Can fertility be both fun and educational? On June 18th, pregnantish hosted an evening of “Comedy & Real Talk About Fertility”, where CooperGenomics was on the panel, and we accomplished just that!
The event was held at the chic midtown Manhattan HGU Hotel, and despite the torrential downpour of rain, it was a packed house. After umbrellas were tucked away, guests were treated to some cocktails and cheese, and took their seats in the cozy and plush library-setting. Andrea began the evening by welcoming everyone before sharing her own 8-year infertility journey that led her to surrogacy, and the birth of her now six-month-old baby girl. She also treated attendees to a snippet of pregnantish’s new podcast before kicking off the comedy portion of the evening.
The emcee of the stand-up portion was CooperGenomics contributor, Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo, who noted that for this part of the evening, “IVF” would stand for, “I’m Very Funny” as it certainly didn’t stand for, “I’m Very Fertile.” Jay explained that when it comes to infertility, using your sense of humor to get through the emotional roller-coaster of failed cycles, second opinions and ‘practically selling your soul to pay for treatment’ can help not only ease the pain, but keep you sane. Then her husband, stand-up comic Mike Siscoe, took to the stage to discuss the pressure (and humor) of trying to produce a sperm sample. Karen from Hilariously Infertile then shared the two most important rules of a fertility clinic waiting room (1. You don’t talk to anyone in a fertility clinic waiting room and 2. YOU DON’T TALK TO ANYONE IN A FERTILITY CLINIC WAITING ROOM). Final act and headliner, Carole Montgomery, who recently appeared on Showtime, closed the comedy portion of the show by detailing her husband’s obsession with making sure he wore the proper underwear to, “let his boys breathe when we were trying to conceive.”
Following the night’s relatable laughs, pregnantish’s expert panel gave guests advice on topics ranging from unexplained infertility, recurrent implantation failure, what to do if you’re unsure about next steps, the latest developments in genetic testing, and to how to keep relationships intact.
The audience heard from experts Dr. Serena Chen from IRMS Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Jenna Miller, Certified Genetic Counselor and Clinical Science Liaison at CooperSurgical Fertility and Genomic Solutions, and founder of pregnantish, Andrea Syrtash. The conversation was moderated by Janet Manley, the Deputy Editor of Romper.
This part of the event was certainly the most in-depth as many guests were interested in learning more about both mosaic embryos and recurrent implantation failure. Jenna Miller spoke on the role of a genetic counselor, and how endometrial receptivity testing (like CooperGenomics’ ERPeak), can provide insight on the optimal time to transfer an embryo during an IVF cycle. Miller noted that while a genetic counselor will provide an explanation for test results and help to answer patient questions, they cannot directly advise on how to proceed; patients should speak to their primary care team regarding the outcome of all test results to develop a care plan appropriate for their test results.
“When it comes to transferring mosaic embryos, it can depend on the patient’s own experience and what other options they have.” Miller explained. “Some factors like the availability of a patient’s own euploid embryos, instances of miscarriage, how their partner feels, or what their doctor may recommend may influence how they proceed with information they’ve received from genetic testing.”
Dr. Chen also stressed that age and fertility can come into play when it comes to both egg quality and genetic concerns as it relates to embryos. She explained that even if you have had a child, with each subsequent child, you are older, and fertility naturally declines with age. Therefore, more occurrences of infertility issues, miscarriage, and/or genetic disorders are seen in women over 35. As a woman gets close to 40 years old, the risk of having a baby with missing, damaged, or extra chromosomes increases. This is where tests like PGTai are often recommended.
Embryos with the incorrect number of chromosomes (also called aneuploid embryos) typically do not result in a successful pregnancy, or may lead to the birth of a child with a genetic condition or result in a miscarriage. Embryos with the correct number of chromosomes (also called euploid embryos) have a better chance of leading to a successful pregnancy.
In addition, panelists answered audience questions about fertility coverage, advocating for yourself (both for insurance coverage and for your health) and as always, keeping your sense of humor throughout it all.
The whole event ended on a very positive note and all went home with generous signature gift bags, which also included First Response pregnancy tests, phone chargers, CooperGenomics candles, and more info on the companies helping to build modern families. As always, we were grateful to be a part of the conversation; we are thankful to all who attended and to pregnantish for making this event possible.