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Julie & Eric
DIAGNOSIS: Unexplained infertility

After 3.5 years of trying to conceive, I scheduled a doctor appointment to see why my husband and I were not getting pregnant. We first went to my OBGYN who performed different tests on both myself and my husband. Both of our tests came back normal, so the doctor recommended proceeding with an IUI. We scheduled this procedure and continued to do so three times without any success. After the third failed IUI, our doctor referred us to a fertility clinic. Of course, not knowing anything about fertility challenges and IVF, I started to do some research on my own as I patiently awaited our first appointment. We met with the doctor who explained the process.

A few weeks later, I found myself standing in our kitchen every morning before work, icing and numbing my stomach, combining vials and poking myself with a needle. I remember driving to work and thinking to myself, what is going on? What am I doing? Why am I doing this? All I could think about is the end of the day, going home and having to do it all over again… like clockwork! I pulled out the meds from my new designated drawer in the fridge, take an ice pack out from the freezer, mix the vials and pull the syringe. For about 10 days, this was my morning and night routine. It was all I could think about (besides from the morning blood withdrawals, which occurred every morning at 6:30am on my way to work). Then came the phone call the day before the retrieval… the HCG "DA-DUM" shot! In the beginning we weren’t sure of what to expect during the egg retrieval, but we learned quickly by round 3! My husband travels for work so if he happened to be away, there were times he booked a last minute flight or drove hours to be home for the retrieval. This continued for 5 rounds.

At one point my doctor (at the time) even told us while sitting across from him at his desk, the words no women ever wants to hear, "you may want to consider an egg donor", since we have had five unsuccessful cycles. We sat in his office discussing what this would entail, the financial details, the process, etc. The emotions that I encountered at that moment, I cannot put into words. HEARTBROKEN does not even come close! As a woman who has always loved children and could not imagine my life without them, I was destroyed by this suggestion. I don’t think there is anything wrong with an egg donor. It was just a shock that I wasn’t able to create MY OWN. Not to mention the financial burden and stress of going down that path. I went home and buried myself in my bed for two days. I wasn’t able to speak to family members, so my husband called them to update them of this new development.

After taking a break from IVF, I was told about Dr. Cardone, a "miracle" doctor! Well, his office location was bit of a stretch from my home and office, but I made him and his visits my priority in life! And if no one was STILL providing me a scientific reason after test, after test, as to why I wasn’t conceiving, well, I WASN'T giving up!! Dr. Cardone did a test on my ovaries which wasn’t performed in the past, and luckily it came back fine. We started a cycle which caused me to have over-hyper stimulation of the ovaries so I couldn’t do the egg retrieval. We then waited and did cycle #7, and IT WORKED!!!! As you can imagine, we were ecstatic! We held our breath for the next 13 weeks and cried tears of joy every day. Fast forward 36 weeks where baby Logan decided to arrive 4 weeks early! We spent Christmas morning 2014 at Newton Wellesley hospital and Logan arrived on December 26. He spent three weeks in the special care nursery where he was given the absolute BEST care in the world. I was there every day from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm just cuddling, loving and feeding my boy!

I praise Dr. Cardone and all of the nurses at Boston IVF and Newton Wellesley Hospital!
Today, we are thankful and blessed to have a very spunky, healthy, beyond happy almost three year-old boy!

Davina & Barry
DIAGNOSIS: Endometriosis, Recurrent miscarriage, Male factor

Our story is long and heartbreaking, like anyone else going through infertility (no matter how long the journey).

We experienced multiple miscarriages, lacked insurance benefits for fertility diagnostics and treatment, struggled with family/friend/social relationships, and lost ourselves along the way.

We sought intervention from everything we could afford: counseling, less technical fertility treatments, surgeries, and avoided anything perceived to be a threat to fertility. Still, we were unsuccessful.

Finally, we moved to MA and found a way to afford the care we needed to overcome our infertility. We found Dr. Brian Berger at Boston IVF and our lives changed for the better (their names are Bella and Brennan).

After our journey ended, I committed myself to helping others access timely and appropriate care for their infertility. I lobbied for infertility legislation in New England and Nationally. I've helped change policy related to infertility benefits by working with legislators, employers and insurers. Seeing how one voice could make all the difference, I developed a nonprofit, Fertility Within Reach, which educates and provides tools to help people effectively advocate for fertility health benefits. The past years of pain, found it's purpose in the ability to help others.

Our success story, like anyone's story, has a ripple effect. Boston IVF and Dr. Berger, didn't just help develop a family, but a tireless advocate.

Bryony & Ryan
DIAGNOSIS: Endometriosis, Unexplained infertility

Ryan and I got married in 2011. Ryan had a wonderful son from a previous relationship who was five at the time.

We wanted to wait to have a baby until our new family was more stable and finances were better.

I had always had cramping and irregular, heavy periods so went to my OB/GYN for answers about that. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2009 and had surgery to get some of it removed.

This stuck in the back of my mind after my marriage but I figured I was still young (26) so there wasn't much to worry about.

In 2013, we decided to officially start trying to get pregnant. We didn't do anything special, just waited to see.

My periods were irregular, though, so I went through literally hundreds of pregnancy tests, and never saw that double blue line. My OB/GYN prescribed Clomid for 3 months in June of 2013 (because of my history with endo). I never ovulated.

In January, 2014 my OB/GYN referred me to Dr. Alison Zimon.

The first appointment, I met her nurse, Karen - and burst into tears. It was really hard to think I couldn't get pregnant on my own. I felt terrible. Like I wasn't a woman.

I was embarrassed and I felt awful for my husband, who had had a child so easily before he was married to me. Karen gave me Kleenex and a hug and told me it would be OK. She really put me at ease.

Dr. Zimon was the same way. She was wonderful. She agreed to skip IUD's since I had had trouble ovulating with Clomid and we went right to IVF.

It took me 6 months to get my baseline blood work because my hormones were so out of control and my cycles were so irregular.

I finally got my baseline blood work completed and we started prepping for our fresh cycle. I was so excited and optimistic.

In October, 2014 I started injections. I was terrified to give myself a shot, but let me tell you, I got over that quickly. My ovaries were so bloated and I felt like a beached whale but I kept the optimism going, knowing that this was my only chance for a baby.

In late October, I had my retrieval and the doctor managed to get 5 good embryos. Three days later, I went for implantation. Then....the two week wait.

It was terrible. I swore I wouldn't get a home pregnancy test and I didn't. The day came for my blood work and Karen called with my results.

Anything over 25 was pregnant. I was 29. I was pregnant. But, Karen warned me, my numbers were low. I'd have to get re-tested in two days. The next check, my numbers were still low but had risen enough that it seemed to be a good sign. I told everyone. I told my parents, my siblings, coworkers, friends etc. I was ecstatic.

Two weeks later, I was feeling off. It was a Sunday and my husband was bringing my stepson home. I went to the bathroom and saw blood in my underwear. I immediately called Karen who told me to go get blood the next morning.

I remember my husband was home from work with me when we got the call. My HCG levels weren't high enough. It was not a viable pregnancy. I was devastated.

All of my hard work and sticking myself with needles and bloating was for nothing. I felt as though a piece of me had died. Even sitting here writing this, I still get sad for that loss.

I told my husband that day that I was done. I wasn't doing it again.

Two weeks later we went to see Dr. Zimon. Of course, I cried as we discussed my miscarriage. She urged me to try again using one of the frozen embryos we had. I agreed that I would try one more time, but that was it.

On January 19, 2015 we went for a frozen embryo implant. The prep was so easy! No shots, no bloating. It was a breeze. Then another two week wait.

On the day of my blood test we got hit with 3 feet of snow. The labs, naturally, were closed. I had one home pregnancy test left, so i figured "what the heck." I waited my five minutes, looked down and burst into tears. There they were. Two, bold blue lines. I was pregnant.

When I finally got my blood work done, my HCG levels were so high, we thought it could be twins (one embryo split after implantation). 41 weeks later, and I gave birth to the most amazing baby, Quinten.

My husband and I joke that he's so advanced (in many ways) because he was frozen for 3 months.

Kayla & Zach
DIAGNOSIS: Endometriosis

Right after my husband and I got married in 2012, we decided we wanted to start a family. But, after what seemed like forever of trying on our own with home ovulation tests, it soon hit us that we were getting nowhere.

We began our infertility journey with Coastal Women's Healthcare in Scarborough with Dr. Dawson. She ran the routine blood tests and ultrasound to check my ovaries, and we even participated in an HSG test, to check on my Fallopian tubes.

To our surprise, all of my tests were normal. Although this was good news, it was frustrating not having any answers, and trying to fix something when we didn't even know what was broken was like working in the dark.

Thankfully, Dr. Dawson was open and willing to let us try a few different methods anyway. We did a couple rounds of Clomid and then Femara to jump start my ovaries, and we even combined these medications with a few IUI procedures. I don't even remember how many of those that we did, but it felt like a lot! Sadly, we continued to come up empty-handed.

It wasn't until many, many months later, when I convinced Dr. Dawson to give me a laparoscopy. It was my last hope at figuring out what was wrong, when we discovered I have endometriosis on both ovaries and also my uterus. She was able to remove what I had during my surgery, and we were encouraged to continue trying to conceive after, but once again, it didn't seem to be working.

Finally, I was referred to Boston IVF.

At this point, I had been so frustrated from my body "failing" me time and time again, that I had worked my way up to 260 pounds by the time I met with Dr. Lannon at the South Portland fertility clinic.

Upon meeting him, he was very welcoming and informative, despite my obvious weight issues.

After our initial meeting with Dr. Lannon, it was basically "crunch time" for my husband and I. Because IVF isn't cheap, we began the saving process. While my husband worked overtime and I picked up another part time job on the side, I also began to work on myself to increase our chances of IVF working.

The following year, 2014, when Zach and I had finally saved up enough money to go ahead with the procedure, I had lost 130 pounds (all through exercise and clean eating).

I was determined and we were ready!

And so began our IVF journey. We started off by doing three rounds of the "mini IVF," but after finding that my ovaries were not responding at all, Dr. Lannon suggested that we try the full IVF instead.

In December of 2014, I participated in my first full round of IVF. Thankfully, my body responded better than it had with the previous, weaker, medications. 17 eggs were retrieved during my cycle, and although only 2 survived, we transferred one and froze the remainder.

I got extremely lucky because our first cycle of IVF stuck, and it was December 26th of that year, via blood test, that Zach and I found out we were expecting our first child.

To this day, it still blows my mind that this actually happened.

Because Dr. Lannon did not give up on me, because he was willing and open to my suggestions, I am now a mother. I cannot thank the staff at Boston IVF enough for that gift, and I am forever grateful to them.

Stephanie & Neil
DIAGNOSIS: Male factor

Neil and I were just like many other couples, happily married and ready to start a family. After months of actively trying with no success we decided to get further testing.

We never anticipated the long, hard, emotional road that was ahead of us. After months of tests on myself and husband it was discovered that Neil had congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens but plenty of healthy sperm internally. This occurs in males when the tubes that carry sperm fail to develop properly.

He had major surgery to try to correct the problem. We were told we may or may not be able to conceive naturally after surgery and that it was best to start the IVF process.

We were referred to Boston IVF by a lovely couple who had gone through the process and had twins. We teamed up with Dr. Bayer and started our IVF journey. After our first meeting with him, we knew we were going to become parents. He was very reassuring and always had a positive attitude.

Our first 2 transfers were unsuccessful, and in the moments of hearing this news it was very painful, but we pushed through the pain and emotions and kept trying. Our third transfer was a frozen transfer with 2 embryos.

This time we were pregnant! We welcomed our beautiful daughter May 23, 2014.

Nine months later, to our surprise we found out were were pregnant again. My husbands surgery had worked after all and we welcomed our son October 5, 2015.

Two beautiful babies born under 2 years apart, never would I have imagined this would be our story.

We could not have done it without the help of Dr. Bayer and the wonderful staff at Boston IVF. We will be forever grateful for our most precious gifts. ❤

ASK RHONDA
Have questions about your fertility? Need info on available treatments or just general advice on where to begin? Don't hesitate to call or email Rhonda! For 30 years, she has been a phone call (888-300-2483) or email away and the perfect resource if you need answers.

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