A Fertility Journey: Embryo Freezing to IVF with Donor Eggs

Finding love and then finding Texas Fertility Center for embryo freezing

hills2Georgetown resident, Caitlin Hill, moved to the area with her family during high school. While in college, she came home for a weekend and took her younger sister to youth group at the family’s church. There, Caitlin’s sister introduced her to a man named Brian who was involved with the youth department. According to Caitlin, “my sister didn’t know him, she just wanted us to meet.” The two ended up hitting it off right away.

Shortly before meeting Brian, Caitlin had undergone her second surgery for cancerous tumors on her ovaries. Brian came with her to a follow-up appointment with her oncologist, Dr Smith.

Although they “had only been dating a few months,” both Caitlin and Brian saw marriage in their future, and Dr Smith recommended that they consider embryo freezing, as there was a chance that Caitlin’s tumors could return.

At Dr Smith’s recommendation, Caitlin and Brian visited Lisa Hansard, MD at our Austin fertility center in 2006. The couple “immediately liked Dr Hansard,” because “she was very invested” and “she did a great job of getting what we needed before we even asked for it.”

However, despite Dr Hansard’s best efforts and three attempts at embryo freezing, Caitlin’s eggs were just “too traumatized” for embryo freezing to be successful. Caitlin and Brian went on with their lives and decided that they would look into egg donation or adoption when they wanted to start a family.

Return to Texas Fertility Center for IVF with donor eggs

After being married for six years, Caitlin and Brian “wanted to look into starting a family,” so they returned to see Dr Hansard at our Austin fertility center in 2013. Caitlin said Dr Hansard still remembered “even little details” about the couple after seven years.

This time, the couple planned to undergo IVF with donor eggs. The donor eggs came from none other than Caitlin’s younger sister, the same one who had first introduced the couple at the family’s church.

According to Caitlin, Dr Hansard said that her “sister’s egg retrieval was one of the easiest and most successful she had ever done. We ended up with 20-30 eggs.” Soon after egg retrieval, Caitlin and Brian tried IVF with donor eggs; however, the first attempt failed. Caitlin suspects that the IVF cycle failed due to stress at her job as a kindergarten teacher.

After school was out for the summer, the couple decided to try IVF with donor eggs again, and it worked. Both the couple and Dr Hansard were thrilled. As Caitlin said, “Dr Hansard wanted it as much as we did.”

In 2014, Caitlin and Brian welcomed a son into the world. They named him Everett Anthony Winston Hill. When asked about her son, Caitlin gushed, “I could talk for hours about Everett. He’s amazing.”

Advice for patients on their own fertility journeys

When asked what advice she would give to other fertility patients, Caitlin first said that she would “recommend visiting the doctors and nurses at Texas Fertility Center.”

Caitlin said that patients should realize that “it’s not just a start and a finish. It really is a journey, and it involves everything that goes with a journey. The good, the bad, the happy, the sad.” She said, “Everyone’s journey is different. For some people, it might work on the first try, and that’s great. For others, it might take a couple of tries, and it’s important to realize that it’s not because you or doctors are doing something wrong.”

Finally, Caitlin said, “It’s amazing to think about what your body can do, and to think about everyone and everything that had to come together” for a successful pregnancy. Even though, it can be an emotional journey, Caitlin said, “You have something wonderful at the end.”