February 2014 eNews
Expert Tips for Improving Your Relationship During Fertility Treatment
An Interview with Amy Wenzel, PhD
Couples can strengthen their relationships while they are dealing with infertility, says psychologist and author Dr. Amy Wenzel. “Research shows that if couples are supportive of each other during this process, it bodes well for them in the future, too,” she says.
In an interview for eNews, Dr. Wenzel said couples should remember that, “open communication is key every step of the way.”
The author of a new book titled, Infertility, Miscarriage, and Neonatal Loss: Finding Perspective and Creating Meaning, Dr. Wenzel has counseled many couples dealing with infertility and other reproductive issues.
“Understanding your partner’s reactions to stresses or challenging events is important to strengthening your relationship,” she says. “One partner might react to a failed pregnancy test with tears and sorrow, while the other may seem emotionless and appear to simply want to solve the problem and move on. If the emotional partner assumes the other person does not care as much about getting pregnant as he or she does, they may become angry and distant.” In fact, the “problem solving” partner may be just as moved by events as the one who is more obviously upset.
Dr. Wenzel advises couples not to ascribe negative motives or feelings to their partners, but to try to understand how and why their partners have reacted. Is this reaction part of the pattern of how they have reacted to other stresses or traumas in life? Were they calm then? Were they outwardly emotional? Is this behavior similar? Sometimes analyzing your partner’s pattern of reactions can be illuminating.
She also encourages patients to get their feelings and questions “on the table” by talking to their partner and asking them to explain how they feel.
Dr. Wenzel strongly advises couples to take the time to develop a “shared vision” for their lives. “Couples should discuss what they want out of life and how they want their lives to turn out. What is their joint vision for their finances, careers and family life?”
When they are discussing their family lives, couples should discuss what they are willing to do to have a family. Would they use IVF, donor eggs or donor sperm to have children? Is adoption an option?
“Sometimes couples who are having infertility treatment find out that they have different views about what techniques they want to employ to have a family, so Dr. Wenzel advises couples to develop their shared vision as early as possible, but to remember that they can refocus their vision in response to events or because their values and priorities shift.
“Sometimes couples who thought they would only consider having a child who was genetically related to both of them realize during fertility treatment that they are comfortable with using donor eggs or donor sperm to achieve pregnancy,” Dr. Wenzel says, “so the couple’s joint vision shifts to one that allows them to achieve their goal of having a child. The key is that their joint vision changes so that they are both comfortable with their new course.”
Dr. Wenzel's new book will be available through Amazon.com on March 14, 2014.
GIVF has helped more Donor Egg IVF patients than all other Virginia-based clinics combined
The national numbers are in and once again GIVF performed more Donor Egg IVF cycles (fresh and egg bank) than all other clinics based in Virginia combined. As one of the first and largest donor egg programs in the US, GIVF has now enhanced its patient offerings by making the most advanced and convenient treatment, frozen donor eggs, available from GIVF’s own national egg bank, Fairfax EggBank.
GIVF surpasses 29,000 births
A new year has begun and the results are in. Since GIVF treated its first patient in 1984 through the end of 2013 the fertility specialists of GIVF have helped patients to achieve 29,018 pregnancies worldwide. With advances such as the creation of Fairfax EggBank℠ offering patients the convenience of frozen donor eggs, GIVF believes that the best is yet to come.
What snowstorm? GIVF open 10,704 days in a row serving patients
Although the government and many businesses close shop when a heavy snowstorm such as the one that hit the Washington, DC area on February 13, GIVF’s medical staff and the staff in Fairfax Cryobank are always here for our patients and clients regardless of the snow. Since GIVF treated its first patient in 1984 we have been open 10,704 days in a row because the timing of your treatment is our commitment. Snowstorm? GIVF is always open to serve your needs.
Frozen Donor Eggs: Convenience and Affordability
Although reproductive scientists have achieved pregnancies using frozen sperm and embryos for many years, successful cryopreservation and warming of human eggs proved more difficult than freezing sperm or embryos. If delicate human eggs are frozen using the same methods employed to freeze sperm or embryos, they are susceptible to damage from ice crystals, so it was necessary to find a new method for preservation before frozen eggs could be routinely used to achieve pregnancy.
After years of research at GIVF and other centers, scientists discovered that a technique that solidifies a solution to a glass-like state by using high cooling rates minimizes damage to eggs from ice crystals or chilling. This technique, called vitrification, has revolutionized the "freezing" of human eggs for use as donor eggs and for women who wish to preserve their own fertility.
Studies have revealed that pregnancy rates are very similar when fresh eggs and vitrified/warmed eggs are compared. One randomized clinical trial demonstrated a 96.9% survival rate for vitrified eggs after they were thawed. The study also confirmed that there was no significant difference in the fertilization and cleavage rates of the two groups of eggs and no significant difference in blastocyst rates or quality. The ongoing pregnancy rates achieved with the two groups of eggs also were comparable.
In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology declared that extensive research had demonstrated that cryopreservation and warming of eggs is no longer "experimental."
Building upon its large fresh donor egg program and its successful research in vitrification, GIVF created the Fairfax EggBank℠ to make frozen donor eggs from a large pool of carefully screened donors available to our patients. Unlike using fresh donor eggs, which requires that the patient's cycle be synchronized with the donor's, frozen donor eggs are available immediately, so that the cycle can be planned around the recipient's schedule. You can learn more about frozen donor eggs here or call 888.352.5577.
GIVF also offers personal egg banking. Learn how GIVF can help you preserve your fertility through freezing your own eggs here or call 800.552.4363.
The Genetics & IVF Institute (GIVF) regularly publishes an informative newsletter featuring the latest infertility news and developments. The newsletter is sent electronically via email. To subscribe, click here.