Page 1


Real Patients Share Inspiring Stories of Hope

shady gRove feRtility


Copyright 2013 © Shady Grove Fertility. All rights reserved. To share your story, please visit: For more information about infertility treatment or to schedule an appointment, please call 1.866.405.9955.

Shady Grove Fertility

15001 Shady Grove Road, Suite 110 • Rockville, MD 21201 1.866.405.9955 •

Seeds of 20 Paths

Positive Hope to

Real Patients Share Inspiring StoriesStories of Hope Inspirational

from Real Patients Overcoming Infertility

Shady Grove Fertility Copyright 2013 Shady Grove Fertility Center


Introduction Sharing Hope, One Story at a Time................................ 2 Patient Stories 1. Alice............................................................................ 4 2. Sara............................................................................. 6 3. Jennifer...................................................................... 8 4. Heather....................................................................... 11 5. Lani............................................................................. 12 6. Jendy.......................................................................... 14 7. Kerry........................................................................... 16 8. Megan........................................................................ 18 9. Melissa........................................................................ 20 10. Chrysta....................................................................... 22 11. Andrea........................................................................ 24 12. Rachel......................................................................... 26 13. Lynsey......................................................................... 30 14. Maria.......................................................................... 32 15. Renee.......................................................................... 34 16. Aimee.......................................................................... 36 17. Tiffany........................................................................ 38 18. Shavon........................................................................ 40 19. Jeremy........................................................................ 42 20. Marilyn....................................................................... 45 iv

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope


shady gRove feRtility



Sharing hope, one story at a time By Patty Stull

Diagnosis: Male factor   Treatment: IVF

20 Paths to Positive was written for patients by patients to offer strength, hope and inspiration to those still on the path toward parenthood. Patty Stull, Shady Grove Fertility former patient and current employee.

Pregnancy and parenthood is

But it is the persistence part that

something most women and men

can be difficult — physically,

assume will happen; infertility is

psychologically and financially. The

not. After all, there are children and

emotional ups and downs that

families everywhere and no one

accompany negative pregnancy

really talks about infertility, so why

tests, mechanical lovemaking or daily

would we assume otherwise?

shots of medication is enough to make even the optimists cry. As time

But the facts are indisputable;

passes, it can be hard to be hopeful

infertility is a disease and one in eight

and not give up. For those who have

trying to start a family will experience

been on the road for a while, it can

challenges. Thankfully, the vast

feel like too much to bear.

majority will require only simple

"I know this story because I lived it. I still remember vividly what it felt like to wonder if I would ever become a mother."

intervention while others may need

I know this story because I lived

more advanced treatments such as

it. I still remember vividly what it

IVF or egg donation, or they might

felt like to wonder if I would ever

require more specialized services

become a mother. Those five long

such as Preimplantation Genetic

years included multiple doctors,

Diagnosis (PGD) or Gestational

miscarriages and what seemed

Carrier. Despite its prevalence, it

like endless treatments before my

is important to know that infertility

husband and I finally landed at the

can be overcome with appropriate

oasis of Shady Grove Fertility. It was

treatment and persistence.

here that we gained strength from

Patty’s children.

their staff, hope from the results and trust borne out of an endless supply of compassion. Through them we found the support we needed to persist. We had our family. Mine is one story, but the stories are endless. Each person’s experience is unique, though we all share a common bond — the desire to have a baby and build a family. We believe these first-hand accounts of triumph over infertility will make you laugh, even cry, but mostly find comfort in the fact that you are not alone.


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

Patient Stories

shady gRove feRtility



Alice’s story: a FairyTale ending Diagnosis: PCOS   Treatment: IUI

Ever since I was little – six to be exact – I dreamed of getting married, having babies and living happily ever after. Everything was falling into place so nicely. I met my husband when we were both still in high school and we were head over heels in love. I knew he was the one. All my life I struggled with irregular

Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Once

periods. When I was 13, the OB/

the tests came back, she sat me

GYN I was seeing put me on birth

down and told me my diagnosis.

infertility is defined as 12 months of

control to regulate them. When my

She said “You have PCOS and there

unprotected intercourse

husband, Todd, and I got married,

is a chance you won’t be able to

without conception.

I stopped my birth control so we

have a child.” At that moment my

could try to have a baby right away.

fairytale fell apart.

fertility fact For women under 35,

For women over 35, infertility is defined as six months of unprotected intercourse without conception.

We were young, so in love and just couldn’t wait to be parents.

Alice’s Fertility Diagnosis After stopping my birth control, I knew something was very wrong. My periods were all over the place and I would bleed for months without

Alice, Todd and their baby.

“She sat me down and told me my diagnosis. She said ‘You have PCOS and there is a chance you won’t be able to have a child.’”

stopping. My OB/GYN chalked it

Getting Back On Track

up to my body trying to regulate its

When we made the decision to see a

hormones after stopping the birth

fertility specialist, we had been trying

control. So after about a year or so,

to get pregnant on our own for almost

I went to see my doctor and she

five years. We waited so long to seek

ran several tests. I had already been

help for a number of reasons. Our

researching online for what it could

concerns revolved around our lack

be, so I knew a lot about Polycystic

of knowledge on fertility treatment, financial worries and our age. At the point when we finally decided get help, we were only 24. I had listened so much to people and doctors telling me “you’re so young, just wait, don’t rush it.”At the same time in the back of my mind I knew I needed help. After five years, it just wasn’t working. We had decided to schedule a consultation and official diagnostic testing because that’s all our insurance would cover, or so we thought...


20 paths to a positive: positive: Real Real Patients patients Share share Inspiring inspiring stories stories ofof hope hope

hope that it would be a birthday gift

face, looking back I wish I had. We

Dr. Jeffrey McKeeby was in January

I would never forget. I still decided

sat on the phone in shock and almost

2011. Dr. McKeeby’s confidence

not to test at home. I started to get

disbelief. Our fairytale wasn’t over.

was so wonderful. He gave us such

cramping and had no pregnancy

It had just begun.

peace that everything would work

symptoms, so I had already told

out fine. He gave us a list of tests to

people my IUI failed and cried

Happily Ever After

have completed. We did all of them,

about it.

and in the time between our first

As I sit here, I have a beautiful, healthy 14-month old boy running

appointment and second, I found

The day I went for my beta

around me, playing, dancing and

out I had full coverage insurance

bloodwork, I was annoyed and

laughing. He is more than we could

on fertility treatments. It was a huge

sad because I knew it was going

have hoped for or dreamed of.

surprise and blessing for us because

to be negative. My nurse, Jackie,

He was worth the wait. We are so

it meant we could move forward

called me later that day and I can

incredibly blessed. Hopefully very

without any financial worry.

quote her voicemail to you without

soon we will be back to Shady

even listening to it. “Hi Alice, this

Grove Fertility so we can give our

At our second appointment

is Jackie. I have wonderful news,”

son a brother or sister.

Dr. McKeeby confirmed that I had

at this point my jaw was wide

PCOS, but he also mentioned

open and I had tears streaming,

my husband had a borderline

“your test today was positive.

morphology problem in his

Congratulations!” I still have the

semen analysis. Dr. McKeeby was

voicemail saved on my phone. I

confident that IUI with Clomid

couldn’t believe it. I was in such

would be our best option. So we

shock, I called her back right

decided to go for it. During our first

away and asked her to review and

round of IUI, I was skeptical. But

make sure it was really me and not

things seemed to be going well

someone else. In that moment my

and I was hopeful afterwards.

life was changed.

“Dr. McKeeby was confident that IUI with Clomid would be our best option.”

I couldn’t wait to tell my husband,


Our first appointment with

“Our fairytale wasn’t over. It had just begun.” My advice to others who are going through their own issues with infertility – go to Shady Grove Fertility and don’t get discouraged! God has the perfect plan and timing for you. Try to focus on the positives and never give up, it will all be worth it in the end. You have to go through the rain to get to the rainbow.

so I called him at work. He thought I was just joking, he wouldn’t believe it either. I couldn’t wait to see his Alice’s baby boy.

I decided not to test at home and when the call came in that my beta was negative, I was heartbroken and discouraged. I wanted to just hurry up and move on with the next IUI. That’s exactly what we did. The next cycle was not as promising as the first. We had less eggs and less sperm. But the IUI was done on my 25th birthday and I was holding out

Shady Grove Fertility



Sara’s story: An angel looking over us Diagnosis: Unexplained   Treatment: IUI

Our journey began shortly after I met my husband, Paul. I was working a full-time job and going to school full-time when I decided to get a second job. It was then that I met my husband. We immediately fell in love. Shortly after, I found out that I was pregnant. We were living in an apartment and

and I was wrong. I don’t care what

be able to have children. I watched

our full-time jobs were mediocre,

anyone says, infertility can strain

TV shows about births and cried. I

but we were excited to have a baby.

a relationship. However, it can

would attend baby showers and cry

After 10 weeks gestation, I had

also make it stronger. After the

afterwards. Sometimes envy would

miscarried — we lost our baby

miscarriage and the full year of

get the better of me, but I made sure

in February.

trying, I fell deeper in love with my

that I never let anyone see that. If

husband. After the year of trying,

someone told me they “accidentally”

After the miscarriage, we decided

we decided to go to Shady Grove

got pregnant, I would show them

we would focus on us to make sure

Fertility. We had heard so many

the same amount of joy that I would

that the next baby would have a

success stories from friends that we

before my infertility. However, when

better shot. I went back to school to

decided to give it a shot.

I went home, I would talk about it

get my MBA, he proposed, we were married, we bought a house and then he finished up his Bachelor’s degree. Two months before our wedding, we decided to start trying

“Every month when we thought I was pregnant and I wasn’t — was hard.”

I would stay in my room, crawl under the covers and cry.

A difficult answer

to have a baby again. After we had

Paul was supportive and caring;

After the testing, we found out it was

been trying for a year, we decided to

however, this was also hard on him.

unexplained — my husband was fine

seek out help. That year started the

I had to make sure that this process

and they didn’t know why I could not

most difficult journey of our lives.

was not just about me, it was

get pregnant. For the first month of

about us. I had to let him have his

treatment, Dr. Howard McClamrock

moments. I had to be the rock every

gave me a round of Clomid and we

once in a while. I fully believe that

had timed intercourse.

Fertility fact Approximately 10% of infertility is unexplained.

communication brought us through 10%

this. There were nights where we would talk about it, and some nights where we would just go out and have fun. Our lives couldn’t revolve around having a baby. We had to

Our Fertility Journey That first year was difficult on


with my husband. If he wasn’t home,

make sure we were focusing on our relationship as well.

both of us. Every month when

As a female, it was especially difficult

we thought I was pregnant and I

because you were taught that it was

wasn’t — was hard. I would swear

part of your gender role to have

I was feeling pregnancy symptoms

children. I wondered if I would ever

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

Now, for someone that has not taken Clomid, they don’t know the experience. My husband and I like to refer to that week as the “Hulk Week.” I’m not sure what was in the medication, but I would get MAD at anything. Not just a little mad. I was “HULK” mad. At the time everything was a big deal, but now, not as much. That month, when I had ovulated, they told us to go home and have


said I wanted to wait. We both went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, I secretly took the pregnancy test. For some reason, I didn’t want to let my husband get upset twice. And can you believe that a faint positive line showed up? I ran into the bedroom, jumped on

“We found out it was unexplained — my husband was fine and they didn’t know why I could not get pregnant.”

scheduled the IUI. After the IUI was

the bed and screamed to wake him

done and I was lying on the table, I

up. I yelled “I’M PREGNANT!” His

talked out loud to my egg and my

first words were “I TOLD YOU!”

husband’s sperm, saying “Please, give me a baby. All I want is to be pregnant. All I want is to give my husband a baby. Please. I’ll be the

After that, we had a series of sonograms where we both would cry. We heard the heartbeat, we saw the baby move — it was the

a night of “fun.” I don’t care what

best mom. Please.”

anyone tells you, sex just isn’t as fun

The Final Test

amazing pregnancy, and even when

After the two weeks, I swore I was

I was huge and uncomfortable, I

not pregnant, as I had no symptoms.

reminded myself of this journey

After 13 months of trying, you start

and remained grateful.

when you are being told you HAVE to do it. But, we did it and waited. After two weeks, we waited for the results. We were due to get that call on our one year anniversary. Unfortunately, when we received the call, we learned we were not pregnant. At first, we decided to mope. We were lying in bed and decided to cancel our dinner plans. That day, I went out to the mailbox and picked up the mail. I’m not sure if someone was giving us the

best time of our lives. I had an

to doubt that you can ever get pregnant. My husband remained

Today, I am happy to tell you that

faithful that this time worked. So, a

we had a baby boy on February

day before the blood test, we were

18, 2013. We had this baby in the

having a discussion about whether

same month we lost our first. We

I was pregnant or not. I told my

fully believe that the first baby was

husband that it didn’t work. So, he

looking over us. To couples who are

went out and bought a pregnancy

going through the same journey, my

test. Because I was stubborn, I

best advice is to not let envy take over and stay positive.

Sara’s baby boy.

message to get up or what, but there was a $300 gift card in the stack. I ran in and told my husband that we are going out no matter what. We said we wouldn’t talk about the negative test or think about it. A month later I asked Dr. McClamrock to move me to the next step. This time, he decided to give me Clomid and some other medication that needed to be injected. We then

Shady Grove Fertility



JennIfer’S Story: hope throUgh donor Sperm Diagnosis: Male Factor

TreaTmenT: IuI WItH donor SPerM

Mike and I met as undergraduates at Gettysburg College. We married shortly after I graduated, both of us deciding to pursue graduate degrees before we started a family. We raised guide dogs, enjoyed traveling, and going to the theater. We both got jobs in higher education and bought a beautiful house with a huge yard. fertIlIty faCt 25% of all IuI cycles at Shady Grove Fertility use donated sperm.


We both wanted a family, no

sperm count. We were devastated

questions. We thought three or four

when we got the results. The

children, a few dogs, and a nice

doctors told us we were dealing

house close to the grandparents

with severe male factor infertility.

sounded great. We wanted to share

They pulled out brochures about

all of the wonderful memories we

IVF telling us that my husbands

had from our own childhoods and

count was so low, that IVF with ICSI

start creating our own traditions.

was probably our only chance to conceive. I was 26 and my husband

Once we had all the things

28. We never thought two young

you’re “supposed” to have to be

people would be dealing with

responsible parents, we decided

anything like this.

to start trying. But a year went by, and nothing happened. We went to the doctor who performed the routine first tests — bloodwork, hysterosalpingogram (HSG) and Jennifer and family.

“the doctors told us we were dealing with severe male factor infertility.” stArting treAtment Fertility treatments were hard. After our initial consult with Dr. Melissa Esposito, we were hopeful that IVF with ICSI would be the solution since we were only dealing with male factor issues. At the time, I worked in the state of Maryland and my insurance covered three IVF attempts per live birth. So we jumped right in. I remember our injection class vividly. My husband is terrified of needles and was sweating bullets when they said he had to practice on me. I didn’t think he’d be able to do it, but he was a champ. He gave me my


20 paths to a positive: positive: Real Real patients patients shaRe shaRe inspiRing inspiRing stoRies stoRies ofof hope hope

there was always a risk it was ectopic

knew it would most likely take more

places too! During our third attempt,

or could be dangerous, and that we

than once cycle, and were surprised

we won tickets to see J.K. Rowling

would need to end it.

when we found out we were

in NYC and we were in a stimulation

pregnant after the first one!

cycle. Based on the time of day, we

To say we were devastated is

had to do the injection, so we ended

probably the worst understatement

up doing it in the car at a New Jersey

ever. I cried for hours. I screamed. I

bus terminal parking lot!

understood the situation, but it just wasn’t fair — that I had finally gotten

“In the end, an IUI with donor sperm was the most cost-effective option.”

The hormones were rough, but we

what I’d worked so hard for and now

kept a good sense of humor. Every

I was being told I had to end it. I told

Once again, though, there was a

time I went for an egg retrieval and

the nurse I wished the test had been

slight hiccup. When I went for my

it was time for Mike to go do his part

negative, because this was far worse.

six-week ultrasound, the doctor

I’d tell him, “Have fun!” The doctors always laughed. Our first two attempts failed. People around me were getting pregnant left and right, and

“To say we were devastated is probably the worst understatement ever.”

told me that she couldn’t see all the structures that were supposed to be there. She told us it was a 50/50 chance the pregnancy would be viable. I went home and cried. I couldn’t believe this was happening

we were devastated every time

I was numb the day I went in for

again. I was inconsolable this time,

we heard about someone else

the methotrexate injection. I

refusing to speak to anyone.

getting a positive. We heard all the

sobbed uncontrollably the whole

Dr. Esposito called my husband that

stereotypical responses: just relax,

time I was there. It was my last

evening when she found out what

stop trying, put your legs over your

attempt, and we had failed.

happened at my appointment. She

head after sex. I blew up at my mom

An unexpected Solution

told him to be sure to tell me that

once. She was trying to help, and she hugged me and said, “I know.” It was

she didn’t agree. She said that this

Without insurance to cover

was not an exact science, and that

a typical mom response. I screamed

treatment, we couldn’t pursue any

she felt sure that the next ultrasound

my frustrations at her. “Don’t say

more options. We just didn’t have

would look perfect — and it did! I

that! You don’t know! You’ve never

the resources. So we took some

was finally pregnant and never so

been through any of this!”

time off to think about what our next

happy in my life.

steps might be. It was a year later

Achieving Our Dreams

Our third attempt gave us brief hope, as I had a positive home test three times. I was sure this was it.

when we finally decided to look into donor sperm.

I am thankful every day to the doctors at Shady Grove Fertility

The first bloodwork came back —

My husband was open to the idea

for helping us achieve our dream

positive, but low. I was told we were

from the start. It didn’t matter to us

of having a family. My daughter

to be “cautiously optimistic.” That’s

how we created a family, just that

turns four in August, and I just

virtually impossible for anyone who’s

we created one. In the end, an IUI

can’t believe how fast the last

ever had trouble getting pregnant.

with donor sperm was the most

few years have gone by. She’s an

After three more tests, we were told

cost-effective option. So we looked

amazing, headstrong, confident and

the numbers weren’t where they

at Fairfax Cryobank, picked out a

independent little girl. My husband

should be and the pregnancy was

donor, and bought two vials. We

says that when they put her on my

probably not viable. More than that,


injections every day — in some odd

chest when she was born, I looked Shady Grove Fertility



like I had just won the lottery. Everyone tells us how much she looks like me, and funny enough,

Fertility fact

how much she looks like my husband. We spend a lot of time

Women in their 30s who have

with our family and friends, and she

unprotected sex only have about

makes everyone laugh. When we

a 15% chance of conceiving

started fertility treatments, I said I

each month. On average, couples

would be content with just one, and

take eight months to get a

we are. She’s perfect and we finally

positive pregnancy test.

have the family we always wanted. I would tell others going through

Jennifer’s little girl.

fertility treatment that there is no “perfect” way to create a family. I’ve heard so many people say “if its meant to be, it will,” and that’s fine, but for me, it was more about “do I Jennifer and her baby.

feel like I was meant to be a mom?” The answer was always "Yes" — it didn’t matter how that happened. You never think that infertility will affect you. I think its a shame that the only time you hear about it when you’re young is the result of having unsafe sex. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment. There isn’t a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it, and you find out pretty fast that a lot more people deal with some form of infertility than you ever imagined. People ask us if we’ll tell our daughter how she was conceived, and our answer is yes, of course. I want her to know that families are made in a lot of different ways, but that doesn’t make one better than another. And to know that there are generous people out there, like the man who donated his sperm, willing to help people having trouble. I will


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

“I want her to know that families are made in a lot of different ways, but that doesn’t make one better than another.” always be grateful to him and I know there are other families who are too. Most importantly, I would tell others not to relax — it can’t be done — but to try to have fun. Your relationship can grow through the process and you can learn to laugh at it, but its very hard while you’re going through it. Timing sex, taking temperatures and monitoring bodily functions is about as unromantic as it gets, so you have to remember to just be with each other. Do things you like to do and remember that sex will be fun again — I promise.

Diagnosis: PCOS  Treatment: IVF


heather’s story: From employee to patient

After six years of dating, I married my high school sweetheart, Sonny! We always knew we wanted to have kids soon after marriage — we just did not know it would be so difficult. I just thought, “We’re young and healthy — it will happen.” So we started trying, and after 90

We transferred one perfect embryo

days without a period and probably

on May 1, 2012 and had another

$60 spent in pregnancy tests, I

two perfect embryos frozen. I

realized something was wrong. So I

loved hearing that phone call

had bloodwork done with my OB/

from Dr. Kipersztok, “Heather

GYN, and was diagnosed with PCOS.

you have beautiful embryos!” My

“It was also nice to share my journey closely with patients, and I have made lots of friends in the process.”

I had heard of PCOS before and

husband told me not to do a home

at that point I knew that becoming

pregnancy test, but I couldn’t

My best advice to others is first

parents was not going to be as easy

resist! I had taken tons of these

as we had planned. I had just started

tests before but I had never seen

working in Shady Grove Fertility’s

that second pink line… until then.

Waldorf, MD office with Dr. Simon

After our nearly two-year infertility

Kipersztok in April 2011, and by

journey… I was PREGNANT! We

August, not only was I an employee,

had an ultrasound at six weeks

but a patient as well!

and saw that beautiful flutter which

“Not only was I an employee, but a patient as well”

indicated a healthy heartbeat!

to not be afraid to get help — you are not alone! I didn’t realize how many of us were out there — no one can help if you don’t reach out. Second, know that the annoying tests, injections, ultrasounds, etc., are all temporary. They are getting you closer to becoming a mommy! Third,

Our Shady Grove Fertility Miracle

remember that you and your

In January 2013, our dream of

Fighting the infertility battle with

Transitioning through Treatment

becoming parents came true!

my husband made us so much

I delivered a healthy 8.4 lb. baby

Dr. Kipersztok started me on Clomid,

closer than we already were.

boy! Cohen is the spitting image

but after two unsuccessful cycles,

Lastly, don’t give up!

of his daddy. His smiles and coos

we decided to transition to IVF.

are enough to melt my heart!

Dr. Kipersztok had given us only a 10%

He truly is our little Shady Grove

success rate with timed intercourse

Fertility miracle.

or IUI cycles and a 50% success rate

partner are in this together.

Heather’s little boy, Cohen.

with IVF. I was intimidated by the

There are no words to describe

whole process and injections at first,

our gratitude to Dr. Kipersztok,

but my nurse, Sarah, was an awesome

Sarah, and the entire Shady Grove

cheerleader! Our first IVF cycle

Fertility staff! I believe being an

was unsuccessful. It was a terrible

employee at Shady Grove Fertility

disappointment. Dr. Kipersztok

was helpful because I had an overall

remained very confident that we

understanding of the process. It was

would become pregnant, saying that

also nice to share my journey closely

we learn something from each cycle.

with patients, and I have made lots

Sonny and I decided to roll straight

of friends in the process!

into a second IVF cycle. Shady Grove Fertility



Lani’s Story: The Answer Seemed Obvious Diagnosis: Male Factor   Treatment: IVF

My husband and I first met at a company event — we had an instant connection. We were both already in our mid-20s, living on our own with established careers, but we were both looking for something more. A year later we were married and we began trying to conceive shortly after our August 2010 wedding. Our goal was to start our family before turning 30. Due to my Lupus — which was diagnosed in 2009 — and my irregular cycles, we thought we might have some trouble. We had no idea! fertility fact Since the inception of the

In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Program in 1991 more than

30,000 babies have been

Finding Answers

a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis, which

In April 2012, after trying to conceive

left us wondering if we should even

and having no periods for over 18

proceed with the risks associated.

months, we were referred to Shady

Luckily, Gary isn’t a carrier, so our risk

Grove Fertility. We were almost

was eliminated.

certain that the cause was on my

The Road to Baby

born as a result of treatment at

end, since it had been years since my

Shady Grove Fertility.

last cycle. We were both tested and it turns out my problems were just the after-effects of years of Depo-Provera birth control. My husband, Gary, was diagnosed with male fertility factor. At the same time, we found out I am

Lani and Gary’s wedding day.

We were shocked to find out that our first and only option was IVF. We thought we would get to try the low-tech options, like intrauterine insemination, first and then move onto IVF if necessary. A little skeptical at pursuing fertility treatments at our age, we already had a plan set out to try and work our way up the treatment scale. However, due to the severity of our male factor infertility, IVF was our only option. I think it took a few days for the news to sink in, but Dr. Jeffrey McKeeby and our nurse Jackie were fantastic and addressed all of our concerns.

"We already had a plan set out to try and work our way up the treatment scale. However, due to the severity of our male factor infertility, IVF was our only option." 1212

20 paths to a positive: positive: Real Real Patients patients Share share Inspiring inspiring stories stories ofof hope hope

rates, we never expected IVF to

going to pay for such a procedure.

work on the first try! Our six-week

Soon after meeting with our financial

and eight-week scans showed a

counselor, Darlene, we found out

developing baby, and we graduated

great news. Recently, I started a new

in our eighth week.

job that offered a new insurance plan. I assumed I wouldn’t have any coverage for IVF treatment but quickly learned my new job covered 90% of IVF treatment and all associated bills – we were so excited to be able to start the treatment we needed to have a baby. We began our IVF journey in the fall

“Our six-week and eight-week scans showed a developing baby, and we graduated in our eighth week.” The Light at the End of the Tunnel just over half way there to the birth

Not only did it produce eggs when

of our baby girl. We are so excited

prompted, I over stimulated. I would

about our blessing and the journey

be lying if I said it wasn’t painful

we have shared. We look forward to

and uncomfortable at times, but

returning to Shady Grove Fertility in a

in retrospect, it was totally worth

couple of years to continue building

it. Weeks of daily shots turned into

our family. Having gone through so

months of shots, as my progesterone

much to become pregnant, I always

had to be switched to injections.

tell others struggling with infertility to

bled, but the bonding between my husband and I was amazing. It became our daily ritual. Our transfer was December 14th and the next two weeks were agony waiting for

fertility Fact While mostly discussed as a female problem, 50% of infertility cases are in part male factor — with 40%

solely male factor and an

additional 10% combined female and male infertility.

We are currently 21 weeks along,

of 2012 and my body overachieved!

The shots hurt and sometimes


Next, we wondered how we were

not give up or assume anything. Seek out the help of an expert. We were



10% 10%

40% Female Factor

40% Male Factor

totally wrong about what was causing our infertility, even though the answer seemed obvious. Lani’s ultrasound.

our beta results. Luckily the holidays provided some distraction during the dreaded “two week wait.” A few days before New Year’s, I was at work when I got the call from Jackie. She started right off with “Congratulations.” I’m pretty sure my co-workers heard me shout with excitement two offices over. I called Gary right away to tell him the news. Again, we were in shock, even given Shady Grove Fertility’s great success

Shady Grove Fertility



Jendy’s story: Well Worth the Ride Diagnosis: Ovulatory Disorder/Recurrent pregnancy loss (Thyroid)   Treatment: IVF

My husband and I dated for six years before we got married in August 2006 at age 26 and 24, respectively. We both know we definitely wanted to have a family someday, but we wanted to enjoy married life and life after college first. We spent three years traveling and spending time with friends and family before thinking more seriously about starting a family. While on vacation in July 2009, I

Searching for Answers

disappointment, and endless

literally woke up one morning and

After three months with no period, I

feelings of “Why us?”

decided I was finally ready for kids. I

made an appointment with my OB/

stopped taking my birth control that

GYN. He ordered some blood tests

morning and figured I’d be pregnant

which revealed I had a hyperthyroid

in a month, just like all of our friends.

and could easily be treated. As I

A month went by and I didn’t get my

moved from hyper to hypothyroid, I

period, so I took a pregnancy test

waited for my period to come... but it

and was shocked with a negative

never did. Even after three months of

result! Thinking my body was still

being stabilized on medication and

adjusting to stopping the birth

a year after stopping birth control,

control, I patiently waited and

I NEVER got my first period. That’s

tested every now and then.

when I was referred to Dr. Melissa Esposito at Shady Grove Fertility.

Jendy and her husband.

By this point, all our friends were having babies (some were on their second child), which was so unbelievably painful for me. We only told our parents about our struggles with infertility, so all of our friends and co-workers thought we still “just weren’t ready.” Friends would complain to me about morning sickness, swollen ankles, and aching backs. I wanted so badly to scream at them! What I wouldn’t give to

My husband and I spent two years

have those complaints! I would walk

trying everything under the sun

through stores and nearly burst

before finally committing to IVF.

into tears walking past the diapers

We just wanted to make sure

because I wanted so badly to be

we had explored all our options.

buying them. While we tried not to

We tried two cycles of Ovulation

think about it too much, there was

Induction (OI) with timed intercourse

always that little reminder in the

followed by three cycles of OI

back of our heads that our family

with IUI, all of which we could do

wasn’t complete, and for the first

at home. We gave the all-natural

time in my life, there was nothing I

“NaPRO” method a shot, as well

could do about it.

as “unconventional” OI cycles with IUI and timed intercourse. We had to skip right over oral ovulation-stimulating medications due to my diagnosis... my body doesn’t produce Gonadotropin Release Hormone. We went through disappointment after


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

“By this point, all our friends were having babies (some were on their second child), which was so unbelievably painful for me.”

ready for the frozen transfer.

I would encourage anyone

We finally decided to pull the

Dr. Esposito recommended

struggling with infertility to seek out

trigger on IVF. On January 2, 2012,

transferring only one embryo, and

someone who is going through the

I had my baseline ultrasound and

the first one thawed was 98% viable!

same (or a relatively similar) situation

started injections soon after. My

Two unbearably long weeks later, we

—whether it’s someone you meet

body responded perfectly to the

had the nurse call my husband with

through Shady Grove Fertility’s

injections, just as it had for the IUI

my beta result. He kept it a secret

website or Facebook page, an

cycles. Finally it was time for trigger

until I got home from work... It was

infertility website, a support group,

and retrieval. Lupron was chosen

POSITIVE! Sometimes I still can’t

or even someone you already

to minimize my risk of Ovarian

believe it!

know. I felt very alone during the

Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

Success at Last

IVF experience. The only person I

since my ovaries had grown so large. I remember after my retrieval at the Rockville, MD surgery center, still groggy from the anesthesia, when the doctor came out and said the Lupron didn’t work. The eggs had not released, which happens in about 2% of patients. I was devastated and petrified at the thought of using hCG, but I had no choice.

“We finally decided to pull the trigger on IVF.” So three days later, we went back to Rockville following an hCG trigger and had a successful retrieval. We headed home and anxiously awaited the embryo report phone call daily. Everything was looking good, except for my condition. I was so sick from OHSS, and, with ovaries the size of baseballs, we were told on Day 5 that I wouldn’t be able to have a fresh transfer. Our viable embryos were frozen, and we (along with Dr. Esposito) decided to wait before attempting

Our daughter, Ella Hope, was born via c-section on January 4, 2013, exactly one year and two days after we started the entire IVF process. I truly realize without a doubt how lucky we are that I got pregnant on the first attempt, and that not everyone is that lucky. The care we received from Dr. Esposito, my nurse, Allison, and all the doctors and nurses we saw throughout the cycle was impeccable. Everyone was caring and compassionate, yet still


The Last Straw

had to talk to was my husband and vice versa. Let’s face it, men and women just don’t have the exact same feelings, and there is only so much you can say to one person. Definitely talk to your partner first and foremost, but try to find another outlet. Lastly, never give up hope. There is a plan. While it may not be clear why right now, you are riding this infertility roller coaster for a reason, and the outcome makes the ride well worth it!

Jendy's baby, Ella Hope.

professional. In addition to the care at Shady Grove Fertility, my OB/ GYN office in State College, Mount Nittany Physician Group, was also absolutely wonderful! I was able to do most of the monitoring at my OB office, which saved us numerous three-hour trips to Maryland. My life is absolutely perfect right now!

“I was able to do most of the monitoring at my OB office, which saved us numerous three-hour trips to Maryland.”

a transfer so my body could fully

I couldn’t ask for more... except

recover. In April 2012, I was finally

maybe another baby soon.

Shady Grove Fertility



Kerry’S Story: the Plan that fIt Diagnosis: oVulatory dISorder

TreaTmenT: IVF

When I was a young teenager I was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). Basically it’s when the body has a low platelet count — it’s an autoimmune issue and one bleeds a lot — the blood doesn’t clot. It’s more common in adults to see this as a prolonged issue so there was some uncertainty on how to treat me. In fact my platelet counts were so

office wasn’t open so they would

huge as in seven kids and a ton of

low that my specialists labeled me

have to drive me an hour away to

rescue dogs! When I started dating

a medical miracle. They had rarely

get treatments.

my husband I expressed this to

seen counts so low in a functioning,

him. It didn’t scare him… unless he

healthy person. Years of infusions

My poor mother would sit with

and steroids were finally concluded

me every month during my

when I had my spleen removed.

gammaglobulin infusions for an

wilD riDe

Because of this disease, it interfered

average of eight hours. After this

The week we got married, we started

with my menstrual cycle causing

exhilarating day together, in a

trying to conceive and a year later we

very late periods and strong

gorgeous 4'x4' white room watching

were still not pregnant — I was barely

concerns by numerous doctors that

nothing but bad TV, she had the

27. I knew based on my medical

I would not be able to conceive

pleasure of holding my hair while I

history that this would be a challenge

(on my own anyway.)

threw up every five minutes on our

so we started seeking help shortly

hour long drive back home. She did

thereafter. This would be the first of

If ever there was a time I knew I

this all with a smile as if there was

many “tries.”

would be a great parent it was then.

no other place she would rather be.

My parents made huge sacrifices

How could I fail as a parent with her

to keep me healthy, safe and

as my role model?

happy. Our weeks would easily be

thought I was teasing.

It was a wild ride of raw emotions. You truly learn about your strength, will, faith and the bond your

consumed with daily doctor visits

None of this stopped me from

marriage has. I didn’t know anyone

including weekends when our local

dreaming of having a huge family...

at the time to help guide me

Kerry and her husband Steve.

through this insanity of emotions. After a year, my doctor put me on Clomid for six months before suggesting we see a specialist. After that didn’t work we didn’t have the finances to pursue our dreams of starting a family so once again babies were on hold.


20 paths to a positive: positive: Real Real patients patients shaRe shaRe inspiRing inspiRing stoRies stoRies ofof hope hope

“It was a wild ride of raw emotions. you truly learn about your strength, will, faith and the bond your marriage has.”

else? No discussion, no convincing.

Also make sure your partner

in a stable place so we reached out

Man, I married a good one! I went

understands what is about to happen

to Shady Grove Fertility. We did six

through a round of IVF and found

and what your body will be going

rounds of IUI and then one round

out May 6 that I was pregnant. Now

through. This process is so stressful

of IVF. After two years, I finally got

I am anxiously waiting to hear a

and can make or break a relationship

pregnant with twins! My girls were

heartbeat in the next week or two.

if there is not full support.

born in December of 2008; big,

Life Now

I can’t say that it will happen through

Now we have four-year-old twin


treatments whether you use IUI or

girls and one (or two) on the way.

IVF, but that might not be your path.

Steve, my husband, and I were

After working away from the home

You will be a mom but it might be

complete with the family and home

for about a year, we decided to

another way: foster, adoption, using

we created. We felt blessed that we

make a huge sacrifice so I could stay

a surrogate.

finally received our girls and kissed

home. I used to teach at the local

having a big family goodbye.

community college, but now am a

But believe. Just keep believing.

full-time stay at home Mom and

God has a plan that is fit for

love it!

you, so believe in that.

healthy and strong.

However in the summer of 2010 I


By 2005, we found our lives to be

found out I was pregnant! WHAT! The bittersweet pain of this was I found out the same day I lost it. I suffered a severe, near-fatal ectopic pregnancy resulting in the removal of my right tube.

“Now we have four-yearold twin girls and one (or two) on the way.” I blog avidly about my life with

Check out Kerry's blog New2Two at

twins, including a weekly segment Was this our sign that we weren’t

called Fertility Friday at New2Two.

meant to have that big obnoxious

This is for me, and I’ve kept my

family that takes up the entire

sanity reaching out to other moms.

aisle at Wal-Mart trying to find the

My blog allows me to share some

best deal on toothpaste? We just

advice with other couples struggling

couldn’t shake the feeling that we

with infertility. I always try to reach

should give it one more go.

out to someone who has gone

After another two years of trying

through this and bond with them.

and not getting pregnant, I

What I emphasize in my blog is,

prepped for a long conversation,

you will feel like you are going

equipped with 10 bullet points

crazy and it might take a long time,

of why we should try again. I was

but don’t give up. At the end of

ready to pounce on a tired Steve

each unsuccessful treatment, allow

when he walked in the door.

yourself to scream and cry and have

Prep and points ruined when I started with “Steve, I want more kids” and his response was “me too.” What? That was it, nothing

Kerry and her family.

the best pity party in the world, but the next day pick yourself up and move on. It can’t happen if you aren’t making it happen.

Shady Grove Fertility



megan’s story: Persistence is key Diagnosis: Unexplained / Recurrent Pregnancy Loss   Treatment: IVF

Before we started trying to get pregnant, everything was great. We had been married a little over a year and never thought we would have any trouble getting pregnant. We were both healthy individuals without any known issues that would inhibit us from getting pregnant. fertility fact A Frozen Embryo

Transfer (FET) is often a good choice over another fresh

Starting the Journey

very excited to finally have some

After a year of trying to get pregnant

good news. I continued to have

on our own and with the use of

my beta levels tested and they

Clomid only, I was referred by my

were not increasing at the rates the

OB/GYN to Shady Grove Fertility.

doctors had expected. We had an

stimulated cycle when a patient has

ultrasound done, and this pregnancy

viable embryos to freeze. Benefits

We first met with Dr. Arthur Sagoskin

was diagnosed as an ectopic

include lower cost, less complex

in November of 2010. After meeting

pregnancy. I was then given the two

treatment (e.g. no retrieval of eggs),

with him, the plan was to start with

methotrexate shots to help dissolve

less medication, and comparable

IUI. We completed our first cycle

the pregnancy.

success rates.

in February of 2011. We were so

Megan and her family.

excited to start the process. After

Two days after the final shot was

waiting the long two weeks, we

given, I woke up with a lot of pain.

finally got our results of the first IUI.

The embryo was still growing in my

I was pregnant!

fallopian tube. Later that day I was in surgery to have my fallopian tube

I then continued with the normal

removed. We now knew the next

check ups. By the time I was about

step was IVF.

seven weeks, a heartbeat was detected but it was not as strong as the doctors had hoped. By eight weeks, there was no heartbeat. The next step was a D&C procedure.

After waiting a few months to recover from the surgery, we got started with the IVF process. The egg retrieval was successful and we then had a

We then waited a few months

Day 5 transfer of two embryos. After

before we were able to do another

another two week wait, we got the

IUI procedure. I continued with two

results that we were pregnant again.

more IUIs, both being unsuccessful.

I continued with all of the follow-up

We knew with the original plan we

appointments and at our ultrasound

would do four IUIs before moving

appointment around seven weeks,

onto IVF. In October 2011, we

again there was no heart beat, we

continued on with the fourth IUI.

were devastated.

After waiting the long two weeks again, we got our results and I was pregnant. After going through two unsuccessful IUIs, we were


A Long Road ahead

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

After this miscarriage, I had also met with a maternal fetal medicine specialist, to whom Dr. Sagoskin

along than any of my previous

conclusion that my thyroid level

pregnancies. Everything was looking

was out of the preferred range for

good, and I was released from

a woman trying to get pregnant.

Shady Grove Fertility and continued

I was so happy to finally have

to see my OB and a Maternal

a possible cause for the two

Fetal Medicine specialist to follow

miscarriages. I was immediately put

my pregnancy closely. With two

on medication and my thyroid level

miscarriages, one ectopic pregnancy

was followed closely to make sure

and being pregnant with twins, I had

we stayed in the appropriate range.

a high-risk pregnancy.

“Finally being able to hold these two beautiful babies makes all of the heartache and trouble we went through to get pregnant and stay pregnant, worth it.”


referred. She had come to the

My advice to others: never give up if it is something that you really want.

So I waited again, this time another

Everything was going really well

Going through so many cycles of

few months before getting started

until 26 weeks. I was told I had a

treatments was the hardest thing

with the next cycle. We were lucky

short cervix and was at high-risk for

I have ever had to go through,

enough to still have seven frozen

pre-term labor. I was immediately

emotionally and physically. You lose

embryos. So the next cycle would

admitted to the hospital where I

hope after so many unsuccessful

be a Frozen Embryo Transfer, which

was on complete bed rest. I was

treatments, but you must continue

was much easier to go through than

able to go home from the hospital

to have faith that it will work out.

a fresh cycle of IVF. We decided

on strict bed rest at 28 weeks. Once

to transfer two embryos in June

home, I only left the house to go to

of 2012. I waited another long

my doctor appointments which was

two weeks for the results of my

once or twice a week.

bloodwork, and once again

Double the joy

was pregnant.

“The next cycle would be a Frozen Embryo Transfer, which was much easier to go through than a fresh cycle of IVF.” We continued to follow the beta levels and my thyroid level closely. We continued to adjust the thyroid

freeze” technology that has allowed

went into labor. My twin girls were

for more succesful egg freezing and

born at 4 lbs. 4 oz. and 4 lbs. 2 oz., and were small but they were healthy! Now we are the proud parents of two beautiful three-month-old girls. They are thriving and growing so quickly. Our lives have changed so much but

two beautiful babies makes all of

about the heartbeats of the two embryos. We made it to eight weeks pregnant, which was further

Megan’s twin newborns.

all for the better. Finally being able to hold these

with twins! We were so nervous

thawing for future treatments.

were in the NICU for 11 days. They

level in the correct range.

confirmed that I was pregnant

Vitrification is a new “flash

At 33 weeks, my water broke and I

medication as needed to keep my

At the first ultrasound, it was

fertility Fact

the heartache and trouble we went through to get pregnant and stay pregnant, worth it. Every day is an adventure. We are all learning and adjusting to each and every day with our new life.

Shady Grove Fertility



Melissa’s story: overcoming Endometriosis Diagnosis: Endometriosis   Treatment: IVF / ICSI

My husband and I were married later in life, when I was 32. Due to irregular and painful periods, my doctor suspected I might have endometriosis, and I had been on birth control for about five years to help with the symptoms. I wanted to have children, but felt it was important to have time together for just the two of us at the beginning of our marriage. Starting Our Family

get pregnant. It would help with

I came off of the birth control after

the endometriosis, and fulfill our

we had been married a year, but we

desire to have a child — so she

in which endometrial tissue that

still were not ready to have a child.

sent me to Shady Grove Fertility.

lines the inside of the uterus

A year later, I began having

Dr. Gilbert Mottla explained about

grows elsewhere in the body.

extremely painful periods, which

endometriosis and how it can affect

Endometriosis plays a role in

were debilitating enough to cause

fertility. We did the preliminary

me to miss work. About the same

testing, and my husband also had

time, we began trying to conceive.

a low sperm count. Dr. Mottla

fertility fact Endometriosis is a condition

about 10% of female infertility.

thought the best thing to do in The next year was very difficult for me. With each passing month came the disappointment that I wasn’t pregnant, compounded by Melissa and her husband on their wedding day.

the severe menstrual pain. Most of my friends already had children, and it seemed so easy for them. They decided they were ready for children, and after one or two months, they were expecting. Why was it so hard for me?

Starting with IVF I was really reluctant to do IVF. It felt too much like “playing God.” But after another six months of physical and emotional pain, we were ready to try. I started the cycle, and had a poor response — only two follicles. Dr. Mottla wanted to convert my cycle to IUI, but my husband and I felt we had come this far, why not

“Most of my friends decided they were ready for children, and after one or two months, they were expecting. Why was it so hard for me?”

go for it? Dr. Mottla respected our

Diagnosis confirmed

endometrial cysts might be in the

I had several ultrasounds which showed endometrial cysts on both ovaries. My OB/GYN thought the best thing for me to do was to


our situation was IVF.

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

decision, and we moved forward with the egg retrieval. The day of our egg retrieval, Dr. Rachana Garde told us she didn’t know if she would be able to get to both follicles because the way. I had fully prepared myself to wake up after the procedure and not have any eggs. I was elated when they told me they retrieved one


“Our world is so full, and I couldn’t have imagined how much love I could have for him.” fertility Fact

Melissa’s little boy.

egg! We still had a chance! I was

compassionate they were through

ecstatic the next day when I was told

the whole process. If you are having

the egg had fertilized. Dr. Mottla

trouble conceiving, visit Shady

called himself the next day to tell

Grove Fertility and see what your

me that the cells were dividing, but

options are. Talk to your spouse/

not as quickly as they had hoped.

partner about your feelings. Access resources to help you along the way.

At my embryo transfer appointment, I was prepared for them to tell me

You are not alone.

IVF with Intracytoplasmic

Sperm Injection (ICSI) is

an infertility treatment in which a single sperm is injected directly into the center of the egg. ICSI is especially useful in cases with very low sperm count, the sperm cannot penetrate the egg, or the sperm are abnormally shaped.

that the cells had stopped dividing, and I should go home. Instead, the embryo was given the highest quality grade, and we left feeling hopeful. The dreaded two week wait passed rather quickly, and we were delighted to receive the news that I was pregnant!

“I was really reluctant to do IVF. But after another six months of physical and emotional pain, we were ready to try.”

Melissa and family.

The second Miracle Our amazing little miracle arrived seven weeks ahead of schedule, and now — at 17 months old — is a healthy and extremely happy little guy. Our world is so full, and I couldn’t have imagined how much love I could have for him. I am so thankful to Dr. Mottla and my nurse, Dana, for how caring and

Shady Grove Fertility



Chrysta’s story: completing our family Diagnosis: Male Factor   Treatment: IVF

My husband and I were married in August 2010 while we were in our late 30s. We each had children from previous relationships and assumed we had completed our family. To be fair, part of this assumption was due to the fact that my husband had a vasectomy almost 10 years ago after his second child was born. Life was great with three teenagers, our dog, and my husband and I behaving like newlyweds! Until one day... fertility Fact IVF allows patients to bypass

voluntary sterilization from procedures such as a tubal ligation and vasectomies.

Maybe a baby?

with ICSI. This would mean that I

I was completely unprepared for

would have weeks of injections and

the urgent tug on my heart to have

my husband would need a surgical

more children. Where did that come

sperm extraction. We decided to

from? I was almost 40 and my baby

take the plunge using the Multi-

is 14! I tried to talk myself out of

Cycle Discount Program since my

this crazy notion, but the truth is

age might be a factor hindering

that I had to share this desire with

immediate success.

my husband. At first he was a bit hesitant, but we began to research Chrysta on her wedding day.

our options. We looked into a vasectomy reversal which was the cheaper option, but that would mean having a repeat procedure once I became

"We decided to take the plunge using the MultiCycle Discount Program since my age might be a factor hindering immediate success."

successfully pregnant. Adding to that is the fact that it had been

Toward the end of my cycle, the

10 years since his vasectomy — a

injections got increasingly more

period of time that can significantly

painful. My husband repeatedly

reduce the chances of a successful

reminded me of why we were

reversal. After speaking with a

doing this, helping me to bear the

colleague who is also a patient

discomfort. Before we knew it, egg

who spoke highly of the staff of

retrieval day was upon us. To my

Shady Grove Fertility, we decided

surprise, 35 eggs were harvested!

to schedule a consult with the

That certainly validated all the pain

Fair Oaks, VA office.

and discomfort I had been feeling.

Understanding Our Options Dr. Stephen Greenhouse explained that our options were limited due to my husband’s vasectomy. He recommended that we pursue IVF


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

We did a Day 5 transfer of two embryos and the dreaded two week wait began. Having three teenagers and a dog kept me busy enough that the wait

passed without too much anxiety.

on their own, I highly recommend

My husband and I were elated to

scheduling a consultation with

learn that we were pregnant! We

Shady Grove Fertility. The staff

got to see our baby at six weeks

there are very knowledgeable

and again at eight weeks via

and professional. I always felt that

ultrasound. I’m still amazed at the

they cared about me from the

success given my age.

time I was greeted until I got the phone call later that day with my

Today, I’m 12 weeks along

monitoring results. But be prepared

and doing great. I have many

for the withdrawal you’ll feel when

thanks to Dr. Greenhouse and

you graduate from Shady Grove

my amazing nurse, Marci, for the

Fertility at around the eight-week

personal emails and phone calls

point. Going from seeing your

of comfort and reassurance. I’m

support every one to three days

sure I couldn’t have gotten through

to not seeing them at all was an

this process without my amazing

unexpected downside of

husband and the support of the

our success!


“I’m sure I couldn’t have gotten through this process without my amazing husband and the support of the Shady Grove Fertility team.”

Fertility Fact IVF is a popular option for couples who desire children following a vasectomy. The male partner must have a “sperm retrieval” to obtain sperm. Success rates are primarily based on the age of the female partner. For women younger than 35, the

pregnancy rate is over 50%.

Shady Grove Fertility team.

Success of a growing family My husband and I are overjoyed with the anticipation of adding a little one to our family. Our children are excited too and are helping us choose baby names and plan the nursery. We are so happy that we took the chance and contacted Shady Grove Fertility. Due to my advancing age, I knew that I had

Chrysta’s positive pregnancy test.

a short window of time to get pregnant. Calling Shady Grove Fertility was definitely the way to go.

“My husband and I are overjoyed with the anticipation of adding a little one to our family.” For anyone who suspects they might have difficulty getting pregnant

Shady Grove Fertility



Andrea’s story: Shared risk program pays off Diagnosis: PCOS   Treatment: IVF

Mark and I were married in May of 2008 and said goodbye to birth control the month after. We decided to “see what would happen” although I fully expected to be pregnant within a month or two. We had no worries about infertility. I was young with regular cycles and Mark already had a son from a previous marriage. We never dreamed that we wouldn’t be able to conceive. A pregnant Andrea with her husband, Mark.

Getting down to business

Our joy was short lived though. That

By June of 2009, we still weren’t

at six and a half weeks. We were

pregnant and decided that we

devastated. After taking a few

needed to start actively trying

months break, we went back to

to conceive. We started using

Shady Grove Fertility in August of

ovulation predictor kits and timing

2010 to begin testing and treatment.

intercourse, but nothing seemed to be working. After months of denial, we finally decided to make our first appointment with Shady Grove Fertility and had our initial consultation with Dr. Jeanne O’Brien in the Frederick, MD office in March of 2010. We left that consultation full of hope. Dr. O’Brien told us that since I was only 24 years old, that we would find a treatment that would work for us and that she was sure we would be successful in achieving a healthy pregnancy. We were told to call the office on Day 1 of my next cycle so that we could begin the testing process. Day 1, however, didn’t come. A few days after that initial consultation, I took a pregnancy test and for the very first time, it was positive. Mark and I were thrilled. We couldn’t believe our luck and that we wouldn’t have to endure fertility treatments!


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

pregnancy ended in a miscarriage

Returning to Shady Grove Fertility After going through the fertility testing, Dr. O’Brien explained that the semen analysis and my hormone levels came back within the normal ranges, but based on my ultrasound, my ovaries appear to be polycystic. She was incredibly optimistic and recommended a very basic form of treatment — timed intercourse with Clomid. We were excited to get started and our very first treatment cycle gave us another positive pregnancy test, but it sadly ended as a chemical pregnancy. After two more cycles which ended in negative pregnancy tests, my husband and I wanted to move on.

“Based on my ultrasound, my ovaries appear to be polycystic.”

forward with the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program for IVF to maximize our chances at pregnancy while minimizing the risk for multiples. In April of 2011, we had our very first IVF transfer and transferred one Day 5 blastocyst. We were so hopeful for this cycle, especially after our nurse called and told us that our remaining two embryos had made it to the freezing process. We were shocked when that cycle ended in another negative pregnancy test. It was so devastating. We decided to move forward with a frozen embryo transfer and made the decision with our doctor to transfer both frozen

“It took a lot of prayers and a lot of help from our friends at Shady Grove Fertility but we finally have our miracles.” I would tell anyone who is in the midst of their fertility treatments to know that as hard as this journey is, it will make you the most amazing


Ultimately, we decided to move

fertility Fact 85% of women with an ovulatory disorder suffer

from Polycystic Ovary

Syndrome (PCOS).

parent someday because every second will be just as precious as it should be. Until then, hold true to your dreams. Know that your miracle will come. And don’t be afraid to give yourself days to just completely hate the wait.

embryos on June 13, 2011. Two weeks later, our lives changed forever. We got a phone call with an amazing beta number... 2,545! We were cautiously optimistic, but so excited. On July 8, 2011,

Andrea, Mark, Avery and Connor.

we had our first ultrasound with the most amazing sight — two beautiful babies with two beautiful heartbeats. It was the most surreal and happiest moment of my life.

Our Dream came true I had a fairly uneventful twin pregnancy and made it to 36 weeks. On February 1, 2012, our beautiful girl/boy twins were born at 10:10 and 10:11 am. Avery Leigh and Connor Michael are so incredibly amazing and we are so very thankful that they are here with us. It took a lot of prayers and a lot of help from our friends at Shady Grove Fertility but we finally have our miracles.

Shady Grove Fertility



raChel’S Story: bloggIng throUgh InfertIlIty Diagnosis: unexPlaIned

TreaTmenT: IVF

Chris and I were high school sweethearts! We got married right after college and spent the first few years of our marriage finishing graduate school and just enjoying spending time together. To be honest, before being diagnosed with infertility, we never thought we would have any trouble starting a family. Both of us come from large families and we had expressed the desire for a large family of our own. looking For Answers

we didn’t have kids. They just didn’t

We stopped using birth control

understand where we were. I will say

and started trying monthly to get

the experience of infertility brought

partners are affected by infertility in

pregnant. We tried for over a year

my husband and I closer together as

the united States.

on our own, and then we decided

a couple, but it also firmly solidified

to see if anything could be causing

for us how clueless most people

barriers to pregnancy.

were with regard to infertility!

fertIlIty faCt 7.4 million women and their

We went to a fertility specialist in

check out rachel's blog at


our area and were told that we had unexplained infertility; there were no huge red flags. Our doctor told us to relax and keep trying. This was certainly easier said than done! We felt very much alone; most of

“We had unexplained infertility. our doctor told us to relax and keep trying. this was certainly easier said than done!”

our friends and family members

After six more months of trying, we

had started their families. So many

went back and tried three rounds

people continually asked us why

of IUI paired with Clomid without

rachel and her husband.

success. The doctor said we should keep trying IUI. At that point, we felt frustrated and unheard. We didn’t know if we needed to explore IVF or just continue with the IUI cycles. Either way, we knew we wanted to go to another specialist.

Blogging every step oF tHe wAy We blogged through our fertility journey, starting with the moment we walked into Shady Grove Fertility’s office for the first time. It was like we had hope!


20 paths to a positive: positive: Real Real patients patients shaRe shaRe inspiRing inspiRing stoRies stoRies ofof hope hope

Blog Entry: Sunday, October 7, 2012 On Friday, Chris and I went to Shady Grove Fertility in Chesterbrook, PA. The main office for Shady Grove Fertility is in Maryland, but they just opened a new center in Chesterbrook. We researched beforehand and found out that insurance would not cover any of the procedures, should we choose to go ahead. We were lucky though, because the initial consult was free for the month of September (as the clinic had just opened in the new location).


Moving Forward We started our first and only cycle at the end of October 2012. We had plenty of time to think about the IVF cycle and the potential outcome of it as we drove down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, to and from Chesterbrook for appointments. The 360 mile round-trip gave me plenty of time to worry, but also plenty of time to pray!

Our doctor, Dr. Isaac Sasson, greeted us and took us back to his office. I could tell he had already looked through our charts and info sent from our Doctor. He talked to us for a while and let us fill him in about our situation. He appeared to genuinely care about us, beyond the reproduction factor. He felt well aware of our emotions and feelings as we approached each topic. He outlined several options for us. The first three were options we had in one way or another, already explored. The fourth (and final) option was IVF. He explained what IVF is and walked us through a typical cycle. He showed us the success rates for couples from Shady Grove Fertility from 2011. For couples under 35, the success rate was 51%. This was certainly encouraging news, as we were in the 10-15% range with IUI and Clomid. At one point, he looked across the table and said, “I don’t know why your faces appear to be so sad. You just seem like you have given up hope. Here’s the thing: you guys are going to have a baby. Rachel, you will get pregnant and have a baby.” To hear this was a complete shock. It was hard to process that a medical professional was telling us that we would have our own child. In fact, he asked how many kids we wanted... it was just so surreal. I feel like, even as I write this, I am not outlining our initial consult with the justice it deserves. It was way beyond words. There are obstacles in the way, but none that I hope will keep us from the promise he declared. Having to drive 360 miles round-trip to Chesterbrook dozens of times and having to deal with meds and hormones and timing etc. could be difficult at times. However, if we agree to do this, we can start in two weeks when I get my next period. The thought that I could be pregnant by Thanksgiving was unbelievable. I cautiously dare to think about having a baby next summer. It is just so unreal.

I was not afraid of the egg retrieval or the embryo transfer; the needles and the meds didn’t really scare me either. My biggest fear was that we were investing emotionally in another attempt at pregnancy. I tried not to think about a negative outcome, but with so much on the line (hormones included) it was difficult to take each day one at a time.

“The 360 mile round-trip gave me plenty of time to worry, but also plenty of time to pray!” With the help of follicle stimulant hormones, 13 eggs were retrieved at my egg retrieval. After fertilization, eight embryos remained viable. Each day, Maria would call us from the embryology lab to tell us how many embryos remained and the status of each. I cannot say enough about Maria; looking past her lab coat, her heart is actually what anyone would notice first. I knew our embryos were in good hands with her!

Shady Grove Fertility



We went for our embryo transfer

Dr. Abraham Munabi made us

drove home from Chesterbrook that

on November 13. We had a Day 5

feel confident as we went in for

day, I remember Chris saying, “This

transfer with five viable embryos

the embryo transfer; it was the

is the closest to being parents that

remaining at that point. After

strangest, scariest, most exciting

we’ve ever been!” It was the end of

much deliberation, we decided

feeling to think that we had made

our cycle and the two week wait.

to have two embryos transferred.

it to this point in the cycle. As we

Blog Entry: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 Yesterday began at 6:00 am when Chris and I sprinted into the Divine Providence Hospital lab for my blood work. Dr. Sasson did request that my blood work results be sent to him STAT, but I didn’t exactly know what STAT meant in the Williamsport bloodwork world. STAT could mean immediately, or in a few hours, or sometime that day. Needless to say, I came home from the lab and tried to busy myself with work, waiting for a phone call from Shady Grove Fertility. At around 10:45 am, the phone rang. I could tell by the caller ID that it was Shady Grove. I took a deep breath, and answered the call. I immediately heard Dr. Sasson’s voice. “Rachel? Hi, it’s Dr. Sasson.” “Hi.” (At this point, I was on the verge of crying, sweating, and vomiting simultaneously) “I am standing here with Morgan, Stephanie and Jamie and we all want to tell you congratulations because you are pregnant! You did it!” “What? Oh my gosh. No way!” (Insert blubbering crying, hysterical screaming, crying some more, and a few “I can’t-believe-its” and “Praise Gods” and I think you can get the picture of my response). “I will wait a few minutes for you to catch your breath. Let me know when you are ready.” “Ok, I’m ready.” “Your levels look great and you are definitely five weeks pregnant. I want you to do repeat bloodwork on Wednesday and Friday, just make sure your levels continue to rise. I will see you for an ultrasound in a few weeks to make sure that everything is going smoothly, and then you will be formally discharged from Shady Grove Fertility to your own doctor in Williamsport.” This is the best I can do to recount the conversation. I just remember sitting at my desk being in complete shock that it really was happening, that finally, we had confirmation of a tiny life or lives that would be added to our family. After I hung up the phone, I quickly changed and ran out of the door. I wanted to tell Chris immediately but I didn’t want to do it over the phone. The whole way to his office, I was crying and smiling, in a state of pure joy. I am surprised I was able to navigate and make it there in one piece!


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope


I texted Chris and asked him to come out to the parking lot. I saw him push open the door of the Children’s Development Center. He wore a look of concern, but as soon as he saw me smiling, he started running to the car. He jumped in the passenger seat and grabbed me. “I’m pregnant. It worked. Oh my gosh, I’m pregnant!” We bawled our faces off for about fifteen minutes, sitting in the parking lot. He asked me to recount, word for word, what Dr. Sasson told me. I did my best. After about twenty minutes of in-the-Subaru celebration, Chris thought he should probably go back in to work since no one knew why he had flown out the door earlier. I will never forget seeing him practically skip back into work. While we are absolutely thrilled beyond words, we do realize that we can’t tell the world right away. Heck, if it were up to me, I’d be telling anyone, whether I knew him or not!

Life After Treatment We are currently in the second trimester of the pregnancy. I am due at the end of July with our first child resulting from a successful IVF cycle. Even though I am pregnant, the combined pain and joy of our infertility journey is something we won’t ever forget. Should we struggle to conceive again, we will be headed back to Shady Grove Fertility in the future for sure!

“Even though I am pregnant currently, the combined pain and joy of our infertility journey is something we won’t ever forget.”

whom have “come out of the woodwork” since Chris and I started sharing more about our infertility struggles. So many couples do not

Rachel's ultrasound.

fertility Fact 1 in 10 couples

talk about infertility; it becomes this

experiencing infertility

silent monster that can affect your

will be diagnosed with

emotional well-being, your marriage

unexplained infertility.

and your outlook on life. Be upfront To anyone reading this who is having

with family members and friends

trouble conceiving, just know that

who mean well when they ask

you are not alone. You would be

you a million times about

amazed at the number of people

getting pregnant. Shady Grove Fertility



Lynsey’s story: An unexpected diagnosis Diagnosis: Male Factor   Treatment: IVF / ICSI

In May of 2009, I was 26 and my husband, Matthew was 29. Just two months before our fourth anniversary, we made the decision that we would pursue starting our family. We stopped using my diaphragm and the spermicide gel that we had been using at the time, and started trying to have a baby. Six months of negative pregnancy

analysis test done. We scheduled

tests later, we were crushed. We

that appointment right away and

both had a feeling that something

my husband went to a local hospital

called ductus deferens — transport

was wrong, especially since we had

to have his semen analysis test

sperm from the epididymis in

just turned 27 and 30 and had been


anticipation of ejaculation.

using ovulation predictor kits since

Shocking Results

Fertility fact The vas deferens — also

our second cycle. My cycles were always 28 days long, give or take a day or so, and every month the ovulation predictor kits showed that I did ovulate.

Lynsey and her husband on their wedding day.

When we received the results a week later, we were shocked. The technician who preformed the analysis thought he was looking at a sample from a man whom had

I scheduled a fertility work-up with

just had a vasectomy... the analysis

my OB/GYN, and after he examined

showed a zero sperm count. Our

me, he could find nothing wrong.

general practitioner had us schedule

He recommended that we get a

another semen analysis to make

referral from our general practitioner

sure his results weren’t accidentally

for my husband to have a semen

confused with someone else’s — again the results came back with a zero sperm count. Our general practitioner then referred us to Shady Grove Fertility and suggested we make an appointment with an urologist as well. We called the next day and had appointments booked within two weeks.

“The technician thought he was looking at a sample from a man whom had just had a vasectomy... the analysis showed a zero sperm count.” 30

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

On December 15, 2009, at my husband’s urologist appointment, the urologist — as well as his colleague — were unable to find his vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm from the body). Just a few hours later, we came to Shady Grove Fertility in Frederick, MD and learned that our only option of ever having biological children was IVF, and that Matthew may be a carrier of cystic fibrosis. Among a wide range of emotions, most of all, we were so thankful we finally knew what had to be done to have a family. We began working with our financial counselor on how we could pay for treatment and were extremely elated to learn that insurance would cover everything except the annual storage fee of keeping our future embryos stored! We felt so blessed! On New Year's Eve of that year Dr. Jeanne O’Brien called to let us know that Matthew was not a carrier of cystic fibrosis, but that he actually had cystic fibrosis. Again, we were shocked. At Dr. O’Brien’s suggestion


Anatomy Lesson

“Among a wide range of emotions, most of all, we were so thankful we finally knew what had to be done to have a family.” While we were so thankful to learn this news, it did confirm that IVF was our only option of having biological children. In 98% of men with cystic fibrosis, being born without vas deferens means that they must have surgery to access the little bit of sperm they produce and that IVF with ICSI would be

conceived, we checked in across

the only option for procreating.

the street from Shady Grove Fertility

During that month, we began my

in Rockville, MD to Shady Grove

cycle of meds that ended with my

Adventist Hospital and welcomed

husband’s Percutaneous Epidydimal

our son the next day. In February of

Sperm Aspiration (PESA) procedure

this year we had a frozen embryo

to extract his sperm and my egg

transfer, which unfortunately did not

retrieval on March 3. Five days

work. We tried transferring our third

later, one of our five embryos

embryo in April and we are happy

were transferred into me and the

to announce that we welcomed a

remaining four were frozen.

daughter on January 12.

On December 8, exactly nine months to the day from when our son and his four brothers or sisters were Lynsey and family.

we scheduled an appointment with a specialist at Johns Hopkins for mid-January. At Hopkins we learned that of all the men that have Matthew’s exact same two CF genes, Matthew is within the 1% of men in whom cystic fibrosis only seems to affect their fertility. Miraculously, he does not need medication to control his ailment and most likely will never need any treatment. Shady Grove Fertility



Maria’s story: Cancer and Infertility Diagnosis: Cancer  Treatment: IVF

On February 29, 2000, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The next two years included four cycles of chemo, sixteen days of radiation, two biopsies, and a bone marrow transplant. Right before the transplant, they told me I’d never have kids because the drugs would effect my ovarian reserve. Fertility fact

At the time, the only option they

transvaginal ultrasound to see how

could provide me was to freeze

many follicles I had. My hormone

The Center for Fertility

embryos, but I was only 17. Freezing

levels and follicle count were

Preservation at Shady Grove

eggs was not possible 12 years ago,

never good.

Fertility — initiated in 2010 —

so instead, I was left to deal with the

provides egg-freezing services to

fact that I’d never have children.

and at this point he kept telling me

help protect a woman’s fertility from the changes in egg quality

They put me on Hormone

that it was time to seek help for my

that accompany aging or emerge

Replacement Therapy (HRT) since

fertility problems. But I was scared

as a result of cancer treatment.

my body might react as if I went

to make that first call because I knew

into early menopause. Within a

if this didn’t work there were no

year, I went to see a reproductive

other options. I figured if I didn’t try

endocrinologist and he told me to

then I could hold onto hope.

stop the HRT medicine and then

Taking the Leap

a month later did bloodwork. The blood work didn’t give high hopes but once off the meds I began to have a semi-normal menstrual cycle.

“Right before the transplant, they told me I’d never have kids because the drugs would effect my ovarian reserve. “ From 2006 to 2010, I participated in a research study that focused on seeing how the fertility of women that had undergone chemotherapy treatment are effected compared to women that did not have chemotherapy. This required me to


I married my husband in July 2011,

In January of 2012, I took the leap and contacted Shady Grove Fertility. I went to the website to schedule an appointment. Hitting send was more difficult than I thought it would be. The next day I got a call to make an appointment. Dr. Lorna Timmreck was amazing! She explained everything to me after reviewing my history from the research study. She told me she was cautiously optimistic. She didn’t want to get my hopes up too high because my history didn’t look good. She said we are going full force and would still go to retrieval even if I had only one egg.

have my blood drawn on a certain

So in February, I started with all the

day in my cycle, and also to do an

tests at Shady Grove Fertility. I felt

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

My husband woke up from his

My son is now almost five months

the way. But I never gave up. I cried

surgery and I told him we had a

old and every time I look at him I

a lot and kept a journal to document

message waiting for us. He wanted

just have to smile and cry a few tears

everything I went through. It helped

to listen right then and there, but I

of joy.

to get the thoughts out of my head.

couldn’t because I knew either way, I didn’t want to drive the hour home

I would tell anyone with a similar

On April 28, my husband took me

a complete mess. But the second

situation to go to Shady Grove

for my retrieval. I thought the day

we got home, we sat together

Fertility and to never give up! Had

would never come because my

on the couch and listened to the

I never made that appointment, I

body was taking longer to respond

message that changed our lives

wouldn’t have my son today.

to the IVF shots. The day before

forever. I heard the three words I

my retrieval, the doctor warned me

thought I’d never hear in my life...

that we could have two, one or zero

“You are pregnant!”

eggs. I woke up from the procedure and the nurse told me they had

My son was born almost a month

retrieved three eggs!

early on Christmas Eve. He is a miracle in every sense! At over

The next day after church I got


my body fighting me every step of

fertility Fact 56% of embryos transfered using previously frozen eggs result in pregnancy.

7 lbs., was completely healthy!

the message from Shady Grove Fertility informing me that two eggs fertilized. I couldn’t stop crying because we still had hope. On Day 3, they transferred both

“I heard the three words I thought I’d never hear in my life... ‘You are pregnant!’”

embryos. The wait to May 16 was the hardest two weeks of my life, but the day finally arrived! I went to Shady Grove Fertility to take the

Maria’s ultrasound.

blood test and then to work for a few hours. I took my husband to have minor surgery on the same day. I promised him I’d wait to listen to the message if Shady Grove Fertility called with the results so we could listen together. While in the waiting room they called, Shady Grove Fertility showed up on my phone and I started crying hysterically and hyperventilating. The answer I’d been waiting for was right there.

“I couldn’t stop crying because we still had hope.” Shady Grove Fertility



renee’S Story: a WhIte PICKet fenCe dream Diagnosis: recurrent PreGnancy loSS / PcoS

TreaTmenT: IVF / PGd

My husband and I had been married for about a year when I was diagnosed with PCOS, but we had no idea what we were in store for. We had always planned to have three kids, I would stay home, the whole picket fence dream. Down tHe wrong pAtH

We went through the process of

We discovered our own infertility

finding a gestational carrier, paying

Studies show miscarriages are

after having trouble conceiving

for it, and paying for the cycle and

fairly common; approximately

naturally for a year, experiencing

IVF with another clinic — only to have

recurrent pregnancy loss. We were

it not work. I was prepared to give

a miscarriage. less common

told that the first two miscarraiges

up hope. I even went to law school,

is the number of couples that

were considered normal, but after

when my husband asked me to try

experience multiple miscarriage

the third, it wasn’t a fluke.

one more time. We had both heard

fertIlIty faCt

1 in 4 pregnancies will result in

or recurrent pregnancy loss,

good things about Shady Grove

which has recently been

I had taken Clomid and we were

Fertility, and we agreed that we

redefined as two consecutive

able to get pregnant so easily —

would only try one more time if we

miscarriages rather than three.

we thought that it was a miracle

went to Dr. Stephen Greenhouse.

drug. However, we kept having miscarriages. After our fifth miscarriage, another clinic told us that our problems would be solved if we used a gestational carrier.

renee and family.

“I had taken Clomid and we were able to get pregnant so easily. however, we kept having miscarriages.”

cHAnging course Dr. Greenhouse was so kind. He told me that he thought the problem was genetic, not anatomic. I couldn’t believe it. Scott and I had both previously had independent genetic panels for us, and we were genetically normal. Only one pregnancy was to a length sufficient to be biopsied and, due to the collection process, it was inconclusive as to whether the sample was from me or the loss. Dr. Greenhouse recommended preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Dr. Greenhouse and Sonia, our nurse, were amazing! We did IVF with PGD and after retrieving over 20 eggs, we had about 11 analyzed and only 3 were normal. Of those, only two reached the more advanced blastocyst stage. I was so convinced that it would fail, that I made my


20 paths to a positive: positive: Real Real patients patients shaRe shaRe inspiRing inspiRing stoRies stoRies ofof hope hope


“They implanted both blastcyst embryos that were genetically normal, and two days before my husband’s birthday, we found out that we were pregnant!” husband promise to take me to New

He never treated me like I was crazy

York at the end of the summer. Well, I

for being afraid. He treated me like

guess I won twice.

his partner, not just his patient. And, perhaps most importantly to us, he

They implanted both blastocyst

treated my husband like he was as

embryos that were genetically

important to the process as I was.

normal, and two days before my My best advice to women who are

that we were pregnant! I had a

struggling with infertility is to get

beautiful, healthy, baby girl one

help early. Listen to your gut. If

week before my birthday. What

you think there is a problem, trust

was great about Dr. Greenhouse

yourself. Never give up, but find a

is that we could contact him and

purpose that can be independent

ask questions, even after we were

of parenthood. Love your partner,

discharged to the regular OB/GYN.

through all the ups and downs.

Lessons learned

Empower yourself to be your own

and I am a practicing attorney. We

New blood tests can provide

genetic screening for both the male and female partner. These screenings can shed light on chromosomal abnormalities which frequently

husband’s birthday, we found out

We now have a beautiful little girl,

fertility Fact

lead to miscarriages.

advocate. And, oh yeah — go to Shady Grove Fertility!

are debating trying for a sibling for our daughter. What really meant the most to me was the concern and compassion that the Shady Grove Fertility staff always demonstrated to me. I emailed questions to Dr. Greenhouse months after I graduated, and he always responded quickly and with the greatest of concern.

“What really meant the most to me was the concern and compassion that the Shady Grove staff always demonstrated to me.”

Renee’s little girl.

Shady Grove Fertility



Aimee’s story: A battle finding answers Diagnosis: Diminished Ovarian Reserve   Treatment: IVF

Adam and I were married in May 2009 and decided to start trying – or rather stop preventing – in October. I was 30 and he was 32. I came from a big family where everyone seemed to have kids no problem. So I expected the same for me. After six months of nothing, I wondered if something was wrong. My cycle was different from before,

so many “poors” and “fails” in my

but my OB/GYN told me to just

life. He said we could try IUI a few

relax, keep trying and come back in

times if we wanted, but felt going

September if we still had issues.

straight to IVF would give us the

Finding My Own Way

best outcome.

My concerns in that year were

One Perfect Embryo

brushed off. By September, my

After getting a second opinion, we

OB/GYN finally did some bloodwork

were being told that IVF was the

and told me I had an elevated

best option and not to wait too long

Follicle Stiumulating Hormone

to decide. We decided to go back

(FSH). She asked me to do some

to Dr. Khan and proceed with the

research and let her know which

IVF treatment. By now, it was March

reproductive endocrinologist

2011. I started the birth control, we

she should refer me to. I couldn’t

took the injection class, and I was

believe she didn’t even offer a single

ready to go.

recommendation, needless to say that was the last time I saw her.

The injection class was tough because I heard the dosages the

“My OB/GYN finally did some bloodwork and told me I had an elevated FSH.” Aimee, Adam and their baby.

other two women were taking... and then I heard my significantly higher dosage. But I was happy we were finally getting help. I was probably the happiest I’d been in a year,

After looking into my options, I

knowing what the issue was and that

chose to see Dr. Naveed Khan at

we could do something about it.

Shady Grove Fertility’s Leesburg, VA office. After completing more

On top of the injections and

testing he came back with answers.

treatment, I had been doing

He told me I had diminished ovarian

acupuncture a few times a week,

reserve. Based on my age, 31, my

figuring “hey... whatever helps,

eggs should be of good quality

right?” The needles were no

— but the issue was quantity, I just

problem for me. I just did it.

didn’t have enough. I remember the paperwork of the testing that he came back with. I’ve never seen


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

Retrieval day came and they got six eggs. I couldn’t help but feel a little bummed... I had heard of other


“the girl with no eggs is having another baby! and this time we did it on our own!” patients retrieving eggs in the teens.

We are hapy to announce that she’s

They called the following day — one

going to be a big sister this August.

had fertilized, and they tried “rescue

The girl with no eggs is having

ICSI” which didn’t work on the others.

another baby! And this time we did it


on our own! I only had one good embryo, but it was a perfect one. Since I had one

My biggest advice to others who are

embryo, they decided to do a Day 3

struggling with infertility: trust your

transfer instead of waiting until Day 5.

gut and keep trying. If your doctor

On April 6, 2011, they transferred the

isn’t listening to your concerns,

one perfect embryo we had. I got the

find someone who will. And most

positive 15 days later. It worked on

importantly, be positive. Although

the first try — I was finally pregnant!

the journey was difficult, once we

positive results

started the IVF process, it felt like

My daughter was born on December 30. She’s a sweet, sassy little 16-month-old girl now. She is the best thing that ever happened

things were looking up. The positive energy I felt during the process is what helped my little one decide to


Eggs are retrieved from the follicles and assessed for maturity


Embryos are cultured in the lab for 3-6 days


Sperm is introduced to each egg, allowing fertilization


1-3 embryos (depending on prognosis) are transfered into the uterus

stay in there and grow.

to us and I am so thankful. aimee, adam and their little girl.

shady gRove feRtility



Tiffany’s story: Well Worth The Wait Diagnosis: UNEXPLAINED   Treatment path: IVF

Dylan and I met in the military and always planned on having kids together when we were married. We were very busy at work but we decided that we wanted to have children before we were in our 30s. After trying for over 18 months, we were unsuccessful in conceiving. We knew it was time to see a specialist. fertility Fact

We went through the military health

meds and realized that needles

system and attempted three cycles

didn’t bother me. The day of the egg

Morning sickness and nausea

with Clomid and IUI. The first cycle

retrieval I was extremely nervous,

are frequently thought to be the

resulted in a very early miscarriage.

but the staff put me at ease. I was so

The next two IUIs were unsuccessful.

happy when the doctor informed us

Many patients are surprised to learn

After the third failed IUI, we decided

they retrieved 18 eggs.

that they are pregnant, even

that the quality and individualized

without experiencing any of

care was not available to us in the

these symptoms.

military health system. I broke

early signs of pregnancy.

down to a military doctor and begged for a referral to an outside fertility center.

The Best Advice I Have Been Given Since we were both active duty, we had to pay for all outside fertility treatments out-of-pocket. I spoke with a good friend who told me the best advice I ever heard, “You will never look back and wish you Tiffany’s embryos.

hadn’t spent the money,” And she was right!

“You will never look back and wish you hadn’t spent the money.” After meeting with Dr. Stephen Greenhouse, we were filled with


"After meeting with Dr. Stephen Greenhouse, we were filled with a sense of hope. We decided to try IVF and said we’d give it two cycles." Over the next few days, the surviving eggs and embryos dwindled to 11, then 8, then 6. I was a little worried, but my husband and our doctor assured me we only need one. We decided to put two Day 5 blastocysts in, and over the two week wait I tried my best not to think about being pregnant, though I noticed I had no symptoms. I thought about just taking an over the counter pregnancy test, but decided not to.

I didn’t feel pregnant When I went for the blood test,

a sense of hope. We decided to

I accepted that I wasn’t pregnant

try IVF and said we’d give it two

because I didn’t feel pregnant. My

cycles. The process wasn’t as hard

husband and I decided to take the

as I thought it would be. I quickly

day off work and just relax. Around

adjusted to administering my own

noon that day, I received a call from

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

the nurse. That’s when I heard the

handsome baby boy and beautiful a

best news of my life — positive!

baby girl.

Then, even more worrying began.

Life Today

What if I miscarried? What if there was only one baby? I would be ecstatic with just one child, but when two weeks later we went in for the ultrasound, I couldn’t help but think if there aren’t two, then my body must have failed one of the two embryos we transferred.


"Around noon that day, I received a call from the nurse. That’s when I heard the best news of my life — positive!"

fertility Fact

We are now parents to six-week-old

When testing for pregnancy

boy/girl twins. They are the best gift

a blood test is more accurate

we could have ever received, and

than a home pregnancy test.

although a lot of work at times, they were well worth the wait. We couldn’t be more thankful for Dr. Greenhouse and the Shady Grove Fertility staff. My advice to other patients is don’t

I was scared to look at the

be afraid to ask for help. If you want a

ultrasound image at first, but then

child, you will never regret the cost of

the doctor said “well... how about

fertility treatments.

The blood pregnancy test is

frequently called a beta

because the test measures the beta chain portion of the hCG hormone molecule.

you tell me what you see and then I’ll tell you what I see.” There on the

Tiffany’s ultrasound.

screen were two dark sacs beating in sync, 117 beats per minute. My relief and happiness were put on hold as I began to think of what could go wrong now. It had taken so long to get to this point; I (my body) didn’t want to be the cause of these two not making it into the world, so I took care of myself — ate healthy, exercised lightly, and prayed a lot.

“There on the screen were two dark sacs beating in sync, 117 beats per minute.” It wasn’t always easy, and I started having contractions at 31 weeks, but I didn’t have any complications and had a lot to be thankful for throughout the pregnancy. At 35 weeks and 6 days, I gave birth to a

Shady Grove Fertility



Shavon’s Story: if at first you don’t succeed... Diagnosis: mALE FACTOR   Treatment path: IVF with icsi

In the first two years we were married we weren’t always trying to get pregnant — we were still figuring marriage out — but at some point we decided that it was time. And time for me meant charting my temperatures and using ovulation sticks, Pre-Seed and Softcups trying to make it happen. But nothing happened. Nothing happened month after

there was an issue with either of us.

We went through a first cycle and

month. I can’t even describe the

My test came back normal, but Joe’s

it was awful — four days after a our

disappointment one feels each

test was not. The test determined

blastocyst stage transfer of two

month when Aunt Flo visits, and

that he was infertile. We convinced

embryos (we called them Bunsen

knowing that you have to wait at least

ourselves that Joe had done the

and Beaker) I started bleeding

two more weeks to try again and wait

test incorrectly, and instead of using

heavily and bled for 16 days. At that

at least two more after that just to

the sample right way, he had in fact

time I remember just clinging to any

know if you’re successful. The wait is

waited 30 seconds longer than what

hope that maybe Bunsen stuck but

the hardest part.

was required and that’s why the

that I was losing Beaker, or hope

results were negative.

that I had some sort of tear and that

During the wait, you convince

our embryos were fine. But then I

yourself that every tinge or change is

Basically we were trying to convince

started taking home pregnancy tests

related to being pregnant, no matter

ourselves that it was anything but

and the hope started to fade. By

how obscure the feeling. I remember

infertility, but two tests later and we

beta day I already knew the answer.

reading on some website that clear

still had the same result — we were

urine was a sign of pregnancy, and

infertile. Joe mentioned his tests to

Dr. Sagoskin then suggested

of course that was all that I needed.

his doctor during a check-up, and

that I have my fibroids removed

I held on to that site, even as I was

the doctor referred us to Dr. Arthur

before we try a second cycle to

feeling the symptoms of Aunt Flo,

Sagoskin’s at Shady Grove Fertility.

increase our chances of success.

but when you want something so badly you hold on to anything just to

having the surgery presented its

get by. My husband and I held on to

with Dr. Sagoskin, and during the

own set of complications with

each other and held on to our dream

follow-up testing we were diagnosed

scarring and healing, but I knew

of a baby.

with severe male factor and fibroids

that it was something that I had to

(non-cancerous tumors) on my uterus.

do. Dr. Sagoskin recommended me

Although this was upsetting, mostly

to a surgeon and scheduled the

we were just happy to have some

consultation the same day as my

answers and a treatment option.

negative beta. I was determined to

The ups and downs

move forward.

“My husband and I held on to each other and held on to our dream of a baby.” Infertility discovery


I remember him telling us that We went in for an initial consultation

We were told our best and only chance to conceive was to try IVF

We tried month after month, but

with ICSI. We moved forward despite

Aunt Flo reared her ugly head. Finally

my fibroids because they were

we decided that we should take

determined to be in a location that

some at-home fertility tests to see if

would not impede implantation.

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

I had an MRI which showed several fibroids, six in total, that they were in my uterine cavity and had to be removed via a laparotomy myomectomy, essentially taken out through a 6’’ bikini incision. I

later. The toughest thing for me during and after the surgery was not knowing how long we’d have to wait, but how long before we could try again. Luckily, six weeks after

“On ‘Beta Day’, my nurse Paige called me and told me that I was more than a little pregnant with a beta of 914.”

the surgery we were cleared to

amazing team of Dr. Sagoskin and Paige. It amazes me that Nico has


scheduled the surgery three weeks

only been with us for five months, but we can’t imagine our lives without him. We are complete and we couldn’t have done it without Shady Grove Fertility.

start anew.

Shavon’s newborn.

So what do I tell someone? Run, Even though the fibroids were

don’t walk, to Shady Grove Fertility

removed, I wanted to do more.

— you will be so glad that you did.

So I lost some weight and started

Know that it won’t always be easy.

acupuncture, going to Pulling Down

In fact, it’s one of the hardest things

the Moon weekly to try and improve

you’ll ever do. But when you see

the blood flow to my uterus. Three

that little person for the first time,

months after the fibroid surgery, we

be it ultrasound or holding their tiny

were taking birth control pills to prep

Life now

for our next cycle.

Life after treatment is very busy.

Grateful for every shot in your hips

We have 2 dogs, a cat and a happy

or thighs, grateful for every blood

healthy 5-month-old, Nico. We work

draw, grateful for every monitoring

in a "divide-and-conquer" mode. I’ll

appointment, grateful for this

pump, Joe feeds, we get the dogs

wonderful being that you helped

out, cat and dogs fed, Nico bathed

create, and grateful to every doctor

and dressed and shower and dress

or nurse who helped you

ourselves, and if anything needs to

get there.

Second Time’s a Charm The second cycle went much more smoothly, but I made my husband hide all of the home pregnancy tests. I didn’t want to know until the day of our beta, but two days before the test, I awoke to horrible cramping. I was afraid that it was Aunt Flo or worse, a repeat of the first cycle. I begged him to let me take an pregnancy test, so I went in alone while he sat on the other side of the door. The result came up immediately, and said that we were pregnant! I broke down in tears. Joe heard me crying on the other side

little hands, you’ll be so grateful.

be cut it’s the showers for Daddy and Mommy. Even though I’m a

Shavon and her baby, Nico.

mess at times, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m so lucky and blessed to have two great loves in my life, and Nico is perfect. We’re delighted to witness his every milestone. He just started giggling and is rolling over on his own.

of the door and feared the worse,

What we’d tell someone

but was surprised when I emerged

One of my close friends from

holding a positive test. However we

elementary school recently revealed

reminded ourselves not to get too

that she suffered from PCOS — she

excited and to wait for the beta to

told me after she saw that I had liked

confirm it. On “Beta Day”, my nurse,

the Shady Grove Fertility page on

Paige, called me and told me that I

Facebook. Honestly, I couldn’t stop

was more than a little pregnant with

talking to her about it and our own

a beta of 914.

infertility issues. We owe a lot to our Shady Grove Fertility



Jeremy’s story: Infertility From A Man’s View Diagnosis: male factor   Treatment: IVF

I’m writing this story because I want people to know that even though our journey revolves around male factor infertility, WE, as husband and wife, dealt with my infertility. It affected both of us equally, and we both supported each other fully throughout the whole ordeal, as we will continue to support each other through the rest of our lives. Fertility fact

They say everyone must go through

her feet touched the floor, to using

trials and tribulations in their lives,

conception tools such as Preseed

There is no best sex position

but not many can understand the

Lubricant, Instead Cups and having

to conceive a baby. While the

amount of feelings and emotions

the “Baby-maker” pillow to help

goal is to have the sperm as

that run through your body and

elevate her hips! And to those

close to the cervix as possible,

mind when a doctor tells you,

thinking a casual headstand helps,

in general, the sexual position

“you’re infertile.” I’d always seen

trust us, it’s not pretty, and she’s

you choose will not have any

stories about couples who had

a gymnast!

bearing on your chances

successfully gone through infertility,

of conception.

and it felt like almost 99% of the

own, and this kind of situation

"Not many can understand the amount of feelings and emotions that run through your body and mind when a doctor tells you, 'you’re infertile.'"

was never something I’d thought I

Frustrated enough, we finally sought

would have to confront. I married

out the professional assistance of

Jessi in the summer of 2009, but

Jessi’s OB/GYN to try to find out

we were already certain a family is

what, if anything, we were doing

what we wanted. Jessi had even

wrong. Jessi was instructed to go

stopped birth control before we

and have an HSG test to see if her

said “I do” because we knew that if

tubes were blocked, or if there were

fate decided we were going to be

any uterine abnormalities that were

parents, we were more than ready.

causing an issue. He also gave us

Trying Every Technique in the Book

the forms for me to get a semen

time it was due to the female having problems. It almost seemed improbable to have the guy causing Jeremy and his wife, Jessi.

all the fuss, especially me! I’ve always wanted children of my

We started trying, and for 15 months

make appointments for both tests

we did not have the best of luck.

and ended up making them for the

We exhausted every method in

same day; hers in the morning, and

the book; all the way from tracking

mine in the afternoon.

her basal body temperature every morning at the same time before


analysis. We called around to try and

20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

A week later, while I was at work, Jessi went to hear the results.

I thought to myself "What do people

wreck all day. Then the phone call

do in this situation? Do they adopt,

came through. This was it. I was

or do they just give up?" In my mind,

anticipating all the possible senarios

the latter was top of the list. I thought

I was going to hear. Everything was

that nothing else could be done and

fine. We were ok. We were just off by

there was no help out there.

a few days. Something else... When I finally heard her voice, Jessi didn’t

One of the hardest parts of this

sound like all was well. In fact, there

whole thing had to be that when

was sadness in her voice to say, “I

I looked to some of my friends

need to come in and talk to you.”

for support, they passed it off as

What could it be? Once again, never

“Tough luck, bro,” “That sucks,

did I think it was me, naïve I know.

what are you doing this weekend?”

Blindsided by the Results The semen analysis had come back with life-changing results. My sperm had a low morphology rate, a low motility rate, and a very low healthy count; in other words, it was genetic, and there was literally a 1% chance

it. I broke into tears as I wondered,

normal parameters for the three major indicators to sperm quality: count, motility and morphology.

it seemed like everyone else around us was getting pregnant without any kind of complication, some without a plan or want in the world.

Count (how many)

>20 million

where they told us to wait three weeks and have another semen analysis done, just to be 100% positive the results weren’t skewed. They weren’t.

“Now what.” We never thought this

“Help Us Have a Baby”

was something that could happen

We had our first consultation with

to us as she was 22 and I was 24. We

Dr. Jeanne O’Brien in October of

were both healthy young adults that

2010. Neither of us knew what to

literally only “let loose” once a week

expect. Talk about awkward and

and went out to the bar for a couple

embarrassing: I mean how do you

of drinks.

ask a complete stranger, “Help us

“We never thought this was something that could happen to us as she was 22 and I was 24. We were both healthy young adults. ”

analysis. Below are the

did make me feel less of a man. Plus

Grove Fertility in Frederick, MD

and emotion overwhelmed me. I lost

should include a semen

combined with me being the issue,

Jessi’s OB/GYN referred to us Shady

the entire world stopped spinning,

Every infertility work-up

did you?” To be honest, all of that

fashioned way.

fallen out from underneath me, that

fertility Fact

“You didn’t really want kids anyways,

of us getting pregnant the old-

It seriously felt like the ground had


Needless to say, I was a nervous

Motility (moving)


Morphology (shaped correctly)


have a baby?” Thankfully, doing just that was the best thing we ever did. Dr. O’Brien was very professional, but also very understanding that we were confused and unsure of what was being said. She explained

Shady Grove Fertility



Fertility fact The sperm

regeneration cycle takes about 74 days. Sperm are living cells within the male body and are subject to whatever conditions the rest of the body is exposed to throughout their maturation cycle. Extreme temperatures, smoking, drug use and poor diet can all impact the quality of sperm.

everything in a way that we could

pregnancy. We understood the risk

comprehend, and put everything on

of transferring two and having twins,

the table to show us exactly what

but the way we looked at it, we

options we had to consider.

would have two miracles.

She explained that IVF was one of

Two Little Miracles

the best options for us. She told us

While our nurse told us about

that after reviewing our evaluation

waiting two weeks before we

and considering our age, we had

would come back and having our

about a 66% chance of success with

pregnancy blood test, the suspense

IVF, 10% chance of success with IUI

was killing us. On Thanksgiving

and less than a 1% chance trying

night, Jessi couldn’t wait any longer.

naturally. We left feeling better than

She went out and bought a home

we did when we arrived, and with a

pregnancy test. When we saw that

lot to think about. After more tears

positive line replace the test line we

were shed we knew what we had to

broke into tears once again, but this

do. IVF was the ONLY option, and,

time they were tears of joy.

at this point, we were willing to try anything to be parents.

Jeremy and Jessi, Spring 2011

“We had about a 66% chance of success with IVF, 10% chance of success with IUI and less than a 1% chance trying naturally. After more tears were shed we knew what we had to do. IVF was the ONLY option.” We started the process almost immediately. I commend Jessi every day for what she did for our family. I mean, here it was, my fault that she couldn’t get pregnant and she had to go through numerous bloodwork appointments, 30-odd injections, egg retrieval, and finally the embryo transfer. She had 21 eggs retrieved and 13 fertilized. We decided to transfer two embryos to help increase our chances of


20 paths to positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring stories of hope

We thank Shady Grove Fertility every day for this miracle of life, or rather, lives. Our twins were born in the Summer of 2011 and we couldn’t be happier. There is no way that we would be here if it weren’t for the amazing people working for Shady Grove Fertility. We are so grateful, and hope that aspiring parents that have run out of hope can find their miracle too with the help of Shady Grove Fertility.


Marilyn’s Story: Finding hope abroad Diagnosis: Advanced age   Treatment: international Donor egg

After trying to conceive on our own for one year in 2005, we were referred to a fertility center in Ottawa, Canada. Being diagnosed with infertility issues was emotionally draining and very stressful. We were told we could try IVF but the success rate for us was only 15% and we did not feel that the cost of the procedure was worth the risk. We tried insemination for two years

During the orientation, we met

such beautiful gift. There's no doubt

with another fertility center, but

with our team: doctor, nurse,

in our minds, Shady Grove Fertility

this was not successful. After trying

donor coordinator, and finance

is the best place to go for couples

on our own again for another year

coordinator. Our first visit to Shady

having trouble conceiving.

with no success, we were referred

Grove Fertility was in March 2012. It

back to the Ottawa fertility center.

was a full day — meeting our team,

We are happy to announce that we

At this time, we were offered our

going for tests and going over

had our healthy baby girl on March 7,

choices: proceeding with IVF with

details of what we would expect in

2013 and we are entirely grateful to

a 3% success rate or egg donation

the months to come. It was exciting

everyone who had a part in making

treatment with about a 65% chance

and emotionally challenging at the

our dreams a reality. Our lives will be

of success and a full refund if

same time. After three months of

changed forever and that is thanks to

treatment was not successful. For

hormone medication and further

Shady Grove Fertility!

us, the egg donation program was

testing (ultrasounds, etc.), we

the best option. Egg donation

received the call that we would

treatment is not readily available in

be returning in July 2012 for the

Canada, so our physician quickly

embryo transfer.

referred us to Shady Grove Fertility’s International Donor Egg Program to

Seeing everyone once again was

get the process started.

like visiting family, which made

"Egg donation treatment is not readily available in Canada, so our physician quickly referred us to Shady Grove Fertility." traveling abroad The experience was an amazing one from beginning to end. Coming from Ottawa, Canada, we did not know what to expect, but having Lisa as our Patient Liaison really helped us with all the questions that we had during our orientation and after the procedure.

that day for us more relaxed and

fertility Fact Shady Grove Fertility’s

International Donor Egg Program has helped hundreds

of patients access treatment from

comfortable. Talking with them and

over 35 countries where

seeing how excited they were for us

IVF and egg donation is not as

made the day even more special!

widely available.

The embryo transfer was quick, and then the real work for us began.

Marilyn and family.

The Answer we were waiting for After seven years of trying to conceive, we were anxiously waiting to see if the transfer was successful. Two weeks later, we got the news that we were expecting! The feeling is like nothing we have ever felt and now we have been blessed with

Shady Grove Fertility


Wyomissing Harrisburg








Bel Air



Full Service


Columbia Rockville



Baltimore Harbor



Glen Burnie


Washington, DC Sibley Hospital


Washington, DC K Street

Fair Oaks Annandale





Shady Grove Fertility is one of the largest and most successful fertility centers in the United States with over 20 locations across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC. With 28 physicians, our fertility program performs more IVF and donor egg treatment cycles each year than any other center in the country. The dedicated clinical staff at Shady Grove Fertility provide each patient with an individualized treatment plan, unique financial options and guidance throughout their journey.

To learn more about treatment and financial options, please call

866-405-9955 Or visit

20 Paths to Positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring Stories of Hope  

Shady Grove Fertility's first ever e-book explores the unique path that fertility patients take to grow their families. We hope these inspir...

20 Paths to Positive: Real Patients Share Inspiring Stories of Hope  

Shady Grove Fertility's first ever e-book explores the unique path that fertility patients take to grow their families. We hope these inspir...