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Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Blog

ACFS2000 Blog

ACFS Salutes Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriages

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies was founded in 1982 with a commitment to the successful evaluation and treatment of infertility, as well as to the emotional well being of couples and individuals. Some say that infertility cannot be overcome. At Arizona Center for Fertility Studies, we are committed to your vision of having children become a reality. The clinic embraces all patients, regardless of age, marital status and gender preference. What speaks far louder than the words of our commitment to you are the more than 10,000 babies born to our patients. Today, the Center stands at the leading edge of fertility studies and scientific research.


“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”


Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies supports the Leukemia Lymphoma Society

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies supports the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, this year’s Man & Woman of the Year Contestants, and all those whose lives are affected by benign and malignant blood disorders. Click below to learn how you can help and register to join us this Friday night at the Grande Finale event at the Talking Stick resort in Scottsdale.
Please join us in supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) funding of blood cancer therapies by making a donation and/or visiting the online store for Man & Woman of the Year.

Every dollar raised on behalf of a Candidate or Candidate’s Campaign Team Member counts as one vote and the Candidate who gets the most votes/raises the most money is named the Man or Woman of the Year.

Even if you do not have a candidate to support, your donation and/or purchase will be applied to the overall event and will greatly impact LLS’s mission of finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for blood cancer patients!

Remember, your support will help fund the therapies that save lives, not someday but today.

Over the years, support from people like you has been responsible for the blood cancer advancements that have doubled, tripled, and in some cases quadrupled the survival rate for some blood cancers.

Many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients, but are now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers and are in clinical trials for patients with lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. And LLS funded drugs like targeted therapies and immunotherapies are now saving thousands of lives every day.

We really are getting close to our goal of a world without blood cancers!

All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible. Not only will your donation support LLS research, but it also will help support patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services as well.

Please visit our Web site often and spread the word to your friends that they too can help save lives by donating!

On behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere, thank you for your support! For more information about LLS, please visit www.lls.org

For more information about Fertility Preservation, please call ACFS at 480-860-4792. We will be more than happy to answer any of your questions. Please feel free to call or email ([email protected]) at any time or visit our website at www.acfs2000.com

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

I Wrote This Almost 6 years Ago and It Could Not Be More True Today

An infertility practice is more than statistics, procedures, or the latest technological advancement; it is about helping women become pregnant when they want to become pregnant- plain and simple. With the explosion of fertility awareness over the past decades in the medical community and the media, the emphasis has been on what is the best way, the newest technology, the surefire solution (or who’s the best doctor), for getting patients pregnant; which, I feel is missing the point entirely. I tell my patients, getting you pregnant is the easy part. The hard part is staying in the game. That’s because the heart and soul of an infertility practice is the service- not the technology (although that is very important, also). The emotional component of the fertility process is more complex and demanding than any procedure- and that’s the part that’s getting overlooked. While a procedure-centered, rather than a patient-centered, approach could be described as a characteristic flaw of western medicine in general, and certainly not limited to infertility practice, infertility specialists have a unique opportunity to empower women in ways that other physicians do not. It doesn’t matter whether you have a 19 year old who’s never tried to have a baby or a 43 year old who’s spent year after heartbreaking year trying. The despair that comes with not being able to get pregnant is not definable by any one age or situation, which is why I feel as though my job is not, just to help these women get pregnant, but to treat them like I would my sister, my daughter, my best friend. To respect them, but most importantly, to listen, not just to what they are saying, but to what they’re not saying, the silence. It is only by listening and hearing, that you are able to be effective and offer treatment options that are best suited for each individual couple. It is not until you fully understand all the pros and cons of each treatment option, that you can choose the best option. Treatment options are a couple’s choice, not the clinic’s choice. I look forward to meeting and working with you and your partner to achieve a successful outcome.

Follow ACFS on Facebook and please feel to call or email us any time.
Phone: 480-860-4792
Email: [email protected]

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Drop of Life

Drop of Life

He has seen little people through lenses, first minuscule and later, tiny embryos. Doing his best, carrying them gently from dish to dish, refreshing their baths, he watched and cheered their lives.

For a few days they belonged to him, those small ones, or he to them since he was on call in early morning and late at night. They
are so demanding at those stages, needing perfect conditions, warmth.

Confined to droplets, their watery homes, he watched them grow and hoped for their future safety. And later, those who made that journey with him, who made it, were given, somewhat grudgingly, back to their mothers for the growing up.

Seeing them later, out on their own, he would see them all as brilliant gems: babies and children. And to think that just a short time ago, they were his, held lovingly within the shallow ponds of a microscopic world, safe and sound.

April 28, 2010 (Bob McGaughey)

Written by ACFS- IVF Laboratory Director . For more information about ACFS, please feel free to contact us at 480-860-4792 and/or email at [email protected].

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

It’s Official!

My partner, Dr. Shane Lipskind, M.D. passed his oral boards in Reproductivity Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) is now Board Certified in both OB/GYN and REI. Congratulations, Shane from the entire staff at Arizona Center for Fertility Studies. We are so proud of you.

ACFS staff celebrating Dr. Lipskind having taken the oral REI boards. He heard less than a week later that he had passed. Can never have to many celebrations for completing the many years of study and hard work culminating in finishing the REI board exam.

Celebrating again at ACFS office after work. Featured in the picture are Shane Lipskind, M.D. and ACFS Program Coordinator, Gina Caiazza, RN.

View Facebook for pictures of the celebration:


If you would like to learn more about Dr. Lipskind please visit ACFS Medical Team at www.acfs2000.com and/or call him at 480-860-4792.

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Should Postponing Motherhood via “Social Freezing” Be Legally Banned? An Ethical Analysis

Received: 13 March 2014; in revised form: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014

In industrial societies, women increasingly postpone motherhood. While men do not fear a loss of fertility with age, women face the biological boundary of menopause. The freezing of unfertilized eggs can overcome this biological barrier. Due to technical improvements in vitrification, so-called “social freezing” (SF) for healthy women is likely to develop into clinical routine. Controversial ethical debates focus on the risks of the technique for mother and child, the scope of reproductive autonomy, and the medicalization of reproduction. Some criticize the use of the technique in healthy women in general, while others support a legally defined maximum age for women at the time of an embryo transfer after oocyte cryopreservation. Since this represents a serious encroachment on the reproductive autonomy of the affected women, the reasons for and against must be carefully examined. We analyze arguments for and against SF from a gendered ethical perspective. We show that the risk of the cryopreservation of oocytes for mother and future child is minimal and that the autonomy of the women involved is not compromised. The negative ethical evaluation of postponed motherhood is partly due to a biased approach highlighting only the medical risks for the female body without recognizing the potential positive effects for the women involved. In critical accounts, age is associated in an undifferentiated way with morbidity and psychological instability and is thus used in a discriminatory way. We come to the conclusion that age as a predictor of risk in the debate about SF is, from an ethical point of view, an empty concept based on gender stereotypes and discriminatory connotations of aging. A ban on postponing motherhood via SF is not justified.

In our paper, we have examined whether it is ethically justified to prohibit SF in principle, or at least for women above a certain age limit. We have critically examined empirical data and ethical arguments for and against SF. We inquired into the risk and benefits of the technique for the mother and the child. We also addressed whether women’s capacity for self-determination is compromised by social factors and whether SF is the wrong technological answer to what is in fact a social problem. With regard to SF, is it true that, as Karey Harwood holds, “technological solutions to social problems are inadequate and often result in the further oppression of disadvantaged groups” [67]?

Our study has shown that existing data indicate that the process does not entail any significant increase in the risk of a malformation in the child. It also follows from our evaluation that even though the risk of morbidity and mortality in a later pregnancy is increased for the woman, the level of interindividual differences is large. However, further follow-up studies are needed. Yet, as Mertes and Pennings rightly summarize, the procedure of SF itself does not represent a significant danger. The danger is instead that women learn too late of its existence and that as a result their eggs are already aged at the time of freezing [74]. Instead, as Goold and Savulescu stress, the positive aspects of late motherhood like equal participation by women in employment, more time to choose a partner, better financial opportunities for the child and a reduction of genetic risks have to be taken into account [78].

Against the self-determined decision of women in favor of SF, it is argued that women are pressed into making the decision by social conditions and hence are not in a position to decide autonomously. However, even if social expectations attached to the woman’s role play a contributory role in the decision to opt for SF, this is not sufficient to justify a paternalistic prohibition of the technology. Reproductive decisions are not generally taken in a vacuum, but are specifically characterized by the fact that they situate the person concerned in a social context shaped by traditions and expectations. This holds true for women and men alike. The resulting social pressure should not be counteracted by restricting the scope for making decisions. Instead, the decision for or against this technique should be facilitated through information. Anyone who asserts that this technique unnecessarily medicalizes reproduction would have to explain what is intrinsically bad about availing of SF. For the points of criticism adduced in this context concerning elevated risk or meagre utility are not so emphatic that they alone could justify a general prohibition. In a pervasively technologized world, the ideal of natural reproduction can count at best as a personal preference, but not as a moral principle valid for everyone ([88], p. 146).

Critics of SF have argued further that women would postpone having children for selfish reasons and that postponing childbirth represses the fact of the finitude of human life [16,85]. However, this is a sweeping judgment associated with a stereotypical denigration of women’s motives. According to empirical findings, women who fulfill their desire to have children at a relatively advanced age are not a homogeneous group and act on different motives. Though, even an egoistic decision is not per se reprehensible on ethical grounds as long others are not harmed as a result. The desire to procreate and to have a biological child of one’s own is a potentially important element of individual conceptions of life and should be recognized as such.
Thus far, therefore, no cogent arguments have been put forward for a fundamental prohibition of SF. So, are there sufficient reasons for a legally stipulated limit on the age of the woman at the time of the implantation of the embryo in order to prevent women from using this technique at an advanced age? Late pregnancy is in fact associated with increased risks for the woman. However, these vary between individuals and are not generally higher than in the case of other medical interventions in which people are considered to be capable of making an informed decision, such as a sterilization operation. Another reason to limit the age of women would be the risk for the child to be orphaned at a young age [59–61]. This argument from the debate about postmenopausal motherhood has some merit ([89], p. 33). However, as Goold puts it: “If we really thought that having one older parent was problematic, aging men conceiving children with younger women would have received greater censure” ([89], p. 34). Age limits for the reproduction of either men or women should comply with the requirements of justice and reproductive equality. For both men and women, conditions like having a younger partner should be taken into account. This would encourage a case-by-case decision rather than a fixed age limit as Goold in fact proposes ([89], p. 34).

In the debate over late motherhood, a particularly critical view is taken of the risks for the woman and the child. Comparable risks for the child that may result from the advanced age of the father at the time of conception, by contrast, seldom receive mention (e.g., [90,91]) and at any rate are not grounds for a prohibition on late fatherhood. In any case, the proven protective and generally positive aspects of late parenthood should not be overlooked. For little can be deduced from chronological age alone concerning a person’s physical and psychological well-being. In fact, disease, physical fitness, social networking, stable partnership, and life situation play a crucial role in the incidence of complications. Instead, however, when it comes to late motherhood, age is associated in critical accounts in an undifferentiated way with morbidity and psychological instability and is thus used in a discriminatory way. A straightforward medical and ethical evaluation of late motherhood that takes a homogeneous group of “old women” as its point of departure does not do justice to individual variations in life situations. In this respect, age as a predictor of risk in the debate about SF is, from an ethical point of view, an empty concept based on gender stereotypes and discriminatory connotations of aging. Therefore, legal limits for the age of implantation of embryos following oocyte cryopreservation should not be stipulated either.

?Translated by Ciaran Cronin for SocioTrans—Social Science Translation & Editing Services. We
?are grateful to three anonymous reviewers.

The research presented in this paper is part of Stephanie Bernstein’s dissertation on the ethics of “social freezing” under the supervision of Claudia Wiesemann. Both authors were involved in developing the concept of the paper, writing, and revising it.

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies strongly supports SF (social freezing) and egg vitrification for women of any age that want to preserve their future fertility till the “time is right”. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions.

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Arizona Center For Fertility Studies Receives 2015 Best of Scottsdale Award


Arizona Center For Fertility Studies Receives 2015 Best of Scottsdale Award

Scottsdale Award Program Honors the Achievement

SCOTTSDALE March 4, 2015 — Arizona Center For Fertility Studies has been selected for the 2015 Best of Scottsdale Award in the Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Specialists category by the Scottsdale Award Program. This is the seventh year in a row that ACFS has won this honor. As a result, we have qualified for the Business Hall of Fame.

Each year, the Scottsdale Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Scottsdale area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Scottsdale Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Scottsdale Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Scottsdale Award Program

The Scottsdale Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Scottsdale area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Scottsdale Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Scottsdale Award Program

Scottsdale Award Program
Email: [email protected]
URL: http://www.awardsystem.org

Please visit Arizona Center for Fertility Studies for any questions and/or anything we can do to help you through your journey with fertility issues.

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis for Breast Cancer Risk During IVF Is Feasible, Study Indicates

It is now scientifically feasible to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) during IVF to screen embryos for genes associated with high breast cancer risks, scientists say.

European researchers presented the results of a major study- as yet the largest in this area of research, at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. They conclude that the technique can be used reliably so that men and women who carry cancer-causing mutations in their BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes do not pass them on to their children. Female carriers of a mutation in either gene have a 60 to 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer over their lifetimes, and a risk of 30 to 60 percent (BRCA1) or five to 20 (BRCA2) for ovarian cancer.

The PGD procedure allows doctors to identify which embryos carry these genes, and therefore only implant ones that do not, thereby removing mutations from the family tree.

The study looked at 145 cycles of IVF in 70 couples where one partner carried one of the BRCA mutations. A total of 717 embryos were created for these couples and cultured in-vitro for three days- when they would have comprise eight cells- at which point one cell was extracted and tested for the presence of a BRCA mutation.

Overall, 43 percent of the embryos were affected, while 40 percent did not carry the mutations and were considered viable. Using the unaffected, the couples achieved a 41 percent pregnancy rate, or 42 pregnancies in 40 women in total.

“We now believe that this technique offers an established option for those couples seeking to avoid the risk of inherited BRCA in their children”, said professor William Verpoest, from the Vrije University in Brussels, who presented the study.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr. Stuart Lavery, director of IVF at Hammersmith Hospital in London said that the study, published months earlier in the journal Human Reproduction, was “quite an important paper”. He said that knowing that removing that removing “12.5 percent of the whole genetic mass of the embryo” for testing did not affect the embryo’s viability was “huge reassuring”.

In his presentation, Professor Verpoest recognized the debates on the ethics of using PGD to screen for BRCA mutation. Cancers associated with the BRCA mutations occur late in life and therefore options for treating them are constantly improving. “Controversy will still remain over the ethical acceptability of PGD for a susceptible, yet preventable condition”, he said.

BioNews, London

For more information and/or questions, please email us at www.acfs2000.com

Posted in General ACFS News, IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Support the Family Act Tax Credit to Offset the Costs of IVF Treatments

Dear Fertility Advocates,

Currently there is a bill in the Senate called The Family Act (S 965) and since April 25th a new bill has been introduced in the House that meets all of RESOLVE’s priorities, which includes the Adoption Credit and the Family Act. The Family Act is a tax credit that would help offset the cost of IVF treatments for individuals diagnosed with infertility by a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

There was a lot of representation from the bordering states, such as Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Unfortunately, there was the only one representative from Arizona. As such, we need more voices from Arizona to reach out to our legislators. Below is a list of Senators and Representatives along with the person to be contact and their email addresses. In addition, below is some sample text you can use in an email to these individuals.

Thank you for your time and effort to help your current and future patients,

Senator Jon Kyl – contact Karin Hope at [email protected] and Judith Gheuens at [email protected]

Congressman David Schweikert – contact Cassiopeia Son, Legislative Counsel at [email protected]

Congressman Ben Quayle – contact Rachel Dresen, Legislative Director at [email protected]

The Honorable Ed Pastor – contact Laurie Ellington, Legislative Assistant at [email protected]

Congressman Paul Gosar – contact Sr. Legislative Assistant at [email protected]

Representative Trent Franks – contact Bobby Cornett at [email protected]

Congressman Raul Grijalva – contact Kelsey Mishkin, Legislative Assistant at [email protected]

Sample letter:

Dear Senator/Representative,

Add some information about yourself – your credentials are very important – and why you are contacting them about the Family Act and Adoption Tax Credit…
The disease of infertility affects 7.3 million Americans (1 in 8 couples), medical treatment for infertility is very successful. More than 80% of patients who have access to initial treatments, such as medication or surgery, successfully conceive. However, most Americans do not have insurance coverage for the medical treatment of infertility. The out-of-pocket cost of diagnosis and treatment prevents many people from having access to this care.

The federal tax credit provided by The Family Act (S 965) would help many people who are affected by infertility to build their family; much like the federal Adoption Tax Credit has for many years.

I hope I can count on your support to co-sponsor The Family Act (S 965) as well as the extension of the Adoption Tax Credit (H.R. 4373).

Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Dr. Nemiro or feel free to contact Barbara Collura, Executive Director of RESOLVE, at [email protected]. You may also visit the RESOLVE website at www.resolve.org.

Visit us at www.acfs2000 for more information about this important piece of legislation

Posted in IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Extremely Low AMH Levels Do Not Rule Out In-Vitro Fertilization

Extremely low AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone) is not an absolute contraindication for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Dr. Weghofer, at the Center for Human Reproduction, New York City, presented data at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) showing reasonable pregnancy rates in women with AMH levels

This has also been the experience at ACFS, that women with very low AMH levels, should not automatically be told that their only option is donor eggs; and be given the option of using their own eggs, because we have found that a successful pregnancy is definitively possible with low AMH levels.

For more information about AMH and IVF, please visit us at www.acfs2000.com

Posted in IVF - In Vitro Fertilization