Staff reassures patient, ‘things will be ok’

Our patient Michelle writes:

“I am still going through the long infertility journey but have been going to Mr. Martinez since January. For the last 6 months, I have gotten to know friendly staff members that answer all of my questions and reassure me things will be ok when they sometimes feel like they aren’t going to be. Dr. Martinez has guided me through every step and been available to answer anything I needed an answer to.”

Reassurance and guidance are a critical part of the care you receive at RSCNJ. Read what other patients have to say about their care here at our web site.

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Pride Month focus: Counseling for LGBTQIA+ family building

Whenever individuals or couples require third-party reproductive treatment, we recommend counseling to assist with the complicated issues this type of family building can present.

Some cases also require legal counseling and formal contracts. We will refer LGBTQIA+ patients to experienced providers in this area to protect all parties involved and provide an extra layer of expertise to your care.

Counseling is just one of the many services we offer to the LGBTQIA+ community. Learn more about our LGBTQIA+ family building services at our web site.

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Miscarriage risk predictable, study finds

A woman’s risk of suffering one of the most common types of miscarriages can be predicted based on a specialized analysis of her genome, according to a Rutgers study. Scientists said this insight could allow patients and clinicians to make better-informed decisions regarding reproductive choices and fertility treatment plans.

Reporting in the science journal Human Genetics, Rutgers researchers describe a technique combining genomic sequencing with machine-learning methods to predict the possibility a woman will undergo a miscarriage because of egg aneuploidy — a term describing a human egg with an abnormal number of chromosomes. Aneuploidy in human eggs accounts for a significant proportion of infertility, causing early miscarriage and in vitro fertilization (IVF) failure.

Recent studies have shown that genes predispose certain women to aneuploidy, but the exact genetic causes of aneuploid egg production have remained unclear. The Rutgers study is the first to evaluate how well individual genetic variants in the mother’s genome can predict a woman’s risk of infertility.

“The goal of our project was to understand the genetic cause of female infertility and develop a method to improve clinical prognosis of patients’ aneuploidy risk,” said Jinchuan Xing, an author of the study and an associate professor in the genetics department at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. “Based on our work, we showed that the risk of embryonic aneuploidy in female IVF patients can be predicted with high accuracy with the patients’ genomic data. We also have identified several potential aneuploidy risk genes.”

“I like to think of the coming era of genetic medicine when a woman can enter a doctor’s office or, in this case, perhaps, a fertility clinic with her genomic information, and have a better sense of how to approach treatment,” Xing said. “Our work will enable such a future.”

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Uterus transplants safe and effective, study reveals

Transplanting a uterus is an effective, safe method to remedy infertility when a functioning uterus is lacking. This is the conclusion from the world’s first complete study of uterine transplantation, conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, covers transplantation of uteri from living donors. The operations were headed by Mats Brännström, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and chief physician at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

After seven of the study’s nine transplants, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment ensued. In this group of seven women, six (86%) became pregnant and gave birth. Three had two children each, making the total number of babies nine.

In terms of what is known as the “clinical pregnancy rate” as well, the study shows good IVF results. The probability of pregnancy per individual embryo returned to a transplanted uterus was 33%, which is no different from the success rate of IVF treatments overall.

The researchers note that few cases were studied. Nonetheless, the material — including extensive, long-term follow-ups of participants’ physical and mental health — is considered world class in the area.

“This is the first complete study that’s been done, and the results exceed expectations in terms both of clinical pregnancy rate and of the cumulative live birth rate,” Brännström says.

“The study also shows positive health outcomes: The children born to date remain healthy and the long-term health of donors and recipients is generally good too.”

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Pride Month focus: Reciprocal IVF for lesbian couples

Reciprocal IVF for lesbian couples allows both women to participate in the pregnancy. One woman supplies her eggs, retrieved and fertilized by donated sperm in IVF, with the resulting embryo(s) implanted into her partner for pregnancy as a gestational carrier. This presents an opportunity for the couple to choose which partner donates the eggs and is the biological mother, and which carries the pregnancy.

The risks of reciprocal IVF are the same as for regular IVF, though it involves medical procedures for both females as opposed to one woman as in regular IVF.

The biggest benefit of reciprocal IVF for lesbian couples is to enrich their experience building a family. It gives each woman the opportunity to contribute to the conception and birth of the couple’s child. Lesbian couples have undergone dual reciprocal IVF at the same time, so each woman carried her partner’s child simultaneously. Other couples have undergone the entire process once and then reversed roles to have a second child.

Sound interesting? Learn more at our LGBTQIA+ family building web page. Or contact us for an appointment.

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Men’s Health Month: Good news for cancer survivors’ fertility

The rate of survival for childhood cancers has increased dramatically in the last several decades, but a serious side effect of treatment is diminished fertility later in life. A potential treatment for boys facing cancer treatment would be to harvest, freeze, and, after the cancer is cured, re-implant their testicular tissue, which contains stem cells that could give rise to sperm.

What happens to that tissue, however, when subjected to the long-term freezing that could be necessary, has remained unclear. A new study in rats by University of Pennsylvania researchers has shown that male testis tissue that is cryopreserved can be re-implanted after more than 20 years and will go on to make viable sperm. The work, led by senior research investigator Eoin C. Whelan, was published in PLOS Biology.

While the long-frozen testicular tissue could produce sperm, the team found that the long delay did come with a cost in reduced sperm production compared to tissue that is only briefly frozen. The results may have important implications for treatment of prepubertal boys with cancer, for whom chemotherapy may be preceded by harvesting and freezing of testicular tissue for eventual re-implantation.

“The glass-half-empty way of looking at this is that stem cells do seem to be compromised in their ability to regenerate sperm after a long freezing time,” Whelan says. “But the good news is that sperm can be produced, and they seem to be transcriptionally normal when we examined their RNA.”

The findings underscore that sperm can be produced from long-preserved testicular tissue. Further research to potentially identify and mitigate the key drivers of viability loss could improve the reproductive options of boys whose childhood cancers are successfully treated.

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RSCNJ fertility care is ‘phenomenal’

Samantha, a patient of ours, writes:

“Dr. Ziegler and the ladies at RSCNJ are phenomenal. Not only did I receive awesome medical care (and timely – never had to wait too long for an appointment), but everyone was so kind and compassionate. Going though fertility challenges can be a really emotionally taxing time in life and it’s extremely important to work with medical professionals who are both competent and also can make you feel better about the whole situation, which is exactly what I got at RSCNJ. Thank you all for your help!

And thank you, Samantha, for your kind words. Read more reviews like hers at our web site.

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Podcast: RSCNJ’s LGBTQIA+ fertility treatment options

The decision and process to have a baby for heterosexual couples may seem relatively straightforward, but for same-sex couples the path to parenthood can be quite different. During Pride Month, we highlight our commitment to provide state-of-the-art fertility treatment to the LGBTQIA+ community.

With same-sex couples, “the challenges that exist are going outside of what we call the sexually intimate partners to procure either a donor sperm sample in the female/female relationship or a donor egg source for the male/male as well as a gestational carrier,” says Dr. Alan Martinez in our podcast on LGBTQIA+ fertility options. “So those are the overarching themes of this field, and that’s something that we navigate with patients all the time.”

Please listen as Dr. Martinez discusses our fertility options for same-sex couples. If you have any questions, contact us for a consultation.

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New podcast: Marijuana’s effects on fertility

Much is known about the destructive impact that cigarette smoking has on male and female infertility. But now, as cannabis becomes legal and marijuana use has increased by 60% within the last decade, it’s important to understand how this drug can impact fertility.

According to Dr. William Ziegler of RSCNJ, men who smoke marijuana more than once a week have a 30% reduction in sperm count as well as the concentration. It also can affect the way the sperm penetrates the egg, which could actually be a cause for infertility.

In our new podcast, Dr. Ziegler discusses these and other facts about marijuana and fertility. You can listen to the podcast below.

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June is Men’s Health Month — that includes fertility health

Although many people think that infertility in a couple is most likely due to a female issue, that is not the case. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, about half of all cases of infertility involve an element of male infertility. Male infertility is solely responsible for 20-30 percent of infertility cases and is a contributing cause, along with a female factor, in another 20-30 percent of cases.

During Men’s Health Month, which is held every June, we encourage all men —and those who care about them — take a moment to consider their fertility health.

Where to start? How about by visiting our Male Infertility web page. And if you have more questions or concerns, contact us for a consultation.

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