Archive for the ‘Tracey Minella’ tag
By Tracey Minella
May 17th, 2013 at 9:14 pm
The only thing more perfect than the beautiful spring weather for Long Island IVF’s 25th Anniversary reunion party yesterday was the smiles on the faces of all of our babies and their grateful parents!
Every spring, Long Island IVF celebrates the births of our most recent IVF arrivals with a picnic for that year’s newborns and their parents. But this year…for our big anniversary…we opened it up to all 5,000+ couples whose families we’ve helped build over the past quarter century! Please “like” us on Facebook and check out some more reunion pictures there.
For those who don’t know, Long Island IVF was the practice to bring Long Island its first IVF baby, first FET/cryo baby, and first donor egg baby. The same doctors who co-founded Long Island IVF twenty-five years ago are still partners today.
We cherish every little life we’ve helped create, from the college grads to those being conceived today. But it was especially exciting to reunite with some of our oldest babies, now all grown-up, including the second baby born to Long Island IVF’s program, Alyssa.
Alyssa is the beautiful 24 year-old blonde in the picture with Dr. Kreiner. She and her mother came (her 21 year-old younger brother couldn’t make it) and they were instant “celebrities” as word spread throughout the crowd that Baby #2 was “in the house”. They each addressed the crowd, recalling how important Long Island IVF was in their lives, in a very emotional moment of the day that really helped bring home the magnitude of what Long Island IVF has meant to so many couples for 25 years and counting.
Other beautiful older babies were there. Some reiterated the same sentiment as they spoke about their lives…lives that would not have been possible without Long Island IVF. It was a humbling and gratifying experience for the whole Long Island IVF staff. As always, the fresh crop of adorable newborns and toddlers, decked out in their finest, were a joy to meet and gush over!
Everyone at Long Island IVF would like to thank all of the parents and children who came out to celebrate this very important milestone with us…and all those who were there in spirit, but were not able to come.
You and your families are beautiful. You all inspire us each day to do the work we love…building families. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the privilege of building yours.
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Were you at the party? Please share your thoughts and feel free to upload a photo on our Facebook page.
By Tracey Minella
May 14th, 2013 at 9:25 pm
Perhaps the only thing harder than walking in to the fertility clinic for the first time… is walking out of it for the last time. And while that’s obviously true when treatment is discontinued, it’s also true with a baby on the way.
It’s not easy to face infertility and the fact that neither your own best efforts as a couple nor the treatment of your trusted gynecologist are enough to get your pregnant. You may feel anything from concern, anger, fear, depression, denial, or even shame walking in for the first time. But in time, many people come to not only trust their fertility doctor and the staff, but to bond with them in a meaningful way.
And when the infertility treatment produces a positive pregnancy test result, especially if it’s been a long time in coming, many patients wish they could stay with their fertility clinic for the duration of the pregnancy. But just as there was a time when your gynecologist needed to refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist in order to get you pregnant…the time comes shortly after a heartbeat is confirmed when the RE will refer you back to the obstetrician, who is the expert at monitoring your pregnancy and delivering your baby.
So while one part of you is happy to skip off clutching your black and white sonogram, the other part of you tearfully watches the door close behind you. A chapter is over.
This place that you never wanted to have to come to…where countless mornings were spent being poked and prodded…where tears of all kinds were shed…where you never lost sight of the dream no matter how intense the hormonal havoc got…
This place that somehow…when you weren’t looking… became strangely comfortable and comforting.
Now just like that, with one final wave of the sono wand, you’re gone. Like baby dust and fairy tales.
Of course, at Long Island IVF, we expect you to come back and visit with the baby. And we look forward to all the holiday photo cards each year. And we really love it when you check in with a photo or an encouraging word on our Facebook page and let us know what the little miracle did today that took your breath away. But this year, we’re doing better than all that…
This Thursday, May 16th, we are inviting ALL of the Long Island IVF (and East Coast Fertility) IVF babies and their parents back for our 25th Anniversary Reunion celebration, from noon until 2:00 pm at the Mid-Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Rd., Plainview, N.Y. 11803.
Many of our babies will be driving their parents there! Please try to make it as we would really love to see you again and bring those old pictures with you from the early reunions. Email Lindsay at email@example.com for more info and to tell her you’re coming. Many of the nurses and staff from the 90’s still work here and can’t wait to see you.
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Was it hard to say “goodbye”? Have you kept in touch by visiting or through Facebook?
Will you be coming on Thursday?
photo credit: Stuart Miles/http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Other_Metaphors_and__g307-Time_For_Goodbyes_Message_Showing_Farewell_Or_Bye_p146553.html
By Tracey Minella
September 4th, 2012 at 7:19 am
I am torn between extreme sadness for the wonderful entries that weren’t chosen as the Grand Prize winner this year…and the extreme happiness I feel for the entrant who was chosen as this year’s Grand Prize winner . She will be getting a knock on her front door in about 5 hours. It turns out that this year, the winner is a local woman. In the past, we’ve had local and out-of-state winners. We’ve had winners for videos and winners for essays. This year, we have a secondary infertility winner for the first time.
I soooo wish I could be there for the moment the prize is awarded, but I can tell you what I expect will happen. I’ll paint you a picture of it. I won’t post this until I know she’s been told though, so it’ll be after8:00I bet.
Dr. Pena and some of the Long Island IVF staff, and a video crew have synchronized their watches and will sneak up the front lawn of the winner’s home at precisely 7:00 am. They will have balloons and probably a giant “free micro-IVF” certificate (like the fake “checks” lottery winners are presented) in hand. Maybe a local news reporter will even drop by.
Ding. Dong. Will she be awake? Asleep? Presentable?
Of course, she’ll be home. I hope she is surprised. I hope winning makes it easier for her to drive by the bus stops tomorrow. I hope she smiles for a month. Or two. Or nine.
Congratulations to Jessica for “We’ll NEVER Stop Hoping”, for winning the Grand Prize free micro-IVF cycle! View…and share… her AMAZING winning video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HzTjikZFbY
Thank you to all who entered the contest this year. We were touched by your infertility stories and grateful that you chose to share them. Please do not give up on your dream. This year’s winner, Jessica, did not win last year’s contest, but she came back and tried again this year. She even entered both an essay and a video! Though you may understandably be disappointed, we hope you join us at Long Island IVF in wishing Jessica and Rob good luck as they embark on the next step in their family-building journey. And we hope that if you haven’t conceived before the next contest, that you will enter again next year.
Please stay tuned for upcoming contests, raffles and give-aways, plus news on grant programs, studies, and other financially-friendly programs for family-building at Long Island IVF. The best way not to miss them is to bookmark this blog or like us on Facebook.
Become a regular contributor here and get to know us; let us get to know you and tell us what you need so we can do our best to provide it. One of our Facebook fans made a great suggestion and we’re working on a new contest based on it. So talk to us… and to each other. This is your space.
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If you could pick the next contest, what would it be and what would the prize(s) be?
By Tracey Minella
July 31st, 2012 at 10:31 am
It’s National Garlic Month. It’s also the last blogging day of the month…which means it’s “Just for Guys” day, too.
So, how can I do garlic and the guys justice in one post? Easy. I’ll tell you how garlic can affect male fertility.
For thousands of years, garlic has long been widely regarded as one of the top natural fertility enhancers for men. It’s also an aphrodisiac. Sound like a win-win, guys? Well, I’m not sure your lady will see your garlic-chomping bedtime routine in the quite the same light.
True it has selenium, which is an antioxidant mineral that’s necessary for properly-shaped sperm and to maintain sperm count. And it has Vitamin B6, which (along with zinc) fortifies the immune system and is responsible for formation of the male sex hormones.
A compound in garlic has even recently been shown to be 100x more effective than traditional antibiotics in fighting the intestinal bacteria that causes food poisoning. http://bit.ly/KFGhzo. Its benefits for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, helping diabetes, clearing blood vessels, and thinning blood are well-known.
However, a report in the journal, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, published on June 24, 2009 cautioned that excessive use of crude garlic may negatively impact spermatogenesis (sperm production) by causing the death of the germ cells which develop into sperm cells. The study was conducted using rats given higher concentrations of crude garlic than humans typically consume. However, it was noted that human spermatogenesis is more sensitive to stress than rat spermatogenesis, and that human spermatogenesis could therefore still be negatively impacted by excessive crude garlic consumption, even at a lower concentration. In fact, the study suggested the possibility of crude garlic consumption inducing azoospermia (lack of sperm) in men with low sperm counts. See the abstract here: http://bit.ly/R1Vw95
So while many naturalists and homeopaths (and your great grandma) may encourage the mass consumption of garlic as a cure for male infertility, there are two important take-aways here. First, do everything in moderation. Something between a garlic knot and eating a garlic bulb like it’s an apple may be in order. Unless, of course, you know you have a low sperm count. This brings me to the second point…
Second, nothing is a substitute for a thorough male fertility evaluation by a medical professional, preferably a urologist who specializes in male infertility. Few things are sadder than seeing patients who wasted valuable time exploring unproven natural alternatives which did not address or correct an underlying problem that required medical intervention. Also, if you are taking a garlic supplement, or any herbal/holistic supplements, be sure to let your R.E. know.
Long Island IVF has renowned urologist and male infertility specialist, Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, on staff for anyone in need of an evaluation.
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Love garlic? What’s your favorite garlic-laden food? A favorite pizza, or a dip on game day? Please share the recipe and give props to its creator!
By David Kreiner, MD
July 12th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
Long Island IVF’s co-founder, Dr. David Kreiner responds to the assertion that in-vitro fertilization, or IVF as it’s known, is a treatment of “last resort”. Here is his letter to the Editor of Newsday published on July 8, 2012:
“ Adrian Peracchio wrote an interesting account of in vitro fertilization, a technology that is now 34 years old ["The future is now," Opinion, July 1]. As stated in the article, IVF is a procedure that was born in a hailstorm of controversy and remains today accountable for 3 percent of all births in the developed nations.
A reason for IVF’s rise in popularity is a tremendous improvement in success rates. As reported in the June 28 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, live birthrates with IVF approximate natural conception in fertile couples. Also, IVF reaches success rates as high as 80.7 percent for couples using donor eggs after three cycles.
Peracchio points out that the cost of IVF, as much as $15,000 in many centers, is often not covered by health insurance, and that IVF was intended as a “last resort” treatment.
This is a misunderstanding of IVF as an alternative only after the failure of less aggressive treatments — such as inseminations with fertility drugs. Insurance providers cover the drug treatment, which is ironically more expensive. Fertility drug treatments can lead to multiple pregnancies and premature deliveries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we could save $1.1 billion a year if single embryo transfers with IVF were performed instead.
It is a shame that the technology developed by Robert G. Edwards for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine remains available only to a minority of couples and is still not recognized by insurance companies.”
Dr. David Kreiner, Plainview
Editor’s note: The writer is the co-founder of Long Island IVF, an infertility care center.
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We’d love your thoughts here on the blog.
But if you’d like to respond to this article on Newsday.com and reply to the thread of unsympathetic comments, the link to the letter is here: http://bit.ly/NcuEwn (I’m guessing a stress-busting vent session will result for anyone willling to take up the cause!)
By Tracey Minella
July 4th, 2012 at 10:22 am
NWW, for those that are new here, stands for Nearly Wordless Wednesday… our weekly wacky photo caption contest where anyone anywhere can enter to win by submitting a clever caption for the photo of the week. And what infertile couple, or generally stressed out person, can’t use a fun distraction once a week? Come on and play!
Each week, the winner gets a gift card. It’s our little thank you for playing our game.
This week’s contest winner will get a … McDonalds gift card. I wanted to pick something kind of American. Sure, McDonalds isn’t baseball, hot dogs, apple pie or Chevrolet, but it’s pretty all-American if you ask me. Now come on and play. Having a Big Mac attack? Craving those amazing fries? Maybe one of their frosty new beverages? Win the contest and the gift card is yours to choose your favorite!
Now, on to this week’s challenge.
But first an explanation about last week’s contest. Nothing is wrong with your computer. The post/picture is gone. It was removed because of concerns that the photo may offend some readers. I certainly did not intend that and apologize to any who were offended. NWW is really all about fun. It’s a diversion from the everyday stress.
So on to the next contest. Give this photo a caption on the blog. I’ll get your creative juices flowing: It’s the 4th of July and you come across this van. It could be in a parade, at a beach, or in the neighborhood. Anyone could be in it: hippies, veterans, kids.
Here’s your choice for a caption: 1. Tell us where the van was, who was in it and what you’d say to the driver OR 2. Give us a customized license plate or a bumper sticker for the van.
Best entry winner gets McDonalds on us! It’s a fast, fun and free contest open to anyone, whether infertile or not, and whether a patient of our practice or not.
Bookmark our blog or like us on Facebook and check back next week to see if you won and we’ll mail you your gift card.
Plus, if you “LIKE” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/longislandivf , we may be able to send you the prize as an e-gift right through Facebook, depending on what this week’s prize is, so you could be enjoying your winnings as early as on the day we choose the winner! (And as much as we’d love you to “LIKE” us on Facebook, it is absolutely not required to either enter or win our contests! But did I mention we’d love it if you did
Enter today! Or at least before next Tuesday!
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Why not bookmark us so you remember to check back often…at least every Wednesday…so you don’t miss our NWW contests. And we also run bigger contests, too. Please feel free to suggest other fun places we could get gift cards from that you’d like to win as prizes for these fun contests or topics you’d like to see discussed on the blog. Now go enter the contest!
Photo credit: This great photo was taken by Jacob Childrey. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/webefex/109404027/sizes/m/in/photostream/
By Tracey Minella
July 3rd, 2012 at 2:59 pm
How awful that infertile folks live their lives in “survival mode” during the holidays. But it’s the sad truth. Infertility often takes the fun out of living and it certainly dampens the holidays.
For those perky types… who can handle their Clomid or Lupron, and still manage to wear a real smile to a picnic with 58 sparkler-toting toddlers… my hat’s off to you. Stop reading.
But the rest of you… who see the marshmallow stick not as a smores instrument, but rather as a weapon to take out your nagging, grandbaby-wishing mother-in-law… I have seven suggestions to get you through the festivities (be sure to read through to number seven):
- Put Yourself First. Give yourself permission NOT to go to any event you don’t really want to go to. And to NOT be around someone who twists you the wrong way. You come first. Their picnic will go on without you.
- Indulge. If your doctor is okay with it and you’re not cycling, consider allowing yourself to indulge in something that’s otherwise on your “off-limits” list…maybe a big ice cream sundae if you’ve been weight-watching, an extra jolt of caffeinated coffee, maybe even a small glass of wine. Haven’t you felt deprived enough?
- Pamper Yourself. Go get a massage or a kicky red, white and blue mani-pedi. Or whatever else you treat yourself with!
- Embrace the Solitude. Go for a walk alone (or with your partner) on the beach. There’s something about the water and the sand and the horizon that is calming and hopeful. And there’s lifeguards.
- Be Grateful. Find something in your life, no find three things, to be thankful for. Maybe your spouse, having a job, a home? Catch a parade and remember all the lives lost for our independence. Feeling grateful about something can actually help you feel slightly less depressed about what’s missing. And be grateful the holiday fell on a Wednesday, so you don’t have 3 straight days of barbeques to attend!
- Adjust the Focus. If you are going to be with folks who see you as the woman who doesn’t have/can’t have kids yet, show them another side of you. Bake and share a kickass apple pie from scratch and give them something else to talk about you over!
- Make a Wish. Your mission is to find a fireworks show. I don’t care if it’s your neighbor’s illegal cheesy display, a large, local professional extravaganza, or (my least favorite option) a televised fireworks show. Get thyself to something sparkly and explosive. Then make a quiet wish. Make it on the biggest boomer that lights up the night sky…or on a sparkler crackling in your hand. Let yourself believe it.
Here’s hoping your independence from infertility begins now… and that by this time next year you’ll behave yourself around the marshmallow sticks.
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What are your plans for the holiday?
By David Kreiner MD, and Tracey Minella
July 2nd, 2012 at 8:35 am
Statistics can be confusing. And when you’re on fertility meds and your hormones are raging, it can be hard to think clearly. So grab a cup of coffee and your thinking cap because you’re going to be interested in this post from Dr. Kreiner.
It’s about a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that finally sheds light on a woman’s odds of having a live birth from IVF. The study examined data from SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology), the primary organization that collects data, sets the guidelines, and helps maintain the standards for the practice of assisted reproductive technologies.
Dr. Kreiner reports:
NEJM Study Uses SART Data to Determine Cumulative Birth Rates for Individual Patients with In Vitro Fertilization
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine links data from the SART Clinic Outcome Reporting System to individual women who underwent cycles from 2004 to 2009. In this way a cumulative live birth rate over the course of all their cycles could be determined.
The researchers reviewed data from 246,740 women, with 471,208 cycles and 140,859 live births, found that live-birth rates declined with increasing maternal age and increasing cycle number when patients’ own oocytes were used, but live-birth rates remained high in donor egg cycles. See Luke et al, Cumulative Birth Rates with Linked Assisted Reproductive Technology Cycles, N Engl J Med 2012; 366:2483-2491 June 28, 2012. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1110238
By the third cycle, the conservative (patients who underwent fewer than three cycles were assumed not to get pregnant) and optimal estimates of live-birth rates (patients with fewer than three cycles were assumed to have a live birth) with autologous oocytes had declined from 63.3% and 74.6%, respectively, for women younger than 31 years of age to 18.6% and 27.8% for those 41 or 42 years of age and to 6.6% and 11.3% for those 43 years of age or older. When donor oocytes were used, the rates were higher than 60% and 80%, respectively, for all ages. Rates were higher with blastocyst embryos (day of transfer, 5 or 6) than with cleavage embryos (day of transfer, 2 or 3).
At the third cycle, the conservative and optimal estimates of cumulative live-birth rates were, respectively, 42.7% and 65.3% for transfer of cleavage embryos and 52.4% and 80.7% for transfer of blastocyst embryos when fresh autologous oocytes were used.
The study looks for the first time at a “cumulative live birth rate” for each patient going through three embryo transfers. They provide a range based on those patients who did not proceed with subsequent cycles assuming no pregnancy for lower end and live birth in upper end. They do not go into number of embryos transferred or multiple pregnancies. This provides the best data we have available to answer the question of what the odds are that a patient will experience a successful live birth with IVF. Understanding that the data is now a little dated and represents a national average, my expectation is that on the average we should see even somewhat better success.
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What did you think of the study? Any questions? Ask Dr. Kreiner right here.
By Tracey Minella
June 8th, 2012 at 1:46 am
Long Island IVF’s Extreme Family Building Makeover Contest…where the Grand Prize is a Free Micro-IVF cycle… kicked off during National Infertility Awareness Week on April 23, 2012. It runs through August 26, 2012.
To enter the contest for your chance to win a Free Micro-IVF cycle, and other great prizes, go to the April 23, 2012 blog post right here at: http://bit.ly/LHbmQR
Or click on Long Island IVF’s Facebook Page Contest tab to learn more right here: http://on.fb.me/L15L9Z
Each month the essay and video entries that get the most “likes” and/or comments will win an early entry incentive prize. In April and May, only essays were received. Totally understandable as videos take much more time and effort!
Congratulations to Jessica for her essay entry “Never Giving Up” which raked in the most likes and comments of all the April and May entries. Please email your full name and address to Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can send you your prize: a beautiful, hand-made fertility-themed necklace from Hoping Believing Waiting, identical or similar to the one below.
Imagine how your life could change if you won a free Micro-IVF cycle? Don’t delay…enter the contest today! Maybe your essay or video will win the early incentive prize for June. Or maybe it will win the Grand Prize. But you gotta be in it to win it, as they say.
The first video entry was just posted this week. Last year’s competition was fierce and this year promises to be more of the same. An essay or video telling the story of your fertility journey will make a wonderful personal keepsake for the future, whether or not you win the Grand Prize.
So grab those keyboards and camcorders and get your story going! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
By Tracey Minella
June 2nd, 2012 at 2:28 pm
Fifteen years ago today, I started working at Long Island IVF. Wait til you hear about my first day on the job.
I was a long-term patient at the time, having been a particularly difficult case at a time when the IVF success rates were only 17%. I was doing my 6th fresh IVF cycle at the time of my interview and hiring. Can you imagine seeing the doctor in a paper gown at 8 am and being back in interview clothes at 10 am?
After doing my transfer, Dr. Kenigsberg confidently reported to the nurses that he’d just gotten their new medical assistant pregnant. I started work about two weeks later, on June 2, 1997.
If you think it’s hard to wait all day for that results phone call, imagine the added stress of being at your first day of work for the doctor who has to make that call. How would I handle yet another negative result? I couldn’t fall apart. I’d need to be strong and stable and professional. Somehow. I’d assured them I could do that when they hired me.
Everyone mysteriously disappeared around 3:00, obviously avoiding me. The end of my first day on the job was approaching. I wondered if they’d tell me to go home if the results were negative. It was such an awkward and uncomfortable time… at the end of an awkward day of trying to balance being a patient and an employee. Then Dr. Kreiner, my LIIVF physician, called me in to his office to deliver the news and closed the door.
Ever the prankster (though not known to me at that time), he started off with a grim face and a long pause. I held my breath, waiting for the same sad, four-word “I’m sorry, it’s negative” refrain I’d gotten used to hearing on the other end of the phone.
“I’m sorry [insert annoying Ryan Seacrest pause]…I hired you because you’ll be leaving us in 9 months. Congratulations!”
Seconds later, I opened the door to find the entire nursing staff piled outside, ears pressed to the door, trying to hear our exchange. In an instant, I was surrounded with an outpouring of genuine care and support from the people who witnessed my years of struggle. My old nurses. My new co-workers.
I wish every patient could receive their positive results that way. And I wish every patient could stick around for their whole pregnancy, like I was able to do.
I will always remember this day, fifteen years ago, when I began not only the most rewarding personal journey of my life…but the most rewarding professional one as well. I can’t think of anything greater than helping infertile couples become parents. And that’s why I remain part of LIIVF a decade after finishing building my own family.
Thanks Dave, Dan, Steve, Kathy, Gail, Dotty, Michelle, Mary, Joey, Denise, Sue, Maryann, Karen, Patty, Vicky, Dina, Peggy, Judy, Eileen, Lorraine, Kathy, Olga, Pat (and everyone else at LIIVF) and to all the patients, past and present, whose journeys I’ve shared as a medical assistant or through the blog.
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What is the best thing about LIIVF? What makes it different from other practices?