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Sarah and Justin

Sarah and Justin qualified for an IVF study that led to a successful pregnancy

Justin walked through the doors of an apartment community and Sarah got a new lease on life. Working as a leasing consultant, Sarah forged a friendship and then a relationship with the man who would become her husband and “knight in shining armor.”

Sarah and Justin grew up in the Houston area and shared a love of travel and adventure, visiting Italy, Holland, France and Spain together after they moved to Austin and got married in 2009. Their family at the time consisted of a rescued a dog named Heidi and a chi-weenie mix named Oreo.

TTC, stress and the IVF study that would change their lives

Returning from a trip abroad, the newlyweds started trying to get pregnant. After 12 months, Sarah was starting to get concerned. (The American Society for Reproductive Medicine urges women to seek out a fertility specialist at this point.)

“It just wasn’t happening and we didn’t know why,” Sarah said. “My doctor and Justin said we should give it a little time, but I was very emotional. The two-week wait was the hardest; I had so many of those.”

Around this time, Sarah was working at a physical therapy center, working on her real estate license and pursuing IUI because it was affordable and minimally invasive.

“I was stressed at work and trying to go to school when my doctor suggested that we sit down and decide what’s most important,” “Justin and I talked about it and I quit my job and finished my real estate license three weeks later.”

She had one final round of IUI and endometriosis surgery. “We went on another trip to New York and thought—we got pregnant on our own! Five days later we lost it; we were so sad. My husband said, ‘please don’t give up.’”

The cost of IVF almost caused Sarah to give up on her dreams

In the midst of seven IUIs, she started thinking about adoption.

“I thought there was no way we could afford IVF and I’m not OK with spending all of this money for a maybe,” said Sarah. “My husband wanted to try; he said, ‘Let’s see what we can make together.’”

The doctor who performed the IUIs reiterated that he was not a fertility specialist, but Sarah didn’t want to give up on the “cheap” and less invasive option. “I didn’t want surgery or shots. It was a hard step to take.”

Fortunately, Sarah’s mother-in-law told her about an IVF study, and the opportunity to further research and qualify for discounted IVF and fertility services.

Dr. Tony Propst helped redirect the couple’s fertility treatment

Conversations with friends who had successful fertility treatment at TFC and an online search for fertility studies led the couple to Texas Fertility Center. Sarah recalls that test results showed she had half of the eggs of other 35-year-olds, and with a history of failed IUI and unexplained infertility, they were not good candidates for the IUI study. However, Dr. Propst informed them that an IVF study would begin in the New Year.

Sarah and Justin were good candidates for the IVF study.

Unfortunately, a missed step on New Year’s Eve resulted in a major surgery and an excruciating and complex Lisfranc fracture. Sarah broke her foot in four places and had to put the study on hold while she underwent surgery and rehabilitation.

“I was devastated. It felt like I was not meant to get pregnant. And there was a 70% chance I wouldn’t use my foot again.”

When she was finally cleared for the IVF study, forced downtime had given Sarah time to relax. She believes that helped pave the way for a successful IVF cycle around Easter.

“I called them [the resulting embryos] my six little egg-lettes, and painted my fingernails in different spring colors.”

It’s positive!

Sarah was in physical therapy for her foot and remembers thinking she wouldn’t be able to handle disappointment again. Fortunately, the pregnancy test was positive. The couple was expecting twins. At the 7-week appointment, one of the heartbeats wasn’t there; this is sometimes referred to as vanishing twin syndrome.

“Dr. Propst was so incredible,” Sarah said. “He has a wonderful beside manner and explained that one twin is always stronger than the other. I was devastated, though. It was losing a child all over again.”

The pregnancy progressed, Sarah’s foot was healing and when she delivered by C-section, Dr. Propst suggested correcting what he suspected was a tilted uterus during surgery. The plan worked, because just five months after baby Spencer was delivered at Christmastime, Sarah discovered that she was pregnant with his sister.

After another foot surgery in early May, Sarah was having a difficult recovery and was feeling nauseous. She was convinced that she couldn’t be pregnant, but she took a test over Memorial Day weekend.

“Well, this explains a lot,” she said. “I wasn’t used to a positive pregnancy test. My OB had told us at six weeks that we should use birth control, but we had tried for five years to get pregnant!”

Married for seven years now, Sarah and Justin have two kids under the age of two—Spencer and baby Caroline—with plans to expand their family with their frozen embryos.

“We had this plan, and it didn’t work,” says Sarah. Like Justin walking in that door, qualifying for the IVF study instead of the IUI study had a butterfly effect.

“One thing changes your whole life.”

To learn more about our ongoing IVF study openings or to reserve a consultation with Dr. Tony Propst, please contact us here.


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