AUGUSTA, Ga. – August 15, 2016 – To help safeguard our service member’s future reproductive needs, Xytex will offer one year of free semen storage to first responders and active duty and reservists of all U.S. Military branches. Service members put themselves, including their reproductive health, at risk in their daily work. By taking advantage of this offer, their frozen sperm will be stored in liquid nitrogen and can remain viable for decades, safeguarding their future potential to have children.

With the recent attacks on first responders and continued military deployments to war zones, Xytex recognizes the importance of providing our service members with the opportunity for flexibility with their family planning needs.

“Our service members risk their lives for the freedoms of our country each day,” said Xytex President Jan Schöler, Ph.D. “This is just a small way for us to show how much we value and appreciate the daily risk our military, first responders and their families bravely endure.”

All storage fees will be waived during the first year of storage for any military or first responder interested in preserving his sperm. Any additional storage years will be available at a discounted rate.

“We want to offer our dedicated service members and their families a peace of mind for their future reproductive needs,” said Schöler. “No individual or family should have to carry the burden of whether or not they will have the opportunity to start a family.”

A Cryokit™ is available for patients who do not live near a Xytex facility. The Cryokit™ is an in-home specimen collection kit that allows a patient to collect his semen and securely return the collection to Xytex. Recent blood test results are required prior to storage. If using a Cryokit™, the nearest medical lab can obtain blood work.

Xytex offers reproductive tissue services, processing and storage, and is an industry leader in reproductive services. For more information about Xytex and its services, visit xytex.com.

About Xytex Corporation:

Xytex Corporation is an industry leader in reproductive services with a commitment to unsurpassed quality controls and a promise to providing its clients with an experience that will last a lifetime. Since 1975, families have relied on Xytex for expert assistance in accomplishing dreams of starting or growing a family. Xytex Corporation is guided by an international medical advisory board with locations in Augusta, Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia and New Brunswick, New Jersey. For more information, visit xytex.com.


Posted: February 4, 2016
Updated: May 12, 2016

The Zika Virus continues to be of great concern to those pregnant or trying to conceive, and individuals traveling outside of the United States. Xytex continues to stay abreast with areas who have reported active Zika Virus transmission to ensure we follow the precautionary and travel recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At Xytex we continue to take every precaution to ensure our clients receive the best quality gametes. In doing so, we ask that donors review the most current list of affected countries and territories provided by the CDC before each visit, and we also prescreen donors upon arrival. We request that donors notify our team if they have traveled outside of the United States and visited one of the affected countries or territories in the past 6 months, currently noted by the CDC. If a donor has indeed visited one of the regions with active Zika Virus transmission, he is unable to donate for 6 months, as recommended by the CDC.

For an up-to-date list of countries and territories with active Zika Virus transmission, visit the CDC website – http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html. For more information on our current screening process, call 800.277.3210.


Xytex’s Response to the Zika Virus
Posted February 4, 2016

You have heard it all over the news, but you think it doesn’t affect you. Think again. If you have been traveling to certain areas of the world – many of them popular vacation destinations – you should read on.

“Donors who have traveled to a country or territory designated by the CDC as an area of active Zika virus transmission within the prior 28 days will not be allowed to donate. This procedure is in line with that being followed by the American Red Cross for blood donors.”
J. Todd Spradlin, M.D., Chief Medical Director for Xytex

At Xytex, we are taking every precaution to ensure our clients get the best quality human gametes. For this reason, we are following the recommendations of the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control in regards to the Zika virus. Please review the list of countries with active Zika outbreaks at the end of this article if you have traveled outside the United States in the last month.

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a mild illness spread through a mosquito bite. It can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis lasting from just a few days to a week. Not too bad for a grown adult. Cases requiring hospitalization are not a common occurrence.

There have also been recent reports of the virus being spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact. Only 1 in 5 people who contract the Zika virus will get sick. For this reason, it is important to follow a few precautions. All precaution and travel recommendations are directly from the CDC.

Prevention

• Avoid mosquito bites
• Mosquitoes that spread Zika are daytime biters, take extra precautions to avoid daytime mosquito bites

When traveling to areas with Zika:
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
• Stay indoors where there is air conditioning or screens on windows
• Sleep under mosquito netting if you cannot be indoors
• Use EPA-registered insect repellents (if using sunscreen apply that first, then bug spray)
• Cover cribs, strollers, and baby carriers with mosquito netting
• Treat clothing and gear with permethrin

Despite precautions, if you still become infected with the Zika virus it remains present in your blood for the next week. Avoid mosquito bites to limit the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus around. If they bite you during this period and then bite someone else, they may spread the disease further.

There have also been links to the spread of Zika virus through sexual contact. It is best to avoid sexual contact for 30 days if you have traveled to a Zika infected area.

Zika and Pregnancy

Women infected with the Zika virus while pregnant can pass the virus to their unborn baby. The virus has been shown to cause microcephaly in unborn babies and these pregnancies have had poor outcomes.

Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby’s head is smaller than normal. This also causes the baby’s brain to be smaller and not develop properly. Babies with microcephaly can have seizures, developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, difficulty swallowing, hearing loss, and vision problems. Sometimes complications from microcephaly are fatal.

According to the CDC, women who are pregnant, think they may become pregnant, or are trying to conceive should avoid travel to Zika infected areas.

Affected Areas

Zika virus outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In 2015, an outbreak of Zika spread across Brazil. Since then, there have been reported outbreaks in many countries including Barbados, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Martin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A complete list and area map of locations with active Zika outbreaks are listed below.

AMERICAS
• Barbados
• Bolivia
• Brazil
• Colombia
• Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, US territory
• Costa Rica
• Curacao
• Dominican Republic
• Ecuador
• El Salvador
• French Guiana
• Guadeloupe
• Guatemala
• Guyana
• Haiti
• Honduras
• Jamaica
• Martinique
• Mexico
• Nicaragua
• Panama
• Paraguay
• Saint Martin
• Suriname
• U.S. Virgin Islands
• Venezuela
OCEANIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS
• American Samoa
• Samoa
• Tonga
AFRICA
• Cape Verde

Take extra precautions when traveling to Zika infected areas, take necessary precautions when you return, and do all you can to avoid mosquito bites. We will keep you posted on new developments and information as it becomes available.


While the kids are home for the holidays, now is a great time to read to your child or encourage them to read. What’s more fun than reading about Christmas, or Rudolph or the Cat in the Hat.

Below are some holiday classics as well as more recent books that both children and adults will love.

The Classics

The Night Before Christmas
Ages 4-8
This rhyming tale of Santa’s annual visit is illustrated in full color and is one your child will beg to hear again and again. Parents will enjoy it too!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Ages 4-8

This beloved tale of good conquering all is a holiday must. If you haven’t already shared this Dr. Seuss classic with your child, now is the time. This beauty story will never grow old.

 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Ages 4-8
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a TV classic, but the book presents a more beautiful version Rudolph. Your child will delight in the story and the illustrations.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Ages 9-12
After six unruly kids take over a church’s annual Christmas pageant, they experience the Christmas story for the first time. In this 35-year-old classic, all characters in the book, and those reading the book, take on a new love of the season.

Modern Holiday Reads

The Polar Express
Ages 4-8
Do you believe? The beautiful book leaves your child, and you, with the concept of believing. One Christmas Eve, a young boy boards the mysterious Polar Express train on its journey to the North Pole. This award-winning book will warm the heart of you and your child.

Light the Lights: A Story about Christmas and Hanukkah

Ages 5-8
This is a perfect book for interfaith families and for children to learn more about the diversity of the world. Light the Lights is about a young girl whose family observes both the Christian and Jewish traditions of holiday season.

Olivia Helps With Christmas

Ages 5-7
The popular piglet heroine is ready to deck the halls and celebrate the holidays. Any child enamored with the mischievous Olivia will love this adorable book.

 
The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming
Ages 4-8
Lemony Snicket and Hanukkah, together, in a book? Readers can always expect the unexpected with the unique character of Lemony Snicket. In this holiday special, an unhappy potato latke is the star in this untraditional Hanukkah tale.

Holiday Activity Books

Kwanzaa Fun: Great Things to Make and Do
Ages 9-12
The book also outlines the history of Kwanza and the seven principles of the holiday. In addition, the step-by-step instructions in this activity book make it simple for young children to create traditional Kwanzaa crafts like unity dolls or amkeka (African textile mat).

 Stained Glass Ornament Coloring Book
Ages 5-8
This book features more than 100 holiday ornaments for your child to create on translucent paper. Each ornament creates a beautiful, stained-glass effect when hung on a window or on the tree.

 


Growing a healthy baby begins at conception and continues through their life into adulthood. Your teenager or 30-year-old may no longer want to be called your baby, but to you, your child will always be “your baby”. The love of a mother for her child never changes.

Macaroni Kid Stork at www.stork.macaronikid.com is a great website for women who are expecting. In a September 25, 2015 article by Dana Hardek, the nonprofit organization, First Candle, is highlighted as a valuable resource dedicated to safe pregnancies and the survival of babies. The article also references the program Pregnant and Empowered, a joint program for women to have happy and healthy pregnancies.

Give your child the best chance at a healthy life during and after pregnancy by educating yourself.

The Three Trimesters of Baby’s Development

Read below the three-trimester journey of your growing baby with a final note of advice on how to give your child the best chance of life, throughout his or her life.

The First Trimester

The first trimester lasts from week 1 through the end of week 13 of pregnancy. Women often experience nausea and other uncomfortable symptoms during this stage. Here are a few of the big baby highlights happening in this exciting time:

• Baby’s bones: By about week 6, baby starts to grow arms, legs, hands and feet; fingers and toes around week 10.
• Hair and nails: Skin begins forming between weeks 5 and 8, with hair follicles and nail beds forming around week 8.
• Digestive system: By about week 8, baby’s intestines will begin forming, and your baby will have already gone through two sets of kidneys (with the third and final set on its way!).
• Sense of touch: Your baby will have touch receptors on his face (mostly lips and nose) around week 8. By week 12, he’ll have receptors on his genitals, palms and the soles of his feet.
• Eyesight: Optic nerves and lenses begin to form by week 4, with the retina beginning to form around week 8.
• Heart: By week 5, the tube that will become your baby’s heart begins to beat spontaneously. It will become stronger and more regular — and you’ll be able to hear it!
• Brain: By about week 8 of pregnancy, your baby’s brain will be wiggling his developing limbs.
• Sense of taste: Around week 8, your baby will have developed taste buds.

The Second Trimester

Many women enjoy this stage of their pregnancy because early pregnancy symptoms disappear while energy starts to appear. The second trimester starts in week 14 of pregnancy and lasts through the end of week 27. By week 21, mothers can feel newly coordinated arms and legs give you little jabs and kicks. By the end of your second trimester, your baby can weigh as much as two pounds.

• Hair, skin and nails: By around week 15, baby’s first tiny hairs are starting to grow. By week 22, baby has eyelashes and eyebrows and skin is covered in lanugo (a downy “fur coat” that keeps him warm). By week 19, baby has vernix caseosa, a greasy layer of oil and dead skin cells that shield his skin from acidic amniotic fluid. Your baby will shed both before birth.
• Digestive system: Baby’s digestive system was fully formed by the end of the first trimester. Baby is starting to suck and swallow in preparation for life outside of the womb. He can even taste the foods you eat through your amniotic fluid to chow down on a healthy pregnancy diet filled with a variety of fresh fruits and veggies).
• Senses: By week 22 of pregnancy, your baby is starting to smell, see and hear, and those little eyes are beginning to open.
• Heart: By 17 weeks, baby’s his brain is regulating his heartbeat — which you should be able to hear with a stethoscope by week 20.
• Brain: In addition to controlling your baby’s heartbeat and inducing kicks, your baby will start blinking .

The Third Trimester

The third trimester begins in week 28 of pregnancy and lasts until your baby is born at around week 40 of your pregnancy. Your little one will grow from about 2 1/2 pounds and 16 inches long in week 28 of pregnancy to between 6 and 9 pounds and 19 to 22 inches long in week 40. Below are a few of the highlights happening in your third trimester of pregnancy:

• Bones: Your baby’s little body begins transforming cartilage to bone in months 7 and 8.
• Hair, skin and nails: By week 32 of pregnancy, baby’s former transparent skin will become opaque. In week 36, fat continues to accumulate as your baby sheds his verbix and lanugo.
• Digestive system: In the final weeks of pregnancy, meconium — or baby’s first bowel movement, consisting mostly of blood cells, vernix and lanugo — starts to build up in baby’s intestines.
• Senses: By week 31 of pregnancy, your baby will get signals from all five senses such as perceiving light and dark, tasting what you eat and listening to the sound of your voice.
• Brain: In the third trimester your baby’s brain grows very fast and it will cause your baby to blink, dream and regulate his own body temperature.

A Gift of Life for Baby

Your baby is here and you are in love. You see the little body fully formed yet helpless. You are the protector and mother forever. It is at this time when you can give your baby the most perfect gift a mother could give.

As noted in an article on the Macaroni Kid Stork website, cord blood and cord tissue can be collected immediately after the birth of the baby to give your child a greater chance for a healthy life. Cord blood and cord tissue has been used to change the lives of children with debilitating diseases since 1988. Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of hematopoietic (blood-derived) stem cells, which generate every type of blood and immune cell. These cells are already being used to treat 80 plus diseases, including cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia and inherited metabolic disorders.

There is only one time these cells will be available, and that is right after the birth of your child. These cells can be used to safeguard your child’s future, as well as treat siblings, parents, and other close relatives in the event that a disease manifests itself. For more information about cord blood and tissue storage, please visit www.xytexcordblood.com.


**UPDATE**

On October 20, 2015, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney dismissed all claims brought against Xytex Cryo International on March 31, 2015. The case was initiated by a Canadian couple which alleged misrepresentation of donor qualifications and credentials. Xytex remains committed to providing clients with excellent service and upholding the highest practices and standards in the industry.

 
**ORIGINAL LETTER**

Over the last 40 years, we have developed into an industry leader because of our steadfast commitment to our clients. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of families throughout the world to achieve their dreams of having healthy children and building families.

You can imagine our concern when a lawsuit was filed last week that accused us of misleading a client. We want to assure you that this is simply not true. We have conducted a careful review of our records and the claims by the couple in question do not reflect the representations provided to Xytex.

We followed thorough procedures to review the health of the donor. As you may know, this vetting process eliminates 99% of the potential donors who apply to Xytex.  In this case, the donor underwent a standard medical exam and provided extensive personal and health information. He reported a good health history and stated in his application that he had no physical or medical impairments. This information was passed on to the couple, who were clearly informed the representations were reported by the donor and were not verified by Xytex.

In addition, the donor provided signed photos of himself that we passed on to the couple without alteration. He also provided us with copies of his undergraduate and graduate university degrees.

We stand by the process we followed, and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the allegations in this lawsuit. In the meantime, we remain committed to providing clients with excellent service and upholding the highest practices and standards in the business.

Regards,
Kevin M. O’Brien
President


  How many stories do we have to read about in the news about sperm donors wanting rights or seeking out their children after it was agreed they would not? There are so many stories of sperm donation gone wrong when unconventional means are used to procure the sperm donor. Even in cases that use conventional means, disputes happen. Should all donors be anonymous? Does bridging the gap of anonymity pique the interest of individuals too much?

  A lesbian in Michigan is in a court battle to keep custody of her three children conceived with donor sperm. Annette Burgan, 44, lives in the Detroit area of Michigan and found her donor online. In 2001 Annette and her partner joined an online community that matches up LGBT individuals for the purpose of having children through egg and sperm donation.

  Through the online community, Annette’s ad was answered by a gay man named Stacey Teruya who live in LA. Stacey was 60 years old at the time. He told Annette he wanted to provide the sperm for her to have children. He did not want to pursue parenthood and would solely be the sperm donor.

  The sperm was donated and, through a California sperm bank, Annette had what she needed to undergo IVF. She gave birth to her first child in 2004 and to twins in 2007.

  Since the babies have been born, Stacey has travelled to visit the family several times a year and has formed a relationship with them.

  "They know him as Stacey," said Racine Miller, the couple's attorney. "They know that this is how I was created. This is not my father, by any stretch, I have two mothers."

  Allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced from one of the children. An investigation was pursued by Child Protective Services and Annette chose to end any contact Stacey. In turn, now Stacey is seeking custody of all three children.

"When women go to apply for state aid, and when social services asks them how the child came into being, if the answer is 'assisted reproductive technology' they do not pursue child support against the sperm donor," Racine Miller, Burgan's lawyer, said. "Before anybody can have the obligation of child support or the benefit of parenting time they have to have signed an acknowledgment of parentage, signed the birth certificate or have an order of affiliation."

In contrast, Stacey and Annette both signed a release relinquishing Stacey from any paternity rights or any parenting time. Stacey argued in his early testimony that they had agreed on co-parenting, but that is not what is in the signed agreement.

Did Annette invite trouble when she allowed Stacey into their lives? Should the relationship have stopped at donor?

Annette’s attorney has filed for dismissal since Michigan has not enacted the Uniform Parentage Act, and act that lists spells out rules for determining parentage. Under this Act, a sperm donor could not be entitled to custody or paternal rights. Zygen Laboratories, the sperm bank Annette went through, provided the contract. Because Michigan has no statue of rights for a sperm donor, and because the children were born out of wedlock, Stacey actually has the right to file for paternity.

Stacey claims the children know him as “daddy”.

Annette’s attorney, Racine, stated, "We are absolutely willing to resolve this matter. If Mr. Teruya wants to go back to the way things were and drop this issue, I'm sure something can be arranged. I don't think Ms. Burgan would be upset if he wants to come in four times a year, visit the house, see the kids and do the face time thing; but not with the 'I'm going to take your kids away,' thing."

Stacey adds, "This could happen to anyone. If my children were born from a sperm donor because my husband was shooting blanks, if they were under 18, the guy could come back today, be interfering in our lives and get parenting time and everything else. The judge used to be a juvenile court judge, so she knows the process I want to do."

Be sure to know your state’s laws surrounding sperm donors. Use a reputable sperm bank, and you may want to keep the door closed to the donor unless you want a court battle on your hands.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Should sperm donors remain anonymous, or should they be able to meet their offspring and form relationships throughout their lives? Does the presence of a sperm donor in a child’s life invite confusion?


Until now, stem cells have not been used in treatments in the Western world. Many trials and studies are underway to develop therapies for a variety of ailments, but nothing is in use or approved for use …yet.

Stem cells are cells that have the ability to develop into any other type of cell. The potential for the use of stem cells in therapies and to heal and repair cells and ailments is practically limitless. Right now, bone marrow transplants are some of the only ways stem cells are used in therapy. Bone marrow contains stem cells that can be used to help restore healthy bone marrow in cancer patients after cancer treatments have damaged the patient’s marrow. Umbilical cord blood also contains stem cells and is used in much the same way as bone marrow as well as to treat blood disorders and even leukemia.

With all of the potential of stem cells, their power has yet to be harvested and put to use in a specific treatment. A new treatment, using stem cells, has just been approved in the European Union for the treatment of a rare eye condition caused by physical or chemical burns, limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). This condition, if left untreated, can cause blindness.

The treatment is called Holoclar and has been developed by an Italian therapeutics company, Chiesi.  Limbal stem cell deficiency occurs after trauma to the eye has occurred through physical or chemical burns. The limbus, the border of the white of the eye and the cornea, contains a reservoir of stem cells that can regenerate the eye tissue using the stored stem cells. In the case of a burn to eye, the stem cells are damaged or destroyed.

LSCD affects 3.3 people in 100,000 in Europe. People suffering from LSCD may experience pain, hypersensitivity to light, inflammation, increased ingrowth of blood vessels in the cornea, loss of corneal transparency, and ultimately blindness.

In the new treatment, doctors take a small biopsy of the healthy corneal tissue from a patient. The biopsy is a tiny portion of the limbus, the area in the eye that contains stem cells. This biopsy of limbal stem cells is cultured in a lab until a transparent sheet of cells is developed. This layer of cells is then grafted onto the patient’s cornea.

The treatment has an 80% success rate so far in recent trials. The treatment is a huge step in the treatment of LSCD because it uses the patient’s own cells. Rejection rates of corneal transplant, those involving a transplant from cadaver donor tissue, can be as high as 68% in the cases of chemical burns. Holoclar uses the patient’s own cells, so the risk of rejection is much smaller. Lower rejection rate means less of a need for immunosuppressant drugs, which raise the risk of infection in patients due to the reduction in the strength of the body’s immune system.

Professor Michael De Luca is the scientific director and co-founder of Holostem, a sister company of the manufacturer of Holoclar. He states of the approval process,  “The authorisation process has been long and complex, but the result achieved today shows that cells can be cultured according to pharmaceutical standards appropriate to guarantee safety and efficacy.

“Being able to demonstrate that stem cells can be definitely safe and successful in a controlled clinical setting is more important than ever.” 


                                                                                   

Every mother wants her baby to be the smart and successful in life. It is a natural thing for parents to want their children to lead happy productive and full lives. How can you ensure that will happen? Some parents fail miserably by giving in to every indulgence, which can lead to spoiled, narcissistic, underproductive individuals.

Mothers who breastfeed their babies are taking a step in the right direction for the IQ and future earnings of their child, according to a long-term Brazilian study.

Brazilian researchers followed almost 6,000 babies from varying socio-economic backgrounds for over three decades. More than half, 3,500 of them, agreed to take IQ tests as thirty-year-old adults for the study. The results were clear, those children that were breastfed were more intelligent, had more schooling, and ultimately earned more financially than those babies that had not been breastfed. Not only were the breastfed babies doing better than their counterparts, but the study also suggested that babies that nursed longer, were smarter. Particularly babies that were breastfed for at least twelve months, these adults scored 4 points higher than the adults who had been breastfed for less than a month as infants, had a year more worth of schooling, and earned $150 more each month (1/3 more than the average income level in Brazil).

Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta, with the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, knew breastfeeding could increase a child’s IQ by a small amount. What he set out to study was if that slightly higher IQ then translated into greater intelligence and more financial success as an adult.

“Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level by improving educational attainment and earning ability,” he said. "Breast-feeding not only has short-term benefits, but also breast-feeding has long-term benefits."

Breastfeeding has been widely touted to be good for babies, especially in poorer countries where clean water may not be easily attained for formula. In developing countries, formula-fed babies are fourteen times more likely to die in the first six months of life than babies who are breastfed, according to UNICEF.

While these findings are fascinating and useful, experts say not to read too much into the findings. Many factors contribute to a person’s intelligence and financial future. By not breastfeeding your baby, you are not going to cause them to be stupid or impaired. Breastfeeding just may help boost your baby’s smarts!

Some mothers feel guilty because, for whatever, reason, they couldn’t breastfeed their baby. There are many situations where this may be the case. From experience, I can tell you, breastfeeding takes dedication. Women who say, “Oh I’ll give breastfeeding a try…” will probably not last very long. You have to go into it 100% committed to breastfeeding your baby, saying you will try isn’t enough to stick to it. I’m certainly not saying that changing to a bottle makes you a bad mother, every mother must make decisions that are the best for her and her child. I kind of liken breastfeeding dedication to the will to have a natural childbirth. Women who say, “Oh, I’m gonna try to have a natural birth” are most likely not going to succeed. You have to be all in to make it happen.

Breastfeeding is draining, time-consuming, constant, and all on you alone. It certainly makes for a slower paced day when you have to stop what you are doing every two or three hours to feed a tiny baby, but it’s so worth it! The bonding with your baby is unlike anything you can describe. Even in the middle of the night when you haven’t slept four hours straight for a month, there is something special and endearing about it. Plus, let’s face it, it’s always ready…and when your baby is screaming in the middle of the night or fussy when you are traveling it is so convenient to just give them a boob!

We all know the health benefits of a breastfed baby, antibodies, perfect nutritional needs, etc. The mother-baby bonding trumps all of that. I’m thankful I have been able to breastfeed my almost one-year-old daughter for this long. I plan on continuing until she lets me know she doesn’t want to anymore.

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least the first six months. Dr. Horta said mothers should breastfeed for as long as possible. Babies who are breastfed for the first six months of their lives do have many of the same benefits of babies breastfed for longer. Prolonged breastfeeding can be difficult. Less than twenty-five percent of UK mothers are still exclusively breastfeeding their babies by the time the baby is six weeks old. Twenty-five percent is not a very high number.

Dr. Colin Michie, chair of the Royal College of Pediatrics, said, “It’s widely known that breastfed babies are better protected against chest and ear infections, are at less risk of sudden infant death and are less likely to become obese, but it’s interesting to see the benefits of breastfeeding for a prolonged period of time not only benefit the baby in the early years, but also translate into increased intelligence and improved earning ability later in life.

“It is important to note that breastfeeding is one of many factors that can contribute to a child’s outcomes, however, this study emphasizes the need for continued and enhanced breastfeeding promotion so expectant mothers are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding. Furthermore, once mothers have given birth, we must ensure they are properly supported to continue breastfeeding for as long as they are able to.”

Ruth Lawrence, a professor of pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester, believes this study holds a lit of weight.

"It proves a permanency of the effects [of breast-feeding] on a child's potential," she says. "I think it's a remarkable study."

Mothers, what has your experience been with breastfeeding? Were you able to? If so, for how long? Was it a struggle or convenient in your opinion? If given the chance, would you urge a friend or family member to stick with breastfeeding?

 


                                                       

Life is busy. Life is busier with kids, and full. A full life is a happy life and one of which you should be both proud and thankful. In the hubbub of life it is sometimes difficult to slow down enough to really take it all in and enjoy everything. There are school pickups and bedtimes, homework, diapers, baths, messes, meals, and toys everywhere. In the midst of it all, how do we, as parents, be sure to stop and smell the roses? Or, as it so happens, the freshly washed hair of your cuddly toddler?

I grew up very simply with my family of five. I have never been to Disneyworld. We didn’t stay in fancy hotels for vacation; we went camping because it was cheap and fun at the same time. We did not receive extravagant gifts for Christmas or birthdays, but we were made to feel very special. Our parents didn’t buy us cars, but they cosigned on the loan. I did not miss out. I have a treasure trove of wonderful memories from my childhood. I so want the same for my daughter.

How do we, as parents, be sure to fill our children’s lives with wonderful memories?

Vacations are a great way to build memories. Somehow the “remember that time…” is almost always from a time away from home. As you see, vacations do not have to be over the top. You can even do touristy things in your own town to build memories and share quality time together. Whatever you do, be sure to leave enough room in your schedule to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.

Play games! My husband and I are not the biggest fans of playing games, but they are a great memory maker and we always enjoy ourselves when we do play. Just the other night I was telling my husband about a game I played with my nieces called Story Cubes. One of my nieces is almost fourteen while the other just turned four. It’s a great game for all ages. Anyway, I was telling my husband how we are going to have to buy and start playing games as a family now that we have a daughter!

I have wonderful and hilarious memories of our family playing Trivial Pursuit throughout our childhood. When I was very young, I was on my mother’s team and she went to answer the phone (back when everyone had the fifty foot telephone cord). The question was “What was the final line in Gone With the Wind”? So I went and asked her.  Mom answered, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” and I could not believe she said the “D” word! We got the answer wrong though since the last line in the film is actually Scarlett’s, “Tomorrow is another day!” ("Tara! Home. I'll go home, and I'll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!")

My second Trivial Pursuit memory is shared with both my sister and my brother. When we were a bit older and playing the family favorite, my mother would get sleepy. It was probably a Sunday afternoon or evening and she would lounge on the couch. When it came to her turn she would be halfway unconscious and say, “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!” and some inaudible answer may or may not come forth. It soon became a family joke that if my mom ever said anything that didn’t make sense that she was “thinking”!

In my house growing up, we ate pretty healthy. My mom didn’t buy “kid food” or processed junk (Thanks mom!). I lamented over the colorful Squeezit drinks on the shelves and the totally convenient and must have Lunchables that somehow never made it to the shopping cart. All of my friends had them. I had homemade sandwiches and sliced apples. No one ever wanted to trade lunches with me, I had the “boring lunch”. My lunch did, however, have a surprise here and there. Some days I would open a bag of (gasp!) potato chips and discover (thank God!) that they were salt and vinegar. Or “plain chips” as my best friend and I called them in order to ward off the inevitable “Can I have one?” from our hungry tablemates. Other days I would open my bag to find a note of encouragement or a simple “I love you” written on my napkin from my mother. I didn’t miss out (and I’m way slimmer than my friends who grew up with the “cool” lunches).

There were no elaborate craft projects or photo shoots. I do remember my mom turning us loose with Play-Doh on the dining room table. We just had to put wax paper down first. The fun we had!

Some of my favorite memories with my mom were after my siblings were both in school. I was the youngest and that meant I had time alone with mom for two years before I had to join the ranks in school as well. When we went to the grocery store, mom would let me ride under the cart and be sure to get me a free cookie from the bakery. One time, as mom was perusing the snack aisle, I decided to help myself to a canister of Planters Cheez Balls, remember those? The lids were not childproof. My mom was oblivious to my sudden hunger pangs until she noticed the trail of orange puffs of cheesy goodness continually dropping from behind the cart.

One of my favorite places to go with my mother was the library. It was the one place that we went where I could pick out as much as I wanted and take it all home! The one caveat being, of course, that we had to bring them all back eventually. But who cares? I was able to revel in the luxury of glorious books for days! The library was my candy store.

One special thing in my family was the much-anticipated “Day Out With Dad”. This day was counted down for months. Each of us three kids had a day with dad individually. On said day, we got to choose where we went and what we did. It was rare to have dad all to yourself and even rarer to be able to choose a little day trip destination complete with fun activities! Perhaps we would drive the hour to Columbia and go to the zoo or go to the water park in the summer and ride waterslides all day. Wherever it was, it was special.

My siblings and I played tag in the front yard while we waited for our bus. We also made mud pies on top of the rabbit hutch in the backyard. My brother even built a little wooden “house” for our pet frogs we would catch when we sprayed water into the air conditioning fan outside. Didn’t you do that too?

Some of the best memories in the world are built simply out of play.

If we were lucky enough to be staying in a hotel . . . we were always allowed to jump on the beds! Oh the joy of being able to jump on furniture to your heart’s content!

Every once-in-awhile, my mom would say, “Let’s have Blizzards for dinner!” and we each got to choose our favorite treat from the Dairy Queen right outside the neighborhood. See? Nothing elaborate in my childhood, but I have many fond memories.

One time my parents challenged us three kids to eat our chocolate pudding sans hands. There are some pretty amazing pictures of the three of us with our faces in our bowls of pudding!

Traditions are important to the making of memories as well. Each year, when we decorated the Christmas tree as a family, it was a different child’s turn to put the Angel on top of the tree. It was the crowning jewel. When we were little dad would lift us all the way up there so we could place the pretty topper and once we were older it was up the ladder you go. On New Year’s Eve, we used to have a family slumber party in the living room. We all got to choose our favorite snacks (junk food included!) for the evening and we watched wonderful movie marathons like the Start Wars Trilogy or Indiana Jones. Then, we all slept in sleeping bags after midnight right where we were!

As we got older, our parents always let us have our friends over to hang out and watch movies. The more the merrier. We never had any trouble borrowing the mini van to take our friends out somewhere exciting like Waffle House or Sonic.

My sister and I used to get up on Saturday mornings and roll our TV stand around to the kitchen and watch old movies on AMC while we baked sweet breads and cookies. Mom never complained!

Sometimes we are so busy trying to create memories that we forget to just stop and enjoy our children. Money doesn’t have to be involved. Sometimes a simple pillow fort or story time will do the trick. Sprinklers are a sure way to put a smile on your little ones’ faces!

If you are so busy, and let’s face it we all are, then here are some ideas of ways to spend quality time with your children.

Go for Walks

Take nature walks together. You can even come up with a simple scavenger hunt of sorts. Perhaps one day you keep a look out for bugs, another day you might look for types of leaves or flowers. Just spending time together and slowing down and looking around you will do wonders for you as a parent and for your child.

Paint Rocks

Do you have a garden? Grab some rocks and some paint and transform them into kitschy items to stick around outside. Ladybugs, butterflies, frogs, and beetles are just a few ideas.

Drive-In Fun

Take the kids to the Drive-In and pack a picnic. The kids will think it’s fun and it’s an inexpensive way for the family to see a movie on the big screen. Tell the kids that is that is how their grandparents watched movies growing up!

Hide & Seek

Who said old games are boring? Wait until dusk or after dark and get the entire family together in the backyard for an old fashioned game of hide and seek.

Create a Cooking Show

Grab the camera and record your family making their own cooking show. Watch it back as you eat the delicious food for dinner.

Scavenger Hunt

I always loved these as a kid. The possibilities are endless. From setting up a hunt to lead to a birthday present, to having a neighborhood hunt complete with knocking on neighbors’ doors, there are many ways to fit scavenging in. Perhaps you include a couple of families in the fun!

Go Camping!

Who says you can’t camp in your own backyard? Remember to have a fire and roast marshmallows. The kids will enjoy cooking over the fire with you. Don’t forget to gaze at the stars!

As a new mom, I am vowing to try and make every day count. I want special occasions to be special and holidays to be memorable. Do something extra special to make them know that they are loved. Time is one of the best ways to do this and it doesn’t cost you anything. 


                                                                   

 

 Xytex Cryo International, an industry leader in reproductive services, is celebrating 40 years of unsurpassed commitment to quality and a commitment to providing our clients with an experience that provides empathy and guidance. At Xytex we understand that we could not have accomplished this success without our customers, donors, vendors, fertility professionals and employees.

Dr. Armand Karow, working with Roy Witherington M.D., established at the Medical College of Georgia, the first clinical sperm bank in the southeast. In 1975 the sperm bank was incorporated as Xytex Corporation Inc., which evolved under Dr. Karow’s direction to become Xytex Cryo International Ltd., a global leader in assisted reproduction that includes a sperm bank, egg donor program, long-term medical tissue storage and cord blood banking. Although Dr. Karow passed away in 2007, he would be pleased that Xytex is now 100% employee owned.

At Xytex, our most valuable assets are our employee owners. Knowing they have ownership in the company provides Xytex employees with a sense of pride in all aspects of the work they do, enabling them to provide unsurpassed customer service to our clients since our employee owners are motivated to provide excellent customer service and a commitment to producing a quality product.

Dr. Michael Tucker, our Chief Executive Officer noted, “While there has been so much change that has occurred during the past four decades, the excellence of our service has remained the same. Xytex Cryo International, one of the earliest established cryo-banks in the world, continues to provide quality and value across a range of services, and, additionally, is an amazing fully employee-owned company to work for!”

Kevin M. O’Brien, our company President noted, “The business of Xytex is people – people eager to share their specialized knowledge in an empathetic manner with patients who are making life-altering decisions regarding reproductive options, tissue preservation and cord blood management.”

Xytex’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Jan Schöler said, “Xytex Cryo International is one of those amazing companies that has grown and flourished due to the hard work and dedication of its employees. The quality of the work, customer service and leadership are, bar none, the best I’ve experienced in over 30 years of work in the medical reproductive field. After only a relative short tenure with the company, I look forward to many more productive years.”

Thank you to our customers and donors, both past and present, for giving us the opportunity to provide you with the best service possible. To those with whom we have not yet had the pleasure of working with, thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope that one day we can help you with your reproductive health.

We would like to give back to everyone that helped us make it to this great milestone. Every month this year we are going to give a lucky person a chance to win a gift. Please visit our Facebook page for more details. Again, thank you to everyone that helped us hit our 40th!