Patient Story

Lindsay & Brandon

Sperm Production Disorders
Paulette E. Browne, M.D.
Stephen J. Greenhouse, M.D.
Paul R. Shin, M.D.
Fair Oaks, Virginia
Centreville, VA
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Brandon and I were married in Geneva, NY in October of 2011. We had always talked about starting a family, well before we were married, and we were excited to experience such a journey together. We talked and planned and emotionally and physically prepared ourselves for pregnancy.
In 2007, at just 23 years old, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Luckily, I hadn’t experienced any significant setbacks with the disease, but I knew, and my neurologist advised me, that it was best to think about pregnancy sooner rather than later when the time came. Soon after we were married in 2011, we began trying to conceive.

Trying to conceive

Three months went by. Then six. Soon, Brandon was questioning if something was wrong. I sought out advice from by OB/GYN, naturally thinking if there was a problem it was because of me. She tore off a page from her prescription with a note that simply said, “Relax. And Keep Trying.” Everything was fine on my end. We did as we were told, but not without the aid of ovulation kits and printable charts. It started to become very scientific.
After months and months of high hopes and letdowns with negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, Brandon went to see a primary care physician. He requested Brandon complete a sperm evaluation. Little brown bag in hand, Brandon stopped by the doctor’s office hoping for the best as he handed his ‘sample’ over. Approximately a week later, I received a call from him while I was at work.
“There are zero sperm. ZERO,” he said in a state of shock.
“What does that even mean, zero?” I felt my face flush and my heart begin to race.

Coming to Shady Grove Fertility

With our minds and emotions running in every direction, we made a call to Shady Grove Fertility in Fair Oaks, VA.
After our initial consultation with Dr. Greenhouse, we were immediately sent to see Dr. Paul Shin, Director of Reproductive Urology. Dr. Shin performed a physical exam on Brandon and determined he was likely born with no vas deferens. To clarify, the vas deferens is part of the male reproductive system that transports sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts. With no vas deferens, no sperm is able to come out. In essence, we just discovered Brandon was born with what could be seen as a vasectomy.
Wow. We were at a loss for words, but not for long. We went right back to Dr. Greenhouse to find out our options. He informed us that IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was the only approach outside of donor sperm or adoption. We were more determined than ever to create a family one way or another. We found our sense of humor and hope within each other and knew we could make this happen by just remaining positive and trusting these doctors with all our hearts.

Starting treatment

Within the next two months, I received clearance from my neurologist to begin fresh cycle IVF, Brandon underwent a sperm retrieval, and we were on our way to potentially making this baby! Being familiar with injections throughout my MS journey, I dove right in with the self-injections with confidence.
We had such a great support system from our own families and from our wonderful colleagues, they helped make the multitude of appointments and procedures so much easier to handle by offering patience, understanding and so much love.

Our SGF miracle

And the process paid off. After one fresh cycle, we received a positive pregnancy test with a singleton and one embryo to freeze. We were blessed to go through the next few weeks with Dr. Greenhouse who guided us through the first 10 weeks of our very first pregnancy. The nursing staff at Fair Oaks was absolutely amazing! In April of 2014, we welcomed a healthy baby girl, Harper, who was a perfect mix of both Brandon and me.
When Harper was born, we were filled with such a rush of emotions. We were thrilled she was here, relieved the experience and pregnancy went well and overwhelmed with support and love from our families and friends. Although I had so much experience in my life caring for and working with children, being a first-time mom is an experience all on its own!
I had so much love for this little girl and for my husband who was right by my side through it all, yet I felt somewhat clueless in those first few weeks. Blame it on the lack of sleep and the heightened hormones and emotions, but it took a few weeks to finally feel confident in myself as a mom, as Harper’s mom.
I am so grateful for my mom and my sisters during those first couple of months as they offered so much advice, words of confidence and support as I worked to find my footing in this new world. I was able to build an incredible bond with this little babe that we still share to this day.

Trying again

Now, 5 years later, we are hoping to expand our family. We currently have one frozen embryo in storage through Shady Grove Fertility and we have full confidence they will help to make our dreams come true once again. Harper is patiently waiting for a sibling and we are elated at the possibility of making that dream a reality for all of us.

Advice to future patients

I think it’s so important to have a positive attitude throughout the process! I have learned, through my MS diagnosis, that attitude is what carries you through both the hills and valleys. It truly makes a difference. Brandon and I maintained such a healthy mindset even after hearing the news we would not be able to conceive naturally. It did not stop us from moving forward and building our family any way we could.
Trust the process and believe in your doctors. They want nothing more than to help you fulfill your dreams and really have your best interests at heart. Lean on those in your corner when you need to – your trusted support system will help you through even the toughest of days. Never lose faith. Have faith everything will work out as it should and have faith in the entire process. It works.


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Diagnosis and treatment

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In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
Male factor infertility

Receiving care

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Dr. Stephen Greenhouse
Fair Oaks, Virginia location
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