My husband, Michael, and I were married in 2014 at the ages of 28. We wanted to travel before having children, so we took some amazing trips to Hawaii, Ireland, Alaska, and Scotland. We were ready to start trying when some concerning tests came back for Michael. We were told to try on our own for 6 months, but that the odds of us conceiving were less than 5%. To hear this before we even started trying was discouraging. After 6 months, we decided to see a fertility doctor. At our first practice, they confirmed the male factor infertility diagnosis and we went through more invasive testing. We endured one failed round of timed intercourse and seven failed medicated IUI cycles. We were facing IVF and decided that Shady Grove Fertility was a better fit for our needs. I thank God every day for that decision. As soon as we met Dr. Sasson, I knew we were in the best hands.
Michael and I started IVF after more testing. We went through our first retrieval and had one failed fresh transfer and three failed frozen embryo transfers (FETs). One was an early miscarriage. We also went through an endometrial receptivity analysis (ERA) cycle to see if the timing of transfer was correct. From those results, we fixed the amount of medication I needed. We also found out my husband’s diagnosis was worse than we thought with 66% DNA fragmentation.
After much consideration, we moved forward with a sperm donor and did another retrieval. Additionally, we went through PGS testing this time. I will never forget the call that we had SIX normal PGS embryos. We were thrilled. Unfortunately, we had two more early miscarriages, and three more failed FETs. During all of this, I had laparoscopic surgery and discovered scar tissue thought to be from endometriosis. We had two embryos left and very little answers as to why this was not working. There were no more tests to run or medications to try. We had tried steroids, vitamins, supplements, herbs, acupuncture, etc. Michael and I were seriously considering looking into adoption or a gestational carrier. Dr. Sasson suggested we try a natural transfer cycle and forget the ERA data/FET cycle before we moved onto other options.
Michael and I were scared since this was so different from what we had been doing, but we were also ready for something new. We had two embryos left and we went all in and transferred them both. On December 11th, 2018, we took a leap of faith with Dr. Sasson by our side. To our shock, one embryo stuck and my numbers were looking great. On August 23rd, 2019, our daughter Brynn was born at 8lbs 7oz.
Our journey was the hardest, most grueling time in our lives. I really cannot put into words what it was like. It went on for years and affected every single aspect of our lives. What gave us hope was the unwavering support of our family and friends and the unmatched care and knowledge of Lisa and Dr. Sasson and so many others at the Chesterbrook office. We will never forget them.
I would tell future patients to advocate for themselves, do your research, ask questions, and seek a second opinion if you do not feel comfortable. Additionally, I would tell them to seek support. In the online support groups, I met some amazing women who I still keep in touch with today. By sharing our story, friends and family came forward and shared their stories as well. Not only were we able to help others during their journey, but we found friendship and support as well. Finally, if you have a partner on this journey, lean on one another and remember that you are in this together. It is not anyone’s fault.
Shady Grove Fertility gave us the gift of a family and they never gave up on us, even when the odds were not in our favor. They are truly amazing, and we will never be able to thank them enough.