Tori and Chris thought they were the only ones faced with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and infertility when they came to Shady Grove Fertility. With the care and support from Dr. Eugene Katz at SGF’s Towson location, Tori and Chris quickly learned that many couples struggle with infertility, too. But on the other side of that struggle is hope.
For Tori and Chris, in vitro fertilization (IVF) helped them turn the page in their infertility story. Tori has opened up about the four things she learned along her journey so that others may find comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
1. We Thought We Were the Only Ones Who Had Infertility — Turns Out We Weren’t
At first, we thought we were the only ones. It wasn’t until we started that we began hearing about other friends and family members who had trouble getting pregnant. At first, I only knew of one other family friend who not only had experienced infertility, but she happened to use IVF treatment as well. It was nice knowing I had someone to talk to, but I still felt very alone in the process at the beginning.
To help with my fear of the unknown, I started to educate myself on IVF to know that we were making the right decision. My biggest fear was thinking “what if this doesn’t work,” even though all the statistics were on our side. There was fear of going through the mental, emotional, financial, and psychological stress, but I quickly realized I was not alone.
I started to look at the patient success stories on the SGF website and would watch YouTube vlogs of young women like myself going through treatment and achieving their dreams of parenthood. I finally felt like a successful cycle would be possible for me. Finding hope made everything seem easier.
“The rate of infertility is more common than you think,” explains Dr. Katz. “1 in 8 couples will experience infertility and PCOS is attributed to nearly one-third of all infertility diagnoses in women.”
The good news: the vast majority of women with PCOS are able to conceive with changes to their lifestyle, medications, and/or basic fertility treatments.
2. Infertility Happens When You Are Young, Too
I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 14 and the doctor told my mom I could have trouble getting pregnant. I didn’t think anything of it at the time until I turned 26 and realized I wanted to start having kids. I am so glad we looked into treatment early. It allowed us to have an action plan we could work towards.
Testing for Infertility is Relatively Simple
When Tori and Chris met with Dr. Katz, he explained that they would run through a checklist to test for female and male infertility before determining treatment that made sense with their needs:
- Blood work: to conduct hormonal studies and test the ovarian reserve
- Ultrasound: to view the condition of internal organs
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): to examine inner walls of the uterus and Fallopian tubes
- Semen analysis: to test that the sperm are normal in number and function
Upon talking with Dr. Katz, Tori and Chris learned that PCOS coupled with a male-factor is treatable with IVF. The statistics of their health and young age – Tori was 26 at the time – were on their side.
“Women are born with the total number of eggs they’ll have in their lifetime and that quantity will drop from the millions to thousands and so on as they move through life,” explains Dr. Katz. “While the quality of eggs will begin to decline quickly after age 35, women should know that advancements in reproductive medicine offer women plenty of hope in having a healthy family.”
3. We Were Surprised IVF Was More Affordable than We Assumed
While completing our pre-treatment checklist, my husband and I also made sure we set ourselves up the best way possible financially. We wanted to be able to start treatment as soon as possible.
On Dr. Katz’s recommendation, we started to investigate the Maryland mandate, which opened the door to accessing IVF. Since my company had more than 50 employees, we were covered by the state mandate for fertility treatment. During my employer’s benefits open enrollment, I made sure to enroll in their insurance so we would have as much coverage as possible for IVF treatment. Together, these two pieces – insurance coverage and the MD mandate – we were able to afford our needed fertility treatment. It was all worth it!
“Understanding state-mandated fertility insurance laws can make fertility treatment more affordable so you can focus more on family rather than finances,” explains Dr. Katz. “Shady Grove Fertility offers unique financial assistance programs, including the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program.”
Resources for Affordable Fertility Treatment
SGF offers a variety of programs and discounts to help make infertility treatment more affordable:
- Do you qualify for the Maryland Mandate?
- SGF offers a Military Discount Program
- Gain financial peace of mind with SGF Refund Program
- Apply for the income-based Shared Help Discount Program
- Significant savings with medication discounts
I knew I could do the physical part of IVF. Yes, there are shots, blood draws, and minor outpatient surgeries along the way, but I truly believe that those who choose this path are physically able to get through anything. There is an end goal with an action plan, and finally having an answer with a checklist gave me motivation to get through the challenges.
The hardest part is the waiting game and the unknown. Mentally, emotionally, and psychologically, we just had to have faith in Dr. Katz, our nurse, and the staff at SGF that they were going to do everything they could to give us the baby of our dreams. They did just that.
When it was over, I realized I can do anything. I was able to overcome what I thought was going to be so hard and thrive. Now we have a precious baby girl, Brooks Rose. She is as healthy and happy as ever. Once we left SGF, everything seemed completely normal again, but the process made pregnancy easier from the start. So much of their staff has experienced what you are experiencing.
Resources for Women with PCOS
- Getting Pregnant with PCOS E-Book
- PCOS On-Demand Webinar
- Patient stories of women who overcome their PCOS diagnosis
Like Tori, SGF patient Sarah was diagnosed with PCOS, but had hopes of overcoming her diagnosis to one day have a baby. Here’s her patient story vlog.
Ready to Begin Your Fertility Journey?
To schedule a virtual consultation with an SGF physician, please call our New Patient Center at 1-888-761-1967 or submit this brief form.