Our high pregnancy rates result from applying advanced fertility treatments in a caring and empathetic environment.

02/19

2018

Dr. John Norian Helps Couple Choose Hope over Fear

Posted by admin | Filed under Getting Pregnant, Infertility, PGD, Uncategorized

In spring 2015, Jenny woke from surgery devastated to learn she had lost her baby as well as her ability to conceive naturally. She had experienced an ectopic pregnancy and required emergency surgery. The affected fallopian tube ruptured, and the other one filled with fluid, a condition called hydrosalpinx. Doctors had to remove both tubes but were, fortunately, able to save Jenny’s life.

Jenny and her husband were living in the Midwest at the time, but then moved to California where they started looking for fertility clinics. Recalled Jenny, “A friend gave us an ‘anti-recommendation’ for a clinic where they’d had a bad experience. But they knew people who’d had a great experience with Dr. John Norian at HRC Fertility and suggested we contact him.”

The couple attended one of HRC Fertility’s monthly seminars and met with Dr. Norian in May 2016. After their initial consultation, events progressed quickly. Jenny completed the paperwork, retrieved her medical records and underwent all the tests and prep work so the couple could start their first stimulation cycle a few months later.

The results weren’t initially encouraging, and Dr. Norian suspected Jenny had diminished ovarian reserve. She and her husband decided to wait and begin a new cycle after the doctor adapted her new medication regimen.

Dr. Norian made the necessary changes, which doubled the number of eggs and embryos Jenny produced. The lab also performed genetic testing (PGD) on the embryos, and Dr. Norian transferred the best embryo in November. Jenny became pregnant but tragically miscarried their little boy.

“Dr Norian was shocked the cycle hadn’t worked, but was also sympathetic, supportive and encouraging. I waited a few months for my body to rest, and our next cycle resulted in our beautiful baby girl. We traveled a long road to get her, but I finished treatment with Dr. Norian almost a year after we started.”

Jenny was grateful for the extra monitoring appointments HRC Fertility provided and she “graduated” at 10 weeks. When she had trouble getting an appointment with her OBGYN, Dr. Norian contacted an OBGYN he knew to get her seen earlier.

She said, “I was so appreciative of him going the extra mile and helping me transition my care.”

Jenny, who is a hospital chaplain with a theological background, is now able to reflect on all that she went through on her infertility journey. Though the treatment process was difficult and the outcome uncertain, she says that she always felt like Dr. Norian and his team were invested in their success.

As a chaplain, she also acknowledges being a patient is very different from counseling someone who has gone through miscarriage and loss. “It’s important not to compare your journey to anyone else’s and to choose hope over fear. Infertility may be a longer road than you think and, at times, it might take over your life. It’s important to take care of yourself and confide in others.”

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02/12

2018

Galentine’s Day: Dr. Jane Frederick Talks Female Friendship and Support

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility, Uncategorized

In case you haven’t heard, Galentine’s Day takes place on February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day. The brainchild of Parks and Recreation fictional character Leslie Knope, Galentine’s Day has since taken on a life of its own.

Galentine’s Day is a celebration of female friendship and gal power. Girlfriends provide companionship, comfort, support and understanding through both our happy moments and darkest hours.

When you’re trying to conceive, female friendships can be more important than ever. But they can be complicated, too, especially if your closest friends are getting pregnant and having babies. But there are many reasons to find strong female lifelines as you navigate the frequently rocky waters of the fertility journey.

You need your friends to lean on
Of course, you should be able to rely on your spouse or partner for support. After all, you are going through treatment to make a baby together. Sometimes, though, another woman is the best person to lend an impartial ear when you need to vent or a shoulder to cry on when crying is the only thing you want to do.

You need a community of TTC sisters
There are many online resources where you can find support and understanding among other women who are trying to get pregnant. But if virtual friendships aren’t for you, there are also ways to find in person female infertility friendships. In Southern California and other metropolitan areas, there are numerous ways women experiencing infertility can meet each other. Some patients have gotten to know each other in their clinic’s reception area, and then formed an informal support network. Others have taken advantage of support groups organized by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association or other nonprofits.

You need your friends for fun, and to remind you to take some “me” time
As you ride the emotional roller coaster ride of infertility, it can be difficult to remember to take time off to relax and “smell the roses.” We hope you have friends who can take you away from your challenges, and you can, in turn, reciprocate for them. During this time, you may feel like less of a woman because of your inability to conceive. So it’s a necessity to set aside time to do something indulgent–whatever that might mean for you.

P.S.: Don’t forget Valentine’s Day
We hope you and your partner take some time to reconnect on Valentine’s Day and use this time to do something special together, know that someday you will become parents and “couple” time won’t be as easy. Focus on what you love about your partner and what you’ve been through together. Try to make this day about romance and your love for each other.

But also don’t forget to thank your girlfriends the day before on Galentine’s Day. Make February 13 a special day for the women who have been with you every step of the way to overcome infertility. Candy, flowers, and a night out on the town with your GFs may be just what the doctor ordered!

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02/06

2018

Dr. Diana Chavkin: Oncofertility Gives Hope to Those Living with Cancer

Posted by admin | Filed under Uncategorized

Of the 700,000 cases of cancer diagnosed each year in the U.S., 10 percent are women of reproductive age. This means that there are more than 70,000 women diagnosed with cancer every year who may be considering having children. The most frequently diagnosed cancers in reproductive aged women are breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian. Because women are now waiting longer to have their first child, many receive this diagnosis before they have started their families. And because life-saving treatments may jeopardize a woman’s fertility, patients are faced with illness from cancer as well as the possibility of losing their ability to have children.

However, there is promising news for those confronted with a cancer diagnosis. First, doctors are detecting cancers earlier because of better screening techniques and more successful treatment. Second, improvements in treatment are giving patients better odds at long-term survival. Third, advances in reproductive medicine are providing patients more options to preserve their future fertility.

Gonadotoxic effects of cancer therapies
Breast cancer has one of the lowest cancer mortality rates and is the most common malignancy to affect women younger than 45. Unfortunately, the different cancer therapies used to save their lives may accelerate the loss of their fertility. Chemotherapy can cause egg depletion and may lead to ovarian failure. Radiation can affect ovarian function and impair hormone production. Women of all ages may be affected, but those exposed later in life will face the greatest impact. They may even experience early or premature menopause, depending on their age.

Not all chemotherapies have the same effect. Some are more toxic to ovarian function than others. Clinicians can use online resources to calculate the toxicity of chemotherapy (www.fertilehope.org/tool-bar/risk-calculator.cfm)

How does chemotherapy affect a woman’s menstrual cycle?
Chemotherapy and radiation can affect menses and, potentially, fertility. During cancer treatment, most women do not get a period. It may take six months to a year for a woman to start menstruating again after her treatment ends. The younger a woman is at the time of exposure, the higher the chance her periods will return. Women who are younger than 35 when exposed to chemotherapy have a 90 percent chance of recovery; those who are 40 have a 20 percent chance of resuming regular menses.

The return of menses does not mean the return of fertility, however. A fertility doctor will often perform hormonal blood tests and ultrasounds to assess the remaining fertility.

Women are told to avoid pregnancy while undergoing cancer treatment. Because a woman’s fertility declines with age and the risk of miscarriage increases, the delay is more significant for older reproductive aged women than for younger women.

Tamoxifen and breast cancer
Oncologists give tamoxifen to women with estrogen positive breast cancer for about five to 10 years. During this time, patients are instructed not to conceive. This extended period of time in which patients are told to avoid pregnancy may have the most significant impact on a woman’s fertility and her increased risk of miscarriage.

What can be done to limit the damage?
There are techniques surgeons and oncologists can use to minimize the harm to their patients’ fertility. These include:
– Offering less aggressive resection for uterine, ovarian and cervical cancers
– Planning radiation fields to shield the ovaries
– Moving ovaries out of the radiation field before treatment
– Using chemotherapy drugs less toxic to the ovaries, which the clinician must weigh against the effectiveness of the drugs
– Modifying doses
– Timing of treatment for breast cancer, such as delaying chemotherapy one month to allow for fertility preservation

In addition to delaying the administration of tamoxifen, doctors can schedule breaks in the middle of treatment so that pregnancy or fertility preservation can occur.

Using these techniques does not preclude patients from using fertility preservation options like egg, embryo or sperm freezing before treatment, which we strongly encourage and will discuss in the next blog.

References
https://seer.cancer.gov/faststats/selections.php?#Output
https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/womens-health/cancer-facts-for-women-html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073395/
http://oncofertility.northwestern.edu/for-patients
http://www.path2parenthood.org/blog/oncofertility-finding-options-for-cancer-survivors-who-want-to-have-children

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01/02

2018

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

Posted by admin | Filed under Uncategorized

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!

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12/20

2017

How to Feel Merry and Bright When Undergoing InfertilityTreatment

Posted by admin | Filed under IVF, Uncategorized

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.

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