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Every Day is Mother’s Day for this Dr. Boostanfar Patient

This month Allyson, mom to three-month-old Sean, celebrated her first Mother’s Day. At 51, she is savoring her new status and knows she is lucky to be cuddling her precious baby.

Allyson used the donor egg program at HRC Fertility after undergoing one cycle of IVF with her own eggs. When she married a few years ago, she and her husband understood she probably would have challenges because of her age, so she was not surprised this option would be necessary.

She found an anonymous donor and was referred to Dr. Boostanfar’s Encino office. After several diagnostic tests were completed, Allyson was able to start IVF treatment.

The rest of the process moved along very quickly. Said Allyson: “The communication was great, especially about all the medications and injections. With the frequent office visits, I got to know the staff. I felt it was important to have a close relationship with the providers since this was such an important process.”

Fortunately, Allyson received the happy news that she was pregnant after her second cycle.

Though the businesswoman isn’t getting her usual good night’s sleep, she is figuring out how to make motherhood work and relishing her new role. She advises other “older” moms to not let age limit their life.

“All the staff at HRC Fertility were judgment-free about my age, which I really appreciated, recalled Allyson. “They honored my wanting to fulfill my dreams. I felt I was in a safe place and would refer other women to seek treatment at Dr. Boostanfar’s office.”

Though the official Mother’s Day has passed, every day feels like Mother’s Day to Allyson, who is only feeling joy about a dream that finally has been realized.




Celebrities and Surrogacy

You’ve probably seen their stories reported in popular magazines and websites. When celebrities choose to publicize their surrogacy journeys, people listen. This spreads awareness and gives the public a greater understanding of the challenges of family building for both same sex and heterosexual celebrities who want to have babies–just like the rest of us!

Turning to Surrogacy
Regardless of their fame, prospective parents may need to use the services of a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational carrier, for a variety of medical and social reasons.

Intended mothers may have been born without a uterus, have a uterine structural abnormality, or needed a hysterectomy due to cancer, all of which make it impossible for them to carry a pregnancy. Some may have medical problems that would make pregnancy dangerous. Surrogacy also may be needed for women who have experienced numerous failed IVF cycles. They can produce healthy, normal-looking embryos, but implantation does not occur, even with IVF.

Of course, same sex individuals and single men who want to have biological children need two, “third parties,” an egg donor and a surrogate mother.

Here are four examples of celebrities who have shone a light on surrogacy:

GloZell Green
GloZell is viral social media superstar known for her signature green lipstick, vivacious personality and hilarious YouTube videos. When she wanted to have a baby in her late 30s, her doctor discovered she had endometriosis and a thin uterine lining. He suggested she use a surrogate mother to carry her baby.

GloZell and her husband Kevin Simon are now the proud parents of a little girl, O’Zell, born last August with the help of HRC Fertility’s Dr. Bradford Kolb. In her unique style, GloZell chronicled her surrogacy journey and, in the process, has educated millions of people about infertility and surrogacy.

Elton John and David Furnish
This megastar and his producer/director husband are one of the most famous gay couples who used surrogacy to build their family. Elton and David are British citizens and commercial surrogacy is not legally recognized in the United Kingdom. They used the same surrogate mother for the birth of their sons.

When fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana created a firestorm by calling IVF and surrogacy “unnatural,” Elton John came to the defense of the millions of parents and babies who have used these miraculous technologies.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban needed the help of a surrogate mother for their second daughter. After Ms. Kidman’s struggle to conceive baby number two, she was very open about talking about secondary infertility and the struggle of undergoing treatment and miscarriage, as well as showing her admiration for her surrogate mother.

Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin is not only a gay dad via surrogacy but was a single man who wanted to become a father when his twins Matteo and Valentino were conceived via surrogacy. He is well-known as a “choice dad” who made a conscious choice to become a father.

Ricky’s surrogacy experience is an example of how the desire for parenthood is a universal goal for both men and women, with or without a partner. Thank you to these celebrities and others who have brought awareness to this unique, but increasingly popular, family-building option.

HRC Fertility has an active third party parenting program because California has very favorable surrogacy law, which attract intended parents from all over the world. To learn more, click here: http://www.havingbabies.com/infertility-treatment/third-party-reproduction/




Dr. Jane Frederick Prepares You for Mother’s Day 2018

Getting your body ready for a baby

Are you hoping to become pregnant by Mother’s Day 2018? If you and your partner have made the life-changing decision to try to have a baby, here are some steps you should take in 2017 to ensure you’ll be receiving a Mother’s Day card and flowers in the future.

Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician

It’s important to know if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, which might affect your pregnancy or those influencing fertility, including sexually transmitted diseases or a thyroid condition. This appointment will also be an opportunity to discuss with your doctor the prescription medications you’re taking and whether to continue them when you conceive, as well as to update your immunizations and get a flu shot.

Supplement with folic acid to prevent birth defects
One of the most effective ways to insure your baby does not develop neural-tube defects, such as the deadly neurological condition of spina bifida, is to supplement your diet with 600 mcg/0.6 of folic acid daily. You can take folic acid supplements or buy a multi-vitamin that contains it. Once you get pregnant, your obstetrician will increase the dosage to 800 mcg/0.8 mg, which can be obtained in a prenatal vitamin.

Maintain a healthy weight with a nutritious diet
You don’t need to start eating for two before you become pregnant, but we suggest following the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists) guidelines for practicing healthier eating habits with a balanced diet of the five food groups supplemented by eating foods rich in iron, calcium and Vitamin D.

However, if you’re overweight or underweight, this is the time you should take action to lose or gain weight so you can achieve a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) and optimize your chances of getting pregnant as well as be as physically fit as possible during pregnancy.

Think about your family genes
Members of certain ethnic or racial groups should undergo genetic testing to rule out being carriers of serious inherited diseases such as Tay Sachs (Jewish) or sickle cell anemia (African American). A genetic counselor can review your family medical history to determine if further testing is needed based on your family history.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle
You don’t have to stop having fun, but we advise all reproductive-age women to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Stopping smoking is one of the single best things you can do, helping to prevent prematurity and underweight babies. You also should moderate/stop drinking alcohol and, it goes without saying, taking recreational and illegal drugs.

Make sure the father of your child-to–be also prepares
Often, prospective dads are left out of the conversation about pre-conception planning. They, too, should go for a physical–something men frequently neglect–as well as take important steps to make sure they are stopping smoking, drinking excessively or taking recreational drugs, such as marijuana, that could affect their sperm count.

Take a fertility assessment test
Many fertility clinics, including HRC, offer pre-conception patients the opportunity to have their fertility potential evaluated. We will check a woman’s egg supply/ovarian reserve with anti-mullerian hormone and follicle stimulating hormone tests as well as analyze your male partner’s sperm.

Good luck as you prepare for one of the most exciting phases of your life!

Preconception Health for Men








Statistician Beats the Odds with HRC Fertility

Maria had her first baby at age 41. She conceived her daughter naturally, but only after experiencing the heartbreak of two miscarriages. Though she realized she was considered “advanced maternal age,” she had embraced motherhood and wanted to give her daughter a sibling. So she tried to get pregnant again.

“With each passing year, I knew it would be harder to conceive,” said Maria. “After another miscarriage, I pursued treatment at a local clinic, where I had four unsuccessful IUI cycles. Then, I decided to consult with other infertility specialists, including doctors at HRC Fertility. I’m glad I took that route.”

After visiting HRC’s website, Maria discovered the clinic was conducting a clinical trial, admitting women up to age 42 at a discounted rate. She was also impressed with HRC Fertility’s IVF success rates, which she researched online at SART, the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies.

Maria attended a seminar to learn more and met Dr. David Tourgeman, who managed her participation in the study. Though her participation was not successful because of the trial’s limitations, she had the opportunity to freeze embryos. Maria subsequently decided to transfer to HRC’s Pasadena office and Dr. Jeffrey Nelson.

“I knew Dr. Nelson was a good match for me. I’m a numbers person and liked how he described my chances of getting pregnant, which were very slim. But I appreciated his candor and patient, kind-hearted manner. Based on his advice, I decided to transfer the three best of my nine frozen, blastocyst-stage embryos. The eggs were retrieved when I was 43. I was shocked, but overjoyed, when I found out I was pregnant at 44 with Arianna.”

Like many women, Maria acknowledges she thought she had more time to get pregnant.

“In Hollywood, you see all these women getting pregnant in their mid-40s. Many probably used donor eggs, but most people don’t realize that,” explained Maria. “After every miscarriage, I felt farther away from reaching my goal of having a healthy baby. As a statistician, I knew the odds for women my age were against me. I felt confident with Dr. Nelson, however, because he approached IVF as both an art and a science, and went the extra mile to learn the cause of my miscarriages versus simply assuming they were due to my age.”

Based on her experience, Maria advises younger women to freeze their eggs. But if that’s not possible, she hopes other patients don’t give up and understand they may have to pursue several cycles of IVF to statistically beat the odds. As she said, “Every failure will get you closer to your goal.”

Maria feels infertility has allowed her to fully appreciate her new life as a mother of two beautiful daughters. She is very grateful to both Dr. Tourgeman and Dr. Nelson — and everyone on their teams, including the embryologists — who helped her cope with both the medical and emotional aspects of infertility and create her miracle baby.




A Millennial Woman’s Guide to Egg Freezing

To freeze or not to freeze?

That is a question many millennial women are asking themselves. Should they freeze time and their biological clock by undergoing oocyte cryopreservation, the medical term for egg freezing, or will Mr. Right come along before their fertility is reduced?

At HRC Fertility, we are seeing an increased interest in “social” egg freezing as the technique becomes more popular and effective. Some employers, such as Google and Facebook, have even begun offering this benefit, realizing their female employees want more reproductive choices.

Though there is no “one size” fits all answer, the women who come to our clinic to inquire about their options generally look at these factors to make a decision: current age; finances; professional and education goals; relationship status; desire to become a mom and have children.

What do women really need to know about egg freezing?
Before they embark on their egg freezing journey, the typical twenty or thirtysomething woman should know the answers to these questions about preserving their fertility.

What is the best age to freeze my eggs?
Ideally, women should freeze their eggs in their late 20s or early 30s when their fertility potential is highest. The older a woman is, the more eggs she will need to have retrieved to maximize her chances of a pregnancy when she uses them. This might mean several egg retrieval cycles.

How are eggs frozen?
The largest cell in the human body, the egg, is mainly comprised of water that can form ice crystals when frozen, which damages the cell. At our laboratory, we freeze eggs using a flash freeze process known as vitrification. First, however, we add an “anti-freeze” to prevent crystallization. Vitrification was a major advancement over the slow freeze method previously used.

What is the egg retrieval process like?
Similar to IVF, egg freezing requires a series of hormone injections and monitoring of your hormone levels and ovaries. When th eggs have matured, they are retrieved using transvaginal guided ultrasound while the patient is under anesthesia.

What happens when I want to use my eggs?
We will thaw your eggs and combine them with the sperm of your choosing. Current estimates indicate that up to 75 percent of eggs survive thawing with 75 percent of those fertilizing and growing into embryos.

About 2,000 babies have been born from egg freezing, and there have been no reports of higher birth defects or abnormalities with these babies. Experts currently believe eggs can remain frozen indefinitely, although there have been no studies of eggs frozen more than 10 years.

What if I don’t use my eggs?
Many women have found that frozen eggs gave them peace of mind to pursue their professional goals and/or to move with their lives without worrying about losing their chance to have a baby. Many find partners and get pregnant the “old fashioned” way but are glad they took out this fertility insurance plan.

Who else should freeze their eggs?
For women facing a cancer diagnosis, freezing their eggs can be a game changer for life after their cancer is cured or in remission. We highly recommend they undergo an egg retrieval before starting life-saving, but fertility-damaging treatment.

Two other types of patients might also want to consider egg freezing: those who have moral or religious objections to excess embryos and women with a family history of premature menopause.

At HRC Fertility, we firmly believe that young women who think they someday want kids should take charge of their fertility. Knowledge is power, and we encourage them to educate themselves about fertility in general and egg freezing in particular.