2014 Egg Freezing Conference Program: Sneak Preview

With Shady Grove Fertility’s inaugural Egg Freezing Conference less than two weeks away, we are excited to unveil our event program and announce our keynote speaker Sarah Richards. Sarah is a New York Times contributor and the author of Motherhood Rescheduled, and she has extensively documented her own egg freezing journey in several publications.

The 2014 Shady Grove Fertility Egg Freezing Conference will take place on Saturday November 8, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at District Architecture Center in Washington, DC. The conference will feature a series of discussion panels on egg freezing; networking time with vendors, physicians, and other attendees; and breakfast will be served. The program* will proceed as follows:

9:30 a.m. – Welcome Address 

Michele Purcell Shady Grove Fertility

Michele Purcell, the Director of the Egg Freezing Program at Shady Grove Fertility, delivers the conference opening address.

9:55 a.m.  Keynote Speech

saraelizabethrichardsSarah Richards, New York Times contributor and author of Motherhood Rescheduled, provides conference attendees with a national perspective of egg freezing, where it has been and where it is going, as well as the long term benefits and implications of making the decision to freeze.

10:30 a.m. – Fertility 101

Eric Widra, M.D.

Eric Widra, M.D.

Shady Grove Fertility’s medical director, Eric Widra, M.D., presents an overview of a woman’s fertility, from a biological and physiological perspective.

11:10 a.m. – An Introduction & Overview of Egg Freezing

Joseph Doyle, M.D.

Joseph Doyle, M.D.

Shruti Malik, M.D.

Shruti Malik, M.D.

Joseph Doyle, M.D. of Shady Grove Fertility’s Rockville, MD office and Shruti Malik, M.D. of Shady Grove Fertility’s Fair Oaks, VA office, walk attendees through the egg freezing process, covering the technology, the necessary testing, and the success rates.

11:30 a.m. – Financial Options

Candice Brown, the new patient liaison for the Egg Freezing Program, explains the costs of treatment and medication, as well as the many unique financing options that Shady Grove Fertility has to offer.

11:45 a.m. – Q&A Panel with Conference Presenters

Attendees will have the opportunity to address Michele, Sarah, Candice, Dr. Doyle, and Dr. Malik in a half-hour Q&A panel.

Upon conclusion of the Q&A Panel, attendees will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with physicians, visit our sponsor booths, and network with one another.  

If you are interested in attending this one-of-a-kind conference, please register as soon as possible. Attendance is free, but space is limited. We look forward to seeing you there!
* Program content is subject to change

Egg Freezing Events and Resources:

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Q&A: Fertility Preservation for Oncology Patients

Medical Contribution by Gilbert L. Mottla, M.D.

Studies have shown that chemotherapy, especially those using alkaline agents, can severely diminish a woman’s ovarian reserve. With some chemotherapies of longer duration, the sensitive egg cells will not survive, rendering the patient infertile and unable to conceive in the future. Woman now have the ability, though, to freeze their eggs prior to beginning chemotherapy, due to recent advancements in freezing technology. This option allows patients to safeguard their fertility for the future.

Q: What is Egg Freezing? eggs

A: Egg freezing is a process in which the ovaries are stimulated to produce several mature eggs. These eggs are then retrieved; frozen using vitrification technology; and stored for future use. Since frozen eggs are suspended in time, their quality remains unchanged from the point of freezing.

Q: Who Should Consider Egg Freezing for Fertility Preservation?

A: Women with a recent cancer diagnosis who are planning to have children in the future should consider egg freezing at the time of diagnosis. The best outcome relative to both egg thaw survival rate and future pregnancy is achieved in women under the age of 40.

Q: What does the Process Entail? 

A: When a patient with a recent cancer diagnosis is referred to Shady Grove Fertility, a specially-trained team guides them through the entire treatment process. This team helps to navigate patients through each step, from finding ways to afford treatment to the actual medical procedure. Due to the time-sensitive nature of treatment, oncology patients can expect an expedited treatment plan and to see a physician for consultation as soon as possible.

Once a patient decides to move forward with treatment, it generally takes 2-3 weeks to complete stimulation of the ovaries. During this time patients will take injectible medications administered subcutaneously (under the skin.) Egg development is monitored 4-5 times during the 10-12 days of stimulation. Monitoring appointments consist of a transvaginal ultrasound and bloodwork, both used to monitor egg development. These appointments help your physician to adjust medications as needed and identify the ideal time for the egg retrieval. Once the follicles reach 20mm in size, an egg retrieval is scheduled in one of our ambulatory surgery centers in either Rockville or Towson, MD or Chesterbrook, PA. The retrieval is performed under light sedation, with normal activity resuming the next day.

Q: What are my Future Options?  

blastocysts-1A: Once eggs are frozen, they are available for when the patient has completed their cancer treatment and been cleared to move forward with attempting pregnancy. A back-up plan is now in place should a patient need to use their eggs in the future. Use of these eggs in the future involves thawing, inseminating with sperm, and transferring a healthy embryo into the uterus. Once eggs are frozen, a woman’s success at achieving pregnancy is related to her age at the time of freeze – not at the time when she plans to use her eggs to achieve pregnancy. At Shady Grove Fertility, eggs may be used to achieve pregnancy before a patient’s 51st birthday. Beyond this age, other medical conditions impact safe pregnancy and delivery.

Q: How Long Can My Eggs Remain Frozen?

A: While long-term data on egg freezing is not available, our experience and research leads us to believe frozen eggs can remain viable indefinitely. Since the start of elective egg freezing using vitrification over 200 babies have been born as a result.

We hope this summary is helpful as you consider egg freezing as a possibility for protecting your fertility. Most importantly, we recommend discussing your particular situation with your medical team, so that we can individualize your care and coordinate with your oncology team.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

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Folate for PCOS

by Nicole Holovach, RD – Dietitian at Pulling Down the Moon

Nicole Holovach, RD

Nicole Holovach, RD

For the majority of the population, folic acid and folate are the same thing – a nutrient found in food and prenatal vitamins that helps prevent neural tube defects in babies. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is an important distinction between the two. Folate is a B vitamin found in foods like dark leafy greens, lentils, beans, eggs, sunflower seeds, and liver. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. It is only found in fortified foods and supplements and must be converted to the active form within the cell. Humans are unable to make their own folate, so we have to get it from food or supplements.

Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid because it’s less expensive, more stable, and more of it is absorbed than folate. But there are several factors that affect conversion of folic acid to the active form. Under normal dietary conditions, absorbed folic acid is converted into an active form used by the body. Age, environmental factors, a defect in the converted gene, and certain drugs can all play a part in how effectively folic acid is converted.

Folate for PCOS Patients

In certain clients, I may have them switch to a prenatal with folate, or add a folate supplement, depending on their health issues. For my clients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), I now have a reason to potentially add a folate supplement.

A recent study showed that folate, the active form, has beneficial effects on metabolic profiles in women with PCOS. The study was a randomized controlled trial, considered the “gold standard” of research. In the study, 5 mg of folate supplementation, compared with 1 mg and a placebo, resulted in better glucose metabolism and better cholesterol lab values in women with PCOS.

The average prenatal vitamin has between 600-1000mcg (1 mg) of folic acid or folate, so to reach 5 mg another supplement may be needed. While folate is more difficult to find over-the-counter than folic acid, high-end vitamin stores and health food stores may sell folate supplements.

While there is little risk associated with folate supplementation, it is recommended to speak with your physician before taking folate for PCOS or any other supplement.


Learn more about nutrition, call 888-604-7525 or schedule an appointment online.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

This article was submitted as a guest writer. The opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily represent the opinions of Shady Grove Fertility Center.

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