Dr. Martinez is ‘a wonderful, comforting doctor’

Our recent patient Krista Marie writes:

“Dr. Martinez is a wonderful doctor. He was so incredibly comforting even when you don’t get the results you want. I feel like it’s really important to have a doctor who can truly empathize with you. I was going to have in vitro done but took a little break and then got pregnant naturally and miraculously. I still, however, whole heartedly recommend Dr. Martinez.”

Krista Marie, Congratulations! Thanks to her for sharing her kind words, and to others who have also posted reviews, which you can read here.

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Scientists prove bioengineered uteri support pregnancy

In new research from Wake Forest University, scientists have shown that bioengineered uteri supported fertilization, fetal development and live birth with normal offspring. With further development, this approach may someday provide a regenerative medicine solution for women with the inability to get pregnant due to uterine dysfunctional infertility.

Published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the study showed that bioengineered uteri in an animal model developed the native tissue-like structures needed to support normal reproductive function.

“The study shows that engineered uterine tissue is able to support normal pregnancies, and fetal development was normal, with offspring size and weight being comparable to those from a normal uterus,” said Dr. Anthony Atala, the study’s principal investigator. “With further development, this approach may provide a pathway to pregnancy for women with an abnormal uterus.”

Creating uterine tissue with a patient’s own cells avoids the need for a transplanted organ from a deceased or living donor, and avoids the risk of rejection and the need for antirejection drugs, the researchers said.

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The experience was ‘absolutely amazing’

Julie, a patient of ours, writes:

“I went through complete chaos, confusion and heartbreak with my first pregnancy. After multiple bad ultrasounds, and being tossed around by my primary obgyn, receiving different opinions with no real answers, I felt lost and alone. Finally my primary obgyn doctor referred me to Dr. Ziegler. From the very first appointment, I felt reassured, comforted and understood. I was provided with a diagnosis and treatment plan immediately. The whole experience was absolutely amazing, down to the office staff and Dr. Z always calling me directly to explain things to me and reassure me that what I was going through was common and there was a solution. I highly recommend this practice—I hated having to leave them once my concern was resolved.”

Thanks Julie, and thank you to all our patients who have posted reviews of our care and services, which you can read on our web site.

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Novel coronavirus unlikely to affect pregnancy outcomes, study suggests

A pre-print version of a study out of the University of California San Francisco suggests that the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, is unlikely to have a negative effect on pregnancy-related outcomes, including premature birth, transmission through breast milk and infertility.

The researchers found that none of the reproductive tissues they studied in the uterus, myometrium, ovary, fallopian tube and breast had the receptors and biochemicals needed for the virus to enter the cells.

The findings are preliminary and the paper is currently under peer review.

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AP: Even With Ruling, Workplace Still Unequal for LGBTQIA+ Workers

“Even with this week’s Supreme Court ruling, the workplace will be far from equal for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans,” says a story from the Associated Press about the landmark ruling issued June 15.

“While the nation’s highest court says you can’t be fired for your sexual orientation or gender identity under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are still gaps. For instance, the federal law doesn’t protect those who work at businesses with fewer than 15 workers. It doesn’t address bathrooms for transgender people. And it’s still an open question whether employers can fire an LGBTQIA+ person for religious reasons.”

Three also are gaps in employee benefits, including coverage for fertility care and treatment.

“Same-sex couples sometimes are shut out of benefits such as access to fertility treatments, which are in some states only offered to couples that are not the same gender, the article says.

Fortunately, New Jersey is one of only 16 states in the U.S. that have laws requiring health insurance companies to provide coverage for infertility treatment. The insurance mandate states that any insurance provider who provides pregnancy-related benefits must also cover infertility treatment and IVF costs. The law also requires health plans contracting to cover state employees and teachers to include the same infertility coverage.

You can read more about New Jersey’s coverage mandate on our web site. If you have any questions, please call us for a free phone consultation.

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Study finds mild thyroid dysfunction affects one in five women with a history of miscarriage or subfertility

Mild thyroid abnormalities affect up to one in five women with a history of miscarriage or subfertility, which is a prolonged time span of trying to become pregnant, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Thyroid disorders are common in women of reproductive age. Although the prevalence of thyroid disorders in pregnancy are well understood, little is known about how common these disorders are in women prior to pregnancy. Detecting thyroid disorders before a woman becomes pregnant is essential because thyroid abnormalities can have negative effects such as reduced fertility, miscarriage and pre-term birth.

“This study has found that mild thyroid abnormalities affect up to one in five women who have a history of miscarriage or subfertility and are trying for a pregnancy,” said Rima Dhillon-Smith, of the University of Birmingham and the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham, U.K. “It is important to establish whether treatment of mild thyroid abnormalities can improve pregnancy outcomes, given the high proportion of women who could potentially be affected.”

This study was conducted across 49 hospitals in the U.K. over five years. The researchers studied over 19,000 women with a history of miscarriage or subfertility who were tested for thyroid function. They found up to one in five women had mild thyroid dysfunction, especially those with an elevated BMI and of Asian ethnicity, but overt thyroid disease was rare.

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Talk to us to get started

Ready to begin your fertility care journey? Unsure where to start or not sure you’re on the right track? We offer free phone consultations for both new patients and individuals seeking a second opinion.

Phone consultations. Call us for a free phone consultation or a free second opinion by phone to discuss what might be the problem and if you’re a good candidate for fertility treatment. You can even request a Telehealth visit. Call Us for a Consultation

Request an appointment. Ready to get started? Fill out our online appointment request form to schedule an appointment with our fertility specialists. Get Started with RSCNJ

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Study finds increased fertility for women with Neanderthal gene

File this one under “who knew?” According to a study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, one in three women in Europe inherited the receptor for progesterone from Neanderthals—a gene variant associated with increased fertility, fewer bleedings during early pregnancy and fewer miscarriages.

“The progesterone receptor is an example of how favorable genetic variants that were introduced into modern humans by mixing with Neanderthals can have effects in people living today,” says Hugo Zeberg, researcher at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, who performed the study with colleagues Janet Kelso and Svante Pääbo.

Progesterone is a hormone which plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and in pregnancy. Analyses of biobank data from more than 450,000 participants, among them 244,000 women, show that almost one in three women in Europe have inherited the progesterone receptor from Neanderthals. Twenty-nine percent carry one copy of the Neanderthal receptor and three percent have two copies.

“The proportion of women who inherited this gene is about ten times greater than for most Neanderthal gene variants,” says Zeberg. “These findings suggest that the Neanderthal variant of the receptor has a favorable effect on fertility.”

The study shows that women who carry the Neanderthal variant of the receptor tend to have fewer bleedings during early pregnancy, fewer miscarriages, and give birth to more children. Molecular analyses revealed that these women produce more progesterone receptors in their cells, which may lead to increased sensitivity to progesterone and protection against early miscarriages and bleeding.

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RSCNJ proudly supports Pride Month

The Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, in June 1969, is considered the beginning of the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Now, Americans come together every June to celebrate Pride Month. Events held all across the country raise awareness about LGBTQIA+ human rights and how organizations are working to protect and advocate for those rights.

At Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey (RSCNJ), we 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.

We offer our LGBTQIA+ patients the same fertility treatment options that we offer to all patients, including:

  • Female and male fertility testing
  • Sperm and egg donation
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Gestational carriers
  • Reciprocal IVF

To learn more about these services, go to our LGBTQIA+ Family Building web page.

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Studies look into how DNA crossovers can drive healthy or abnormal sperm, egg cell division

In the famous words of movie character Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”

The same principle applies to human genetics. When the body forms sperm or egg cells in a special type of cell division called meiosis, our DNA mixes and matches in seemingly infinite and unpredictable combinations.

Later, when just two of the great variety of sperm and egg cells meet, they produce children who are different from their parents. Meiosis would go terribly wrong without crossovers: the swapping of DNA segments between closely aligned pairs of chromosomes, one inherited from each parent. Faulty crossover formation can leave cells with too many or too few chromosomes, known as aneuploidy. Since aneuploidy in turn can lead to infertility, miscarriages and conditions such as Down syndrome, learning how crossovers are regulated is key to understanding human reproduction and improving reproductive health.

In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted simultaneous analyses of crossovers and aneuploidy on all chromosomes in more than 30,000 human sperm cells used a new genome-wide sequencing tool. The findings help answer a longstanding question about why and how crossover rates vary across sperm cells and across people.

A second study, from another Harvard-based research team, looked at meiosis in developing worm egg cells, and helps explain why crossovers occur more often in some locations along chromosomes than in others. The team found that crossovers are likelier to go wrong at the centers or extreme ends of chromosomes, suggesting that egg cells minimize crossovers in those areas while allowing them in more reliable locations.

This study, from the lab of Monica Colaiácovo, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, were published in Current Biology. “It’s terrific to see how findings in male and female meiosis and in different species can complement and inform each other,” said Colaiácovo.

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