September is PCOS Awareness Month


Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common ovulatory disorders, accounting for 85 percent of ovulatory disorder cases. While the exact causes of PCOS remain unclear, what is known are the effects PCOS can have on your body and a woman’s fertility. Women with PCOS create a higher than normal level of androgens.  Androgens are normally present in both sexes, but typically considered “male hormones.”  Elevated levels in women will impact the development of eggs and interfere with ovulation. For this reason, women with PCOS will not ovulate with regularity, if at all.

While a cure for PCOS does not currently exist, a woman can manage the symptoms through medication and, if conception does not occur on her own, it often can be achieved through fertility treatment. Many patients are surprised to learn even the most basic treatment options like clomiphene citrate (Clomid) with timed intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI) can help couples become pregnant.

To help spread the word about polcysytic ovary syndrome—a condition that, according to the World Health Organization is believed to impact 116 million women worldwide—this month is dedicated to raising awareness, educating the public, and conquering PCOS by sharing personal stories.

PCOS Ebook_Cover2015

Read Shady Grove Fertility’s PCOS eBook

To help with this effort, Shady Grove Fertility created an eBook to inform and help educate men and women, covering topics such as common symptoms, how PCOS is diagnosed, the impact it has on fertility, treatment options, and the success rates associated with fertility treatment. In addition, the eBook concludes with three inspiring patient stories of triumph and success.

The other important aspect of PCOS Awareness Month is advocacy. Whether it’s by sharing your individual fertility story or supporting other women struggling with PCOS, this month gives all of us a platform to join the conversation. Share your experiences with our online community on our Facebook page or share your story directly with us to empower and uplift other women struggling with PCOS or any other type of infertility.

If you would like to learn more about polycystic ovary syndrome or to schedule an appointment, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

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Careers That Transform Lives: Nurses

In this six-part blog series, we’ll introduce you to some of the faces behind the magic at Shady Grove Fertility. Our team members are our #1 asset and we take great pride and invest tremendous resources in recruiting, training, and retaining top talent—the patients who entrust us with their care deserve nothing less. Each member of our team plays an extremely valuable role. Whether they’re working on a clinical team or in an administrative or management capacity, the opportunity to truly change lives in a profound way is something that motivates us all. We are rewarded knowing that, together, we are offering hope, changing lives, and building families.

Your Patient Care Team
Shady Grove Fertility has become a leading fertility center because we are able to offer patients the best of both worlds—individualized care and consistently exceptional pregnancy rates.  The ability to achieve this balance comes from a concerted effort to ensure the patient has clear points of contact at all times through clearly defined patient care teams. As a patient, you will have a fertility care team that consists of your physician, a primary nurse, a clinical administrative assistant, and a financial counselor.  This core group, who is in consistent communication with one another, orchestrates every aspect of your care on a daily basis. Additionally, they will point you to additional support systems such as our integrated Psychological Support Services program or holistic fertility therapies through Pulling Down the Moon.

Your Primary Nurse
The fertility nurse coordinators at Shady Grove Fertility are an integral member of the patient care team—a team whose mission is to enhance the patient experience and work closely with our physicians in all aspects of the care spectrum. We operate under a primary nurse model, which means that each patient is under the care of a primary nurse. During treatment, while you will be introduced to other caregivers, your primary team monitors your progress and is just a phone call away. In the instance when your primary care nurse is unavailable or out of the office, you can rest assured that another nurse on the patient care team has been kept abreast of your status and progress and can answer any questions for you.

What is a fertility nurse coordinator?
A fertility nurse coordinator is someone who holds a valid nursing license and has completed all of the required educational and clinical requirements of the profession. He/she shows demonstrated proficiency in electronic medical record administration as well as IVF, fertility, and women’s health.

What role do fertility nurse coordinators play on the health care team?
In addition to the physicians, our fertility nurse coordinators are often a primary point of contact with our patients. They help coordinate the care and treatment of our fertility patients by providing education and counseling regarding what to expect throughout the diagnostic and treatment processes. Our nurses provide ovulation induction (OI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure teaching, coordinate patient treatment plans in conjunction with established clinical protocols, and maintain a compassionate environment by providing emotional and psychological support to our patients and their families.

What makes Shady Grove Fertility nurse coordinators unique?
In one word, “heart.” Here is what some SGF patients had to say:

  • “The nurses were amazing. So friendly and approachable, with helpful tips and answers to my questions as far as diet and exercise following the retrieval. In the operating room, I felt like the nurses and everyone enjoyed working as a team and it was an upbeat, friendly environment to walk in to.”
  •  “My nurse became my nurturing and comforting “rock” throughout the fertility treatment. She was very patient with my numerous questions. She was very prompt with results. I fully trust her and would recommend her to anyone considering fertility treatments at Shady Grove Fertility.”
  •  “My nurse was AWESOME! She took the time to listen to everything I had to say. I have the utmost confidence in her!”
Elizabeth Zapp, RN

Elizabeth Zapp, RN
2015 Virginia Nurses Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Awardee

While many of our patients recognize our dedicated nurses for their devotion and exceptional care, they are not the only ones. Annually, the Virginia Nurses Foundation recognizes the top nurses in the field throughout the state. We are excited to announce one of our own nurses, Elizabeth Zapp, RN, was among the 2015 distinguished award winners. In November, Elizabeth will receive the Virginia Nurses Foundation’s 40 Under 40 award. Elizabeth was selected from a record number of nominees as one of Virginia’s outstanding young nurse leaders because of her achievements in professional practice, leadership, and positive promotion and advancement of the nursing profession beyond the practice setting.

Pam Collins, RN

Pam Collins, RN – Shady Grove Fertility team member since 2004

“My experience as a Shady Grove Fertility nurse began in 2004. Each year has been challenging and has provided an opportunity for personal growth and professional development. The people who work for Shady Grove Fertility work hard and their level of dedication mirrors my own. My dedication stems from the satisfaction gained every day working with patients who need our expertise and attention. Especially rewarding is the degree of hope I can give my patients on their fertility journey. I am proud to be a part of an amazing team of individuals working toward a common goal.”

Where can I learn more about joining the Shady Grove Fertility Team?
Visit to see how your work could impact someone’s life in a truly meaningful way.

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

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3 Unique Reasons for Egg Freezing, One Common Thread: Keep Your Options Open

the Why I Chose to Freeze My Eggs
These women took their fertility into their own hands – each for a very different reason. 
Written by Bethany Gumper, August 2015

By freezing eggs, a woman’s fertility potential is essentially extended from the time she freezes until the time she comes back to use her frozen eggs, if the need warrants. Why does this matter? Well, for women who face unexpected life changes such as the ending of a long-term relationship, the launch of a new business that needs undivided attention, or a cancer diagnosis , prior to egg freezing, there was really no alternative to the toll time and, in the case of cancer, radiation treatment, would take on a woman’s fertility. For former The Bachelor winner Whitney, former attorney turned entrepreneur Shana, and new mom and cancer survivor Mary, egg freezing was used for very different reasons but with the same purpose in mind: planning for their future and keeping their options open.

“I wanted to have an insurance policy.”

For Whitney, a fertility nurse herself, egg freezing was a means of insurance. “Over the past seven years, I’ve worked with so many different patients, including ones who had to use donor eggs…those women often said to me, ‘I wish I had known that I could freeze my own eggs.’” Even though she had a boyfriend at the time of freezing, she knew she wasn’t ready to have kids yet and was aware of the impact age could have on her fertility.

“I need to focus on my start-up business now.”

Shana was an attorney but had another passion – baking. At the age of 35 she took the courageous but risky step to quit her job and enroll in an MBA program to prepare her for starting her own small business. Knowing that her business would take years to grow, she was concerned about when she would be able to focus on having children. Luckily, a friend had just frozen her eggs and Shana felt encouraged to do the same thing. According to Shana: “… freezing my eggs has enabled me to stop worrying… motherhood is something I really want to enjoy, but at the right time.”

“I couldn’t let cancer take away my options.”

At the age of 34, Mary had just given birth to her son Liam when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Knowing she wanted more children and that chemotherapy can leave women infertile, Mary knew she had to take control of her future. When Mary came to Shady Grove Fertility 5 years ago, she and her husband decided to freeze embryos, given the current technology available at the time. (Since this time, the advent of vitrification, a fast-freeze technology, egg freezing has become a very effective option.) Today, Mary is happy with her two beautiful sons, Gavin and Liam. Mary’s journey to motherhood has inspired her to do peer counseling with younger women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. She likes to remind them that cancer doesn’t have to signal the end to their childbearing years.

If you are interested in learning more about elective egg freezing, click to schedule an appointment with a Shady Grove Fertility physician. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer and are concerned about future fertility options, we encourage you to call right away. Prompt treatment allows us to work directly with your oncologist to give you the most options.

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