Patient Story

Swee & Gigio

Unexplained Infertility
Isaac E. Sasson, M.D., Ph.D.
Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania
West Windsor, NJ
Gestational Carrier
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

People who know me, know I’m a planner – with friends, vacations, outings, my career, and even marriage – the ongoing joke is that I was subscribed to 15 wedding websites the day after Gigio proposed and had our wedding planned 6 – 8 months before the wedding. In December 2017, I got off birth control, we had been married a year and a half and although I was 28 – I thought, well, it may take 6 months to a year, so I’ll get pregnant around 29 and have my child before 30, it was all planned out in my head.

I assumed I could plan when we’d start a family. I couldn’t. A grueling year passed with nothing but negative pregnancy tests.

Beginning a long journey

February 2019 was our first fertility appointment. The doctor we saw in New York City immediately told us it was a sperm issue, and the only option was donor sperm. We were devastated beyond words and knew we needed another opinion.

In May 2019 we went to another clinic in New York, and we did all our bloodwork, tests, and analysis and this time we were told we had a 99% chance of conceiving pretty quickly, so we were ecstatic.

We moved to intrauterine inseminations (IUI) and did 3 – all failed. Our doctor reassured us we had a 99% chance (for real this time) with our first in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. Welp, we only made 1 low quality embryo.

In 2020 we moved clinics again — we then went through another retrieval, made more lousy embryos, but decided to transfer them. 3 transfers, 6 embryos — all chemical pregnancies. Now, it seemed the problem went from a low sperm-quality diagnosis to a low egg-quality diagnosis. We were dumbfounded.

In January 2021, we moved to a clinic in New Jersey. This doctor believed in changing my diet and assured us that it would make a difference so I did one of the hardest things I have done and did 90 days without gluten, dairy, or added sugar. After the diet that was supposed to “improve” my egg quality – we did 2 more retrievals and only got 1 CC-quality embryo which led to another failed transfer.

In August 2021, I began my donor egg journey – we went to India, I made embryos with donor eggs, and I was sure this was our answer. I was repeatedly told my egg quality wasn’t great, and I needed to move to donor eggs, so this must work, right? I was finally pregnant for longer than 5 weeks and that too, with identical twins (one embryo split) but I miscarried them. We were heartbroken.

Finding fertility care at SGF

In December 2021, I went to Shady Grove Fertility and finally saw Dr. Isaac Sasson. I had a gut instinct that I needed to try a retrieval with my eggs one last time (famous last words) even though all the doctors and my husband were against it, I just had a feeling. Well, my feeling was right.

SGF was my miracle lab and clinic that finally produced 3 beautiful embryos using our genetics. Best day ever! Then I did an ERA, ReceptivaD, and an entire RI workup with over 20 tubes of blood taken for testing, and a lot of meds including months of steroids among other things with the goal of suppressing my immune system so my body would not attack the embryo. After all that, I was confident that I would get and stay pregnant … unfortunately I miscarried again.

In August 2022, we started our surrogacy journey. The process was long and tiresome, but we got through it. The first transfer did not implant, which felt heart-wrenching, but I knew we could not give up – so I did another retrieval to bank a few more embryos and the second transfer worked!

Finding gratitude

Throughout our gestational surrogate’s pregnancy, I learned gratitude can coexist with grief. I grieved the fact that I could not carry my child, that I could not feel his movements or his kicks while simultaneously having so much gratitude to my surrogate to allow me to experience motherhood. There is not a day that goes by that I do not look at Jayden and think wow what a miracle he is, how many people it took to get him here with the immense and utmost respect and gratitude for my surrogate.

I encourage others not to give up hope. You may not have your family the way you imagined but something beautiful and unexpected can come out of the journey!


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