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Fertility Treatments and the Holidays

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Calling in abundance when you're feeling the pressure

by Kristen Magnacca

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.
Wayne Dyer

So the holiday season is upon us and perhaps we feel as though we’re channeling Santa by making a list and checking it twice to get ourselves organized for the festivities.

Or maybe you’re just not feeling it yet?

The shopping, wrapping, tinsel, sparkling lights, fertility shots, blood work, vaginal ultrasounds, embryo transfers and artificial (intrauterine) inseminations are activities that just seem as though they don’t go together. And there is certainty not a catchy holiday song that incorporates them all!

Fertility Options for Transgender Men and Women

gay couple holding hands

Dr. Samuel Pang, Medical Director at IVF New England, has been treating gay and transgender men and women since 1998. He spoke with FertilityAuthority about options for preserving your fertility and building your family before and after transitioning.

Comparing Outcomes of Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs

Egg freezing is a viable option not just for women who want to preserve their fertility, but also for egg donors and women who are using donor eggs to have a baby. Donors’ eggs are frozen and women/couples purchase a cohort of eggs from a donor chosen from an egg bank’s database.

As compared to fresh egg donation, frozen egg donation is less expensive and provides a greater choice of donors and convenience – the donor and recipient don’t need to be synched for stimulation and retrieval, says Dr. Samuel Pang, a fertility doctor and medical director of IVF New England. A recent study in which IVF New England participated showed there are comparable pregnancy rates with fresh and frozen donor eggs.

Fertility Nurse of the Month: Carol Lesser, N.P.

Carol Lesser, Boston IVF
July 2014

For 26 years, Carol Lesser, N.P. has worked at Boston IVF. “I continue to love it,” she says, “because I always find something fascinating and interesting about it. It just pushes my boundaries.” FertilityAuthority is pleased to honor Lesser as Nurse of the Month.

Weightlifting and Eating Fish May Improve Sperm Count

October 23, 2013

Based on lifestyle surveys and sperm samples, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health concluded weight lifting and consumption of fish could improve sperm count, while moderate intake of caffeine and alcohol had no adverse impact. This information was presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Conference in Boston, MA this month. The data was gathered at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center over a 6 year period.

Multiple Egg Donation Does Not Impair Fertility

Egg donation does not impair a womans’ future fertility according to researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

What Really Motivates Women to Freeze Their Eggs?

October 19, 2013

A study presented this week at the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) joint conference examined motivations behind fertility preservation; what drives women to freeze their eggs (an elective procedure)?

Should Kids Know They Were Conceived with Donor Eggs?

October 18, 2013

Researchers presented data from two studies in Boston yesterday at a meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) regarding parental disclosure of the use of donor eggs to their child. The first study stated up to 60 percent of donor egg recipients were undecided if they would inform their child of the circumstances surrounding their conception. This was in contrast to the information given by recipients at the time of cycling where 42 percent of recipients said they planned to inform their children in 2008. This dropped to just 21 percent by 2009, but later increased to 47 percent of parents in 2012. Recipients cited fear of cultural disapproval or fear of being snubbed by their community as the reason for the hesitation. Parents who had planned to tell the child had difficulty coming to a decision about the proper time for this conversation.

Frozen Donor Eggs More Cost Efficient and Just as Effective

Today, a study done by researchers at Seattle Reproductive Medicine was presented at the joint conference of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) showing that those people choosing to use frozen donor eggs now have nearly the same efficiency as fresh eggs.

Can Cinnamon Restore Menstrual Cycles in PCOS?

A study presented at the joint conference of the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) this week says cinnamon may restore regularity of the menstrual cycle for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

Federal Tax Credit for Infertility Would Increase IVF by Thirty Percent

At a press conference held yesterday, Barbara Collura, President & CEO, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, talked about the need for federal legislation that would increase access to infertility treatments.

ASRM Research Shows BPA Impacts Fertility, Miscarriage Rates

October 15, 2013

New research presented Monday at the joint conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the International Federation of Fertility Societies (IFFS) links bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates to decreased fertility.

Embryo Donation As A Family Building Option

May 9, 2013

Boston IVF has received a two-year, one-million dollar grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to increase patient awareness of embryo donation. There are currently more than 600,000 embryos frozen in the U.S., a result of IVF cycles where excess embryos are created. Options for patients who have excess embryos and have completed their family building are: donate the embryos to research, discard them, continue to freeze them, or donate the embryos to another individual or couple. The study will research patient attitudes and awareness on embryo donation and develop a program that will influence other fertility practices to support embryo donation.

Emotionally Preparing for Take Your Child to Work Day

April 19, 2013

Take Your Child to Work Day is April 25, 2013. It can be a fun bonding experience for parents and their children, but for individuals or couples who are still struggling to conceive, it can be a painful reminder of infertility and a marker of passing time.

Similar to child-centric holidays, baby showers, and birthday parties, it may be difficult to cope with the reminders of infertility on Take Your Child to Work Day. It is best to prepare for the day with positive thoughts, responses to family building questions, and a plan to give yourself a much needed break.

Fertility Treatment Tax Deductions

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Fertility treatments carry a hefty price tag and few people realize some costs associated with fertility treatment are tax deductible. Diagnostic tests, fertility drugs, reproductive surgeries, in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), travel expenses associated with fertility treatment, and pregnancy tests are all deductible expenses.

Is In Vitro Maturation (IVM) a Better Alternative to IVF?

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March 7, 2013

Updated guidelines by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) say in vitro maturation (IVM) is a fertility treatment option for women who otherwise have a contraindication to in vitro fertilization (IVF), though the benefits and risks must be thoroughly considered. Because few babies have been born to date as a result of IVM and there is little data on the health outcomes of these children, ASRM considers IVM an experimental procedure that does not surpass the safety or efficacy of IVF.

Reducing Complications in IVF Pregnancies

Two studies published in the June 2012 and January 2013 issues of the journal Fertility and Sterility confirm that high estrogen levels at the time of IVF embryo transfer increase the risk of low birth weight and preeclampsia. This study was specific to single-birth IVF pregnancies.

Unsuspecting Fertility Menaces: Things to Avoid for Fertility Health

December 11, 2012

You may be getting your body baby ready for the New Year, but there are a few unsuspecting culprits that may be compromising your fertility.

In an ongoing, collaborative research effort, Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center and Harvard University have released preliminary data on the effects of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates on fertility. More commonly recognized as compounds in plastic, called plasticizers, BPA and phthalates are used in the lining of tin cans, toys, plastic storage containers, soaps, perfumes, wrinkle guards, and baby bottles. Researchers on the Environment and Reproductive Health (EARtH) study have also linked Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), mercury, and lead to potential fertility menaces.

Infertility After 40: Don't Waste Time With IUI

For infertile women over 40, getting pregnant can be a challenge not to be taken likely. While many women gravitate toward less invasive fertility treatments, moving on to in vitro fertilization (IVF) sooner could be the best investment, financially and emotionally.

Endometriosis Update

What women who are trying to conceive need to know about endometriosis

Studies show that 25 to 50 percent of infertile women have endometriosis, and that 30 to 50 percent of women with endometriosis are infertile. In September 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) updated its Practice Committee Opinion on endometriosis and infertility.

The Committee drew the following conclusions

Boston Fertility Doctor: When to See One

Is it time to see a fertility doctor?

Do you need to see a Boston fertility doctor? There are approximately 150,200 people with infertility in Massachusetts.* In 2008, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a revised definition of infertility. Infertility is defined as the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse for a woman under 35, and six months for women over 35. If you have not gotten pregnant based on these timetables, you should see a fertility doctor, called a reproductive endocrinologist.

Boston Fertility Clinic: How to Choose One

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There are seven fertility clinics in Massachusetts, many with multiple locations

Looking for a Boston fertility clinic? There are eight fertility clinics, along with approximately 44 fertility doctors in and around Boston, MA.

Boston Fertility Clinic Success Rates

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2007 Success rates for Boston-area clinics

All fertility clinics are required by federal law to submit their in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates each year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The information from all of these clinics is published in a thorough report called the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report. The most current data available on the CDC website is for 2010.

Boston Attorneys Offer Legal Assistance in Building Families

Their mission: Represent the rights of those involved in fertility treatments

The field of assisted reproductive technology, especially when using a third party– egg donor, sperm donor, embryo donor or surrogate -- has created a host of new legal issues.

Using an Egg Donor in Boston

There were a total of 524 donor egg IVF cycles in the Boston area in 2010, including 284 using fresh donor eggs and 240 using frozen donor eggs, according to the 2010 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Boston Egg Donor Cycle Success Rates

Number of donor egg IVF cycles and live births at Boston fertility clinics

The following data, from the 2010 Assisted Reproductive Technology Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), detail the number of donor egg IVF cycles at Boston fertility clinics and the number of live births.

Surrogacy in Massachusetts

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Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology

Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology in which a woman carries a child for a couple who is unable to conceive or sustain a pregnancy. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is inseminated with the sperm from the male partner. This makes the child biologically related to the surrogate.

Massachusetts Insurance Coverage for Infertility

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The Massachusetts Infertility Mandate requires insurors to cover infertility

One of the most pressing issues for couples struggling with infertility is how they will pay for their treatment. IVF procedures can cost thousands of dollars, and many times, more than one cycle is necessary.

Fortunately, residents of Massachusetts can rest a little easier, thanks to a state mandate, The Massachusetts Infertility Mandate, that requires insurance companies to acknowledge infertility as a covered disease.

Infertility Support

A therapist can help deal with the emotional struggle of infertility

A number of Boston therapists offer counseling and support to women and men with infertility. Fertility treatments bring with them not only physical challenges, but emotional drains as well. Infertility can evoke a wide range of emotions, including anger, loss, sadness, guilt, depression, and anxiety.

Simple Question: How Do You Make a Baby?

by Leigh Ann Woodruff, March 26, 2012

It's a simple question, right? How do you make a baby?

When Reproductive Science Center of New England (RSC) did men and women on the street interviews asking that very question in Providence, Rhode Island, most people answered with one word: "Sex."

Well, yes, but ... it's a bit more complicated. There's ovulation and timing intercourse for conception. And most people are not as aware as they should be about the role that age plays in fertility, and they are surprised when they do not get pregnant easily.

Needle Free! Boston Fertility Doctors Develop Saliva Test

Patient-friendly monitoring replaces daily blood tests for IVF

A typical in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle requires hormone therapy to stimulate production of eggs, and daily blood tests to monitor hormone levels and a patient's response to therapy. These daily blood draws for up to seven days can be one of the most unpleasant parts of fertility treatment — leaving a woman feeling stressed and even a little bit like a voodoo doll.

But a Boston fertility clinic is eliminating that stress. Following two years of research, Boston IVF fertility doctors have developed the first needle-free saliva test that will replace the daily blood tests to monitor infertility treatment. They have proven that the hormone estradiol, traditionally measured in the blood, can also be accurately measured in saliva, which virtually eliminates the need for daily blood testing during a patient's treatment cycle.

With IVF, Do You Follow Fertility Doctor's Orders?

Boston study finds many don't

Many patients undergoing an in vitro fertilization cycle don't follow their fertility doctor's orders, according to a new study by researcher Alice Domar at Boston IVF. The study was published in Fertility and Sterility.

Domar, the executive director of the Domar Center for Mind and Body Health at the Boston fertility clinic, found that women were not doing what fertility doctors recommended, such as reducing or eliminating exercise. Fertility doctors also typically tell patients to stop smoking, drinking and taking herbal supplements.

"I was surprised by the results since I had assumed that patients undergoing something as emotionally, physically and financially draining as IVF would want to follow their physician's recommendations to the letter," Domar says. It might well be that women feel that they need to change so much in their lives because of infertility that they can't give up every vice. Or they feel that the medications they are taking can compensate for anything which lifestyle habits might do. Whatever the reason, we need to figure out a better way to educate and support our patients so they maximize their chances of conceiving a healthy baby."

Fertility Nurse of the Month: Megan LeMien, RN, BSN

Boston IVF

Boston IVF, Boston, MA, January 2012

FertilityAuthority is pleased to honor Boston fertility nurse Megan LeMien, RN, BSN as Fertility Nurse of the Month. LeMien is the IVF coordinator at Boston IVF, a fertility clinic with 12 locations throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and on Nantucket. In her role as IVF coordinator at the Waltham, MA, location, LeMien works directly with couples to guide them through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The patient who nominated her says: "Megan should win a nurse of the year award! We are currently in the middle of our two-week wait of our third IVF cycle. Megan truly listens to everything I have to say — from questions to concerns to just me rambling. She never makes me feel silly for asking questions. She is very caring and makes me feel a sense of comfort in the IVF process. She has patience that most nurses and doctors do not have. I never feel rushed when talking to her. It is great to know that I always have her to call if anything arises. She is extremely knowledgeable! Megan is the absolute BEST nurse!"

Fertility Doctor of the Month: Joseph HIll, M.D.

Fertility Centers of New England

Joseph A. HIll, III, M.D., Fertility Centers of New England, Boston, MA

December 2011

FertilityAuthority is pleased to recognize Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D., a renowned expert in reproductive medicine and recurrent pregnancy loss, as Fertility Doctor of the Month. Dr. Hill, a reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of New England in the Boston, MA area. Prior to Fertility Centers of New England, Dr. Hill had a long career in academic medicine. He was the Director of Reproductive Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and an Associate Professor in Ob-Gyn and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School.

Board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Dr. Hill has also been named as one of "The Best Doctors in America" in three national consumer publications annually since 1994.

His treatment philosophy is akin to the Golden Rule: "To treat my patients the way I would like myself or my family to be treated — with honesty and integrity," he says. And he brings a unique aspect to treatment of his fertility patients. "[I have] the ability to empathize with patients due to having experienced similar agonies and ecstasies in my own life and by having the good fortune to have been well-trained by my many gifted mentors."

Stress and Fertility Treatment

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Research shows mind/body programs can improve infertility treatment success rates

If you have read any news reports about stress and fertility treatment during 2011, you can’t help but be confused. Headlines range from “Study seeks to dispel stress myth in IVF treatment” to “Stress relief may improve IVF success.”

The relationship between stress and fertility is a controversial one, according to Alice Domar, Ph.D., Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF.

But even though a recent meta-analysis of 14 studies, published in February’s British Medical Journal, did not observe a significant relationship between distress levels and outcome, Domar says there is a large body of research —including her own most recent study published in Fertility and Sterility — that has found relationships between distress levels and the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Bust a Myth about Miscarriage

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Talk about the facts and take charge of your reproductive health

Fertility Myths

I caused my second miscarriage because I was so stressed out about this pregnancy. I can’t go see a fertility doctor until I have three miscarriages, and everyone says to wait three months before I try again. There’s nothing I can do because most miscarriages are unexplained, but I know if I have another one, I am not very likely to ever have a successful pregnancy.

Fertility Facts

Legal Update: Landmark Legal Decision and Cases to Watch

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News on IVF, surrogacy and more

by Melissa Brisman, Esq. and Lauren Murray, Esq., July 12, 2010

This month’s legal update begins in Australia where a court has recently ruled that a prisoner can continue her IVF treatments while incarcerated.

How Fat Can Affect Fertility

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Healthy lifestyle changes can make a difference

by Jennifer A. Redmond, Editor in Chief

According to a recent study of 323 women, being obese or overweight doubles a woman’s risk of miscarriage following IVF.

Legal Update: Gestational Carrier Arrangements

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Issues arising with international surrogacy

by Melissa Brisman, Esq. and Lauren Murray, Esq., July 12, 2010

This month’s legal update highlights problems arising from international gestational carrier arrangements. A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy for a third party and is not biologically related to the child that she is carrying.

Ask a Fertility Nurse: Are There Any Over-the-Counter Fertility Drugs?

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Get the scoop!

by Gina Paoletti-Falcone, RN, BSN, Freedom Fertility Pharmacy, July 1, 2010

Question:

Are there any over-the-counter fertility drugs?


Nurse Gina Says:

That’s a really good question, especially since there are so many other medical conditions that can be treated with over-the-counter medications!

When it comes to infertility, however, there really are no over-the-counter options and for a very good reason.

Fertility Meds

The fertility medications that we use as part of treatment protocols can be thought of in four groups: