Fertility Blog

First Educational Series Program a Success

“Disclosure of Use of Sperm or Egg Donors.” The speaker was Dr. Bob Nachtigall, a local Reproductive Endocrinologist, who has done much research and published numerous papers on various fertility related issues. Dr. Nachtigall addressed the difficult decisions couples face, who attempt conception with donor sperm or donor eggs. These include when to abandon medical treatment using their own gametes, whether to conceive with donor gametes over other options such as adoption, and decisions related to the selection of a donor. Yet the final decision, whether to disclose to their children the circumstances of their conception, is one of the most challenging. He and his team, conducted research which was based on interviews with 254 parents of children conceived with donor sperm or eggs, they found that 95% of study couples came to a united disclosure after discussions that reflected a wide range of contexts and influences that included: the sociopolitical environment of the community; the couples’ friendships and support network; counseling and professional opinion; religious and cultural background; extended and immediate family structure and relationships; the child’s appearance; and the couple’s individual personal and ethical beliefs. For those couples who decided to tell their young children about their use of a donor, no parent expressed regret or reported a negative outcome after having initiated disclosure. Dr. Nachtigall will be returning to PFC, to present his findings from a research study he did on “Frozen Embryos.” The annual number of IVF procedures performed in the U.S. has increased from less than 2,500 in 1985 to over 120,000 today. Yet the rapid growth and availability of this advanced reproductive technology has had an unforeseen consequence - the accumulation of an estimated 500,000 frozen embryos that represent the unused “leftovers” of past IVF cycles. His presentation will address the question of what to do with frozen embryos, which is complicated by the variety and disparity of their potential uses and fates: (1) they can be used by the couple in further attempts to conceive; (2) they can be “donated” to other infertile couples who wish to have a child; (3) they can be used in stem cell research; (4) they can be destroyed; (5) they can be stored indefinitely. Dr. Nachtigall and his team interviewed over 100 couples (many of whom were PFC patients) who had undergone IVF. The team found that ambivalence, uncertainty and most significantly, feelings of deep connection to a couple’s own embryos are several factors that cause difficulty in reaching a disposition decision. The presentation on “Frozen Embryos” has not been scheduled at this time. However, please watch for dates and times in upcoming issues of Fertility Flash. PFC Educational Series 2008 The PFC Educational Series are presentations held the last Thursday of each month from 4:00 till 5:30 p.m. in the PFC Education Center located at 55 Francisco Street, Suite 500. The presentations address various topics, which are open to PFC staff, as well as members of the medical community. The PFC physicians found offering programs of this nature would be an ideal way to increase knowledge regarding different topics. In addition, this is a great opportunity to “reach out” to other local physicians and their staff, by offering educational resources, that they otherwise may not have access. The presentations are offered at no charge and the topics will be published in the Fertility Flash, as well as on the website www.pacificfertilitycenter.com. If you are interested in attending this presentation, please contact our Development Department directly at 415-249-3656.

Posted on October 15th, 2008
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