RMACT. “For many women, freezing their eggs is the difference between having a biological child and not. The advent of vitrification has allowed egg freezing to go from an experimental procedure to a mainstream treatment option.”
Women delay childbearing for a variety of social and medical reasons, including pursuing career goals, finding the right partner or saving their eggs from treatments for medical conditions that may impact their fertility. Egg freezing empowers these women to feel a greater sense of control over their family building options.
Lisa Schuman, LCSW, Mental Health Director at RMACT and Chair of the Oocyte Cryopreservation Task Force for the Mental Health Professional Group of ASRM, explains: “In our post-feminist society, there are few places where a woman’s pursuit of actualizing her dreams is limited. Options for family planning began with the birth control pill and have now expanded with oocyte cryopreservation. Women have responded enthusiastically and the use of the treatment has grown tremendously.”
In 2012, the ASRM removed the "experimental" label for egg freezing. They concluded that frozen eggs have similar fertilization and pregnancy rates when used in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle as compared to fresh oocytes for young women. They also found no increase in chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects, and developmental deficits in the offspring born from cryopreserved oocytes when compared to pregnancies from the general population.
“Research has shown that not only do women feel positive about the technology, before and after treatment, they share their plans to freeze their eggs with family and friends,” says Schuman, who is one of the country’s foremost experts on oocyte preservation and its impact on patients. She has won several awards for her research and academic papers on oocyte cryopreservation, including recognition of two of her most recent studies at the 2014 Annual ASRM Meeting. “So egg freezing may be the technology that is beneficial for practical and emotional reasons.”
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 (SelectCCS). 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, Stamford and Trumbull, and an affiliate New York fertility clinics serving Putnam and Dutchess counties. RMACT also offers infertility treatment financing and support services, such as nutrition counseling, massage therapy, psychological counseling, acupuncture and yoga, through RMACT’s Integrated Fertility and Wellness Center.
The RMACT team includes lead physicians Drs. Mark P. Leondires, Spencer S. Richlin and Joshua M. Hurwitz, as well as fertility specialists Drs. Cynthia M. Murdock and Shaun C. Williams. All five physicians are Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologists and 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. Each has received numerous awards, and all five are Castle Connolly "Top Doctors." 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 www.RMACT.com or find us on Facebook.
EggBanxx.com, owned by FertilityAuthority, is part of a family of websites providing comprehensive, interactive resources and referrals for women and men seeking quality fertility information, financing assistance, smart savings, and tools to simplify the search for a trusted fertility doctor. With more than one million monthly visits, the websites FertilityAuthority.com, FertileThoughts.com, IVFAdvantage.com, EggBanxx.com -- along with a staff of patient care advocates — assist in making the important connection between patients and the physicians who can assist them in their family-building efforts. Visit https://www.EggBanxx.com
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Infertility Insurance ~ Listening to Stories
Listening has never been my strong suit. It's not what I lead with. Another of the many advantages to aging is that I've learned some new tricks. And you've helped me learn them. All of you. And especially my PathtoFertility readers, Ladies Night In women, and Fertile Yoga students. You all need to talk more than you need to listen, especially to each other and I need to listen more than I talk.
It's a perfect combination. You talk and I listen.
In listening, I heard the story out loud that is below. It's written by one of our now former patients. When I mentioned that it might be helpful to other men and women experiencing infertility treatment and dealing with infertility insurance coverage, she was quick to offer to help by agreeing to write the following blog for PathtoFertility. Sharing her experiences so that someone else might have an easier time.
What a lovely gift that I accepted with gratitude.
If you have a story, experience or other words of wisdom that you think could help someone else, please email me at FertileYoga@gmail.com ~ All emails and communications will be kept confidential.
Enjoy ~Lisa Rosenthal
Delaying Fertility Treatment Because of Insurance: A Patient Perspective
Lisa (Rosenthal) asked me to share my story because she thought it might be helpful to others. I was referred to RMACT (Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut), because of problems in conceiving, in 2012. I did not come to the practice at that time because my insurance had a high deductible and, to me, that was an insurmountable obstacle. You may have something similar, with a high deductible plan or a plan offered by your employer that does not cover the procedures you need in order to embark on or continue your fertility journey.
I felt defeated. I basically knew what our issue was, fertility-wise. And it was something that should have “easily” been treated, if only I could get to the Reproductive Endocrinologist’s office. But I knew that fertility treatments were not inexpensive, and I knew that deductible would have to be met before my insurance would kick in. I felt like I was stuck for the rest of 2012 and 2013. Hubby and I tried everything we could on our own and became more and more frustrated every month.
Late in 2013, when we heard about our insurance options for 2014, I felt even more defeated. Our employer’s plan was becoming more expensive monthly, and the deductibles were going up even higher. I felt my biological clock ticking and knew I had to do something, and do it soon! But how? Luckily, there was a misunderstanding at work. Our rep who gave us our insurance options accidentally told us about a website where one could look for other plans that might be better than the company plan. His mistake was that he said our employer would contribute to these plans. They would not, but the cat was out of the bag. Someone far smarter than me looked at the options, and found that they weren’t so bad, even without the employer contribution. When she mentioned this to me, I looked for myself.
For $100 more per month, I could get my own plan, and instead of thousands of dollars for my deductible, it would be hundreds. I did my due diligence. I did the math for 12 month times this premium, plus the deductible vs 12 months with my employers’ plan’s premium plus deductible. Obamacare came along for 2014 enrollment, so I looked at my options there too. It didn’t have any plans that were helpful to me (the prices I saw were very high), but your experience could be different.
And full disclosure, that extra $100 a month was not easy for me to come by. Heck, even just the increase in premium for my employer’s plan was going to be hard to swing. I got a second job to help pay for the premium, deductibles and copays that went along with my journey. I mention this because I realize it’s not that easy for everyone. It wasn’t that easy for me either.
The reason I share this is that I was very unhappy and couldn’t see a way to get what I wanted, no, needed, from the insurance offered by my company. I won’t pretend that I love this insurance plan that I ended up choosing, because if anyone reading this is saying “I know who this anonymous person is!” they will tell you I shed a LOT of tears and had a lot of stress caused by this very same company. My insurance is far from perfect, but it is good enough that it I have been able to proceed with fertility treatment.
All of that said, if I had not done this research for myself, I would not have been able to embark on this fertility treatment journey. I am sharing my story because I know there are others who, like me, haven’t yet been able to find a way to get over an insurmountable hurdle with their insurance plan.
I know you’re wondering two things, if you are in the same situation I was in. 1. What was that website, and 2. What’s this awesome insurance plan? I’d share that with you, however, it's information you can get from any independent insurance agent. You might even be able to pull aside your insurance representative or your Human Resource person and ask about the agent your employer uses. The agent can look at all of the plans available to you. They don’t charge any extra than if you went to the insurance company directly. They actually cannot by law, from what I was told while I was exploring my options. As for the particular insurance company and plan, I know we all have different circumstances and it does affect the prices and plans available to us. When you’ve found some plans that look promising, ask to see the benefits documents, so you can be sure that what you assume will be covered, actually is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and if you get an answer that is unclear, ask another question.
Lots of love on your journey!
~A fellow RMACT patient, now graduated to a healthy and strong pregnancy
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Winter Weather, Infertility and Inspiration
It’s time for a winter weather blog. Yes, it is.
I love observing the weather; it’s my way of looking outward to the world and inward to myself and my own life. Infertility made me look more carefully out. And more seriously in.
Early winter is hard for me. I love the cold once I remember that moving around in it is an utter delight. My running partners used to laugh at me when they saw me all bundled up for an early morning, sub 15 degree weather run. No matter how many times it happened exactly as they predicted, I never believed it would.
That moment, about five to ten minutes into the run, where I was stripping everything off. My body all warmed up, no longer needing those extra layers. Still, I wanted the warmth for those first several minutes. It was comforting to go out warm, despite the overheating such a short time later.
Bare trees depressed me then, when I was yearning for my baby. The skeletons made me feel they were no longer alive; imagining them bright and green again pushed my imagination skills past their limits, just as having hope was a distant memory. Fall reminded me of what I didn’t have, with the memory of my pregnancy losses in sharp detail. Those babies that never came to be.
Winter whispered softly what I would never have. So many months, hoping and trying. Disappointment after disappointment. After disappointment after disappointment.
The skeletons of the trees in winter echoed what seemed like barren ground. With little memory of warm growth and with so little hope. The grey of winter sunk me deep down.
I look carefully now as I looked carefully then at the perfect honesty and integrity of the trees without any adornment. Winter reveals the truth of a tree, a forest, a landscape. Winter reveals the truth of me as well. The need for warmth, but not to the degree I think is necessary. The level of my fears about what is not to be, heightened by stripping away everything that often obscures the dreary view.
The trees in all their glory, inspire me, lift my eyes up, and allow me to see the foundation as well as their soaring heights. When the trees are in their most honest state, so can I be.
No umbrella of green to hide the sky, the clouds, the stars.
My hope soars with my eyes.
My babies yet to be. I have hope.
The winter, in its exuberant rest, gave me hope.
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Reproductive Endocrinologist or Fertility Specialist?
Medical Monday and we're back to language.
Language is important. It’s how we communicate with one another. How we convey information and also how we impart tone and sensibility.
Language is not just semantics or being picky.
Read below for what a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) is; what they do, what they’ve had to do to call themselves an RE.
And, simply put, a fertility specialist/infertility specialist/fertility doctor/infertility doctor/doctor who specializes in fertility/infertility and so on, has to pass no tests and has no special training to call themselves any of those things. Those titles are essentially meaningless. There is no medical or governmental group overseeing of any of those titles.
A board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, on the other hand has to be accepted into very selective programs, go through three years of extra training and has to study for and pass rigorous testing.
Which would you rather have overseeing your fertility treatment? ~Lisa Rosenthal
Straight from RMACT's website:
What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist?
A Reproductive Endocrinologist specializes in the following fields of study:
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction
- A congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Tubal factor infertility
- Male factor infertility
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Fertility preservation
- Congenital uterine anomalies
- Other disorders of the female reproductive tract
Collectively, this field is called Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Most of the patients seen by Reproductive Endocrinologists are experiencing fertility related problems.
Medical Monday: What is Reproductive Endocrinology?
Reproductive Endocrinology is a sub-specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This requires 4 years of medical school followed by completion of a 4 year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Training includes:
- Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the female reproductive tract
- Care of pregnant women
- Delivering babies
After completing a residency program, a physician would apply through a highly competitive system to receive additional training in Reproductive Endocrinology. This is referred to as a fellowship and includes a 3 year intensive training program, which focuses on understanding the complexities of the human female reproductive system.
Reproductive Endocrinologists receive board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. These require both written and oral examinations.
If having a baby has turned into a battle, my suggestion is to have the right warriors on your side.
In the war on infertility, the right warriors are board certified Reproductive Endocrinologists.
Hands down. ~LR
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Thinking About Infertility? How Often?
Conservatively, how often do you think about infertility and fertility treatment?
Here are your choices. Remember, please don’t exaggerate!
A. Once a day
B. Once a week
C. Once a month
D. Once an hour
E. Once a minute
F. Every time the phone rings
G. Every Thanksgiving (and every other holiday, including Election Day, Veterans' Day, New Year's Eve, etc.)
H. On your birthday
I. Every time you see a baby
J. Every time the sun goes down
K. At lunchtime
L. When you have a doctor’s appointment
M. When a family member or friend asks you about when you are having kids
N. When you read an article about fertility treatments or doctors
O. When you hear an ad on the radio for a fertility program in your area
P. When you see an ad in your local magazine or newspaper
Q. When a friend announces a pregnancy
R. When you see an ultrasound of a pregnancy on Facebook
S. When you get your period. Again.
T. When you don’t get your period. Again.
U. When you are given unsolicited advice by a well meaning (?) person regarding your family building
V. The moment you wake up
W. The moment before you go to sleep
X. When you are planning your vacation time
Y. When you are preparing a financial budget
Z. All of the above
Hmmm. Chances are men and women will answer quite differently. If you have a partner, regardless of their gender, have them take the test too. See how your answers line up. It can give you some insight into why you don’t always seem or feel like you’re on the same page.
Do Others Understand If Fertility Treatment Has Infiltrated Your Life?
If you’re willing to risk a little, allow yourself to be vulnerable, hand your answers to one or more people who you expected to support you and who haven’t done as well as you had hoped. Maybe it will give them some insight into how thoroughly infertility and fertility treatment has infiltrated into your daily rhythm of life.
By the way, if you answered any of those with a resounding yes, you are not alone. I know that you’ve heard that before. Sometimes, the answer will be Z, all of the above.
Sometimes the answer will be A, once a day.
And sometimes it will be something or all that come in between.
We get it. If you have a chance, let me know some of your answers, maybe I’d be a safe person to try them out on.
I’d love to hear from you.
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So very sorry!
Due to illness, moving our offices and more, we need to
Ladies Night In and Guided Meditation
December 11, 2014
No Baby Yet this Holiday Season? Bah Humbug.
It’s serious list making season. I make lists for one very simple reason. I cannot remember everything that I need or think I need to do. So I write them down and I check my list often. Always very interesting to see what is left undone, day after day, until one day, that item no longer even appears on the list.
Making lists while in the midst of infertility or fertility treatment can look a little bizarre. One that appears often; inject myself. Hmm. Bet that doesn’t pop up too often on a “normal” person’s list. Go to the fertility program three times a week. Before work. Nope, that may be a little out of the ordinary too.
So while we are on the subject of lists, here are a few of my favorite’s for the holidays when there are no children in your home yet. When you are still waiting and hoping and working towards having your babies, holidays can be tough.
See what you like on this list. Add to it if you like and, if you have a great idea that is not here, email it to me privately at FertileYoga@gmail.com. No information of yours will be published anywhere, promise.
Holiday Season Survival Guide: A Starter List
Here's my starter list that could be part of a holiday season survival guide. A few ideas to bring a smile to your life. Favorite things to do during the holidays that do NOT include children:
- Drive/Walk to see Holiday lights. The bigger, brighter, the better. The flashier. My favorites tend to be the ones lit up, that you can see from two miles away.
- Cozy fires, hot tea/chocolate/glass of wine, book, cat/dog, spouse/partner (or not!)
- Good or bad holiday movies, (a favorite, I will admit it here, "Love Actually")
- Going to see a movie in the theatre, R-rated, no children! (mainly)
- Prepare a special meal. Better yet, BUY a special meal that someone else has prepared. Eat it on the best china that you own, with your special flatware. Use your prettiest candles and wine glasses (even if you are drinking water). Find a scruptuous desert; it's the holidays, a treat is in order. Take your time and enjoy what you have created.
- Sleep in. Spend the day in your pajamas.
- Don't answer the phone.
- Stay off the computer. Or, stay on it the entire day.
- Baths are always wonderful. Add candles, lovely music, something nice to drink and a soft covered book. (Soft covered is important, trust me, dropping a hard covered book in the water kinda stinks.)
- Go for a run/walk/stroll. Dress warmly, look carefully, breathe deeply.
- Do a photography session. Pick up your camera/phone and look for interesting images. Go close in on a flower or a vase or even a piece of fabric. Or, take the camera/phone outside.
- I almost forgot yoga!!! Practice at home, do sun salutations (Suriya Namascar), or go to a class.
These are the things that I like to do when I have some free time and it's all mine to spend the way I want. It's almost like having money to spend any way you want.
Spend it mindfully. It's a precious commodity, time.
How do you want to spend it?
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Fertile Yoga in RMACT's Trumbull office is cancelled tonight due to illness.
Sorry for any inconvenience!
The American Fertility Association's Name Change
First there was Resolve of New York City. Then there was The American Infertility Association. After that, for many years, there was The American Fertility Association. And now, there is the Path2Parenthood℠.
It’s exciting to see the name of an organization change to reflect more clearly the work that the organization does. I have to admit to a twinge of sadness however as I see an organization that I was deeply involved in shed their old name, even to adopt a better, more clear title. I look forward to seeing the work that they will be doing as they go forward. Path2Parenthood describes their reasons for their name change below.
Congratulations on the name change, Path2Parenthood! ~Lisa Rosenthal
The AFA is Now Path2Parenthood
Why the change in name?
The American Fertility Association was founded primarily to help women and men struggling with infertility understand their options for having children. Our mission has expanded greatly over time, and we needed a name to encompass all we now do. Path2Parenthood embraces the totality of our work, and is illustrative of our mission.
How do you define yourself now?
As we always have: The inclusive Family Building Organization.
What is your current mission?
Our current mission remains unchanged: we are an inclusive organization committed to helping people create their families of choice by providing leading-edge outreach programs and timely educational information. The scope of our work encompasses reproductive and sexual health, infertility prevention and treatment, and family-building options including adoption and third party solutions. We are a national, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization headquartered in New York City.
Whom do you serve?
We educate, support, and advocate for all hopeful parents regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, marital status, or economic status. We serve those who have served us as members of our military. We work with those living with HIV who want to safely have genetically linked children, educating their health care providers as well. Our unique outreach and education programs are specifically designed for these different populations to help people acquire useful knowledge and inspire powerful action.
What areas of family building does your education include?
We deliver leading edge, patient-focused education on infertility prevention, fertility preservation, assisted reproduction, IVF, donor egg, donor sperm, surrogacy, adoption, and adopting out of foster care.
What changes and what stays the same?
The name changes, and it signals an era of expanding our work by building on the knowledge gained over more than two decades of time. A new online experience is being created from a clean slate by one of the most brilliant digital agencies in the country. When completed this spring, it will literally guide visitors on a customized journey to having a child.
What stays the same?
Our mission. Our board. Our staff. Our councils. And most importantly, our work.
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