NBC4: Egg Freezing Gains Popularity in DC Area

NBC4’s two-part special report ran from January 22-23, 2015. This holistic overview of egg freezing covered the scientific advancements that have led to increased success rates; interviews with Michele Purcell, RN, the Shady Grove Fertility Egg Freezing Program Director; and interviews with Arthur W. Sagoskin, M.D. of Shady Grove Fertility’s Rockville, MD office and Radell Peischler, a patient who blogs about her egg freezing experience.

Increased Success Rates

Sagoskin NBC4 Interview2-300The science of egg freezing–known as cryopreservation–has been in use for over 30 years, but the success rates were often low due to laboratory technologies. As mentioned by NBC4’s Doreen Gentzler, though, the introduction of vitrification, or flash-freeze, technology in 2009 helped to mainstream egg freezing by increasing the medical viability of the process.

“While fertility centers have been trying to freeze eggs for a number of years, older technology was not reliable. In 2009, Shady Grove Fertility began using vitrification, the process of preserving eggs through a flash-freeze method. This technology has been found to yield a 55 percent pregnancy rate for women under 38 at the time of freezing,” said Dr. Sagoskin.

Age is The Most Important Indicator of Success

Michele Purcell, RN explained that success rates will only continue to grow as women become more educated about egg freezing. “Success rates are based on the age of the woman at the time she freezes her eggs. Currently, the average age for egg freezing patients is 37.5. Since a woman’s egg quality decreases with age, the success rates are not always as high in older patients. With increased education, women can freeze their eggs younger, yielding higher pregnancy rates,” said Michele.

Former Patient Advocates for Awareness

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Radell and the NBC4 News Team

Increased education and awareness about egg freezing is the goal for Radell Peischler, a Shady Grove Fertility patient who recently froze her eggs. Radell is a 34 year old entrepreneur living in the D.C. area. She just so happens to be single, and after a few years of contemplation, she decided to freeze her eggs. For Radell, “It [egg freezing] gives me a little bit more peace. It’s not the perfect solution for everyone, but for me, I feel excited that I did it and I took that risk for myself,” said Peischler. Radell has taken to blogging about her experience to advocate for women to empower themselves and to help other women find their own answers.

In addition to spreading awareness via interviews with NBC4, Peischler blogged her way through the egg freezing process and some may already know that she is a guest blogger for Shady Grove Fertility. Most recently, Radell published the blog, ‘The First Step to Egg Freezing.’

More Information About Egg Freezing at Shady Grove Fertility 

The Egg Freezing Program at Shady Grove Fertility has seen interest double each year beginning in 2010, largely due to greater cultural awareness, increasing success rates, and having the only financial program in the country specifically for egg freezing patients. For women who are interested in receiving more information about egg freezing, monthly seminars and webcasts are hosted throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

For more information, please call 1-877-411-9292 or fill out this brief form.

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Prepare Your Body for a Healthy Pregnancy

prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy

Medical contribution by: Gilbert L. Mottla, M.D.

While it’s very important to have healthy lifestyle habits while pregnant, these same behaviors are just as important when you’re trying to conceive. Staying physically active, eating well, and quitting smoking are some of the many ways that you can prepare your body to be in the best possible shape for trying to conceive:

1. Stay Active

healthy foodOne very important way to prepare for pregnancy is to achieve an optimal weight–as measured by your body mass index (BMI)–through exercise and a healthy diet. Being overweight or obese can convey many risks to both mother and baby that women can often reduce or eliminate with weight loss. Underweight individuals also are predisposed to risk factors that a woman can remedy by proper nutrition and achieving an optimal weight.

In many women with BMI that is above normal, diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes have been shown to make a significant difference in fertility potential. Studies have shown that for these women, losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of their body weight can dramatically improve the chances of pregnancy occurring.

2. Kick Bad Habits

Everyone knows that smoking presents risks to your overall health, but many do not realize the effect that it can have on their fertility potential. Studies have shown that women who smoke have approximately twice the rate of infertility compared to women who are non-smokers (American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Smoking and Infertility, 2014). Quitting smoking and certain risk behaviors, such as excessive drinking and use of illegal substances, are critical to both minimizing your chances of miscarriage, and promoting a healthy pregnancy.

3. Reduce Stress

woman running

For many women, their stress levels may already be high when coming into treatment. If you are feeling overwhelmed, we recommend joining a support group or trying more holistic therapies like yoga, acupuncture, or meditation. We know that for many patients, a course of treatment will be needed to reach their ultimate goal of parenthood. While stress has not been shown to decrease the chances of conception, studies have shown that increased stress levels do correlate to patients quitting treatment before pregnancy is achieved. Alternative therapies can help to control stress levels when undergoing treatment. The better that you feel, the easier it will be.

Persistence with treatment does pay off. In women 40 years or younger who didn’t conceive on the first try with in vitro fertilization (IVF), 42 percent of those women will deliver a baby with another embryo transfer and another 37 percent of those remaining will have success on the third cycle.

4. Check Your Medications before Pregnancy

medicationsReview your current medications with your physician to ensure proper and safe dosages during pregnancy. For some medications, your physician will want you to transition to an alternative prior to conception.

5. Know Your Medical History

It is important to review your own medical history, including past immunizations. Your doctor will recommend certain vaccinations before you become pregnant, during pregnancy, or right after delivery. It’s important that patients are up-to-date with immunizations for conditions such as influenza, chicken pox, measles, mumps, and rubella to name a few.

6. Manage and Treat Conditions before Becoming Pregnant

A number of medical conditions can negatively affect pregnancy, including pre-diabetes and a low-functioning thyroid gland. It’s important to have a physical examination by either a gynecologist or your primary care physician before trying to conceive or prior to fertility treatment. Physicians can test and treat many conditions easily and quickly, and the result of treatment can greatly improve your fertility, reduce the chance of miscarriage, and promote a healthy pregnancy for both mom and baby.

You don’t have to act on every tip on this list immediately; be sure to perform them in a way that’s comfortable for you. Don’t set too many goals at once if you think they’ll be insurmountable. The goal is to be in the best possible state—both mentally and physically—for conception. Your health and well-being is what comes first, the rest will follow.

If you would like to receive more information about preparing for conception or 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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The First Step to Egg Freezing

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Radell is a 34 year old entrepreneur living in the Washington, D.C. area. She happens to be single, and after a few years of contemplation, decided to freeze her eggs at Shady Grove Fertility. Following her decision to freeze and completing her egg freezing cycle, she had the desire to spread awareness about egg freezing by sharing insight and advice for women who are considering this option. Over the next few months, Radell will be writing blogs describing this experience from her point of view. 

Part 1: Am I Even Fertile?
Why I took it one baby step at a time.

As you might recall from my first blog, Top Five Reasons I Decided to Freeze My Eggs, the process of finding my way to egg freezing took quite some time. In fact, when it was all said and done, from the first time I had heard about egg freezing to the actual time I made the decision to freeze was about four years. A lot went into making my decision, and the first thing I had to do, was allow myself the time to discover if this was really for me. I think it is also important to consider that over the years, I had learned from older friends and colleagues two important things: that fertility issues are not something you want to learn about when you want to start your family and that I knew there was a possibility that I might not even be fertile. Now I know this takes the sexiness out of things, but let’s just keep it real.

So there I was: it was April, I was approaching my 34th birthday, no longer in a relationship, and I was - stuck. I was about 75% sure I wanted to freeze my eggs and aware that it was possible that I might not even be fertile. I was also about to travel internationally for a few months, so before I left, I wanted to just see if it was possible for me to freeze my eggs. I wanted to dip my toe in before diving in. Was this even possible?

“Let’s do it.”

Soon enough, I would learn that the Ovarian Reserve Test was the exact thing to do just that. I reached out to my nurse, okay, my sister, at Shady Grove Fertility, and shyly said, “So what is the first thing to do just to know if I even have any eggs to freeze?” “Easy,” she said, “Just let me know when your first day of your period begins and I will schedule you a visit.” This was all she told me.  It seemed just a little too easy. I wanted to ask so many questions, but I fought hard, swallowed, and said, “Okay, Let’s do it.”

I learned that this test was the Ovarian Reserve Test which Shady Grove Fertility physicians use to help determine what the outcome will be for a woman if she decides to freeze her eggs, helping women to decide if egg freezing is right for them. So that piece of information was very useful.

“Just 30 minutes, and I was out.”

When it was time for my first Ovarian Reserve Test, I was a bit of a nervous nelly. Even though the process was fairly easy and the teams worked together fast and efficiently, unsettled me had a few questions rolling around in my brain such as, “What does my ovarian reserve look like? Will I find out something I really don’t want to know?” I had to deal with these questions, plus a pelvic ultrasound during my period (which was not the most pleasant experience; it wasn’t painful, just a little awkward for me.) Though I was uncomfortable, I had to keep reminding myself to trust them; they are the professionals, after all! After 30 minutes it was all done and I was out.

Then I just had to wait to meet my Shady Grove Fertility doctor for my results.

Stay tuned for Radell’s next blog by joining the Shady Grove Fertility Egg Freezing email list. For more information, please call 1-877-411-9292 or fill out this brief form.

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