Archive for July, 2010
A Personal Story by Gail Fernandez, RN- Nurse Supervisor
It’s no surprise I ended up working in the field of Human Reproduction. Having been on an infertility journey myself, I was drawn there. The special feeling I had inside after having been through the ordeal never left me. I wanted to help those with the anguish, depression, failure and feelings of worthlessness that I too once experienced.
These heartaches run deep, they hurt so badly. To compound these feelings of despair, you have to ‘buckle up’ and smile when you hear from your friend or sister in law or cousin when they revel in the delight of a newly diagnosed pregnancy. It seems to pervade your life. Everyone you know is pregnant except you.
I’ll never forget the devastating feeling of being in the bathroom and crying because once again, another month gone by and I got my period. It’s an indescribable feeling that hurts so much it’s nearly unbearable– and though my husband was supportive, I never really felt that he understood this feeling of hopelessness.
So the days and the months and the years went by– my life became like clockwork, analyzing the countless temperature charts (this was before the days of IVF). Sex became a chore rather than a pleasure. The clinic visits, the testing, the pills, the temperatures, the hunger for information…….
My story ends on a happy note, though bittersweet. I kept at it. We adopted a wonderful baby boy only to succumb to another devastating loss when the birth mother changed her mind. Three months after this life changing incident, lo and behold, I was pregnant with twins!!!
Therein, lies the ecstasy. I had a relatively uneventful pregnancy though emotionally charged. It was perhaps the most memorable experience of my life. I now have not only my 26 year old identical girls but also a ’surprise’ 22 year old boy. Be it a prayer, luck or God’s will, I consider myself blessed.
I urge everybody to pursue their goals because there is an answer for everyone. Work through the pain, keep yourselves busy and persevere. That being said, when we get the news of a birth from our patients it brings a joyful tear to my eye. The best part of my job is seeing our patients realize their dreams.
By: Dr. Avner Hershlag
In this comedy, which opened in theaters last weekend, a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), live with their teenage children, Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson), in LA. As Joni prepares for college, her younger brother pesters her for a big favor—help him find their biological father. Against her better judgment, she makes a call to the sperm bank; the bank, in turn, calls Paul (Mark Ruffalo) and asks him if he’s willing to meet his daughter. He agrees, and a complicated new chapter begins for the family.
The movie’s message is that these teenage kids, raised by two mothers, are going to be all right. Is that true?
A recent study by Catrell & Bos, published in Pediatrics, looked at 78 offspring born to 154 lesbian mothers who conceived through donor inseminations.
They found that 17-year-old children of lesbian mothers:
- Were rated significantly higher in social, academic, and total competence than typical American children, as compared with Achenbach’s normative sample of American youth.
- Had significantly fewer social problems, and less rule-breaking, aggressive, and externalizing problem behavior than age-matched children.
- There were no differences among adolescent offspring conceived by known, as-yet-unknown, and permanently unknown donors, or between offspring whose mothers were still together and offspring whose mothers had separated.
- The mothers’ “commitment even before their offspring were born to be fully engaged in the process of parenting.” During pregnancy, the mothers took classes and formed support groups to learn about raising a child.
- “They were actively involved in the education of their children and aspired to remain close to them, however unique their interests, orientations, and preferences may be.”
- The mothers were keenly aware of the prospect of discrimination, so they “took a lot of time educating people who came into contact with their families — obstetricians, pediatricians, teachers, administrators. They were always working on diversity programs and anti-bullying programs.”
- The lower levels of externalizing problems may be explained by disciplinary styles. The mothers used verbal limit setting, and studies have shown they use less corporal punishment and less power assertion than heterosexual fathers.
- “Growing up in households with less power assertion and more parental involvement has been shown to be associated with healthier psychological adjustment.”
In an accompanying editorial, Joseph Hagan MD, of the U of Vermont, writes:
“Our experience tells of the resilience of children who are loved and know that love. Our learning tells us of the boundless ability of children to respond to that love despite the absence of a traditional parenting relationship.”
So, the kids are all right?
You bet they are!
For decades, the Surgeon General has advised quitting smoking. Beyond the well-publicized diseases and health risks caused by smoking and second-hand smoke, smoking contributes to fertility issues. Cigarette smokers are known to be more likely to have several fertility issues as compared to non-smokers, regardless of which partner smokes. Both female and male smokers have lower fertility levels, taking longer to conceive, and children of mothers who smoked have an increased risk of fertility issues as adults.
On the female side, ovarian reserve (egg quantity) and egg quality are compromised in women who smoke. Smoking also reduces the chance of success with IVF, and smokers have increased rates of miscarriage with IVF pregnancies.
And on the male side, compared to non-smokers, smokers tend to have lower sperm counts, reduced amounts of semen, impaired motility of sperm, and a higher percentage of abnormally-shaped sperm. Smoking can also affect the blood vessels that supply the penis, causing erection problems.
Besides the obvious health benefits of quitting smoking, quitting smoking will increase your ability to conceive and your likelihood of success with IVF. It is thought to take at least three months for improvement to be maximized in relation to fertility after stopping smoking.
To help you get started…
Center for Tobacco Control (North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System)
New York State Smokers’ Quitline