This is Infertility: Episode 23

Heather Huhman: How She Beat Infertility

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Heather Huhman and her husband struggled with infertility for years, enduring trauma after trauma, until finally they met their daughter, Aurora. But Heather wanted some good to come out of her pain, so she has dedicated herself fulltime to helping others via her twice a week podcast, Beat Infertility. In this episode, we will hear about her struggle, how she got through it, and learn why she says her podcast gave her the hope and perspective she needed to carry on. Today’s host is Janelle Branch, Patient Care Advocate at Progyny.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-23

This is Infertility: Episode 22

Kristin Smith: Bridging Oncology and Fertility

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Oncofertility Series – Part 4 of 4. Kristin Smith is the Program Manager for Fertility Preservation at Northwestern Medicine and the Oncofertility Consortium. In the final episode of our oncofertility series we hear how Kristin helps patients navigate their treatment between their oncology team and their reproductive endocrinology team. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-22

This is Infertility: Episode 21

Megan Connolly: The Hope Fertility Preservation Can Bring

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Oncofertility Series – Part 3 of 4. When Megan Connolly was 19, her whole world stopped, and she entered a fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer threatened not only her life, but a lifelong dream of becoming a mother. In today’s episode, we hear how Megan beat cancer (twice!) and with the help of patient navigator Kristin Smith of the Oncofertility Consortium, preserved her fertility. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-21

Infertility & the Workplace: How to Deal in the 9-5

Expert Interview Series: E10

Infertility is a hard-enough issue to deal with in private, but it can be doubly difficult to navigate in public –– especially at work. Join host, Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai as she talks to Jennifer Willey, Founder and CEO at Wet Cement, Gender Equality Expert and Keynote Speaker. They discuss everything from creating professional flexibility, to who to confide in and how much to disclose at work.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

This is Infertility: Episode 20

Amanda Rice: The Barrier of Not Being Infertile…Yet

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Oncofertility Series – Part 2 of 4. When Amanda Rice was diagnosed with breast cancer her doctors recommended an aggressive treatment protocol that would potentially threaten her fertility. She had some infertility health insurance but when she called the insurance company she found that they had illogical barriers that excluded her from coverage for fertility preservation. Now, a cancer survivor, Amanda has created Chick Mission, a non-profit organization relentlessly focused on critical issues unique to cancer patients – including fertility challenges that may follow after surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and drug treatment. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-20

This is Infertility: Episode 19

Joyce Reinecke: There Was No Checklist

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Oncofertility Series – Part 1 of 4. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we are dedicating four episodes to oncofertility – the subfield of medicine that bridges oncology and reproductive research to explore and expand options for the reproductive future of cancer survivors. In today’s episode, we hear from Joyce Reinecke, who survived cancer, preserved her fertility, and is now dedicated to helping others do the same through her work with the Alliance for Fertility Preservation. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, VP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-19

This is Infertility: Episode 18

Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Causes, Treatments, & Future

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and this is the second of two episodes dedicated to Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. In this episode Dr. Zev Williams, Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Columbia University Fertility Center, takes us on a deep dive into the causes, treatments, and even the future of this devastating condition.

Today’s Host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny. Guests include Dr. Zev Williams of Columbia University Fertility Center.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-18/

American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2018

Focus on the Next Generation

We are thrilled to be attending the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Scientific Congress & Expo in Denver, Colorado next week. The conference will feature the latest advancements in reproductive medicine, panels, and workshops from experts in the field, and information from exhibitors –– including us! We are excited to share our insights and learn about developments in the fertility field.

Come by and see us at Booth 1112!

This is Infertility: Episode 17

Emily Simpson: A Real Housewife’s Story of Loss

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Emily Simpson, of the Real Housewives of Orange County, had no difficulty getting pregnant, but she did have difficulty staying pregnant. She and her husband Shane suffered 6 devastating losses before finding their way through with an extremely generous gift from Emily’s sister. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, so we are dedicating two episodes to a condition called Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. This is episode one.

Today’s Host is Taylor Burbach, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny. Guests include Emily Simpson and Dr. Lora Shahine of Pacific NW Fertility.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-17/

 

This is Infertility: Episode 16

Jason and Alvin: Building Equity in Equality

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Jason Rudman and his husband Alvin utilized a gestational surrogate to start their family, and then, two years later, utilized another one to continue their family. Along the way, Jason used his voice to change his employer’s paternity leave policy and ended up helping more than just his immediate family.

Today’s host is Salaia DaCruz, Sr. Account Manager at Progyny. Guests include Jason Rudman.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-16/

The National Business Group On Health’s Workforce Strategy Conference

The Future of Work Life & Health

We are glad to participate in National Business Group on Health’s Workforce Strategy Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this week. Workforce Strategy includes collaborative sessions and diverse speakers that are identifying revolutionary ways to engage employees and maximize their employees’ productivity, health, and well-being. As the leading fertility benefits provider, we are proud to participate in this innovative event.

Attending? Stop by and see us at Booth B4!

Benefits Forum & Expo

Health Care & Beyond: Benefits That Matter

We are excited to participate in ebn Benefits Forum & Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana. Speakers from the nation’s top employers will discuss diverse perks from comprehensive paid leave policies, caregiving, and fertility benefits, to student loan repayment and financial wellness programs. We’re excited to learn more about the benefit strategies, tools, and technologies that they offer their workforce.

Attending? Stop by and see us at Booth 516!

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Continuing Source of Common Misunderstanding

By Dr. Robert Weiss, a fertility specialist at the Fertility Centers of New England and in Progyny’s Provider Network, article in Medium.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an important medical condition that has both metabolic and reproductive impact. PCOS is extremely common and affects one in 10 women of reproductive age; however, various studies put the percentage of impacted women at eight to 13%. Despite its name, PCOS is not primarily a problem in the ovaries but a lack of proper communication between the brain and the ovaries. Insulin resistance or pre-diabetes also seems to play a major role in most cases of PCOS.

This syndrome has been studied for over 75 years and yet some of the causes of the syndrome remain not well understood. Most common presentations are irregular menses and abnormal hair growth, or acne caused by elevated testosterone levels in women. There are many misconceptions about PCOS which I hope to explore in depth here. These are the questions or statements that I commonly hear from my patients with PCOS.

To read the full story, click here.

Emotional Recovery from Loss: How to Move Forward

Expert Interview Series: E9

 Pregnancy loss is an emotionally and physically difficult challenge many individuals and couples face when expanding their family. Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, as she talks to Karin Ajmani, President of Progyny, about her heart-wrenching journey to grow her family. The duo discusses Ajmani’s tumultuous path to parenthood, which included six miscarriages before she welcomed her son through IVF.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

This is Infertility: Episode 15

PCOS & Me: Julie Hunt

Julie Hunt had been a Patient Care Advocate for years, and in that time, she became an expert in all things related to fertility, like PCOS. How could it be that years later, at 27 years old, she discovered that she had PCOS the entire time? In the final episode of our three-part series in honor of PCOS Awareness Month, host Julie Hunt, Business Development Associate at Progyny, discusses her own experience with PCOS, and her winding road to diagnosis with her good friend and colleague Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny.

Today’s Host is Julie Hunt with guest Lissa Kline.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-15/

This is Infertility: Episode 14

PCOS & Awareness: Megan Stewart

When Megan Stewart, founder of the PCOS Awareness Association (PCOSAA), was told to change her outlook on her condition she decided to change the world instead. In the second of the three-part series on PCOS, we hear from Megan who tells us about a traumatic experience that drove her to create the PCOS Awareness Association, how she’s been trying to help others with PCOS, and the different events and resources available.

Today’s host is Julie Hunt, Business Development Associate at Progyny. Guests include Megan Stewart and Dr. Angie Beltsos, VIOS Fertility

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-14/

This is Infertility: Episode 13

PCOS & Fertility: Satoya Foster

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

September is PCOS Awareness Month! Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a frustrating condition that can have symptoms like weight gain, excess hair on the face, stress, anxiety, depression, and…infertility. For this month, we’re doing a three-part series on PCOS. Today we hear from Satoya Foster, Co-Founder of the PCOS Awareness Association, who tells us about when she started experiencing symptoms, her diagnosis, and her infertility struggles.

Today’s host is Julie Hunt, Business Development Associate at Progyny. Guests include Satoya Foster, Dr. Angie Beltsos, VIOS Fertility.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-13/

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can impact your fertility.

Getting To Know: LaShonda

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce LaShonda Mickens, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: LaShonda Mickens

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? 
For the last five years, I’ve supported the program for a healthcare provider and rolled out their fertility program.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
Being able to make an impact on their fertility journey and doing what I can to make the process easier for them.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
Explaining the benefit to members and the excitement they have for it.

What does family mean to you?
The people you can always go to in any situation and feel comfortable speaking with – regardless of the topic.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Support.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I love to solo travel – I went to Cuba by myself!

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Lost in Space.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To be healthier.

Partners and Pregnancy: The Importance of Support

Expert Interview Series: E8

Fertility treatments can take an emotional and physical toll on both partners in the relationship. However, the man’s feelings are frequently overlooked. Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, as she talks to Gretchen Rossi, former cast member of The Real Housewives of Orange County, and her fiancé Slade Smiley about their fertility journey. The duo discusses the various ways that they supported one another during this difficult time.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

 

This is Infertility: Episode 12

#SaytheFword in Action: Finding Hope by Speaking Out

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

So many people just don’t know what to say when they find out that someone in their life is struggling with fertility. Today we hear from Jess Moran, who just started her fertility treatment journey. She has found speaking about her experience has not only helped her through this emotional and frustrating time, but it has also been her most valued resource.  Jess’s story includes Tinder, unexplained infertility, intrauterine insemination, her good friend Johanna, and what really happens when people stop worrying about awkwardness and stigma and start saying the F word. Today’s host is Selena Campbell, Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny. 

Today’s host is Selena Campbell, a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. Guests include Jess Moran and Johanna Lucas.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-12/

This is Infertility: Episode 11

Matt Mira & Doree Shafrir’s Bogus Fertility Journey

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

It’s often crucial for people going through fertility treatments to have an outlet for their emotions. Today’s guests, Matt Mira, and Doree Shafrir have created their own outlet: their hit podcast Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure. Matt is a television writer (ABC’s The Goldbergs) and veteran podcaster, and Doree is an author (Startup), and together they share their story of male factor infertility, unexpected hurdles, and what it’s like to podcast their way through all of it.

Today’s host is LaTisha Maxwell, a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. Guests include Matt Mira, Doree Shafrir, and Dr. Natan Bar-Chama of RMA of NY.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-11/

Getting To Know: Janelle

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Janelle Branch, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Janelle Branch.

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? 
I started out in hospitals doing admission work because my parents had a healthcare background. After I graduated college I worked in the fertility space for nine years and really loved coordinating with the patients. Before I came to Progyny I worked in orthopedics for the Yankees.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
I really like helping members with their journey and providing them with relief. I’m doing work that serves a purpose and the ability to be there for my members means everything.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
When my member said she wanted to name her child after me. That was amazing!

What does family mean to you?
Family is really important to me. I love my kids!! And family is not about blood, it’s the ties that bind you. It’s the people who care about you and the core of who I am is because of my family.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Influential.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I was a professional dancer for many years. I was a NY Knicks City Dancer as well as performed with famous tap dancers like Gregory Hines and Savion Glover.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
The Flash and Supergirl.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To buy a house!

31st Annual In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer Conference

A Comprehensive Update – 2018

We are honored to participate in the 31st Annual In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer Conference. This conference brings together the foremost thought leaders in the fields of IVF and embryo management. Progyny, the leading fertility benefits provider, employs science, technology, and data to provide comprehensive value-based fertility coverage and we look forward to participating in this event.

Will we see you there?

Louise Brown’s Birthday and the Evolution of IVF

Dr. Joseph A. Hill’s, fertility specialist in Progyny’s Provider Network and CEO of Fertility Centers of New England, article in Medium.

Sam Correll and Paul Kellogg, members of the Progyny Network Team, met Louise Brown at MSRi

On July 25, Louise Joy Brown, the first baby born utilizing in vitro fertilization (IVF), turns 40. Louise’s parents, John and Lesley Brown, were referred to Patrick Steptoe, a British Obstetrician and Gynecologist who was an early pioneer of laparoscopic surgery for infertility. Steptoe had partnered in 1966 with Robert Edwards, an English biologist and physiologist with a special interest in human embryology.

To read the full story, click here.

Getting To Know: Parawana

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Parawana Yasmin, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Parawana Yasmin.

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? 
I was pre-med my entire life – from research, volunteering in hospitals, grants, etc. I am currently applying to nursing school – fingers crossed.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
It is so rewarding when at the end of the call the member tells me that what I’ve relayed to them makes sense – because all of this is complex. It makes all the time we spend, from learning the benefit to interacting with our members worth it.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
Realizing the immense support system we have in our supervisory team.

What does family mean to you?
I’m a big believer that family doesn’t have to be blood. It’s genuine love and support you receive from people.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Transparency.

What’s a fun fact about you?
If I never went into pre-med, I would’ve been a chef.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
The Hundred.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To be more active and fit.

This is Infertility: Episode 10

Andrea Syrtash: What it Means to Be Pregnantish

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Dealing with infertility can often feel like you’re living two different lives. One in public, pretending to be ok and go about life as you know it, and one behind the scenes, worrying, waiting, wondering when your dream of having a family will finally come true. Our guest came up with the perfect term that encapsulates this life in limbo: Pregnantish. Andrea Syrtash is a relationship expert, founder, and editor-in-chief of pregnantish.com, and today she’ll share her story of how she stopped focusing on getting pregnant and started focusing on becoming a parent to build the family she always wanted

Today’s host is Dr. Georgia Wikitn, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny. Guests include Andrea Syrtash and Dr. Brad Kolb from HRC Fertility

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-10/

No Neat Stages: Mixed Emotions on Your Fertility Journey

Expert Interview Series: E7

Every fertility journey is an emotional one, and there aren’t any “neat stages.” However, there are ways to cope and move forward. Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, as she discusses the relationship between grief and fertility with Dr. Lina Akopians, M.D. and F.A.C.O.G., and Sahar Sharomi, a fertility nurse, both from Southern California Reproductive Center. The trio discusses the different stages of grief and mixed emotions that you may experience throughout your fertility journey. Most importantly they examine several ways to cope so that these feelings don’t delay your treatment.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

 

Getting To Know: Manuela

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Manuela Henderson, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Manuela Henderson.

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? 
I’ve been working as a Patient Care Manager at a Fertility Center in Spain, coordinating the member service department for international patients. I have never done anything other than fertility and I love it!

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
The interaction with the members and being there for their fertility journey.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
Recently – the moment I got to meet my members for the first time.

What does family mean to you?
Everything!! I’m a mom of two.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Support.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m an IVF triplet!!

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Moana – I only watch Disney movies!

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
Continue with my language studies for French and Chinese. Go and see my family in Europe.

This Is Infertility: Episode 9 Bonus

BONUS: Gretchen & Slade’s Quest for the Right Doctor

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

In the previous episode, you heard about Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley’s fertility journey. In this episode, you’ll hear their hilarious story about how they finally got to their reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Mark Surrey from SCRC

Today’s host is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny. Guests include Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/bonus/

This Is Infertility: Episode 9

Gretchen & Slade: A Second Chance

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

There are many reasons couples go through IVF, and for Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley they first tried IVF because of Slade’s vasectomy, a procedure that keeps the sperm from reaching the seminal fluid. While the idea seemed straight forward, the journey that followed tested their relationship and threatened to bring them to their breaking point. Today’s host is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny.

Today’s host is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny. Guests include Gretchen Rossi, Slade Smiley, and Dr. Mark Surrey from Southern California Reproductive Center

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-9/

Getting To Know: Selena

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Selena Campbell, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Selena Campbell.

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? 
I’ve worked in a genetics lab as a patient liaison and this was my first experience working with patients to ensure they understood what’s needed for a test, how to access it, and the results.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
What I enjoy the most is acting as a support system for our members who have no idea where to start or what to do when it comes to the beginning of their fertility journey.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
One of my members (the first one) telling me she’s pregnant!

What does family mean to you?
Family to me means, having my team and support system. Family isn’t just blood, I consider my closet friends my family because I know I can go to them for anything and everything.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Different.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I was a band dancer in college – shout out to Delaware State University!

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Law & Order SVU.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
My personal goal this year is to visit a few museums that I have had on my visit list for some time now: the main one specifically the National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC!

This Is Infertility: Episode 8

Lindsey & Chrissy: Better Benefits, Clearer Decisions

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

According to a recent study by Reproductive Medicine Associates of NJ, almost 58% of people are forced to forego fertility treatment due to the anticipated financial burden. But what if your employer covered your treatment? We hear from Lindsey and Chrissy Callahan who were eager to start a family when they learned their employer-sponsored inclusive benefit would make their dream of having a child a reality.

Today’s host is Manuela Henderson, a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. Guests include Lindsey & Chrissy Callahan.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-8/

How to Recognize and Manage Chronic Stress (And It’s 6 Main Side Effects)

Dr. Georgia Witkin’s, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, article in Fairygodboss

Stress goes up every time our sense of control goes down. When we can’t predict what’s coming next, our adrenaline climbs and so do our heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. We are ready for “fight” or “flight” — to run from a bear or put out a fire. And then nature expects us to rest and recover.

To read the full story, click here.

Looking Toward a Workplace That’s Truly LGBTQ-Inclusive: What We Still Need

Cassandra Pratt’s, VP of People at Progyny, article in Fairygodboss

Diversity and inclusion programs are on the rise for employers.  But are we addressing everything we need to create a LGBTQ friendly workplace?

To read the full story, click here.

Getting To Know: Marianela

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Marianela Felipe, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Marianela Felipe

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I have over 11 years in healthcare with 5 years in the fertility industry.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
What I enjoy the most about being a Patient Care Advocate is that it’s very personal. I am given the opportunity to be there for my member every step of the way. There is nothing more fulfilling than being able to help someone when they are the most vulnerable.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
The best moment for me was when I got my first member. They were so happy to have someone guiding them throughout the entire process.

What does family mean to you?
Family means everything to me. I am the oldest of 6 children. Being the oldest came with a lot of responsibility, which has made me the person I am today, so I am grateful for my big family.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
How about three! Peace of Mind.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m obsessed with French bulldogs.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
The Sinner.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
My personal goal for this year is to continue traveling. My goal has been to go and experience different cultures. I have been scheduling three trips a year and I’m hoping to add a fourth.

Family Building Strategies for LGBTQ+ Individuals and Couples

Expert Interview Series: E6

Building a family can be challenging for anyone; however, the process can be especially complex for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, as she discusses the various paths to parenthood for this community with Dr. Guy Ringler, from California Fertility Partners, a Board-Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, OB-GYN and Member of the Board of Directors of the American Fertility Association. Witkin and Ringler examine numerous family building options including sperm and egg donation, surrogacy and reciprocal IVF.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

The Truth About Egg Donation

Georgia Witkin’s, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, article in Psychology Today

​​​​Egg donation is a concept many of us may not understand, and our high school biology class may not have been thorough. Let’s review the facts from fiction with a little help from Lissa Kline, LCSW and Director of Member Services at Progyny.

To read the full story, click here.

Looking Toward a Workplace That’s Truly LGBTQ-Inclusive: What We Still Need
Cassandra Pratt’s, VP of People at Progyny, article in Fairygodboss
One of the best ways to achieve greater business success is to have insight from a team that truly reflects a global view. Numerous studies have discussed the benefits of a diverse workforce.  It helps drive innovation and creativity, attracts top talent, and leads to higher employee retention rates.
To read the full story, click here.
This Is Infertility: Episode 7

Family Building & Equality for Same Sex Couples

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Any fertility journey can be complex, but for same-sex couples, there are additional legal and political challenges that vary state by state. We hear from Trystan Reese, a transgender activist who works to ensure that every LGBTQ person has the right and ability to start their own family at Family Equality Council, and Theresa Witherspoon who, with her wife, found their family through reciprocal IVF.

Today’s host is Parawana Yasmin, a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. Guests include Trystan Reese from Family Equality Council and Theresa Witherspoon.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-7/

Getting To Know: Lily

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Lily Xu, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Lily Xu.

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I have an extensive background in fertility with many years spent at a major fertility clinic in New York City.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
I love providing members their benefit and explaining how great it is. I also love the reaction I get from members once they fully understand the benefit.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
My favorite moment is when members cry tears of joy because they’re excited and understand how great their benefit is with Progyny.

What does family mean to you?
It means everything to me! I’m an only child, and I talk to my parents every day.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Encouraging.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I love being adventurous. I went skydiving two years ago but I want to go back.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Friends.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
It wasn’t long ago when I flew out of the country for the first time so my goal is to do an all-around world trip one day.

The 5 Most Common Questions Gynecologists Hear From Their Patients

Dr. Alan Copperman, Medical Director at Progyny and Co-founder of RMA of NY, is featured in an article by Kaitlin Menza for Health.

The article, “The 5 Most Common Questions Gynecologists Hear From Their Patients” breaks down what you need to know before your next OB-GYN appointment.

“Today’s woman is really empowered to show up at a gynecologist or endocrinologist’s office and ask for a reproductive check-up and with a blood test or ultrasound,” says Dr. Copperman. “She can get real, actionable information, and that’s an exciting change in the history of women’s healthcare.”

To read the full story, click here

Why Interpersonal Communication Is Your Most Important Skill

Lissa Kline’s, Director of Member Services at Progyny, LCSW, article in Fairygodboss

We’ve talked about interpersonal communication before. Simply put, it refers to your people skills — the ways in which you communicate with the people in your life, whether those people are your family members, friends or work colleagues. And it’s not all about what you say, but also how you say it — and how well you receive others’ messages, too.

To read the full story, click here.

Not to Be Brief: Protecting Male Fertility

Expert Interview Series: E5

Male factor infertility is the cause of 30% of all infertility cases. Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, as she explores the causes, treatments, and preventions of male factor infertility with Dr. Carolyn Alexander, a board-certified gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist from Southern California Reproductive Center. Witkin and Alexander examine how to address this often-over-looked diagnosis, especially its impact on your mental health.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

 

Reciprocal IVF & CO-MATERNITY

Reciprocal IVF is a fertility treatment process that enables both female partners to be involved in the family building process.

This Is Infertility: Episode 6

Benjie & Jimmy: Becoming Daddy and Papa

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Surrogacy can allow same-sex male couples, or single men, to have a biological child by using the intended parent’s sperm with the assistance of an egg donor and gestational carrier. We hear from Benjie and Jimmy Hyde, who found themselves at a crossroads when their original egg donor was unable to produce embryos.

Today’s host is Justin Alvis, Manager of Member Services, Progyny. Guests include Benjie and Jimmy Hyde, and Shelly Marsh, Marketing Director at Men Having Babies.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-6/

Getting To Know: Taylor

Progyny’s Patient Care Supervisor

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Taylor Burbach, Progyny’s Patient Care Supervisor.

Name: Taylor Burbach.

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I focused on medical anthropology in college, specifically stress and nutritional choices. I also worked as an emergency room scribe for one year in four different locations. My interest in fertility specifically started as a hobby. I first was researching these topics to educate myself and my friends, and now I am recognized as an advocate for menstrual health in my community.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
When I get to share the happy and empowering moments with my members.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
I had a member pursuing fertility treatment and her last-ditch effort was to use a surrogate due to a medical condition. She was devasted and didn’t think she would ever get pregnant. But we talked through her options with Progyny and found out she can pursue this road. She’s over the moon.

What does family mean to you?
My family means everything to me. I grew up in a household full of women and being around them has been inspiring, even now that we live 1000 miles apart.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Empowering.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I am a big evolutionary studies nerd. I was the president of the Evolutionary Studies club in college and I’ve been a member of several academic societies that concentrate on interdisciplinary evolutionary studies.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Dexter.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To travel more.

Depression in the Workplace: 10 Signs It’s Affecting Your Job Performance

Lissa Kline’s, Director of Member Services at Progyny, LCSW, article in Fairygodboss

We all get sad; it’s a normal feeling and reaction to any number of things such as loss, stress or a big life event. For most of us, the sadness is brief, and we are easily able to pull ourselves out of it. For some, sadness can be overwhelming and persistent; it can stick around and interfere with our lives in all ways. For some, sadness isn’t sadness at all but is actually depression.

To read the full story, click here.

THE SURPRISING FACT SHAY MITCHELL NEVER KNEW ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL

Dr. Beth McAvey, fertility specialist in Progyny’s Provider Network and from RMA of NY, is featured in an article by Tehrene Firman for Well+Good.

The article, “The Surprising Fact Shay Mitchell Never Knew About Birth Control” highlights common mistakes when taking the pill.

“There should be no difference in effectiveness of a combined oral contraceptive pill if only two hours has passed. However, certain progestin-only contraceptive pills are less effective with longer elapses,” Dr. McAvey says. “If your birth control pill is a progestin-only pill and more than three hours have elapsed, I would recommend using a backup contraception method for the next several days.”

To read the full story, click here

This Is Infertility: Episode 5

Katie & Hilary: Changing the Plan

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

For same-sex female couples, one of the first decisions to make when you decide to start a family is who will carry the baby. But sometimes those roles don’t turn out as planned. We hear from Katie Acosta and Hilary Smith, a couple who had worked through those details. But when their chosen path didn’t work, they embarked on a new fertility journey called reciprocal IVF.

Today’s host is Melissa Maldonado, Patient Care Supervisor, Progyny. Guests include, Katie Acosta, Hilary Smith, and Dr. Shahin Ghadir from Southern California Reproductive Center (SCRC).  

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-5/

22nd Annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference

Respecting Differences and Standing on Common Ground

We are thrilled to participate in the Conference Board’s 22nd Annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference. This conference will take place on June 7 and 8, 2018 in New York City. “Businesses have a broader responsibility to bring employees together, foster greater mutual understanding and create workplaces that allow everyone to contribute the best of themselves today,” than ever before. Progyny, the leading fertility benefits provider, believes in an inclusive workforce and we look forward to participating in this event.

Attending? Stop by and see us!

Silicon Valley Communications & Engagement Summit 2018

Learn how to attract employees with the best benefits program

We are excited to participate in the Silicon Valley Communications & Engagement Summit 2018. The Summit will take place on the Samsung Campus in Mountain View California on June 6 and 7, 2018. The Silicon Valley Employers Forum (SVEF) is comprised of high-tech employers who make strategic decisions that impact the evolution of global benefits. This summit will highlight a variety of topics, including how to apply marketing thinking and best practices to employee benefits, to attract a diverse workforce.

Attending? We will see you there!

The 2018 Midwest Reproductive Symposium international

The Architecture of IVF Around the Globe

Progyny is honored to participate in the 2018 Midwest Reproductive Symposium international (MRSi) on June 6-9, 2018. This year’s conference takes place at the Drake Hotel in Chicago and the theme is the Architecture of IVF Around the Globe. MRSi is an international meeting attended by physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, scientists, REI Fellows, OB/GYN Residents, as well as business experts from around the world who are highly engaged in the practice of and research in reproductive medicine.

We look forward to seeing the fellows as we discuss Building a Better Benefit on June 7 at 12:00 pm CT.

Attending? Stop by and see us at Booth #24!

Struggling With Fertility? Why Working a 9-to-5 Can Be the Best Thing For You

Georgia Witkin’s, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, article in Fairygodboss

If you’re suffering with infertility, you already know that stress is related to fertility treatments. However, many women believe being stressed contributes to their fertility problems and think the best way to solve it is to leave their high powered or demanding job immediately.

To read the full story, click here.

Metro Women’s Leadership Summit

Discuss Current Issues Faced by Women and Solutions to these Problems

Progyny is excited to announce our participation at the Metro Women’s Leadership Summit “Climbing Redefining the Ladder” on June 1, 2018. This conference brings together leaders and political activities in the fields of health and finance and will take place at the Newark International Airport Marriott.

Attending? Stop by and see Karin Ajmani, President of Progyny, and Dr. Shefali Shastri, RMA of NJ, present at the 2:30pm ET breakout session.

This breakout session will explore the innovative ways that employers can attract, recruit, and retain top talent given the current low unemployment rate in the US. Providing a fertility and family-building benefit can send a strong cultural message to employees and show the public that the company recognizes the importance of its female workforce. Unfortunately, only one in four employers provide any fertility coverage to their employees. In our presentation, we will cover why fertility is a growing issue and how employing an effective fertility benefits program can help save on employer healthcare costs, improve employee productivity, retention and morale, and enable a company to provide its employees the opportunity to build their family.

This Is Infertility: Episode 4

Jenna’s Story: Sooner Than You’d Think

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Age is often the primary factor when it comes to fertility, but what happens when you encounter fertility struggles in your 20’s? We hear from Jenna Marinelli who shares her personal story of early menopause, difficult decisions, and a life without regret.

Today’s host is Taylor Burbach, a Patient Care Supervisor at Progyny. Guests include, Dr. Marcy Maguire is a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, at RMA of NJ, Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development for Progyny. She’s also an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Sciences at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and Director of Psychological Services for RMA of NY and Jenna Marinelli.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-4/

15. Progyny Fertile ground for disruption

Progyny named to the 2018 CNBC Disruptor 50 List

Read More

 

Getting To Know: Tiffany

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Tiffany Reid, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Tiffany Reid

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
My background in healthcare started with my first medical job at Columbia Medical Center in the Orthopedic department. After I left Columbia, I started working at Cornell, in the fertility department for almost two years. From there on I became truly amazed with the fertility world.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
Making my members happy, especially when they’re very grateful for all that you’ve done, and when they get pregnant.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
The people I work with are great and are passionate about what they do.

What does family mean to you?
Being around the ones you love and spending time with you. Creating moments and memories. It can be friends, work – doesn’t necessarily need to be blood related.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Grateful.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I love to travel! Every birthday I pick a new country to travel to with my best friend, whose birthday is two days apart from mine. For this birthday we are going to Antigua.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
This is Us.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To continue to acquire all the necessary skills and experience to become proficient in healthcare, and eventually get a job in healthcare management. Also, to continue to help people.

Join Progyny at the New England Employee Benefits Council 2018 Annual Employee Benefits Summit & Trade Show

Learn how a fertility benefit can attract a strong workforce!

Progyny is excited to exhibit at this year’s New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) 2018 Annual Employee Benefits Summit & Trade Show, taking place in Newton, Massachusetts on May 24, 2018. NEEBC focuses on ways to create an inclusive benefits strategy to draw top tier employees. As the leading fertility benefits provider, we are honored to highlight the ways in which a comprehensive fertility benefit can increase the value of a typical benefits package.

Attending? Stop by and see us at table 17!

Nutrition, Exercise, Self-Care: When Does It Matter for Your Fertility

Expert Interview Series: E4

Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai, as she explores the impact of nutrition, mindfulness, exercise, and self-care on fertility. Witkin discusses these topics with Dr. Serena Chen, Director for the Division of Reproductive Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas, and Jeanne Pettrucci, MS, RDN, founder of Living Plate. Witkin, Chen and Pettrucci investigate some of the myths surrounding diet and fertility and how you can start preparing your mind and body for a baby before you become pregnant.

Sign up & tune into the webinar here:

Getting To Know: Xavier

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Xavier Figueroa, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Xavier Figueroa

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I’ve had 25+ years in healthcare with more than 10 in the fertility and OB/GYN space.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
I’ve seen so many people try to conceive, and as a Patient Care Advocate I enjoy the interaction and ability to provide support and guidance through the process.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
Getting the positive pregnancy news and those baby pictures!

What does family mean to you?
Everything!! Every baby is a new addition to the world and opens a new chapter in a couple’s life.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Helpful.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m a practical joker – I love comedy.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Castle.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To lose weight and get a nice tan this summer!

Pre-Motherhood: Struggling to Conceive

Expert Interview Series: E3

Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai as she discusses the concept of “Pre-Motherhood” with Jenna Marnelli, ovum donation recipient and mother of two. There are many ways to become a mother and Witkin defines the term of “Pre-Motherhood” as the period during which a woman is either interested in or trying to become pregnant. This episode explores stress and infertility, how to keep the joy in your relationship, the fear of miscarriage and how to work during both fertility treatments and pregnancy. This period can be hard to navigate, but Witkin and Marnelli discuss how to take care of yourself during this difficult time.

Sign up & tune into to the webinar here:

Three Women On How Infertility Impacted Their Careers

Karin Ajmani’s, President of Healthcare Services at Progyny, is featured in an article by Lindsay Tigar for Fast Company.

fastcompany.com

The article, “Three Women On How Infertility Impacted Their Careers” shares personal stories from women in the workforce who have struggled with infertility.

“I declined these positions because of intense self-blame, feeling as though I caused my infertility somehow because of my rigorous work schedule and that I needed to put my career on the back burner. I know now that I was wrong on both fronts.”

To read the full story, click here

How to Cope with Mother’s Day When You’re Still Not One

Dr. Georgia Witkin’s, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Article in Psychology Today

No matter how fully you immerse yourself in your work, your marriage, your friendships, your hobbies and every other part of your daily life that gives you feelings of accomplishment or a sense of control while you deal with infertility, Mothers’ Day usually requires special handling.

To read the full story, click here.

Applying for Jobs While Pregnant? Here’s What You Need to Know

Cassandra Pratt’s, VP of People at Progyny, article in Fairygodboss

Congratulations on your pregnancy! So many things will change over the next few months and you may be looking to find a job that fits the changes in your life. Companies are becoming more supportive of their female employees, offering leadership programs to promote gender diversity, fertility benefits, pregnancy care, new parent benefits and some form of a maternity leave policy to promote a family-friendly workplace.

To read the full story, click here.

 

What Happens To Your Body When You Take The Morning After Pill

Dr. Phil Chenette, member of Progyny’s Medical Advisory Board and from Pacific Fertility, is featured in an article by Eva Grant for Bustle.

bustle.com

The Article, “What Happens To Your Body When You Take The Morning After Pill”, highlights the changes your body experiences when having to take emergency contraceptives.

Dr. Philip Chenette, member of Progyny’s Medical Advisory Board, tells Bustle that “ten percent of women experience an unusual menstrual flow after using Plan B.”

To read the full story, click here.

Getting To Know: LaTisha

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce LaTisha Maxwell, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Latisha Maxwell

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I have a background in Women’s Health and for the past 2 years I been in the fertility industry.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
The advocate part – I enjoy that! I love assisting my members.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
My co-workers – it’s a joy coming into work every day.

What does family mean to you?
Family means the world to me. Anyone can become family – doesn’t have to be blood.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Hope.

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m ambidextrous.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Black Panther.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To start Graduate School.

4 Women on What It Was Really Like to Freeze Their Eggs
Dr. Francisco Arredondo, member of Progyny’s Medical Advisory Board and from RMA of Texas and Aspire Fertility, is featured in an article by, Kathleen Mulpeter for Health.com
health.com
The article, “4 Women on What It Was Really Like to Freeze Their Eggs” highlights how the egg freezing process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.
“More women in our society are pursuing professional and personal goals, and therefore delaying the time to build a family,” says Dr. Francisco Arredondo, MD, Medical Advisory Board member. “The egg preservation technology empowers them to be able to pursue both their professional and family dreams.”
To read the full story, click here.
This Is Infertility: Episode 3

SaytheFword: It’s Time to Break the Silence

“This Is Infertility,” a podcast by Progyny, is hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

Fertility is not a dirty word. In January, Celmatix, the next generation women’s health company, launched the #SaytheFword campaign to shatter stigmas and empower women to talk about fertility. It’s time to break the silence and support each other.

Today’s host is Selena Campbell, a Patient Care Advocate at Progyny. Guests include, Karin Ajmani, President at Progyny, Angie Lee, Chief Product Officer at Celmatix, and millennial women in New York City.

 For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-3/

How to Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Lissa Kline’s, Director of Member Services at Progyny, LCSW, article in Fairygodboss

We all know what intelligence is, or at least we know what it’s supposed to be. It’s how well you did on the SATs and whether or not you can remember the southernmost capital in the contiguous US, which incidentally happens to be the capital of Texas (Austin, in case you’re curious). Simply put, it’s your cognitive function.

To read the full story, click here.

 

 

5 things movies get wrong about trying to get pregnant

Dr. Brad Kolb, member of Progyny’s Medical Advisory Board and from HRC, is featured in an article by Lauren Schumacker for Insider

Photo credit: Insider.com

The article, “5 things movies get wrong about trying to get pregnant”, highlights the common facts about trying to conceive that Hollywood seems to overlook.

“Mis-portraying conception as whimsical or simply not accurately portraying the struggles that so many in society face can create barriers for those struggling with their own fertility,” says Dr. Bradford Kolb, Progyny Medical Advisory Board member.

To read the full story, click here.

This Is Infertility: Episode 2

Karin’s Story: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss

Last week we launched “This Is Infertility,” our first podcast. Each episode in this series will be hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

The second episode explores Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines RPL as the occurrence of two or more miscarriages. This condition can be both physically grueling and emotionally devastating. This episode is a conversation between Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny and clinical psychologist and Karin Ajmani, President at Progyny and former fertility patient. Listen as they discuss the unique obstacles presented by RPL and the challenging path that Karin ultimately had to face to expand her family.

For more information about episodes, visit https://progyny.com/podcast/episode-2/

Getting To Know: Mari

A Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Mari Santocildes, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Mari Santocildes

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I have 10 years of fertility background with a focus on Third Party Reproduction- egg donation, surrogacy, and recipient cycles.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
It makes me happy when a new member realizes how amazing their Progyny benefit is after speaking with me. I tell them that in some way, I am their (fertility) person. They know they have a point of contact who will be there for them in their journey.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
My favorite moment is seeing my team all work together for a common goal. I feel supported and management is invested in my development.

What does family mean to you?
Family is everything. You are never alone and they love you unconditionally.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Enlightening

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m a blackbelt in Taekwondo.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Grace and Frankie

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To finally do my first solo travel.

Infertility Awareness

Darla Burns, fertility specialist in Progyny’s Provider Network and from SRM, and Hilary Grandstorm from Microsoft, are featured in an interview by Mark Jovan for King5 News.

To watch the full interview, click here.

 

Send Your Love & Support

Support those going through infertility with an e-card

Infertility is a disease of silence. Although 1 in 8 couples suffer from this disease, few people speak about it. In fact, a recent Celmatix survey reported that “75% of women who are interested in or have undergone fertility treatments have not spoken to their friends about it.”

At Progyny we are fighting to break through the silence and shatter the stigmas around infertility. We understand that this topic can be hard to speak about, particularly when you don’t know how to start the conversation. Luckily, our friends at Celmatix have created e-cards to help with this process. Let the ones you love, know that you support them by sending them an e-card today!

Visit: https://www.saythefword.com

This Is Infertility: Episode 1

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week we launched our first Podcast, “This Is Infertility.” Each episode in this series will be hosted by a different voice who brings their unique point of view to the complex and ever-changing world of infertility. Our hosts are licensed clinical social workers, patient care advocates, clinical psychiatrists, reproductive endocrinologists, fertility patients and other experts in the world of fertility. We fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give listens a new perspective on what it’s really like to through the infertility journey.

The first episode examines what it’s really like to be infertile in America. We discuss the ways in which people can encourage companies, policy makers and health insurance companies to cover fertility treatment. The host of this episode is Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services at Progyny.

Guests include, Barbara Collura, President & CEO at Resolve, Dr. Marcy Maguire, a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, co-director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York and Mary Pharris, Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Fairygodboss.

For more information about episodes, visit www.progyny.com/podcast/episode-1

 

INC, 1 Very Personal Issue Employers Need to Be Willing to Address

Cassandra Pratt, VP of People at Progyny, is featured in an article by Heather Huhman for INC

Photo credit: Inc.com

The article, “1 Very Personal Issue Employers Need to Be Willing to Address” highlights how employers need to be more transparent about infertility with their employees.

“It is nearly impossible to completely compartmentalize when going through treatment,” Pratt said. “She was nervous and afraid her career would be impacted again by the need to start a family.”

To read the full story, click here.

Ringing the Closing Bell at Nasdaq

Bringing a Voice to Infertility

We were honored to ring the Nasdaq Closing Bell with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association for National Infertility Awareness Week. This disease impacts 1 in 8 women and we will continue to work tirelessly to raise awareness about infertility.

In case you missed it:

  • David Schlanger and Cindy Conway from Cadence did an interview before the ceremony on Nasdaq’s Facebook – you can watch it, here.
  • Watch the Closing Bell Ceremony on Nasdaq’s Facebook, here.
  • To view a few of the photos, posted on Nasdaq’s Facebook, see here.

How to Cope With the High Costs of Infertility

David Schlanger, Chief Executive Officer at Progyny, is featured in an article by Andrea Woroch for US News

Photo Credit: US News

The article, “How to Cope With the High Costs of Infertility” highlights how to manage the expenses couples must sacrifice who going through infertility.

“Financial reasons are the biggest barrier for couples to receive fertility treatment,” says David Schlanger, CEO of Progyny

To read the full story, click here.

 

Join Progyny at The Conference Board’s 14th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference

Learn strategies to promote gender parity in your workforce!

We are honored to participate in The Conference Board’s 14th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference. The need to combat gender bias is as clear as the benefits of a diverse employee population! This conference will highlight the ways in which “practical innovations for: recruiting and engaging diverse taken; making sure the accomplishments and potential of women leaders get attention; developing effective mentors and sponsors of women; creating a workplace environment that reward performance not presence” can benefit companies. As the leading fertility benefits provider, Progyny strongly supports gender equality in the workforce and looks forward to participating in this event.

Attending? Stop by and see our booth!

Join Progyny at the State & Local Government Benefits Association Conference

Learn how to boost your public sector benefits!

We are thrilled to exhibit at The 36th State & Local Government Benefits Association (SALGBA) National Conference! SALGBA is the nation’s foremost organization for public sector benefits professionals. This organization offers education and collaboration resources to its members. As the leading fertility benefits provider, Progyny is excited to offer our benefits to those who serve us in the public sector.

Stop by the foyer to see our booth!

Join Progyny at the Association of Reproductive Managers 2018 Conference

Learn how to position your practice to succeed!

Progyny is excited to participate in this year’s Association of Reproductive Managers (ARM) Conference and to support the art and science of fertility practice management through leadership, research and education. ARM brings together fertility program business managers and physicians from across the country to explore practice management issues; to create educational programs to promote Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) programs and improve the internal and external; to fix management problems, including the identification and correction of deficiencies; and to provide guidelines to enhance the organizations’ capabilities.

Attending? Stop by and see us there!

Getting To Know: Lissa

Director of Member Services

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Lissa Kline, Director of Member Services.

Name: Lissa Kline

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility? (Brief background)
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and worked at a fertility clinic for 7 years! I assisted new patients, was the Donor Egg Program Manager, Patient Services Manager, and then ultimately the Operations Manager. I found fertility on accident and I really love it.

What’s your role at Progyny?
I am the Director of Member Services – essentially managing all touchpoints with our members.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
I was able to help a member who had a new diagnosis of cancer. I helped her with finding a clinic and getting into a fertility preservation cycle quickly! I love that Progyny offers a benefit that is for everyone at any time for any reason.

What does family mean to you?
Family is created in all different ways and comes in all shapes and sizes. Family is love.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Access

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on the PCAs:
Communication

What’s a fun fact about you?
Copenhagen is my favorite place to visit.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
The Crown!

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
I want to create the best member experience possible. I want all our members to say they’ve never been more looked after.

Getting To Know: Destiny

Progyny’s Patient Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Destiny Fernandez, a Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Destiny Fernandez

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility?
I’ve been doing fertility for five years and worked in a reproductive health center.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
It’s my way of saving one woman at a time and to change the way fertility is being utilized.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
The Say the F word campaign – I’m kind of a truck driver and I just thought it was brave. It gives a voice to women who may not have access to our benefit and it shows we’re breaking down the wall of fertility.

What does family mean to you?
Everything, I have two sons.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Possibilities

What’s a fun fact about you?
I have 22 tattoos and you can only see 2.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binged-watched?
The Handmaid’s Tale and it was only because I just finished the book.

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To finish my master’s degree in human resources director with a minor in healthcare administration.

Stop the Self Blame Game

Expert Interview Series: E2
Join Lissa Kline, LCSW, Director of Member Services at Progyny as she discusses stress and infertility with Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny, Director of Psychological Services at RMA of New York, Assistant Professor of OB-GYN and Reproductive Medicine at Mt. Sinai. Witkin is an expert who explores the impact that stress has on the mind and body, particularly as it affects those going though infertility. Kline and Witkin explore the popular misconception that infertility is caused by stress and discuss several methods to help alleviate that stress.

Sign up & tune into to the webinar here:

Getting To Know: Melissa

Progyny’s Patient Care Supervisor

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Melissa Maldonado, Progyny’s Patient Care Supervisor.

Name: Melissa Maldonado

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility?
I’ve been in the healthcare industry for the last seven years and Progyny is my first position in the fertility industry. I just completed my first year at Progyny and It’s been an amazing year – I now have a special place in my heart for fertility.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care supervisor?
When it comes to the members, it’s when they understand how the benefit works – that ‘aha’ moment of knowing what services/treatments are available to them and how they can maximize their benefit to accomplish their fertility goals.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
Being able to travel for open enrollment and meet my members!

What does family mean to you?
I have a very small family, and I’m the first born so it gives me a chance to be a role model for my younger brothers.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Hope

What’s a fun fact about you?
I have a degree in criminology – the reason why is because I love learning all the theories for crime! I am addicted to Law and Order: SVU.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binge-watched?
Currently re-watching Friends!

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
To help Progyny grow its services and to travel more.

Tracking Your Cycle


“Why should I track my menstrual cycle”?

It seems like every woman uses a period tracker intermittently during their adolescent/adult life. Most commonly, people track their period to determine if they could be pregnant. However, tracking your cycle is the first step in understanding your fertility. In fact, changes in your menstrual cycle are indicators of certain medical issues that cause infertility. These concerns can be identified early when tracking different aspects of your cycle regularly and speaking with your physician. Everyone is different and understanding your cycle will give you insights into your body. And, we promise, it is really easy! All you need is a pen and paper.

Once you are ready to track your cycle, here are the most important things to note:

Your period – The first step to tracking your cycle is to make note of the days you menstruate. The day you start bleeding is going to be Day 1. It is also important to make note of the last day you bleed, which could be anywhere from day two to day eight.
Your cervical fluid – You can still learn about your body when your period ends. You can write down the changes in your vaginal discharge, which include changes in color, consistency, and odor.
Physical symptoms – Many women experience cramps during their period. You may experience other physical symptoms that are linked to your cycle as well. Write down the days you experience symptoms like cramping, back pain, breast tenderness, and headaches and the intensity of the symptom on a scale of 1-10.
Psychological symptoms – Much like physical symptoms, there may be psychological or emotional symptoms tied to your cycle. Write down your mood at least once a day, especially if your mood varies greatly from normal.

As you continue to track these factors, you will start to see patterns related to your reproductive health. You can take this information to your primary care physician or OB/GYN to discuss your menstrual health in more detail. If you notice any of the following irregularities, be sure to speak with your physician:

• Your period lasts less than two or more than eight days
• You have change your tampon or pad every hour
• There is less than 21 or more than 35 days between day one of each period
• You notice physical or psychological symptoms that interfere with your daily activities
• Spotting (bleeding between periods)

Using a period tracking app can make tracking your reproductive health even easier. Most apps help you visualize patterns, have preset symptoms to choose, and can remind you to log your information daily. Look for apps that provide additional information like an emailed summary of your last cycle when a new one starts. This will make communicating with your doctor even easier. Whether you write in a journal or use an app on your phone, tracking your menstrual cycle consistently will help you understand your health and your body better.

Nutrition and Pregnancy

What to Eat While Trying to Conceive

The process of Trying to Conceive (TTC) can be overwhelming for anyone. There is so much conflicting advice on the internet and it can be difficult to determine fact from fiction. In fact, one of the most frequent questions we get asked about is nutrition.

Unfortunately, there is no magic food that has been proven to lead to pregnancy. However, there are positive choices that women should make in terms of their diets when TTC. Watch what Dara Godfrey, registered dietitian, MS, RD RMA of New York, has to say about nutrition and pregnancy in these two videos.

Getting To Know: Kendra

Progyny’s Clinical Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, we’re happy to introduce Kendra Ricks, Progyny’s Patient Care Advocate.

Name: Kendra Ricks

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility?
This is my first position in fertility, but I’ve been in healthcare for 10 years, the last 3 years were at Mount Sinai Hospital.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate?
That I can personally relate to the members. I too have experienced infertility issues that I’m currently working on. When I hear other people’s stories and situations, I’m always encouraging them along but I’m also being encouraged by them.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
When I get to meet the other PCAs and how we can be better at what we do.

What does family mean to you?
Family means support, unity, love, and fun.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Happy

What’s a fun fact about you?
Once got to meet a well-known music producer.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Confidence

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m a singer – R&B and gospel, but I love all types of music.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binged-watched?
Stranger Things: season 1 &2

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
Conceiving is one and purchasing my first home.

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Fertility

Expert Interview Series: E1

Join Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Care Services at Progyny, as she talks with Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, Associate Director of Reproductive Endocrinology at Mt. Sinai and Co-Director at RMA of New York, in the first episode of Progyny’s Expert Interview Series. The experts break down the best ways to have a productive conversation with your doctor about your fertility in this episode.

Hear tips to ensure you get the information you need from the doctors themselves.

Sign up & tune into to the webinar here:

Getting To Know Gabby

Progyny’s Clinical Care Advocate

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This week, Progyny is happy to introduce Gabby Ho, Progyny’s Clinical Care Advocate.

Name: Gabby Ho

What’s your background in healthcare/fertility?
I’ve been a nurse since 2015. Nursing is actually my second degree and I’ve been in the fertility industry for the last 2 years.

What do you enjoy the most about being a patient care advocate/ clinical educator?
Speaking to the members who are really excited to use our benefit, especially for those who’ve been struggling with infertility. They recognize how generous our benefit is, and I enjoy giving options and information to same sex couples.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?
Hearing the great news that my members are pregnant and/or have more than one pregnant surrogate!

What does family mean to you?
Having a support system that shares the same values and life milestones.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a member’s life:
Happy

What’s a fun fact about you?
Once got to meet a well-known music producer.

What’s the last TV series or movie you binged-watched?
The Mindy Project

Do you have any personal goals for this year?
Start working out, eating better and taking care of my own health and fitness

Endometriosis 101

Learn the basics with Dr. Chen
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and although this disease has been in the news recently, many people don’t know exactly what it is! This disease occurs when the cells from the lining of the uterus, or the endometrium, grow outside of the uterus causing inflammation. The symptoms can be severe and range from pain to infertility. Although we don’t know what causes it, we do know that it is prevalent and impacts up to 15% of women. Watch Dr. Serena H. Chen, MD, Reproductive Endocrinologist IRMS Reproductive Medicine of Saint Barnabas explain the basic facts surrounding this common disease.

Join Progyny at the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society’s 66th Annual Conference

Learn how the latest fertility innovations can help build families

Progyny is honored to exhibit at Pacific Coast Reproductive Society’s Fertility Innovations: 21st Century Technologies to Build Healthy Families Conference. The PCRS Annual Meeting is an exclusive gathering where practitioners exchange information to advance ideologies of the profession while building long-term professional and personal relationships. As the leading fertility benefits provider, Progyny brings together service, science, technology, and data to deliver unmatched outcomes!

Join Progyny at The Conference Board’s Employee Health Care Conference

Learn how to strengthen your workforce with a fertility benefit!

Progyny is excited to announce our participation at The Conference Board’s 18th Annual Employee Health Care Conference, taking place in New York on March 8th and 9th and in San Diego on March 27th and 28th. The conference brings together top employers and industry leaders to share case studies, best practices and practical next steps to drive the health care industry forward. As the leading fertility benefits provider, we are honored to have our clients discuss the value they realize from our comprehensive fertility solution.

Attending? Be sure to stop by our sessions and booth!

New York: March 8-9, 2018

San Diego: March 27-28, 2018

Speaking Session: Why Fertility and Family Building Benefits Matter and How to Effectively Provide Them

New York: March 9, 10:15-11:45 am ET
• Karin Ajmani, President, Healthcare Services, Progyny
• Cindy Pulido, Director, US Health Benefits, Facebook

San Diego: March 28, 10:15-11:45 am PT
• Julie Stadlbauer, VP, Sales, Progyny
• Barbara Thompson, Global Benefits & Wellness Manager, eBay Inc.

During this session, we will cover the impact of the growing infertility crisis and how the downstream costs are being borne by employers. You will learn what Facebook and eBay Inc. are doing to help its employees build the family of their dreams while reducing its health care costs and increasing its workforce productivity, retention and morale.

Have questions? Want to learn how Progyny can help your company attract and retain top talent?

Come discuss fertility with us!

Out of the Darkness

Celebrities Shine a Light on Infertility

Nicole Kidman once said “[a]nyone that’s been in the place of wanting another child or wanting a child knows the disappointment, the pain and the loss that you go through trying and struggling with fertility.” The agony of infertility is frequently compounded by the fact that many suffer in silence. However, recent campaigns and articles, such as the #SaytheFword campaign and the recent Vogue article about Lena Dunham’s decision to remove her uterus are bringing this issue to light. There is power in speaking and we can learn from one another’s experiences.

A recent article from People, “10 Celebrities on Dealing with Infertility” by Julie Mazziotta, highlights the plight of some of America’s most famous women. One of the most striking aspects of this article is the variety of complications which exist within the term “infertility” and how this issue isn’t a “one size fits all” type of disease. For example, Tia Mowry-Hardrict had trouble conceiving and Courteney Cox said “I get pregnant pretty easily, but I have a hard time keeping them.”

Furthermore, the paths available to create a family are seemingly more complex than the problems which lead to infertility. While Chrissy Teigen was able to conceive using IVF, Kim Kardashian turned to surrogacy, and Emma Thompson ultimately adopted a child. Thompson stated, “I couldn’t have more children, and that was hard; but perhaps if I had [more biological children], I’d have missed out on this extra act of mothering that I’ve had with Tindy,” who Thompson adopted in 2003.

One of the lasting questions that this article presents is how do we speak to one another about fertility? Gabrielle Union, who endured eight or nine miscarriages, states that the hardest part of infertility are the questions. “For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want kids?’” she says. “A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.” She indicates that the subject must be broached with caution. Well-meaning questions can often cause more harm than good and ultimately silence women who are already struggling to find their voices.

Ultimately, we must be sensitive when speaking to one another about infertility. Although 1 in 8 couples struggle with this disease, we can all play a role in creating an environment that facilitates open communication. If we want individuals to speak, we must learn how to listen.

By: Jennifer Brandt

Break the Silence on Fertility

At Progyny, we are proud to take the pledge to #SaytheFword because talking about your reproductive health is taking control of your future.

They say there is power in numbers and it’s therapeutic to talk to your loved ones, but for some reason we don’t remember this when it comes to our reproductive health. Fertility is the topic most women and men don’t discuss until there’s an issue. In fact, according to Celmatix’s recent study, 39 percent of women don’t talk to their partners about it and 75 percent of women who are interested in fertility treatments or have gone through them, haven’t spoken to their friends about it.

This year, we are partnering with Celmatix to break the silence and stigma around fertility. It’s a topic we should speak openly about because no one should have to suffer in silence or alone. The more knowledge we can pass around, the more individuals can be proactive about their fertility, understand their options and know there’s support if it’s needed.

Here are a few reasons why we’re taking the pledge:

Join the movement and visit www.wesaythefword.com

Finding Romance on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, the day for love and joy but for those struggling with infertility or going through fertility treatments, this day can be easily overlooked. But why not take a break from worrying about the big things in life (like your fertility treatment, your family, finances, job etc!) and instead celebrate what Valentine’s Day has to offer.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, the secret to Valentine’s Day is to remember the little things in your life –  the things that make you feel happy and loved, like sweet memories, favorite moments, fragrant flowers and delicious candy!

For the couples:

If you are a couple going through the stress of fertility treatment, Valentine’s Day can be the one day you take a break from worrying, watching and waiting for pregnancy results.  Instead, focus on the little things that you both enjoy.  Play a game you used to play just the two of you, like backgammon or Rock Band. Play your favorite song from when you and your partner started dating. If the music is faster than your heartbeat, it is energizing, so get up and dance! If its slower than your heartbeat, it is relaxing, so share a massage or bath. If you start with the little expressions of affection, the big finish, sex, often follows naturally!

Another way to treasure the little things is to pull out old photos from your early days and reminisce your nights together. Or take a drive to visit close friends or go to your favorite ice-cream shop.

Fill Valentine’s Day with the fun that helps you forget about the stress of fertility treatment.

For the singles:

If you’re single, don’t give away the power to feel happy and loved on Valentine’s Day, or any day! You have decided you don’t need someone else in order to have a baby, well you don’t need someone else in order to enjoy Valentine’s Day, either.

Since the most important relationship in your life is the relationship with yourself, show yourself that love on Valentine’s Day! This is the day to celebrate yourself and do what makes you happy – is it cookies in bed? Is it watching your favorite movie? Whatever it is, do it!

And if you are going through fertility treatment, it’s also a good day to give yourself a break from the, “should’ve, could’ve and would’ve” because going through treatment is stressful enough. If you have not been kind and loving to yourself for the past 365 days, start doing it on Valentine’s Day and then continue throughout your treatment and your life.

In the end, the best gift you can give yourself is a break from all the big things in life and really cherish the small things. Those small things can give you the love and joy you deserve every day, especially on this holiday.

By: Dr. Georgia Witkin, Head of Patient Services Development at Progyny

Getting To Know Your Patient Care Advocate: Taylor

Patient Care Advocates (PCAs) are an integral part of a member’s fertility journey with Progyny, and we would like you to get to know them better. This month, Progyny is happy to introduce Taylor Burbach, a Progyny PCA originally from Alabama, now based in New York City. Below you’ll learn about the drive behind her passion for fertility care, her experiences with Progyny, and personal tidbits that make her unique.

What is your background in healthcare/fertility?

My interest in healthcare started in college. I focused on medical anthropology as an undergraduate and after I graduated, I worked as a medical scribe in emergency rooms for about a year.

However, my interest in fertility goes a little further back. I’ve been passionate about access to reproductive healthcare for young women since I was a teenager. It was so difficult to learn about my own reproductive health when it really shouldn’t be. Because of this, I started to learn about menstrual health and access to birth control, and, to me, fertility health is a natural extension of that.

What do you enjoy the most about being a PCA?

My favorite part about being a PCA is helping my members understand their benefit. It sounds boring, I know, but it is beyond rewarding when I speak with a member about their questions and I can hear the concepts click with them.

What’s your favorite/best moment so far at Progyny?

I had a member who had a hard time at home and opened up to me about everything going on in her life at the time. It was a difficult conversation but when it was over she thanked me for listening and supporting her. Fertility treatment is already a difficult journey and life doesn’t pause just because you start IVF. The fact that she trusts me and that I can help support her at one of the most stressful times in her life is meaningful in a way I can’t really describe.

What does family mean to you?

Family is very important to me. I am very close with my mother, grandmother, and sister. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is move away from the city where I grew up.

Give one word to describe the impact you’ve made on a patient’s life:

Empowering.

What’s your favorite baby name?

There is a naming tradition among the women in my family. The first-born daughter of the first-born daughter is named Ruth. I know it’s kind of old fashioned, but if my first child is a girl I would like to name her Ruth as well so that she can have that connection to our family.

Who’s your favorite celebrity baby?

Who doesn’t love Beyoncé’s babies? Blue is just precious! And I am obsessed with Sir and Rumi – without shame.

What was the last gift you gave?

My fiancé is a bit of a chef and he asked for an immersion blender for his birthday. It takes a lot to get him to ask for anything, so I’m glad I could get him something he will use and enjoy.

Where was the last place you traveled?

I’m from Alabama, and I travelled there recently for a wedding. I miss how green and open it is (but not the humidity).

What is your favorite movie?

This is such a big question… I can’t pick just one. The last movie I enjoyed and saw in theaters was Dunkirk.

Last TV series you binge watched?

30 Rock

Intrauterine insemination versus in vitro fertilization:  What is the role of IUI in modern fertility practices?

As fertility practices mature and in vitro fertilization (IVF) becomes more efficient, safer, and successful, the hot topic of conversation centers on the benefits of intrauterine insemination (IUI) as a first line treatment. In the past, IVF was not significantly more successful than IUI, especially in patients with diminished ovarian reserve. Now with improved technologies such as freezing embryos and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), we are beginning to see a wider and more significant gap in success rates between IVF and IUI cycles.

A study published in May 2017 showed that over a five-year period, 35 percent of women of all studied age groups gave birth with IUI treatment versus 53 percent of women with ART treatments over the same time period. Although 53 percent is a much larger number, 35 percent still were able to achieve live birth without undergoing IVF. This still gives relevancy to IUI as a treatment, especially in a properly chosen patient population.

Choosing the Right Treatment

In general, IUI can be performed with and without ovarian stimulation, and can be achieved with oral agents and injectable hormones. The goal of IUI is the ovulation of one or more follicles to increase the per cycle pregnancy rates to match normal controls. On the other hand, IVF is almost exclusively done with high-dose injectable medications, requires anesthesia, and places significant physical/financial burden on the patient given the complexity of laboratory procedures. Although there are clear differences between the two treatment processes, there are associated complications with both procedures that make both of them risky to the patient.

One of the main concerns in modern fertility practices is the birth of multiples. IUI does not seem to be associated with increased rates of multiple births as compared to standard IVF cycles. However, most of this data is old and with the introduction and acceptance of genetic screening of preimplantation embryos, we are seeing higher and higher rates of elective single embryo transfer cycles – leading to significantly decreased rates of multiple gestations in IVF treatments. The modern practice of IVF as compared to 5-10 years ago most likely has a significantly decreased rate of multiple gestations and new randomized clinical trials prove this benefit of single embryo transfer.

Another consideration in the choosing of an optimal treatment pathway involves a cost analysis. The FORT-T trial, an important randomized, controlled fertility trial, showed the benefit of foregoing an IUI cycle and moving directly to IVF. The study argued that success rates are significantly lower in IUI cycles than IVF in patients ages 38 to 42. In fact, many of these patients required IVF after multiple failed IUI cycles. In the first arm of IVF, there were 36 percent less treatment cycles than the arm where IUI was attempted first. Given that the cost of multiple IUI cycles approaches the cost of a single IVF cycle, the conclusion can be made that in certain patient populations (specifically older and diminished ovarian reserve patients) there may be benefit to moving directly to IVF based on costs.

Reducing the Burden of Fertility Treatment Cycles

Finally, infertility is a disease and has been recognized as one by the World Health Organization since 2009 and the American Medical Association as of June 2017. Beyond this fact, infertility is an emotionally charged diagnosis and the treatment itself can be physically and emotionally draining. Drop-out rate is a real phenomenon in fertility treatment and the negative effect is that couples that could have been helped never had the opportunity to benefit from successful treatment. The FORT-T trial showed improved pregnancy rates with fewer cycles, demonstrating that one of the most important arguments for moving straight to IVF is this decrease in treatment time and, consequently, a decrease in drop-out rates. IUI is, without question, a useful treatment modality in a properly selected patient. Ultimately, proper counseling and realistic expectations must be discussed with the patients prior to the selection of any fertility treatment.

 

Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates Receive Exemplary Net Promoter Score

Progyny is proud to announce that its Patient Care Advocates recently received a net promoter score of 81.53 on its patient satisfaction survey. A net promoter score is an index, ranging from -100 to 100, that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s services to others. The average net promoter score for health insurance organizations is 18, placing Progyny far ahead in patient care as opposed to traditional insurers.

Since January 2016, 355 Progyny patients completed the survey. What is most striking is that Progyny received no return scores of 0. “Progyny’s Patient Care Advocates truly go above and beyond for their members.” said Maggie Cacciotti, Director of Patient Care. “The level of care and support the PCAs provide is admirable, and I’m thrilled to see that our net promoter score reflects the depth of satisfaction that our members have with Progyny benefits and staff.”

Patients received these surveys following their initial consultation with the facility of their choice from our extensive list of supported clinics.

For more information on our patient care advocates, stay tuned for our ongoing series, “Getting to Know your Patient Care Advocate,” here on the Progyny blog. Click here for the first post in this series featuring Lisette.

Listen Up to Your Family Building Options

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and we at Progyny are excited to remind those who have been diagnosed with infertility issues that there are many ways to become a parent.

This year’s NIAW theme is “Listen Up!” and given that infertility issues affect 7.4 million women, this is a terrific week to raise your own awareness and listen up to all of the options you have available to you. They are:

Artificial Insemination: A doctor inserts sperm directly into a woman’s cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. The most common method is called “intrauterine insemination (IUI),” when a doctor places the sperm in the uterus.

In Vitro fertilization (IVF): In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by retrieving eggs, attaining a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.

IVF plus Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD): The IVF process and PGD involves removing a cell from an IVF embryo to test it for a specific genetic condition (cystic fibrosis, for example) before transferring the embryo to the uterus.

IVF plus Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS): The IVF process and PGS tests for the overall chromosomal normalcy in embryos. PGS is not looking for a specific disease diagnosis – it is screening the embryo for normal chromosome copy number.

Donor eggs: Egg donation are eggs (oocytes) provided from a woman who has healthy eggs to make pregnancy possible for women who might not otherwise be able to get pregnant using their own eggs.

Donor sperm: Donor sperm can be used when the husband/partner has no sperm, a very poor semen analysis, or when there may be a genetic concern which could be inherited from the male. Single women or lesbian couples can also use donor sperm as an option.

Reciprocal IVF: This is an option for lesbian partners in which one partner provides the eggs and the other partner carries the pregnancy.

Freeze All Cycles: In a traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, eggs are fertilized the day of the egg retrieval and the fertilized eggs (embryos) grow in the laboratory until the best quality embryos are transferred three or five days after the egg retrieval.  This is referred to as a “fresh” transfer. A “freeze all” is when the good quality embryos that are produced are frozen using vitrification and stored until they are transferred at a later time.

Frozen Embryo Transfer: The thawing and transfer of a previously frozen embryo.

Adoption: There are three different kinds of adoption: international, domestic and foster.

Surrogacy: Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child. Usually this is done with one woman being the gestational carrier and a separate woman providing the egg.

Egg Freezing: This is when a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen using vitrification, and stored. In the future, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

Of course, it’s up to you, your partner, and/or your doctor to decide what is the best course of action and what you feel comfortable with. It can also be a challenge to pursue any of these pathways if you can’t afford them and/or if you do not have coverage through your employer.

Since this is National Infertility Awareness Week, if you found this blog helpful and informative, help us spread awareness and share with your friends, family, and coworkers!

Listen Up: Know How Fertility Benefits Can Help You

Every year, a week is set aside in the month of April to raise awareness about infertility. This year, National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 23-April 29. It’s an opportunity to inform the public about the medical and emotional issues faced by the millions of Americans with infertility, as well as highlight available family building options.

Infertility is more common than you think — one in eight women between the ages of 15-44 suffer from infertility, 9 million LGBTQ individuals in the United States are without infertility coverage, and 58 percent of individuals forgo fertility treatments due to lack of coverage. Fertility issues do not discriminate based on race, religion, sexuality, or economic status. This means that you or several people you know are struggling to conceive, and may not have the coverage or access needed to build a family.

While some may only think about infertility once a year, this is a topic we discuss every day at Progyny. We are a company founded by those who have experienced infertility firsthand and know the impact — both emotionally and financially — it can have.

When we consider this year’s NIAW theme, what comes to mind is for those interested in their fertility options is to “listen up” to the increase of fertility benefits large employers are now offering.

Since 2015, companies have discovered that their employees want more than the traditional health and dental insurance plans, and have been looking for additional opportunities to support their employees with paid parental leave, adoption support, and fertility benefits. Regardless of what vertical the company is in, fertility benefits, including IVF and egg freezing, seem to be a larger part of the conversation than ever before.

According to a survey by Mercer Health and Benefits and commissioned by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, 65 percent of employers offering fertility treatment cited they were responding to employee requests for covering fertility benefits. If you are someone who has received an infertility diagnosis or are simply interested in learning more about fertility health, our advice is to listen up to what these benefits entail and understanding the arguments for introducing these benefits within your company. Listen up to facts you can share with your human resources department about how providing fertility coverage will not only save the company money but spare their employees the heartbreak of not having options when it comes to treatment. Your company could also actually see a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in attracting top talent with the addition of these benefits.  Listen up, listen carefully, present what you’ve learned, and make it necessary for your company to listen up to you!

National Infertility Awareness Week overall is an opportunity to listen up, learn more, and educate others on this life-impacting issue. If you’d like guidance on what to present to your HR Team, please click here.

April is Stress Awareness Month

In April 1992, the Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, launched an annual “Stress Awareness Month” to make the public aware of the dangers of stress as well as options to explore for successful coping strategies. Every April since, health care professionals across the country come together to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.

Even though Stress Awareness Month is in April, we can all agree that stress occurs year round. Especially when you’re having fertility issues and are going through treatment, it can be an incredibly stressful and upsetting time.

Involuntary childlessness is often described as a life crisis and is even likened to Kubler-Ross’ stages of death and dying. It can impact relationships, finances and self-esteem. Add to that the stress of going through either insemination or an IVF cycle; taking hormones, an increase in doctor appointments, not being able to predict the outcome, etc. and it’s very easy to understand why fertility treatment can create anxiety.

While it’s not clear how stress can directly impact fertility, finding ways to minimize stress while pursuing treatment, if nothing else, can provide moments of calm and reminders to breathe. Below are some suggestions of well-known stress reliving techniques:

·       Acupuncture
·       Meditation
·       Yoga
·       Journaling
·       Mind-Body Groups
·       Listening to music
·       Massage Therapy
·       Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy
·       Walking
·       Guided imagery

While stress reduction doesn’t completely eliminate stress, by finding a technique or approach that best serves your needs, you can at least help reduce it.

How To Ask For A Fertility Benefit At Your Company

Written by Progyny’s Director of Human Resources and Recruiting, Cassandra Pratt, and posted on FairyGodBoss.com.

If you are an employee interested in advocating on your own behalf for fertility benefits at your company, there are many ways to start the conversation. In fact, according to a survey by Mercer Health and Benefits and commissioned by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, 65 percent of employers that offer fertility treatment said that they began doing so in response to employee requests.

If you’re comfortable sharing your concerns, a great place to start is with your HR department. It’s also smart to enlist the help of other colleagues to show there is a real desire to have this type of benefit within your company. You also might try speaking to your manager and other senior level employees who might be able to assist in moving the request forward. Think of it like developing a grassroots campaign – open as many channels as possible!

When presenting your case to HR and/or the benefits team, talk in terms of where your current plan falls short. You can explain how adding a fertility benefit would improve your health and your work environment and how you feel it would fit with your company’s values.

A nice touch is to offer help with the next steps. This might include finding out who else may be interested, what you think it would accomplish for the organization (i.e. employee retention, stress reduction, or attracting a new / diverse talent pool).  If you can identify current pain points for you, your team and the overall company, it will go a long way in moving the initiative forward.

Adding any benefit to a company can take time. The process is dependent on the size of the organization, whether it’s replacing a different kind of coverage, and what the process entails internally to make the decision. Depending on the company, you may need approval from the CEO, CFO or even the board.

It’s important to be patient, respectful and persistent. If this is something that affects you, odds are it will affect others within your organization. If you’re open to representing the cause, be persistent — and remember that you’ll likely be helping not only yourself, but also your colleagues and future employees who can relate to your experience.

Tax Season Tips For Fertility Expenses

Tax Season is upon us! Brent Atkins, Progyny’s Vice President of Business Development, presents some helpful information about deductions on medical expenses on your tax return:

Why Companies Should Offer Fertility Benefits

Written by Progyny President of Healthcare Services,  Karin Ajmani, and posted on FairyGodBoss.com

While more and more companies are adding benefits to support families by extending their maternity leave (and overall parental leave) policies and implementing programs that help employees return to the workforce after taking care of a child or loved one, only a handful of companies offer a benefit that addresses fertility-related issues.

In fact, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 2016 employee benefits survey, only a quarter of employers (with 500 or more employees) offer fertility services as part of their health care benefits. 19% cover in vitro treatment (IVF), 12% cover fertility medication and 9% cover non-IVF fertility treatments. However, even employers who do cover often don’t see the value since employees will exhaust their benefit before achieving a successful pregnancy.

The reality is that infertility has always been a complex issue, and some of the biggest challenges associated with it have been the high cost (the average cost for IVF treatment, for example, is $12,500) and the stigma surrounding it.

The good news is that more and more people are being vocal about their struggles, and we are becoming more aware of the problem. The bad news is that there is still a lot of red tape around receiving quality care. While the World Health Organization recognized infertility as a disease in 2009, only 15 states have a mandate on insurance coverage. With over 7 million people dealing with infertility and the small percentage of companies that offer a solution, the numbers just don’t add up.

When an employee is battling infertility, the employer will ultimately lose. The employer will be hit with soft dollars (the employee’s moral and presence in the workplace) and hard dollars (typically the hidden costs in treatment and possibility of high-risk maternity, multiples and NICU.)

The financial burden is not just on the employee. Due to the lack of coverage or restrictions from a limited benefit, an employee will pay out-of-pocket for treatment. This leads to choosing a treatment that is less expensive, less effective and has a higher chance of producing twins or multiples. Often, fertility medications are combined with artificial insemination. If that doesn’t work, IVF is often utilized and multiple embryos are transferred to increase the chance of pregnancy. While this sounds like a decent option, twins and multiples are incredibly risky, and 20% of twin babies will go into NICU (this goes up to 80% for triplets).

And who gets stuck with the bill? The employer. They’re responsible for the costs related to the high-risk maternity care that will likely include a C-section, pre-term birth and NICU expenses.

Next is the emotional distress that can leave an employee drained. When people go through infertility, they can suffer depression, absenteeism in the workplace and have higher rates of divorce. One employee’s morale can impact his or her team, which ultimately impacts the company overall.

Lastly, as more employers wonder what type of benefit will attract and retain employees, a survey has shown 90% of people with infertility issues are willing to change to an employer that provides fertility coverage.

The benefits of providing a comprehensive fertility benefits plan outweigh the downstream costs from maternity care — and they help a group of people who aren’t typically recognized.

It’s time to support your employees who are enduring this stressful and expensive journey — it will help both parties in the long run.

It’s Possible To Have It All: A Life, Career & Endometriosis

Sherika Wynter, Voices Of Endo

Being a woman in corporate America is far from easy. Endometriosis does not help. Generally, I’ve chosen to be rather quiet about my endometriosis at the workplace. It’s not because I am ashamed but I do not need or want any other strikes against me. As I become more comfortable at a workplace, I may decide to share some of my experiences with other female coworkers if the opportunity arises. Women always seem to bond over “Aunt Flow”. If you choose this route, be ready for a positive and negative reaction. In my experience, I’ve had women be very sympathetic and show interest in learning more for their own benefit as well as their loved ones. I’ve also experienced the opposite and I’m told, “You are just looking for attention. It can’t be THAT bad.” In either situations, do not ingest those emotions. You have enough to deal with. Unless individuals show a vested interest in your condition, I would advise you not to look for a support system in the workplace.

I’ve never wanted endometriosis to have an impact on my daily activities. In the past, I would always try to push through the pain. But now, I’m now starting to accept I am not superwoman, even though I want to be. I’ll never forget, about 7 years ago, I went to work knowing that I was not feeling well. I wanted to push through because I was tired of being and being treated like I was sick. I was able to get through the first few hours and then things quickly went south. All of a sudden it felt like I urinated on myself. I looked down and blood was leaking out of my pants. I was newly diagnosed so I didn’t have an “exit strategy” in place. All I could do was grab my things and head home.

Since then, I haven’t pushed my body to its limit. My comfort level at that job was never the same. It just felt like everyone looked at me differently. That being said, when I feel pain higher than a 7 (on a 1-10 scale), I will immediately attempt to remove myself from my workplace. I do this because I’m not sure of the level of intensity that’s coming and the excruciating pain can be an extremely emotional experience. It’s also important to remember, you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone.

If you are aware of a procedure on the horizon, please notify human resources (HR). This way, if you need more time off and/or need to work from home, they will be able to discuss it internally with management. For example, when I went through egg freezing, HR made provisions during my treatment. I didn’t go straight to my management team, instead I spoke with HR to advise me on next steps. By law, they are your advocate. Use them. Also, establish your “exit strategy”. For me, I carry anti-inflammatory medications, menstrual pads and panty liners at all times. When I feel an onset of pain, I immediately go to the restroom and triage the situation. If after an hour, I’m unable to control the pain, I begin to clear my schedule so I can make it home safely. I may return to work later in the day, but I can never make any promises. If there is an immediate leave of absence, the next day I’ll inform HR about it. It’s hard enough to go through an episode, so it’s easier and safer for me to tell my job about it afterwards.

At the end of the day, it is possible to work, have endometriosis and be successful. It all revolves around proactivity, accepting your condition and listening to your body when it says, “I’ve had enough”.

Battling Endometriosis; A Decade Later

Sherika Wynter, Voices Of Endo

I have a very different outlook on life in my 30s after battling endometriosis for the last 10 years. I often find myself reminiscing on some of the promises I made in my early 20s: upper management by 30, married with child by 30, own a house by 30… All things society placed on me as necessities.

But here is my reality, I had my 4th laparoscopy a month after my 30th birthday. It was my longest, most draining and complicated surgery to date. It was also where they discovered my left ovary appeared to be non-operational. I was devastated and cried from the depths of my soul. I was left wondering..What did I do wrong? Where do I go from here? Is this the beginning of infertility?

All my questions no one had answers to. But as my reproductive endocrinologist said, “We don’t give up. We fight this. You will be fine.” For the last 8 years, he’s never been wrong, so there  was no need to start doubting him now. I knew I needed to take my faith to the next level, believing, “What is for me, is for me.”

Putting Myself First

As I rounded the corner of 30, I began to place my personal life first because, at work, I am dispensable. In life, however, I only have one shot. I have to make it count. With that I mind, I started to prioritize my visits to my  reproductive endocrinologist . During these visits, we would check my AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) levels, my ovaries and ensure my uterus is fluid free. Yes, I’ve frozen my eggs but I wanted to ensure that my body is still in a position to carry when the time is right. (Notice I said “when” not “if” — I believe my time is coming.) I’m also more cognizant of my food intake. As my dad would say, “You are no longer a spring chicken, Sherika!” I’m preparing my body for the long run as I’m ready to put up one hell of a fight.

Key Benefits for Work

Many don’t realize the impact endometriosis has on your career and it took time to learn what I needed from a company to balance both sides. Company benefits are more important now that I am diagnosed. When I interview for jobs, I make sure they have an option to work remotely. This way, if I’m not feeling well on a particular day, I can take the time I need to heal. I can go to my doctor appointments without feeling guilty or needing to take the entire day off just for an hour appointment. I also ensure their insurance is accepted by my physicians. It sounds extreme but it is very difficult to switch doctors with endometriosis. Our condition is complicated and coverage may be denied. For example, I’m currently paying for my last surgery because it wasn’t a covered procedure. I was able to negotiate a $52K procedure to an affordable amount but I was taught a valuable lesson. You have a right to inquire about these details in order to be proactive about your health.

2 for 1 Deal

Lastly, I’ve finally accepted that my endometriosis is a 2 for 1 deal, you get me, you get it. We are a perfect package for the right life partner and the right set of friends. For years, I’ve wondered if it was a hindrance, the reason why past relationships failed and the source of my singleness. I would beat myself up about it. Now, I realized it’s just another piece of the puzzle that makes me unique. Granted, every so often I find myself going down that self-guilt road but I remind myself, “There isn’t a more beautiful picture of you available. Shine with what you have.”

International Women’s Day

Whether its women who want to have children or women who want to help others have children, we aim to create access for all who may need to utilize family building options. This is why on International Women’s Day, we want to remind everyone to #BeBoldForChange when it comes to reproductive health.

One of Progyny’s regular messages is to be proactive when it comes to fertility. This entails seeing your doctor, getting the necessary blood work, an ultrasound (if needed) and speaking with a reproductive endocrinologist about your family history. It’s also about providing support and a shoulder to lean on when it’s needed.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, as women gain more social, economic, cultural and political equality, we also need to be mindful that global support is needed to accelerate gender parity. The more you educate yourself about your health, the more you can become an advocate and lend your voice when it comes to the reproductive rights of those both near and far.

There’s No Such Thing As “Normal” When Facing Endometriosis

Sherika Wynter, Voices Of Endo

October 14, 2008.
You never forget your diagnosis date. It’s one of the most bittersweet days of your life. You finally get to let go a sigh of relief but you struggle with your next breath at the same time. You’re faced with difficult decisions and very little guidance. What you thought was the end of a long journey is just the beginning of an even longer and lonely expedition. You are never ready, but you have to fight.

My cycle started off as “normal” – 5-7 days with little to no pain and 28 days to the calendar. I was 13. About a year or so into my womanhood journey, things went south. Every month, my pain increased, my flow decreased and my lack of knowledge… it stayed the same. You see, no one tells you what to expect from your menstrual cycle. Your “normal” is based on the women you’re surrounded by, their knowledge and experience. It’s a part of parenting that no one speaks to. It’s the blind leading the blind.

The downward spiral
My ability to cope ceased around the age of 22, approximately 6 weeks prior to my emergency procedure. For first 8 years of my menstrual cycle, I knew I was out of commission for the first 24-48 hours of my cycle. Everyone in my family knew the routine. We had a system. Suddenly, that changed. I was experiencing daily pain, with no explanation. I visited the ER twice, within the first 2 weeks but was told I had everything from colitis to gas. Of course, I was unable to replicate the pain once at the hospital, making my story even more unbelievable. My parents believed me but that wasn’t enough. For the next 4 weeks, I kept a pain journal, marking my body with a sharpie for every place that hurt. I was determined to figure out the source of my ailment while others thought I was going insane. My logic was: if I cannot reproduce the pain, I can at least track it.

Hail Mary
The morning of my diagnosis, I went to my OB-GYN. It was my Hail Mary. She was on call at the hospital and her colleague saw me. Her colleague did an ultrasound, concluded I had ovarian torsion and told me to meet my OB-GYN at the hospital immediately. Upon arrival, I was examined again and was told it was a misdiagnosis, that all my symptoms and problems were caused by endometriosis. I pleaded with her to look a little further as I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted from all the pain. But she was certain and I had to figure out what all this meant.

The winner of this battle

From that day forward, I learned everything I could about endometriosis. I learned my trigger foods. I tried different medications. Some worked, others were an epic fail. I specifically focused on the havoc it could wreak on my reproductive system. I wanted to be an expert and an advocate for myself. I knew that if I didn’t speak up for me, this disease would kill me. Not literally, but my spirit, my drive, my mental stability. My mother and I searched the internet for a reproductive endocrinologist who valued both: wellness and fertility. Finally, we struck gold.

Upon finding my physician, we discussed my future and how we could ensure I would get my heart’s desire: a child. After finally getting my cycles under control, he urged me to freeze my eggs. Insert shock factor here. At 24, who wants to speak about the possibility of infertility? Is this real life? I didn’t want to think about it. But if I was going to be proactive, I needed to adhere to counsel. I finally agreed. For my 27th birthday, I froze my eggs. It was the best decision I’ve made thus far along my endometriosis journey. I finally felt like I won a battle in this war.

Be vocal
There’s no right or wrong way to cope with endometriosis. It really boils down to personal preference and priority. Over the last 8.5 years, I’ve had 4 laparoscopic surgeries and 1 cycle of egg freezing. For some, that’s plenty; for others, it’s a dream. One thing is sure: we all wish we knew sooner. For me, I wish OB-GYNs and parents were more proactive. I believe every girl who is menstrual should have basic knowledge on all reproductive issues. My mom had no idea what was right or wrong and for most OB-GYNs, “bad periods” are considered normal. They are not. There is nothing normal about it. The more the idea of “normal” is engrained, the harder it is to diagnose. I was told it was “in my head” by medical professionals and most of the women I’ve encountered that had similar experiences.

I also wish there were more prominent support avenues. It was hard for me to find the right group of women to support me through my acceptance phase. It takes years to accept an endometriosis diagnosis. Why? Because it’s constantly changing.. As a woman grows, her priorities change, her needs change, her body changes. The support I needed at 22 is very different than the support I need approaching 31. You often feel lost, resetting your support system each step along the way.

However, I urge you to start listening to your body and start asking questions. If you feel that something is wrong or isn’t “normal”, there’s a really good chance you’re right. It’s not “in your head” because you know your body best. Don’t be scared of speaking up, be scared of not knowing what could happen if you knew.  

What Beyonce’s Fertility Can Teach You About Your Own

Jay Palumbo, Member Engagement

Beyoncé’s recent pregnancy announcement is causing the internet to rejoice, but while thanking Queen B for giving us something in the news that’s positive, this is also a great opportunity to discuss fertility and age. Why? Because Beyoncé’s news should be urging women to think about family planning and what exactly that means.

In 2009, I began down the path of infertility treatments to build my family and through my research I was able to find a strong community of people just like me. Over the years, we’ve cheered each other on, supported one another and shared a deep appreciation for whenever a celebrity has “come out” to discuss their own fertility journey. Mostly because it helps bring awareness to our community.

Now you may be asking, “How does this relate to me?”

If we take a look back, Beyoncé’s first baby was born at 31 and now at 35, she’s pregnant with twins. Regardless if she went through fertility treatments or not, this should be a good reminder of our biological clock. When you’re over the age of 32 years old (which in the real world isn’t old but in fertility years, it’s beginning to get up there), your egg quality starts to decline.

According to Dr. Maria Bucur, clinical nurse educator at Progyny, a woman’s ability to conceive naturally each month declines as she gets older. At age 30, the ability to naturally conceive is 20% each month and at age 40 it drops to 5% each month.”

An additional factor to consider as you get older, there’s an increase a woman will suffer a miscarriage. Even Beyoncé was open about her miscarriage, which I know those who have endured similar losses really respected.

Another celebrity who caused some speculation was Janet Jackson when she announced she was pregnant at 50 years old. Those in our community wondered if she used her own eggs, donor eggs or again, given the statistics, if she was just one of the luckiest, most fertile 50 year old ever.

Whether they didn’t do treatment or had any assistance, it’s ultimately nobody’s business. People are genuinely happy for them able to have a family. The real point is when we see a celebrity who is “older” (again, I use that term loosely) who is expecting, my concern as an advocate is it sends out false hope that you can delay having children and have no problem conceiving.

I’m not saying everyone should have children in their early twenties nor am I saying that everyone will absolutely have to go through fertility treatment if they wait. It’s simply smart to gauge your fertility not by what you read in the news or what someone tells you in the gym locker room (i.e. “I had a sister who got pregnant when she was 40!”) but more by being proactive and getting the necessary tests.

If you’re a woman, this would entail a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist where you’ll review your medical history, get a sonogram (to check your ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes to see if there are any polyps, fibroids, cysts or blockage) and a blood test to check your hormones, specifically your Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). This will give the doctor an overall idea of roughly the amount and quality of your eggs as well as your fertility health. If you’re a man, you would go to an urologist and get a semen analysis to check the health and viability of the sperm produced.

So while we are all excited about the two new members of the BeyHive, I hope those interested in having children will use this moment to consider their own fertility health. I know it’s not quite as exciting as watching Lemonade but it’s equally empowering!

Don’t Let This Study Freeze Your Decision

Trish McMorrow, MSN, Clinical Educator at Progyny

Researchers in Australia sought out to answer the question, “What are the reproductive experiences of women who cryopreserve oocytes for non-medical reasons?” They surveyed nearly 100 women who underwent egg freezing at Melbourne IVF between 1999-2014. Of the 96 respondents to the survey nearly half said they had frozen their eggs in the past 2 years. While the study found that only 6% of the women had used their frozen eggs and only 3% had given birth using their frozen eggs, there are many limitations to this data.

A major limitation is, most of these women have recently frozen their eggs. Egg freezing has only recently gained traction and it doesn’t surprise me that of the 96 respondents from 1999 to 2014 nearly half had frozen in the past two years. I suspect that some of these women will plan to use these eggs in their future. This study can be used as an extra piece of information that a woman can use to help inform her decision, but I would take it with a grain of salt considering the limitations.

More Research Is Needed
More research is needed as the number of healthy women who freeze their eggs are proactively electing this procedure in order to avoid age-related infertility. If this study was conducted in a year or two, it would’ve had the potential to help women make more informed decisions. In the meantime, I always recommend for women to go for an initial consultation. Family planning can and should be a very informed process, whether in preventing pregnancy or planning for it.

The reality is that egg freezing is essentially an insurance policy. It is not meant to be a guarantee that you will need or want to use them. It gives a woman or couple the option shall you need or want to in the future, to use these eggs from their younger years when egg quality is potentially better.

Get the Facts
I always encourage women to get all the facts, consult with your OB/GYN and even make an appointment with a fertility specialist. You’ll be armed with the information you need to make the best decision for your future. Have an initial consultation, a fact-finding mission. More information is never a bad thing. Some may find out that they already have a decreased ovarian reserve and you can save yourself from the heartache in the future. Maybe your fertility specialist tells you they see no benefit in going through egg freezing. You never know until you get all the facts. Egg freezing is not a “one size fits all” family planning method but it can be seen as an insurance policy on your future family. Family planning is very personal and unique to each individual or couple.

What’s Next?
It’s time to really consider your 5 to 10-year plan. There are a number of questions to ask yourself and your partner such as, where do you see yourself? What are you doing in life? Where do you want to be in your career and family? Do children fit into that equation? How important is it to have biological children?

Once you’ve had your consultation, considered the facts, and your desires for the future then you can decide if egg freezing is the right option or not. Till then, don’t let this study intimidate you from egg freezing.