Patient names in this story have been changed to maintain privacy.
I have always wanted to have children, and as soon as we got married in 2015, we started to try to have a baby. I was 32 and my husband was 35 at the time. We got pregnant within the first 3 months of trying and were so elated … we told our families as well! Unfortunately, only days later, that pregnancy resulted in my first miscarriage. Words can’t describe the emotions and shock we all went through but hope was still there.
We tried naturally for several months after that but had no luck. We decided to go see an RE in NYC who is also a close friend’s mother. She started us on timed intercourse and OPK’s for about 6 months. Still, no luck.
We weren’t even getting pregnant now.
My AMH had come back shockingly low at 0.01, but we didn’t lose hope. My doctor started me on DHEA and we kept trying. Subsequently, we did three rounds of IUI and one round of IVF with a fresh transfer, but no luck at all! I barely got any eggs to freeze or fertilize in the first place.
Nearly a year and a half later, all these treatments had started to take an emotional and physical toll on us, coupled with my high-demanding job at a top-tier financial services firm in NYC. Despite a very supportive work environment, I just couldn’t handle all the stresses from treatments on top of everything else. I decided to seek therapy and took a medical leave from work.
We sought another medical opinion and switched practices. This time, we selected a well-known practice in New York with high success rates and were hopeful once again. I did a lot of research and went on a cocktail of supplements for almost six months prior to my egg retrieval and — voila! — it resulted in 14 eggs and 6 healthy PGS-tested blastocysts!
We were finally going to be parents!
We did 2 subsequent FETs… both resulted in early losses. Heartbroken was not even the word!
We had done everything: genetically tested embryos that were highly graded, performed all tests, endured the poking and prodding, took tons of supplements, and I had even almost left my job. Despite it all, we could not keep a pregnancy.
We were beyond exhausted. We were nearly into 4 collective years of treatments, including multiple cycles, polyp removal surgeries, egg retrievals, saline sonograms, hormones, and needles. My fertility doctor had also asked me to seek another opinion, which was devastating because that meant he had also given up and there was no diagnosis for me in sight.
Even my body started to give up … I had also fully left my job by now and we had moved from NYC to Pennsylvania. I had also sought so many side opinions of autoimmune specialists, other RE’s, blood clotting specialists, acupuncture treatments, ayurvedic treatments, and everything else under the sun!
With a heavy heart, I felt that it was time to pursue surrogacy. We decided to go to Tbilisi, Georgia in Europe for this next step in our fertility journey. It was a strange decision to choose Tbilisi over the United States, but we felt comfortable with this, especially after visiting the country for a week. We interviewed various agencies, met with doctors, embryologists, and visited maternity hospitals as well as the US consulate, and did all our due diligence.
The process was streamlined. It was not uncommon to do surrogacy in Georgia — it had been legal since the 90’s and the US embassy there was very helpful. We shipped over the remainder of our embryos to Tbilisi, signed the paperwork, and sent the money. Now was the time to start selecting a surrogate and get the ball rolling. It was February 2020 when all of this occurred, and it’s safe to say that we all know what happened next.
COVID crushed our last hope of having a baby!
It seemed like the end of the world … surrogacy had stopped in Tbilisi, as none of the offices were open to doing any paperwork and we were very nervous to progress any further now. We waited for a year for things to get better, or even open up, but nothing.
I started dipping into depression. That’s when my husband recommended that we seek another opinion from a doctor here in Pennsylvania. Shady Grove Fertility is mere minutes down the road from our home — we even see its signage daily along Chesterbrook Boulevard.
All our remaining embryos were in Tbilisi, so that meant reinventing the wheel all over again. I was hesitant to go back to square one, but the desire to be a parent overtook every other feeling. Before beginning treatment with SGF, we sought the opinion of another doctor at our previous fertility practice once more.
The doctor was downright obnoxious and said it would nothing short of a miracle if we got any more embryos at age 37 given my AMH. Obviously, this was all we had to hear to decide that we would pursue the next steps with SGF and Dr. Isaac Sasson.
From the first consult, Dr. Sasson was AMAZING!
He made me feel so hopeful and comfortable. He was the only doctor who suspected I may have endometriosis and built out a plan of action with the theory in mind. He was also the only doctor who was open to treating endometritis. He addressed our infertility with a plan A, B, and C instead of a let’s-see-what-happens approach.
Through the years, I have become very research-oriented. It was a relief that Dr. Sasson was open to discussing the latest research on supplements like DHEA and was open to collaborating with me on a plan of supplements and treatments.
Dr. Sasson was the only physician I’ve worked with who wanted to test my ERA. We would talk through every step of my treatment plan — discussing the next steps, listening to my thoughts, and even reeling me in if needed. Eventually, Dr. Sasson earned 100% of my trust because he would always give me a scientific reason for the why’s and why not’s.
We did another round of egg retrievals, where we got 14 eggs from which we developed four healthy grade AA PGS-tested blastocysts. We had been here before, so although we were excited by the results, we were cautiously optimistic. We decided to do our first FET with him in February 2021.
Lo and behold, we became pregnant, our little miracle heartbeat stuck, and continued to grow strong!
It was so overwhelming. We had never been here before, and my anxiety was through the roof. I had SCH and hemorrhaging at 6 weeks and was inconsolable until I saw Dr. Sasson the next morning. Even before doing my ultrasound, he said, “I will show you a heartbeat today!” He did just that! He immediately altered my meds and that helped resolve my SCH.
The pregnancy continued without any complications and after 6 years of fertility treatment, we finally had our miracle baby girl on November 1, 2021. She was born 7lbs 8oz and 19 inches long!
She is our pride and joy, and we are forever indebted to Dr. Sasson for our miracle! He told us that he prayed for us the day before our FET — that is the type of person he is! I truly attribute the success of this cycle to the collaborative approach that Dr. Sasson and I were able to take. He made me feel heard and I knew he was as invested in my success as I was.
I didn’t feel stressed about discussing new approaches with him and he was open to trying various medications and procedures that I never tried before. For example, he put me on blood thinners and metformin, which I had never tried before. Plus, he agreed to do a uterine biopsy and treatment to rule out endometritis or a type of uterine inflammation.
His staff — my nurse Kaitlyn, Elyse, front office staff, Nina, and Victoria — all helped make this journey so much easier for us. I did not feel like I was in a factory or given a number and just churned through the system. I felt like a real person, and everyone was invested in making my life easier.
I cannot recommend Dr. Isaac Sasson enough! No one deserves to go through infertility, but anyone who does deserve a compassionate and invested doctor like him! I wish him and his team all the best and continued success in the noble work they are all doing.