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Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

Galentine’s Day: A Celebration of Female Friendship and Support

Galentines Day blog
Every woman trying to conceive needs her gal pals

 

In case you haven’t heard, Galentine’s Day takes place on February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day. Originally the brainchild of fictional television character Leslie Knope, played by the hilarious Amy Poehler on Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day has since taken on a life of its own.

Galentine’s Day is a celebration of female friendship and gal power. Friends provide companionship, comfort, support and understanding through both our happy moments and darkest hours. We celebrate with our gal pals as well as commiserate them.

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Deciding to Become a Choice Dad

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Men also hear their biological clocks ticking

Their numbers are small, but a growing movement of men are opting to become single biological parents by using assisted reproductive technologies. Like their single ‘choice mom’ counterparts, prospective single dads want to parent on their terms and have an equally strong desire to parent.   

Reasons why single men become choice dads

On the surface, it may seem easier and more culturally and socially acceptable for single heterosexual men to find female partners with whom they can have children, including as they age. However, this scenario has not worked for many single dads. Many have not had the time to find the right woman to marry because of busy careers. They may feel the opportunity to become an active father is slipping away from them.

Single gay men too can be stymied by both biology and the lack of a loving partner with whom to parent.

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Dr. Diana Chavkin Talks about Choosing Motherhood

Dr. Chavkin of HRC Fertility talks about choosing motherhood

Grow up, get married, have a baby. But what if you don't have a partner and you want to be a mother?

A choice mom is a woman who chooses solo parenthood with awareness. She may choose to foster a child or to adopt. Or she may decide that she is ready for pregnancy and find a sperm donor.

There are many reasons why women choose to lead families without the traditional support of a partner. You might be tired of waiting for love in order to give and get love. You may worry about waiting too long, and decreasing your chances of an easy pregnancy.

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Women Over 40 Make Great Moms

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Are you 40 or older and thinking of becoming a mother? If you are, you’re not alone. Many women come to HRC Fertility to learn their options for motherhood in their forties. Some are afraid the motherhood ship may have sailed past them. But we know there are several options to help them fulfill their dreams.

If you are trying to conceive in your forties, here are some important considerations.

You are in good company

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New Year’s Resolutions - Our resolution to our patients

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At the end of each year, many people start planning their resolutions for the coming one. They vow to lose weight, stop smoking, become better organized, read more books or achieve another type of admirable goal.

Those trying to have a baby, however, may be focused on only one New Year’s goal: to become a parent or to expand their family as they have always envisioned. At HRC Fertility, our New Year’s resolution is to help you achieve your resolution. We aim to provide our patients with a pathway to parenthood in the most efficient, cost-effective and successful way possible.

Our New Year’s resolutions

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How to Feel Merry and Bright During the Holidays

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Even if you are undergoing infertility treatment

The holidays can be stressful for many reasons, but especially if you are experiencing infertility. During a season focusing on children, It can be difficult or, perhaps, impossible, to feel joy when the only gift you want is the gift of parenthood. Instead of having visions of sugarplums, you dream about decorating the tree or playing dreidel with longed-for children. You wonder if you will ever celebrate the holidays as a mom or dad or with the big family you always envisioned.

Even if you don’t feel in the holiday mood because of your infertility journey, there still are ways you can survive and, maybe also find joy this year. Here are a few suggestions.

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Dr. Jeffrey Nelson Explains the Male Reproductive System

Infertility patients starting treatment often feel they are getting a crash course in their reproductive anatomies. It's important for them to have a good understanding of how their reproductive systems work and what might be the causes of their fertility challenges when problems arise.

Men (and women) will be familiar with their scrotum, testes and penis, but may not know the functions of the other organs that help them create, transport and release sperm. The organs also move sperm into the female reproductive tract and secrete male sex hormones.

An overview of male reproductive organs

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Embryo Donation - It can be a win-win for both donors and recipients

Embryo Adoption - Dr. Sanaz Ghazal

One of the most challenging issues facing in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients is deciding what to do with their remaining frozen embryos once treatment is over. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are over 600,000 frozen embryos in storage in U.S. fertility clinics and storage centers.

The majority of patients will use their embryos to try to have more children. But for individuals who have decided their family building days are over, they have several choices to make. They can:

Store their embryos indefinitely or until they make a decision and pay storage fees.Donate them to research.Undergo a ‘compassionate’ embryo transfer during the time of the month when the woman is unlikely to get pregnant.Thaw the embryos.Donate their embryos to another couple or individual.

Is embryo donation right for you as a donor?

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Dr. David Tourgeman Discusses Reasons for Gender Selection


Expectant parents are often asked, "Do you want a boy or a girl?"

Many couples want to learn their baby's gender during an ultrasound or after an amniocentesis, while others prefer the element of surprise at delivery.

Some parents, however, are anxious to plan their baby's gender before they get pregnant. Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF) combined with preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), they can select their future baby's sex before conception.

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Natural and Minimal Stimulation IVF Cycles

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In addition to conventional IVF cycles, HRC Fertility offers natural or minimal stimulation of IVF. Some patients may not benefit from high doses of medication used in conventional IVF cycles and so using less medication, as in a natural or minimal stimulation protocol, may be more appropriate.

Why a natural cycle might work for you

At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, several follicles containing immature eggs begin to mature in a woman's ovary. However, only the dominant follicle, the one that most efficiently responds to FSH, will release an egg during the process of ovulation. The other follicles undergo a natural process of cell death or atresia.

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Infertility, Pregnancy and Your Teeth

dental care blog
What does dental care have to do with conception and pregnancy?

Taking care of your teeth is important while you are trying to conceive. This is true for both men and women. Healthy teeth and gums also are crucial for a successful pregnancy and childbirth.

A healthy mouth is considered free of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Cavities, also called dental caries, are caused when acid, created by consuming sugary drinks and food, reacts with bacteria present in plaque and erodes tooth enamel. Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, occurs when plaque buildup causes irritation, redness, and swelling. Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis, is gum disease that has progressed and spread to underlying tissue and can lead to bone and tooth loss.

These three dental conditions all have something in common: bacterial inflammation. As you prepare for conception and pregnancy, it is important to understand why it may be time to step-up your dental care routine.

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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There is hope for those who have suffered a devastating loss

Do you know there is no word in the English language describing the status of a parent who has endured the unbearable loss of a child? We doubt this word exists in any other language either. The pain and sorrow experienced by these parents are indeed indescribable, as well as universal. 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month. Parents around the globe use this occasion to honor the babies lost during miscarriage and stillbirth. On October 15, many lit a candle and released a balloon into the skies in memory of their lost dreams and babies.

 

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Breast Cancer & Fertility Preservation Advocacy

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Could California Senate Bill 1972 signal hope is on the horizon?

 

At the beginning of this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society announced some very encouraging news. It reported there were 322,800 fewer deaths from breast cancer between1989 and 2015, representing an almost 40% decrease in mortality. Experts attribute this dramatic drop to both early detections via mammography and better treatments.

According to the Young Survival Organization, 12,150 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women under age 40. These women have unique challenges not only in terms of how the disease affects them but also about the impact the cancer treatment will have on their ability to get pregnant after treatment.

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Starting Infertility Treatment with Clomid

Though HRC Fertility provides the full array of high-tech solutions for infertility, many of our patients with ovulatory problems can benefit from simpler, first-step approaches. This includes taking an oral medication, such as Clomid.

Hailed as a game-changer when it was first introduced, Clomid is one of the most popular medications in the world to help women conceive. It's also a cost effective and easy first step. Also known by its generic name, clomiphene citrate, Clomid is marketed as Serophene.

Clomid primarily helps stimulate ovulation. It works at the level of the hypothalamus where it blocks estrogen receptors, making your body think estrogen levels are lower than they are. The hypothalamus responds by producing more gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which then stimulates the pituitary to produce follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones, in turn, then stimulate follicular development and function.

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Infertility: The Two Week Wait

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The Waiting Game

The most nerve-wracking part of the infertility journey

Whether you are undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), an infertility treatment cycle consists of many steps. Everyone involved in the process – doctors, nurses, embryologists, and patients – does their part to ensure the cycle will be as successful as possible. Then the waiting begins, euphemistically known in the ‘trying to conceive’ world as the tortuous two-week wait.

At HRC Fertility, we try to support our patients and their partners as much as possible during this emotionally turbulent time. The emotional roller coaster does not necessarily end with the announcement of the first test results and often continues throughout the several months before we discharge patients to their obstetricians.

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PCOS Advocacy and Support

Help make PCOS awareness official

September is PCOS Awareness Month, a wonderful opportunity to educate the public about polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common hormonal disorder impacting women. According to the PCOS Awareness Association, PCOS affects seven million women in the United States, more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined. Though millions of women have this syndrome, public awareness about it is not high and support organizations receive very little funding. As a consequence, it is estimated 50% of women are not diagnosed properly or may not learn they have it until they have problems trying to get pregnant. 

While PCOS Awareness Month has been observed for many years among medical professionals and PCOS advocates, this year one of the leading PCOS advocacy organizations, PCOS Challenge, is taking awareness a step further. PCOS Challenge wants Congress to pass legislation (H. Res. 495) to officially designate September as PCOS Awareness Month. This law recognizes the seriousness of PCOS and the need for further research and treatment options and, potentially, a cure. This is a historic, bipartisan effort.

According to Sasha Ottey, executive director of PCOS Challenge, one of the goals of passing this bill would be to make PCOS a public health priority. Because it affects so many American women during their reproductive years and can have a long-term effect on their overall health, Ottey felt it was time for the discussion of PCOS to be elevated. 

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Egg Freezing: Dr. Diana Chavkin Answers the Crucial Questions

egg freeze blog

By Dr. Diana Chavkin

Why is egg freezing so popular now? Why didn't my mom or older sister freeze their eggs?

Egg freezing has become more accepted over the past few years as a method of fertility preservation for a number of reasons. Before 2013, anyone who froze their eggs had to do so under an experimental protocol. But after studying egg freezing in depth, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine issued a statement that there is enough scientific evidence showing that egg freezing works and that it should longer be considered experimental.

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Dr. Alison Peck: The Benefits of a Healthy PCOS Lifestyle

PCOS is one of the most common hormonal disorders affecting women. Approximately five to 10 percent of childbearing age females have this condition, which can impact their fertility. At HRC Fertility, patients with PCOS comprise a significant part of our practice.

We confirm a PCOS diagnosis if a female patient has two of the following three symptoms: absence of ovulation, symptoms of blood levels of high androgens (male sex hormones, such as testosterone) and/or multiple ovarian cysts on pelvic ultrasound.

Insulin resistance is a major culprit in creating PCOS symptoms, and it affects 50-70 percent of women with PCOS. Insulin resistance results in a build up of insulin that cannot be used to break down glucose (sugars). Insulin resistance not only makes it harder to lose weight but also increases the risk for diabetes. Additionally, high insulin levels cause the ovaries to produce male hormones that can cause acne and hair growth.

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Dr. Diana Chavkin Explains Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

By Dr. Diana Chavkin

A woman in her 20’s or early 30’s who may have trouble getting pregnant or a woman who is concerned about irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness may present to a physician and learn that she has primary ovarian insufficiency. This can be one of the hardest diagnoses for a woman to face.

 

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Making the Leap to Donor Eggs

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Beginning a new dream

When is the right time to consider using donated eggs? We often are asked this question by patients who are at a crossroads in their treatment. Deciding to use the genetic material of another woman to have a baby is typically made with a lot of thought, deliberation, and soul-searching.

Resolving to use donated eggs is often described as a ‘leap’ or transition. Most couples go through a deliberate process before taking this step. If you are at that turning point, here are some questions to consider as you move forward on your family building journey.

Do you have a pre-existing condition?

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