‘Everyone was so kind and understanding’

Our patient Lauren writes:

“I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Ziegler and his staff. From the very first phone call everyone was so kind and understanding of the fears and the unknown of going into fertility. I truly felt cared for the entire time up to my last day when I was in tears leaving because I wish I could stay there my entire pregnancy! Dr. Ziegler is extremely knowledgeable and an amazing doctor. I would recommend this practice to anyone looking for fertility options 100%.”

We thank Lauren, and everyone who posted reviews of our services, which you can read here.

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Sperm stem cell therapy improved: study

The ability of stem cells to fix impaired functions of host tissues after transplantation has been a lifesaving breakthrough in treating previously incurable conditions. Much like a coin toss, however, the fate of the transplanted stem cells is unpredictable. They may choose self-renewal, grow into a different kind of tissue, or die.

Spermatogonial stem cells follow the same fate of unpredictability in outcomes. But a group of fertility scientists led by Hiroshima University’s Yoshiaki Nakamura discovered a new method that has favorably flipped the odds and successfully reversed male infertility in mice, showing great promise for future applications in regenerating human sperm after cancer treatment. Results of their study are published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

“Transplantation of spermatogonial stem cells promises a wealth of applications such as the treatment of infertility in men and the preservation of genetic diversity. Yet, currently, its inefficiency rules out the practical application of this technology,” Nakamura, assistant professor at the HU Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life, said.

The international team of Japanese and British scientists developed a new method that can artificially tune the fate of the sperm stem cells to increase the likelihood of repopulation to a level where fertility is restored. They briefly introduced a chemical inhibitor, which helped orchestrate an outcome where the stem cells choose a fate of self-renewal.

“My final objective is to apply spermatogonial stem cell transplantation for the fertility of male individuals with cancer after chemotherapy or the preservation of genetic diversity in farm animals and rare or endangered wild animals,” he said.

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RESOLVE’s resources for LGBTQIA+ family building

Family comes in many forms and everyone’s path to parenthood is uniquely different. No matter those differences, anyone who struggles to build a family should have equal access to whatever option they choose including the LGBTQIA+ community.

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has created a hub of resources specific to family building for LGBTQIA+ families/couples that unpack your choices, current state and federal legislation that impact access and how to make family building affordable.

You can find that resource hub at the RESOLVE web site.

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Listen to our ‘LGBTQIA+ Fertility Treatment’ podcast

While the decision and process to have a baby for heterosexual couples may seem relatively straightforward, for same-sex couples the path to parenthood can be quite different.

Dr. Alan Martinez discusses LGBTQIA+ fertility options for same-sex couples in one of our podcasts. You can listen to it here.

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We celebrate Pride Month with our LGBTQIA+ families

In June 1969, the Stonewall riots in New York City began the public outcry for better treatment of the gay and lesbian community. A year later, in June 1970, the first pride march was held. And in 1999, Bill Clinton became the first U.S. President to officially recognize Pride Month.

Here at the Reproductive Science Center of N.J., we fully support Pride Month and stand with everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community. At RSCNJ, we strive to go beyond helping infertile couples. We also proudly offer LGBTQIA+ family building services. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual individuals and couples who dream of having a family can often do so with our assisted reproductive technologies.

To learn more about our services, visit our web site. And to learn more, don’t hesitate to call for a free phone consultation

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Does the Covid-19 vaccine affect menstrual cycles?

A recent article in the New York Times says it’s not likely.

“A spate of reports from women stating that their periods changed after they got their coronavirus vaccines has left many women worried that the jab is affecting their cycle,” the article says. “So far, there’s no data linking the vaccines to changes in menstruation. Even if there is a connection, one unusual period is no cause for alarm. There is a long list of triggers that can cause changes to the menstrual cycle, including stress, illness and changes in diet and physical activity.”

The article goes into more detail about what does and doesn’t affect menstruation. It’s an interesting story and worth reading.

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‘The place to come to for hope’

Our patient Christina writes:

“For those who have years of infertility and bad news like myself, this is the place to come to for hope. Other REs could not seem to figure out why my many procedures were unsuccessful, until I met Dr. Ziegler. I left the initial visit with concrete answers and finally a sense of hope. Even during COVID both Dr. Ziegler and Domenica made themselves readily available to create and execute my new plan – which finally resulted in the first success of my journey. I am beyond grateful to the two of them and their team, and cannot wait to return to the office for the next round!

We are thrilled to have helped Christina on her journey. You can read more success stories like hers at our web site. 

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Fallopian tube discovery helps understand infertility

Researchers have solved a longstanding mystery and scientific debate about the mechanism underlying the gamete and embryo transport within the Fallopian tube. Using a mouse model, the group demonstrated that small, beating hairs called cilia in the very end of the Fallopian tube, called infundibulum, are essential for oocyte pickup. Disruptions of the ciliary structure and/or beating patterns lead to failure in oocyte pickup and consequently, a loss of female fertility.

Interestingly, cilia in other parts of the oviduct can facilitate sperm and embryo transport but are dispensable for female fertility. This is a critical finding because disrupted transport function is known to lead to female infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The research finding was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“We are very excited about solving this longstanding mystery,” said lead researcher Dr. Wei Yan. Knowing the mechanism underlying the gamete and embryo transport within the Fallopian tube is critical because disrupted transport function is known to lead to female infertility and ectopic pregnancy.

“Knowledge derived from the present study helps us understand the causes of female infertility and ectopic pregnancy, and the molecules essential for motile cilial functions represent a good target for developing nonhormonal female contraceptives,” Yan said.

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PBS special showcases ‘Fighting for Fertility’

The PBS series Nova recently broadcast a show about people struggling with infertility and the challenges of assisted reproduction.

“In the United States, some 10% of people who wish to have children struggle with infertility,” PBS says. “It’s especially common in the African American community, and fertility preservation can be difficult for transgender individuals as well. But why is this? And what can be done about it? NOVA explores barriers to fertility, from the social to the biological, and the state of assisted reproductive technologies. Follow the journeys of people navigating challenges from structural inequalities and racism to falling sperm counts, egg freezing and IVF.”

You can watch this hour-long special at the PBS web site.

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Embryo cryopreservation improved, study says

Typical egg collection requires a healthy woman to go through weeks of hormone therapy and then undergo an operation to retrieve eggs. These eggs are fertilized in vitro, and the best embryos are selected for future transfer.

But not all transfers succeed, which gives rise to the practice of freezing the extra embryos from an IVF cycle for future transfers. This allows those with at-risk fertility, due to age or treatments such as chemotherapy, to delay their transfer.

In the journal Biomicrofluidics, researchers introduce a system to automate the process in embryo freezing of replacing water with cryoprotectants. Water is the enemy of any low-temperature system. Before embryos are frozen, the water inside must be replaced by cryoprotectants. But sudden removal of water kills embryos, so traditionally, embryos are transferred through multiple droplets with increasing concentrations of cryoprotectants.

Unlike the traditional method of cryopreservation, the new approach exposes embryos to a slow and constantly increasing concentration of cryoprotectants. “This reduces molecular damage caused by cryopreservation, and embryos can be cryopreserved faster and with a lower concentration of cryoprotectants – a huge advantage because of the toxicity of these chemicals,” the researchers stated. This approach enables cryopreservation workflows to be simplified, more reproducible and less prone to human error, they claimed.

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