Your Fertility Appointment Today to Start Your Family Tomorrow


You are here

Are You Trying to Conceive?

Serena H. Chen, M.D., is Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey. Dr. Chen is also the Director of the Ovum Donation (Egg Donation) and Third Party Program at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas.

Dr. Chen is a board certified fertility doctor — she is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology. She specializes in hysteroscopy, and has pursued special clinical interests in PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), recurrent miscarriage, PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), and sperm and egg donation. Dr. Chen's professional interests have evolved considerably over the course of her career as a fertility doctor.


a blog by Serena H. Chen, M.D., IRMS Reproductive Medicine at Saint Barnabas, July 28, 2014

Fertility preservation is a hot topic these days. With recent dramatic improvements in live birth rates using previously frozen eggs, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) just declared in October 2012 that freezing your eggs prior to cancer treatment is no longer experimental. Then, in July of 2013, the American Society for Clinical Oncology stated that all women of reproductive age with cancer should have counseling about egg freezing before they undergo cancer treatment. Egg freezing for fertility preservation is rapidly becoming more main stream and is now becoming an important option outside of the cancer setting. With live birth rates that are essentially the same as fresh eggs, freezing eggs may make sense for any woman who, for whatever reason, medical or social, cannot have a baby right now. This is exciting, cutting-edge technology, but there are other, very simple things you can do right now to preserve your fertility and maintain reproductive health.

a blog by Serena H. Chen, M.D., IRMS Reproductive Medicine at Saint Barnabas, April 22, 2013

It is National Infertility Awareness Week now: April 21 to 27, 2013. Why should we be aware of infertility? It affects millions of Americans and causes mental stress and anguish at the same level as a cancer diagnosis, most likely because it makes sufferers feel a loss of control about something so basic – reproduction, having a family.

a blog by Serena H. Chen, M.D., IRMS Reproductive Medicine at Saint Barnabas, March 30, 2013

A few months ago some researchers from Denmark published a study demonstrating that childlessness in women is associated with a four-fold increased rate of death and a two-fold increased rate of death in men. The study looked at women who were in the Danish IVF Register from January 1, 1994 until December 31, 2008. They followed birth rates, adoption, and death in this group and looked at the numbers. For women in this group who became parents of a biological child, the risk of death was one fourth (0.25) of the risk for death in women who remained childless. For women in this group who became adoptive parents, the risk of death was two thirds (0.67) of the risk for death in women who remained childless. For men in this group the numbers were about half for men who became fathers of either a biological (0.51) or an adopted child (0.55). The study by Agerbo, Mortensen and Munk-Olsen was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, accepted October 2012.

a blog by Serena H. Chen, M.D., IRMS Reproductive Medicine at Saint Barnabas, March 21, 2013

Can you lower your child’s risk for a birth defect just by taking your vitamins? A provocative new study was recently published in the February 13, 2013 issue of JAMA – The Journal of the American Medical Association - demonstrating a dramatic 40% lower risk of autism in children born to women who took Folic acid supplementation from 4 weeks prior to conception through pregnancy. Folic acid, or Folate is a type of B vitamin. The study was done in Norway and looked at over 85,000 children born in 2002 through 2008 and followed through March 31, 2012. At the end of the study children ranged in ages from 3 to 10 years old, average 6.4 years. About 270 of these children had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Only 0.1% of the children whose mothers took Folic acid were affected while 0.21% of children who were not exposed to Folic acid during pregnancy had a diagnosis of ASD. While this study does not establish a causal relationship between Folic acid use during conception and pregnancy and autism, this new data, and the fact that Folic acid supplementation is known to lower the risk for neural tube defects (a potentially serious, sometimes fatal birth defect) makes taking your vitamins much more compelling.

a blog by Serena H. Chen, M.D., IRMS Reproductive Medicine at Saint Barnabas, December 7, 2012

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has just declared that freezing your eggs prior to egg-destroying cancer treatments is no longer considered experimental. However, they did not recommend that all women bank eggs for the future in case the right time to have a baby happens after their eggs are too old.

As a fertility specialist who uses frozen eggs on a regular basis to help women conceive, I recommend that some women with fibroids should consider freezing their eggs before they have their fibroids removed (myomectomy). Fibroids are very common in women in their child-bearing years. They can affect up to 30% or more of women in this age group. Many fibroids do not cause problems, but when they do, they can profoundly affect a woman’s health and her chances of having children.