Recognizing Reproductive Donors on National Donor Day

February 14th is best known for Valentine’s Day, but it’s also a day that marks another act of love. It’s National Donor Day—a time to celebrate those who are living organ donors and to remember those who donated organs in death so that others could live. We’d especially like to recognize those generous reproductive donors whose gifts, while not life-saving, are absolutely spirit-saving— the egg donors, embryo donors, and sperm donors. 

While not technically “donors”, this is also a good time to also recognize gestational carriers and surrogates. These women generously agree to carry a pregnancy for someone else who is unable to do so due to lack of uterus, uterine abnormalities, or other factors that make carrying a pregnancy impossible or inadvisable. Upon birth, they give the baby to its intended parents. Because of them, many gay male couples and many other straight and LGBTQ couples or individuals have become parents. 

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an egg donor yourself, go to www.eggdonorct.com for more details. And if you think building your family using egg donation, sperm donation, or embryo donation, is something you might be interested in, call any of our offices to schedule a consultation.

Overcoming Valentine’s Day Challenges When Infertile

Many holidays we celebrate are focused on families—and for those struggling with fertility—on the babies they don’t yet have. While Valentine’s Day is really focused more on couples, still, it can bring its own kind of stress.

While some couples can consciously reconnect with their partners and indulge in the many standard Valentine’s Day romantic options, others can feel burdened and become more anxious by the added expectations society places on this “lovers’ holiday”. 

Those without fertility challenges will never understand how disruptive fertility treatments necessarily are to the romance in a relationship. What used to be private and intimate has suddenly been thrown into the light, exposed, and placed under the literal microscope. While most prospective parents don’t think twice about sacrificing some privacy in the quest for a baby, fertility treatment can temporarily impact their love life.

Fortunately, continued advancements in assisted reproductive technologies and higher success rates for IVF can mean shorter infertility journeys for many patients. But if realizing that baby dream is taking a bit longer than expected, the daily grind of testing and treatments, semen collecting and/or timed intercourse can make it hard to keep the passion in lovemaking. 

When all a couple wants is takeout pizza in sweatpants and midnight baby feedings, a Valentine’s Day focused on chocolate hearts, satin sheets, flowers, and champagne fall far short of what the heart needs. And those who are single—by choice or by circumstance—and are unable to have a baby of their own also suffer on Valentine’s Day. In fact, having neither a partner nor a baby on Valentine’s Day can be extra painful for those who wish for both.

Infertility is hard on even the strongest relationships. There will be bad days and not-as-bad days. But if the time comes where are you or your partner feel you can benefit from professional counseling, the Center offers support that can help ease the tougher times. HealthCircle, our holistic approach to fertility care, can help you enhance your fertility treatment plan with programs that are meaningful, relevant and personal, including supportive counseling. We offer many individual and group solutions that can help overcome fertility obstacles, provide relief from emotional stress, and support and guide you on making the best decisions for treatment. 

The most important thing to remember–you truly are not alone.

 

Elective Single Embryo Transfer

By Claudio Benadiva, MD, HCLD

You are probably familiar with the issues of multiple births resulting from fertility treatments. Some of the health and ethical problems have been a focus of the news since the birth of octuplets to a California woman in 2009. IVF procedures are not perfect and come with risk, so it became standard practice to transfer more than one embryo to improve success rates. Transferring multiple embryos can result in multiple births, which carry a number of risks, including prematurity, low birth weight, learning disabilities and developmental problems for the infants, and preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean section for the mothers. And of course, this also increases the costs for delivery and subsequent hospital stay. Some estimates for the 2009 octuplets placed the hospital costs alone between $1.5 and $3 million.

But years worth of advancements and better clinical management, along with guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, have greatly improved the results for elective single embryo transfers (eSET). Here at the Center, the majority of our births are singleton deliveries, resulting in healthier moms and healthier babies. In fact, our most recently published data from the Society for Advanced Reproductive Services from 2016 shows that 81% of our IVF births were singleton births. 

Today, with better techniques for growing and selecting the best quality embryos, transferring one embryo instead of two or more is a viable option for many women, depending on their age and other fertility-related issues.  Women/couples who don’t want to risk multiple pregnancies or who have a preexisting medical condition for which a multiple pregnancy would not be safe should consider single-embryo transfer, and we advise you to consult with us to see if it makes sense for you.

Our Center’s goal is to achieve the highest live birth from single embryo transfers and to continue to improve outcomes for all IVF patients.

Announcing Fertility Massage Therapy

Introducing fertility massage therapy! Provided by Carissa Spada, LMT, fertility massage therapy is designed to enhance potential conception while nurturing and relaxing body and mind. Whether you are using this to support assisted reproductive technologies, intending to start family building soon, or are currently trying to conceive, this time together can be extremely nurturing and supporting. Special rates are available for Center patients, plus, we have a very special opportunity for someone to receive two fertility massage sessions at no cost! Find all the details here.

Announcing new clinical drug trial with IVF cycle

IVF is expensive. We have partnered with Ferring Pharmaceuticals in a clinical drug trial offering a compensated IVF cycle including IVF medications and are looking for participants. If you meet the initial criteria as noted on this page, please tell your doctor that you are interested in the CLARA study.

For a full list of eligibility criteria, visit clinicaltrials.gov and search ‘CLARA’ and ‘Ferring.’ You can also contact Scott, our Clinical Research Manager, at myohe@uconnfertility.com

 

Congrats to Dr. Nulsen, Dr. Benadiva and Dr. Grow

Congratulations to Dr. John Nulsen, Dr. Claudio Benadiva and Dr. Daniel Grow as having been named by their peers to the 2019-2020 Best Doctors in America®List. Approximately 4 percent of U.S. doctors are named to the list, according to Best Doctors, Inc.

“The physicians included in the Best Doctors in America database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment,” according to Best Doctors, Inc.

To be selected for the list, physicians must be nominated and then voted on by existing members of the Best Doctors in America List.

As one of the largest fertility programs in the country, we are proud to have played a role in the births of over 13,000 babies.

Holiday Hours

The Center will be closing at 2 pm on Christmas Eve [12/24/19] and New Year’s Eve [12/31/19]. If you have an emergency after 2 pm on these days, please call the main number and the answering service will page the MD on call.
 
The Center will be closed on Christmas Day [12/25/19] and New Year’s Day [1/1/20]. If you have an emergency on these days, please call the main number, and the answering service will page the MD on call.
 
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Center!

Optimize Chances of IVF Success Webinar

Wondering what YOU can do to boost your chances of success in your next IVF round? Ami Chokshi, the Center’s Certified Health Coach, is hosting a FREE masterclass that shows you the 6 things she did to conceive (even though she was told she had slim to no chances). This class shows you the exact plan she followed (and now coaches other women on too). Click here to register. 

Acupuncture in the News

Today, the Center was featured on WTNH’s Connecticut Families with Sarah Cody. She spoke with Helen BetGivargis, the Center’s acupuncturist, about acupuncture and how it can be helpful in fertility treatments, as well as with a couple who spoke about their experience. We hope you enjoy the piece as much as we do! And don’t forget…if you’re interested in learning more about acupuncture, come to our Community Fertility Acupuncture event on October 27th. Navigate to our News and Events page for more information and to register.

 

Mainstream fertility clinics turn to acupuncture to help couples start a family

 

3 Things You Can Do if You are Trying To Conceive with PCOS

by Ami Chokshi
Fertility & IVF Health Coach

September is PCOS month, and PCOS-related infertility affects so many women these days. PCOS symptoms often include:

  • Irregular periods,
  • Weight gain or weight loss resistance,
  • Hair growth on your face or body,
  • Acne, and
  • Dark patches of skin

…. but you already know this if you have PCOS.

So, let’s talk about how you can manage your symptoms to support your fertility journey.

Insulin resistance is often a major factor associated with PCOS, and this means that your body cannot respond properly to the insulin it makes. Keeping your blood sugar steady throughout the day will help you sustain healthy hormone levels, keep your mood even, and support a more regular menstrual cycle.

I work with women who want to maximize their chances of getting pregnant by optimizing their health. These are women who are asking their doctors, “what else can I do outside of treatment.” These are some tips I share with them to get them started…

Step 1: The Winning Food Formula

Food is where I start, and the first step to managing your PCOS is to eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar steady. The winning formula is: Fiber + Protein.

I recommend eating both fiber – in the form of veggies – and protein in every meal. This dynamic duo will keep your blood sugar from spiking in either direction. And, it works regardless of what diet you subscribe to…from vegan to keto. It will keep you from feeling hangry, irritable, or sleepy. And it will help you keep your weight in check. If you are trying to lose weight, remember this catchy phrase…

Fiber and protein in every meal makes losing weight no big deal.”

You can apply this to your daily meals by:

  • Adding spinach to your scrambled eggs,
  • Including kale with a low sugar smoothie and a plant-based protein,
  • Eating a big salad with chicken for lunch, and
  • Covering half of your plate in veggies plus a protein for dinner. 

Step 2: Move Your Mass

Next, incorporating high intensity interval workouts decreases insulin resistance and is the best exercise to mobilize excess body fat.

This can look like a 20 minute HIIT workout from Fitness Blender (check out some the HIIT workouts here:)

…or 3 sets of the Scientific 7-Minute Workout (here is the app).

If you have had a heavy meals and need a quick blood sugar stabilizer, lace up your sneakers and go for a walk. Even 10 minutes around the block will help lower your blood sugar.

Step 3: Flush it out

Finally, drink your H20.

 I know you know this, and you have heard this a dozen times… But, how often are you doing this? Staying hydrated helps remove excess sugar from your blood through your urine. Half of your body weight in ounces is often the guideline, so if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of water. Another way to know is to check the color of your urine. Aim for pale yellow.

Hydration isn’t only about drinking water.It also means making sure you have an adequate electrolyte balance. Electrolytes – like potassium, magnesium, and sodium – can be added to your water and are critical for replenishing needed minerals and feeling hydrated. They support chemical reactions that take place in your body for optimal hormone health.

A basic rule of thumb is this: if you have go to the bathroom within 5-10 minutes of drinking water, consider adding electrolytes (or even a pinch of pink sea salt) to your to your next glass.

Stick with these basics and be sure you are sleeping 7-9 hours, and you will notice results…from better energy and weight loss to calmer hormones.

Want help getting started? Check out my free PCOS 7 Day Meal Plan. Simply share your email here, and I will send it (plus additional fertility tips) to you right away!