IVF Fulfills Couple’s Dream
Allison and Ryan Arthur never planned to be a family of two. But after eight months of trying to become parents, Allison still was not pregnant.
“From day one of us trying, we were doing everything we could to plan the timing,” Allison says. “I had a feeling something was wrong.”
When an over-the-counter ovulation kit indicated she wasn’t ovulating regularly, Allison made an appointment with Lia A. Bernardi, MD, at Northwestern Medicine Fertility and Reproductive Medicine.
Dr. Bernardi said there was an issue with Allison’s uterine lining being too thin, so she gave her medication to try to thicken it. When that didn’t work, she suggested in vitro fertilization (IVF), a medical procedure where the egg is fertilized with sperm outside of the body, and then one or more embryos are transferred back to the mother’s uterus.
IVF can be an intense process involving multiple ultrasounds, injectable medications and blood tests leading up to the egg retrieval and then embryo transfer. Proceeding to IVF wasn’t a decision the couple made lightly, Allison says. “I asked a million questions and everything was answered for me.”
Ultimately, the couple decided to give it a try.
Their care at the clinic included meeting with a psychologist, nurses, additional fertility specialists and a pharmacist. “We felt so much more comfortable about trying this after talking with so many people in the clinic,” Allison says. “I was really scared at first, but then started to feel really excited to start the process.”
“I was always treated with kindness and respect,” Allison explains. “You are in the clinic two to three times a week to do an ultrasound, so you really start to see the same faces. Everyone there is so nice and so friendly and so warm — everyone from the ultrasound techs to the front desk staff.”
After her egg retrieval, Allison and Ryan were told their cycle couldn’t proceed because Allison’s ovaries were enlarged. Dr. Bernardi suggested they do a frozen embryo transfer the following month, even though Allison’s uterine lining was not at an ideal thickness, despite still taking medication to help it.
Allison greatly appreciated the frank and open conversations the couple had with Dr. Bernardi about their chance of success. She also appreciated that Dr. Bernardi was optimistic about their chances when she believes other clinics might have passed on the couple because of the thin uterine lining.
“I was constantly taking medication to boost my lining, and I was really nervous we still ended up with a thinner lining than what would be considered adequate,” Allison says. “A lot of other clinics wouldn’t make the embryo transfer. Northwestern did, and we found out I was pregnant a few days before Christmas. It was a really great holiday for us.”
Lincoln Fitzgerald Arthur was born about seven months later — seven weeks before his due date. After a 20-day stay at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, Lincoln went home with his parents. They are grateful for the many Northwestern Medicine physicians, nurses and staff who were with them through every step of an unexpectedly complicated journey to parenthood.
“We wanted to be parents for so long, and Ryan and I are amazed at how much we love him and how he has brightened our lives,” Allison says. “He brings us joy every day.”