Patient Story

Elle & Marquitta

Kate Devine, M.D.
K Street, District of Columbia
Capitol Heights, MD
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Reciprocal IVF

Before children, Marquitta and I enjoyed being social. We enjoyed dining out several times a week, spending our Friday evenings at new lounges, and planning two to four vacations a year. Then one evening, we found ourselves having a midnight conversation of, “wouldn’t it be nice if we could both share in the experience of carrying a child?” I always wanted a child of my own, and Marquitta loved the idea just the same.  

We knew that we would need help from a fertility specialist to make this midnight conversation a reality. That’s when we heard an advertisement from Shady Grove Fertility — moving forward with them for reciprocal IVF was an easy choice. The original plan was that Marquitta would supply her eggs, and I would carry our child. Around this time, I graduated from the police academy, and I felt the timing wasn’t right for that plan. I asked Marquitta if she would carry my egg instead, and she agreed without hesitation.  

Marquitta and I then started searching for a sperm donor from the California Cryobank. We reviewed so many donors, however, narrowing the list was fun yet extensive. A healthy donor was of the utmost importance — we knew we wanted a donor whose medical history as well as family history did not have a lot of medical issues. We narrowed it down until we finally agreed on a healthy and handsome donor. 

Prayer. Manifestations. Love. 

Leading up to the embryo transfer, Marquitta did not like getting shots in the hip. She would start to bruise, and the pain lasted for several hours. The dosages changed throughout the process, so we would triple-check our daily amounts. 

Our first embryo transfer ended in a miscarriage and although we were heartbroken, we persevered. Dr. Devine decided to do the embryo transfer herself following the miscarriage, and we were so grateful that she would take so much personal care in our journey. 

Prayer. Manifestations. Love. This is what gave us hope throughout our journey. When we learned we were pregnant, Marquitta was overwhelmed with happiness. We decided to surprise our families with the announcement with shirts. One read, “Guess what?” and the other said, “We’re pregnant!” Our family was very supportive and overjoyed!  

Dr. Devine, our nurse, and the SGF staff were amazing. Marquitta’s pregnancy was fairly easy other than the morning sickness that lasted a few months. Delivery began with a scheduled induction that turned into a cesarean operation due to a lack of dilation and manual water breakage.  

Once our daughter was born, life felt full and complete! She has brought a new world of laughter and memories. Our life before she was born now seems boring in comparison. Being responsible for another person is scary but when I think of her, or look at her, I am so proud to be part of her life.  

She is amazing and has so much personality: fun, social, a fast learner, and very SMART! She loves music, dinosaurs, traveling, study time, and Pop-Tarts. She loves to do makeup and play doctor. Also, she is very independent! She is quick to say, “I got it, mommy!” 

December 2020 came around, and I found myself monitoring the Cryobank website, waiting to see if any vials would become available from our original donor. Although he had retired, I kept checking. So, when I saw that one vial was available, I quickly turned to her and asked if she wanted to buy it. With the biggest smile, she said, “YES!!” 

Round 2 of reciprocal IVF: Roles reversed   

For our second child, I agreed to carry the baby so that Marquitta and I could completely share in the experience. It was a relief that we could use the same donor to keep our children connected.  

It was all so exciting! While we were extremely grateful for our daughter, I was missing the physical process of growing a human — an experience that I always longed for. The treatments seemed to go a lot faster the second time.  

Sometimes I had to administer my own shots in the abdomen. It was scary at first, but I got over it. I had some swelling in my stomach as the follicles grew bigger. For me, the egg retrieval treatment was unproblematic. 

Learning I was pregnant was a combination of feeling terrified and excited. What mattered is that I was ready!  

My 9 months of pregnancy were miserable. I had morning sickness all day, every day, and had to turn to medication to combat nausea. I experienced heart palpitations, shakes, extreme thirst, morning sickness — I was very weak most days and lacked the motivation to do much. But on paper, I had a normal pregnancy because all tests were normal/negative.  

Nearly three years since having our daughter, our son was born. 

Life as a family of four 

With two little ones, our days were chaotic until we found order and fell into a comfortable rhythm. Nonetheless, we wouldn’t change a thing. We have two perfect little humans! Marquitta and I have learned to become more patient, and although we have a three-year-old daughter and a 10-month-old son, it feels like we have more energy as parents compared to our life without kids.  

Reality looks much better than we could’ve ever pictured. Our kids are beautiful, loving, and simply amazing. My daughter is a great big sister, and my son is a loving little bear. 

We’re fortunate to have another amazing blessing. Our son is such a big boy! He’s so lovable, strong, attentive, full of energy, and is climbing on everything. We cannot believe that he’s already wearing size 2T? Just like his big sister, he loves music. He loves our cat and makes meow sounds whenever he sees him. We can’t believe some of the things he’s able to do … and break! While he’s younger, he is very protective of his sister.  

Going through reciprocal IVF twice, Marquitta and I learned how strong we are! Each of our pregnancies had highs and lows, but we made it through. We have both shed our baby weight and found a new version of ourselves through consistency and patience. Our love for one another has grown, too. We remember to enjoy marriage just as much as we enjoy being mommies. It can get hard to find time to socialize but when we do, we treat each time like it’s New Year’s Eve.  

Moving forward with our fertility journey was the best decision we could have ever made! We do have more frozen embryos. We’ve discussed having more children. However, we have some reservations with all that we have on our plate. The crazy part is, despite my pregnancy experience, I would do it again.  

Words of wisdom to fellow fertility warriors

Fertility treatment is a process and a journey. Shady Grove Fertility has great doctors and nurses, like Dr. Devine, who can customize a plan to help you achieve your family-building dreams.  

Keep love in mind and manage your stress to provide a healthy womb for your little one to grow. Try not to fret but encourage yourself and keep in mind that female bodies are incredible and can sustain life.  


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K Street, Washington, DC, location
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