Breast cancer awareness starts with knowledge

Every October, we at RSCNJ join in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Awareness starts with knowledge, and the American Cancer Society is a great place to turn to for information.

Whether you or a loved one are worried about developing breast cancer, have just been diagnosed, are going through breast cancer treatment or are trying to stay well after treatment, this detailed information can help you find the answers you need.

Go to this ACS web page to learn about breast cancer risks, prevention, diagnosis and treatments.

Then visit our web site to learn how you can help support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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New study to look into male infertility

Male infertility is on the rise, with significant declines in sperm quantity and quality occurring across the human population worldwide in the past two decades. The reason for this is poorly understood, and scientists suspect spermatogenesis, the process of how sperm develops, is a crucial piece in this puzzle.

Dr. Paula Cohen, professor of genetics at the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and associate vice provost for life sciences at Cornell, is leading the effort to solve this puzzle. Thanks to a multi-center, $8 million grant from the NIH National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, Cohen and her collaborators will untangle the complex genetic rulebook for making sperm, while also looking for hidden causes of infertility related to spermatogenesis.

Cohen is director of the Cornell Reproductive Sciences Center (formerly the Center for Reproductive Genomics). This grant is aimed at understanding how RNA is regulated during spermatogenesis — how certain RNAs are made at certain times, and what might happen if they aren’t created in the right order, or at all.

“Spermatogenesis is an amazing process,” says Cohen. “There are so many steps the cell needs to go through, and each step has a very different genetic program.”

To learn more about this study, go to Cornell’s web site.

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Our goal: increase breast cancer awareness, decrease deaths

The chance of a woman developing breast cancer during her life is about 1 in 8. Of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, 1 in 39 will lose their battle. But cancer death rates have been going down.

The decrease in breast cancer mortality could be a result of discovering the cancer early while it is most treatable. Early discovery of breast cancer most often happens due to awareness of the disease and its symptoms. Currently there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey is proud to support the American Cancer Society in its research and awareness efforts to continue to diminish mortality rates.

Would you like to get involved in the fight against breast cancer? Just go to our web site to learn how.

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RSCNJ care was ‘calm and stress free’

A patient who chose to remain anonymous writes:

“The majority of my visits were held in the Lawrenceville office, Dr. Martinez and his nurse, Marianela were amazing! They made this process as calm and stress free as possible.”

Many more reviews like this are available at our website. Please take a moment to see what our patients think about their care at RSCNJ.

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Join us: Making Strides to support our colleague

Reproductive Science Center of NJ is coming together to support our friend and colleague. She is the mother of a toddler, a black belt in Jiu Jitsu and has helped patients who dream of parenthood start families of their own. In April, she was happy to inform us that she is expanding her own family, expecting a baby girl in the fall. However, almost immediately after learning this happy news, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She handled this news like she handles everything in life, with incredible strength, humor and an optimistic attitude. She is the whole package, beautiful inside and out. She gives everything of herself to her patients to help them through their difficult journey, and now she is facing one of her own. RSCNJ understands that even the strong get tired.

On Sunday, October 24, we will be supporting the Making Strides of Central New Jersey breast cancer walk, at Middlesex County College. We are so happy to come together and support her and walk in her name to help her fight this fight and show her that the support she’s shown to hundreds of families over her career is now here for her in droves.

Please consider walking with us or donating by going to this web page.

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CDC: ‘Urgent’ COVID vaccination call for women trying to get pregnant

On Sept. 29, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a health alert recommending “urgent action” to increase COVID-19 vaccination among “people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future.”

The CDC “strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks.”

As of Sept. 27, 2021:

  • More than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in pregnant people, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 161 deaths.
  • The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month of the pandemic was reported in August 2021.
  • Approximately 97% of pregnant people hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated.

In addition to the risks of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant people, there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including preterm birth and admission of their neonate(s) to an intensive care unit. Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, have been reported.

Despite the known risks of COVID-19, as of Sept. 18, 2021, 31.0% of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancy. In addition, there are racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination coverage for pregnant people.

The CDC says healthcare providers should communicate the risks of COVID-19, the benefits of vaccination and information on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy. Healthcare providers should strongly recommend that people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now or who might become pregnant in the future receive one of the authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.

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Everyone at RSCNJ was ‘amazing and positive’

Our patient Kayla had this to say about her treatment at RSCNJ:

“Dr. Martinez and the entire staff at the Reproductive Science Center are extraordinary! They were amazing during my entire experience! Their communication about every step of the process and explanation of everything was perfect! Navigating fertility treatment is emotionally draining and takes a toll on you, but everyone was so amazing and positive throughout the entire experience!”

Thank you so much for your kind words, Kayla. You can read more comments like hers at our web site.

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Treating infertility with drug-delivering microspheres

For an embryo to survive, it must attach to the lining of the uterus within days of conception. However, if this lining, called the endometrium, is too thin, the embryo can’t latch on. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering have developed a new system intended to treat infertility in women with thin endometria. Their tiny, micro-scale particles stimulated blood vessel growth, producing promising results in preliminary experiments in cells and mice.

Poor blood flow within the endometrium limits its thickness, and researchers have struggled to find an effective way to encourage the formation of new blood vessels. Some have begun exploring the use of microspheres to deliver treatment. Researchers wanted to devise a simple, efficient technique for manufacturing uniform microspheres loaded with a compound known to be a potent stimulator of blood vessel growth.

By manipulating the composition of the spheres, the researchers found they could alter their ability to take up and release drugs. They then loaded the particles up with their second active ingredient: the blood vessel-promoting compound called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In experiments with female mice with thin endometria, they found that microspheres containing VEGF generated the most thickening. While promising, this system needs further safety testing, note the researchers.

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‘Absolutely no evidence’ vaccine affects fertility

In a recent interview with Fox News, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy was asked point blank: Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

“The bottom line is there is absolutely no evidence that the vaccine has an impact on your fertility, whether you are a man or woman,” Murthy said. “I have certainly seen that circulating on social media. A lot of people bought into that because they don’t know that it might not be true… we have seen many people actually get pregnant after they get the vaccine. We have seen many people who’ve gotten the vaccine during pregnancy and done very well.”

We have created a special page on our web site addressing this issue: COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy FAQ. Please read this guidance about the vaccine, and contact us if you have further questions.

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RESOLVE offers virtual support groups

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is offering monthly virtual peer-led support groups in two time zones, hosted by experienced volunteers and open to anyone struggling to build a family, regardless of location.

Peer-led support groups are a safe space for peers to meet others facing similar struggles, and hosts offer guidance on how to navigate RESOLVE’s website and resources. The meetings will be held via Zoom, and space is limited. Registration will close the evening before the meeting date or when maximum capacity is reached, whichever comes first.

Volunteers are peer leaders and are not professionally trained medical or mental health professionals. If you require the advice of a professional, please consult your local fertility specialist or mental health professional.

To find a support group and register, visit this RESOLVE web page.

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