Patient Story

Sheela & Harold

Advanced Maternal Age
Robert J. Stillman, M.D.
Rockville, Maryland
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Harold and I met online and started dating immediately. 5 years later, after we returned from our European cruise in 2012 just before Christmas, Harold popped the question and we were engaged. It was a long wait but it was worth it. As I began planning for my wedding, I also started planning for a baby, and the first step was to see my family doctor who in turn referred me to a specialist. Harold and I got married in the Fall of 2013.

Discovering infertility

I knew from the time that I started dating Harold that we may have been late in our lives to have a baby—as we both were in our mid-40s—but I always wanted to have a baby whether it was my own or adopted or through donor egg treatment. Even as a 6-year-old, I had a fascination for babies. I just wanted to hold them and watch them smile. As a young girl, I would very often seize the opportunity to carry my toddler sister or place her on my lap and take care of her.
I started planning for a baby 8 months before our wedding and consulted with my doctor(s). I underwent various tests and found out that my eggs were too old and the chances of conceiving naturally were very low and there was an even smaller chance of having a healthy baby. It broke my heart but it was the reality. The biological clock does not wait for anyone.

Coming to Shady Grove Fertility for treatment

After 8 months of trying to conceive naturally with no success—and frustration when the periods arrived—my doctor recommended Shady Grove Fertility. We were already late and our window of opportunity to have a baby with donor eggs was lessening. We spoke to Dr. Stillman on the phone and we were even more convinced to travel to the U.S. from Canada and find out details in person. After all, we had nothing to lose. Our agenda for the day was scheduled at Rockville.
We drove from Toronto to Rockville. Everything went smoothly, from tests to meeting Dr. Stillman and his nurse, Vivian, to clarifying our questions, discussing the process, and various financing options. The staff were very friendly, courteous, and welcoming. It was a lot of information to absorb in one day, but the hope that we were not too late kept us going and our journey continues to this day.
After some serious thinking and consideration with our financial options and help from our family, Harold and I decided to go with the Shared Risk Program, as it gave us more room to try if the cycle failed for any reason.

Starting treatment

I began my first in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle in September 2014, which failed. I then started the second cycle in January 2015. The thought of needles scares me and here I was willing to do anything for a baby.
We had to fight a winter storm to drive from Toronto to Rockville for the transfer but luckily made it. We drove with the thought that there would be some good blastocyst stage embryos for us. On the transfer day, we decided with the doctor to transfer two embryos due to the quality. Harold was so excited watching the transfer happen in the room.
Here we were in the room thinking, “There is a possibility for twins.”
The nurses were quite funny and helped me relax during the transfer. In February 2015, the doctors in Toronto gave us the good news that I was pregnant. Harold and I were ecstatic with the news. We were eagerly waiting for my first ultrasound appointment date to confirm the heartbeat, but sadly our happiness only lasted for a few weeks.
I woke up one Sunday morning and my hormone levels had dropped and I started spotting. I was rushed to the hospital only to confront the dreaded miscarriage. It was the most helpless moment of my life, as it is beyond anyone’s control. Since this would have been our first baby, it was very hard to absorb the guilt of losing a child. My nurses called me and encouraged me over the phone and it took me a month or so to pull up my optimism and spirits—and here I am preparing myself for the third cycle soon.

Taking the next step

It’s been 8 months since the miscarriage and after a D&C and hysteroscopy, hoping everything will go well as we begin the treatment again. It has been a long, frustrating wait and I’m holding on tightly to the hope that there will soon be a little bundle of joy for us..
We could have adopted a child but it was important for me to experience the pregnancy if I could. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing and being a mother is an even more fulfilling and rewarding experience that nothing in the world can replace.

Advice for future patients

The process is difficult physically, mentally, and financially but the most important thing to remember is to stay strong and not give up hope when things fail. Give yourself some time and focus your energy on positive things. Talk to your husband/partner and support each other. If you desperately want something in life, you have to fight and work hard towards it and the reward will follow. Believe that the impossible is probably possible. I am happy to share my journey with everyone and hope it can motivate and inspire others to not give up.


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In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Advanced maternal age

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