Patient Testimonials: Former IVF New Jersey Patients Share Their Success Stories
Pat Tooker: An IVF Baby After 10 Years of Infertility
Five years into their marriage, Pat Tooker, then 26, and her husband Brian started trying to conceive. After a year and a half on their own and another year and a half under the care of Pat’s gynecologist, the Sewaren, New Jersey, couple sought a referral to a fertility specialist. Wanting to avoid the hassle of getting in and out of Manhattan, Pat chose a fertility practice in Westchester County. A nurse, she describes her experience there as a nightmare. They did what they could but nothing worked. Among her trials over seven years were failed intrauterine inseminations, an ectopic pregnancy, two miscarriages, and two failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts. The Tookers’ diagnosis was equally disappointing: infertility of unknown cause. Pat and Brian began looking into adoption.
Then, near the end of 1992, after what Pat had thought would be their last IVF attempt, she saw an advertisement for a seminar on infertility run by IVF New Jersey that was scheduled to take place at a nearby hotel. I don’t know why, but I clipped the ad and hung it on the refrigerator, she says. When Brian saw it, he was elated, because he had wanted to try one more time.
Pat and Brian attended the seminar, led by Michael Darder, M.D., and Susan Treiser, M.D., Ph.D. At times it was painful for Pat to listen. After what I had been through, it was tough to hear their upbeat talk, she says. But they were personable and I liked them right away. After the seminar ended, I introduced myself to Dr. Darder, briefly told him my history, and asked whether he thought he could help me.
The Tookers made an appointment for January 1993 to see Dr. Darder in Somerset, New Jersey, just a half hour from their home. By the end of February, after her first IVF try there, Pat became pregnant. Although Pat suffered placenta previa during her pregnancy, she delivered a healthy baby boy, Christopher, in November.
The IVF procedure wasn’t any different from ones I’d had before, says Pat, now 38, But the level of the doctors’ involvement at IVF New Jersey was extraordinary. I’m amazed that so advanced and so well run a fertility practice is in our backyard.
Maria Patullo: From No Hope of Conception, to a Family Through IVF
Sometimes the cause of infertility has nothing to do with the reproductive organs or the endocrine system. In Maria Patullo’s case, the culprit was a condition she had lived with all her life: ulcerative colitis.
Because Maria had had numerous abdominal surgeries, her gynecologist feared that scar tissue might prevent her from ever conceiving. Once the Patullos were ready to start a family, Maria’s gynecologist performed a hysterosalpingogram, a procedure that revealed adhesions in her fallopian tubes. Immediately, he referred her to Michael Darder, M.D., co-director of IVF New Jersey.
Maria, then only 27, learned that she would need surgery to clear her tubes. After that, she and her husband Tom could try to conceive on their own for six months to a year. There was so much scar tissue throughout my abdomen that it took Dr. Darder 3 1/2 hours just to find my ovaries, says Maria. At that point, he saw that my chances of conceiving naturally were slim to none.
Tom and I decided to do whatever it took to have a baby, continued the Somerville, New Jersey resident. If nothing worked, we were prepared to adopt. Children would be in our lives.
Six weeks later, Maria underwent her first in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempt. When it failed, she started to worry, knowing her insurance covered only three tries. Two months later, in 1992, Maria had her second IVF and became pregnant. My hormonal numbers were low initially, so I was still nervous, she said. But the staff and physicians at IVF New Jersey were wonderfully responsive and supportive; they kept my spirits up during the early months. The Patullos’ daughter Morgan was born later that year.
Maria and Tom returned to IVF New Jersey 18 months after Morgan was born. This time, Maria conceived on her first IVF attempt, and nine months later, their daughter Taylor, now 1, was born. When I called IVF New Jersey to tell them I was pregnant, Maria says, they put me on the speaker-phone so the whole office could hear. That’s the kind of relationship you develop with the people there.
Ed Rosenzweig and Jane Wagner: Doubling-Up Technologies Gave Them a Baby
When Ed Rosenzweig, an investment manager, and Jane Wagner, a lawyer, decided to start a family, they tried to conceive on their own for 18 months before seeking help. Once they started seeing a fertility specialist, there was no simple diagnosis. Ed had a varicocele, Jane an ovarian cyst and endometriosis. Their conditions were treated, but they were still unable to conceive.
As candidates for assisted reproductive technologies, the Cranbury, New Jersey couple went to a large New York hospital for fertility counseling. We seemed to be a very small cog in a large machine there, says Ed, 35. We felt we weren’t getting the degree of counseling that we needed, given the technologies we were considering. Fifteen to 20 minutes with the doctor was typical.
Disappointed with their New York experience, Ed and Jane decided to go elsewhere. They read about IVF New Jersey in The Princeton Packet and heard about the practice through the infertility support group RESOLVE.
At IVF New Jersey, the fertility specialists determined that the couple’s probable cause of infertility was male factor. Ed and Jane were candidates for in vitro fertilization (IVF) aided by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). ICSI is a relatively new procedure in which a woman’s egg is fertilized using a single sperm.
Jane’s first IVF cycle was halted when her hormonal levels proved insufficient. Then came four full IVF/ICSI attempts, the last of which was a success. Jane, 37, carried to term and delivered a healthy son, Joseph, in December 1995.
A program’s pregnancy rates are only one of multiple factors to consider when choosing an IVF practice, says Ed. It’s important to feel that the people to whom you’ve entrusted such an important part of your life do indeed care about you. At IVF New Jersey, we were emotionally and mentally supported by the entire staff, from the doctors to the embryologist to the billing administrator. It felt like home.
The Mackenzie-Stonehockers: An Infertile Metuchen Couple Becomes Parents Through Egg and Sperm Donations
Married days before her 41st birthday, Mary Mackenzie was prepared for an uphill battle to have a child. Not only would her age make her less fertile, but her husband William Stonehocker, a father of two, had undergone a vasectomy 10 years earlier.
Mary’s obstetrician/gynecologist said a reversal of William’s vasectomy was possible, but that the procedure would likely fail. Instead, the Metuchen, New Jersey couple opted to use donor sperm. After trying intrauterine insemination (IUI) several times without success, Mary and William entered an infertility program at a large New Jersey medical center.
There, Mary was prescribed the fertility drug Humegon J*. When the drug produced a good response, an IUI was performed and Mary became pregnant, but she subsequently miscarried. The treatment result was not her only disappointment. We felt as if we were in a deli taking a number, treated by a different person at every visit, says Mary. Once I stood in line for an hour, only to discover that it was the wrong line.
They read in their local newspaper about an upcoming seminar on infertility offered by IVF New Jersey physicians. After attending the seminar, Mary and William decided to take their quest to them instead. Mary recalls, The personal attention of the doctors at IVF New Jersey and the consistency of having the same doctor at each visit were extraordinary.
At IVF New Jersey, Mary tried three cycles of fertility drugs. On her 43rd birthday, she made an appointment to discuss egg donation. She and William also started looking into adopting a Chinese baby. It was important for me to always consider our next step, Mary says. A baby would be in my life one way or another.
During her first attempt at egg donation, three healthy, fertilized donor eggs were implanted in Mary. Two weeks later, she was overjoyed to find herself pregnant. At the age of 44, Mary delivered a healthy baby boy, William, in September 1996.
* Humegon J (menotropins for injection, USP), manufactured by Organon, is a purified preparation of gonadotropins, which stimulates the development of eggs in women and sperm in men.
More Patient Testimonials
We are so grateful to you! I have never met such a warm, genuine, caring bunch of people.
Thank you for this miracle we waited so long for, and thank you for your emotional support, constant kindness, and compassion throughout a difficult time. You all were outstanding.
Thanks … for the wonderful way you handled our treatment … The compassion you showed in explaining our chances and helping us make the decision to move forward will forever be remembered … and here is Jillian to show for it … against all odds!
Kenny and Janet Valvano describe their struggle with infertility as A 3-year ordeal. … We avoided baby showers, christenings, children’s birthday parties, and shopping malls. It was very painful for us to be around children when we so desperately wanted a child of our own.
After coming to IVF New Jersey, Janet conceived. She remembers, I practically fell off my chair when Dr. Darder phoned with the wonderful news. It took some time … to realize that our lifelong dream was finally coming true! Today, she and Kenny are the parents of twins, our two little miracles.
The Valvanos place high value on the personalized, caring approach of the entire IVF New Jersey team:
We could never have come this far without your help. The positive, upbeat attitude of everyone at your office helped us get through a very difficult time.
Today, Christine and Steve Van Ullen are the proud parents of our little miracle baby, Will.
When IVF New Jersey physicians found that the quality of Christine’s eggs was poor, Christine and Steve turned to egg donation. The decision to use an egg donor can be highly emotional – which Dr. Helane Rosenberg, IVF New Jersey Egg Donor Coordinator, personally understands. Helane’s twins were conceived at IVF New Jersey with the help of an egg donor. Christine writes,
We are deeply grateful to you and your entire staff (especially Helane for finding my donor) for all you’ve done to help our dream come true. Will … shall be cherished all the more because of the long journey we took to have him. We will never forget you.
While in vitro fertilization continues to make headlines, trusted fertility drugs, when tailored to a patient’s condition, can prove very effective – as was the case for Cathy and Dave Ferry: Thank you for the wonderful service you provided. … It seems that, after 3 1/2 years of trying to get pregnant, all we needed was a little push from you. We were so happy when, after only one cycle of Pergonal, we learned we were expecting.
It’s a girl!… Just when I was beginning to think I couldn’t get pregnant, one visit to your office and a miracle occurred! Thank you all so much for the careful early monitoring and the wonderful responsiveness to questions/concerns.
Other patients write of their IVF New Jersey experience while still in the midst of it: The process of going through treatment is a vulnerable time, and how we are treated makes an enormous impact. Even in the midst of it all, I want to express my appreciation [to you] for taking such good care of me. … We both really feel your commitment to our well-being and happiness.
You too can become one of our many success stories! Contact IVF New Jersey today to make an appointment with our fertility specialists.