Chronicling the Journey of Infertility

As more information is known about why people encounter problems conceiving, people are becoming more open to talking about this struggle. However, this wasn’t always the case. Many people kept their struggles secret, afraid or ashamed to share with others what felt like a personal failure. One European couple bucked this trend of silence and is sharing their story with the world, encouraging other couples to be open as well.

Karen and Ryan were married in 2007 and spent the next six and a half years trying to have a baby. They tried every non-surgical method they could think of, as well as undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) at least four times, before finally becoming pregnant with a donor egg. Their journey was one of heartbreak and tears, but also of perseverance. You can read more about it here:

One thing they stressed constantly on their blog was how beneficial it was to get emotional support. They had plenty from their friends and family but also found the staff at their clinic to be very helpful in being patient and empathetic with them. Dealing with infertility is not something that should be handled alone; it is important to be open with those around you so they can support you, as well as comfort you.

There are many people who can help you during this difficult time, beyond just friends and family. Considering joining a support group for those dealing with infertility, whether in person or online (for example, Talk to a counselor about what you are going through. Above all, talk to a doctor; they can help you determine what your infertility issue is, as well as what can be done to help you conceive in the future.

Posted in Blog, Infertility

Recognition, Fund-Raising at Night of Hope

  • Jenny-and-Wellness-person
    Ali Domar, PhD (Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health and Director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF) and our nurse Jenny Cutolo.
  • girls-at-table
    Gina, Amy, Jenny, Cindy and Chastidy enjoy the evening.
  • Elizabeth-Carr
    Elizabeth Carr, addressing attendees, was the first baby born from IVF in the US.
  • Decherney-speaking
    Dr. Alan Decherney
  • AH-and-Decherney
    Dr. Hershlag and his mentor, Dr. Alan Decherney.

Tuesday’s Night of Hope event helped push over the half way mark to their goal of raising $400,000 which supports their efforts to improve the lives of women and men living with infertility. They also recognized several individuals and organizations with their annual Hope awards.

Barbara Eck Founders Award
This national award is presented annually to an individual or group who has demonstrated leadership in the field of infertility or infertility resolution, and went to Lee Rubin Collins, JD.

The Hope Award for Achievement
Given to an individual and/or organization/corporation whose accomplishments are worthy and whose actions are socially commendable which result in a material contribution to the lives of those diagnosed with infertility, going to Rachel Gurevich and Susan Donaldson James.

The Hope Award for Service
Given to an individual and/or organization/corporation whose work has either advanced RESOLVE or its mission in a significant manner was awarded to Cindy Flynn and Angelica Nassar.

The Hope Award for Advocacy
Given to an individual and/or organization/corporation whose work has raised public awareness, advanced a legislative agenda, or prompted change for the benefit of those diagnosed with infertility. The Hope Award for Advocacy went to Michael John Tucker, BSc Comb Hons, PhD, FIBiol, HCLD and collaborators The Hastings Center and The Yale School of Medicine.

The Hope Award for Best Blog
This award is voted on by the infertility community, and recognizes a blog that raises awareness about the disease of infertility and sheds light on what it is like to be living with infertility. This year the award goes to Our Misconception.

Posted in Avner Hershlag, Blog, Center for Human Reproduction, Infertility, IVF, News

Night of Hope 2014


Tomorrow night is looking to be a memorable evening as the Center for Human Reproduction shares in  sponsoring the Night of Hope, 2014.

This year, during Night of Hope, RESOLVE will be celebrating 40 years as a patient support, education, and advocacy organization; recognizing those who have made a difference in the infertility community; and much more.

Posted in Adoption, Blog, Center for Human Reproduction, News

Dr. Alikani Invited to Speak at China ART Conference


During the week of November 17, Dr. Alikani will be giving lectures on Implantation Failure: An Embryocentric View and Essentials of the IVF Laboratory in the city of Chongqing.

Posted in Blog, IVF, Mina Alikani, News

Sex for Procreation Obsolete by 2050?

Austrian-American chemist and author Professor Carl Djerassi, also the creator of the Birth Control Pill, believes that because of the advances in modern science, sex will be purely for fun by 2050 because everyone will use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant.

He says, “The vast majority of women who will choose IVF in the future will be fertile women who have frozen their eggs and delayed pregnancy. Women in their twenties will first choose this approach as insurance, providing them with freedom in the light of professional decisions or the absence of the right partner or the inexorably ticking of the biological clock. However I predict that many of these women will in fact decide to be fertilized by IVF methods because of the advances in genetic screening. And once that happens then IVF will start to become a normal non-coital method of having children.”

It may seem like something out of a sci-fi novel, but there have already been steps toward this reality. Current birth control is temporary sterilization until a woman feels ready and mature enough to have a child. Large companies are offering egg-freezing to their employees to give them freedom in pursuing their careers while they’re young. With this method proposed by Djerassi, every pregnancy would be planned and there would be no more abortions.

Not everyone is in favor of this, however, and any idea has its drawbacks. Even if technology and science advanced to that degree, the cost of IVF and storing the eggs and sperm would still be more than some people could afford. For those who believe life begins at conception, they argue that there would actually be many times more lives lost with this method of conception. Since IVF involves uniting a sperm and egg into and embryo and there are often at least 10 embryos to choose from when becoming pregnant, the extra ones are discarded. There is also no guarantee down the road that the eggs and sperm you froze will produce a healthy embryo.

Djerassi brings up an interesting theory that is certainly worth investigating. Talk to your doctor about your current conception plans and what the best route is for you.

Posted in Blog, egg freezing, Lifestyle

Embryo Glue Could Help You Conceive

For one British couple who had struggled for 15 years to conceive, the new technique of “gluing” their embryo to the lining of her uterus turned out to be successful, and they now have a little baby boy.

The couple had tried multiple times to get pregnant, but even after consulting with fertility doctors and taking countless tests, there was still no success and no explanation as to why they were unable to conceive. After undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) but before implanting the embryo back in the womb, doctors suggested the couple try Embryoglue, which “increases the ability of an implanted embryo to stick to the side of a mother’s womb by first dipping it into a gluey substance.” Two months later, the couple were overjoyed to learn she was pregnant.

The “glue” effect “is achieved by a relatively high concentration of hyaluronan, together with the safest protein source available: recombinant albumin. Hyaluronan is a natural substance abundant in all tissues in the body. The levels of hyaluronan increase in the uterus at the time of implantation. The uterine wall and the embryo havereceptor sites for this molecule. It is thought that the hyaluronan in EmbryoGlue helps the embryo to implant by increasing the adhesion of the embryo to the endometrium.”

More research is needed before this procedure is widely recommended. As it is, some doctors have seen huge success with this method while others think it’s not much different than IVF in general. Talk to your doctor today about if he or she recommends this method as a way to improve your chances of conceiving.

Posted in Blog, Improve your Fertility, Infertility

Spotlight on Endometriosis

Lisa D. Ellis
Reviewed by QualityHealth’s Medical Advisory Board
Reprinted with permission.

Padma-LakshmiAs an actress and co-host of Bravo’s “Top Chef” show, Padma Lakshmi’s famous face is easy to recognize. Yet her endometriosis—a chronic health problem that caused pain and infertility for much of her adult life—went undetected for more than a decade by some of the nation’s best doctors.

What Is Endometriosis?
About 8.5 million women in North America currently suffer from endometriosis, a disease that interrupts the normal release of the uterine lining during the menstrual cycle in women of reproductive age, allowing some of the uterine tissue to remain in the body and attach to the organs. This can cause an array of serious health issues, including:

  • Abdominal and bladder symptoms
  • Painful intercourse
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Pelvic and rectal pain
  • Infertility

Despite the extreme nature of the symptoms, which can worsen as the disease progresses, many women suffer for years before getting a proper diagnosis.

Ignoring the Problem
The problem is that society expects menstrual periods to be painful, so doctors all too often dismiss severe symptoms as a “normal” part of the female experience, according to Tamer Seckin, MD, a New York City-based gynecologic surgeon who is known for his groundbreaking work treating endometriosis. But women don’t have to suffer unnecessarily, Seckin stresses. He points to the array of treatment options available, including a procedure he performs called lapascopic excision, which involves removing the damaged tissue and, in the process, restoring organ function.

In Lakshmi’s case, this procedure made all of the difference, freeing her from years of pain and allowing her to regain her fertility so she could get pregnant and have a baby.

Spreading the Word
While Lakshmi is grateful for her own happy ending, she wants to help change a system that fails so many women. “If I had been diagnosed at 13, 16, 25 or even at 30, that would have been 12 weeks a year, every year of my life, that would have been completely different,” Lakshmi says. “Even though I had excellent healthcare and saw many of the most respected doctors, I was not properly diagnosed until the age of 36. After being bedridden for a few days a month and having multiple surgeries, I felt something had to change for the next generation of girls.”

The Endometriosis Foundation of America
This desire to help other women and prevent them from unnecessary suffering prompted Seckin and Lakshmi to join forces and create the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA). The goals of EFA are to raise awareness about endometriosis and to shine the spotlight on the array of effective treatment options. The foundation also supports important research efforts to gain a better understanding of this disease. Seckin points out that despite the widespread nature of endometriosis, it is currently one of the least researched conditions.

Furthering Research and Public Awareness
In an effort to change this, EFA has created the ROSE (Research OutSmarts Endometriosis) Project, a research effort in conjunction with the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, part of North Shore/LIJ Hospital in Manhaasset, NY. The ROSE Project is designed to learn more about the causes of endometriosis, including a possible genetic component, so the medical community can develop new ways to prevent and treat this disease.

EFA also recently launched a pilot community and school-based awareness campaign called the ENPOWR Project to help young people identify the signs and symptoms of endometriosis and to educate them on when and how to access a specialist for a proper diagnosis. This campaign is currently limited to New York, but Seckin hopes the model will expand throughout the nation in the not-too-distant future.

What You Can Do
If you suspect you or someone you know could have endometriosis, Seckin and Lakshmi stress the importance of being your own advocate and getting a proper diagnosis. They point out that you can get the ball rolling educating yourself about the condition and starting a conversation with your doctor. You can also visit the EFA website at to learn more about the disease, including symptoms and treatment options.

My decades-long struggle with the disease, misdiagnosis and unsuccessful treatments led me to champion this cause and make a positive impact by sharing my experience. This disease is much more than ‘killer cramps,’ and young women in particular need to recognize the signs and symptoms and advocate for their own health and treatment,” Lakshmi says.

Posted in Blog, Endometriosis, Infertility, Infertility Contributing Factors, News

Well Known Cancer Drug Doubles as Fertility Treatment

A recent study reveals Femara, a medication that’s FDA-approved to treat breast cancer, may be as or more effective than current fertility drugs for some women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a condition that occurs when a woman’s hormones are out of balance, causing cysts to form in the ovaries. While the cysts themselves are not particularly harmful, they cause further hormonal imbalance making it difficult for a woman to become pregnant.

The multiple test site study followed more than 700 women and found Femara produced results far exceeding those of Clomid, the traditional drug used to treat PCOS, when it comes to ovulation, conception and birth rates. And it did so with fewer side effects.

Read the full article by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Posted in Blog, breast cancer, Fertility Treatments, News, PCOS, Study

Radiation-Proof Boxers

Earlier this year, scientists and medical professionals released data about how sperm can be affected by the radiation emitted from cell phones, and advised men to keep their phones out of their pockets. In order to even further protect your most sensitive parts, a company called Belly Armor is releasing men’s boxer shorts with radiation protection.

A report published in the journal Fertility and Sterility said that “use of cell phones by men is associated with a decrease in semen quality. The decrease in sperm count, motility, viability, and normal morphology is related to the duration of exposure to cell phones.” American company Belly Armor took this warning to heart and designed boxers with a thin silver textile that absorbs radiation. They say it “provides the same level of radiation shielding as a 1/4-inch thick sheet of aluminum.”

Although much more research still needs to happen about this issue, it is always best to take precaution. The boxers officially are on sale and can be purchased for $49 at Belly Armor’s website. Also available are radiation-proof shirts, blankets, and tops for pregnant or nursing women.

If you are concerned about this or any other outside factor affecting your fertility, talk to your doctor today.

Posted in Blog, Fatherhood

The Face of Breast Cancer

700-0-centerfoldYou might be surprised to learn that breast cancer is not the most deadly disease for women in the United States. It falls far down on the list behind heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. But the statistic that makes this type of cancer hit home for so many is that it is the leading lethal disease of women, ages 35-54.

The New York Times feature, Faces of Breast Cancer is a fascinating and inspiring look into the lives of people dealing with breast cancer, whether through personal experience or in caring for a loved one. Reading through their stories you will find yourself touched, scared, and at times, smiling. These are strong and admirable women.

Every year during October we are reminded of a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer — 1 in 8 during her lifetime. Empowered activities such as performing monthly self-examinations and leading a healthy and active lifestyle work hand-in-hand with regularly scheduled mammograms in early cancer detection.

On the good news front, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer continues to decline, as does the death rate; breast cancer is no longer a death sentence. This is due in part to advances in medical science and research, but almost equally responsible is how women are taking control of their health and treatment.

We encourage anyone who has concerns or questions about the risk of breast cancer to speak to her doctor as soon as possible. North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute takes a comprehensive approach to treating breast cancer at their dedicated Breast Cancer Center.

Posted in Blog, BRCA, breast cancer, News, Uncategorized, Women's Health