At age 34, Joanna, an acclaimed singer, hoped having a baby would be a smooth road. But after six months of trying, she and her husband, Dreux, grew concerned. "Things weren't easy and I had some irregularities with my cycle – so I sought medical attention quicker than I would have otherwise," said Joanna. She'd chosen an obstetrician on the medical staff at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) because she'd been so impressed with the care when her sister had a baby there. So when her obstetrician suggested the couple go right to the BWH Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery, they didn't hesitate.
"When we went in, they performed a whole gamut of tests to determine the cause of the fertility issue – and at a certain point we thought it was going to be unexplained infertility," recalled Joanna. "Then they ran what they call a clomid challenge test." The testing revealed that Joanna faced significant fertility challenges that lowered her chances of becoming pregnant. "I was shocked," said Joanna, recalling those early test results.
"It was really hard news," added Dreux. "There was a lot of disappointment and uncertainty."
From disappointment to determination.
While surprised by her diagnosis, Joanna recalled that her grandmother had the same difficulty conceiving a baby at age 34, so the fertility challenges made sense to her. And her disappointment quickly turned to hope as she and Dreux found themselves under the expert care of the BWH fertility team. Together, they set out an aggressive plan to try to turn the odds back in their favor.
Joanna immediately underwent intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments along with fertility shots to increase her chances of getting pregnant. Though after three rounds, it was clear that in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be necessary.
"We were always in control of the process and had choices," said Joanna. "But we both agreed with the team's recommendation."
"They were very thorough, and instilled confidence in us," added Dreux. "And it was a good practice of folks who were all very competent – everyone in the entire Center made us feel we were in good hands."
Care and comfort.
In addition to the comprehensive medical care at the Center, Joanna also found comfort in the holistic approach to her treatment that combined traditional treatment options with stress management and social support. "There were just so many things that helped with your physical health and your mental health," said Joanna, who took full advantage of the Center's many services. "I believe it all really helped a lot."
"It also helped to know that we were doing all that could be done," explained Dreux.
Despite her rigorous schedule as a singer, Joanna began a daily course of injections as part of her IVF treatment. She knew her fertility challenges lowered their chances. But, as her doctors reminded her, it only takes one egg. And after the eggs were retrieved and treated to further increase the chance of fertilization, her one viable egg was fertilized, implanted, and the long wait began until Joanna finally received the call she'd been hoping for: she was pregnant.
Beating the odds.
In the end, despite all the challenges they faced, Joanna and Dreux finally welcomed their son, Luke, into the world.
"Luke is great! He's a happy, healthy baby," said Joanna. "I love being a mom. Parenthood has really come naturally for both Dreux and me. He's an excellent Dad. We appreciate every moment with Luke. Every moment. We are so blessed to have him in our life."
And as for the care they both received, "We were thrilled with Brigham and Women's Hospital," said Joanna. "They gave us so much confidence. We just felt like we were getting the best possible care."