RESOLVE Advocacy Day 2014

May 7th, 2014

 

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It’s Advocacy Day! Join RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in speaking out to Congress It’s time for legislation that supports the infertility community, and it starts with your voice.

Advocacy Day is a RESOLVE event where women and men living with infertility come together in Washington, D.C. to talk to Members of Congress about issues important to our community. It’s a great opportunity to meet RESOLVE leaders and others from the infertility community who want to make a difference.

While Advocacy Day is based in D.C., the beauty is that you can support this movement wherever you are. Call congress and ask them to support legislation that will provide relief and support to people dealing with infertility. It’s easy, and Resolve is providing all the details.

Also consider:

  • Being a Federal Legislation Advocate
  • Being an Infertility Community Advocate
  • Being Your Own Advocate During Treatment

If you’re ready to take action, check out Resolve’s tips to become an advocate and take a stand for more infertility support! 

Friday Round Up

April 25th, 2014

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ConceiveAbilities is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in the busy, burgeoning world of infertility. Below, a special round up of this week’s need to know stories in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week:

From NBC News: Failing at Fertility: New ‘Report Card’ Grades States

From DC Patient: Seven Things You Should Resolve to Know More About

From Huffington Post: What’s Changed (and What Hasn’t Changed) for People With Infertility in the Past 25 Years

From Forbes: IVF and Infertility By the Numbers

From the Chicago Tribune: Local Nonprofit Brings Awareness to Fertility Issues in Minorities

 

And in ConceiveAbilities news?

Team Baby walks again! We’ll be gathering in Chicago and Denver for tomorrow’s annual March of Dimes March for Babies! 

National Infertility Awareness Week – Infertility By The Numbers

April 24th, 2014

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Even the investors at Forbes are taking time to learn more about infertility this week!

The experts are resolving to “do the math” with some updated numbers via the American Society for Reproductive Medicine:

Their latest report from 2012 shows that 61,740 babies were born from IVF procedures. With the CDC reporting approximately 4 million births per year, that breaks down to between 1-2% of all births.

Here’s where it gets a little complicated – we’ll let Forbes take it from here:

ESHRE, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, recently estimated a total of 5 million IVF babies worldwide. Dividing the 61,740 US babies in 2012 by the estimated 350,000 IVF babies born worldwide per year (International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies estimate) and applying the resulting 18% to the 5 million figure, there are roughly 900,000 people in the United States who were born from IVF cycles.

Dividing 900,000 by the US Census Bureau 2013 population estimate tells us that approximately one in 348 of us is an IVF person.

This means that:

100 people in the crowd at Fenway Park last night were conceived using IVF.

Every obstetrician in the United States delivered on average three IVF babies last year. (Bureau of Labor Statistics obstetrician numbers)

If we assume that half of the visitors to Times Square each year are US residents, then on any given day there are 305 US tourists conceived by IVF bumping into each other on Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets.

And that is your IVF math lesson for the day!

National Infertility Awareness Week 2014 – Failing at Fertility?

April 22nd, 2014

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“The ability to reproduce is one of the most basic human desires and functions. Why can’t we help fix the reproductive system?”

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As we continue to honor National Infertility Awareness Week, a look at the country’s “fertility report card” for insurance coverage. We’re pleased to see Illinois is at the top of the list, but it’s disappointing that more states are not following suite when it comes to infertility coverage.

“We believe that infertility is a disease and we would love to see it covered by insurance as standard of care,” said Barbara Collura, president and CEO of RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association. “Not everyone needs IVF, but if their diagnosis requires IVF, or surgery or drug intervention, we would want all of those covered.”

The hope is that through outreach and education – what National Infertility Awareness Week strives to address – legislation may begin to shift. What do you think? Should infertility be considered similar to another medical condition?

National Infertility Awareness Week 2014 – Resolve to Know More

April 21st, 2014

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As National Infertility Awareness Week celebrates 25 years, we look back at how far we’ve come – and how far we still have to go! It starts with education, not only for others but also for ourselves:

- Resolve to know more about when to see a fertility specialist.
- Resolve to know more about all your family building options.
- Resolve to know more about infertility advocacy.
- Resolve to know more about the latest treatment options.
- Resolve to know more about the disease of infertility.

In a world that is constantly evolving the way infertility does, it’s essential that even those of us who consider ourselves to be “aware” stay informed. At ConceiveAbilities, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of new information to provide the best possible service to our intended parents, egg donors and surrogates. It’s our goal to be the best possible guides throughout the process – from the very first step!

 

Friday Round Up

April 18th, 2014

ConceiveAbilities is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in the busy, burgeoning world of infertility. Below, a round up of this week’s need to know stories:

From The Chicago Tribune: Local Nonprofit Brings Awareness to Fertility Issues in Minorities

From Digital Journal: Seven biggest fertility misconceptions

From the Honolulu Star Advisor: Hawaii weighs expanded coverage for infertility 

From The Guardian: Fertility mystery solved: protein discovered that joins sperm with eggs

From Health News Digest: 10 Myths About Pregnancy in Your 40s

And in ConceiveAbilities news?

Two surrogates welcomed two beautiful sets of twins within 24 hours! A busy week for babies! 

Angel’s Journey – Part 5

April 17th, 2014

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Hello all! This is Angel again – now 15 weeks along in this surrogacy pregnancy journey that I’m on! I’m FINALLY in the second trimester… Hallelujah! I don’t know why it felt like it took 25 weeks to get to the second trimester but I will say that the past several weeks have flown by. I’ve been keeping busy with my three full time jobs – one as a social worker, another as a mommy to a toddler and the last as a surrogate, i.e. protector of baby – so that might have something to do with it.

I know I will probably be hated for saying this (sorry ladies!) but I’ve felt great throughout this pregnancy overall. Weeks 6-10 were rough, mostly with overwhelming, couldn’t keep my eyes open, and could sleep for 15 hours fatigue. Otherwise, though, I’ve had very little nausea and am not gaining weight at the lightning speed that I feared. Sure, I know I’m only 15 weeks along so there’s a lot of weight to still be gained; but I wasn’t sure if carrying a second child that I had no control over genetically would cause this pregnancy to be dramatically different than my first. I feel like I’m eating enough for an army, though, so I’m certain the weight is going to start coming real quick. Everything I have a craving for is not something we ever have at home! What can I say? The baby likes salad, pizza and soft pretzels a lot!

I have just enough of a baby bump that people (such as co-workers) are cautiously starting to ask if I’m expecting and I am having a lot of the same questions come up from them: Is it your egg? Do you know the couple? Are you worried about giving up the baby? Is the couple coming here at all? Would you do this again? People are intrigued by this topic and find it fascinating, as I do, too. I almost feel like a unicorn – since I have a lot of people saying to me “I’ve heard of people doing that but never knew anyone who did.” Like I’m part of a mythical group of creatures that makes babies for families but you only ever hear about it and never meet one in person. It’s funny, actually, and opens up the conversation. I love hearing stories from people once I tell them I’m a surrogate, such as “I would’ve loved to do that but never could” or “My friend used a surrogate to build her family.” It’s really interesting to me to learn more about others’ experiences with surrogacy and their views on it.

I’m also so excited that as long as baby cooperates, the fathers will know the gender of their little one in just over a week! I’ve set up an early 3D/4D ultrasound as a gift to them to learn the gender and can’t wait to see their reaction to finding out what they are having via Skype! I remember lying in bed with my husband 2 ½ years ago, the day before we had our own gender scan and I remember the feeling of “this is the last night I’ll ever go to bed not knowing if I’m having a son or daughter. After tomorrow, I will know if I’m going to have a daddy’s girl or a momma’s boy” and to me, that changed everything. It made the pregnancy seem more real (as if the growing belly and tight pants didn’t do that already). I feel like a spectator in this pregnancy and I love it. I love getting to see the fathers reactions as their journey to parenthood unfolds before them. I secretly think they may be having a girl since this pregnancy is so similar to my own and I had a girl. I assume if it were a boy, I’d be worse off in the symptom department – but we shall see!

My family and friends continue to be great and super supportive. They are there when I’m being crabby (although that’s their word – not mine!), emotional, anxious or just not fun to be around. The fathers and I are emailing several times a week and just get along so well. So far, this pregnancy has been smooth sailing and I’m hopeful that it’ll stay that way. Until next time, you can find me in the grocery aisle at Target but definitely not in swim wear. I’ll avoid that section for now…

Juno molecule – a fertility mystery solved?

April 17th, 2014

Could this missing link be a key to improved fertility?

British scientists have discovered a fundamental link that allows sperm and egg to successfully join together – the Juno molecule.

This elusive protein, named after the Roman goddess of fertility, sit on the surface of the egg and binds with a male partner on a sperm cell. The sperm protein was discovered nearly a decade ago, and scientists have been seeking its partner ever since.

“Without this essential interaction, fertilization just cannot happen,” said lead researcher Dr. Gavin Wright. “We may be able to use this discovery to improve fertility treatments and develop new contraceptives.”

Now that the link has been found, scientists are screening infertile women to see if missing Juno could be the cause of their condition. In the future, a simple genetic screening test could help doctors identify the condition sooner rather than later to maximize treatment options.

“We know that fertilization failure in IVF is quite rare, and so I suspect the lack or dysfunction of this protein is probably not a major cause of infertility in couples,” admits fertility expert Dr. Allan Pacey. “However, it would be useful to know how many women have eggs that lack this protein so we can properly assess this.”

 

A Day in the Life of a Surrogate – Trista

April 9th, 2014

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“I think this is one of the best feelings ever – just to be able to see this precious baby in her mom’s arms and hear the tears behind her daddy’s ‘thank you.’ I wish I could put into words the love and joy I feel for this family. I’m so very very blessed to be a part of this journey!” 

- Beautiful words from Trista, who recently completed her journey as a surrogate mother with ConceiveAbilities.

New study: stress linked to infertility

April 7th, 2014

It’s no surprise to us: the results of a recent study lend further evidence that stress has a direct tie to infertility.

On a basic human level, it seems inevitable. If our bodies are in constant fight or flight mode, cortisol and alpha-amylase are inevitably going to be elevated. Interestingly, research showed that cortisol, while the hormone most commonly associated with stress, wasn’t as much a factor. The real marker appears to be alpha-amylase, which is a digestive protein found in saliva. The study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase took 29% longer to get pregnant.

Still, doctors remind that stress alone won’t cause infertility.

“Women who are doing everything they can to get pregnant are often told by well-meaning people, ‘If you would just relax you would get pregnant,’” says Dr. Suleena Kansal Kalra, an infertility specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. “That can be very counterproductive.”

While a myriad of other factors can come in to play, it’s a prime opportunity to address stress in day-to-day life. Dealing with infertility is challenging enough, and making time in the day to treat yourself well must be a priority. It doesn’t need to be time consuming, either – focusing on common sense self care like a solid night’s sleep, eating whole, unprocessed foods, and getting in 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise truly can ease tension and help us naturally focus on the positive.