Patient Story

Steph & Mike

Isaac E. Sasson, M.D., Ph.D.
Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
Morgantown, PA
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Mike and I started dating in February 2009 only because I finally had the guts to ask him out on a date. Since then, Mike and I have been inseparable ever since. We got married in May 2013.

Trying to conceive

We started trying on our own in August 2013. Months passed, and I was getting a bit nervous. April came around and Mike and I decided to take a trip to Disneyworld with my family. I remember standing in line on one of the rides when my sister said, “you’re pregnant.” There’s no way she would have known this, but somehow, she was right because a few weeks later, I got a positive pregnancy test.
Unfortunately, only a week into the pregnancy, I started to bleed. I ended up with a chemical pregnancy and lost the baby. We were heartbroken. I remember the doctor saying, “the good news is that you got pregnant.” Those words really didn’t make me feel any better, but we knew we needed to keep trying.
Months went by and we decided to go to a fertility clinic. I think there was a bit of hesitation about going because I heard the tests were painful, but they weren’t. They were uncomfortable but you get through them. I thought, “heck, labor is going to be painful, so I better just grit my teeth now!”
The test results showed no problems. My tubes were clear, and I didn’t have any fibroids in my uterus.The doctors decided to put me on Clomid. We also went through a few rounds of IUI with timed intercourse and injections. Nothing was working.
We decided to pursue IVF, which was intimidating with all of the medications. I hate shots, so Mike mixed and administered them for me. A few weeks after my fresh embryo transfer, I found out I was pregnant with twins!
Unfortunately, during our 8-week checkup, one baby didn’t have a heartbeat. We were devastated.How could we lose another baby? Why did this happen? I remember making the call to our families. It was tough. Some of them stayed strong for us, while some didn’t know how to handle it. The only thing that kept us going was our other baby. We went through the holidays so excited, yet cautious.
Our 12-week ultrasound for our other baby showed something was terribly wrong. There was little to no amniotic fluid and the doctor said it was only a matter of time that this baby would pass away. There was nothing we could do except wait and have follow-up ultrasounds. That was the worst day of my life and I think it was Mike’s too. Two weeks went by until this sweet baby passed away. To this day, it still hurts and there are no words to describe the emotional pain. While we couldn’t comprehend what happened, we did know one thing. We needed to find another fertility clinic.
I can’t begin to explain how much love and support I received from my colleagues once I returned back to work. Not only did I transition back to a non-leadership role that I absolutely love, I began opening up about our story. To my surprise, other people opened up about theirs too. In fact, I must have received five recommendations from folks saying, “you HAVE to go to Shady Grove Fertility.” And that’s how we got to this wonderful place!

Coming to SGF

In March 2017, we had our first consultation with Dr. Sasson. I was impressed with how much time he spent with us. Over two hours! He asked us a lot of questions and explained his recommendation. We were going to move forward with IVF and a frozen embryo transfer (FET). If we ended up with a viable blastocyst, he/she would be sent for genetic testing. While that was occurring, I went through a few biopsies to see when my uterus would be optimal for the transfer. This was an intensive plan and one that would take a few months. It was a lot to take in, so Mike and I decided to give our minds and my body a bit more rest before starting back up again.

The purple flower

Have you ever felt like the universe was trying to tell you something? I think one of the biggest signs that gave me hope was the purple flower. I would regularly talk to my grandma who passed away years ago. As we started the IVF process in late October 2017, I would ask her if she could help us out with having a baby. That next day, I opened the door to my deck and noticed a bright purple flower that bloomed.
My grandma’s favorite color was purple and I didn’t tend to these flowers very well so by the end of October, all of the flowers were gone with the exception of this one. It took my breath away so much that I had to take a picture. She gave me a lot of other signs throughout this past year too that gave me hope.

Even miracles take a little bit of time

This was a quote from Disney that I lived by throughout these years.
It was October 2017 when we began the IVF process and I found out I had endometriosis. I brought this up several times with my previous fertility clinic because of horrible cramps during my menstrual cycle, but SGF finally confirmed what I thought to be true for so long.
There were only seven eggs retrieved. I automatically assumed we would need to go through this process all over again, but little miracles kept happening. Two out of the seven eggs fertilized, and one made it to the blastocyst stage, which was graded an A! I still have the voicemail message from Dr. Sasson who was so excited for us! Within a couple of weeks, we found out the embryo was chromosomally normal and viable for a transfer! Wow. I couldn’t believe it.

The good news

I had my transfer at the end of January 2018 and on February 12, 2018, we found out we were pregnant! I’ll never forget the call I got from my nurse Lisa telling us the amazing news!
On October 12, 2018 we got to meet our son, Luke. It was by far the best day of our lives and each day he brings us so much joy. That toothless smile gets me every time!

Advice to future patients

Struggling with infertility sucks. These past five years have been exhausting but as I look back, I realize I’m an extremely strong, determined person. You are too. I also realized how strong Mike and I were as a couple. He was positive and supportive throughout this entire journey!
Here are some of our thoughts as you go through this journey.
Be kind to yourself. For me, that meant getting a massage every month and declining baby shower invitations. Sometimes it meant removing myself from groups who had kids because that was all they could talk about (rightfully so). You may lose some friends, but those true friends will understand. It also meant going to a counselor to talk through my emotions after our losses and being terrified of another loss if I got pregnant again.
Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when you need to take a break from the fertility stuff. It can be physically and emotionally draining so when you get that energy back, that’s when it’s time to start treatment again.
Listen to your gut. I wish I would have listened to my gut and left that first fertility clinic sooner. Dr. Sasson really listened to our story and I only needed to tell it once. I was also worried about starting from square one again, but that didn’t happen with Shady Grove Fertility. They were fantastic!
Find your support system. Sometimes, it might not be the people you assume would be as understanding or know what to say. A lot of my support came from colleagues at work. After opening up about our struggles, I found a lot of folks, both women and men, who experienced fertility issues. Along with some friends and family, they were there to be my cheerleaders along the way.
Find your hope. I needed some sort of encouragement along the way and I would grab a hold of any sign that meant things were going to be okay.
Please consider going to Shady Grove Fertility. Throughout those five years of ups and downs, I went to two other fertility clinics and Shady Grove Fertility was by far, the best. This is an incredibly difficult time and you need a place that you can trust. They will support you through the entire journey with compassion and expertise – everything from affording care, to answering all of your questions, and beyond.
Thank you to everyone at the Chesterbrook, PA office, including Dr. Sasson, Lisa, and Nikki. You got us through an extremely difficult time, but most importantly, you gave us our son, Luke!


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In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Frozen embryo transfer (FET)

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Dr. Isaac Sasson
Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania location
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