Fertility Food Friday: End of Summer Salsa

Fertility boosting recipe by Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver

End of Summer Salsa

Recipe by Krista A. Parr

Make use of all of those beautiful heirloom tomatoes and ears of fresh sweet corn available at the farmer’s markets this time of year! Served with tortilla chips, this salsa will disappear within minutes at any potluck or BBQ. Also delicious when served on top of tacos, quesadillas, steak, or a bed of fresh lettuce to make a delicious salad. Happy Labour Day Long Weekend!


2 ears fresh sweet corn, boil for 5 minutes, cool, then remove the kernels with a sharp knife

1 large avocado, diced

Juice and zest of 1 fresh lime

3 large fresh tomatoes, diced

1 cup cucumber, diced

1 19-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed well

1 medium-large jalapeno pepper, inner white pith removed, then chopped (keep seeds if you like a spicier salsa, or discards seeds for a non-spicy version)

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 green onions, chopped

½ cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil

½ teaspoon dried, ground cumin

1.5 teaspoons sea salt

1.5 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper


Combine everything in a large bowl, mix well and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Krista A. Parr is a Vancouver Registered Holistic Nutritionist and founder of Root to Fruit Nutrition, specializing in fertility and women’s health. www.RootToFruitNutrition.ca



Wellness Wednesday: Stress and Infertility – Coping with IVF treatment

Massage and acupuncture can be great forms of release from IVF stress.

Massage and acupuncture can be great forms of stress release.

Susan Lockhart, PhD, MBA, BScN
Director Clinical Operations
Genesis Fertility Centre 

Two weeks ago we discussed stress and infertility. Stress has never conclusively been shown to have a negative impact on the outcome of infertility treatment. However, everyone has experienced stress in their lives and can relate to its negative impact on quality of life. In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment undoubtedly adds to whatever stress one is already experiencing. As you approach that first day of IVF treatment so many questions are swirling in your head: Can I manage the injections? How will I feel during treatment? Will it work? Then, as treatment progresses and more monitoring  is done: What will my hormone levels be today? Are my ovaries responding? Will I get to egg retrieval? There are also some physical symptoms that may add to stress levels. For example, some women experience breast tenderness, bloating and headaches. There can also be unpredictable mood swings.

How do you cope with all of this? There actually are several ways to minimize stress experienced during IVF treatment, and , everyone is different in what works for them. The Infertility Awareness Association of Canada provides information on resources such as support groups and counseling.  The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has a patient education website  which has information on stress and infertility. There are also a number of books on the topic of stress reduction. One example is Hopeful Heart, Peaceful Mind: Managing Infertility by Carol Fulwiler Jones.

Here at Genesis, a one hour session with a qualified psychological counselor is available with each IVF cycle. The Genesis nursing team is also experienced in providing support for patients during their entire treatment experience.

There are more holistic ways of coping with stress as well.  Some people find acupuncture and massage therapy helpful during their IVF treatment. Examples of Vancouver based clinics can be found at www.bodahealth.ca and www.yinstill.com . Simple things like listening to relaxing music or journaling can also help to reduce stress. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a best seller like Lori-Shandle Fox who journalled her infertility experience and wrote Laughing is Conceivable as a result! This may be a bit counter intuitive but aerobic exercise during treatment is very helpful during infertility treatment. Walking (not running) is a great way to “burn off” stress.

Do you have a stress reducing strategy that helps you? Please share with our readers!


Meet Us Monday: Amy Bruchet, Medical Office Assistant

Amy Bruchet, Nursing Assistant, Genesis Fertility Centre

Amy Bruchet with her favourite four-legged best friend, Zoey

Hello, I’m Amy.  Before I joined Genesis, I worked as an office manager for a prenatal office. I had great love for what I did but I was yearning for something more fulfilling. As soon as I joined Genesis, I knew this was where I wanted to be.  Dr. Kashyap and the staff are amazing. It was obvious from the beginning that their level of passion and commitment was truly something rare and special. Recently my fiancé and I have learned of complications with our own fertility so I now truly understand how this can be a very stressful and devastating time in a couple’s life. The staff here have such warm hearts and will care for you as if you were family.

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Fertility Food Friday: Peach Blender Ice Cream

Fertility boosting recipe by Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver

Recipe by Krista A. Parr

If you read the ingredient list on a bucket of ice cream or box of ‘frozen novelties’ you may see things like magnesium hydroxide, sodium phosphate, propylene glycol alginate, potassium sorbate, soy lecithin, diethylglycol, piperonal, modified corn starch…the list goes on. These and other ingredients in commercially made ice cream range from dangerous chemicals to highly processed genetically modified ‘foods.’ No wonder eating ice cream gives so many people an upset tummy! Eating for fertility means reducing your toxic load, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious frozen treat this summer. If you have a decent, high-powered blender, this recipe will be a breeze to whip together and it only contains 4 ingredients, all easy to pronounce! Be aware that the measurements need to be exact or you won’t get the right texture.

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Should people in their late 20s & early 30s worry about their fertility?

fertility in your 20s and 30s

Jessica Napier recently took to her “She Says” column in Metro to raise a question many women start to ask themselves as they approach or enter their 30s: should she be starting to worry about her fertility?

Most women who want to become pregnant in their 30s and beyond do not know that they are born with a finite number of eggs that deplete as they grow older. Specifically, women at birth have between 1-2 million eggs, by puberty that number has decreased to 300-400 thousand, and at 37 most women have around 35,000 left.  Not only do women lose eggs, but the eggs they do have age: the mitotic spindles which organize chromosome separation during cell division function less well as women grow older, leading to more abnormal eggs and therefore more infertility and miscarriages.

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Fertility Food Friday: Babcia’s Beet Greens Soup

Fertility boosting recipe by Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver


Recipe by Krista A. Parr

My Polish Babcia (Grandma) passed this recipe down to my mom, who passed it down to me. I’ve always loved it in late summer, as days are getting shorter and cooler and beautiful bunches of beets are plentiful at the farmer’s markets and in the garden. It’s a light soup, making it appropriate for warmer days. Beets are high in boron, an important mineral for the production of sex hormones and, appropriately, in ancient Roman times beet juice was considered an aphrodisiac. Another important mineral for fertility and pregnancy is iron, which beets are bursting with. Keeping the liver in top working condition should be a priority for those trying to conceive, and beets stimulate the liver to eliminate toxins and excess hormones from the body as well as perform hundreds of other essential functions. Beet greens (the tops) are also incredibly nutritious, containing even more iron and calcium than the roots as well as very high levels of folic acid.

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Wellness Wednesday: Stress and In Vitro Fertilization Treatment

effect of stress on IVF

By Susan Lockhart, PhD, MBA, BScN

In the scientific community a number of studies have looked at the impact stress has on the outcomes of fertility treatments. While the results are interesting, there has not been strong evidence to suggest that stress itself has either caused infertility or has a negative impact on fertility treatment outcomes. However, most people who have had the experience of infertility would agree that while stress hasn’t necessarily caused their infertility, infertility certainly has caused additional stress in their lives!  Now, add fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the increase of stress can be exponentially higher. Leading up to IVF can be an intense experience. Infertility itself is a life crisis, usually an unanticipated event. Tests, procedures and probing into one’s intimate personal information can, and often does, produce stress. Overall, infertility can impact one’s psychological, emotional, and physical well being. Once the decision is made to pursue IVF there is the additional financial burden. IVF undoubtedly adds to an already stressful situation.

A few years ago, I conducted a study of women and their partners undergoing IVF. At the beginning of their IVF treatment (which was the first day of blood test and ultrasound monitoring) patients were asked to record their level of stress experienced during their IVF treatment at certain time points:  the start of IVF treatment, during hormone injections and monitoring, egg retrieval, waiting for fertilization results, embryo transfer and waiting for pregnancy test result. Not surprisingly, the highest levels of stress for women were waiting for fertilization results and waiting for the results of their pregnancy test. What was interesting was that men recorded their highest stress levels at the same time points as women but with lower scores overall.

So how does this information help? For the health care providers at Genesis, it reinforces when our patients need the most support. For those going through IVF, it alerts them when they need to have self-care measures in place. Previous blogs have focused on ways to help ease stress and increase well being when dealing with infertility and infertility treatment. We will explore in subsequent blogs the different stages of the IVF treatment cycle and what you can do to reduce stress and increase quality of life during this challenging time.

Meet Us Monday: Herman Rodriguez, Embryologist

Herman Rodriguez, embryologist at Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver

Meet Herman Rodriguez, outdoor enthusiast and one of our distinguished embryologists.

Hi, my name is Herman Rodriguez. I have been an embryologist at Genesis Fertility Centre for nearly two years. My career in embryology began over two decades ago in Puerto Rico. Now, I work as an embryology consultant traveling to a variety of sites to share my knowledge and expertise. This is a very rewarding career to me. Over the years, the science of Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) has evolved and expanded with much advancement.

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Join the Fertility Friends Walk/Run Club!

Fertility Friends Walk-Run Vancouver

Our medical director, Dr. Sonya Kashyap, has recently begun running with Dr. Spence Pentland of Yinstill Reproductive Wellness. On their run, the two doctors were both inspired by the supportive nature of their outings and saw it as an opportunity to talk about their work in the fertility field. From this inspiration stemmed the idea for Fertility Friends Walk/Run Club Vancouver.

Genesis and Yinstill have decided to partner in a walk and run group (running is typically discouraged for women who are undergoing stimulation for IVF treatments, which is why we would like to invite you to also walk). Employees of both clinics, patients undergoing treatment, those who are struggling to conceive and members of their support group are welcome to come out and enjoy some physical activity, Vancouver’s gorgeous scenery and the company of others who understand the pain of infertility. During Wednesday mornings at 6am beginning August 20, 2014, we will depart from the Jericho parking lot (East) towards the Spanish Banks for a 3 km run round trip. We invite all of you to join in this opportunity to improve your health in a supportive environment.

Dasha A. Johnston, RN

Dasha A. Johnston, RN at Genesis Fertility Centre in Vancouver

Hi there, my name is Dasha and I am the newest nurse to join Genesis Fertility Centre. I graduated from University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2010. Most of my past work experience has been primarily based in pediatrics. I worked in a pediatric post anesthetic care unit at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta from 2010-2012.

In 2012 I met my wonderful husband and made the transitions to the pediatric intensive care unit at the B.C. Children’s Hospital. I have a great passion for working with children and their families. Although my work in the PICU at times may have been emotionally difficult, it was extremely fulfilling.

I have decided to make the transition to Genesis Fertility Centre in April 2014. I am now privileged to be working at Genesis with such a great team of professionals dedicated to couples who are ready to embark on their journey into parenthood.

In my spare time, I love to explore the outdoors by either hiking, biking or kayaking with my husband and my two dogs. However, I have recently suffered a biking accident during which I badly broke my arm and severed my ulnar nerve (so no more biking for me!). I am currently in the process of recovery.

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