Dr. Avner Hershlag
The following letter to the editor, written by Dr. Hershlag, was recently published on the New York Times in response to the Jan. 20th article, Anti-Abortion Groups Join Battles Over Frozen Embryos.
To the Editor:
Suppose a fire broke out in a fertility clinic and you had to decide to save either 12 embryos in a petri dish or a 3-year-old boy accidentally caught in the fire. Whom would you go to first? If one holds embryos equal to children, you would save the embryos over the little boy because the dish holds 12 “children.” Is this really what a pro-life advocate would do?
Embryos are not children. In fact, while still in the dish, embryos have not yet formed any specialized organ system. In natural procreation the rate of embryo loss is as high as 60 to 80 percent. Millions of embryos go to waste in natural reproduction.
The dilemma of embryo custody is reminiscent of the biblical story about King Solomon: Two women claimed to be the mother of one baby. Solomon’s solution was to cut the baby in half, which resulted in the real mother crying out, “Oh Lord, give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” However, even King Solomon would have had a hard time doing justice in the case of McQueen vs. Gadberry, since both ex-husband and wife equally share parenthood.
The pro-life advocates claim that the embryo has “personhood rights,” yet this would imply that the embryo, with no life yet breathed into it, has the upper hand over the adult biological father.
You can also view the letter HERE at the New York Times website.
We are proud to announce that Dr. Singer has been appointed Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Lenox Hill Hospital, where he also serves as Residency Program Director for the Department of OBGYN. Congratulations to our Manhattan-based doc!
As we launch the New Year, we should be encouraged by a study that came from England just before Christmas, which looked at nearly 157,000 women who together underwent more than 257,000 cycles between 2003 and 2010. According to the British study, the chance of having a baby after six cycles was 65%.
It should be noted that in England, less embryos are typically transferred per cycle compared to the US. In addition, we have seen a significant increase in pregnancies as a result of frozen cycles. Therefore, the equivalent number in quality centers in the United States should be even higher.
And you may ask: how does this apply to me? Read more ›
A diet that is rich in soy could be helpful in protecting women that undergo certain infertility treatments against many of the effects of Bisphenol A (BPA), believed by some to be harmful. The chemical is used in many food containers and packaging, and for most, is unavoidable. But, findings from a new study suggest that soy may help counteract some of the health concerns associated with the chemical– particularly in regards to reproductive health. Read more ›
Tagged with: IVF
Posted in IVF
Diet plays an important role in human reproduction. We use food as fuel to nourish ourselves and to generate the energy needed to function and the absorb the nutrients we need to flourish and grow. In women, nutrition is thought to be especially important. Because proper nutrition and fertility are intrinsically linked, metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes are linked, in turn, with infertility and other reproductive disorders like ovarian cancer and PCOS. What is unknown, however, is the exact relation between all of these things, leading to an incomplete understanding. Read more ›
All too often, infertility is seen as a female problem, when it’s universal. Recognizing male infertility is important in understanding and improving health.
Azoospermia is a medical term that refers to a medical condition in which a man is unable to produce sperm. The men who are affected make up a whopping 10 to 15% of the total number of males who present with male infertility. While this may not seem like much, historical data suggests that this number is on the rise. Read more ›
Dr. Avner Hershlag
Millions of infertile couples have had a hard time going through the holiday season, childless. Not only has their inability to conceive been a source of anxiety and sadness, it has also been a financial struggle.
The U.S. is behind in providing its citizens the basic right to procreate. In the current political debate, the only reproductive issue raised is abortion (Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice). I.V.F. is the ultimate treatment for most patients who have not conceived on their own or with less-sophisticated treatments. In the recent UK study published in JAMA, going through six cycles of I.V.F resulted in a 65% live-birth rate. In a Boston I.V.F. study in 2009, the six-cycle live-birth rate was actually higher, at 72%.
Why is the wealthiest nation behind in recognizing patients’ right to conceive? Currently, 42 states do not have a mandate for I.V.F. coverage; insurance companies either do not cover I.V.F. at all or provide highly restricted coverage. Patients, therefore, have to foot tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. Should I.V.F. be limited to the wealthy? Has it ever been shown that upper-class parents do a better job raising children?
As the New Year dawns, one issue that can inspire a wide consensus would be legislation that provides a broader I.V.F. coverage, as is currently done not only in England but in most European countries. Politicians from both sides of the aisle should come together in asserting the right to procreate. We all agree on the sanctity of life and we should all agree on the sanctity of a new life.
When freezing your eggs for the future, you may have a lot of questions and uncertainties. That is why it is important to talk to your doctor or doctors along the way. Express your concerns and discuss your expectations. If, however, freezing your eggs is only something you’ve thought about, you may be less interested in the intricate details of the process and more interested in an overview of how it works and what you consider. If so, here are a few tips: Read more ›
You have made the decision to start a family, but are finding that getting pregnant isn’t always as easy as it seems. If you’ve been trying with no success, it can be frustrating. A doctor can help guide you in the right direction and equip you with the knowledge necessary to overcome infertility, including advising you on treatment options.
After a consultation or before, your doctor refer you to a fertility specialist. This is especially true if you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for at least a year by having unprotected sex on a regular basis—or, if you are over 35 and have been trying for at least 6 months. In fact, if you are over the age of 35, your doctor may advise you to go straight to a fertility specialist, since egg quality and viability decrease as age increases. Read more ›
On a surface level, conceiving a baby is a simple equation. In reality, it is not always that simple with many factors at play. While many think of fertility as it relates to women only, male fertility is an equal part of the successful equation.
With that in mind, here are some simple and effective tips to improve male fertility and reproductive health. Read more ›