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

05/26

2017

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

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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.

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05/12

2017

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

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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

https://www.babycenter.com/404_how-much-folic-acid-should-i-take-while-trying-to-get-pregna_2232.bc

http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Nutrition-During-Pregnancy

http://www.webmd.com/baby/tc/getting-pregnant-after-stopping-birth-control-topic-overview

http://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/fertility/boost/health-issues-affect-fertility/?slideld=37301

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05/09

2017

Statistician Beats the Odds with HRC Fertility

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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.

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04/21

2017

HRC’s Commitment to Preserving Fertility for Cancer Survivors

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According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,688,780 Americans will receive the dreaded cancer diagnosis in 2017.

In addition to understanding what this diagnosis will mean to their health and well-being, men and women of reproductive age faced with cancer also need to know the impact of cancer treatment on their ability to have children. Treatment can cure their cancer diagnosis, but might simultaneously dash their dreams of having a family.

Getting a cancer diagnosis is both terrifying and life-altering. First and foremost, people want to know how they can be treated and cured. Early detection, prompt care and advances in treatment have contributed to significant increases in remission and cure for many types of cancers. But often the treatment, depending on its type and duration, as well as the location of the cancer, will impair the reproductive organs and the sperm and eggs they create.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommend, when possible, at-risk patients be referred to a fertility preservation specialist prior to starting cancer treatment. This does not always happen. Family physicians and oncologists need more education about how to counsel patients so they can get timely and accurate details.

At HRC Fertility, we are committed to helping those who want to preserve their fertility before undergoing treatment that might compromise it. Here are some of the ways they can do that.

Male options
For adult men, it seems relatively simple. They must produce a sperm sample to be frozen, stored and then thawed for when they are ready to have a child. It’s more complicated, however, for male children who have not yet reached puberty. Testicular tissue freezing and sperm aspiration are both experimental procedures. Only a small number of patients have used these techniques, so it’s too early to know if they will be effective.

Female options
The best option is to preserve fertility by freezing eggs (single women) or embryos (with a partner or sperm donor) prior to the initiation of chemotherapy or radiation. We can expedite egg retrieval and IVF treatment and suggest cancer patients undergo at least one cycle, no matter the type of cancer. The patient would, of course, want to get medical clearance from her doctor. If the cancer is not very aggressive, then the patient may be able to complete more cycles to store more eggs/embryos. We base medication dosage and length of treatment on their diagnosis and prognosis.

Ovarian tissue removal and freezing is experimental through a promising surgical procedure. It is being offered in a few locations in the United States, but is not widely used. Last December, a British woman gave birth using ovarian tissue frozen in childhood, so this advance looks promising.

If fertility cannot be preserved
If the unthinkable happens and there is not time to preserve your fertility, then there are options like sperm and egg donation, and surrogacy.

Light at the end of the tunnel
A cancer diagnosis is devastating. An infertility diagnosis is devastating. But we hope cancer patients can feel optimistic about their ability to preserve their fertility. Their desire for children does not need to be dashed with this frightening diagnosis.

Resources for fertility preservation
Live Strong
https://livestrong.org/we-can-help/livestrong-fertility

Fertile Action
http://fertileaction.org

References
Cancer.net
http://cancer.net/survivorship/life-after-cancer/having-baby-after-cancer-fertility-assistance-and-the-other-options

https://cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2017.html

http://savemyfertility.org/pocket-guides/fertility-preservation-women-diagnosed-cancer

https://cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/fertility-and-sexual-side-effects/fertility-and-men-with-cancer/how-cancer-treatments-affect-fertility.html

http://telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/14/woman-gives-birth-baby-using-ovary-frozen-childhood-inworld/

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04/06

2017

A Cross-Country Move Joins Couple with HRC’s Dr. Jeffrey Nelson

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As a same sex couple, Elena and Erin knew they would need intrauterine insemination (IUI) to create their family. But they were not anticipating fertility problems when they embarked on their baby plans at a North Carolina clinic.

“Generally people think it’s easy to get pregnant because you have doctors and technology,” Elena said. “But after four failed IUIs, we learned nothing was a certainty.” Around the same time, Erin, an active duty Marine for 19 years, had received orders to move to California.

The couple, who married in April 2015, were separated for four months before reuniting in 29 Palms, Calif., and began their search for a new fertility clinic. Friends referred them to HRC Fertility and they also researched online reviews about the practice. They liked what they read and felt confident HRC Fertility would be right for them–even though Dr. Jeffrey Nelson’s office would necessitate a five-hour round trip drive.

Erin felt the same way, and added, “We knew IVF was the next step for us. Knowing others who had been treated successfully by him was reassuring. We took a leap of faith and it worked out marvelously.”

Elena became pregnant in July 2016 during her second IVF treatment. Though her first cycle failed, Dr. Nelson was able to identify through genetic testing a clotting problem that had caused a miscarriage after the couple’s initial IVF attempt.

“It was incredible to have Erin by my side while undergoing IVF,” Elena reminisced. “Dr. Nelson conducted all of our exams; at the other clinics, the nurses saw us. Everyone greeted us by our first names and knew our story. That made us feel special, even though it is a busy practice with many patients.”

Erin and Elena really appreciated the team approach at HRC, where the financial, administrative, nursing and laboratory staff worked in a coordinated fashion to ensure the best type of care. As Elena described, “The financial counselors made sure I understood our financial responsibilities. The nurses always quickly communicated with us when we had questions. The coordination was flawless.”

When Elena was three months pregnant, Erin deployed to Kuwait, where she was stationed when Cassidy Elizabeth was born in early March. Fortunately, technology allowed her to witness the birth and continuously keep in touch with her wife and baby. Erin, who is due home in a few months, remembered that “though it’s hard to be so far away, I was able to zoom in on the baby with my WiFi camera. Considering I’m thousands of miles away, that kind of access is pretty amazing. Knowing that there is an end in sight has also helped.

The couple advise others to be patient and to know their emotional boundaries to best manage expectations. “It’s not unusual to need several cycles of treatment before you get pregnant. You ask ‘why me’ when it seems others are conceiving so easily, so having an understanding of what you can tolerate is important.”

In addition to their new roles as parents, the couple is also preparing for another cross-country move to Virginia after Erin’s return. Everyone at HRC wishes them the best of luck!

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