Amy was 34 when she and her husband Brian began trying to have a baby. They tried for a year and on the suggestion of a friend who successfully delivered a baby at Shady Grove Fertility, the couple scheduled a consultation in the Washington, DC office to have a basic infertility evaluation completed.
Coincidentally, the Dr. Oz talk show was looking for fertility patients who were just beginning their journey and share their experience on-air. Amy and Brian agreed to be part of the show and right before their taping, the results of their semen analysis showed that Brian had severe male factor infertility resulting in a low sperm count.
On the show, Dr. Anitha Nair shared that the couple’s best chance of conceiving would be through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with ICSI, where the sperm would be injected directly into the egg. Amy and Brian’s insurance had limited coverage for IVF so the couple was enrolled in the Shared Risk 100% Refund program where they would be able to undergo six fresh IVF cycles and unlimited frozen embryo transfer cycles (based on any remaining good quality embryos) or receive a 100% refund.
Beginning fertility treatment
With their first IVF cycle, Amy & Brian did become pregnant, but it was determined early on that it was a chemical pregnancy.
The couple decided to continue with treatment, and after attempts 2 and 3 were unsuccessful, they received good news on cycle #4. In November 2010, Amy and Brian were officially pregnant!
However, complications began during Amy’s 2nd trimester, when she was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome. HELLP syndrome occurs in about 1 to 2 out of 1,000 pregnancies, and in 10-20% of pregnant women with severe preeclampsia. Many women have high blood pressure and are diagnosed with preeclampsia before they develop HELLP syndrome. However, in some cases, HELLP symptoms are the first warning of preeclampsia and the condition is misdiagnosed. At just 24 weeks, Amy and Brian’s daughter was born via emergency c-section but only survived minutes after birth.
Amy says, “I’m not really sure if I would have been able to continue at this point, financially, physically, and even emotionally. But knowing we still had cycles available through the Shared Risk program and that we were able to get pregnant twice gave us hope. We decided to take a break and then try again. The decision to continue was hard, but after some time to heal we wanted to continue.”
Moving on after loss
In April 2012, Amy and Brian both received news that would be life-altering for both of them. The day after Amy’s 5th embryo transfer, Brian was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Two weeks later Amy got the news she was pregnant. As Amy silently celebrated her good news, she stood right by Brian as he underwent surgery to remove cancer – the day after her positive pregnancy test.
Brian has now been cancer-free for six months, and baby boy Graeme was born on November 16th, weighing in at a healthy 6 pounds 5 ounces.