Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Should I do genetic testing?

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding to conceive a child. Genetic testing can be a sensitive issue for some. It is important to talk openly with your doctor about any possible genetic risks and then consider your options.

Factors For Genetic Testing Consideration

A thorough health history can help decide if genetic testing should be considered. Factors include:
  1. You and your spouses age
  2. Ethnic background*
  3. Family History
  4. Medical History
*Common Genetic diseases related to your ethnicity include:
  • Sickle cell anemia (most common in people of African heritage)
  • Thalassemia (occurs most frequently in people of Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Asian and African ancestry)
  • Tay-Sachs disease (most common among Ashkenazi Jews)
  • Cystic fibrosis (most likely to occur if there’s a family history of cystic fibrosis — people with Caucasian background are more likely be affected than other ethnicity)
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
If a thorough medical history suggests the possibility of a genetic disease, your doctor will probably recommend that you and your partner be screened to see if either (or both) of you carry a gene. The test can be done through blood testing.

Ultimately, the decision should be made by you and your partner. We recommend to speak to a genetic counselor (it is a free phone call) before scheduling the test so that all your questions/concerns are addressed. All genetic companies (such as Natera, Good Start Genetics, Recombine, etc) offer a free phone consult before doing the test, and if any of the screens come back positive for one of the common genetic diseases noted above. There’s no right answer, only the answer that’s right for you and your family.

If you are in the process of trying to conceive and are experiencing fertility issues, we welcome you to learn more about Virginia Center for Reproductive Health at: http://www.vcrmed.com/

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fertility Drugs and Medications to Treat Female Infertility

Fertility drugs are the primary treatment for women with ovulation issues. We know that the whole process can be very confusing with all the treatment options available. This is especially true for someone who is just beginning her fertility journey. To help you familiarize with various fertility medication options currently available in the marketplace, Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine has compiled a list of the most common fertility drugs prescribed, how they work and how to use them.
1) Clomiphene Citrate
Common Brand Names: Clomid, Tamoxifen, Letrozole (Femara)
How it Works: these medications create an increase in the hormones that support growth and release of a mature egg.
How to Use: s taken by mouth for 5 days. Your fertility doctor will give you directions on how and when to take it. Be sure to follow the dosing schedule exactly for optimum results.
If these are successful, your fertility specialist may recommend injectable hormones to stimulate ovulation.
2) Menotropins
Common Brand Names: Menopur
How it Works: Menotropins provides the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) that help healthy ovaries make eggs. This medication is often combined with another hormone (hCG-human chorionic gonadotropin) to help you become pregnant by growing and releasing mature eggs.
How to Use: Menotropins is an injection. Your fertility clinic will train you on how to properly use this medication.
3) FSH preparations
Common Brand Names: Bravelle, Follistim, Gonal-F
How it Works: these medications provide the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) that stimulates the development and growth in ovaries. This medication is often combined with another hormone (hCG-human chorionic gonadotropin) to help you become pregnant by growing and releasing mature eggs. They are not recommended for women with primary ovarian failure.
How to Use: By an injection usually taken once a day. The medicine comes with Patient Information directions. Read over all the directions carefully
4) Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
Common Brand Names: Pregnyl, Novarel, Ovidrel
How it Works: hCG is given after finishing Menotropins to cause the release of an egg.
How to Use it: hCG is an injection directly into a muscle by a health care professional. Occasionally this medication is taken at home
If you are in the process of familiarizing yourself with various fertility options before starting your fertility treatment journey, we welcome you to contact us at 703-437-7722 or visit or website at: http://www.vcrmed.com/

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Surrogacy & Same Sex Couples

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, recognizing that same-sex couples have equal marriage rights. All state laws banning same-sex marriage were overruled by the Court's decision.
Same-sex spouses now have the same rights and benefits as legally married, opposite-sex couples, including tax relief, emergency medical decision-making power, access to domestic relations laws, spousal benefits (including workers' compensation), inheritance rights, and spousal testimonial privilege.
The Obergefell v. Hodges ruling also created hope for Same Sex parenting. In the Supreme Court's majority opinion, same-sex parenting was validated and even used as an example for marriage equality on the vitality of gay families. After declaring that a "basis for protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families," Justice Anthony Kennedy explained that "same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted." Relying on Williams Institute research, he noted that "hundreds of thousands of children are presently being raised by same-sex couples." The majority affirmed a model of parenthood based on chosen, functional bonds rather than biology alone.
There are a four main ways that gay men and women can have children:
·      Adoption
·      Co-parenting arrangements (Between Lesbians & Male gay couples)
·      Donor Insemination (for Lesbians)
·      Surrogacy
·      We have also done many cases where one female partner is the egg donor and the other is the gestational carrier.

The Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine has worked with dual gender partners with Egg Donor and Surrogacy treatments since 2004. Our practice has enjoyed the highest success rates in the DC metro area consistently for the past 9 years. We invite you to learn more about how our practice can assist you and your partner in building a family: http://www.vcrmed.com/other-services/gestational-surrogacy-in-reston-va-virginia/

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trying to Conceive (TTC) in your 30’s

A growing percentage of women are trying-to-conceive later in life. In the 1970’s, the average age on a new mother was around 24 or 25 and now the average age for getting pregnant is about 30.
Women are trying-to-conceive later in life because of a variety of factors like being career oriented, extending their education and just too busy to find “Mr. Perfect”.
Most couples will succeed in conceiving in their 30’s, though it most likely will take a bit more time and effort. Other couples may face some infertility hurdles and turn to fertility treatments for support. As we age, our fertility declines. This goes for women, and to a lesser extent, men! When a woman is TTC in her 30’s, the monthly chance of conception drops to less than 15%.
So what can be done to make TTC in your 30s more successful?
·      Staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle, avoid smoking or drinking excessively
·      Focus on a healthy diet and maintaining a proper weight
·      Once your are TTC, chart your fertility to discover when you ovulate during your cycle
A popular trend amongst successful, busy women is Egg Freezing. A woman’s fertility peak is in their early 20’s and begins to decline thereafter. If a woman uses her “younger” eggs, meaning eggs she froze in her 20’s or early 30s, her chances of pregnancy success are much higher.To learn more about Egg Freezing, we invite you to visit: http://www.vcrmed.com/other-services/egg-freezing-program/

Age does play a factor in fertility however each woman’s situation is different. To learn more about The Effects of Age on Fertility, we invite you to visit: http://www.vcrmed.com/fertility-reston-va/the-affects-of-age-on-fertility-virginia-center-for-reproductive-medicine-in-reston-va-virginia/

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Questions to Ask During your Initial Infertility Consultation at a Fertility Clinic

When you have come to the decision that it is time to consult with a Fertility Center it important to know what to expect at your initial consultation. The doctors and staff at the Virginia Center for Reproductive Health in Reston, Virginia have put together some helpful hints for your Initial Infertility Consultation.
  • To prepare your body for a successful pregnancy, VCRM recommends the following, even before meeting with your Fertility Specialist for the first time:
1)   Quit smoking
2) Eat a balanced diet
3) Take a pre-natal vitamin daily
4) Exercise and be active daily
5) Eliminate or reduce stress in your daily life

  • Once you have an appointment confirmed with a Fertility Center, you will receive a Patient Registration packet. There will be a variety of forms to fill out, these are usually required to be sent back to the office BEFORE your consultation

  • Your consultation usually will be between one to two hours.  You will meet your doctor and review your medical history and discuss your family’s goals. Depending on your history, age and interest, your doctor will order a variety of diagnostic tests to evaluate you and your partner. Most fertility centers also have a genetic and financial counselor to meet with, depending on your needs

  • Be sure to provide your doctor with your full and accurate fertility history, bring any records you may have from previous fertility centers or gynecological surgery

  • Know your schedule. If you have a vacation planned, work commitments or other events that cannot be rescheduled, share these plans with your doctor so diagnostic testing and treatment can be scheduled accordingly

  • Compile a list of questions. Brainstorming the questions, concerns and topics you want to discuss is helpful. You will receive a lot of information during the consultation, take notes!
Just as there are many factors that can cause infertility, there also are many factors that can affect your chances for successful treatment including your age, your personal diagnosis, duration of infertility, and the number of previous unsuccessful treatment attempts. In addition, chances for your success will be influenced greatly by the specialists involved with your care and continued attention to details. It is important to find a fertility center that can best assist at making your dreams a reality.

You can read more about finding the best fit Fertility Center for you by visiting: http://vcrmed.blogspot.com/2015/04/how-to-choose-fertility-center.html

To learn more about VCRM, you can visit:http://www.vcrmed.com/

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ovarian Reserve & Egg Quality: What can I do to improve them?

 Age is not the only factor that determines ovarian and egg health. Many factors can impact the health of a woman’s ovaries and eggs including environmental factors, hormones and stress, just to name a few! There are habits and factors you can focus on to increase the health of your eggs. 
Oxygen flowing to the ovaries is important for good egg health. To increase blood flow to the ovaries consider:
  • Drinking at least 8, 8oz glasses of water everyday. Dehydration can cause your blood to become thick and decrease circulation in the body
  • Exercise. Stay moving, run, dance, play a sport. Exercise increases blood flow and helps oxygenate the blood. However, avoid intense workouts and running 
  • Get a massage. A common therapy for increasing blood flow to the reproductive system is by massaging your uterus and ovaries. Massages and acupuncture may help bring fresh, oxygenated blood to the ovaries and removes old stagnant blood. You can have a massage therapist perform an abdomen massage or find an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility
  • Some supplements (such as CoQ10 and DHEA) may be helpful to egg quality. Please discuss this with your doctor before taking any of these
  • Eat Healthy  

What you are eating can also impact the health of your ovaries and eggs in good or bad ways. 

Foods known to make a positive impact on Egg Health Include:
Broccoli            Berries            Dark Leafy veggies            Halibut
Salmon            Pumpkin Seeds            Sesame seeds            Ginger

Foods known to make a negative impact on Egg Health include:
Caffeine            Alcohol            Sugar                        Soda                        Processed foods           
Trans Fat            GMO Foods

Check out our useful app that will educate you on how simple dieting can help with fertility: http://theinfertilitydiet.com/

Life is overwhelming and women are constantly multi-tasking a variety of roles and responsibilities. To improve you egg health, reducing the stress in your life needs to be a priority. You need time for YOU! (and deserve it) Consider some of the following ideas:
·      Go for a walk
·      Take a warm bath
·      Read a good book
·      Craft or learn a new skill
·      Meditate

Supporting egg health is important for every woman who is trying to conceive. These simple habits can support and protect your egg health.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Egg Donation: Earn $8,000 while helping make a couples dream come true

Are you interested in becoming an Egg Donor? Its women like you that help make the dream of having a family a reality for those struggling with infertility.

Healthy women aged 21-31 may qualify to be a donor for our anonymous egg donor program.

To help us determine your eligibility for the program, please complete the confidential questionnaire by visiting: http://www.vcrmed.com/donate-eggs/

*Please note, women must have medical insurance to qualify as an egg donor

Once accepted into the donor program you may donate a maximum of six times. Upon completion of a cycle, you will be compensated $8,000 for your time, effort and commitment.

Your donation would be a precious gift to infertile couples whose only chance of conceiving is through the generosity of women like you!

The steps for egg donation are listed below:

Step One

Complete the initial application. This form assists our Donor Team in determining if you qualify for our Egg Donor Program.

Step Two

If you qualify for the program, you will be sent an email with the next steps and a link to complete a comprehensive online application.

Step Three

Once the comprehensive application is approved and you are accepted into our anonymous egg donor program, your initial consultation will be scheduled with our nurse coordinator. During this visit, the donation process will be discussed in detail. In order to complete the medical portion of the donor application process, a variety of medical tests will also be scheduled at this time for a later date. These medical tests must be performed at specific points throughout your menstrual cycle and for that reason, may require more than one visit. After all testing is completed, reviewed and approved by the VCRM physician, you will be formally matched with a recipient and the donation cycle will be scheduled. All costs for your medical care will be covered by the recipient.

Step Four

Once the egg donation cycle begins, you will be put on birth control pills followed by injectable medications for up to 13 days to stimulate production of multiple eggs in your ovaries. At the same time, the recipients uterus is being prepared to receive the resulting embryos. Once the eggs have matured, you will be scheduled for your retrieval. You will be given IV sedation and your eggs will be retrieved via transvaginal ultrasound with a needle guide.

Step Five

Once the eggs have been retrieved, your portion of the egg donation process is complete. In our laboratory, the donor eggs will be mixed with sperm to fertilize. Three to six days following egg retrieval, the developing embryos will be transferred to the recipients uterus. A pregnancy test will be performed on the recipient in 11 days. The anonymous egg donation process, from initial application to egg retrieval, may take up to three months to complete. The initial screening tests can be arranged to accommodate your schedule. Blood work will be taken and ultrasounds will be performed to check your hormone levels and visualize the number and size of your egg follicles. These monitoring visits are extremely important; not only do they ensure your safety throughout the process, but they also provide essential information that will help us maximize the success of the cycle.

You can contact us with any questions by calling 703-437-7722