What if there was another way to address your infertility instead of going through the status quo of treatment? Instead of relying on the “standard treatments” of hormone injections, pills, scheduled sex, not to mention the escalating roller coaster and crash effects you feel with your moods… would you like to know that there are other treatments?
Meet Dr. Janelle Luk from New York. She understands you and who you are. Why? Because she’ll take the time to sit with you, listen to you and work with YOU instead of working the treatment protocol on another body. You are her focus, not infertility or the treatments. Join in on the interview about how she conducts her passionate business in servicing women by a woman.
Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and why you chose this field of practice.
Dr. Luk: I am of Chinese descent and came to this country when I was ten years old. I received all my education here in America and I really felt strongly about women’s rights and about their bodies. In the Chinese culture, no one talks about a woman’s period and I felt really embarrassed and uncomfortable with it as I grew up as a woman. So, as I pursued my education, I was fascinated about biology and science and moved onto medical school where I focused on women’s health – which is basically OBGYN – obstetrics – it’s my passion. My specialty, my passion, was to take care of women.
I went into the fertility field because it involves a lot of self-awareness and education. Women need to understand their menstrual cycle and how to have a child when to have sex to have a child, and the ideal time and age that is right for that particular woman. I teach a lot about women’s self-awareness of their bodies. What I find so unfair is our biological clock. For instance, a women’s eggs are not as good at 45 years old versus a man’s fertility. So I went into a field to help women – the fertility field.
It was their health and rights that drove me into women’s health and fertility. Because, let’s face it, fertility is not equal, it’s different. After she conceives and has a baby, she has to feed that baby and with the advances in technology now, we are enabling a mom to do what she needs to do professionally even after having a baby; giving her the tools and education to do so. I love that, as the world changes – we have more options in the 21st century as a woman. I also studied social behavior and women’s health; it’s changing as well. We now have open talk on women’s periods!
Q: What can you do for a woman who is seeking out fertility options?
Dr. Luk: It depends on what she needs. Sometimes we have women come in who just want some education. They want to know who they are in terms of their womanhood. Do they have healthy ovaries and what exactly does that mean? I educate women to help them by alleviating any fear they have about their bodies. There are women out there trying to get pregnant and so they seek out help. They went for other fertility treatments and centers but, unfortunately, it didn’t work for them. I have a small practice here where I see her every visit. It’s a very personalized treatment, not just a standard IVF treatment. When women don’t like or get what they want from the other centers here in New York City, they come to me. I do things differently to find the right protocol for each patient. It’s not just the standard infertility treatment for every woman. In comparison, I’m like Whole Foods – I’m the alternative way to achieve the same ends but with a different method. We adjust our treatment plan for each individual woman.
Q: How long are treatments and what do you offer?
Dr. Luk: Depending on the agenda, the timeframe will vary. For example, I have some patients who come in who don’t want to wait, they don’t want to just time their intimacy, but they want a Dragon Boy or Girl according to the Chinese calendar. You know, they just want a set gender and want an immediate pregnancy. We can do this with respect to a woman’s cultural background.
Financially and/or emotionally some women can’t afford the more expensive IVF treatments. If this is the case, we can do the minimum – one option is just to have sex (as this is the free and most non-evasive option) or some mild treatments. This would include placing the sperm directly into the uterus, oral medications that help the conception process and IVF – In-vitro Fertilization. I do have a method that is completely natural. It’s a natural treatment of IVF which involves no drugs. We also can do a mild stimulation of IVF that is a mild treatment compared to the standard. There is a new method that we have been using with success. It’s call IVM – In-vitro Maturation. This method uses mature eggs for the treatment lending a better outcome for women who are over 40 in achieving pregnancy. What some women may not understand is that the fallopian tubes must be healthy in order for natural conception to occur. So, depending on their diagnosis and what the woman wants, this is where I can educate them on their options.
I also specialize in working with women with PCOS – polycystic ovarian syndrome. In these cases where standard treatment may have failed, we use the new method, IVM with these women with good results.
Q: Are there any side effects to treatments?
Dr. Luk: There are some common side effects based on the treatment the woman chooses. The more natural treatment, the less that side effects occur. I am always keeping an eye on the woman’s progress to make sure that she is comfortable, but on the rare occasion that it comes up, some women have experienced feeling bloated, pain from the eggs being released, nausea and vomiting. Again, most women don’t have these symptoms, but they are possible.
Q: Does insurance cover the costs of your treatments?
Dr. Luk: Yes, we do work with certain insurance companies that will cover your costs. If a woman feels that IVF treatment is the best option for her, it is one to note that it’s a costly procedure. We have a very high tech laboratory in our clinic to ensure she gets the best care.
Q: What can a woman over 40 expect for a natural to mild treatment to be able to conceive, and any final thoughts?
Dr. Luk: My patients who are over 40, like one woman, she went through three to four IVF cycles. Her treatment was very mild and yes, she was over 40 years old. I love working with women in this age group. I, myself can relate to what these women are going through, as I am the same age. So, it’s different working with someone who is, say 25 years old versus someone who is over 40 years old. Their bodies are at different stages of life. As women get older, they will experience a decreased ovarian supply, and that’s why the new method of IVM works so well. I will also mention that the quality of the eggs are important too. Our biological clock starts the countdown at around age 25, the same time ovarian egg quality starts to decline.
If you look at the statistics in NYC, the fertility potential for women over 40 drops by 40%. It’s a huge decline that happens very rapidly. This is why I am very passionate about what I do. Educating women and helping them understand their bodies fully and wholly.
I just love to sit and talk to women, you don’t see that often with a doctor/patient relationship. That’s not me, to shun you or turn down your ideas just because I am the doctor. I’m constantly learning, exploring and engaging with women to give them the best that they can have. There’s no one treatment anymore for women. I love exploring and talking with you, for I see women emerging more and more, being educated and unashamed about their bodies.
If you are considering infertility treatments and want to be seen as a woman, a mother-to-be, and have someone listen to your story, see Dr. Luk and her staff at:
123 W 79th St. | New York, NY 10022
T: 212.750.3330 ext.504 | F: 646.462.3353 | www.newayfertility.com
And may your baby dreams come true!