Saturday, March 20, 2010

BRAVO BRAVO Maria Cross - IVF with Donor Eggs

So many women make the mistake of waiting too long to try and conceive. It is heartbreaking to speak to the numerous women who think they have time to put off  building their family that --  trying to conceive can just be put on a back burner for a while. These smart, talented educated women point the finger at many of the celebrities who conceive in their 40's as proof it's OK to wait. And it is OK to wait if as long as you know the realities of conception over 40 and the distinct possibility that in order to conceive and go to term later in your reproductive life, you will NEED to use a donor's eggs costing anywhere from $20,000 - $40,000 and which is a procedure not covered by insurance (in 99.9% of cases).

A woman in her late 20's and early 30's has only about 2 out of 5 eggs that are normal (chromosomally speaking). By the late 30's and early 40's only 15-20% of the remaining eggs are normal and by the mid 40's that numbers decreases to 10%. To make matters worse, IVF and the media used for the procedure can be harsh on already fragile eggs. So the chances of a successful IVF for 40+ are extremely low - less than 1% (if that).( See Geoffrey She, MD's IVF Authority Blog.)

Just look at the list of "STARS" who are having their bundles of joy in their 40's and even 50's. Just to name a few: Jane Seymour, Emma Thompson, Susan Sarandon, Madonna, Annette Bening, Cheryl Tiegs, Beverly D'Angelo and the list goes on...Does that mean the experts don't have the stats right? Or that maybe these "beautiful people" just don't have the same kind of biological function the rest of us experience?  Though I am not privy to the information behind the closed IVF clinic doors, I do know that a number of celebrities (statistically speaking) have used a donor to get pregnant and carry their child to term. Otherwise, there should definitely be clinical trials to see how these celebs do what other's biological ticking clock can't.

Maria Cross has really stepped up to the plate (IVF dish if you will) and has done a great service to women everywhere by telling the world she needed to use a donor's eggs in order to have her twins. So BRAVO Maria.

Have questions about using a donor - log onto INCIID Forums and ask an expert here.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't Crash and Burn - Planning Your Infertility Journey

In the world of infertility treatment - a multi-billion dollar a year industry, the media often paints a picture of rich couples trying to create designer babies. You and I know from our own infertility journeys that nothing could be farther from the truth. But how does someone know when the time has come to get off the infertility super highway before another truck hits us...Everyone who merges onto the fertility highway  exits with some dents and fender benders. The key is not to crash and burn in the process. Some couples get lost and lose each other and sometimes  themselves in the process. But many others are successful in their endeavor to build a family even if the way they do it leads to adoption or a child free life. The key to successfully resolving fertility is open communication and planning.

When starting out on the treatment road, couples should discuss their long and short term goals. Before setting foot into the office of a fertility specialist, together you should decide how far to take your struggle, whether or not you might go to all lengths or stop short of using a donor for both sperm and eggs, if you'll need a surrogate and how much time or how many years you will give medical treatment. Open communication with your partner and collecting your thoughts on when and what you want to do will go a long way in your infertility journey. Success may be different for each individual. Success can be full term pregnancy, remaining child free or possibly moving to adoption. There is a great deal to learn and careful planning before you leap can save you from crashing and burning.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Infertility EGG Raffle - what do you think?

According to a raffle is a way to "dispose of in a lottery as in "We raffled off a trip to the Bahamas." A lottery in which the prizes are goods rather than money!

Why would anyone hold a raffle --- any raffle? Lots of organizations, usually nonprofit organizations, hold raffles in order to fund their missions. Raffles for goods to raise money for charities are a tool to better enable them in providing services to consumers who need their help. So the charities who hold raffles are the beneficiaries of the raffle. The reason an organization holds a raffle is to raise awareness and make money - a good thing for charities. But why would a "for profit" organization hold a raffle? A company would hold a raffle as a way of advertising their product and services, raise more awareness of what they offer and to enhance their bottom line. Just what we need within the infertility industry!

In concept the more valuable an in demand a product the more publicity. But what do you think happens when products and services offered are human gametes? At one time a number of years ago INCIID (pronounced "inside") board members  thought and discussed at length, the possibility of an IVF cycle as a raffle in order to fund the mission and promote awareness of the plight of infertile couples. The idea was discussed at length and abandoned as very bad.

Why you ask?  Why not help one couple and raise awareness? Because although we leave the concept of when life begins to the religious scholars and individual consumers, we still think it's wrong to objectify human gametes. We believe that conception and creating a family is a very personal and individual choice - not a commodity. In the world of corporate greed, this concept is not well understood.

INCIID and its board didn't want to "depersonalize" something so private and so personal.  Instead what we did was to gather together a group of doctors who also felt as we do at INCIID. These "Heart Docs" or doctors with heart, donated their time, their facilities and services to the IVF Scholarship Program. Instead of a raffle, we found a way to regularly give away not just one cycle of IVF but many every year.

A raffle for human gametes is just a bad idea. Instead of a raffle to draw attention to an individual company or clinic, why not donate a cycle to a consumer through a nonprofit organization like INCIID?  You could still draw attention and in helping a charity. By following a moral compass to help consumers in reality the company also helps itself. Not only does INCIID raise infertility, pregnancy loss and adoption awareness  but it also provides scholarships for those who can not afford them. Okay, now what do you think?

The InterNational Council on Infertility Information Dissemination (INCIID – pronounced "inside") is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and couples explore their family-building options. INCIID provides current information and immediate support regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infertility and pregnancy loss, and offers guidance to those considering adoption or childfree lifestyles.

In April of 2004, INCIID launched the first and only National IVF Scholarship Program for those who have medical need for IVF but who are without financial resources and insurance making the procedure out of their reach. Find out more about the scholarship here:

Follow the link to find out more about INCIID's  IVF Scholarship Information and Application

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