Egg Freezing: Dr. Kettel on NBC takes “An Inside Look at Freezing Eggs”

(San Diego, California – 11/24/14) Dr. Michael Kettel, a leading fertility expert at the San Diego Fertility Center, recently appeared on NBC to discuss egg freezing as a viable and increasingly accessible fertility preservation option. Egg freezing has been trending in the news recently, with new company benefits at Facebook and Apple now covering this expensive procedure for women.

“[The companies] see it as a way to take care of the women who are on a career hot path.” Says Dr. Kettel.

Up until a few weeks ago, egg freezing was never covered by insurance or company healthcare benefits and required a significant financial investment from women and couples. But with the latest developments in benefit offerings for women – and with many women delaying starting a family until their thirties – things are starting to change.

“We see it all the time.” Says Dr. Kettel. “A week doesn’t go by before a woman will come in and ask about their options.”

Egg freezing is a fairly simple process that is accessible to women of all childbearing ages, although younger women generally have higher success rates due to the age of their ovaries at the time of freezing. To prepare for the egg freezing, Dr. Kettel administers fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs. Then he performs a minor surgical procedure under light anesthesia to retrieve them—there are no incisions and the procedure is over in about 20 minutes. Once frozen, the eggs will last indefinitely.

Dr. Kettel is a leader in the fields of Reproductive Endocrinology and Obstetrics & Gynecology, and is part of an elite group of physicians who is certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director and also has additional expertise in Human Embryology and Andrology. Dr. Kettel is one of the five practicing Reproductive Endocrinologists at San Diego Fertility Center. Dr. Hummel founded the center in the early 1990’s. Dr. Susanna Park, Dr. Sandy Chuan and Dr. Jeffrey Rakoff have joined the center in the last 5 years. The San Diego Fertility Center has locations in Del Mar and Mission Valley, in San Diego County and in Temecula California in Riverside County.

Dr. Kettel and his partners offer a personalized approach to treatment that is built on decades of experience with fertility drugs, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization. Today he is actively involved in clinical research trials that are exploring new ways to enhance success in IVF, ovulation induction and adhesion prevention, and he is also examining preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) as a new system for selecting the best embryos.

Dr. Kettel says that although he started freezing embryos in 1989, the ability to freeze eggs wasn’t possible even five years ago. Now the procedure is readily available, is no longer considered experimental, and saves healthy eggs for an indefinite amount of time. So women today have more options than ever when it comes to starting families on their own terms.

About San Diego Fertility Center
Located in Southern California, San Diego Fertility Center (SDFC) is an internationally recognized fertility treatment center. SDFC’s infertility specialists are named among the top fertility doctors by a variety of publications, and are leaders in IVF (in vitro fertilization), egg donation, egg freezing, ICSI, male infertility and PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis).

SDFC’s passion is to encourage fertility clinic patients to hold on to their dreams by creating miracles every day. They are also committed to offering cutting edge technology in a private and personal environment using intelligence, integrity, and innovation. The center is easily accessible from local communities including La Jolla and Encinitas or points further like Murrieta and Temecula. SDFC also welcomes out-of-state patients and provides fertility tourism and fertility travel accommodations for patients all over the world.

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Dr. Park Discusses Lesbian Family Building and Fertility Options on LezBeMommies Radio

Dr. Susanna Park recently spoke with LezBeMommies Radio and discussed lesbian conception options, including fertility testing, enhancement and treatment. Dr. Park details how she first became interested in the fertility field and what motivated her to make the move from research toward patient care. She explains the challenges that lesbian couples face when building their families and what they can expect during their visit with the San Diego Fertility Center. This can include a medical workup to determine if a fertility issue is present, such as testing the quality of a woman’s egg reserve. If it is clear that a fertility issue will not present difficulty during insemination, the type of insemination that will be used is determined. A lesbian couple can use IUI or IVF with the help of a sperm donor to have a child. If a fertility issue is present, the San Diego Fertility Center offers a range of unique treatment approaches.

You can listen to the Dr. Park’s discussion on LezBeMommies in full here:

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San Diego Fertility Center Featured on NBC 7 San Diego News Discussing Egg Donation

San Diego Fertility Center was featured on the NBC 7 San Diego News to discuss the option of egg donation for couples or individuals struggling with infertility. On average, finding an egg donor can be less expensive than adoption, and the gestational connection for many patients can be invaluable. More and more women are embracing the idea of finding an egg donor to get pregnant.

Jenna Lake, Program Manager at San Diego Fertility Center had a miscarriage at age 36, and decided to go with egg donation, resulting in her wonderful 4-year old son.

Dr. Susanna Park says that women come to San Diego Fertility Center from around the world to receive donor eggs, but it’s something that most people don’t talk about. Dr. Park hopes that more people will be open to discussing egg donation.

“One of the problems with hearing these Hollywood stories is it gives a lot of patients false hope that you can be fertile well into your late 40s and that’s simply not true,” Dr. Park told NBC 7 News.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

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San Diego Fertility Center Welcomes Dr. Susanna Jung-A Park

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) February 13, 2012 – San Diego Fertility Center is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Susanna Park to its fertility care team. She will be joining renowned fertility physicians, Dr. William Hummel and Dr. Michael Kettel, who are recognized among the “Best Doctors in America”.

Dr. Park, formerly with Columbia University, is double board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. After practicing on the east coast for eight years, Dr. Park is bringing her considerable expertise in fertility treatment to San Diego.

Dr. Park is a true citizen of the world. She was born in Seoul, South Korea, and when she was a young child, her family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. After six years in Argentina, she and her family relocated to New York City. As a result of her diverse experiences and upbringing, Dr. Park is able to communicate easily with patients in English, Korean, and Spanish.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the patient experience at our fertility center. In addition to her impressive resume, Dr. Park will help our practice better serve the Spanish and Korean-speaking communities. We are proud to welcome her to our team.” – Dr. Michael Kettel

In New York, Dr. Park attended the competitive Bronx High School of Science. She graduated summa cum laude from Siena College and obtained her medical degree at Albany Medical College. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and her fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Dr. Park is an award-winning clinical researcher, having performed extensive studies in perimenopausal women. She received the Resident Research Award for three consecutive years during her residency, was presented with the Resident Research Award by the New York Obstetrical Society, and was recognized with the Organon Resident Research Award for Outstanding Research in Women’s Health.

“It is an extraordinary privilege to take part in the miracle of childbirth, and I look forward to providing compassionate care to the patients of San Diego Fertility Center. As a female fertility specialist, I hope to bring my unique perspective to a very impressive medical team.” – Dr. Susanna Park

About San Diego Fertility Center

Located in Southern California, San Diego Fertility Center (SDFC) is an internationally recognized fertility treatment center. Named among the top fertility doctors by a variety of publications, SDFC’s infertility specialists are leaders in IVF (in vitro fertilization), egg donation, egg freezing, ICSI, male infertility & PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis).

San Diego Fertility Center is easily accessible from local communities including La Jolla and Encinitas or points further like Murrieta and Temecula. SDFC also welcomes out-of-state patients and provides fertility tourism and fertility travel accommodations for patients all over the world.

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Physicians of SDFC Named among the Nation’s Top Doctors

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) – San Diego Fertility Center specialists, Dr. William Hummel and Dr. Michael Kettel are honored on the prestigious U.S. News & World Report list of ‘Top Doctors’ for 2011.  Physicians are chosen from a wide range of specialties and locations. Out of the thousands of physicians nominated for this award, less than 300 reproductive endocrinologists were recently selected.

Considered to be one of the most competitive ‘Top Doctors’ publications in the nation, the U.S. News & World Report created its list in collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a renowned publisher of consumer health guides and top doctor lists.  To receive this highly acclaimed award, physicians are nominated by their peers and then reviewed by Castle Connolly’s physician-led research team.  The extensive review process takes into consideration medical education, training, administrative experience, achievements and additional credentials.

“At San Diego Fertility Center we are dedicated to providing world-class fertility care for patients through our superior technical expertise and proven successful outcomes. To have been nominated by experts that know the ins and outs of reproductive medicine, and recognized as a ‘Top Doctor’ by Castle Connolly is an absolute honor. ” – Dr. Hummel

Dr. William Hummel has received numerous ‘Top Doctor’ awards, being recognized as one of the ‘Best Doctors in America’.  Board certified since 1990, Dr. Hummel is a pioneer of the blastocyst embryo transfer and egg donation IVF in San Diego. He is an active contributor to various national and international IVF publications as well as a member of the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Dr. Hummel dedicates his life to helping those struggling with infertility, contributing to thousands of births over his career.

“I am delighted that both Dr. Hummel and I were recognized by our peers as ‘Top Doctors,’ and grateful that every day we get the opportunity to help families achieve their dreams.” – Dr. Kettel

Dr. Michael Kettel is a highly accomplished reproductive endocrinologist who has received over $1,000,000 in research grants to explore new procedures that enhance success rates for IVF.  He is triple board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the American Board of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility and the American Board of Bioanalysis.  The recipient of numerous accolades such as ‘Top Doctor’ and academic/teaching awards, Dr. Kettel has contributed to over 100 scientific publications on various topics such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids and ovulatory disorders. Dr. Kettel is also an active member of several medical societies including the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.

About San Diego Fertility Center

Located in Southern California, San Diego Fertility Center (SDFC) is an internationally recognized fertility treatment center. Named among the top fertility doctors by a variety of publications, SDFC’s infertility specialists are leaders in IVF (in vitro fertilization), egg donation, egg freezing, ICSI, male infertility & PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis). San Diego Fertility Center is easily accessible from local communities like La Jolla and Encinitas or points further like Murrieta and Temecula. SDFC also welcomes out-of-state patients and provides fertility tourism and fertility travel accommodations for patients all over the world.

 

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SDFC Ranks Number One for Egg Donation IVF in the United States

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) – November 30, 2011-  In the newly released Fertilitysuccessrates.com reports for 2009 birth rates, San Diego Fertility Center has the number one live birth rate in the nation for egg donation. “To be ranked among the nation’s leading IVF centers is extremely gratifying, but to learn that our center has the number one live birth rate for egg donation in the nation is a special honor.  We hope that our success will give those struggling with infertility a renewed sense of optimism.” – Lisa Van Dolah, CEO & Administrator, San Diego Fertility Center

The latest data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reveals that San Diego Fertility Center has an astounding 85.1% live birth rate.  This is 30% higher than the national average of 55.1% for egg donation with fresh embryos. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) is one of the most widely trusted resources for IVF data in the nation. SART works in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to collect and validate information from infertility clinics annually. SART provides valuable information and resources to intended parents.

For many families the cost of fertility treatment is extremely burdensome and the prospect of a failed or repeat donor cycle renders this journey even more daunting. Naturally, many are very focused on success rates when choosing fertility center or clinic. While previous success rates are not a guarantee of future positive outcomes, San Diego Fertility Center has clearly established itself as the leader in successful outcomes for egg donation with fresh and frozen egg donor embryos.

San Diego Fertility Center offers several popular success guarantee plans to further reduce the financial uncertainty associated with fertility treatment. The ‘Egg Donor IVF Success Guarantee Plan’ promises treatment at a fixed cost, based on the principle of mutual commitment. If a patient does not achieve a live birth after completing a treatment cycle, they are reimbursed up to 100% of the cycle fee.  A number of additional benefits are available to success guarantee plan participants, making the cost of treatment more predictable and manageable.

With the number one live birth rate for egg donation with fresh embryos in the United States and financial options that further reduce uncertainty, it’s easy to see why San Diego Fertility Center is a leading international destination for egg donation and other fertility treatments.

About San Diego Fertility Center

Located in Southern California, San Diego Fertility Center is an internationally recognized fertility treatment center. Named among the top fertility doctors by a variety of publications, SDFC’s infertility specialists are leaders in IVF (in vitro fertilization), egg donation, egg freezing, ICSI, male infertility & PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis). San Diego Fertility Center is easily accessible from local communities like La Jolla and Encinitas or points further like Murrieta and Temecula. SDFC also welcomes out-of-state patients and provides fertility tourism and fertility travel accommodations for patients all over the world.

For more information about San Diego Fertility Center, visit: http://www.sdfertility.com
To view San Diego Fertility Center’s IVF data, visit: http://www.sdfertility.com/cdc_success_rates.htm

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The Importance of SDFC’s Friends Program

Infertility is a medical condition that impacts every aspect of a person’s life. This challenging condition affects one’s self-esteem and influences one’s relationships with others. Therefore, emotional support during fertility treatment is extremely important. In order to address these concerns, San Diego Fertility Center created a peer-support program called “Friends”, in which fellow veterans of infertility share practical advice and provide an insider’s perspective of various fertility treatments, and their subsequent resolution. This support program is valuable for our patients because “Friends” offer empathy, support and encouragement that helps patients to make the best decisions for their family. Our referral network consists of former and current patients who have undergone one or more treatments including IVF, IUI, egg donation, surrogacy laparoscopy and hysteroscopy, and more.

We are always recruiting new volunteers who want to become “Friends” to our patients. The contact between the individuals is completely anonymous and is frequently conducted via phone or email. If you are interested in finding a “Friend” or becoming a “Friend”, please contact our program coordinator Shannon Kokjohn at media@sdfertility.com.

 

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When does SDFC recommend Assisted Hatching?

Assisted Hatching (AH) is a process in which we can create a small opening in the shell (zona pellucida) that surrounds each embryo. The embryo needs to “hatch” out of this shell in order to implant, so we like to help by performing AH. SDFC is unique in that we perform this process using a specialized laser technique, which is highly specific and does not harm the embryo in any way. We typically recommend AH in the following circumstances, as well as in some other cases:

Previous failed IVF
Women who are 38 or older
Eggs that have a thickened or pigmented zona pellucida
Frozen embryos

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Standard vs. ICSI Insemination

After oocytes are retrieved during in vitro fertilization, there are two main insemination techniques. One is standard insemination, where the sperm and eggs are cultured together in a dish, and the sperm must penetrate the egg on their own, similar to natural insemination. The other way is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where the sperm are individually selected and placed inside the egg. There are many reasons why SDFC’s reproductive endocrinologists and embryologists would recommend one or the other.

The first tool that is used to assess and create an insemination plan is the semen analysis. Many sperm quality parameters are checked in a semen analysis, but the concentration, motility, and morphology are most important when recommending an insemination plan.  Drs Hummel and Kettel typically recommend standard insemination if these three factors are within normal limits. If any of these parameters are low, ICSI is the recommended treatment. This is because semen samples with a low quantity of sperm cells, motile sperm, or sperm normal in appearance may not be able to adequately penetrate and inseminate oocytes. With ICSI, patients with male factor can be assured that the sperm are placed inside the egg, and then it is up to them to fertilize!

The second method is based upon oocyte quality. Oocytes are surrounded by a protein shell, called the zona pellucida. Women who have lower quality oocytes, or who are considered advanced maternal age, typically have a hardened or pigmented zona pellucida. In this case, even a good quality sperm sample may have difficulty penetrating this hardened shell without the assistance of ICSI.  Another important point regarding oocytes is their maturity. The maturity of the egg is important because it is those eggs that have the ability to be fertilized. Maturity can only be assessed by cleaning the eggs from their cumulus cells, which is only done when ICSI is to be performed. When the oocytes are to undergo standard insemination, the cumulus is not cleaned because these cells aid in the penetration process, and therefore, maturity is unknown. This is another consideration when deciding between standard and ICSI insemination. If oocyte maturity is thought to be low, or has been low in previous cycles, ICSI may be recommended.

The third assessment tool is patient history. When a patient has undergone IVF previously, fertilization results are an obvious indicator of how to proceed in a future cycle. Also, if a patient has conceived through intrauterine insemination, or even on their own, it is a clue that the sperm and eggs “have what it takes” to undergo standard insemination.

All of these assessment methods give clues to San Diego Fertility Center’s physicians and embryologists on how the sperm and egg will interact. Patients are encouraged to take part in this discussion and understand reasons for the recommended insemination plan, and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

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What is the difference between a Day 3 and a Day 5 Embryo Transfer?

To first answer the question about the differences between a Day 3 and a Day 5 embryo transfer, we need a little reminder from our biology classes.

An embryo begins its growth as a single cell, and then divides every 12-24 hours. By Day 3, it is about 4-8 cells, and is referred to as a multicell embryo. During the early growth of the multicell embryo, all of the energy and chemicals required for cell division come from the mother’s egg. By Day 5, the embryo, now called a blastocyst, is about 70-100 cells. A blastocyst has differentiated and contains two different cell types. The first is called the inner cell mass, which develops into fetal tissue. The second is called the trophoblast or trophoectoderm, and these cells lead to part of the placenta. In order to form a blastocyst, an embryo activates it’s own genes through a process called genomic activation. Genomic activation allows the embryo to produce the energy required for further cell division, differentiation, and blastocyst formation. The ability of an embryo to use it’s own genes and make it’s own energy is not simple. Approximately one third of embryos are capable of successfully activating their genes and growing to the blastocyst stage. This is what makes a blastocyst so special!

When deciding which embryos to transfer, Dr. Hummel, Dr. Kettel and SDFC embryologists are interested in the “best” embryos of the group. The meaning of “best” is different for all patients, because all groups of embryos are unique. Sometimes, the best embryos show themselves right away, while others take a few days. This is why our doctors feel it is important to watch the embryos grow in the lab before making a determination on transfer day.

With a small number of dividing embryos, the best embryos are usually more evident after only a few days in the lab. It is easier to see which two (two will be out number for transfer for the sake of this article) embryos are appropriately dividing, or are the best. Here, it is appropriate to transfer them earlier, because it is known which embryos are the best at an earlier time. The advantage is that the uterine environment may contribute to embryo growth, successful blastocyst development, and implantation, and so our doctors recommend transferring the best embryos on Day 3.

With a larger number of embryos, many of them may be of similar quality after three days, and it is difficult to determine which ones are the best. In this case, it is beneficial to allow the embryos to sort themselves out, and see which two embryos are capable of forming blastocysts. Therefore, Dr. Hummel and Dr. Kettel would recommend a Day 5 transfer. In this case, the advantage is that the physicians know that the embryos they transfer have successfully made blastocysts – a big deal!

 

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