When Brianne and Will Luckman got married in 2011, the young couple was looking forward to building a family. At just 24 years old, Brianne had made up her mind to have five kids before she turned 30. Little did the couple know then that PCOS and male factors would make their journey to parenthood harder than they expected.
After Brianne had a miscarriage around Christmas 2012, she learned she had a thyroid issue. Still trying to conceive, the young couple moved from Minnesota to North Carolina, following Will’s career with the U.S. Army. There, Army base physicians told Brianne she was too young to see a fertility specialist. It wasn’t until they moved to Alaska in 2012 that an Army base doctor referred her to a fertility specialist.
From the specialist, Brianne and Will learned that Brianne had insulin resistance related to polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. They tried three rounds of Clomid, but Brianne still didn’t get pregnant. Eventually, a semen analysis was ordered, revealing that although the quantity and shape of Will’s sperm was excellent, the sperm had motility problems.
“It was a miracle we had gotten pregnant in 2012,” Brianne says.
Overcoming PCOS and male factor infertility
Realizing that they needed assisted reproductive technology to overcome PCOS and other complex fertility challenges, they started saving money while Brianne dived into research about infertility treatments and the best fertility centers. That’s how she found our Las Vegas fertility center and Bruce Shapiro, M.D.
“Nobody was doing IVF in Alaska, and I wanted a fertility center with good results that did assisted hatching,” she says. “Dr. Shapiro’s name kept coming up.”
The couple traveled to Las Vegas, where Dr. Shapiro recommended in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which is often an effective treatment for patients with PCOS. With Will deployed, Brianne gave herself every injection, often using Skype to call her sister for support and motivation. Will was able to join Brianne in Las Vegas for the egg retrieval and fertilization, then he flew back to Alaska and left for deployment four days later.
“I had 22 eggs retrieved in November 2014, but only five of them fertilized, and only two embryos made it to blast stage,” Brianne recalls. “During that time, Will was still trying to come to terms with the idea that we were not able to have babies naturally.”
In May 2015, the couple was ready to move ahead with the transfer. Will was still deployed, so Brianne flew back to Las Vegas with a friend. The single embryo transfer was successful, and after a difficult birth ending in an emergency c-section and a long hospital stay, they finally got to bring their son, Owen, home. He is now 13 months old.
“We sure hit the jackpot with him,” she says. “He’s such a happy boy.”
Knowledge is power
After spending years with undiagnosed PCOS, Brianne’s advice to other women going through infertility: Go to a specialist and get testing for both yourself and your partner, and learn about your options.
“It’s going to be a whirlwind, with a lot of medical terms thrown at you,” she says. “Don’t take the internet too seriously, but do your due diligence. Reach out to other people. Ask your doctor anything and everything. Think critically, and be prepared for loss, but go into it with a positive train of thought that this is going to work.”
Brianne also emphasizes the importance of couples keeping the lines of communication open.
“Talk about how you’re feeling and what’s going on inside,” she says. “Tell your partner what you need from them, and be open to what he is going through as well. It’s not easy on either of you, so you want to be sure you’re attending to each other’s emotional needs.”
Now a busy, 27-year-old mom, Brianne will soon return to Las Vegas to transfer the couple’s remaining embryo, hoping that Owen will soon have a brother or sister.
At The Fertility Center of Las Vegas, we help resolve barriers to conception, while also offering peace of mind. Owen’s parents had access to assisted hatching and ICSI at no extra fee because we include services that help us to provide the best care and access to the best success rates. We also offer unlimited embryo transfers for up to one year or until live birth. To learn more about options for overcoming PCOS and infertility, contact our Las Vegas fertility center.
We’re now home to Nevada’s only female board certified fertility specialist
Our Las Vegas fertility center has a big announcement to make: Our own Carrie Bedient, M.D., recently became the state of Nevada’s only female board certified fertility specialist, or reproductive endocrinologist.
Board certification in reproductive endocrinology and infertility is awarded by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology only after several years of advanced medical training and an intensive testing process, making Dr. Bedient one of a small number of reproductive endocrinologists nationwide who meets our nation’s highest standards for knowledge in this sub-specialty field.
What it takes to become a female board certified fertility specialist
Before becoming our state’s only female board certified fertility specialist, Dr. Bedient completed an intensive fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) at Emory University, as well as a residency at Case Western Reserve University & Cleveland Clinic Foundation. We were proud to welcome her to our team of Las Vegas fertility specialists in 2015.
To earn REI certification, Dr. Bedient received extensive training focused on diagnosing complex reproductive disorders, as well as the latest advanced treatment options to help men and women grow their families. To become board certified, she passed both written and oral exams proving her knowledge of this complex and evolving field of medicine.
An award-winning physician and researcher, Dr. Bedient shares her knowledge as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
Board certification is a tremendous accomplishment for any specialist, but it’s just one milestone in Dr. Bedient’s journey of lifelong learning. To maintain continuous certification, Dr. Bedient will pursue ongoing training, assessment and examinations, staying abreast of the newest developments in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Her ongoing commitment to education places our team of Las Vegas fertility specialists at the forefront of our field.
We hope you’ll get to know Dr. Bedient and take full advantage of her expertise in infertility and reproductive endocrinology on your own journey to have a baby. To make an appointment with Nevada’s only female board certified fertility specialist, contact us today.
Get informed about infertility legislation
Once you become part of the infertility community, it’s hard not to become passionate about topics like access to care, insurance coverage for infertility treatment, and the effect of infertility legislation on whether or not people struggling with infertility are able to build their families.
Each year, RESOLVE brings the infertility community together in Washington D.C. for Advocacy Day, when thousands of people affected by infertility gather to meet with their elected representatives and make sure that their opinions are heard. Advocacy Day 2017 will take place May 18, and your Nevada fertility specialist hopes that some of our patients will represent our great state this year at our nation’s capitol.
Advocacy Day is hosted in partnership with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a renowned professional organization in which both Bruce Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., and Carrie Bedient, M.D., maintain active membership.
Infertility legislation: Your opinion matters
For this year’s Advocacy Day, RESOLVE encourages participants to bring their representatives’ attention to two pieces of infertility legislation that affect access to important family-building options:
- The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act, (Senate bill S 700 and House bill H. R. 1681): This bill will require the Veterans Administration to provide family-building options, such as IVF and adoption assistance, to veterans left infertile by wounds suffered in service to our country. This bill overturns the VA’s ban on IVF and expands family-building options for wounded veterans.
- The Adoption Tax Credit: Although the ATC is a permanent part of the tax code, tax reforms that will be debated in Congress this year could put this pro-family tax credit at risk.
RESOLVE provides all the training you need to make an impact, even scheduling your appointments for you. All you have to do is show up in Washington D.C. the day before Advocacy Day, start making friends, and learn how to most effectively share your message in conversations about infertility legislation.
Make your voice heard
It’s tough to work in a trip to D.C. during treatment, but you can still call your U.S. Representatives and follow the phone scripts provided by RESOLVE. We value the unique perspective that each of you brings to the national conversation about infertility and access to treatment. To schedule a consultation with a top Nevada fertility specialist, contact us.
Do money-back IVF plans have your back?
You are considering IVF and exploring your options. Can you afford the cost of IVF more than once? A recent article in the New York Times explains the marketing tool that some fertility centers have in-house, or link to on their websites. The money-back IVF plans oftentimes exclude patients who are not good “risks” and may position the clinics/doctors as bankers.
Bruce Shapiro, M.D., and Carrie Bedient, M.D., board certified fertility specialists, along with the business office team at our Las Vegas fertility center, want you to understand the pros and cons of these programs.
We do not believe that money-back IVF plans make sense, and here’s why, according to Dr. Bedient, “At The Fertility Center of Las Vegas our IVF success rates are among the highest in the world, and our ultimate goal is to help each person get the family they want, not money back.”
How do money-back IVF plans work?
The idea behind a money-back IVF plan is to offer multiple tries at getting pregnant within one package deal. You decide what the odds are for getting pregnant – will it take two, three or more IVF cycles to get a positive result? You will select a plan that is most likely to cover your investment without leaving money on the table. For example, if you buy three cycles on a money-back IVF plan and get pregnant the first month, you are thrilled with the outcome, of course, but may regret the deal you chose.
On the other hand, at our Las Vegas fertility center, all of our IVF cycles include unlimited embryo transfers using the embryos created from the IVF retrieval, and we don’t have ANY patient restrictions like typical money-back IVF programs. This essentially provides for multiple attempts at getting pregnant.
We invite you to use our IVF Cycle Cost worksheet to compare programs. Our Las Vegas fertility center includes these services in a typical IVF cycle:
- Cryopreservation of embryos
- One year of embryo storage
- All thaw cycle ultrasounds
- All thaw cycle blood tests
- Thaw cycle embryo transfer
The practice of “hedging your bet” by purchasing in advance the number of cycles it may take to get pregnant may become obsolete as the effectiveness of IVF and the assurances that we can offer with PGS genetic testing perfect the family-building tool.
If you are interested in learning more about our inclusive IVF cycle costs, contact our Las Vegas fertility center. Our goal is your goal – to minimize the time and expense that it takes to get pregnant and have a healthy baby.
April 23-39: NIAW events in Las Vegas and nationwide
For one in eight couples – that’s 7.3 million women and men in the U.S. – infertility gets in the way of their dreams. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association works year-round to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of the infertility community, culminating in National Infertility Awareness Week. NIAW events are happening across the country throughout the month of April, and event organizers urge people to “Listen Up!” about issues surrounding infertility.
Why become part of the movement? The keys to taking charge of your own fertility are understanding how infertility might affect you, knowing when to see a fertility specialist and educating yourself about the many ways to build your family.
You can do all three by attending one of our free, monthly fertility seminars, where you’ll get to tour our fertility center, learn about the cost of fertility treatment and ask our Las Vegas fertility doctors anything you’d like. Our next seminar takes place April 19, 2017, at our Summerlin, Nevada, office. Reserve your spot now.
Find NIAW events across the country
Whether you’re on your own family-building journey or want to help someone else, NIAW events are a great way to get empowered and show that you care.
Check out the complete schedule of NIAW events at infertilityawareness.org, and encourage your family and friends across the country to take part in their own communities. From movie showings to seminars to free fertility screenings throughout the month of April, NIAW events offer many ways to “Listen Up!” and get involved.
Because infertility awareness is a year-round issue, related events also take place all year long:
- The Walk of Hope, RESOLVE’s signature fundraising event, raises money and awareness in multiple communities across the country. Find a Walk of Hope near you.
- May 18 is RESOLVE’s 2017 Advocacy Day, when infertility advocates converge in Washington, D.C., to fight for reproductive justice. If you’re interested in educating your members of Congress about infertility, make your voice count.
Learn more about your fertility
If you’re ready to take control of your fertility, NIAW events are a good place to start. Take action locally by attending one of our seminars or scheduling a consultation with one of our Las Vegas fertility doctors.
“There were times when I wanted to give up, but the support I had during the IVF process pushed me through,” says Ashley, a young mother and former patient at The Fertility Center of Las Vegas.
Ashley and her husband Kenneth tried to get pregnant for two years. After four rounds of Clomid and trying everything to get pregnant naturally, it just didn’t happen. “We so badly wanted to become parents,” she said. “We decided to seek help.”
Steps to IVF
The couple tried intrauterine insemination (IUI), and were pleasantly surprised to get pregnant. Sadly, Ashley miscarried, and they were heartbroken. The couple decided to move on to IVF at our Las Vegas fertility center.
“In the Henderson office, the ladies were so incredible,” Ashley said. “They made me feel like I was family, and I felt like they genuinely cared about me.”
When she miscarried the first time, the ultrasound ladies hugged Ashley, and she remembers that together they shared tears. “It was so nice to have that support,” she said. “When I did become pregnant again and had my last appointment, those same ladies were just as excited as I was. It was great!”
Compassionate care and support
Arleen at the Sahara office of our Las Vegas fertility center was one of the outstanding staff members who helped Ashley throughout the entire IVF process. “I really don’t know what I would have done without her,” said Ashley. “She promptly responded to my many questions and never made me feel like I was a nuisance. IVF was new to me, and I was scared and nervous. I know how busy she was, but she always responded quickly to me.”
Ashley’s lead physician, Bruce Shapiro, M.D., was instrumental in the successful outcome. In Ashley’s words: “He is awesome – so nice, with a great bedside manner.” She was grateful that Dr. Shapiro was her doctor, especially when the couple learned they had to have IVF.
“I was devastated and started crying in his office, but he hugged me and told me it would work,” she said. “The next day, I received a follow-up call just to check on me and see how I was doing. That meant so much and truly showed me that Las Vegas fertility center cared. I knew I was in the right hands.”
From heartbreak to unspeakable joy
When Ashley and Kenneth learned that IVF treatment was successful, she cried tears of joy. “I will be honest,” she said. “After years of trying and having a miscarriage, it was the second trimester before I finally let my guard down. I couldn’t bear another heartbreak.”
IVF was a very emotional process, but Ashley feels so grateful to have had “an amazing fertility clinic like The Fertility Center of Las Vegas.” She also found support groups through Instagram (#ttccommunity and #ivf community) to help her cope “Without that support, it would have been impossible for us.”
Looking back on her infertility experience inspired Ashley to share her story with others and to support and encourage women who are having a difficult time conceiving.
The Link Between the Spring Equinox and Fertility
March 20 marked this year’s spring equinox – the annual moment when the day and night hours are in perfect balance, and the sun rises precisely in the East and sets precisely in the West. In legends and lore, there have long been ties between the spring equinox and fertility, as the day marks not only the change of seasons from winter to spring, but also Ostara, an ancient Pagan holiday honoring fertility and rebirth.
In fact, the ancient Anglo-Saxon holiday is named for the fertility goddess Eostre, traditionally depicted as a young woman who symbolizes dawn, new beginnings and spring. Eostre is often associated with the same symbolism as the Christian Easter holiday. Rabbits, spring flowers and eggs are all symbolic of fertility and the awakening of life during the spring season. In fact, the Easter holiday may get its name from the Saxon fertility goddess, and many of its traditions from the spring equinox festivals of the early Pagans.
The Legend of the Spring Equinox and Fertility
Many people think of spring as a time when the world comes to life, when animals pair off for mating and the trees burst into bloom. It is a season ripe with new beginnings, associated with fertility and birth.
Long before microscopes and science lifted the veil on the mystery of sperm, eggs and human conception, the egg was associated with fertility. For hundreds of years, eggs have been used as a symbol of spring, the spring equinox and fertility, as part of both Easter and the Pagan Ostara celebrations. So it seems fitting that on the first day of spring, many of our patients are focused on how science can help them use their own or donated eggs to create new life.
In keeping with the season, Pagans traditionally mark Ostara by planting gardens and trees, or simply by spending time in nature celebrating the new life emerging all around. In old times, the spring equinox was a time of great celebration because it marked the shift from the cold, dark days of winter, when food was scarce, to the longer, sunnier days of the season of plenty.
As we mark the first day of spring while struggling with infertility, the spring equinox reminds us to be hopeful that brighter days are coming, and that a balance between light and darkness is possible. This is a time to celebrate life and new beginnings – your own, your partner’s, and whatever the future may hold for you. With such close links between the spring equinox and fertility, this is a perfect time to make a new beginning, and commit to doing whatever is necessary to make your dream come true.
A Time for New Beginnings
After the spring equinox, days will begin to grow longer, with more sun to light our way and nurture the growth of all living things. What better time to focus on your own fertility, and to follow your dreams of motherhood?
Can You Be A Surrogate If You Have Diabetes?
By Elisabeth Almekinder RN, BA, CDE
Sam contacted TheDiabetesCouncil to find out if she could be a surrogate for a couple who couldn’t have their own baby while having Type 1 diabetes.
Can she legally be a surrogate for another couple having diabetes? We didn’t know the answer to this unusual question either, so we thought it would be a good idea to investigate the surrogacy process specifically for people with diabetes or for others who may have this same question.
In this article, we will explore the possibilities of whether or not you can be a surrogate if you have diabetes. We will also look at what might happen if you are already a surrogate and you develop gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. We will look at some of the legality in brief. Understanding that we are not lawyers at thediabetescouncil.com, it’s best and always recommended to seek legal counsel when you are entering a surrogacy situation and are not sure of the process around it.
Baby Your Fertility: Advice from our Board Certified Fertility Specialists
A recent article in the Las Vegas Sun brought to light an issue that many men and women struggle with in silence. Infertility affects 1 in 7 couples in this country, and oftentimes people waste months and years of precious time unaware of proactive steps they can take to protect and preserve their reproductive health.
Bruce Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D, and Carrie Bedient, M.D., board certified fertility specialists, host free informative seminars every month to raise awareness for actions to take in your 20s, 30s and 40s. They also discuss the growing array of treatments that help restore fertility and improve upon IUI, IVF and third-party reproduction.
In the article, Dr. Shapiro emphasizes the need to get tested. “Health-conscious Americans tend to know their cholesterol, blood pressure and weight/BMI numbers. If you are of reproductive age and wish to start a family now or in the future, you should also inquire about ovarian reserve testing and semen analysis.”
5 Steps to Protect Your Fertility, According to Our Board Certified Fertility Specialists
- Don’t wait. If you want to postpone family building, get a clearer picture of your ovarian reserve with AMH and hormone testing. Dr. Bedient noted that by age 37, women face greater obstacles to getting pregnant on their own. Ask about fertility preservation, egg freezing, and setting a realistic timeline for starting a family. As a rule, partner with a fertility specialist after one year of trying to conceive, or six months if you are over 35.
- Focus on one baby at a time. Access to genetic information in the IVF lab gives parents-to-be the confidence to transfer one healthy embryo at a time. With PGS, families can grow, adding siblings from embryos that were pre-screened and frozen during your first round of IVF. “We educate our patients about the benefits of adding PGS to IVF,” said Dr. Shapiro. “While genetic testing adds to the cost of IVF, it also greatly improves upon the odds for having a successful pregnancy.” The cost for both at our center typically runs closer to $20,000.
- Consider new additions to fertility. Mom’s egg + dad’s sperm = a baby? Not always. We live in an exciting era of breakthrough treatments that can redefine the equation. Donor eggs, embryos and sperm as well as surrogacy are helping create families for the LGBT community, single parents and women of advanced maternal age.
- Manage the cost. While it has been reported that IVF can cost upwards of $30,000, our Las Vegas fertility center works to find the best treatment protocols for each individual, and that may simply include IUI or lifestyle changes. We also strive to make IUI and IVF treatment accessible and affordable. Ask us about fertility drug discounts, grants, financing and other patient resources.
- Be the change. Boost natural fertility. Our board certified fertility specialists encourage you to adopt a healthy lifestyle, stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight and avoid risky sexual behavior that can expose you to STDs.
Finally, if you notice some problems – heavy or irregular periods, for instance – come in sooner rather than later. Contact our Las Vegas fertility center. The earlier we catch infertility issues, the more likely it is that we can address them with a cost-effective treatment plan.
Infertile on Valentine’s Day: Where’s the Love?
For many couples, Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love with flowers, gifts or a special date. But for some couples struggling with infertility, it’s hard to get excited about a holiday that’s all about romance.
After months or years of focusing on little else but making a baby, infertile couples’ relationships can feel like they’ve been pushed to the back burner. This Valentine’s Day, our Nevada fertility center encourages you to put your relationship first.
Valentine’s Day is about the two of you
When you fall in love with someone and decide to build a life together, it feels like the possibilities are limitless and the future belongs to the two of you. Like so many other couples, you’ll just decide when it’s time to start a family, and everything will simply fall into place. No wonder infertility can make you feel like you’ve been blindsided.
Infertility can place extra stresses on even the strongest relationship. It’s emotionally draining, it can get expensive, and it’s just plain frustrating. It’s normal for couples to feel overwhelmed, but because the clock is ticking, taking a break may not feel like an option.
This Valentine’s Day, we hope you will take just one day to set all the stress of infertility aside, and simply focus on each other.
Even if you’re honestly not feeling the romance, use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to reconnect and remember all the reasons you chose this other person to be your partner in life.
- Remember that hobby you both used to love? Make a date to enjoy it again, together.
- Can’t handle another restaurant full of families with kids? Stay home to cook a gourmet meal, and dine by candlelight.
- Worn out from talking about your infertility treatment? Pledge to avoid that subject, just for the day.
- Need to just forget about it all for a while? Pull out your favorite funny movies and cuddle up on the couch for a movie marathon.
- Has spontaneous intimacy been replaced by a schedule? Today, it’s enough to simply be close, without the pressure.
An unstoppable team
No matter what life throws your way, you and your partner can handle it –together. The thing that makes you strong is the love you have for each other. Take time to nurture that love this Valentine’s Day, and you’ll feel re-energized and ready to tackle whatever it takes to make your dream come true.
To learn more about overcoming infertility, contact our Nevada fertility center.