Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital October 29, 2013
Leah Miriam Urovitch was born on March 30, 2013, healthy and one day ahead of schedule. But her parents, Josh, 45, and Lisa, 43, had been waiting for this little girl for years.
Josh and Lisa were married in 2009, and, because of their ages, they started trying to have a baby right away. They continued trying to conceive naturally for more than a year before deciding to seek professional help.
In 2011, they reached out to Dr. Elena Yanushpolsky, an infertility specialist with the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery (CIRS) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). At that point, the primary options for Josh and Lisa were intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
For IUI, the male partner’s sperm is collected and then injected into the female partner, usually on two consecutive days at the time of ovulation. IVF, on the other hand, is a more involved process and can be broken down into four steps: using medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs; surgically removing the eggs; fertilizing and incubating the eggs; and returning the eggs to the uterus by means of a catheter.
After evaluating Josh and Lisa, Dr. Yanushpolsky recommended that they skip IUI treatments and go straight to IVF, which has a greater success rate. “With my age, she didn’t want to waste any time,” explains Lisa. “We appreciated that. She’s a very up-front doctor, and we’re the type of patients who like that.”
Taking Dr. Yanushpolksy’s advice, Lisa and Josh started as soon as they could on their first IVF cycle. To enhance their chances of successful fertilization and implantation, Dr. Yanushpolsky also recommended intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a procedure that microscopically injects a single sperm directly into an egg, and assisted hatching, which alters the shell of an embryo.
Lisa makes it clear that going through an IVF cycle takes a great deal of commitment from patients. In addition to going to the hospital frequently for monitoring and medication adjustments, patients need to be injected with medications at home once or twice a day for several weeks during the cycle. Patients and their partners are taught how to perform these injections – and what else to expect during the IVF process – at a mandatory class given by CIRS staff.
Lisa and Josh were vigilant about their responsibilities throughout that first cycle, but, unfortunately, Lisa didn’t become pregnant. And the second, third, and fourth cycles weren’t successful either.
Going through several cycles, however, isn’t uncommon. Sometimes a patient gets pregnant during the first cycle, and sometimes it takes several cycles.
Lisa concedes that going through multiple cycles without success was tough, and the IVF medications sometimes served to deepen those emotions. She and Josh didn’t want to give up on having a baby, but they also were worried about the emotional cost of pursuing something that wasn’t likely to work. So, after each cycle, Josh and Lisa asked Dr. Yanushpolsky whether they should forge ahead, and, based on what happened during each of Lisa’s cycles, Dr. Yanushpolsky recommended that they continue trying.
Finally, after the fifth cycle, Lisa became pregnant, and Leah was born at BWH. Both Josh and Lisa are happy parents, and they’re planning on trying to have another baby.
“It’s a blessing that we have our baby,” says Lisa. “It was tough, but we’re going to go through it again.”