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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.

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

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.

 

What is Primary ovarian insufficiency?

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Making the Leap to Donor Eggs

Donor Eggs Blog sm
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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Two Women, One Dream to Create A Family

create a family blog

In the last several decades, lesbian would-be parents have increasingly sought reproductive assistance to have babies. It is estimated that approximately one-third of lesbian households have children, having achieved motherhood either through non-assisted insemination, fertility treatment, adoption or through prior heterosexual relationships.

While two women trying to make a family together equals double the set of reproductive organs, they still may encounter obstacles on their way to getting pregnant and having a baby.

If you are part of a same sex female couple, here are some important issues you should consider as you embark on your family building journey.

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Dr. Diana Chavkin Talks about Secondary Infertility

secondary infertility blog

A few months ago, Claire*, a woman in her late 30s, walked into my office. Tall and confident, with a strong handshake and a wry smile, she was the owner of a small textile firm, married for five years, mother to a beautiful three-year-old child.

She was also sitting in the office of an infertility specialist facing something she had spent more than a year pretending was not happening. As she told me her story, her composure began to fray at the edges.

"I just don't understand it," she said. "My best friend and I got pregnant at the same time. It wasn't on purpose, it just happened that way. And we did prenatal yoga together and went shopping for baby clothes together, and she delivered three days after me and our children share a nanny now. It's amazing."

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Dr. Diana Chavkin Discusses Yoga and Fertility

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Unfortunately, stress and infertility seem to go hand in hand. Both the inability to conceive and infertility treatments can be stressful.

Though the scientific research is not conclusive about the exact nature of the stress and infertility connection, infertility providers realize that reducing stress is essential for the holistic patient care and a more satisfying patient experience. Giving patients tools to reduce stress can have tangible physical effects while also being emotionally empowering. We often recommend yoga prior to beginning fertility treatment as an excellent stress buster.

What is fertility yoga?

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IVF Has Come a Long Way, Baby

First Test Tube Baby - Louise turns 39.

Happy Birthday, Louise Brown!

July 25 marks the 39th anniversary of the premier success of one of the modern era's greatest medical advances, in vitro fertilization. It's also the birthday of Louise J. Brown, the world's first IVF baby. Since her birth, it's estimated that nearly six million IVF babies worldwide have been born, with at least a million from the United States.

IVF is an evolving technology

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Love Letter to My Future Surrogate

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Dr. Robert Boostanfar patient Kelli Auerbach recently wrote a moving essay entitled “Love Letter to My Future Surrogate” which was published in The New York Times.

The article can be seen here on the New York Times website.  

Thank you, Kelli, for sharing this incredible story with HRC!

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The Quest for Eggs and the Risk of OHSS

OHSS

During IVF, infertility doctors prescribe injectable medications called gonadotropins to help women produce as many robust looking eggs as possible for their upcoming IVF cycle. This is called controlled ovulation induction.

We are on a quest for the optimal number of eggs to combine with sperm to create as many viable embryos as possible. All of these efforts increase our patients’ chances to have a successful IVF cycle now and in the future with frozen cycles.

But there can be side effects from taking these medications. One of the most serious is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). At HRC Fertility, we are committed to educating our patients to recognize the symptoms of OHSS as well as knowing what to do if they start experiencing any of them. Our first duty to you is to ‘do no harm.’

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A Fertility Doctor’s Struggle With (Her Own) Infertility

I am a 41-year-old woman with a one-year-old child. She is my first child. Her birth was not my first time in a delivery room, though. I’m an Ob-Gyn who had been in hundreds of delivery rooms before I was checked in under my own name. I'm also a fertility specialist who helped hundreds of other women get pregnant before I admitted that I was a specialist who needed a specialist.

Even fertility doctors can have a hard time conceiving. No matter how much help we give other people, like all human beings, sometimes we have to ask for help too.

Consider also that I was doing everything "right." Sure I was in my late thirties when my partner and I started trying to have a baby. But I also felt young, and I am a healthy woman who exercises, eats well and takes care of myself. It should have been easy, right? Not so much. After many months of trying, we realized that it wasn't happening.It became harder to be around happy moms with their beautiful kids. That was something my clients often expressed when they first visited me, and here I was, having similar thoughts. If they could do it, why not me? So I gave myself the advice I've given countless friends in similar situations: go see a specialist.

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Medical Evaluation of the Surrogate Mother


Surrogacy is a unique and wonderful family building option that often is described as third party reproduction. Individuals turn to surrogacy for a variety of medical and social reasons: infertility; multiple pregnancy losses; being part of a same sex male couple or being a single male.

Surrogate mothers, also known as gestational carriers, are caring, compassionate women who love being pregnant and want to give the gift of family to those who yearn to become parents.

One of the major concerns intended parents might have as they embark on surrogacy is whether the woman they are matched with is a good candidate from health, obstetrical and mental health perspectives. They want to be reassured she will be able to get pregnant, have a successful pregnancy, deliver a healthy baby to term, and not harm herself in the process.

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Dr. David Tourgeman Shares Sperm Facts

Sperm and semen are not the same

Sperm are too tiny to see with the naked eye, while semen is the white fluid that is ejaculated after a man achieves orgasm. Even though sperm are microscopically small, they show up in abundant numbers. The 10 to 500 million sperm found in a single semen contribution would stretch for six miles if they were lined up end to end.

Each ejaculate of semen is about a half-teaspoon of fluid. In addition to sperm, semen contains proteins, fructose and other organic fluids that allow sperm to survive and fertilize the egg. With the help of clear secretions produced by the bulbourethral glands, sperm move into the vagina and cervix with the goal of meeting and penetrating an egg.

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Declare Your Fertility Independence!

Declare your fertility independence

Barbecues, fireworks, parades, and parties are all ways we celebrate our nation's independence on July 4. This year, however, let's think of Independence Day in a slightly different way. Let's focus on how men and women of reproductive age can declare their "independence" from future fertility worries!

Here are five suggestions for gaining more control over your path to parenthood. Though there are no assurances with baby making, some current planning could pay off in the long term.

Know your risk factors

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Weighty Matters Can Signal Problems for Your Fertility

Weight and Infertility

Weight is a sensitive subject, especially for women. Aside from how weight affects physical appearance and self-esteem, an unhealthy weight can impact a woman's fertility, how she responds to treatment, the course of her pregnancy and the health of her child. An unhealthy weight means being either overweight or underweight.

What is considered a healthy weight?

Clinicians use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether someone is underweight, overweight or "normal." BMI is measured by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of the person's height in meters. The normal range for a BMI is between 18.5 to 24.9; less than 19 is considered underweight, 25 to 29 is deemed overweight and greater than 30 is categorized as obese.

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Want to Look into Your Fertility Crystal Ball?

Fertility Crystal Ball

Have you ever wanted to look into a crystal ball to get a sneak peek at your fertility future? Your local infertility doctor may not be clairvoyant, but he or she can assess your fertility potential, especially if having children is important to you.

The following tests can help fertility providers determine the current status of your baby-making potential. All are relatively inexpensive as well as easy to administer, and the results can serve as a barometer of your ovarian reserve or egg supply.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Test

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Guys: Are You Producing Enough Sperm?

Many reasons for a lower than normal sperm count

Infertility is an equal opportunity medical condition. This means there is a 40 to 50% chance that prospective dads who seek our help will have an infertility problem, with low sperm production being one of the main culprits.

Getting this diagnosis can be very shocking for men. After all, they probably have been producing what they think are normal and plentiful ejaculations. They may not realize that abundant semen does not indicate a normal sperm count.

The sperm production journeyFirst, let’s look at how sperm is made. It takes approximately 72 days for men to produce a new sperm supply. The production process begins in the brain with the pituitary gland. It releases hormones that jumpstart the development of sperm and testosterone inside the testicles, which are protected within the cool confines of the scrotum. Sperm continues to mature as they move through the seminiferous tubes of the testes to the prostate gland, where sperm mixes with seminal fluid to create semen.

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Celebrities and Surrogacy

You've probably seen their stories reported in popular magazines and websites. When celebrities choose to publicize their surrogacy journeys, people listen. This spreads awareness and gives the public a greater understanding of the challenges of family building for both same sex and heterosexual celebrities who want to have babies--just like the rest of us!

Turning to Surrogacy

Regardless of their fame, prospective parents may need to use the services of a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational carrier, for a variety of medical and social reasons.

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Preparing For Mother's Day 2018

Dr. Frederick prepares you for Mother's Day
Getting your body ready for a baby

Are you hoping to become pregnant by Mother's Day 2018? If you and your partner have made the life-changing decision to try to have a baby, here are some steps you should take in 2017 to ensure you will be receiving a Mother's Day card and flowers in the future.

Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician

It is important to know if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, which might affect your pregnancy or those influencing fertility, including sexually transmitted diseases or a thyroid condition. Also, this appointment will be an opportunity to discuss with your doctor the prescription medications you are taking and whether to continue them when you conceive, as well as to update your immunizations and get a flu shot.

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A Millennial Woman's Guide to Egg Freezing

To freeze or not to freeze?

That is a question many millennial women are asking themselves. Should they freeze time and their biological clock by undergoing oocyte cryopreservation, the medical term for egg freezing, or will Mr. Right come along before their fertility is reduced?

At HRC Fertility, we are seeing an increased interest in "social" egg freezing as the technique becomes more popular and improves in effectiveness. Some employers, such as Google and Facebook, have even begun offering this benefit, realizing their female employees want more reproductive choices.

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Fertility Preservation Options for Cancer Survivors

Fertility Preservation for Cancer Suvivors

A light at the end of the tunnel

 

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,688,780 Americans will receive the dreaded diagnosis of cancer in 2017.

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