Archive for the ‘Fertility News’ Category
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Day 2 of National Infertility Awareness Week asks us to change the conversation. While healthcare is a sensitive issue in this country and is constantly in a state of flux, it is spotty at best for people diagnosed as infertile. As Resolve.org points out, there is not enough support or access to medical care for a disease that impacts 1 in 8 U.S. couples.
As many states are passing legislation to limit basic healthcare to women, it’s important that we take a stand to protect all reproductive rights. The support and care that is being denied to so many is inexcusable. Laws should not limit family building options, and this week is the perfect opportunity to speak up about the need for medical care, access to emotional support, and the freedom to build a family.
Learn more about how your state measures up by reviewing this interactive Fertility Scorecard from Resolve and then share it on your social media outlets But don’t stop with your friends. Reach out to your state’s lawmakers. Let them know how this impacts you, their constituent. Remind them that infertility is a disease, and that healthcare is a right. Encourage them to join the movement with you!
Sunday, April 21st, 2013
Today kicks off National Infertility Awareness Week – and it’s our opportunity to show how strong this community is. Through education and determination, those of us at the forefront have the responsibility to help others understand the significance of the disease. And it is, in fact, a disease. Without proper care and funding, the rates continue to increase. But the isolation doesn’t have to continue. The insensitivity can be diminished. That’s what this week is all about.
Visit All things Conceivable all week to read personal stories, share triumphs, and learn ways you can help the people in your life understand a complex, sensitive topic. Not sure where to start? Resolve.org has compiled an array of educational opportunities around the country – our own support group is included on Saturday, April 27th in Denver.
So check out the list. Find some events in your area, and spread the word. Join the movement with us in the fight for infertility awareness.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
One of the most commonly asked questions we’re asked from potential egg donors – aside from “does it hurt?” – is if it will impact their own fertility in the future. My Health News Daily is reporting a new study that shows women who donate their eggs aren’t harming their own chances of becoming pregnant.
The Belgian study found that out of 60 women who had donated eggs, 54 became pregnant within a year of trying to conceive. Three more women became pregnant within 18 months of trying. 57 of the women conceived naturally, while the remaining three became pregnant with the help of fertility treatments. Interestingly, two of these women needed treatment due to male factor fertility issues. Researchers did note that there were limitations to the study – generally, egg donors don’t have fertility issues of their own to start. 16 percent of the women did report changes in their menstrual cycle after donating their eggs, but none of them reported infertility problems.
We always encourage women who are considering egg donation to thoroughly research the procedure and discuss medical concerns with their doctor. While no medical procedure is without some inherent risk, this study provides truly positive reinforcement to the generosity of these women.
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
We were saddened to learn about today’s passing of Robert Edwards, the pioneer of IVF. Edwards died at the age of 87 after a long illness, and no doubt leaves behind a remarkable legacy. Thanks to decades of research dating back to the 1950s, he developed in-vitro fertilization into a truly miraculous science and the birth of more than 5 million babies. The 1978 birth of Louise Brown, often referred to as the first “test tube baby,” ushered in a new era of family building that has expanded exponentially to include the field of third party reproduction.
As many as 1 to 2 percent of babies in the Western world are now conceived through IVF, experts say. And while the procedure is not without controversy, it has allowed the one in six couples worldwide who face infertility a viable option to create their family.
“He leaves the world a much better place,” said Peter Braude, a London professor of obstetrics and gynecology. Few biologists, he added, have been able to have such a positive and practical impact on humankind. Edwards was awarded a Nobel prize for medicine in 2010.
It is a privilege to honor Dr. Edwards and his tireless work in the world of assisted reproductive technology. The intended parents whose lives have been so enriched through IVF – not to mention the egg donors and surrogates who are integral to the process – are testimony to the profound impact one person can have on his or her world. Thank you, Dr. Edwards.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
It’s been 4 years since our country elected a new president. Regardless of your political platform, or if you agree with all of the decisions that have been made during this term, one thing is for sure – reproductive rights have remained intact. In spite of all of the controversy, media fodder, and downright false information, women still have the right to choose. Couples still have the right to decide what to do with their embryos. People still have the ability to create embryos to build their families.
All of that could change depending on the outcome of today’s election. Just as ConceiveAbilities Director, Nazca Fontes, wrote in the Huffington Post prior to the 2008 election, the results could affect assisted reproductive technology (ART) and the means to family building.
An article from The AFA outlines this in much greater detail, and it reminds us that fifteen states have presented initiatives and/or legislation for Personhood. These laws that define a fertilized egg as a person would have a dire impact not only on ART, but also research and other means of treatment for genuine medical issues. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Personhood legislation “would possibly prevent doctors from providing necessary and often life-saving medical procedures to women experiencing miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Personhood measures are a dangerous intrusion of criminal law into the provision of medical care.”
A law that prevents care to the mother seems like the real criminal act. And while it’s difficult to comprehend, it is a right that currently needs protection.
It opens doors to an even greater myriad of discussion related to IVF treatment. As the AFA piece points out, would frozen embryos be considered a person by law? Should embryos be part of the US census? Are people entitled to claim embryos as dependents on their taxes? If frozen embryos do not survive the thawing process, is the lab technician now considered a criminal?
These questions are not unrealistic under Personhood legislation. While it has failed to become law – so far – the results of today’s election could pave the way to reality. We encourage you to vote today. Vote with the knowledge of where your chosen candidate stands, and vote to protect your reproductive choices.
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
We’ve heard some interesting commentary this week in regards to Mitt Romney’s recent choice for running mate. Paul Ryan’s views on taxes, Medicare and women’s health rights are making plenty of news, but we in the family building arena are particularly interested by his cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act – commonly known as Personhood.
Simply put, Ryan seems to believe that a fertilized egg has more rights than a woman. And that strange, misguided belief that a fertilized egg is the same thing as a person could have dire consequences for Assisted Reproductive Technology. If passed, the Act would make even one-celled embryos “people” – and if not used immediately through IVF or frozen, they would then be considered victims under the law.
The interesting twist in the Romney-Ryan pairing, of course, is the fact that two of Romney’s children have used IVF – one even working with a surrogate – to build their families. Per Ryan’s stance, this could qualify them as criminals under the Personhood statutes.
Mother Jones had a compelling piece about this fact yesterday, but some commentators are crying foul: today’s piece in the National Post calls the related articles “distortion” and “balderdash,” saying that there is “no evidence that he believes in criminalizing in vitro fertilization, and efforts to imply otherwise in order to create a neat little conflict (oooh, Romney’s runningmate would put Romney’s kids is prison if he could!) are misleading and irresponsible.”
If this truly were the case, we would agree. But under the Sanctity of Human Life Act, one endorsed by Ryan, any extra embryos that were fertilized by not implanted cannot be destroyed or used for research. And the fact is, we don’t know if the Romneys had extra embryos. We don’t know what they chose to do with them. Perhaps more importantly – it is no one else’s business period.
It’s true that Personhood would not completely outlaw IVF. At least not yet. But this gross invasion of privacy when it comes to reproductive rights is beyond disturbing, and for a family that has experienced the struggle of infertility – like the Romneys – it’s a pretty contradictory and poorly thought through decision. No distortion here – November’s vote could significantly undermine the rights of not just women, but anyone with the desire to have a family with the help of technology after all other efforts have failed them.
Friday, July 27th, 2012
We were intrigued by a recent article published by Psychology Today with the foreboding title “The Dark Side of Fertility Treatment.” The authors, both consultant psychologists in a neonatal intensive care unit, believe there is a dangerous disconnect in the education and reality of health risks associated with assisted reproductive technology (ART).
The catalyst seems to be new reports on high-dose stimulation and what it can mean for mother and, often, babies. Some specialists argue that mild stimulation results in lower pregnancy rates and, subsequently, more cycles of IVF. While high-dose stimulation can have a higher rate of success, there may also be an increased likelihood of multiples. And that, the authors, say is where reality sets in for hopeful parents. They “wonder if doctors in this highly competitive, multi-billion dollar unregulated business are incentivized to spend the time necessary to help couples reach a considered understanding of ART.”
When the goal is to have a baby, some IVF patients hope they’re only lucky enough to have more than one. The primary focus is on getting pregnant. It can be difficult to see past that hurdle – and to realize that the eventual pregnancy itself is not without risks might be equally hard to comprehend.
The fact is that no pregnancy is without risks, whether it is a singleton or quadruplets, and whether it occurs naturally or with the help of IVF.
Education, not only about infertility treatment options, but about the subsequent pregnancy and baby or babies, is key. We believe the best option is always the adherence of the well developed, clear guidelines which are currently in place.
Patients must be their own best advocates when making decisions about their treatment plans and the number of embryos to transfer. After the emotional roller coaster through infertility, no parent should be left to feel helpless, doubting their decision. They need to feel confident that they have been fully counseled on the risks – and are as prepared as possible for what they will do if the unexpected occurs.
Monday, June 25th, 2012
Saturday dawned the perfect summer day for the first annual Illinois Race for the Family. The 5k run/walk, hosted by Fertility Centers of Illinois to benefit the Cade Foundation, was held at the beautiful Deer Park Forest Preserve. Decked out in “Team Baby” t-shirts, we were thrilled to be joined by 5 of our surrogates and their families – in fact, even an Intended Mom and Intended Grandma came out to participate! It was incredible to see multiple generations showing their support for infertility awareness.
Once the race was complete, it was time to celebrate some impressive accomplishments. Not only did one of our surrogate’s husband win a medal, two of our surrogates’ children were awarded medals for their age groups. Needless to say, Team Baby was a proud bunch!
We also had an opportunity to hear the inspiring story behind the Tiniana Q. Cade Foundation, which has been helping families overcome infertility since 2005. After Dr. Cade’s daughter dealt with 5 years of infertility treatment, the then 55-year-old offered to serve as a gestational carrier – and went on to deliver her 3 healthy grandchildren! The family started the foundation as a means to provide financial support to others struggling with the cost of fertility treatment and domestic adoption. Dr. Cade, along with her daughter Camille and son-in-law Jason, were on hand to thank supporters and celebrate another victory in the outreach event.
Another aspect of the event, Savannah’s Playground, was an area for families to play, learn about safety, and listen to live acoustic music. Through the Cade Foundation, Savannah’s Playground honors the memory of Savannah Pereira – a little girl conceived with the help of infertility assistance and died in a tragic accident in 2010 at just 10 months old. Her parents established Savannah’s Memorial Fund to provide an annual grant to couples trying to conceive their first child. Lisa Rushton and Charley Pereira were also present to share their story as well as celebrate some exciting news – they are now expecting their second child.
ConceiveAbilities was honored to be part of this inspiring event and to have an opportunity to share infertility awareness with so many of the people who help make family building possible, in spite of the long journey and hurdles along the way. For more information about how you can show your support, please visit the Cade Foundation at www.cadefoundation.org.
Friday, April 27th, 2012
When it comes to infertility awareness, we generally think about educating lawmakers, physicians, insurance companies, and the adult population at large. The people we don’t often consider? Children. And it’s interesting, considering this generation is among the very first to be brought up among peers that were born with the assistance of ART. The fact that families are being built in more diverse ways than ever before, it seems natural that children are among some of the most open-minded and empathetic to things like gestational surrogacy.
“My kids were so excited when I brought it up to them,” a ConceiveAbilities surrogates said. “It was everyone else we had to explain to.” A recent study from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Family Research showed that the psychological wellbeing of a surrogate’s child is not negatively affected. Sixteen children were part of the study and, and twelve said that they openly discussed surrogacy with their friends and had generally positive responses.
One of our Chicago area surrogates witnessed this as well. “I have heard my daughter telling others that I did it and from what I saw, she only received positive comments.” She added that both of her children, ages 8 and 16, “seemed rather unaffected by the whole journey.”
Researcher Susan Imrie noted that, in their study, “So far, all children interviewed have a positive view of surrogacy and their mother’s involvement.”
Another Chicago surrogate with ConceiveAbilities agreed. “The affect on my girls has been nothing but positive,” she said of her 9 and 13-year-old daughters.
Not all surrogates experience the same positive reactions. One surrogate noted that while her children were excited about the process, “I wish I could say the same about my parents. I guess it is a culture problem.”
That seems to be the universal response from our surrogates. While they have the full, unconditional support from their children and partners, any resistance they meet has come from other adults. While of course it can be a personal ethical issue from some, it is often a lack of understanding. Only in recent years has the delicate issue of infertility been brought out of the doctor’s office and into the public conscious, which is why education – and patience – is key.
And yet for children, the concept seems clear: it’s natural to want to have a family. And it’s only natural to want to help someone who is struggling to make it happen.
“They are so proud of what I am doing,” one surrogate said of her children. “My 13-year-old had to write a persuasive essay for her Language Arts class and has decided to write on surrogacy. She nearly brought me to tears when she told me. My 9-year-old is excited and couldn’t wait to tell everyone she knows. She rubs my belly every chance she gets and says that one day she wants to be a surrogate. It makes me incredibly happy to have my children look up to me and be so proud. What more could a mom ask for?”
With such positive attitudes about all the ways to build a family, it gives us hope that awareness is starting early and will continue to grow.
Visit here to read more Chicago Surrogacy Reviews & Testimonials
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
When it comes to infertility and ART, awareness is essential for everyone involved. And clearly, it needs to become an international effort. The attitude toward egg donation – and assisted reproductive technology in general – has always been a bit different in the UK. Unlike in the US, where databases of prospective donors have grown, over the past few years we’ve watched as a variety of new legislation and compensation guidelines have been introduced in an attempt to draw women to egg donation in the UK. Typically, UK donors do not receive the same level of compensation as in the US, if they are compensated at all. It is generally viewed as an “altruistic” act, and while we agree that egg donation is an amazing act of generosity, it is also a significant commitment both physically and emotionally. Donors should be compensated for that level of commitment, as becoming an egg donor is time consuming, inconvenient, often uncomfortable, and requires quite a bit of effort!
More recently, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK’s fertility regulator, has been trying new tactics to drum up interest in egg donation. They are launching a new drive to encourage gamete donors by comparing it to something like blood donation. To us, this comparison seems misguided – and almost cavalier considering their previous attitude.
Reputable agencies and organizations tasked with guiding participants through this process are diligent in educating prospective donors as to the level of commitment and risks associated with this very generous act. Also, in our experience, for a woman to make this commitment it is important for her to have an understanding of who is on the other side. We’ve found that so many of the egg donors we work with first became interested in participating after witnessing a friend or family member struggling with infertility. “I want to help someone like her/him,” we often hear. “If I have the ability to help them have a family, I want to do it.”
It’s clear to us that most donors are already participating for altruistic reasons. But by comparing this very intimate decision to donating blood, it takes away from the profound impact of egg donation. Not only should she be compensated for the time and effort in providing this generous gift, she should have a full understanding of its magnitude. Awareness is truly a must for everyone involved in third party reproduction.