Reasons to Choose Southeastern Fertility

Feeling like you’ll never reach your dream of getting pregnant? HOPE starts with a conversation…

How much of a difference would it make to get fresh eyes on your situation with personalized, compassionate, attentive care? In this edition of our Facebook Live show “Talk Fertility”, Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon and IVF Nurse Lynda McCollum go into a few factors that make Southeastern Fertility a unique place of HOPE.

To schedule your free 15-minute online consult with Dr. G, call 865-777-0088 or click here.

Reasons to Choose Southeastern Fertility

Feeling like you'll never reach your dream of getting pregnant? HOPE starts with a conversation…How much of a difference would it make to get fresh eyes on your situation with personalized, compassionate, attentive care? In this edition of our Facebook Live show, Dr. Gordon and Lynda go into a few factors that make Southeastern Fertility a unique place of HOPE.To schedule your free 15-minute online consult with Dr. G, call 865-777-0088 or go to "Contact Us" at southeasternfertility.org

Posted by Southeastern Center for Fertility and Reproductive Surgery, PLLC on Friday, June 12, 2020

To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Chet & Anita’s Natural Cycle IVF Story: A Southeastern Fertility Interview

It costs way less than Standard Cycle IVF, and there’s no need for all the medications. Southeastern Fertility now offers the little-known option of Natural Cycle IVF. It worked for Chet and Anita. Maybe it could be your answer, too. Check out the interview below to hear this couple’s inspiring story firsthand!

HOPE starts with a conversation. If you think NC IVF might be worth discussing when it comes to your own situation, call us at 865-777-0088 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Chet and Anita's Natural Cycle IVF Story

It costs way less than Standard Cycle IVF, and there's no need for all the medications. Southeastern Fertility now offers the little-known option of Natural Cycle IVF. It worked for Chet and Anita. Maybe it could be your answer, too. Check out this interview to hear this couple's inspiring story firsthand!Hope starts with a conversation. If you think NC IVF might be worth discussing when it comes to your own situation, call us at 865-777-0088 or go to the "Contact Us" section at southeasternfertility.org to schedule a consultation.

Posted by Southeastern Center for Fertility and Reproductive Surgery, PLLC on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here.

T.J., Megan, & Baby Carter: A Southeastern Story

Let’s be honest. Most high school romances, well, just don’t work out. Bring together two immature, relatively inexperienced people, and it’s no wonder the odds are stacked against them. That’s why high school sweethearts who turn into lifelong loves seem so novel. But it still happens. Just look at Southeastern Fertility couple T.J. and Megan Seiber.

“Megan and I first met in gym class our freshman year,” T.J. says. “We began dating during the summer going into our senior year and haven’t looked back since!” 

In fact, they actually did a lot of looking forward, right from the start. Both planned to become education majors in college and commit to a life of serving young people through teaching. They knew that wouldn’t be limited to the classroom, either. Children of their own were definitely in T.J. and Megan’s plans for the future.

“We loved watching our students grow, but, shortly after marriage, we knew we were ready to watch our own children grow,” the Seibers share. “Because of Megan’s previous PCOS diagnosis we knew that starting a family might take a little longer than normal, but were not expecting to be faced with infertility.”

However, after a year and a half of trying on their own without success, Megan’s doctor suggested they start taking a deeper dive to look for answers. That was when T.J. and Megan turned to Southeastern Fertility and Co-Director Dr. Jeffrey Keenan. “With the help of Southeastern Fertility we discovered that we had male factor infertility as well,” Megan and T.J. remember. “What we thought would take a few months to achieve ended up taking over three years.”

The infertility diagnosis came with so many agonizing questions that no one could answer. Having children seemed to come so easily for most young couples. Why did this have to happen to them?

Excruciating as the reality of their infertility was, Megan and T.J. never doubted they were in good hands. “The more we found out about Southeastern Fertility, the more we were drawn to the office,” they say. “We chose Southeastern Fertility because of their beliefs that every embryo is a life, Dr. Keenan’s incredible success rates, the kindness of the office staff, and the respect that was shown to us during our initial consultation.” 

Best of all, their treatment with Southeastern Fertility produced the long-hoped-for result: T.J. and Megan’s daughter, Carter Ray, who’s now six months old. “Carter is so full of joy. She has all the sass of a 16-year-old packed into her six-month-old self,” the Seibers say. “Her dramatic facial expressions will always show you how she is feeling. She loves to swing, chew on her lovie, and eat broccoli.  We never fully realized how big the holes in our hearts were until God filled them with Carter.”

Looking back on their long road, T.J. and Megan see Southeastern Fertility as not just a medical clinic. They see it as a place of hope where Dr. Keenan, Co-Director Dr. John Gordon and the entire team really listen and care. “If it were not for Dr. Keenan and Southeastern Fertility, we could still be working to start our family,” they share. “We absolutely love all of the office staff and nurses. We feel listened to every time we come in, and our questions are always answered. At the start of our pregnancy there were some concerning issues, and Dr. Keenan went above and beyond to make sure our baby was safe and continued to grow.” 

It’s humbling to be part of this inspiring new chapter in T.J. and Megan’s still-going-since-high-school relationship. After all, we’re not the ones writing the story. “Carter is more than we ever prayed for. We go to bed every night and wake up every morning full of gratitude for our little girl,” T.J. and Megan say. “Her story has blessed many of our friends and family and showed how God is always in control and is always on time. Hindsight truly is 20/20, and we now know that every hiccup was just part of God’s plan that led us to our daughter.” 

To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Getting Started with Southeastern Fertility

Just about ready to get started on your treatment with Southeastern Fertility? In this edition of our Facebook Live show “Talk Fertility”, Dr. John Gordon and IVF Nurse Lynda McCollum venture to the great outdoors to tell you what you need to know.

Getting Started with Southeastern Fertility

Just about ready to get started on your treatment with Southeastern Fertility? Dr. G and Lynda venture to the great outdoors today to tell you what you need to know.

Posted by Southeastern Center for Fertility and Reproductive Surgery, PLLC on Friday, May 29, 2020

Deep Dive FAQ: Who needs ICSI, and how can I be certain that I need it?

Author: John David Gordon MD

For those of you following Southeastern Fertility on Facebook, you may have seen the DrG and Lynda show last week during which Lynda educated me on the correct East Tennessee pronunciation of certain words like “fur” and “hollow.” In return, I “learned her how to Tawk Boston” by having her pronounce “b-e-d-d-a-h” like a native Bostonian. Once the war of the accents had ended Lynda returned to work and I spent some time discussing Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI (ick-zee).

It seems like it shouldn’t work, but it does! When is ICSI right for IVF? Find out in this week’s Talk Fertility.

Posted by Southeastern Fertility-Admin on Friday, February 21, 2020

The most common indication for ICSI is male factor infertility associated with an abnormal semen analysis. Therefore, men with unproven fertility and a semen analysis demonstrating an abnormal sperm count, motility, or morphology are appropriate candidates for IVF with ICSI to improve the chances of successful fertilization. However, there can be differences of opinion between REI physicians and embryologists as to how abnormal a semen analysis needs to be for ICSI to be recommended over traditional IVF (putting 50,000 to 100,000 sperm in a droplet of fluid with each egg).

Some men may have a blockage in their reproductive tract that may keep sperm from getting out, perhaps as a result of a surgical procedure like a vasectomy or because of certain congenital abnormalities. In these and other cases, a specially trained urologist may retrieve sperm directly from the testicles or epididymis. Surgically retrieved sperm requires IVF with ICSI for fertilization, because typically such procedures rarely yield a sufficient number of sperm for IUI or standard IVF. Even though the sperm looks adequate, non-ejaculated sperm has not undergone the final maturation process and therefore ICSI should be utilized to fertilize eggs using any surgically retrieved sperm. ICSI may also be used for cases where traditional IVF has not resulted in fertilization (sometimes referred to as “fertilization failure”), regardless of whether the semen analysis is normal. ICSI is also used in any case with previously cryopreserved oocytes or in-vitro matured oocytes.

Wicked Slippery

Author: John David Gordon MD

As many (? most…? all?) of my patients may realize, I grew up in Boston. My parents were lifelong Bostonians and both of them (especially my Mom) did have Boston accents. So where is mine? Dunno… Maybe just like Chris Evans (Captain America) and John Krasinski (Jim from the Office), all it took was moving “fahr awey from Hahvahd Yahd” to lose my accent…But as you can see from the amazingly funny Hyundai commercial that is currently on the air, you can take the boy out of Boston, but you may never really be able to take the Boston out of the boy…

Wicked is not an adjective that I hear very frequently here in Knoxville. Truth be told, I never heard it very often in Washington, DC either! But that is not the case in Boston, as is evident from the Hyundai ad and from the MassPort electronic bulletin board alerting drivers to the fact that the “Roads are wicked slippery!”

Wicked slippery is how I describe the fertility treatment process to some of my patients. You start out with a few months of infertility and then it becomes a few years. Then you see your Ob Gyn and then maybe you do some clomid. Then you end up in the office of the fertility specialist and before you know it you are shooting yourself up with Gonal-F in the bathroom at Longhorn Steakhouse… Once you start down the slippery slope it is hard to know how to stop….Should you do multiple stimulations? Should you fertilize as many eggs as you can? Should you do PGT-A (Preimplantation Genetic Testing) on all the embryos? And more and more until you find yourself at the bottom of that slippery slope looking up and wondering how did I get down here?

In my 23 years of fertility practice I have seen it over and over again. I think that there is a way to put some brakes on the rapid descent down that slope. I believe that IVF is an appropriate treatment option for our patients, but there needs to be consideration given to where the process can lead before ending up where you never wanted to be….especially finding yourself stuck with too many embryos on the one hand and a family that feels complete to you on the other.

The options of Natural Cycle IVF or Mini Stim IVF or Stim IVF with careful consideration of how many eggs to fertilize can all serve to mitigate the headlong plunge down the slippery slope. In particular, I love Natural Cycle IVF. One egg…one embryo…one baby. No fuss. No muss. Here at Southeastern Fertility, our Natural Cycle IVF is up and running. What can I say…I think that it’s wicked smaht!

Deep Dive FAQ: How many eggs should I fertilize?

Author: John David Gordon, MD

From time to time I will take one of the FAQs from our new website and use this blog to discuss the question in more depth…this is one of those times…so here we go…

Patients considering IVF often ask me how many eggs do I think that they will get and how many should they fertilize. Those are excellent questions and I believe that all patients need to carefully consider what to do before jumping onto the fertility treatment treadmill…

In the world of IVF we are facing an ever increasing crisis caused by our inability to address the huge number of frozen embryos being created by fertility clinics. In our efforts to help patients we are contributing to the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by the very patients that we are so desperate to help.

This issue was one of the reasons that ultimately led me to make the big move from Washington DC to Knoxville. There is no way that we are ever going to be able to get ahead of this problem if we don’t address the decision making process that has led to the fertilization of so many eggs in the first place. It is hard to get patients to consider the possibility that having extra embryos could ever be a bad thing and yet time and time again during my 23 years of treating infertility I have seen patients agonize over what to do with their extra embryos.

The difficulty in making a disposition decision is not limited to patients who are religious or Christian or conservative. Once patients have a child following IVF their perspective on how they regard these extra embryos that are stored in liquid nitrogen tanks at their fertility clinic often shifts dramatically. These embryos are no longer nondescript clumps of cells…They are something more. They are something special. They are something unique.

At Southeastern Fertility we carefully discuss with our patients how many eggs to fertilize before the IVF process even starts. We offer both Natural Cycle IVF and Mini-Stim IVF as options to avoid the temptation of fertilizing too many eggs. In our Stimulated IVF Program we limit the number of eggs fertilized but are happy to freeze the extra unfertilized eggs for future use. If clinics fail to counsel patients appropriately then the problem will only get worse. A recent segment on the Today Show (and another featuring yours truly on local TV) highlighted this very issue and suggested that if we do not take steps to address this issue, then it is only a matter of time before the government decides to address it for us.

FAQ 24.  How many eggs should I fertilize?

Our recommendation to all patients is that they consider fertilizing only as many eggs as embryos that they are willing to transfer either now or in a future FET cycle. Since we are very comfortable with freezing unfertilized eggs we recommend that patients carefully consider this decision so as to avoid the difficulties inherent in deciding what to do with frozen embryos once a couple no longer wishes to use them to have additional children. Although the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) has matched thousands of donated embryos with recipients, there are estimated to be over 1 million frozen embryos stored in IVF clinics across the United States. At Southeastern Fertility we are committed to helping resolve the problem inherent in storing these embryos indefinitely by avoiding the creation of too many surplus embryos.

Stepping out in Faith

Author: John David Gordon, MD

Anyone who has been in my office can readily guess that I am a dog person and not a cat person. If you are a cat person, then you have my sympathies…Dogs have families and cats have servants. Making the decision to move to Knoxville was clearly a case of stepping out in faith. I am someone who is loathe to change toothpaste brands and who, much to my wife’s chagrin, always orders the exact same menu items whenever and wherever we go out for Indian food. So the decision to move was not insignificant. But sometimes making a leap is the right call (like moving to Knoxville) and sometimes making a leap can end up with you getting a bit of a surprise…

A few summers ago we adopted a second four-legged friend from a high kill shelter in South Carolina. Lucky was heartworm positive and his life had taken a turn for the worse since he had been abandoned by his former owners. Fortunately, he responded very well to medical treatment and was declared healthy prior to making the journey up to join our family.

Although we think that he may be a Goldendoodle, we really have no idea about his doggie DNA. He has shown absolutely no interest in swimming and after getting a bath to get whatever that black deer musk is off of him he now refuses to go anywhere near a bathroom!

But one thing that he absolutely loves is riding in the car. He sometimes sits in the minivan while it is in the garage in hopes that one of us will decide to take him for a spin. Since a boat is kind of like a car with no roof he quickly decided that tooling around on our boat was pretty awesome.

One summer day we were out on the lake and pulled up to the dock at the market to grab a snack. Lucky was happy to get back on land for a few moments to use the doggie facilities (nearest tree). Suddenly he realized that just 20 yards away there were a bunch of Canadian Geese. However, they were not on land. They were happily gliding around the end of the docks seemingly oblivious to Lucky. As we walked back to the boat he decided to check out the geese from a different vantage point. I walked with him to the end of the dock and we stood for a few moments watching the geese mill around about 10-15 yards away from us.

Then Lucky launched himself into the air and off the end of the dock. I have no idea what he was thinking… He hit the cold water and immediately turned back toward the dock…all hope of catching a goose quickly forgotten. As I helped him clamber up on the dock he seemed a bit embarrassed by the whole affair. However, his happy personality soon returned and he dried out quickly in the heat of the day.  He now clearly regards swimming as a near-death experience.

So what does this shaggy dog tale have to do with infertility? Well, on some level pursuing fertility treatment is a leap of faith. Our patients are making the assumption that there is a good egg, a good sperm and a uterus capable of carrying a pregnancy. We really wish that we had definitive tests to figure out if these assumptions are correct, but we do not.

AMH, FSH/estradiol and antral follicle count will predict responsiveness to fertility medications for stimulated IUI or stimulated IVF cycles. However, these tests will not predict who will conceive either with or without treatment.

Recently I had this discussion with a patient who was over 40 years old but with poor ovarian reserve as evidenced by her AMH, antral follicle count, FSH levels and previous response to fertility medications. I explained that the further use of medications was unlikely to improve her odds of success and that NC IVF probably made the most sense in her situation unless she was interested in Embryo Adoption or traditional adoption. I explained that NC IVF pregnancy rates per embryo transfer depend upon her age (which I cannot change) and are NOT dependent upon ovarian reserve.

Making that leap of faith is difficult. Sometimes you come up short…just like Lucky in his attempt to secure a tasty lunch of Canadian Goose….BUT sometimes the leap is successful. The only way to find out is to take a deep breath and take the plunge.