Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Over twelve percent of women born in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. However, recent research is paving the way to better understanding this cancer and discovering new ways to deal with it.
In the past 20 years, the BRCA (short for BReast CAncer) mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene has surfaced as a mutation that produces hereditary breast-ovarian cancer in those who have the gene. BRCA-1 & BRCA-2 mutations account for 5-10% of all breast cancers, with most occurring in women in their reproductive years. Many doctors feel that everyone should be tested for the BRCA gene, both for their own peace of mind as well as to protect their future children.
There’s good news! There are ways to prevent passing these genes onto your future children. If you have the BRCA gene mutation, or other genetic abnormalities, it’s possible to screen your embryos to determine if they also carry the gene, this process is known as Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, or PGD. PGD is done in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF). You will be stimulated to produce multiple eggs which will be retrieved, and combined with your partner’s sperm. Once the embryos have developed, a single cell is removed from each embryo, taken to a lab and diagnosed to see if it carries the genetic abnormality. Only healthy embryos are transferred back to your uterus for implantation and pregnancy.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer early action is imperative in preserving your future fertility. There is a small window of time between your diagnosis and treatment, in which it is possible to freeze your eggs so you may use them to become pregnant after you successfully beat your cancer. Talk to your physician to see if this is a viable option for you. You can also get tested for the BRCA mutation. If you have this gene mutation, there is a significantly higher chance that your children could also develop breast-ovarian cancers. When you survive your cancer and are ready for motherhood, you can have PGD done on your embryos to ensure only those embryos without the BRCA mutation are transferred, thereby allowing your children to grow up without the worry of developing cancer related to this treacherous gene.
The National Cancer Institute has very helpful information on the BRCA1 & 2 mutations, including a quick guide to help you assess whether the BRCA is screening is right for you: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA.
For more information, you can always contact our office coordinator at 516-562-2229.
At the North Shore-LIJ Center for Human Reproduction, we work very hard to make IVF affordable. Based on our deep convictions that having children is not a luxury, but a basic right of every person regardless of economic status, we offer a number of options that can help make fertility treatment affordable for all:
- We accept nearly all insurance plans. Many of them provide some or full coverage for IVF.
- We are one of the centers recognized by NY State (DOH) to distribute IVF grants for patients with financial needs.
- We provide the ATTAIN “reproductive insurance” which currently offers two plans: for qualified patients, the “shared risk” allows you, for a fixed fee, to have 3 fresh and 3 frozen cycles, with up to 70% of the money refunded if you don’t take home a baby; all other patients are eligible for the Multiplan, allowing a 30% discount for 2 cycles.
- We provide in-house financial counseling.
- We offer financing options with a third-party. It’s important to note that we have no financial ties to these organizations and offer them only for the benefit of our patients.
- We offer an affordable Donor Egg program through MyEggBank at nearly half the cost of a traditional Donor Egg cycle..
Our services are available at our offices in Manhasset, Garden City, Forest Hills, and Flushing. We are excited to offer treatments at two new locations in the coming months: our Manhattan center in November, and our Suffolk County location in December.
To learn more about the financial options available for fertility treatment, please call 516-562-BABY (2229). We look forward to helping you on your path to parenthood.
The ASRM, a professional fertility-related organization that we are proud to be members of, has announced that egg freezing is no longer considered experimental. This decision reflects our confidence that egg freezing is safe and that children born through egg freezing are healthy.
This news is important for the medical fertility community, but it is also relevant to patients. Removing the label designating egg freezing as “experimental” can help women interested in preserving their fertility while delaying childbearing to be more confident in the safety of the procedure.
This confidence also extends to our donor egg patients. Our Donor Egg Program includes donor eggs via My Egg Bank, which uses eggs that have been screened and frozen. The Egg Bank is nearly half the cost of a traditional donor cycle and can be accomplished much faster as the donors have already been screened and cycled. Patients using frozen donor eggs can rest assured that the egg freezing methods are safe and effective, while enjoying the convenience of a faster cycle and a more affordable alternative.
We are hopeful that the removal of the “experimental” label may one day allow for better coverage of the procedure by insurance companies.
If you are considering freezing your eggs, or using frozen donor eggs, and would like to learn more about the process please feel free to call us at 516-562-BABY and ask to speak with a nurse coordinator.
While Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his Tour de France titles there is another, less publicized, front that he continues to champion. As a cancer survivor himself, Lance Armstrong has empathetically taken the lead in providing support for cancer patients with the Livestrong Foundation. We at North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Center for Human Reproduction have been associated with Fertile Hope, a subsidiary of the Livestrong Foundation. Fertile Hope provides free fertility medications to newly diagnosed cancer patients who wish to preserve their fertility. At the time these women come to our offices they are overwhelmed with a recent cancer diagnosis and find themselves waging three parallel battles: fighting to survive cancer; tolerating difficult treatment with serious side effects; and facing the possibility of losing their fertility before ever having a chance to have a child. Fertile Hope makes a tremendous impact by alleviating much of the anxiety these young women face and, in many cases, their dream of having a child when they survive cancer is made a reality by the help of Fertile Hope.
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is honoring Lindsay Nohr Beck the current Cancer & Fertility Advisor for Livestrong at their 2012 annual meeting. Lindsay founded Fertile Hope before the organization joined Livestrong. In addition to having the thanks of RESOLVE, we would also like to extend our gratitude to Lindsay, Lance and their team for helping our patients preserve their fertility and stay focused in their fight against cancer.
By: Dr. Avner Hershlag; Chief, Center for Human Reproduction
We should all be very disturbed by the World Health Organization report that 15 million babies are born prematurely each year in the United States (“U.S. Lags in Global Measure of Premature Births,” May 3, 2012) – a rate of one-in-nine births that is on par with Kenya and other third-world countries.
The rhetoric that healthcare in America is the best in the world just got a new reality check. How can we fix it? Twins, triplets and other multiple births result largely from fertility treatment. To fix this, three things must happen:
1. Fertility doctors need to encourage patients to have single embryo transfers when embryo quality is good — this is already common practice in Europe.
2. The mentality of, “the more, the merrier,” needs to end since the preemie picture is far from merry… And physicians must inform patients of the risks, even of twins, and the full picture of a “two-for-one” deal.
3. All insurance companies should cover IVF, which is more controlled than giving fertility drugs without IVF, and reward programs for reducing multiples. This will pay off in the long run, since preemie care is incredibly expensive.
Do you feel patients are properly informed of the risks of multiples?
A new study, led by Jonathan Tilly, PhD of Massachusetts General Hospital, discovered egg-producing stem cells from the ovaries of reproductive age women, a development which could change the lives of women struggling with ovarian failure. Dr. Hershlag, Chief of the Center for Human Reproduction had this say about the study:
“Jonathan Tilly’s quest to make eggs from stem cells is admirable, given the limited reproductive lifespan of women. Our own study of patients rendered menopausal and treated with stem cell transplantation— who ultimately got pregnant and had children— has raised the interesting, yet unproven, possibility that perhaps the stem cell transplant itself produced new eggs in these women. While this exciting research is ongoing, the real hope for women to preserve their fertility now is egg freezing, which currently results in high pregnancy rates.”