The flyer came by my desk one morning: “Planning to Start a Family in 2015 or Beyond?” I am not actively planning for a baby yet but I am sure that I want to be a mother one day, and with all the recent buzz about eggs and fertility, I signed up. When I walked into Sarabeth’s on February 5th, I was greeted by welcoming smiles and elegant decor. I had the time to mingle over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with others who were also curious about all the new ways technology is helping couples start a family.
Dr. Serena H Chen of the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science (IRMS) and Dr. David Keefe of the Fertility Center at NYU Langone were present to share their knowledge and insight on preparing for a family now or in the future.
“One of the most important parts of health is being informed.”
Dr. Serena Chen opened the night with a talk about the first steps couples can take to better their chances of having a healthy baby right now. Dr. Chen highlighted the importance of diet, exercise, and becoming aware of risk factors that could affect the health of your baby. Next, Dr. Chen dedicated one of her slides to what she has found to be some of the most common “misconceptions about conception.” I was fascinated and relieved to learn just how good healthy “swimmers” are at reaching the egg— no need to stand on your head, ladies!
Dr. Chen also shared valuable advice for women who would like to prepare for a baby in the future by freezing their eggs or embryos. In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine declared that egg freezing should no longer be considered an experimental procedure. While egg freezing was initially offered to cancer patients, there are other strong medical indications for egg freezing besides cancer. Dr. Chen described egg freezing as a great option for women and couples delaying pregnancy for any number of reasons; couples who want to get healthy first and women who want to invest more time on their career before starting a family. Whatever the case, Dr. Chen emphasized that women and couples should get informed and meet with a specialist to discuss whether egg freezing may be right for them.
In our next post, we’ll share highlights from Dr. Keefe’s talk– stay tuned! Be sure to follow @CooperGenomics for blog updates.