web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘IVF’

Israeli IVF Success Doubles in Decade

Monday, May 14th, 2012

A new Health Ministry reports shows that a whopping 25 percent of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)treatments resulted in pregnancies, with 20% of attempts resulting in live births.  The number represents the doubling of success in the last decade.

According to the report, 4.1% of births in Israel were the result of IVF treatments in 2010, compared to 2.5% in 1997.  In 2010, 8,123 IVF cycles resulted in pregnancy, with 4,217 achieving success in 2000.

The average women gave birth to 1.2 babies, a consistent figure which is accounted for by the common Israeli practice of returning only one or two embryos to a woman’s body, so as to avoid the risk of multiple births.

Healthy ministry officials attribute the surge in success to Israeli advancement in IVF technology and procedure, and extensive scientific and medical research.

Israeli law provides all women with free and unlimited IVF procedures for up to two live babies.  In 2011, 35,000 IVF cycles were completed throughout the country, up from 18,011 in 2000.

Among the reasons for the rising figures in IVF treatment success is the advanced scientific and medical research in the field of medicine.

In May, Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital celebrated its 200th successful pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) IVF procedure, in which doctors examine embryos on the molecular level to assist families with pre-dispositions for debilitating genetic disorders to have healthy children.

Dr. Michael Gal, Senior Physician in Shaarei Zedek’s IVF unit, told the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher that Israel has the highest number of IVF units per capita in the world because of government support and because “we love children here”.

Shaare Zedek Celebrates 200th PGD-IVF Birth

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

With over 13,000 circumcisions under his knife, Rabbi David Fuld has witnessed far too many babies born with horrendous and debilitating genetic diseases, some of whom will never live to see their own Bar Mitzvah. For years, the plight of these children, as well as the financial and emotional price their families were forced to pay disturbed him to no end.

Discussing it with his wife Anita, they decided there must be something they could do to help families that wanted to have children, but were at high risk of having children with devastating genetic diseases.

Rabbi Fuld began searching for a solution and came across the research of Dr. Yury Verlinsky in Chicago. Born in Siberia, the doctor immigrated to the U.S. after – as a Jew – he was forbidden to practice medicine in the former USSR. Verlinsky had developed a genetic screening process called “Polar Body Analysis”, in which a by-product of the egg’s division during meiosis is detached and tested for genetic diseases on a molecular level, with no damage to the rest of the egg.

Rabbi Fuld cut a deal with Verlinsky, and a partnership began where Verlinsky’s technique and research would be developed and a testing and fertilization treatment facility would be established in Israel.

Rabbi Fuld began searching for a hospital in Israel that had both the capabilities and ethical standards he wanted to set up a PGD (Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis) and IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) center.

The search eventually led him to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, well known as “the hospital with a heart,” Shaare Zedek is unique in that it is guided by halachic (Jewish) law and is heralded for the high quality of treatment it offers its patients. Both were important standards for Rabbi Fuld.

Dr. Yonatan Halevy, Director General of Shaare Zedek introduced Rabbi Fuld to Shaare Zedek’s geneticist Professor Ephrat Levy-Lahad.

Rabbi Fuld offered Professor Levy-Lahad $250,000 to set up of a PGD-IVF research laboratory and treatment center, and she laughed as she explained to him that it would cost at least ten times that amount. Typically speaking, it can cost as much as $30,000 per child for PGD-IVF treatment, though over the past two years, Israeli insurance companies have begun to subsidize much of the cost for the first two children.

Rabbi Fuld, wealthy from his real estate holdings, understood the message. The rest, as they say, is history.

The first baby using PGD-IVF was born in 2005, and on Thursday, May 10, 2012, Shaare Zedek celebrated its 200th baby born using this technique. And there are many more babies in the pipeline.

Shaare Zedek: One of a kind

While there are seven genetic screening and fertilization centers in Israel, Shaare Zedek is the only one checking on the molecular level, compared to the more common chromosomal testing. This means the tests are more accurate and able to detect more genetic diseases. No other hospital in Israel has created as many children, and just as important, no other hospital has had as high a success rate in testing, impregnation, and live births as Shaare Zedek.

As anyone who saw the classic dystopian film Gattaca would recall, there are serious ethical issues that must be considered with PGD. PGD can test for gender and other genetic issues completely unrelated to health, which opens up an entire Pandora’s box.

Shaare Zedek is the only Israeli hospital with its own in-house ethical committee, which decides if the applying couples should receive PGD treatment, as well as ensuring that the entire process conforms to Halachah. The department assists Jews and Arabs alike.

Furthermore, as IVF treatments can be personally invasive on a physical and emotional level, the department’s staff of 30 are unusually sensitive to this potential discomfort and act accordingly.

There is also the issue of what happens to the fertilized, but diseased, embryos. Those embryos are used for testing to help the doctors improve their research and treatment. Before beginning treatment, the couples sign a waiver giving their consent.

Rabbi Fuld shared with The Jewish Press a few stories of the people he helped.

One ultra-Orthodox couple, based on genetic screening before marriage, knew they could never have children, as the risk was too high. But what could they do? They had fallen in love, and decided to marry anyway. Not having children was the price they were willing to pay to stay together. But they continued to search for a method that would work for them, and hearing about Shaare Zedek’s groundbreaking research, they flew to Israel for treatment.

Needless to say, they now have a healthy child.

In another unusual story, Shaare Zedek treated a couple afflicted with a form of dwarfism. Research at other hospitals had determined that it’s basically impossible to help such couples conceive a child, much less a healthy one. Yet today, there is a healthy child walking around Jerusalem, who will grow to normal height.

A Day in the Life of A TIME:

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

A TIME is widely recognized and venerated as the nation’s leading organization to offer support, advocacy, education, guidance and referrals to Jewish couples struggling with infertility. In order to accurately portray all that A TIME accomplishes on any given 24-hour period, I decided to spend a day with them and take note of the goings on. As an inconspicuous observer, I watched in awe and amazement as this group of special individuals took on all the daunting aspects associated with infertility. I jotted down details and snippets of everything I saw. Consequently, the following is just a brief overview of the defining moments that habitually take place in the course of a single day at the diligent offices of A TIME.


 


Every morning at A TIME begins with the returning of a copious number of messages received during the previous evening. On this particular occasion, one disheartened couple has called to report a pregnancy loss. Sighing in sympathy, the secretary offers unmitigated sensitivity and support. In the course of conversation she learns that it’s the woman’s 3rd cycle of IVF that has failed. While nothing she can say or do could ever replace the irreversible loss, her compassion undoubtedly helps to ease the pain. She then confers the telephone number of Malky K., who conducts a weekly support program for women who share in the woman’s poignant, painful situation. The member’s call is next forwarded to a second desk, at which the woman is referred to a doctor who specializes in repeated pregnancy loss.


 


After disconnecting, the secretary arranges for a pregnancy loss package, courtesy of A TIME – sending it to the heartbroken-but-hopeful recipient with warmest wishes. The box is overflowing with chizuk and informative articles, a box of chocolates, a tender poem, a musical CD, and plenty of love. The message A TIME endeavors strongly to convey is that the loss of a pregnancy should never culminate in the loss of hope.


 


Another call comes through from someone who has recently received financial aid, so that she might undergo a long-anticipated medical procedure. The caller is destitute, for the cycle has failed and her fiscal resources are thoroughly exhausted. The treatment center contacted her, asking for yet additional funds for further procedural options. In desperate straits, the woman turns to A TIME for both verbal encouragement and monetary assistance.


 


In the interim, another man contacts A TIME, asking about their extensive adoption resources. He wants to know the standard processes by which to adopt a child. One of A TIME’s ever-patient staff elucidates the list of routine requirements for the applicant. She forwards by email the name and telephone number of the social worker he’d need to reach for home study, along with the contact information of various lawyers specializing in New York State adoptions. She takes a personal interest in the eventual outcome of his proposal, asking that he call back once he gets certified.


 


This is the third call concerning adoption that A TIME has received in one week – but for all the enthusiasm and warmth inherent in the secretary’s voice, it might have been the first call she’d received concerning adoption all year. The Menora Project of A TIME offers a multitude of adoption services, to attract Jewish birth moms across the country. Due to the heavy volume of adoption-related phone calls, A TIME has recently decided to develop and further the capacity of its current project.


 


The telephones ring incessantly, with interminable requests. People phone to register for upcoming events, ask for listings of gemachs, or referrals to physicians and therapists. Extension 280 is kept continually busy dealing exclusively with issues of hashgacha.


While the staff caters tirelessly to the varying needs of every caller and sees to the myriad undertakings in which A TIME is involved, the office manager is busy making calls of her own. She is in the process of securing open telephone lines for a series of imminent conference talks, to take place over the following eight weeks. The talks will present an open forum wherein callers can lend and receive support, along with timely information on all subjects relative to infertility.


 


The mail arrives at midday, and with it arrives ever more responsibilities. Membership forms, brochures and fertility books swamp the overcrowded desks, waiting to be addressed. The JCCA/ Ametz Adoption Program has sent a pamphlet detailing a forthcoming adoption conference. A staff member contacts the program director, requesting an e-mailed copy, so she can forward it to everyone on her list of potential adoptive parents. While forwarding, she also e-mails information concerning the New York State IVF Grant to someone who had asked about it earlier that morning. She’s briefly interrupted by the entrance of a new mother, who excitedly exhibits pictures of her precious newborn twins. This mom of three weeks will be eternally grateful to A TIME for having referred her to the doctor whose expertise enabled her to conceive.


 


A steady stream of volunteers relentlessly floods the office of A TIME. One proceeds to make photocopies of a pertinent medical expose, which she will mail to the 24-hour helpline staff, regarding applicable new advancements in areas of infertility. Another volunteer is filling envelopes with meticulous information concerning A TIME’s most updated services. The correspondence will be dispatched to kallah classes, in case any teacher should encounter a couple in need of A TIME’s selfless assistance.


 


Another individual enters the offices of A TIME in search of reading material. He borrows the PCOS diet book from A TIME’s bookshelf. (A PCOS support group has been implemented by A TIME, to inform and encourage people with this treatable condition to alter their preexisting lifestyles, thereby promoting the likelihood of pregnancy.)

 

A TIME is in possession of a comprehensive library, encompassing books on all matters of infertility. The library boasts volumes on chizuk, tapes of all the organization’s events and programs, along with multipurpose Internet access. Members can browse through sites dedicated to pregnancy, or print relevant medical articles. A TIME’s website includes an interactive forum, wherein members can ask personal questions, uninhibited. By clicking on their “Ask the Doctor” link, medical inquiries regarding infertility can be answered by certified professional physicians.


 


A TIME is also renowned for its Machon, which inculcates Rabbonim on the intricate halachos of infertility. Amid the hectic pace of the office, one student of the Machon comes in to avail himself of cassette tape recordings, so that he might study and gain clarity on the lessons discussed in recent classes.


 


An interoffice newsletter is transmitted to each of A TIME’s seven office locations, once every two weeks, to keep the staff members and devoted volunteers in every department informed of all new implementations and developments. Networking helps these hard-working individuals remain in the know regarding any of A TIME’s ever expanding, ever-progressing projects.


 


A TIME invests so much of their energy and resources, so many of their talents and skills, to generate their enduring, extraordinary success. They believe that by working together, every mother’s distant dream can be brought that much closer to reality. After witnessing all that A TIME is capable of realizing in a single day, I trust that they can make the impossible, possible. Their goal is to fill every woman’s yearning arms with a baby of her own – and to keep the eternal flame of hope burning strong in every Jewish heart.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 1/05/07

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

Readers advise “Should have, could have, yet didn’t…” (Chronicles 12-22)

Letter #1

Dear Rachel,

My heart broke for the “older single” who finally met a young man she might get engaged to and it turned out their Dor Yeshorim numbers didn’t “match.” Part of the tragedy is the writer’s implication that she should have known better.

Rather than debate the obvious − of when exactly to check D.Y. numbers, how about breaking out of the prevalent double-blind mentality? What is wrong with knowing whether and which of one’s own children is a carrier of a disease? Several of my children were tested independently by a frum doctor for the same diseases as those on the D.Y. list. Our health insurance paid for the tests, and my children − who, as it turns out, are not carriers of any of these diseases − have been able to date confidently.

When one of my children was about to get engaged and her future in-laws asked for the D.Y. numbers to be “matched,” we knew there was nothing to worry about. With private, informed testing, someone who turns out to be a carrier will know that checking the D.Y. numbers early on or before a first date is an absolute must.

Letter #2

I had a similar situation, where Dor Yeshorim informed me that a match was not compatible. We dropped the shidduch and subsequently learned that the Dor Yeshorim findings were not necessarily conclusive. In our specific situation, one party was definitely positive, but the other party was “probably” positive.

Dor Yeshorim does not have the facilities for further testing and therefore takes the conservative approach of declaring the couple to be incompatible. This may not be true in all cases. In our case, after consulting with a doctor and extensive testing by an expert recommended by Dor Yeshorim, it was determined that the “probable” positive was definitely negative. We went ahead with the shidduch.

Letter #3

You could have referred “Should Have” to the PUAH Institute. Carrier couples of serious genetic diseases have several medical and halachic options open to them, including in IVF with pre-implantation diagnosis − a procedure that is utilized by many Orthodox couples who cannot conceive naturally.

For two people who have had such difficulty finding emotionally compatible spouses, every attempt should be made to help them find happiness together and to build a bayis ne’eman. Your dismissal of their courtship as simply being “not bashert” is cruel and potentially condemns these two people to a lifetime without companionship or children.

Letter #4

THEY CAN GET MARRIED. My cousin who is a world genetic specialist told me that there are possibilities, and the shidduch does not have to be called off. There are ways they can have children, albeit irregular − but if they are committed, then they can, by all means, have kids. I hope you can relay this message to the girl.

Thank you for bringing this and all the issues to the fore. You are a guiding light in our fractured community.

Dear Readers,

Your responses were overwhelming. Mi ke’amcha Yisrael? − Who is like Your people?

I thank all of you who cared enough to take the time and trouble to express your genuine concern and advice. While the final determination is ultimately up to the affected parties, your input will hopefully offer them and others a springboard for a positive resolution.

Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 6/30/06

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

To all women, men or children who feel that they are at the end of their ropes, please consider joining a support group, or forming one.

Anyone wishing to make a contribution to help agunot, please send your tax deductible contribution to The Jewish Press Foundation.

Checks must be clearly specified to help agunot. Please make sure to include that information if that is the purpose of your contribution, because this is just one of the many worthwhile causes helped by this foundation.

**********

Dear Rachel,

It seems I chose the wrong profession. Frum, young women don’t really do what I do anymore. I am an anomaly in my field and I’m lonely. I’m a stay-at-home mother.

What are we doing to our children? I see them everywhere – Russian, Spanish, black, non-Jewish babysitters – taking care of our little ones. I take my baby to the park, to the library, to lunch, to the learning center, and I am alone. Oh, the parks are packed with Jewish children, but no Jewish mothers. And when I finally do see a frum mother with a carriage, I pounce on her. Who are you? Where are you from?

You – mother of young children reading this – who leaves your precious children with babysitters while you are out all day – be it for work, the gym, lunch, the beauty salon, to shop – shame on you for not recognizing that Hashem has given you an unimaginable gift that you are too selfish or foolish to appreciate.

I’ve heard all the excuses and they are all pathetic: “My husband learns and I support the family.” You, who travel from Lakewood to Brooklyn and back again and sometimes don’t see your children at all until the weekend (which you sleep through due to exhaustion), call on any Gadol you want – go ahead and I dare you to do it right now – and ask him if your husband’s limud Torah is worth the sacrifice of chinuch habanim. He will say NO.

“We need two incomes to live on.” So do I. I work part time and have a sweet Russian babysitter who stays with my baby for three hours a day. I work from home, too, after the baby goes to sleep. Part-time work, even if you don’t need it, is a great way to get out a little. I understand that mothers need a break. And if part-time work is not enough, then beg. Borrow. Move to a community with a lower standard of living. Do whatever you have to do. Personally? I would sell the shoes off my feet before I’d let a stranger kiss my precious little neshamala good night.

“I have too many kids, too close together.” I’m not even going there. If you were too stupid to figure out the ABC’s of birth control, you’re probably too stupid to raise your own kids. Maybe they are better off with the babysitter.

“I love my kids, but it’s been my lifetime dream to be a lawyer, doctor.” Your baby needs a mommy. Not a babysitter, not a grandma, not even a daddy. A mommy. You made a lifetime commitment to that child the moment it was conceived, and it’s your duty to fulfill it. Don’t say you can be both – because you can’t. If you are a lawyer or a doctor and you work full time, then you are not a mother. Simple. True. Either wait until your children are in school – or don’t have kids.

How do you all live with yourselves – knowing that while you are out working or shopping or primping, your son took his first step and you weren’t there to hug him? That while you were away getting your “me time” your daughter splashed all the water out of her tub and giggled her head off nonstop for 10 minutes straight?

Believe it or not, it is you who is missing out. There is no joy that compares to the joy of loving your children. No job will ever come close. My daughter learned how to stand today. I came to her crib this morning and found her standing up for the first time, holding on to the bars and grinning her chubby little face off. That grin went straight to my heart. It will probably stay there about a year.

I went through some infertility problems before my daughter was born, and through my experience I met some extraordinary women. One with nine failed IVF cycles another with eight miscarriages. Every one of these women would happily sell themselves as maids if they could only know the joy of having children. And believe me, when they do, they won’t be dumping them off on non-Jews to raise.

People say not to judge. I say, JUDGE!! Let’s walk into the homes and schools of our communities and pull out these mothers and judge them – for the misguided, foolish, undeserving women that they are. Why is the teenage-at-risk population growing? Why are our children growing up and turning to drugs? Have you ever asked them? I have. And many say – because I needed my mommy. And she wasn’t there.

She wasn’t there.

Are you?

A Mother

Dear Mother,

You’ve laid out a most compelling argument against the working / absentee mom, with a delivery worthy of the most reputable prosecuting attorney this side of the planet. For sure, mothers who leave their tots in the endless care of others in order to freely traipse a self-serving agenda are deserving of your tongue-lashing, and more.

However, to be fair, one cannot judge another without walking in her shoes. If a break of several hours will help restore the equilibrium of the overworked high-strung mom, her child(ren) would likely benefit, rather than suffer, from such temporary separation.

To be fair, a woman who undertakes the support of her family while her man learns (be it Torah or trade – for limited duration) has every right to her choice. Who’s to say that this arrangement won’t serve them all for the better in the long run

To be fair, your own sense of gratitude has been appreciably heightened by the ordeal you had undergone before your desire to have a child came to fruition.

That a babysitter should be chosen with utmost care and evaluation goes without saying.

Hatzlacha and much nachas to Yiddishe mammas all over the globe!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-24/2006/06/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: