GIVF Fertility eNews
October 2008


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 18,000 pregnancies.

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

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Why Did I Choose to Be an Egg Donor?

Message from Mary, a former GIVF egg donor 

Why did I choose to be an egg donor? I guess to answer that completely, I have to give you some personal insight into my history with GIVF.

The program was originally suggested to me by a co-worker who thought I'd be a good candidate. Although I didn't know much about GIVF at the time, I was intrigued by the idea of helping someone else achieve what was so second-nature for me.

You see, I already was a mother of two, and although I was prospering, I had been a very young mother. I knew that the career path that I have chosen, more children were out of the question, and honestly, I did not want to have more. I had, however, shared in the pain and agony of a dear couple who tried for years to conceive but ended up adopting. I dare not question God's reasons, however, I knew I could make a difference for other people who desperately wanted to have children. 

I still remember the day I heard one of the GIVF donor egg IVF coordinator's say, "Wow!" as my resting follicles were measured. I didn't really know then what all the excitement was about, but since I am a natural student I quickly educated myself. Resting follicles are the measure of the egg quality and quantity of a woman's ovarian reserve and dictate her remaining fertility potential. (Isn't the Internet a wonderful tool?) The average woman who is a candidate to become an egg donor has 11-12 resting follicles. I had 18 on one side and 19 on the other. I knew then I was meant to be an active egg donor. That was about four years ago.

Today, I can tell you it's not all fun and games. There are highs and lows. Mood swings are prevalent, emotions run high, many visits to the doctor, thousands (it seems) of needle sticks, and NO high impact exercise during cycles! My husband often says I'm a completely different person when I'm cycling.

However, when I come out of that anesthestic-fog and ask the nurses in slurred words, "how did I do?" Their smiles and their next phone call to you make it all worthwhile.

What's New at GIVF

Ervin E. Jones, MD, FACOG, PhD, HCLD, has joined GIVF as Senior Physician and Scientific Director. Dr. Jones was a full professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Yale Infertility program. In addition to seeing new patients, Dr. Jones will lead the effort to apply new technologies to GIVF's clinical practices.
GIVF ANNOUNCES AFFORDABLE SPLIT CYCLE DONOR EGG IVF PROGRAM. Effective September 1, GIVF introduced a new Split Cycle option. A Split Cycle means that two recipient couples are matched with one donor. This allows patients to attempt pregnancy through the use of donor eggs, experience the same high pregnancy rates, but decrease their overall costs. Please ask your GIVF physician if this program is right for you. 
GIVF DONATES IVF CYCLE FOR NATIONAL INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, GIVF has donated an IVF cycle to the From INCIID the Heart program. This program helps couples without insurance or other means to receive donated medical treatment.
GIVF HOLDS COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER LUNCH FOR WASHINGTON AREA WOMEN'S FOUNDATION.  As a supporter of Washington Area Women's Foundation, GIVF is committed to helping The Women's Foundation to expand its work for women and girls in the greater Washington area. At a September 30 luncheon at GIVF headquarters,  guest speakers from the Women's Foundation outlined some of the exciting volunteer opportunities available with The Women's Foundation and its grantee partners.  For more information, visit   
GIVF BLOG. GIVF is now sponsoring a blog, "Fertility Bits," to provide a more frequent and informal discussion about infertility and reproductive issues. For additional information, please visit the blog at
Ask a Question  
There is a lot of information on the internet about different ways to improve your chances of having a girl or boy baby. Do any of these preconception sex selection methods actually work?
Here is the short answer: Except for flow cytometric sperm sorting, there is no pre-conception sex selection method that has been shown to improve the chances of conceiving a baby girl or baby boy. Methods such as "sperm spinning", density gradient separation, dietary modifications, tying off a testicle, abstinence, timing of intercourse, intercourse positions, ancient Chinese lunar calendars, and altering the vaginal pH are just plain ineffective. Claims made by promoters of these pseudoscientific methods are not supported by sound data, are not independently repeatable, and cannot withstand scientific peer review. None of these other methods have been reviewed by the FDA.
After conception takes place, PGD may be used to identify male or female embryos for transfer in an IVF or ICSI cycle. PGD is a very effective post-conception method of sex selection. Before conception, however, there is only one way to make a girl baby: make sure a sperm carrying an X chromosome fertilizes the egg. To make a boy baby, a sperm carrying a Y-chromosome must fertilize the egg. To increase your chances of conceiving a girl baby or boy baby, the percentage of X- or Y-bearing sperm available for fertilization must be skewed away from the normal 50:50 so that a meaningfully increased percentage of the sperm are carrying the desired sex chromosome (X or Y). The only way to meaningfully increase the percentage of X- or Y-bearing sperm is by flow cytometric sorting of the sperm using MicroSort®. The other methods mentioned above are fine ways to spend time and money to achieve an outcome that would have occurred anyway: a 50:50 chance of conceiving a girl or a boy.
When is it Time to See a Fertility Specialist?
Laurence C. Udoff, MD, FACOG
Dr. UdoffThough on the surface one would think this is a simple question, the answer is actually a bit complicated. In fact, it is very likely that many physicians who aren't specialists in fertility care are not aware of the most recent recommendations from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The answer to the question really depends on the patient's individual situation and specific concerns.
In most situations infertility is diagnosed if a couple has been unable to conceive after one year of regular unprotected intercourse. It is important to note that this definition does not imply that the couple is using any special monitoring or testing to time intercourse. This is a frequent point of confusion, since most practitioners start the patient encounter by asking. "How long have you been trying?". Actually, a better question would be. "How long have you been having unprotected intercourse?". If the answer is twelve months or more, it is time at least to discuss your fertility with your primary care doctor/-Ob/Gyn or a fertility specialist.

If you are over age thirty-five, the answer is different. In a Practice Committee Report dated June 2008*, the ASRM stated that "Earlier evaluation and treatment . . . is warranted after six months for women over age thirty-five years." Though in practice many clinicians have been taking this approach, this official recommendation from ASRM should improve the uniformity of care.
The ASRM report also notes that earlier evaluation and treatment may be justified based on medical history and physical exam. For instance, if a couple is known to have a medical problem that will make it unlikely for them to conceive, no waiting is required. Examples would include chronic anovulation (patient rarely, if ever, ovulates), known or suspected tubal disease (e.g. previous history of pelvic inflammatory disease or ectopic/tubal pregnancy), known or suspected sperm problems (e.g. history of testicular surgery), exposure to substances toxic to eggs or sperm (e.g. chemotherapy) and findings on physical exam suggesting a hormonal imbalance or an anatomical abnormality involving the reproductive system.
Lastly, the ASRM report notes that patients who experience two or more pregnancy losses should be seen to determine if a specific evaluation is warranted. A pregnancy is specifically defined as an ultrasound that documents a pregnancy in the uterus, or tissue passed from the uterus that is found to represent a pregnancy.
In general, anyone who has concerns about their fertility should feel free to discuss their concerns with their primary care provider. Most fertility clinics (GIVF included) are happy to discuss a specific situation to help determine if consultation is warranted.
*Definitions of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. Practice Committee Report. Fertility and Sterility. Vol 89, No.6, June 2008.

Copyright © 2008 Genetics & IVF Institute