“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” -Oscar Wilde
Once I came to terms with the fact that we were not going to start our family the old fashioned way, I started doing research on fertility clinics in our area. Lucky for us, we live in New York City, and a number of the best fertility centers in the country are just a subway ride away.
What started as research online, eventually led to speaking to some friends who also sought help starting their families. I visited three different fertility centers and had three very different experiences at each. I also sought help through acupuncture and alternative therapies.
Glossary of Terms
Understanding Fertility and Surrogacy terminology can be overwhelming and intimidating. Here is a short list of some of the most common terms you will hear and their definitions*. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you do not understand what your doctor or specialist is referring to. For a complete list of terms visit our full Glossary of Terms page here.
Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”
Reproductive Endocrinologist is an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) who has completed additional training in the form of a 2- or 3-year fellowship in the treatment of infertility (reproductive endocrinology). Upon completion of training, a specialist seeks board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties, which requires successful completion of oral and written exams. Only those physicians who complete the fellowship and pass the exams can become board-certified fertility specialists.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and sperm are handled. In general, ART procedures involve surgically removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries, combining them with sperm in the laboratory, and returning them to the woman’s body or donating them to another woman. They do NOT include treatments in which only sperm are handled (i.e., intrauterine—or artificial—insemination) or procedures in which a woman takes medicine only to stimulate egg production without the intention of having eggs retrieved.
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a reproductive technology in which an egg is removed from a woman, joined with a sperm cell from a man in a test tube (in vitro). The cells fuse to form single cell called a zygote, which then starts dividing, becoming an embryo.
Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization.
For a complete list of terms click here.
*Definitions provided by the World Health Organization, American Pregnancy and the Mayo Clinic.
NYU Fertility Center
One of the best fertility clinics in the country, NYU Fertility Center has a team of well known and respected reproductive endocrinologists. Our doctor, Dr. Nicole Noyes, is the reason that we have our baby boy today. I personally had a poor experience with a staff psychologist when I inquired about counseling to help me through my miscarriages. So, if psychological counseling is necessary, as it eventually was for us since we used a gestational carrier, request to meet with Shelley Lee.
Fifth Avenue Fertility
I am a big believer that we are our own best doctors. Dr. Sami David agrees and he empowers you to be part of a team working to understand your body. The downside to this clinic is that they do not accept insurance, but if you have the ability to go out of network, they will help you bill your insurance provider.
New Hope Fertility Center
Dr. John Zhang at New Hope Fertility specializes in Natural IVF cycles, “Mini-IVF” and “Ultra Mini-IVF” using a minimal amount of drugs to help induce ovulation. Some women are unable to use injectable medications to produce a number of eggs for IVF, because of a health issues (like Kidney Disease or Lupus, etc). New Hope’s clinic is incredibly busy and lacks the personal attention that other clinics have.
I cannot say enough wonderful things about Greenwich Fertility doctors and staff, especially, Dr. Anate Aelion Brauer. Having gone through IVF herself, she is incredibly compassionate and can personally relate to the emotional rollercoaster ride her patients are on. She works with many surrogate couples and is very supportive of both the intended parents and the carrier.
We found CT Fertility through a web search and scheduled a call with them to discuss the possibility of working together. The call with them turned out to be incredibly informative. Even though we knew we would be working with Greenwich Fertility they were very generous with their time and helped to direct us to a number of surrogacy agencies. They helped us get a good understanding of where to start and for that we are very grateful to them.
Acupuncture with Jane Page, M.S., L.Ac.
Jane helped me through the trauma of my first miscarriage-having retained products of conception, two D&C’s and ultimately a hysteroscopy. It was an emotionally and physically difficult time and Jane was a blessing to have in my life. She is a gifted acupuncturist, and a true healer. The initial 2-hour long meetings are an intake session and each subsequent meeting is an hour long. She only sees one patient at a time, so you receive individualized attention. Contact Jane: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fertile Garden Massage | Maya Abdominal Massage with Nicole Kruck
I first read about Maya Abdominal Massage at Jane’s office. I thought that I was a good candidate for it considering my previous surgeries and pregnancies. Nicole is incredibly gentle, kind and funny. I met with her both at the YinOva Center and in her home. She made me feel so comfortable that I even tried the V-Steam a few times! It was awesome. The entire experience really made me feel like a little goddess.
MAM is great if you are trying to get pregnant, to help heal from uterine trauma, pregnancies and surgery, and it is also great for digestive health. Plus, it is relaxing-another important component when trying to get pregnant!
The YinOva Center
The YinOva Center, located in a beautiful spa-like space near Union Square, has a team of acupuncturists and eastern medical doctors. Led by husband/wife team, Jill Blakeway and Noah Rubenstein, the practitioners specialize in acupuncture for fertility and have a great track record. There are many acupuncturists on their team, like Amanda Silver, who are able to give a lot of time and attention to their patients.
Craniosacral Therapy with Katrine Cakuls
What I remember the most about my experience with Craniosacral Therapy was getting massaged on the inside of my mouth! I thought, “Wow, this is pretty awesome, and totally weird, and I have no idea how it relates to my sacrum but let’s go for it!” There definitely is a connection with all parts of our physical body, mind, soul, and I have never felt more calm and “in line” as I did at the end of a craniosacral session. I literally felt completely blissed out and what amazed me the most was how minimal the movements/adjustments are. I almost didn’t feel anything as she was working on me.
And the other great thing about Katrine ….she takes insurance!
**Katrine has recently relocated to London. Her recommendation for a local Craniosacral Therapist is Dr. Stasia Blyskal.
Nutrikon with Feline Kondula Butcher | Nutritional Consultant
Feline works with patients battling many health issues, but her specialty is treating auto-immune disease. She works with patients on their diet and lifestyle choices and she also does heavy metal detoxing and testing, stool sample evaluations and in-depth blood work. She doesn’t prescribe a “one-size-fits-all” plan for her patients. I started out on 6 medications, and since June of 2014, I am down to 2 medications. I feel better than I ever have in my life and I think remission could be in the near future.
I now know just how lucky we were to have my best friend Stephanie carry our son for us. I knew it at the time, but I have a complete new level of appreciation for what she did. I never for a moment thought about whether or not she was the “right” carrier for us. I never once thought about what her idea of healthy is compared to my idea. I never thought about whether or not she eats a balanced diet or takes her essential prenatal vitamins. I just knew. Our experience with Stephanie was a dream come true, so you can imagine my level of expectation when working with an agency and getting matched with a new carrier. Here are a few Surrogacy Agencies that we spoke with.
We were able to meet with Victoria Ferrara and her team in person. I walked into the meeting feeling rather guarded and skeptical, but by the end of the meeting, they made me feel so comfortable that I found myself feeling very excited and ready to sign with them. Ultimately we did sign with them and were told we would most likely be matched within 4-6 months. We were incredibly surprised when we were matched in just 6 weeks time with a lovely couple.
I love that this agency was founded by a woman, Melissa Brisman, who herself used a Gestational Carrier to have her children. She represents so many of us and it’s inspiring to hear her story.
Lotus Blossom Consulting
Mindy, the founder of Lotus Blossom Consulting was described to us as a woman who has many contacts at various clinics and could very quickly get us matched with a carrier.
We had a lovely conversation with Mindy, who shared her own fertility journey with us and how that led her to opening her own Fertility and Surrogacy consulting agency. She was great to speak with and she charges a fraction of a large surrogacy agency, so her services are enticing. However, there was a lot of discussion about matching us with someone within couple of weeks, and I personally felt very uncomfortable with the timeline being the main topic of conversation.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Tony Weschler, MPH
A book about fertility
TCOYF includes an entire online community and teaches you how to chart your cycle and look for signs of ovulation. You can also share your chart with other members and build a great community but it is easy to get obsessed with charting and what every little thing means and doesn’t mean!
The book is wonderful and information and well worth the read!
Making Babies by Jill Blakeway and Dr. Sami David
A book about fertility
Another great and very informative read. Dr. David explores everything from Auto-Immune disorders to Infections as being reasons why one may have difficulty conceiving. It might be worth it to read the book before dropping $800 on your initial consult with him.
In New York, a Push for Compensated Surrogacy.
New York Times, Published February 19, 2014
An article about legislation state by state and what that means for couples and surrogates.
New York Times, Published September 17, 2014
An article pertaining to Minimal-Stimulation In Vitro Fertilization Uses Fewer, Milder Drugs.
Wall Street Journal, Published March 10, 2014
An article featuring on why foreign couples are heading to America for surrogate pregnancies.
New York Times, Published July 5, 2014
Parents with two or three children of one sex may want a child of the opposite sex.
Wall Street Journal, Published August 17, 2015
Is egg freezing technology helping women kiss the mommy track goodbye?
Bloomberg Business, Published April 17, 2004
The FDA revamps the system of how drug companies are required to present the risks of taking medicine during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.
New York Times, Published December 3, 2014
Experts counter notion that having twins is a blessing.
Wall Street Journal, Published April 28, 2014
Insight into the pros and cons of breast feeding.
New York Times, Published by March 4, 2014
Women are financing their fertility success with EggBanxx. Smart women freeze.
PR Web, Published February 24, 2014
Intended Parents need to know where the stand (legally) when they start the process of surrogacy. State-by-state legislation can determine...XXXX.