Overcoming multiple complications
The day we decided it was time for me to stop taking the contraceptive pill and start our family, my husband and I were filled with excitement and great anticipation for the future. A year later we had not conceived and found ourselves growing more frustrated. We monitored my ovulation and timed our lives around intercourse. But to no avail. That’s when we decided it was time to see a reproductive specialist. After doing our research we chose Dr. Marynick, and we are so glad we did. His reputation for solving extremely complicated cases put us at ease, although, at the time, we didn’t think our case would be that complicated. We had no idea!
It turns out that we had multiple infertility issues. When my husband was tested, he was diagnosed with both low normal sperm count and low sperm motility. In fact, his semen contained only 4% normal sperm, and less than 1% of his sperm had motility.
My diagnoses were disappointing as well. A hysterosalpingo sonogram revealed that I had an abnormal uterus, what is called a bicornuate uterus, with another defect called a uterine septum, both of which result in miscarriage. On top of that, I was diagnosed as having bilateral fallopian tubes with fill and spill abnormalities, meaning the sperm couldn’t get to the eggs, so I couldn’t have gotten pregnant anyway. To say we were disheartened would be to put it mildly, but Dr. Marynick remained confident, determined, and reassuring.
The first thing he did was a thorough search of my husband’s medical background. It was discovered that my husband’s brother had the same sperm abnormalities, and he and his wife had successfully had IVF. Finally, something positive came from learning the family history.
With that bit of good news, Dr. Marynick scheduled a resection of my uterine septum. After, when I was all healed, we went through an IVF cycle with ICSI also being performed to assist in fertilizing the eggs. Ten of my mature eggs were collected, and 10 normal and motile sperm were selected from my husband’s semen specimen. One sperm was injected into each egg via ICSI. All 10 eggs fertilized, and 10 embryos were formed. The healthiest embryos were selected for transfer, and we chose to cyropreserve six of them. Two of the embryos were transferred to my uterus, and I am happy to announce that they resulted in a pregnancy. We are once again filled with excitement and great anticipation for the future. And we are forever grateful to Dr. Marynick for the joy he has brought to our lives and, at last, our family.
Challenging PCOS to become parents
I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Since I was diagnosed in college, I was aware that I would need a fertility specialist to achieve conception. In my particular case I had extremely high levels of testosterone, so I had never even had a menstrual period without being given progesterone.
After a year and a half of undergoing treatment after treatment, trying to conceive, I was ready to give up. Especially since we had been working with a reproductive endocrinologist for most of that time. It just seemed hopeless. But the desire to have a baby was bigger than my desire to give up. After some research I found the Texas Center for Reproductive Health and Dr. Sam Marynick. This truly was a life-changing discovery.
He explained that PCOS was challenging because the ovaries require stimulation for follicle development and ovulation. But, because PCOS patients typically have more follicles in their ovaries, there is a risk of overstimulation. Normal ovaries, when stimulated with medication, may produce approximately six follicles on one side and possibly seven on the other. In my case, it was discovered that I had produced 47 follicles on my right ovary and 42 on my left. That’s like seven times the norm.
Dr. Marynick placed me on an androgen suppressing hormone. He also explained that PCOS is associated with insulin resistance and placed me on two insulin sensitizers, one in the morning and one at night. He then started me on clomid for several days, followed by a supplemental FSH to complete follicle development. Finally, I was given menopausal gonadotropin and continued the FSH and LH. When a sonogram revealed that my ovaries had developed two mature follicles, my husband and I were elated. I was given a shot of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to cause the follicles to release my eggs, and we crossed our fingers.
We had a family reunion on the East Coast, and Dr. Marynick sent us off with a prescription for romance and intercourse three days in a row. When we returned, we had a family reunion of our own as we discovered that we had two well-developed gestational sacs. In other words, we were pregnant. We were going to have our family at last.
Today we have a beautiful son and daughter, thanks to the diligence of Dr. Marynick and his staff at the Texas Center for Reproductive Health. They devoted the extra time and commitment to understand, diagnose, and formulate a plan to treat my condition. Something no one else had been able to do. And in the end we received the reward.
Turning multiple male and female negatives into two positives
My wife and I met as busy professionals and, after our wedding, agreed we would get our careers established before starting our family. We were finally there, but when we began trying to conceive, things didn’t go quite as planned. After about a year we began seeing a fertility specialist. It was discovered that I had an obstruction in my vans deferens that prevented sperm from getting into my semen. That meant that my sperm had to be collected using a testicular biopsy. We underwent three IVF cycles, and as each one failed our hopes for a family diminished. By the third failed IVF, we had pretty much resigned ourselves that parenthood was not in the cards for us.
While at dinner one night some friends of ours revealed that they too had been through something similar, until someone referred them to a physician with a reputation for handing the most difficult cases and achieving positive outcomes in very challenging cases.
We immediately made an appointment with Dr. Marynick at the Texas Center for Reproductive Health.
If only we had learned about them sooner. Upon reviewing our medical history and running diagnostics, Dr. Marynick discovered that my sperm issues weren’t the only problem we were dealing with. It seems that the embryos developed during past IVF cycles had fragmented each time before they could be transferred to my wife’s uterus (meaning there was abnormal cell division). In addition, my wife was no longer ovulating and not responding to normal ovary stimulation.
After collecting my sperm, my wife’s ovaries were appropriately stimulated, and eight mature eggs were collected. Six of the eggs fertilized. To prevent fragmentation of the embryos, they proceeded with an AACEP (a agonist/antagonist conversion with estrogen priming) protocol (a combination of medications designed to help a woman achieve pregnancy using her own eggs). Endometrial cells from my wife’s uterus were harvested prior to the cycle to create a tissue culture layer of cells on which the embryos were allowed to develop. The fertilized eggs were placed in the culture to enhance fertilization and development without fragmentation and then frozen at the one-day stage. Three months later the embryos were thawed and allowed to grow and develop in culture. On the 3rd day of development, the embryos were placed in my wife’s uterus. We are now the proud parents of twins, a son and daughter.
A bone marrow transplant gave me a chance at life. Dr. Marynick gave me a chance at parenthood.
Years of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at 18 helped me combat leukemia. Once I survived that, I thought parenthood would be easy. What I didn’t expect were the many complications that lay ahead. After a year of trying we were unable to conceive. My husband and I were disappointed, but we had faced challenges before so we chose to see a fertility specialist. After several failed treatments, we once again found ourselves disheartened. Then we heard about this amazing reproductive endocrinologist at the Texas Center for Reproductive Health, Dr. Samuel Marynick. We immediately made an appointment.
We arrived at the center with trepidation, but the warmth and personal attention we were greeted with soon sparked hope.
An intensive diagnosis revealed that my ovaries could not produce eggs, due to the chemotherapy from years before. The diagnosis also suggested that I was entering menopause—at 30! At that point we were considering IVF; however, further testing revealed that the chemotherapy and radiation treatments had also affected my uterus, which was unable to produce the endometrial lining necessary to support a pregnancy.
Just as we began to feel that all was lost, Dr. Marynick suggested finding an egg donor and a gestational carrier. When we said we weren’t sure where to start, he and his fantastic team jumped into action. They helped us find a generous egg donor and then found a wonderful gestational carrier. We now have a lovely little daughter, and we were able to cryopreserve nine embryos, just in case we decide to expand our family.
Words could never express the gratitude, respect, and love that we have for everyone at the Texas Center for Reproductive Health, especially Dr. Marynick. All through our process, even when the news wasn’t always what we were hoping to hear, Dr. Marynick continued to seek solutions and help us overcome the hurdles. Having a baby wasn’t easy, but having faith in the doctor and his staff was.