GIVF Fertility eNews
October 2007


World-renowned for its pioneering work in infertility and genetics, GIVF developed or perfected many of the treatments and techniques used today in other centers. 

Worldwide, GIVF is responsible for over 14,000 pregnancies.

Find out how we can help you. Call us today at 800.552.4363.

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Beating the Biological Clock
Maureen Hanton, B.S., R.N., M.P.A.

Fertility Graph

Source: Management of the Infertile Woman by Helen A. Carcio and The Fertility Sourcebook by M. Sara Rosenthal

The biological clock: We've all heard about it, most of us wonder about it and nowdays, a few seem to fly in the face of it. It seems that every time we turn around, a new forty or fifty-something celebrity is pregnant. Their pregnancies give hope to many who are trying to have a baby or who plan to put-off having a baby until later in life. What we don't know is how many of these celebrity moms have used Advanced Reproductive Technologies (including often donor egg) to get pregnant, or how many others are currently trying and are not successful. Unfortunately, this can create a false impression about the real odds for a woman in her late thirties or forties to get pregnant.

The notion of the biological clock is perceived by some to be an outdated and sexist message. It is not fair, it is not politically correct, but it is true: the older women get, the harder it is to become pregnant. The decline in fertility is pronounced past the age of 35 and when a woman reaches 40, the drop is even more drastic. Of course there are exceptions. (Some of us have heard about a woman whose grandmother delivered at 49 or who worked with a woman who unexpectedly got pregnant in her mid-forties.) But these are very much the exceptions, not the rule.

As a nurse who works in the field of infertility, I can say without a doubt that the most upset patients I see are those who never knew the facts about their own fertility, therefore they never had the opportunity to make an informed choice. No one can tell another person when the time is right for her to have a child. As long as you have the facts, you are empowered to make the right choice for yourself.

Here are some of the things my patients wish someone had told them years ago: Putting off pregnancy until your later thirties or forties may make it more difficult to get pregnant or require using aggressive treatment to get pregnant. It may mean you won't be able to conceive using your own eggs. If you have been trying to get pregnant for one year, or 6 months if you are over 35, it is best to see a fertility specialist for evaluation (A fertility specialist is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and the subspecialty of Reproductive Endocrinology.  These highly trained physicians are qualified to treat reproductive disorders in both men and women.) The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more aggressive and costly the treatment becomes.

The good news is that most couples who seek infertility treatment will eventually have a successful pregnancy. And if you think you've missed your window of fertility entirely, donor egg may be the key to fulfilling your dream of motherhood. Donor egg is successful for most women.

You can beat the clock if you know the facts!

What's New at GIVF


NEW DONOR EGG PROGRAM. GIVF now offers an affordable two cycle donor egg multicycle contract for a base fee of $16,800. GIVF also still provides single cycle and Pregnancy Guarantee™ options. Donor fees and certain other charges are not included. For additional information visit or call (888) 834-2229 for an appointment.   


CYCLE IN THE SUMMER™ EXTENDED. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the Cycle in the Summer™ program, GIVF now offers up to two IVF cycles for $11,350 if the first retrieval is performed by December 31, 2007. GIVF still provides single cycle, three cycle multicycle and Pregnancy Guarantee™ IVF options. For additional information go to or call (888) 834-2229 for an appointment.


GIVF SHINES AT INDUSTRY CONFERENCES. Five GIVF professionals are making presentations at the forthcoming annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) national conference. GIVF's chief embryologist, Andy Dorfmann, is presenting papers on acrosome reaction in conjunction with GIVF's joint venture partner in Guangzhou, China and on embryo progression after biopsy from day three to day five following PGD (Andy just returned from chairing a session at the Fourteenth Annual Congress on In Vitro Fertilization in Montreal.) Genetic counselor Shelby Duffer is speaking on prenatal testing and counselor Sarah Zornetzer is conducting a two hour session on assessing genetic risk. Gary Harton, PGD Laboratory Director, will conduct a one day workshop on PGD for IVF practices across the country, and present work on aneuploidy rates in early embryos based on cell state at embryo biopsy. From the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Dr. Brian Mariani will present a robust PGD protocol for Sickle Cell Disease using powerful genotyping technology, with the aim of helping couples who are carriers of the Sickle trait have healthy children. Dr. Harvey Stern is participating in the annual conference of the International Fetoscopy Working Group which this year is being held in Mexico City. Dr. Stern is one of just 35 members elected from around the world to this prestigious group of experts in prenatal testing and diagnosis.





My Story
Jen Frigault
IVF Mother

My name is Jen and my husband Mike and I began our IVF experience in 2002, but our true journey, physically and spiritually, didn't begin until January 2006. As I sat in the doctor's office that January listening to her tell us we had no chance of conceiving without going through IVF my head started spinning and the details of what she was telling us began to blur a bit. How did we get to this place?

Our first daughter (Kayla), was almost too easy to conceive considering that I didn't ovulate on my own and my husband's brush with testicular cancer ten years ago caused a low sperm count. But after two cycles of Clomid® and a trip to Las Vegas for my 30th birthday, my EPT showed two solid lines and the celebration began! So imagine our surprise two years later when we started trying for our second. I knew that I would have to do Clomid® again so off I went, prescription in hand, already daydreaming of the t-shirt I wanted to buy Kayla that said "I am going to be a big sister" that would announce to the world our big news. But the big news didn't come. And so began the emotional roller coaster: the one of denial, depression after each month went by and results came back negative, hopes raised and then lost, imagining all the symptoms you felt each month were a sign that you were pregnant, when in fact you were not.

The Clomid® dosage went up and up, IUI cycles began, and as the questions from well-meaning friends and family started "When are you having another baby?", my depression started to set in. And so after a year, we found ourselves in the doctor's office faced with a decision. IVF had been brought up earlier by our doctors but had been quickly dismissed. In truth, we were frightened by it. The cost, the shots, the monitoring - it all seemed so overwhelming and invasive. But I knew it was time to face it. After long heart-to-hearts we decided to give it three tries and no more. I will never forget the first week - the shot class, the drugs, the instructions and feeling so totally, completely overwhelmed. I cried at the unfairness of it all, then immediately felt guilty because I had a beautiful daughter already. The guilt, the sadness, it was all just so much at times.

The first shot is scary because its unknown, not only the pain of the needle but the pain of knowing this was it, our last "shot" (literally) at having this baby. The feeling you get after you take that first shot and realize it's no big deal at ALL, well for the first time I felt calm. I could do this and with that I gained strength. And so day by day I went through the routine and as we pulled into Annapolis, Maryland one Sunday afternoon for a sun filled day at the docks, I got the call to come in the next morning for egg retrieval. This was it.

After egg retrieval comes the next big decision - how many embryos to put in? We decided on two (we could live with twins, but triplets was not for us), and then the wait. The DREADED two week wait! I went back in for the pregnancy test and felt eerily calm. I remember the song on the radio as I drove away from the IVF office, I remember being in a room of eight people when my cell phone rang and I saw the IVF number on the caller ID. I also remember the exact words that nurse Lauren said. "It worked." The rest, well I can't remember - that day was a fog. I didn't tell anyone all day, wanted to keep the news to myself, almost as if I didn't quite believe it.

As I watched Kayla take off her jacket six weeks after that phone call, and reveal her "I'm going to be a big sister" shirt, I will never forget the screams and cries that my husband Mike's family made - total utter joy. I know that feeling myself each night as I stare down at my baby girl (Izzy) and kiss Kayla goodnight. When people remark how perfect Izzy is, Mike and I always smile at each other and joke that its because she is an IVF baby and they took the very best parts of us and created her.

GIVF Proud to Support WAWF

Genetics & IVF Institute is a proud supporter of Washington Area Women's Foundation, our region's only public foundation devoted to improving the lives of women and girls.

Founded in 1998, Washington Area Women's Foundation has helped improve the lives of over 30,000 women and girls in our region. The foundation helps to build stronger communities by investing in the power of women and girls. Its objective is to engage a broad and diverse network of people and organizations to help women gain access to the tools they need to reach their full potential.

Annually, Washington Area Women's Foundation invests nearly $1 million in women and girls. Through the programs WAWF supports, women have built nearly $3 million in assets, and more than 1,000 have entered higher paying jobs with a career path. One of their Grantee Partners helped 234 women shave more than $115,050 in debt during this year alone. But the work is always one woman, one girl, one family, one community at a time.

Copyright © 2007 Genetics & IVF Institute