Swirl Radio Interview with Dr. Schriock
Do you or someone you know in the LGBT community want to start a family but have no idea where to begin? Dr. Schriock was the guest speaker for an interview with Michelle Meow from Swirl Radio where he spoke about family building in general and for lesbian women and gay men. Below are some segments from his interview.
Michelles first question for Dr. Schriock was to explain in vitro fertilization. According to Dr. Schriock, In vitro fertilization is just actually one of the many ways to help people get pregnant. It is probably the most successful, but it is not always necessary. He adds that lately, IVF has been used to take more control over the whole family building process, for instance those who have chosen to undergo IVF for a second child. They are 39 and they want to have another child when maybe they are 42 and they know that egg problems can be much more severe then. So they do IVF, in vitro, so we can freeze an embryo that is 39-years-old that they can thaw and use for their second baby at 42, 43 or whatever, said Dr. Schriock.
Additionally, Dr. Schriock describes how in the past, people have been familiar with a test called an amniocentesis, which is when the pregnancy is tested around 12-14 weeks for genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. However, Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) is an exciting new option for patients who choose to undergo IVF. CCS is essentially the same test done at the time of the amniocentesis, except the test is performed on embryo before it is placed into the uterus. Dr. Schriock said that the results of the embryo testing are much like getting your amniocentesis results back where they say the baby is okay its a boy, Ill say, well these 4 embryos are [genetically normal] and there are 2 boys and 2 girls.
Michelle asks Dr. Schriock next whether there is there an easy answer to infertility. He said more than 90 percent of the time he can provide his patients with a fertility diagnosis, adding that the most prevalent infertility diagnosis nowadays is the age of the woman and its effect on egg quality. A lot of people have decided to build their families later in life and unfortunately, egg quality does go down, said Dr. Schriock. He later adds that fertility peaks when a woman is around age 22 and advices the audience that its easier to get pregnant when youre younger. However, with the ability now to freeze eggs well, there is an option for 20 and 30-year olds who arent ready to start a family yet, but want to maintain their fertility. Egg freezing is a viable option for these young women to consider.
Michelle then wanted to make the conversation more relevant to the Swirl LGBT audience, asking whether there is a way to detect a womans fertility before the process begins. Dr. Schriock explained some simple things a woman can do is to look at her fertility potential, including a blood test to assess egg quality and quantity and a simple ultrasound to conduct an egg count and assess the uterus. However, Dr. Schriock clarifies that a lot of these tests standards are based on data from heterosexual couples trying to get pregnant, which is not the same dataset that should be used to advise a lesbian couple. The reason being, according to Dr. Schriock, is Just think about it if a 40-year-old sees me in a heterosexual relationship and has been having sex with her husband for four years and not pregnant, she has exposed one egg a month for four years adding that, most of my lesbian patients maybe have done a couple inseminations maybe over six months, but whats the difference they have only exposed six eggs to sperm. The important thing is to be sure the results are interpreted using the appropriate standards.
Michelle also asks Dr. Schriock about what services are available for gay men. He responds that, We help a lot of gay couples build their families. The simple part is actually the biology of how we create the pregnancy the hard part usually is the logistics of who is going to be the gestational carrier, the surrogate to carry the pregnancy and who is going to be the egg donor. Pacific Fertility Center is there to help guide and assist each of these patients every step of the way.
The last question Michelle asks is what final message would Dr. Schriock like to send to his LGBTQ patients and what do they need to know when it comes to growing a family? His response is to not wait too long, and to Make sure you find a place that can give you, before you jump in, some financial support, emotional support, so that you can really go into this with some good information to make decisions. He ends with saying that, Im so supportive of what you are trying to do here. I think this is something that I feel blessed to be in the Northern California San Francisco Bay Area and to be part of helping build a lot more families.
To listen to the entire interview, click the play button on the audio file at the top of the page.