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Women Over 40 Make Great Moms

Are you 40 or older and think that the motherhood ship may have already sailed? Think again. At HRC, we know there are several options to help women of all ages fulfill their dreams.

Here are some important considerations:

You’re in good company
Statistically, more women over 40 are becoming mothers than ever before. In fact, over the last three decades, that number has quadrupled. Some are even saying that 40 is the new 30!

According to a 2016 National Vital Statistics Report (Centers for Disease Control), the birth rate for women 40-44 increased two percent from 2013 to 2014. For those 45-49, it stayed the same, while women over 50 had 743 births in 2014, a 66 percent increase from 2013. The trend seems to be pointing upward when it comes to the age at which women are giving birth.

You can get pregnant naturally
Fertility decreases significantly as women age, but this doesn’t mean women over 40 can’t get pregnant naturally. It will likely take them longer to achieve pregnancy because the quantity and quality of their eggs have declined, and they are also at a higher risk of miscarriage because of chromosomal abnormalities. However, we caution couples to not wait too long before seeking the help of an infertility doctor. If you’ve tried without success for three months or more, and as you age through your 40s, please contact us.

There are medical interventions when you need help
There are many tools in our reproductive arsenal to help women over 40 achieve a successful pregnancy when assistance is required. You can decide to use either your eggs or those of an egg donor with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Some couples try an initial cycle with the prospective mom’s eggs. If this doesn’t work and they decide to use a donated egg, their chances of success is the same as that of a younger woman who provided the genetic material.

You are older but wiser
By the time you decide to become a mother in your 40s, you may already have accomplished many of your professional and personal goals. Throughout your life, you likely also learned from your mistakes and then applied the knowledge moving forward. Those experiences will help you become a better parent, and scientific research proves it.

A recent Danish study of 5000 mothers, published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology, found older mothers to be calmer without needing to yell as much or impose harsh discipline with their children. The kids, in turn, exhibited fewer behavioral and social problems and better emotional well-being.

Pregnancy at an older age can make you wiser
2016 research from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California concluded that women who had their last babies after age 35 tended to function better cognitively after menopause than women who had their children earlier in life. Scientists hypothesized this might be due to the surge in estrogen and progesterone, the pregnancy-related hormones.

Risks of older motherhood
In addition to infertility, there are increased risks for miscarriage, chromosomal abnormalities, and developing medical conditions like gestational diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy. Women also are more at risk of having a C-section as well as a preterm or low birth weight baby.

You can have a healthy pregnancy
Even with all the potential unpredictability of a later-in-life pregnancy, women over 40 can have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth with proper prenatal care and monitoring by an obstetrician. Chances are women who conceive later in life are very prepared and ready to undergo the challenges and joys of becoming a mother over 40.




Dr. Daniel Potter: HRC’s 2018 Resolutions to Patients

The way to new year 2018

At the end of each year, many (MANY) people start planning their resolutions for the coming year: lose weight; stop smoking; become more organized; read more; and well, the list goes on.

Those trying to have a baby, however, may be focused on only one New Year’s goal: to become a parent or expand their family as they have always envisioned. At HRC Fertility, our New Year’s resolution is to help you achieve your resolution. We aim to provide our patients with a pathway to parenthood in the most efficient, cost-effective and successful way possible.

At HRC Fertility, we vow to:
1) Effectively diagnose your infertility problems so we know the best route forward
2) Compassionately communicate so that you understand the treatment plan and have realistic expectations about the potential outcome
3) Educate you about your responsibilities as a patient, especially regarding medication and cycle monitoring
4) Answer every question and address any concerns
5) Provide medical treatment options reflecting the latest advances in treatment and medical practices
6) Treat you as we would want to be treated: as a person with hopes and dreams that we want to fulfill
7) Hold your hand and provide a shoulder to cry on when the roller coaster of the infertility experience becomes too much to bear
8) Share your joy and celebrate your accomplishments when the time comes for you to leave our practice

If your goal is to have a baby in 2018, please contact us if you:
1) Have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for too long. That means a year or more if you’re a woman 35 years old or younger; six months if you’re older than 36; or three months or longer if you’re 40 or older
2) Are aware of a fertility diagnosis such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome or low sperm count
3) Are frustrated with the course of treatment or care at your current fertility provider
4) Have been treated by your gynecologist but know it’s time to move on to more advanced therapies, such as in vitro fertilization
5) Are a woman or man contemplating single or “choice” parenthood
6) Are part of a same-sex couple who knows you’ll need help getting pregnant

Happy New Year and a joyous 2018 from HRC Fertility!




How to Feel Merry and Bright When Undergoing InfertilityTreatment

The holidays can be stressful for many reasons, but especially if you are experiencing infertility. During a season focusing on children, it can be difficult, or perhaps impossible, to feel joy when the only gift you want is the gift of parenthood.

Even if you’re not really in the holiday spirit, there are still ways to find joy this year:

Ditch the obligations, but not the fun
No need to attend every party if you’re not in the mood, especially those that are kid-oriented or where relatives will ask intrusive questions. Still, don’t forget to have fun! Plan evenings with your partner or friends. If you can afford to splurge, try to attend a special play or event, or even schedule a weekend away to take your mind off things.

Celebrate with your infertility soul sisters
Chances are you know other infertility patients in both your ‘real life’ or through support groups or social media. Use the holidays as an opportunity to get together – even virtually – NOT to discuss infertility and to instead learn about each other in new ways.

Have an infertility gift exchange
If a party isn’t feasible, you can still exchange gifts with your infertility friends, especially helpful products or services you’ve used but they haven’t and vice versa. Comfy transfer day socks, inspiring books and nurturing gift certificates are all wonderfully personal gifts.

Banish guilt
You have a right to your emotions. While others might try to have a perfect Christmas or Chanukah, you can be true to your feelings. Say farewell to guilt this year and let yourself fee as sad and emotional as you like.

Give yourself some self-love
Buy yourself a holiday treat you know you’ll enjoy. This doesn’t mean spending money you don’t have. But you can use this time as an opportunity to give yourself some self-love where you put your needs first. For example, spend the afternoon reading a page-turning book or taking a relaxing hike instead of shopping at a crowded mall (plus, shopping online is so much easier!).

Practice gratitude
Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can be challenging when you have experienced failures during your infertility experience. But thinking about what you have – whether that be a great job, lovely home, supportive partner or wonderful friends – can be transformative.

Help others
There are many ways you can contribute to your community and people in need this holiday season. Even if you don’t have the best holiday this year, you can help someone have a memorable one.

Reconnect with your partner
Make this holiday exceptional for you and your partner. Reconnect and remember why you want to have a baby together.

Look forward to a new year
Though this may have been a trying year, next year will soon follow the holidays. Try to wipe away the memories of 2017 and look forward to the possibilities 2018 will offer.

Ask for help
We are with you every step of the way during your infertility journey, including in December. Sometimes, just talking to someone who understands, including one of us at HRC Fertility, is enough, or you might want to speak to a mental health professional. You can also find support group referrals at RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, or other infertility groups and resources.

Though it may seem like an eternity, the holiday season only lasts a few weeks and there will soon be a new year and beginnings. The staff of HRC Fertility will be ready to bring you the best possible care, and to do our best to help make your dreams a reality in 2018.




Couple Grateful for Dr. Jeffrey Nelson’s Calm Reassurance

After traveling all over the world, Jackie and her husband were ready to start a family. She thought having kids would be easy for them and did not anticipate having any problems with fertility.

However, after a year of trying, Jackie couldn’t get pregnant. She feared she might have polycystic ovarian disorder (PCOS) like her older sister, who had conceived twins through in vitro fertilization (IVF). But after seeing Dr. Jeffrey Nelson for a consultation, testing revealed her husband had male factor infertility.

Recalled Jackie, “We decided to proceed with IVF after a round of intrauterine insemination (IUI) failed. My sister did not have a good experience with her IVF clinic, but we felt fortunate to have found a very responsive facility with a compassionate staff. Also, our insurance covered 80 percent of the costs. My sister, unfortunately, had to pay for the full cost of her treatment.”

Jackie responded well to IVF and became pregnant with twins on her first cycle. She had blood clot issues early in her pregnancy, and Dr. Nelson put her on bed rest for six weeks. “There was a strong likelihood I was going to lose the babies, but the issue was fortunately resolved by the 12th or 13th week of my pregnancy. Dr. Nelson was so calm and reassuring, and I wanted to keep him as my obstetrician. My experience with HRC Fertility was so different from my sister’s experience with her clinic.”

Her IVF experience was challenging and an emotional roller coaster, but Jackie was relieved to have only undergone it once to have her twins.

Jackie’s advice to other women: “Find the best clinic and physician you can. There are things in life you can skim, but fertility treatment isn’t one of them. IVF is one of the best steps you can take to get pregnant, though it isn’t a comfortable process. The medication makes you moody, and the shots are complicated. That’s why trusting your fertility doctor is so important.”

Two years ago, Jackie was feeling depressed at Thanksgiving because she couldn’t get pregnant. One year ago, she was on bed rest, awaiting the birth of the twins. This year, she is celebrating the holidays as the mother of twins.




Egg Donation a Double Win, Says Dr. Sanaz Ghazal

One of the most challenging issues facing in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients is deciding what to do with their remaining frozen embryos once treatment is over. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, there are more than 600,000 frozen embryos in storage in U.S. fertility clinics and storage centers.

The majority of patients will use their embryos to try to have more children. But for individuals who have decided their family-building days are over, they have several choices to make. They can:

– Store their embryos indefinitely or until they make a decision and pay storage fees
– Donate them to research
– Undergo a “compassionate” embryo transfer during the time of the month when the woman is unlikely to get pregnant
– Thaw the embryos
– Donate their embryos to another couple or individual

Is embryo donation right for you as a donor?
Donating your embryos to help create other families is not an option for everyone. Many would feel uncomfortable knowing another family is raising their genetic children. However, some infertility patients who have used donated eggs or sperm might feel donating excess frozen embryos is a way to “pay forward” the donation they already received. Of course, they also need to be sure they legally can do this and should review whether there are any prohibitions in their egg donation legal contract.

Is embryo donation right for you as a recipient?
Embryo donation is typically not the first choice for most couples starting infertility treatment. However, they may decide embryo donation is right for them if they:

– Have not been successful with traditional infertility treatment using their eggs and/or sperm
– Are looking for an alternative for egg donation that can be less expensive
– Want to experience pregnancy and nursing
– Want to ensure there won’t be a genetic imbalance if only one partner uses a donor

Issues to consider when donating or receiving embryos
Embryo donation is not just a medical procedure. Donors may have legal and disclosure questions they want to consider before deciding to relinquish their embryos. Recipients may have the same concerns, but from the opposite perspective. We recommend they seek legal counsel or the advice of a licensed mental health professional to discuss these issues.

Finding or donating embryos
Even though there are many frozen embryos in storage, finding an embryo available for donation can be challenging. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association developed this website, http://www.mydestinationfamily.org/, to provide education and support for donors and recipients and to encourage donation. Additionally, there are agencies that match donors and recipients and clinics also may have frozen embryos donated by former fertility patients.

If you are interested in either donating or receiving embryos, please ask one of our staff members.