Can I Do Natural Cycle IVF?

Natural Cycle IVF can be a preferable option for many infertility patients. It uses no fertility medications and results in a single egg and embryo. In the video below, Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon responds to a patient who’s wondering if Natural Cycle IVF might be right for her. Plus, Dr. G and Lynda McCollum bring their trademark fun and humor. Eagles fans, this one’s for you!

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Infertility True or False

You might be surprised just how common fertility problems are among couples of child-bearing age in the U.S. If you’re having fertility struggles, there’s no need to feel alone, because you’re definitely not. Below is a little “Infertility True or False” from Southeastern Fertility to put a bow on National Infertility Awareness Week 2021.

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Know Your Nurses: Lynda & Kaylee

Southeastern Fertility IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum introduces you to Kaylee Zalewski, our clinic nurse who is now becoming our second full-time IVF nurse as we expand the team! That means Kaylee and Lynda will now be in charge of medical protocols for all IVF and frozen embryo transfers. Get to know Kaylee a little better in this short video.

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

We’re Now Doing Natural Cycle FETs!

The team at Southeastern Fertility is excited to announce something new: We’re now offering Natural Cycle Frozen Embryo Transfers (FETs)!

That means, in addition to medicated cycles, we will now offer the option to local IVF patients of doing FETs using the patient’s own natural cycle. (In case you’re wondering, the success rate is similar to that of a medicated FET.)

In practice, here’s how it will look. A patient will grow a follicle and receive a trigger shot, and the FET will normally occur about a week after the trigger shot is received.

During the time frame in between, ovulation will normally occur 36 hours after the trigger shot, and will then of course be followed by the egg collection procedure. The FET will then be the final step a few days later.

Why offer this option? There are many potential reasons a Natural Cycle FET could be an ideal route for some patients:

  1. It offers the opportunity to leverage the patient’s own hormones at a time when the uterine lining is naturally maximally receptive to implantation.
  2. Some patients with histories of blood clots may not be able to take the supplemental estrogen involved in medicated FETs.
  3. Some patients with histories of breast cancer are understandably uncomfortable with the idea of taking hormones.
  4. Other patients have already been through medicated cycles and are simply tired of all the hormone shots involved.

In order to be considered for a Natural Cycle FET, you must be a local patient with regular cycles. Our National Embryo Donation Center patients, the vast majority of whom are from out of town, will not be able to do Natural Cycle FETs.

Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon and IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum unpack this topic below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Making the Call: When is it Urgent?

When is it time to call Southeastern Fertility right away, and when can something wait a bit? Also, what are the best ways to get in touch? These are important questions if you’re a patient going through fertility treatment. Here are some quick answers to each.

When to call right away:

You’re experiencing bleeding after a positive pregnancy test. If this happens to you, definitely call as soon as you can! And in a case like this, it’s best to just call the front desk at 865-777-0088, ext. 1 or ext. 2. Taylor or Kristy will track down the nurse or team member best equipped to respond. Again, don’t dial the nurses’ desk and settle for voice mail in a situation like this! It’s crucial to get help from a live person quickly, and the front desk is your best route to receive that.

You’re having an ultrasound somewhere besides Southeastern Fertility, and you don’t have your order sheet. This could commonly happen especially with our National Embryo Donation Center patients, many of whom live out of town. If you’re at the medical facility and they won’t perform the ultrasound because there’s no order sheet, call right away and we’ll fax it to them. The front desk is also the best number to call in this situation: 865-777-0088 ext. 1 or ext. 2.

When it’s a lower-level issue:

Protocol questions are generally considered to be the next level down from the issues above in terms of urgency and priority. Now don’t misunderstand us on this one: If you’re on a medication protocol and it’s time for your dose, definitely call right away! But if it’s a question about when you need to start progesterone in oil or something similar and you know the protocol won’t start for about another week, that’s another matter. Sure, it’s a very important question. Yet it’s not imperative that you receive an immediate answer. In cases like this, just email IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum or Clinic Nurse Kaylee Zalewski and they’ll work to get you a timely, though perhaps not instant, answer. (NOTE: One reason the nurses prefer you email them for less urgent questions rather than call is that it helps them tremendously to have something in writing for a point of reference.) Lynda’s email is ivfnurse@southeasternfertility.org. Kaylee’s email is clinic_nurse@southeasternfertility.org.

Lynda and Southeastern Fertility’s Mark Mellinger unpack all this -and have a little game show fun in the process- below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Lost & Found

No one enjoys the feeling of being lost. Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon and IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum unpack why infertility can make you feel that way, and how we can help to move you to “found”, below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Endometrial Scratching: Why We Do It & When

When you’re struggling to have a baby, research suggests purposely disrupting the lining of the uterus could improve your chances of achieving pregnancy in some cases. Endometrial scratching, or endometrial biopsy, is a common fertility procedure used toward this end by Southeastern Fertility. The procedure is very safe and may be followed by mild, short-term cramping or bleeding.

There are three main circumstances in which our medical team performs endometrial biopsies:

  1. To test for chronic endometritis. This is a condition in which inflammation in the lining of the uterus could be hindering a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.
  2. Before embryo transfers, prior to the start of a cycle. Though research on this has come to varying conclusions, there is evidence suggesting a biopsy can better prepare the lining for embryo implantation. Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon compares this to pruning rose bushes, asserting that there may be something in the reparative process that enhances chances of a successful implantation and pregnancy.
  3. To test endometrial receptivity. Sometimes our medical team will advise endometrial biopsies for patients who we feel probably should be experiencing successful embryo transfers yet are not. In these cases, an endometrial scratch can help determine whether a woman’s lining may be more receptive to an embryo transfer on one particular day over another during a given cycle.

Dr. Gordon and IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum unpack this topic in more detail, with their trademark brand of humor and fun thrown in, below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Space for a New Face

Southeastern Fertility is expanding to serve you better! Embryologist Sarah Atkinson is joining Lab Director Carol Sommerfelt on the embryology team for Knoxville’s only IVF program accredited by The Joint Commission.

Dr. John Gordon introduces you to Sarah, and checks in with Carol, in the video below. You’ll see they’re in the midst of the moving process, which can always be, well, messy. Might they unearth the Ark of the Covenant amid all the clutter?

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Everybody Loves Lynda: The Gift of Gratitude

A group of Southeastern Fertility/National Embryo Donation Center moms recently decided they wanted to surprise IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum with a shower of thank you notes, gifts and gift cards for all her hard work on their behalf. Co-Director Dr. John Gordon presented Lynda with these tokens of gratitude on Southeastern Fertility’s weekly Facebook Live broadcast.

Watch the video to see Lynda’s reaction for yourself. It’s a moment that really drives home the close, caring relationships we’re privileged to form with our families.

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

One Last Shot: Jon & Kristie’s Southeastern Story

Sometimes one last shot at a dream is all you have. And sometimes that’s enough. Jon and Kristie Weaver are living proof.

Jon and Kristie’s romance started years ago amid the sun and the sand. “Jon and I met at a sand volleyball game at a friend’s house in 2009. He played. I watched,” Kristie shares. 

Their relationship blossomed from there. Eventually, it led to wedding bells. Both Jon and Kristie longed to expand their joy by adding children to their home. So they became concerned after a year of trying to get pregnant with no success. “Our diagnosis was unexplained infertility,” Kristie says. “ I was 37 at the time, which made me ‘advanced maternal age’, I soon found out.“  

They weren’t sure exactly what to do next, but they knew where to go to look for answers. “We were referred to Dr. Jeffrey Keenan for a fibroid removal in 2016.  It only made sense to return to Southeastern Fertility when we struggled to get pregnant,” Jon and Kristie say. “After several cycles of IVF with Southeastern Fertility, we ended up getting pregnant using our last frozen embryo.  We found out at nine weeks that the embryo split and we were having twins!”

Indeed, that’s just what happened. A few months later, Kristie gave birth to Jones and Jackson. “They are the most amazing twins in the world.  They love to eat, laugh, listen to music, and play,” Jon and Kristie say. “They light up every room they enter and have filled everyone’s heart to the top with love and laughter.”

It sure wasn’t an easy road to get to Jones and Jackson, but Jon and Kristie are glad they hung on during their sometimes white-knuckle ride. Having the Southeastern Fertility team by their side lightened their anxiety during the most intense stretches. “Dr. Keenan, the nurses and the rest of the staff mean the world to us! I truly feel like we are family,” Kristie says. “I always had a hand to hold if my husband had to work, a shoulder to cry on if things didn’t go as planned, and words of encouragement when I needed it the most.  If they weren’t here I probably wouldn’t have my boys, and I would be missing out on all of the wonderful relationships I made during the whole experience.”

If this had been a baseball game, you could say the Weavers were down to their last strike with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. And then- a dramatic home run! It’s the kind of Cinderella story we at Southeastern Fertility can’t believe we get to be a part of. And yet, we’re mindful that we’re not ultimately the ones in charge of it all. Jon and Kristie agree, summing it up this way: “We cannot say enough nice things about our experience at Southeastern Fertility. The knowledge, skill, and expertise combined with the love, empathy, and encouragement of the staff made us feel like we were right where God wanted us.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.