FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

General Questions from Dr. Thornton's Current and Previous Patients:

  • Can patients, agencies, and donors reach out to Dr. Thornton? If so, how?

Dr. Thornton may be contacted via email at DrMelvinThornton@gmail.com or in the contact form on the homepage of the website.

  • Is Dr. Thornton still practicing medicine?

Yes once the coronavirus Pandemic is over Dr. Thornton will be seeing patients at his new practice in NYC and Fairfield, Connecticut.

  • When can I resume treatment?

Currently, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends not starting any new fertility treatment.  The ASRM Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force will reassess its recommendations at no more than two-week intervals due to the delicate situation.

 

ASRM Coronavirus/COVID-19 Task Force affirms all the stated recommendations:

  • Suspending initiation of new treatment cycles, including ovulation induction, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), in vitro fertilization (IVF) including retrievals and frozen embryo transfers, as well as non-urgent gamete cryopreservation

  • Continuing to care for patients who are currently “in-cycle” or who require urgent stimulation and cryopreservation

  • Suspending elective surgeries and non-urgent diagnostic procedures

  • Minimizing in-person interactions and increasing utilization of telehealth

  • What will happen to the eggs and embryos of Dr. Thornton’s patients?

Embryos, eggs and sperm will remain safely cryopreserved at American Fertility Services

  • How can Dr. Thornton’s patients access their files?

Files can obtain by filling out a release of information form that can be obtained from American Fertiity Services.  Once the form is filled out and sent back to American Fertility Services your records will be forwarded directly to you

  • When can I resume fertility treatment?

At this time the American Society of Reprodutive Medicine (ASRM) recommends not starting in new fertility.  The ASRM task force on coronavirus will reassess its recommendations at no more than two-week intervals considering the fluid and evolving situation.  https://www.reproductivefacts.org/globalassets/asrm/asrm-content/news-and-publications/covid-19/asrm-covid19-recommendations-smaller.jpg

  • When is Dr. Thornton going to start at his new practice, where will it be and when can I visit? When is the CT office opening, when is the NY office opening?

COVID-19 has affected the operations of many businesses and medical practices. However, our goal is to establish a transition that will be as seamless as possible for IP’s and start practicing as swiftly as the state mandates will allow.

Our New York location is scheduled to be open for patients via virtual appointments and telehealth beginning early May 2020. In-person patients visits will begin in accordance with the New York State Mandates and guidelines of ASRM (listed above). The New York location will be available for sperm freezing, routine IVF, embryo creation, surrogacy screening and egg donor screening at this time.

Our Connecticut location is scheduled to open Fall 2020.

Dr. Thornton and Dr. De Pinho will begin seeing patients at the Connecticut location Fall 2020.

Commonly Asked Surrogacy Questions:

  • What is the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy?

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is inseminated with the sperm of the intended father or sperm donor.  The surrogate’s own egg is used, thus she is the genetic mother of the resulting child.  This type of surrogacy can require the parents to legally adopt the child following birth.  Traditional surrogacy is rarely done today.

In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate (or gestational carrier) carries a child conceived of the egg and sperm of two other individuals.  Specifically, the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor, as well as the egg from the intended mom or an egg donor are fertilized and transferred, via in vitro fertilization, into the gestational carrier.  Typically, depending on the state where the gestational carrier lives, intended parents are able to have their name put on their child’s birth certificate, before or after the child is born without having to adopt their child.

 

  • Can an intended parent pursue surrogacy as a single parent? Or is it dedicated to same-sex couples?

Gestational Surrogacy is for all intended parents-married or single.  In fact a large percentage of gestational carrier cycles here in the United States are undertaken by single intended parents.

  • What is Dr. Thornton’s success rate with surrogacy?

Over the years Dr. Thornton has helped thousands of intened parents realize their dreams of having a baby.  His success rates for gestational surrogacy ranks among the highest in the country.  Factors that are important to maintain such high success rates include selecting the right egg donor and a thorogh screening of the gestional carrier.

  • How does an intended parent find surrogates and are you able to give me egg database or a sperm bank recommendation?

Typically inteneded parents work with a surrogacy or egg donor agency to find their surrogate and egg donor.  Dr. Thornton works with many well known surrogacy and egg donor agencies.  By working with many surrogacy/egg donor agencies Dr. Thornton’s goal is to help you find the best possible surrogate and egg donor to guarantee you the best chance for a successful journey.

 

Commonly Asked In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Questions:

  • What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) s the most common type of assisted reproductive technology (ART), used to create an embryo by bypassing certain causes of infertility, such as mild sperm abnormalities in men, and fallopian tube or ovulation irregularity in women. The IVF process is also used for men who desire to have a child with use of donor eggs and surrogacy

During IVF, a woman’s eggs are surgically retrieved and then fertilized in a laboratory by mixing with a partner (or donor’s) sperm. The fertilized egg, or embryo, is left to grow for two to five days, and is then transferred back into the intended mother or surrogates womb.

  • How long should I wait before consulting a fertility doctor?

Comprehensive infertility testing for both men and women can help you maximize your chance of achieving success in the shortest time necessary. In general, patients will seek advice from a fertility specialist after one year of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. The chances of a fertile couple conceiving a child in any given month (called the natural pregnancy rate) is around 20%; resulting in roughly ninety percent of couples becoming pregnant after one year of trying to conceive.

 

It’s recommended that the remaining 10 percent of couples consult a fertility specialist. In particular, women under 35 should see a fertility specialist after one year of trying to conceive.  Women over thirty are encouraged to undergo a fertility treatment evaluation, after six months of attempting to conceive. And it may be beneficial for women over forty to meet with a fertility doctor shortly after deciding to try and have a child.

  • Am I candidate for IVF?

There are a number of factors involved in determining if a patient is suitable for IVF treatment. Appropriate candidates often include couples who may experience:

  • Low sperm counts

  • Endometriosis

  • Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes

  • Ovulation disorders

  • Sperm unable to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus

  • Other health or unexplained reproductive issues

  • Men who desire to build a family through egg donation and gestational surrogacy.  The only way to know for sure if in vitro fertilization is right for you is to undergo a complete exam and consultation with Dr. Thornton.

  • How successful is IVF?

According to national statistica from the Center for Disease Control, the average IVF success rates using one’s own eggs begins to drop around age thirty and dips rapidly in the mid 30s and early 40s, due to lower egg quantity and quality.  In addition to age, success rates with IVF vary with respect to one’s height, weight, infertility diagnosis, sperm count, and reproductive history, such as the previous number of pregnancies, miscarriages and births.

 

  • Are there any side-effects associated with IVF?

Fertility medications can cause mood swings, headaches, hot flashes, abdominal pain, and bloating. In very rare cases, fertility medication may induce ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), which can produce more severe symptoms such as:

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Shortness of breath

  • Decreased urinary frequency

  • Feeling faint

  • Significant weight gain within three to five days

  • Severe stomach pain and bloating

Potential side effects after IVF treatment may include:

  • Passing a tiny small amount of clear or blood colored fluid after the procedure

  • Mild bloating

  • Mild cramping

  • Breast tenderness

  • Constipation

IVF can be ideal for couples who have tried conventional infertility treatments such has ovuataiton induction and intrauterine insemination but have failed to conceive. IVF can also help solve certain male infertility factors as well. Before deciding if IVF is the right choice, it’s important to talk to Dr. Thornton and his staff to discuss and evaluate all the available treatment options.

Commonly Asked Egg Freezing Questions:

  • What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing is the process of preserving some of your eggs by retrieving them from your ovaries, freezing them, and storing them so you can use them to get pregnant later on.

 

  • Who should consider freezing their eggs?

Egg freezing can be beneficial for a number of reasons for women wishing to preserve their fertility for the future including:

  • Women who want or need to delay childbearing in order to pursue educational, career or other personal goals.

  • Women diagnosed with cancer.

  • Women with objections to storing frozen embryos for religious and/or moral reasons.

 

  • Where can I get my fertility assessed and discuss egg freezing?

Basic fertility testing, including antral follicle counts, hormone and AMH blood testing, assesses your ovarian reserve. A clearer picture of your egg quantity and ovarian function may lead you to opt in (or out) of elective fertility preservation.  This initial testing can be done with your gynecologist or a fertility specialist.

 

  • When is the best time to freeze my eggs?

The simple answer is to pursue egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, in the prime reproductive years — a woman’s 20s and early 30s — to take advantage of premium egg quality and quantity. A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have, and over time they diminish in number and cellular integrity. This decline explains why a woman in her 40s has only a 5 percent chance for becoming pregnant each month, and her eggs have an increased chance for aneuploidy after age 45.

  • How does egg freezing work?

Although sperm and embryos have proved easy to freeze, the egg is the largest cell in the human body and contains a large amount of water. When frozen, ice crystals form that can destroy the cell. Over the years we have learned that we must dehydrate the egg and replace the water with an “anti-freeze” prior to freezing in order to prevent ice crystal formation. We also learned that because the shell of the egg hardens when frozen, sperm must be injected with a needle to fertilize the egg using a standard technique known as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).

Eggs are frozen using a flash-freezing process known as vitrification. Dr. Thornton and his experienced laboratory have expertise in vitrification and use this method for all egg freezing.

 

  • What is involved in egg freezing?

In order to retrieve eggs for freezing, a patient undergoes the same hormone-injection process as in-vitro fert ilization. The only difference is that following egg retrieval, they are frozen for a period of time before they are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

It takes approximately 3 weeks to complete the egg freezing cycle and is consistent with the initial stages of the IVF process including:

  • 1-2 weeks of birth control pills to temporarily turn off natural hormones (this step can be skipped if there is urgency, such as prior to cancer therapy).

  • 9-10 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and ripen multiple eggs.

Once the eggs have adequately matured, they are removed with a needle placed through the vagina under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done under intravenous sedation and is not painful. The eggs are then immediately frozen. When the patient is ready to attempt pregnancy (this can be several years later) the eggs are thawed, injected with a single sperm to achieve fertilization, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

  • How long can eggs remain frozen?

Based on scientific evidence, as well as our experience achieving pregnancies with frozen embryos – in many cases the embryos frozen for more than 10 years have led to successful healthy pregnancies and live births – we are confident that long-term storage of frozen eggs does not result in any decrease in egg quality.

 

  • How many eggs should I freeze? 

The number of egg that should be frozen to give a optimal chance of a success outcome in the future depends on several factors.  The most important factor is your age at the time the eggs are frozen. The age at the time of freezing your eggs is the best way to predict how many of your eggs will be genetically normal. The golden rule is quality and not quantity thus there is no specific number of eggs that will determine indivual success.  Women in their early thirties or younger can feel confident that freezing 10 eggs will give them a high potential for creating at least one child if used later on. For women 35–38 years old, about 15 eggs is optimal; for women 38 and older, it is recommend to freeze 20 eggs or more.

  • Is Dr. Thornton still conducting egg retrievals?

Yes Dr. Thornton will be performing egg retrievals at his NYC location and Connecticut location.

  • How many egg retrievals has Dr. Thornton done?

Dr. Thornton has over 25 years of experience in IVF and has done thousands of egg retrievals.

 

© 2020 by DR. MELVIN H THORNTON