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

Risk of Smaller Babies Increases with Placenta Previa

A study says women who have placenta previa and have given birth before are more likely to deliver smaller newborns.

Christine Mullin, M.D.

This study shows that placenta previa, which occurs in 5 in 1,000 pregnancies, appears to be associated with an increased risk for undersized newborns, otherwise known as small for gestational age, in women who have given birth to other children.” –Dr. Christine Mullin

Read more of this story, and Dr. Mullin’s comments in

Posted in Blog, Christine Mullin, News, Reproductive endocrinologist, Study

Coffee, Alcohol, and Conception

While too much of anything can turn out to be a bad thing, medical professionals are finding that even moderate amounts of coffee can be damaging to a man’s sperm, while moderate amounts of alcohol can actually be beneficial in helping with conception.

A group from the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, studied 753 men undergoing fertility treatment between 2003 and 2011. The men were asked about their habits when it came to drinking and smoking, their sex history and health, and how satisfied they were with their sex life.

“Analysis of the data showed that couples where the male partner’s caffeine consumption fell in the highest range—about three eight-ounce cups a day—were only half as likely to have a clinical pregnancy as couples where the man consumed less than [one cup of coffee] a day.”

Another study at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston examined alcohol consumption and how it impacted fertility. “The research found that men who drank at least 22g of alcohol per day, or three units, were more than twice as likely to have children through IVF as those who abstained. Health experts say that moderate amounts of alcohol may reduce stress levels and help conception.” Dr. Anatte Karmon of the same hospital said that “men should keep their lifestyle as healthy as possible if they were hoping to become fathers. Anything that is good for your heart health is also good for your fertility.” This includes eating healthily and getting plenty of exercise.

Each man is different when it comes to how much caffeine and alcohol are needed to have a noticed impact on fertility. Talk to your doctor about your lifestyle habits and they could be helping you or hindering you.

Posted in Blog, Fatherhood, Improve your Fertility, Study

Valerie Libby, MD Attends ASRM Annual Meeting


Former Resident, Valerie Libby, M.D. represented North Shore-LIJ at the annual meeting for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. She presented the abstract, Do Amh levels predict optimal Clomid dosage in PCO and non-PCO patients in IUI cycles.

Posted in Blog, IUI, News

Egg Freezing Now an Employee Perk

Tech companies and other well-known businesses and firms are renowned for their luxury perks. In the latest continuation of this trend, companies such as Facebook and Google are paying for women on the payroll to freeze their eggs, which can cost up to $20,000 per woman.

People tend to fall in one of two categories in their reaction to this news. Some people think this is awesome. These companies are allowing women to invest time in their careers while they are young but still have the ability to have children when they are older.

Others think “workplaces could be seen as paying women to put off childbearing. Women who choose to have babies earlier could be stigmatized as uncommitted to their careers. Just as tech company benefits like free food and dry cleaning serve to keep employees at the office longer, so could egg freezing, by delaying maternity leave and child-care responsibilities.”

Regardless of who is paying for it or how you feel about it, if you are interested in egg freezing, it is important to know the facts. “Women who freeze their eggs when they are younger than 35 have a 10 percent to 12 percent change of giving birth per egg, and women who do it when they are older than 35 have a 6 percent to 8 percent chance or lower,” says Marcelle Cedars, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of California, San Francisco.

Your doctor will be able to give you more answers about if your situation is ideal for egg freezing.

Posted in Blog, egg freezing, Lifestyle

Reproductive Justice for Black Women, For all Women and Girls

1511574_sThe National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a new initiative designed to focus on the voices and actions of Black women at all levels, national and regional, with the goal to “secure reproductive justice for all women and girls.” The collective partnership includes Black Women for Wellness, The Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices Pittsburgh, SisterLove, and Spark Reproductive Justice.

Although the tireless work of advocates over the last two decades demonstrate support and commitment, they often preform in communities or grass-roots organizations that are under-funded, or not funded at all.

In response Marcella Howell, a long-time activist on reproductive health and rights issues, approached several foundations with the goal of securing sustained funding that would build the capacity, infrastructure, and media savvy of Black women-centered reproductive and health organizations as a way to strengthen their work and voices in lifting up reproductive justice principles in the national dialogue.

Read this story in its entirety from RH Reality Check, by Linda Goler Blount, Black Women’s Health Imperative and Marcela Howell, Communications Consortium Media Center.


Posted in Blog, Lifestyle, News, Women's Health

Apple, Facebook Offer Egg Freezing

silver-apple-logoThe high-tech industry, known for their male-dominated rosters, took a big step this year in the investment of female talent. Facebook has been offering the egg freezing benefit since Jan. 1 of 2014, and Apple announced today that they will do the same, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

Egg freezing has come a long way since it’s experimental days, and in the two years since the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) lifted the “experimental” label from egg freezing, there has been a steady increase in the number of women seeking the procedure.

Dr. Tomer Singer, director of the Egg Freezing Program at North Shore LIJ Center for Human Reproduction, estimates that before 2012, his clinic saw about five to 10 patients interested in egg freezing per year. Now, he gets the same number of inquiries on a weekly basis.

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Posted in Blog, egg freezing, Improve your Fertility, News, Tomer Singer, Women's Health

Dr. Mina Alikani Honored by ASRM

Congratulations Dr. Mina Alikani!


Dr. Alikani was selected as a “superior reviewer who consistently exhibits excellence in her reviews”, by ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine). This select group of exemplary reviewers will be recognized at the ASRM Annual Meeting on Monday, October 20.

Here at the Center for Human Reproduction we are fortunate to have someone of Dr. Alikani’s expertise on our staff. She passionately contributes to the advancement of knowledge about reproductive medicine, and she will also be a presenter at this year’s annual meeting.

Posted in Blog, Center for Human Reproduction, Mina Alikani, News

First Child Born From a Womb Transplant

Modern medicine continues to improve. In the latest miracle that doctors and science have achieved, a Swedish woman who received a womb transplant has given birth to healthy baby boy.

At age 15, the woman—who chose to remain nameless to avoid publicity—discovered she had no womb and was told she would never be able to have any children. “Now 36, she was one of nine women to receive a transplanted womb last year in a ground-breaking trial led by Dr. Mats Brannstrom, a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm IVF. Several of [his patients] had received transplants before her. Separately, two other such transplants have been tried, in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.” However, this woman was the first to give birth from such a procedure.

The baby, born premature and weighing four pounds but nonetheless healthy, is all thanks to the donation of a womb by the father’s best friend’s mom, a 61-year-old woman who was moved to make the donation after learning of the couple’s struggles. She is the baby’s godmother.

For women who have this uncommonly rare condition, or other fertility struggles, the best thing to do is consult with a doctor to find out the ways of overcoming this obstacle.

Posted in Blog, Infertility Contributing Factors

Study Examines Connection Between Autism and Interval Between Pregnancies

DW In-MullinAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.   Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group.  Approximately 1 out of 88 children age 8 will have an ASD.  Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.  Scientists aren’t certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role.  This article claims that there is an association between length of time interval between pregnancies, stating very short (<1 year) or a very long interval (>5 years) between consecutive pregnancies may put the second child at some increased risk for an autism spectrum disorder.  It is unclear from this article what the science is behind this finding and I suspect that the disorder has a combination of both a genetic predisposition and exposure to a variety of environmental factors.

Read more of this story by Robert Preidt, US News & World Report.

Posted in Autism, Blog, Christine Mullin, News, Study