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IVF FLORIDA Patient Story: Stephanie

April 28, 2023

Tell us about your journey to parenthood. 
If there is one thing I’ve always known, it’s that one of my main purposes on this earth is to become a mom. Ten years ago, I met my partner, Kevin. While we have always been avid adventurers, about five years ago we knew that forever was in our cards and naturally we became ready to take on the biggest journey of all. The journey to parenthood. I always knew that there was the possibility I was a carrier of Becker Muscular Dystrophy, but it was until a few years ago that I actually sought out testing to confirm my carrier status. This is an X-linked recessive inheritance, which means my biological father has the condition and the carrier status was passed to me. His brother also has the disease as it was passed on from their mother as a carrier with her being unaware of her status. Which means her father passed it to her. This has become about breaking a cycle of a genetic condition. To provide some insight, BMD is a rare condition, and it occurs in about 3 to 6 of every 100,000 births and mainly affects male children. Girls are rarely affected by the disease but could hold a carrier status. 

Once confirmed, I found myself doing a lot of research to uncover our options for becoming parents. We made a personal choice to find a way to have kids that wouldn’t include passing on this disease to our children. I found myself down several rabbit holes and had pretty much convinced myself that either I just wasn’t meant to have kids, or we would never be able to afford it, and we just might have to find another way. I will note that we allowed for at least a year of trying to conceive naturally with the best hope that it would happen, and things would take place in our favor. Deep down I’d like to think there is a reason it didn’t happen.  

After endless internet searches, meetings with genetic counselors and fertility clinics, and reaching out to friends and family I was given a recommendation from a friend to check out IVF Florida Reproductive Associates. My friend had personally had success with IVF Florida and Dr. Marc Gualtieri. She had first-hand experience with Dr. G, and she told me how successful her experience was. As a result, she and her partner now have twins! I decided to reach out to IVF Florida and see just what my options might be.  

At our initial consultation at the Jupiter office, I felt extremely comfortable from the get-go. The staff was warm and welcoming, and Dr. G wanted to hear everything we had to say. He was impressed by my knowledge of my condition and appreciated that I was my own advocate. After hearing us out, he reviewed our best options and told us how to go about starting the process. Our option would be IVF with PGD (Prediagnosis Genetic Diagnosis), which is a laboratory procedure used in conjunction with IVF to reduce the risk of passing on inherited conditions. I can’t say enough about how great the Nursing staff, financial counselors, and doctors have been through all stages, especially with the beginning of the process and everything is so new to us. They were able to lay out my plan step by step for all prework required that would lead us to start our first IVF Cycle.  

On April 5, 2023, I began my first IVF cycle. There were a lot of fears that accompanied the initial start of medications. Would I be ok with the shots? Am I mentally prepared? Emotionally? Physically? Once we got the go-ahead to start, we met with Frankie, one of the nurses in the Jupiter office that walked us through the process of giving myself stimulation meds. They provide a very clear and precise calendar along with a chart detailing how and when each medication should be taken and for how long. There was not one question that went unanswered, and we walked out feeling prepared and comfortable with what lie ahead. Jumping ahead we are now here at Day 10 of Stim Meds, as we approach Trigger Shot day and Egg Retrieval, we remain hopeful and excited for what our journey ahead may hold. I will say I approach this process cautiously optimistic of the ups and downs to come, but what I can be confident in is that I have the support of friends/family and a great fertility team at IVF Florida Jupiter Office regardless of my outcome. 
Do you have any advice to share? 
If I can offer any advice to those who are contemplating their journey to Parenthood via IVF/IUI or however you choose to proceed with your family planning. Go in confident, secure, and empower those around you who are along for the ride.  

Please know that family planning is a personal choice, and there is no one reproductive option that is best. Choose the path that works best for you, and I hope you’ll include IVF Florida as a part of that journey.  

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