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IVF Archives - Blog - Empowered IVF

Facebook, Apple & Egg Freezing: Self-serving Corporate Strategy or Supportive Gesture Toward Women?

Lab technicianThe recent announcements by Facebook and Apple that they would be offering their female employees financial support for egg freezing by way of a health benefit set off an odd response, in my opinion. Many people reacted with outrage and cynicism; it must be a self-serving corporate strategy designed to keep women focused on the demands of the workplace so they would not be distracted by the responsibilities of motherhood, they said.

I did not share that reaction, which felt to me like a “rush to judgment”. Before drawing any conclusion, I believe the public must view this new employee benefit through a wider lens, in the context of all of the benefits Facebook and Apple offer to their employees, with a particular focus on benefits that relate to reproduction, maternity, paternity, adoption and childcare. How could anyone reasonably conclude that these corporations have engaged in an evil conspiracy against women in the workplace, without first asking if they have a history of demonstrating, through their employee benefit policies, that they are supportive of their employees’ efforts to balance the demands of the workplace with the demands of family building? Before we react with outrage, don’t we have an obligation to determine whether, in addition to offering this new egg freezing benefit, they also offer benefits that provide financial assistance to employees who want children immediately or already have them? For example, do they provide health benefit plans that cover the significant cost of in-vitro fertilization for employees who are struggling with infertility or who are gay and require assisted reproduction to have children who are genetically related to them? Will their health benefit plans cover the cost of IVF for employees who have frozen their eggs with the company’s financial support? (I certainly hope so, since a woman’s frozen eggs will be of no use to her if the IVF procedure, which is required to use them, is beyond her financial reach.) Do Facebook and Apple provide drug plans that cover the cost of the expensive fertility drugs, which are required for IVF? Do they have policies in place to help employees with the cost of adopting? Do they offer paid maternity and parental leave to their employees upon the birth or adoption of a baby, more generous than the leaves they are required to provide by law? What kind of benefits do they offer to women who experience pre-birth complications? Do they offer an on-site childcare option?

I believe it is only once these questions are asked and answered that we can properly evaluate the motivation behind Facebook’s and Apple’s recent gestures relating to egg freezing. If we learn that their health benefits reflect a corporate culture that embraces family, I don’t see how anyone can justify the cynical reaction that exploded in the media and on the Internet. I, for one, will choose to view this new benefit as a supportive gesture toward women and an effort on the part of Facebook and Apple to ensure that their health benefits are in step with the rapidly developing world of reproductive technology in which the experimental label was only recently removed from egg freezing.

“Thoughts on Choosing a Fertility Doctor” New Blog Post on Own the Process with Empowered IVF™ at Fertility Authority

Check out the latest post on my blog Own the Process with Empowered IVF™ at Fertility Authority: “Thoughts on Choosing a Fertility Doctor” http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blog/rhonda-levy/2014/4/16/thoughts-choosing-fertility-doctor

Why I Believe in Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS)

pgs-imgIn a high quality fertility clinic, the most common reason why in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles fail is because the transferred embryos were aneuploid (chromosomally abnormal). The likelihood that this is the failure’s cause increases dramatically with the female partner’s age.

However, when a patient does IVF without pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGS) and the cycle fails, it is impossible for the physician to offer a precise reason for the cycle’s failure and, any reason offered is, in reality, speculation. Many of my clients have expressed frustration in response to their physicians’ inability to explain why their IVF cycles have failed. Read More

“How One of My Dearest Friends Told Me She Was Pregnant”: New Blog Post on “Own the Process With Empowered IVF™” on Fertility Authority

Check out my new post on my blog on Fertility Authority, Own the Process With Empowered IVF™:”How One of My Dearest Friends Told Me She Was Pregnant”  http://www.fertilityauthority.com/blog/rhonda-levy/2014/3/27/how-one-my-dearest-friends-told-me-she-was-pregnant

Still Not Pregnant? Time For a Second Opinion!

Doctor ConsultationKnowing When the Time is Right

If you’ve been a patient at a fertility clinic for some time and have not yet become pregnant, it is likely time for you to get a second opinion. Fertility clinics diverge in their cultures and attitudes, their approaches to treatment, and their ability to help patients achieve their goal of becoming parents. Changing your focus can often mean the difference between whether you will or will not have a baby.

Remember That You Have a Professional Relationship With Your Doctor

That said, if you are feeling reluctant, I can understand why. Many of the fertility doctors I know are kind, compassionate and sincere people who are deeply invested in helping their patients become parents. You may feel a strong sense of gratitude for the care and devotion you have received and not want to seem ungrateful for the efforts that have been made on your behalf. I sympathize completely, but you must not lose sight of the fact that your relationship with your doctor is a professional one. It is important that you not allow a fear of “insulting” your doctor prevent you from owning the process and taking “smart” steps in your quest to form your family. The stakes are high and this must remain at the forefront of your decision-making process at all times. Read More

Why I Felt Oddly Proud & Lucky When I Used IVF to Build my Family

Touch of loveWhen I used IVF to build my family I felt oddly proud and lucky; proud that while having a baby was so easy (and fun) for most others, I was willing to endure the needles, blood draws and stirrups to have a baby if I had to; proud that I would not (could not) give up until I did; lucky that although I did not have insurance coverage for IVF, I was able to find a way to pay for 5 IVFs (believe me, it was not easy); and lucky that I had (and still have) a husband who felt with every cell in his body believed that any challenge we faced in life was a challenge we would face together.

In fact, more than 18 years later I still feel so proud that I talk about how I had my children with pretty much anyone who will listen, although I am careful to ensure that my disclosures are appropriate in terms audience, time and place. Often this has led to an opportunity to help my social companion, his or her family member, friend or co-worker.  Read More

Empowered IVF™’s Rhonda Levy Featured Blogger at Fertility Authority

We are pleased to announce Rhonda Levy is a featured blogger at Fertility Authority. Her blog, Own the Process with Empowered IVF™, is now live and the first post “5 Vitally Important Things to Know About Using a U.S. Surrogate” is available here.

In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) With Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) Helps Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Patients Reduce Risk of Additional Miscarriages

The world of reproductive medicine has always been filled with conflicting opinions and fascinating debate. One debate that is at the forefront at the moment relates to the subject of pre-implantation genetic screening, also referred to as PGS. PGS involves the analysis of cells of the embryo to ensure that the embryo has 46 chromosomes and not a different number. It was developed to enable embryologists to identify chromosomally normal (euploid) embryos for uterine transfer in an IVF cycle because only they can become healthy babies.

Points of view vary clinic to clinic about the appropriate usage of PGS in the IVF process. The lack of a consistent viewpoint has been a source of stress, complicating the decision-making process for the patient using IVF, which is already fraught with anxiety. Read More

How Not to Choose A Fertility Clinic and Why

If you need help from a fertility clinic to become a parent, these are several basic facts you must be aware of before you choose one:

  • There is an overwhelming number of fertility clinics to choose from in North America. In the United States, there are more than 450. In Canada, there are more than 60.
  • Fertility clinics vary in quality and in their ability to help you have a baby.
  • Your choice of clinic can impact whether or not you will have a baby at all, and how much you will endure physically, emotionally and financially in the process. Read More
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