Patient Story

Sally & Barrett

Ectopic Pregnancy
Unexplained Infertility
Anish A. Shah, M.D., M.H.S.
Richmond – Stony Point, Virginia
Richmond – Henrico Doctors’ – Forest, Virginia
Richmond, VA
Donor Egg
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Barrett and I met in 2012 and married in 2017. Before diving into parenthood, we wanted to take a year or so to adjust to married life. In 2020, after a year of trying to get pregnant on our own, we took the next step and scheduled an appointment at Shady Grove Fertility.

About the time COVID came along, I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and we moved forward with intrauterine insemination (IUI). Two weeks after the IUI, I received positive news and my HCG indicated that I was pregnant, and it was doubling appropriately. Unfortunately, at my first ultrasound, I was told I had a blighted ovum, and the pregnancy was not viable. After my body reset, we had another IUI, I again received a positive HCG. This time, my numbers were low, but still doubling. After not feeling well a few days before my scheduled ultrasound, I decided to go to SGF to see if something was going on … thankfully I did. I was directed to go to the hospital for surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy, in addition to my right fallopian tube.

Moving forward with a new plan

After that, we had a conversation with Dr. Anish Shah and decided it was time to move to in vitro fertilization (IVF). I thought that if IUI resulted in a pregnancy, IVF was a no brainer, and it would surely end in success. My confidence was proven wrong. The first round of IVF yielded 1 healthy embryo, which we transferred in January, but unfortunately, it failed. The next round of IVF resulted in zero embryos. We were crushed, but we had another conversation with Dr. Shah, and after much thought and another candid conversation, we decided to move to IVF using a donor egg.

We were pretty quickly matched with a donor, but we were the third of three families who were receiving eggs from this person. By the end of her IVF cycle, we only had one healthy embryo, which again, unfortunately was a failed transfer.

After more devastation and questions, I had a biopsy, and it was found that I needed an extra 12 hours of progesterone to help the embryo “stick.” While we were waiting for those results, we were matched with another donor.

Finally finding success

Fast forward to January 2022 when we traveled to Pennsylvania and transferred another embryo. This was finally the success story we had been chasing for what seemed like forever. Elizabeth was born on September 23rd, 2022. She was eager to join our family, as she arrived three weeks earlier than her due date!  

We chose Shady Grove Fertility because we had some close friends who had success there. We leaned on friends and family during this challenging time, and I really found hope in listening to podcasts that addressed infertility. All of the doctors and nurses we worked with were incredibly professional and cared for us genuinely.

Recognizing the challenges

One of the most difficult parts about the treatment was that it literally felt like a part-time job … keeping track of the appointments and medications seems very overwhelming at times. It is also difficult to watch other families grow (even though you are happy for them deep down) with little to no effort. One other huge challenge is the ups and downs you experience with each update you get.

To future patients

My message to future patients is two-fold. First, when you have that child, it is even more precious than you can ever imagine. Second, after enduring infertility and everything that comes with it, you can pretty much do anything else. The strength and resilience you build, both individually and as a couple, is unexplainable. And finally, if you are considering donor options – it is difficult to come to terms with initially, but it is more worth it than words can even express.


Share experiences.
Share hope.

Need-to-know fertility resources and guidance

Diagnosis and treatment

We understand you may have questions about infertility and how it’s treated. Gain answers from the diagnosis and treatments shared in this story.
Infertility terms
Donor egg
In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Receiving care

Assemble your fertility care team close to home. Explore our different locations and physicians who will provide guidance along your journey.
Dr. Anish A. Shah
Richmond – Stony Point, Virginia, location
Find a location near me

Related Stories

Patient Story

Sara & Chad

Patient Story

Jackie & Mike

Patient Story

Lauren & James

Patient Story

Brittney & Rob