Gateway to Parenthood 2016: RECAP

Gateway to Parenthood 2017: Refuse to Sink provided infertility support and awareness to hundreds in attendance on February 18, 2017.  To kick off the event, keynote presenter Meghan King-Edmonds provided hope and encouragement sharing her personal IVF journey. Meghan walked the attendees through her IVF journey describing the emotional and physical impacts the journey had on her and her family. Her husband, St. Louis Cardinal Hall-of-Famer, Jim Edmonds, also made a cameo appearance with their little IVF miracle baby.

Dr. Jason Franasiak, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMA-NJ), presented, secondly, to a capacity audience.  Dr. Franasiak presented on the role immunological factors such as natural killer cells (NK) have on pregnancy outcomes. This discussion proved evidence is simply lacking that NK cells have any role on pregnancy outcomes; however, he did present some new research RMA-NJ is performing regarding a new investigation on whether or not other immunological factors may or may not have a role.

After sharing some time together as a cohesive group, attendees were given a choice of presentations to attend based on their individual desires. This included:

Holistic Approaches to Enhancing Your Fertility

John Schmeider of Community Acupuncture presented on the importance of good, healthy eating habits, for both males and females, and their role on fertility.  He also discussed how incorporating the use of acupuncture may lead to increased fertility outcomes, especially when utilizing advanced fertility treatment. After his presentation, he and several additional acupuncturists from Community Acupuncture offered complimentary introduction acupuncture sessions in the main lobby. Nearly 100 individuals took advantage of this FREE treatment and learned what it was like to have acupuncture done to heal a multitude of symptoms.

Third-Party Reproduction: Is It Right for You?

For many individuals, their path to parenthood is with the utilization of a third-party donor; whether, it be with donor oocytes/eggs or donor sperm or a surrogate or a combination of. Gateway to Parenthood 2017 was blessed to have had an individual that personally knows the emotional and physical impacts the use of third-party reproduction has present on this very personal topic, Heidi Hayes.  Because of Heidi’s personal story and journey, she helped to develop North America’s premier frozen donor egg bank, Donor Egg Bank USA and today, Donor Egg Bank USA is part of the California Cryobank family.  Heidi presented on the different aspects of the use of donor oocytes and the considerations intended parents such have. Her presentation was to a nearly capacity audience and is sure to assist numerous future intended parents in their journey to parenthood.

Selecting a Patient Centered Care Center

Lynn Lee, RN, BSN from Huntsville Hospital System, returned for a second year to Gateway to Parenthood. Lynn is the current clinical manager of patient experience at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama.  Using her experience in day-to-day operations at Huntsville Hospital, Lynn presented on the all-important topic of finding a care center that is patient centered and focused.

Do We Need a Lawyer? The Legal Steps to Parentage in Third-Party Assisted Reproduction

Lawyer Tim Schlesinger is a member of the executive council of the American Bar Association (Family Law Section) Assisted Reproductive Technologies Committee. He has vast experience and knowledge regarding the legal steps required for Parentage in Third-Party Assisted Reproduction.  Following Heidi Haye’s presentation on considerations of Third-Party Reproduction, Tim presented specially on the legal aspects; a topic often initially overlooked. Tim’s presentation was packed full of information and insight and became very interactive with the audience as multiple questions and answers occurred.

Understanding PCOS: From Fertility Care to General Management

Dr. Mira Aubuchon joined MCRM Fertility in 2016 after several years at the University of Missouri, Columbia.  Dr. Aubuchon is a fertility specialist with a focus on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS affects up to 10% of women so this topic was especially important. Dr. Aubuchon explained how the disease may be managed for both fertility treatment and for everyday purposes.

The Importance of Sperm in Healthy Pregnancy Outcomes

Gateway to Parenthood 2017 had several impactful presenters including Dr. Douglas Carrell of the University of Utah Health Care system.  Dr. Carrell is the current president of the Society of Male Reproduction and Urology and is on the board of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).  Dr. Carrell has authored more than 225 scientific papers and book chapters relative to infertility and specifically the importance of sperm. Dr. Carrell presented on this very topic and shed light on a newly available test that may be utilized to evaluate the health of virility of one’s sperm, the episona seed test.

Promoting Self-Care During Hardship

One of the most laid-back and fun presentations was that of self-help and therapy coach, Justine Froelker and Amazon best-selling author, Lindsay Fischer.  Both, have suffered through infertility and have adopted self-care as a means of overcoming the burden they have had to deal with. Many giggles and laughs were had by those in attendance and the information provided is sure to help others relief stress, relax and push through the tough times.

Improving Male Factor Fertility Potential

Dr. Etai Goldenberg, Urology Consultants, specializes in male reproduction and sexual health, vasectomy reversal, microsurgical varicocele ligation, male factor infertility, medical and surgical correction of erectile dysfunction, prosthetic surgery, Peyronie’s disease, hypogonadism, testosterone supplementation, andrology, male urinary incontinence surgery and general urology. Utilizing his experience, Dr. Goldenberg provided detailed information regarding male factor fertility and ways to improve it.

Improving IVF Outcomes with EmbryoGlue and EmbryoScope

Susie Oliver, an embryologist with nearly 30 years of experience in human reproduction, presented on some advancements in science and technology that are available for patients to utilize with IVF treatment; EmbryoGlue and EmbryoScope.

Optimizing IVF Success with Health Outcomes

One of the most attended topics at ASRM 2016 were those related to pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS). As a result, it was important to share insightful information related to this very topic at Gateway to Parenthood.  One of the nation’s premier labs with regards to this testing, Genesis Genetics (a Cooper Surgical Company), was represented by Aaron Harutunian. Aaron presented what PGS is and how it can assist patients with increased IVF success and healthy outcomes through its use.

The Wizards of Oz: What Happens Behind the Lab Door 

All too often, patients undergoing advanced fertility treatment ask “What takes place in the lab?” This is due to the fact the lab is a secured environment where few are able to enter.

In attempt to provide some transparency, MCRM Fertility lab director, Dr. Doug Gliedt, presented on the processes and procedures that occur behind the door of the lab. The presentation allowed Dr. Gliedt’s fun and easy-going demeanor to come out while at the same time providing useful and insightful information.

Gateway to Parenthood 2017 closed with a very emotional Patient Panel Q&A with panelists: Kristin and Bryan Rachow whom recently completed a successful IVF after several previous failed attempts, Justine Froelker, Lindsay Fischer, Carol Daniel of KMOX radio, and Waiting for Baby Bird blogger, Elisha Kearns.  Many laughs and tears were shared as each panelist described their individual stories, at times full of heart-ache, yet, ending with hope and and uplift.  To conclude the day’s events, several giveaways with tens of thousands of dollars in attendance prizes being awarded including several fertility treatment gift certificates and a complete IVF treatment package.

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