Give Back to the Community with Shady Grove Fertility and the Cade Foundation

For the 7th year, the staff at Shady Grove Fertility is working together to raise money in support of the Cade Foundation’s Race for the Family 5k Run and Fun Walk (September 13th, 2014 in the Baltimore/DC area). Proceeds from the Race support the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation, which serves the needs of families battling infertility through education, outreach, and grants that help couples pay for infertility treatment or domestic adoption. Annually, through events like the Race for The Family, the Cade Foundation is able to raise awareness and funds to support the local community.

Frederick Keys

SGF Staffer, Sandee, and her husband at the ball game!

As part of Shady Grove Fertility’s fundraising efforts for the 2014 Race for the Family, the Frederick team partnered with the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy and the Frederick Keys on Sunday, July 27, 2014. The SGF Frederick team – including physicians, staff and patients – cheered on the Frederick Keys, raising over $700 for the Foundation through ticket sales. “I would like to thank everyone who bought tickets and participated in the event.  I think everyone had a good time and we raised some money for a good cause. We were lucky the rain held off and the breeze kept us from being too hot (most of the time).” says Frederick office manager and event organizer Nancy Houston.

During the game, attendees were given educational fertility facts to help educate both men and women on this important issue. “Our partnership with the Ambulatory Care Pharmacy and the Frederick Keys for this event not only gave us the opportunity to raise money for the Cade Foundation, but to also spread the word about infertility in a new and exciting way,” explains Frederick physician, Dr. Jason Bromer.

Frederick Keys, Cade Foundation

Part of the SGF Family: These kids got the honor of throwing the first pitch at the Frederick Keys Game!

Through this partnership, SGF was also given the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the game. That honor was given to Michele Purcell, Donor Egg Program Director at Shady Grove Fertility, who helped sell over 50 tickets, more than any other attendee. “It was great to be able to attend an event that my family and friends enjoyed, while supporting a cause I care so much about.” When told she would have the opportunity to “fulfill a childhood dream” and throw the first pitch at the game, her response was priceless. “Oh, that’s not my dream but I know whose dream it is!” Michele’s daughter and son represented both SGF and the Cade Foundation by throwing the first pitch.

Join Shady Grove Fertility in supporting the 2014 Cade Race for the Family at upcoming events and fundraising activities:

  • Bel Air Office – Yogo Crazy, Tuesday Aug 12, 4pm-close, 20% of purchase will be given to the Cade Foundation
  • Towson Office – “Date Night” Gift Basket Raffle, $1/ticket or $5/6 tickets. Buy your tickets at the Towson, MD office.
  • Harrisburg and Frederick Office- Hershey Gift Basket Raffle including 2 Hershey Park Tickets
  • Annandale and Woodbridge- Gift Card Raffle, inquire for details at the front desk
  • Annapolis- Raffle, inquire for details at the front desk

Sign up for the Race for the Family, Saturday, September 13th!

Have you been trying to conceive for over a year? Shady Grove Fertility’s team of dedicated New Patient Liaisons are available to answer your questions and schedule a consultation with a physician. Call 877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.

Posted in Affording Treatment, Cade Foundation, Events, Infertility Awareness | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Egg Freezing Trend: Options Beyond Reproductive Years

Does the media have it right-2In the media, the growing egg freezing trend is often treated as if it were a lifestyle choice, when in fact, for many women it’s the only current option they have available for future reproductive success. For example, the story Fertility Treatment – Freezing Time on ABC in Springfield, Massachusetts this Tuesday, predominately featured couples who elected to participate in egg freezing due to social reasons. While this can happen on occasion, at Shady Grove Fertility the majority of our egg freezing patients are women who must create options based on personal circumstances, timing and health. By freezing one’s eggs, a woman creates family building opportunities beyond her normal reproductive years, providing an option to build a family when the timing is right.

Some women find themselves with dramatically different lives than where they had planned to be, so the choice to freeze their eggs is a matter of timing. The reason some women pursue egg freezing due to unrelated medical conditions such as professional responsibilities, available time, being with the right person, unexpected changes in personal situations, living out of the country, this list goes on. Anonymous women have shared their reasons for freezing both related and unrelated to medical issues (names in this article have been changed):

  • Women have found themselves in a different place in life from where they expected to be. This was the case for Alicia, “I thought I had it all. But at 34, I found myself going through a divorce and I was left thinking about when I would ever have children. I knew I was young according to the biological clock, however, to start dating… meet a guy… date for a couple of years… get engaged and plan a wedding, I would be in my late-30s or early-40s and just starting to grow a family. Coming right out of the divorce, I wasn’t ready to rush into a relationship, let alone a serious relationship.”
  • For some women, like Susan, the choice to have a baby is a matter of timing, “I am 29 years old and interested in finding out more about my options to potentially have a baby in the future.” While some people may believe women in their late twenties have plenty of time to conceive, Susan explained why she was looking into egg freezing as an option, “I am just recently in a committed relationship, but not thinking about having children together any time soon. I would hate to wait too long and not have any eggs left when I am with the right person and ready to have a baby.”
  • Another reason some women pursue egg freezing is due to other medical conditions, such as cancer. Even if the cancer would not impact fertility potential, the radiation treatment likely would. At just 23 years old, Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer and dealt with just that scenario, “I needed to undergo aggressive chemo but my doctors have given me a few weeks to get my eggs frozen before we have to start treatment. I want to freeze my eggs because I want kids in the future and am facing infertility.”
  • One woman, explains why at the age of 35 she froze her eggs, “My test results showed my fertility has started to decline and on top of that, I have endometriosis which will make it even harder to get pregnant in the future.” Or Christine who had a complicated first pregnancy, “I’m not sure if I want another child, however I want to create options just in case I change my mind in the future.”

Whether it’s a decision based on current life circumstances such as a recent divorce, or health issues such as low ovarian reserve, there are many personal reasons women decide to freeze their eggs. Regardless of the reason, egg freezing does the same thing for all women: it freezes their current fertility in time, extending their reproductive options for the future. Women who freeze their eggs are not simply delaying pregnancy; they are making a conscious choice to have future reproductive success at a later, more opportune date.

Take the Next Step 

  1. Fill out this form to schedule an appointment or for more information, email Candice.Brown@integramed.com or call 1-877-411-9292
  2. Learn more about egg freezing and financial options: Archived Webinar
  3. SGF Egg Freezing Patient Story: Melanie: Hope in the future restored 
Posted in Egg Freezing, Fertility Preservation | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can I have sex during fertility treatment?

sex during infertility treatment

Sex During Fertility Treatment
Medical Contribution By Melissa Esposito, M.D.

Melissa Esposito, M.D.

Dr. Melissa Esposito

When Dr. Melissa Esposito of Shady Grove Fertility’s Frederick, MD office is asked by patients whether they can sex during fertility treatment, her answer to them is simple: “Listen to your body.”

“There is usually nothing unsafe about having sexual intercourse while cycling, but many women who are using injectable medication for IUI or IVF may experience enlarged ovaries, which might make intercourse uncomfortable. While intercourse isn’t unsafe, there are several instances where intercourse and ejaculation are not recommended to increases the chances of success,” explains Dr. Esposito.

Having a Semen Analysis? Abstain For Optimal Sample

Generally, a semen sample is collected for one of two reason: to test the semen quality or to be prepared and used in an insemination when undergoing either IUI, IVF, FET or donor egg treatment. When the male partner is asked to produce a sample for  a semen analysis, Dr. Esposito recommends that the man abstain from any form of ejaculation for the two to three days prior to ensure a complete and reliable sample. She goes on to explain, “There can be some negative effects to abstaining for longer periods than the recommended time. Some patients go overboard and abstain for a lot longer than three days because they’re thinking it will result in a build-up of new sperm cells. The truth is that too much time between ejaculations is actually counterproductive.”

With the exception of cycles calling for timed intercourse or donor sperm, all treatment plans, including IUI, IVF, or donor egg treatment,  will require the collection of a semen sample to be used for insemination. It is suggested to abstain from ejaculation the day prior to the insemination. If the couple has intercourse too soon, then the volume of ejaculate and the sperm counts may be compromised, leading to a suboptimal sample for the IUI, but more on that to come.

Monitored Clomid Cycle with Timed Intercourse

One of the most basic forms of treatment offered at Shady Grove Fertility is a monitored Clomid cycle with timed intercourse. During this treatment the female patient takes an oral medication called Clomid aimed to induce ovulation. The cycle is monitored to ensure that a follicle develops and is released from the ovaries through ovulation. Once ovulation occurs the couple is instructed to have intercourse at home. Dr. Esposito says, “During any cycle it is not unusual to experience some minor bleeding as a result of intercourse due to the highly vascular tissues of the female reproductive system.” This change in the female’s reproductive system is a result of hormonal stimulation and high estrogen levels caused by the production of multiple follicles. She goes on to explain, “If a patient experiences pain with the bleeding, we would recommend refraining from intercourse.”

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

If a couple is undergoing IUI treatment, there are generally few restrictions when it comes to intercourse. The only instance where intercourse is strongly discouraged is the day following the “trigger shot”. The trigger shot allows eggs to reach final maturity and then be ovulated into the fallopian tubes. We generally encourage couples to have intercourse the night of the trigger shot. This ensures a supply of sperm in the fallopian tubes to meet the egg upon ovulation.

Abstinence from intercourse or ejaculation is suggested on the day between the trigger shot and the IUI or the day of the trigger shot if the IUI is planned for the next day. This break allows the sperm count to reaccumulate in order to produce a good sample for the IUI, which is usually scheduled approximately 36 hours after the trigger shot is given.

Intercourse is however suggested the evening following the IUI.  Dr. Esposito says, “This not only provides the couple time to be intimate, but it also may help increase the chances of fertilization by adding to the sperm that had been introduced during the insemination.” Again refraining from intercourse is suggested if the patient experiences pain during sex.

During some medicated IUI cycles, the female partner will produce too many follicles creating a concern that she potentially may ovulate too many eggs. This would place the couple at too great of a risk for a multiple pregnancy or higher order multiple pregnancy (triplets or higher) which is an unacceptable risk due to the complications to both mother and babies. When this occurs the stimulation medication is stopped and patients are asked to abstain from intercourse.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Sex during the stimulation phase of an IVF cycle is acceptable as long as the couple is using a form of barrier contraceptive, such as a condom. In the event ovulation were to occur unexpectedly we want to avoid pregnancy for the safety of the embryo.

In a very small number of cases, IVF patients may produce too many follicles causing very high levels of  estrogen resulting in ovarian hyperstimulation.  “If hyperstimulation occurs, we tell patients to avoid intercourse because the ovaries are very enlarged and cystic and we are concerned that intercourse could lead to rupture of a cyst on the enlarged ovaries or a twisting of the ovary on its blood supply. This is extremely rare but something abstaining from sex can help to avoid these types of complications,” explains Dr. Esposito.

Post Embryo Transfer: IVF, FET, and Donor Egg Treatment

Intercourse is discouraged following an embryo transfer during an IVF, FET, or donor egg cycle. This “pelvic rest” is recommended anywhere from five to seven days after transfer – when a pregnancy test can be reliably administered.  This rest gives the embryo optimal time to implant into the uterine wall.   Most IVF patients can resume normal sexual activity a week or two after their embryo transfer, but always check with your doctor or nurse prior.

Encouraging Intimacy During Treatment

Dr. Esposito heartily encourages patients not to lose sight of their relationship’s need for intimacy during fertility treatment. She adds that intercourse is a normal part of a couple’s relationship and that you shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk with your physician about having sex during a fertility treatment cycle.

“It’s stressful enough to go through infertility and then make the choice to enter treatment. I don’t want my patients to totally sacrifice their relationship,” she says. “I tell them that they should not lose sight of the need to focus on their relationship and their lives – it’s easy to lose sight of everything in your life and let this consume your every thought. Many marriages and relationships can suffer – maintaining intimacy and communication is key.”

Shady Grove Fertility’s team of dedicated New Patient Liaisons are available to answer your questions and schedule a consultation with a physician. Call 877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment.

Posted in General Infertility, IVF, Relationships, TTC | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment