Explore the Trend: Egg Freezing

Egg freezing, also known as fertility preservation or oocyte cryopreservation, is used to help women ensure their future families. There are many reasons why a woman may choose to freeze her eggs so she can have a child when she is ready, some of which include women who:

  • Want to delay having a family due to career or personal goals
  • Have not yet found the right partner with whom to have a family
  • Are concerned about their age affecting the health and quantity of their eggs
  • Have recently been diagnosed with cancer (chemotherapy and radiation treatments can potentially harm a person’s fertility)

However, fertility preservation is not just for women – men who face the same situations (age, career or cancer issues) can also choose to freeze their sperm so they are able to have a family when they wish to do so.

How does egg freezing/fertility preservation work?

After a consultation with your fertility specialist, you will undergo routine testing in order to determine if you are a good candidate for fertility preservation. Women, in the weeks prior to the egg retrieval procedure, will take medication (injections) in order to promote egg growth so eggs will be ready for retrieval. The goal of the egg retrieval procedure is to collect and freeze about 15 eggs in order to have a successful chance of conception during IVF (when the decision to have a child is made).

During the actual freezing of the eggs, Fertility Solutions uses a process called “vitrification” (flash freezing) in order to allow for a high success rate when compared to the traditional slow-freeze method. During vitrification, your eggs are quickly frozen before ice crystals, which could ruin cell structure, are able to form.

At what age should I freeze my eggs?

The decision whether to freeze your eggs is entirely up to you. More and more women are taking control of their future fertility and having their eggs frozen in their mid- to late twenties.  However, if you are facing a recent cancer diagnosis in your mid-twenties or younger, it’s important to talk to your doctor, who may recommend a consultation with a fertility specialist.

Also, patients should note that choosing to freeze eggs does not mean that you will “run out” of eggs. Egg freezing is simply the use of eggs that women would have otherwise lost as they aged.

Why is egg freezing gaining in popularity?

In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) stopped labeling egg freezing as experimental, allowing for widespread use of the process. Since this decision, women are able to make choices about their reproductive futures that were previously hindered by time and age. There is an ever increasing interest in egg freezing as the subject becomes a part of a more mainstream discussion on fertility. This is especially true since many women are brought up hearing over and over that their “biological clock is ticking” and that they need to settle down and start a family as soon as possible.

I’m interested in egg freezing – how do I start?

The first step is to schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist.  Your fertility specialist will help answer any questions you may have about the egg freezing process, costs involved and the fertility services that are needed when you decide to use your frozen eggs to start your family.

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Should I Join a Fertility Support Group?

Regardless of where you are on your journey to becoming a parent, a fertility support group can go a long way toward making this process easier and less stressful. A large part of the difficulty in having an infertility issue is facing everyday experiences that were once easy but are now emotionally difficult. Whether or not to respond to a friend’s baby shower invitation, casual conversation about children during parties and holidays, and even checking out social media can become emotional landmines when you’re having trouble getting pregnant and need treatment.

This stress affects both women and men and can be particularly trying on relationships. An abundance of resources is available to help you cope, but one of the best options is a fertility support group.

What is a fertility support group like?

Like other support groups, fertility support groups can consist of all-female, all-male or mixed members. Support groups can even focus on one particular fertility issue, such as those who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), recurrent miscarriage, unexplained infertility and many more. Support groups can also be in person or online. It’s up to you which kind of support group you prefer.

Is a fertility support group right for me?

Deciding whether or not a support group is right for you can come down to your individual experience with fertility. Many individuals refrain from seeking the help of a support group because they believe that they are able to fully handle the emotional ups and downs on their own or that they should at least try to do so. This is simply not true – joining a support group does not mean you are seeking professional therapy. Support groups are designed to offer a warm, welcoming environment of individuals who share a similar experience. It is entirely up to you, or you and your partner, how much of your lives are shared with the rest of your support group and what is kept private. There is no pressure to explain anything that you find too painful or personal to discuss.

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association provides those who are struggling to conceive with a checklist of questions that can help you decide if a support group is likely to be beneficial:

• Do you feel isolated? Lonely?
• Do you feel as if no one understands what you are going through?
• Do you have few people to talk to about your infertility diagnosis?
• Is your partner the only person you can talk to about infertility?
• Is your struggle to conceive affecting your normal routine (work, friendships, etc.)?
• Do you feel as if you’ve lost control of your life plan?
• Are you having trouble deciding to continue with treatment?
• Are social events like holidays and parties difficult to cope with?

If you find that you are answering “Yes” to the above questions, then a fertility support group may be an excellent resource. Please contact your fertility specialist for more information about fertility support groups or find a support group in your area.

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Free Fertility Seminar Re-cap: September 10th with Dr. Pei-Li Huang

Each month, Fertility Solutions hosts free fertility seminar in order to provide an opportunity for current and prospective patients to ask any questions they may have about fertility testing, diagnosis and treatment. Our most recently fertility seminar was hosted by Dr. Huang and we’ve provided a review of some of the questions and topics that were discussed.

Topic: Same sex couples – Sperm donors and what does insurance cover? 

Answer: In the state of Massachusetts, infertility diagnosis for same sex couples is the same for heterosexual couples.  If the woman who would like to conceive is under 35, the state insurance mandates that the couple must be trying to get pregnant for at least one year, and for those over 35 years of age, the couple must try for six months.

In a same sex marriage, there must be documentation that the couple has introduced sperm for the period of time to obtain fertility coverage.  The process for documentation comes in the form of sperm vial purchases and the medical practice performing an IUI.  We at Fertility Solutions welcome the LGBT community and have many sperm donor agency, egg donor agency and gestational carrier relationships to help guide you on your journey to becoming a parent.

Topic: Fertility Preservation – I am interested in having a baby in the future. I am in my late twenties and currently focused on my career, what do you recommend? 

Answer: Fertility Preservation, or egg freezing, is the process of retrieving eggs for future use via vitrification.  Fertility preservation is an option for many types of patients, including those who would like to have babies in the future but are currently without a partner, those who are concerned that age may affect their ability to conceive in the future, patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, and patients who have concerns about premature ovarian cancer.

Each patient is a unique situation, and we would like to discuss your future goals together to define if fertility preservation is the best answer at this time.  Tests that would be taken prior to fertility preservation would include ultrasound, ovarian reserve, etc.

Fertility Solutions would like to thank those who came out to our September 10th seminar – your questions were insightful and helped start a truly great discussion. We invite you to join us at our next free fertility seminar on Saturday, October 4th, 2014 in our Providence, RI location. Dr. Moragianni and Catlin Roache, a clinical psychologist will host the event. They will discuss the role of stress on a couple during an infertility diagnosis. Please RSVP for the seminar, we look forward to seeing you there.

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Fertility Solutions Patient Satisfaction Survey Results

Fertility Solutions recently completed our bi-annual patient satisfaction survey and we are excited to share the results.  We are proud to announce that our surveys scores have increased in every category since our last patient satisfaction survey back in November (2013).

The scores range from “1” as the lowest to “5” as the highest positive response.

The survey category summary is as follows:

  • The patients initial impression of Fertility Solutions – 4.61
  • Impression of Physicians – 4.75
  • Impression of Medical Assistants – 4.82
  • Impression of IVF Nursing Staff – 4.81
  • OR/PACU Nursing – 4.87
  • OR/PACU Experience – 4.90
  • Financial Interactions – 4.30
  • Reviews on our Facilities – 4.82
  • Patients impression of confidentiality – 4.82
  • Fertility Solutions Overall – 4.8
  • The Fertility Solutions Website and Portal (combined) – 4.38

The following are some of the patient comments that were noted on the survey, they were asked what we could improve:

“Very friendly staff.”

“Everything was great – from the doctors, to nursing, to getting blood drawn, and the office staff is incredible. I could not be happier with the care I received.”

“The staff is amazing and very friendly.”

“Well run facility, top notch staff and physicians.”

“Very friendly positive outlook – make it impossible for us to lose hope! You guys are great!”

“All staff are friendly, accommodating, and prompt to explain all details of treatment and procedures thoroughly. Overall, I have had an amazing experience at Fertility Solutions and have recommended it to many friends and family.”

“Dr. Kowalik has been an exceptionnal doctor and a pleasure to work with. Thank you for everything!”

“There is not one thing to pick due to being very pleased with everything, from the staff in office to the nurses on the phone that I have never met.”

“Everyone was so friendly, welcoming and caring. I also LOVE being able to see results on the patient portal.”

“Calls and emails were responded to very promptly.”

“Wonderful at treating me as a person. Compassionate front staff, Lisa is friendly and helpful.”

“All staff was fantastic! They definitely took the time to make me feel comfortable and explain the process step by step.”

“Appreciated the detailed explanation of all of the procedures, timeliness of the appointments was superb, and the dedicate physician interaction far exceeded our expectations.”

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Employee Recognition Series: Megan McGinn, Front Desk Coordinator

Megan McGinnMegan McGinn is our most recent addition to Fertility Solutions. Megan is the Front Desk Coordinator for our practice’s Dedham location.

Megan joins us after eight years in the medical field at a large ophthalmology practice on the South Shore of Massachusetts.  “I was very excited to begin the next phase of my career in an industry (fertility) that is evolving quickly and offers patients the opportunity to have the dream of building a family become a reality.  I love greeting each patient that comes through our door and hope to be able to help in anyway possible,” says Megan.

Megan has stated that she loves working at Fertility Solutions because of her deep respect for the practice’s patient philosophy – “The individual, personalized treatment of each patient is second to none”.

In her free time, Megan enjoys dancing.

“We are very lucky to have found such a bright and cheery person who jumped right into the front desk coordinator position with vigor.  Megan has shown a great affection towards the patients and always greets each patient by name.  Her desire and willingness fuel our mutual efforts and lead us to success” – Dr. Carol Anania

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Fertility Solutions’ Latest Patient Testimonial

We’re thrilled to share our latest patient testimonial which is a note sent from a patient to Dr. Anania:

“We had a wonderful experience with Fertility Solutions. We had our 2-month-old daughter through the help of this amazing facility which has made our dream come true. I got pregnant from a single IVF treatment and had no complications whatsoever with pregnancy or delivery. Our little girl was a full-term healthy baby, she was 7 pounds 9 ounces at birth and she’s growing beautifully. I find it hard to believe that she was only 7 cells the day we had the embryo transfer.

Dr. Anania is one the best doctors we have ever met. She would patiently explain every procedure and make us feel so comfortable talking to her. Ashley, the nurse receptionist at the Woburn office is very nice and efficient. She would do all the blood work in the morning. This office runs like a clock. The wait-time is literally less than 2 minutes. I would go there early mornings before going to work, have my blood drained (in and out in 5 minutes) and was never late to work.

All the nurses are very friendly, professional, and supportive. I had lot of questions when I was going through the IVF treatment. I would leave a message and they would reply within an hour.

They even sent us a cute little feeding spoon as a gift for our baby. They made us feel so special and as highly regarded patients. We would definitely consider seeing Dr. Anania again in case we decide to have a second child.

Infertility is stressful for most couples and going through fertility treatments can be even more frustrating, painful, and demanding. Choosing a facility like Fertility Solutions can help ease the difficult and long journey of infertility. They give you hope that treatment is possible, be with you all along, and help you relax – which is a big part of the treatment believe it or not! Wishing the best of luck to all couples in need of a little miracle in their lives.”  – G.K.

We invite you to read more Fertility Solutions patient testimonials

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Get To Know Your Fertility Specialist: Dr. Pei-Li Huang

Dr. HuangDr. Pei-Li Huang was kind enough to offer some of her time to answer a few questions about how her path led to working in the field of fertility, her work at Fertility Solutions, and how she spends her time outside of the center. Get to know Dr. Huang by reading her responses below:

Did you always know that you wanted to be a fertility doctor?

Yes, my first  clinical  rotation as a medical student was in obstetrics and gynecology at Boston City Hospital. Even though it was quite overwhelming to start off at such a busy place, I received such positive feedback from patients who were grateful to have a female provider. It really encouraged my thoughts toward-specializing in women’s health.

How did you find yourself working in the fertility field?

I have been extremely lucky to be inspired by some wonderful physician teachers and mentors who are passionate about clinical research. During my 4th year of medical school I went to Bethesda, Maryland to do a rotation at the National Institutes of Health in Endocrinology, which is the study of hormones. I was fascinated by all the rare disorders which were studied by researchers at the NIH that were conducting clinical trials. Later, during residency training at the Beth Israel Hospital one of my professors encouraged me to do a research project involving exercise- induced menstrual disorders.

Finally,  I realized my own life story may have contributed to the desire to help  women conceive. My mother had endometriosis and after giving birth to me, her only child, she had secondary infertility. At that time treatment options were limited. Now we have so much more to offer.

What about working in the fertility specialty appeals to you most? 

This specialty allows me to practice all aspects of medicine: surgery, psychology, clinical medicine and research.

What’s your favorite part about your daily work?

I enjoy interacting with patients during the ultrasound monitoring that we do at the various offices. I like being able to meet almost every patient in the practice.

What new technology or advances excites you the most?  

New cryopreservation techniques have increased the survival rate of frozen eggs and embryos, preserving a women’s options to extend her reproductive window.

And lastly, how do you spend your free time? 

Whenever I can I either read fiction or play the piano. I also take lessons and perform as an amateur chamber musician and solo pianist.

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Fertility Solutions 2013 IVF Success Rates

Fertility Solutions is proud to present our 2013 IVF Success Rates. Our yearly success rates are a tribute to our firm dedication toward helping those facing an infertility diagnosis build their family. We strongly believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to have a child, and that is why we work to provide affordability fertility treatment and care for patients. In the tables below you will find Fertility Solutions’ 2013 Frozen Embryo Transfer Success Rates and our 2013 IVF Success Rates for 1/1/13 – 12/31/14.

2013 Frozen Embryo Transfer Success Rates

Pregnancy rate is defined as a pregnancy seen on ultrasound (avg. of 6-7 weeks of gestation).
Age # of FET Cycles Pregnancy Rate per ET Avg. # of Embryos Transferred
< 35 91 48% 1.6
35-37 30 53% 1.6
38-40 18 39% 1.7
41-42 10 20% 2.1
43+ 2 50% 1.0
Donor 9 56% 1.7
Totals 160 47%

2013 IVF Success Rates (1/1/13 to 12/31/13)

Pregnancy rate is defined as a pregnancy seen on ultrasound (avg. of 6-7 weeks of gestation).
Age # of Egg Retrievals Pregnancy Rate per ET Avg. # of Embryos Transferred
< 35 161 52% 1.5
35-37 81 37% 1.9
38-40 69 40% 1.9
41-42 34 21% 3.0
Donor 19 68% 1.8
Totals 376 44% 1.8
FET 160 Thawed 47% 1.6
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Fertility Solutions is now an Optum Center of Excellence (COE)

After careful review of Fertility Solutions’ SART outcome data and an overall survey of the Fertility Solutions program, Optum designated Fertility Solutions as an Optum Center of Excellence (COE). According to Optum, the goals of their Centers of Excellence network are to:

  • Provide customers value by identifying physicians that meet or exceed rigorous performance standards.
  • Enable better patient outcomes when diagnosed and treated by medical professionals with the greatest experience and clinical expertise.
  •  Support safe, successful and cost-effective management of patients with complex medical conditions.
  • Review evaluations regularly to incorporate current quality parameters and benchmarks.

Optum has been identifying superior health care providers for over twenty-five years and they have very high standards for recognition. Fertility Solutions is proud of this recognition and we are pleased to share this achievement with our patients.

Optum rigorously analyzed Fertility Solutions on the following points:

  • Live birth per transfer
  • Implantation and multiple gestation rates for all age groups up to and including 40
  • Program administration set-up
  • Managed care contract status
  • Frozen embryo transfer success rates
  • Donor success rates

Patients who choose an Optum COE are more likely to receive “a more accurate diagnosis”, health care that is planned and provided by experts who specialize in their individual condition, fewer complications, lower out of pocket costs and more.

The fact is, as the need for infertility treatment grows, patients need to be aware of what the facility they choose to seek advice and care from is really offering.  At Fertility Solutions, we believe that everyone deserves the chance to be a parent and that it is our duty to provide leading, quality fertility services that are results-driven and affordable.

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Dr. Moragianni Answers Questions on Grecian Echoes Radio Program

Vasiliki MoragianniEach month, Dr. Vasiliki Moragianni appears on a half-hour medical show on the Greek-American radio program “Grecian Echoes” and below, we’ve included an audio recording in both Greek and English from Dr. Moragianni’s time on the program in July (on 7/10/14).

We highly recommend that our patients, prospective patients, and followers tune in to the program in order to gain a deeper understanding of exactly what patients should pay attention to while attempting to conceive, general fertility treatment and care, IVF, and more.

We also encourage those who listen to prepare any questions they may have throughout the program and to feel free to post these questions on the Fertility Solutions Facebook page before any upcoming shows. Dr. Moragianni will review these questions and can potentially answer them during the next program she hosts. Patients and interested parties can also call into the program and ask a question anonymously if they so choose.

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