Our Process

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Infertility Treatment Process at East Bay Fertility Center

This section describes our infertility treatment processs:

  1. Initial Consultation
  2. Pre-cycle Evaluation
  3. Ovarian Stimulation
  4. Ovulation Induction with Clomid
  5. Ovulation Induction with Injectable Gonadotropins
  6. In-Vitro Fertilization with Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET)
1. Initial Consultation

Infertility is a condition that affects upwards of 12% of the population attempting to achieve a pregnancy. It can be emotionally and financially draining. It is often impacted significantly by the fragmented and piecemeal medical care a patient receives in our current healthcare system. And though there are many programs that provide the process—they often cannot provide the service that the patients need and deserve. This, in turn leaves you, the patient, dealing with inefficiency and impersonal care.

At East Bay Fertility Center, our approach to infertility is to provide the most comprehensive infertility treatment services available—services that start from your initial evaluation to offering the most advanced forms of treatment available, namely, in-vitro fertilization.

Our commitment to you is very specific—we will properly diagnose the cause of your infertility and in a very detailed and personalized fashion, outline all of your available infertility treatment options. We will clearly outline the pros and cons of each procedure and/or treatment so that you will have all facts you need, right in front of you, to make the decision that is right for you. We will then customize a plan of care for you to follow that guides you step-by-step and helps you feel less overwhelmed.

Please e-mail East Bay Fertility Center to set up your initial consultation.

2. Pre-Cycle Evaluation

This phase of your journey will depend largely on your particular situation.

Patients undergoing an initial evaluation may be asked to have some preliminary tests such as hysterosalpingogram (HSG), hormone testing (FSH, Estradiol (E2), TSH, Prolactin), or semen analysis.

Prior to a patient undergoing ovulation induction and/or intrauterine insemination(s), some additional tests may be required based on the legal requirements for infectious screening.

Patients who have undergone infertility treatment such as IVF or previous infertility work-ups should request a copy of their medical records to be sent to East Bay Fertility Center for Dr. Snowden to review and assess. This may minimize both the need to repeat certain tests and the time involved in getting a patient into cycle.

3. Ovarian Stimulation

A woman’s body is designed in such a way that each month her body will produce a certain number of follicles which contains eggs. Left alone, the brain and ovaries will work together to produce one mature egg per month. However, there are women who have problems with this process and thus they are diagnosed with ovulatory dysfunction. Once this diagnosis is reached, one encounters words such as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation ("COH"), ovulation induction ("OI") and ovarian hyperstimulation. There are three levels of infertility treatment, which depend on the individual’s situation and history. They are:

LEVEL I: Ovulation Induction with Clomid

LEVEL II: Ovulation Induction with Injectable Gonadotropins (E.G. Gonal F, Follistim, Bravelle, Menopur, Repronex, ETC.)

LEVEL III: In-Vitro Fertilization with Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET)

4. Ovulation Induction with Clomid

This mode of infertility treatment is the least invasive intervention for infertility treatment and is timed with your menstrual cycle. This form of fertility therapy uses a tablet called Clomiphene citrate (Serophene® or Clomid®), which is usually prescribed in a 100 mg. dose to be taken orally for a period of 5 days. The use of this medication may cause one or more follicles to develop in the ovaries and is timed to your menstrual cycle. This treatment can be combined either with artificial insemination or timed intercourse.

5. Ovulation Induction with Injectable Gonadotropins (E.G. FOLLISTIM, BRAVELLE, REPRONEX, GONAL-F, MENOPUR, etc.)

Like the Level I treatment, this form of fertility therapy is timed to your menstrual cycle. However, it introduces the use of injectable medications, which should cause more than one follicle to develop in the ovaries. These injections are subcutaneous ("SUBQ"). The patient is taught how to measure the dosage and give the injection(s). This treatment also involves ultrasound examination of the patient. When timing is determined to be optimum, the patient will come to the clinic for artificial insemination or pregnancy can be attempted through timed intercourse.

6. In-Vitro Fertilization with Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET)

A cycle of in-vitro fertilization involves several steps. The first step is hormonal control of the female patient’s menstrual cycle (usually achieved through the use of birth control pills). Then a hormone called lupron is introduced which works at keeping the pituitary gland suppressed. This will make the ovaries and endometrium more receptive to the next step of the infertility treatment, , which is the introduction of the follicle stimulating hormones ("FSH"). Most commonly these hormones are injected SUBQ for a period of 9–12 days. After 5–7 days on the FSH medications, clinical monitoring is required which involves both a blood test and ultrasound examination. The monitoring allows Dr. Snowden to watch the follicular development and most optimally set the stage for the next step, which is the egg retrieval. The egg retrieval takes place 36 hours after the injection of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is given. HCG works at maturing the developing eggs in preparation for the retrieval and the timing of the injection is critical. Once the eggs are retrieved they are inseminated with sperm (either from the male partner or from donor sperm) in the IVF lab. The embryologists culture the fertilized eggs which have now become embryos. The transfer of the embryos to the uterus by use of a catheter through the cervix, usually occurs 3 days after the retrieval. Unlike a natural cycle where the follicle which released the egg produces progesterone, in an IVF cycle the progesterone needs to be replaced in the form of injections and/or vaginal suppositories.

Meet Our Staff

snowden 

Ellen U. Snowden, M.D.

Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist
Medical Director of East Bay Fertility Center

Dr. Ellen U. Snowden, Medical Director and physician for the East Bay Fertility Center, directs all patient services performed by the nurse practitioner, nurses, medical assistants and office staff. Fertility Specialist Dr. Snowden is Board Certified in Obstetric, Gynecology, and Reproductive Endocrinology with advanced Fellowship training in the treatment of infertility, recurrent miscarriages and hormonal disorders in women.
A former infertility patient herself, Dr. Snowden brings to her patients a rare and valuable firsthand empathy for the personal pain and emotional stress of dealing with infertility. Dr. Snowden’s extensive training includes a four-year Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Michael Reese Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Antonio Scommegna, a pioneer in Reproductive Endocrinology. Her post-graduate Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility was completed at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Snowden began her professional career treating patients for infertility in Chicago over 20 years ago. Before founding East Bay Fertility Center, she served as Medical Director of The Sher Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Sacramento. Dr. Snowden also served as Medical Director of Pacific Fertility Center.
Other positions have included Director of Women’s Services at the Center for Human Reproduction in Chicago, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University, and Instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Illinois. Staff privileges in California have included Mercy Hospitals and Sutter Hospitals.
Dr. Snowden is actively engaged in on-going research in infertility and has published articles in the field.
As a renowned infertility specialist, Dr. Snowden is associated with more than a dozen professional societies, including The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and The Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).

 

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Jodie Sandhu

Nurse Practitioner
Clinical Manager

Jodie Sandhu is a Nurse Practitioner, graduate of Stanford University, who has been in Women’s Health for the last five years. Jodie holds a dual degree as a Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant. She has been in the nursing field for the last 13 years providing hands-on care to patients. During this time, Jodie has gained skills working in hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing care homes, community clinics, and family practice centers. Her role in Women’s Health is one that is very proactive and supportive. She practices independence of decisions, focuses on educating the patient, and helps women realize their strengths in improving their well-being.

Jodie works with Dr. Snowden in her role as a Clinical Manager, to enhance the patient’s personal experience with infertility. She guides patients from beginning to end, acting as a coordinator and nurturing patients in every way. Her goal is to provide patients with resources, strength, comfort, and success in this journey. Jodie is fluent in Spanish, Punjabi, and Hindi.

 

judy

Judy Schroer

Practice Manager

Judy Schroer holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University. Her experience encompasses 25 years’ experience in the healthcare field, in various specialties.

For the past six years Judy has worked in the fertility field with Dr. Ellen Snowden. She guides patients in making decisions that will maximize their chances of becoming parents within their financial ability. Judy has a full understanding of health insurance and how it works in relation to fertility testing and treatment. She will be happy to assist you in identifying coverage and financial options available to you.

 

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Kelly Athayde Wirka

Embryologist

Kelly Athayde Wirka has over 9 years of experience in the field of Reproductive Medicine. Kelly earned a Masters Degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is also certified by the American Board of Bioanalysis as a Technical Supervisor, with specialization in both Andrology and Embryology. She started her career in 2001 as the Section Coordinator of the Andrology Laboratory and Sperm Bank in the Department of Urology at the University of Sao Paulo. She was also in charge of the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Laboratory at the Center for Human Reproduction, Department of Urology/Gynecology, University of Sao Paulo. Kelly joined the Cleveland Clinic as the Supervisor of the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank in 2006. During the same period she was the embryologist in charge of the Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) Training Program. In 2008, she assumed the supervision of the Northeastern Ohio Fertility Center’s IVF laboratory. After moving to Northern California in 2010, Kelly joined the East Bay Fertility Center, where she is currently in charge of the IVF laboratory.

Welcome to East Bay Fertility Center

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Offering the latest technology and most comprehensive consultation available in the field of Reproductive Endocrinology.
We provide you with far more than technical expertise. You will experience compassionate, personalized care and support every step of the way. You will have the opportunity to consult with other specialists available on site, including a psychologist, acupuncturist and nutritionist. We are passionate about your well-being and your success. Our Medical Director and staff have shared your experience. We understand your pain and frustration. We care about you and we believe in you, and in our treatment.