Virginia Center for Reproductive Medicine Logo

Jessica and Stephanie’s Story

In your life, there are stories you come across that bring you a tremendous amount of joy, some you relate to, some that make you feel vulnerable, some that bring tears to your eyes, and some that make you smile so big you feel like you can seize the day and do what you want to do with it.

Someone once told me, nobody will go through your day for you, nobody will work as hard as you do for you, nobody will accomplish any of the hard stuff in life for you — you have to go out and make your day, your life, your achievements what you want to happen. Jessica and Stephanie’s story is one of resilience that embodies this; they took their life by the reins and made their dreams come true.

Read their incredible story here!

“My wife Stephanie and I began our journey to attempt to become parents in 2011. At that time, I had serious white-coat syndrome and fear of giving birth. I also just couldn’t see myself carrying children, although that did not mean I did not want them. As a result, and due to a number of other factors, we decided that Steph was going to try to conceive.
We did not have a particular doctor in mind and thought the best course of action would be to go with a fertility specialist that our OB recommended. During one of my routine appointments, I asked my OB if they could recommend a doctor to assist in our fertility needs. My OB recommended a different doctor in the area and we decided to schedule a consult with their office.

We soon learned that our best chance to conceive was through IVF and we didn’t waste any time getting started. Unfortunately, we endured two unsuccessful attempts and decided to call it quits, at least for the time being.

We didn’t think too much of kids again until I turned 35 in 2016. For whatever reason when I hit that age, I felt the need to look into the chances of me conceiving just so I didn’t have any regrets down the road. It’s not that I didn’t want or love kids; in fact it was the opposite. I have two adorable nieces and I love spending time with them. But I was hardly the type who always dreamed about having kids and being a mother. I just never thought it was in the cards for me.

Boy was I wrong! I started my journey with the same doctor with whom Steph tried. I had an initial consult but something just wasn’t clicking for me. Shortly thereafter I asked my brother, who is a doctor, if he happened to know of or could ask his colleagues in the field if there was a fertility specialist that he/they would recommend. A couple of days later my brother sent me a report from the CDC with fertility specialists from all over the country and their respective success rates with the various processes. Based on the data in this report, I called and scheduled a consult with Dr. Sharara at VCRM. My review of this information revealed he was head and shoulders above any other office in the DMV and I was excited to meet and talk with him.

I knew I was in the right place while sitting in the waiting room for my initial consult. A drug rep came in to the office and was talking with the very friendly staff at the front desk when I overheard her at one point say “he is a rock star.” Little did I know I would fully understand what she meant in a short while.

During that initial consult, something just felt different. Being a same sex couple I am never sure how people will react, but Dr. Sharara and Jo quickly put those concerns to rest. Dr. Sharara was very welcoming and had a way of making me feel like this was the place I should be and that I should absolutely consider trying to conceive (even though he would later determine that IVF gave us the best chance at success). I went from walking into his office that day thinking I was just checking a box in my mind so I wouldn’t have any regrets later (but not thinking I was going to pursue anything beyond that initial appointment) to having a (very thorough) plan moving forward. Dr. Sharara had a way of motivating me, while at the same time not being pushy. All the while he was completely honest with me and did not at any point sugarcoat my chances of success or the significant changes I would have to make in my life if I wanted to possibly increase those chances. For instance, Dr. Sharara has a complete nutritional plan he recommended for me and all of his patients to further prepare my body for what (hopefully) was ahead. All told, by following Dr. Sharara’s diet, I lost 35 pounds prior to my transfer day! His approach was thorough and perfectly balanced, and it was that way from the beginning to the end.

So we began our IVF journey with Dr. Sharara, Jo (who is amazing) and the rest of the team at VCRM. It was a long, hard road laden with obstacles, frustrations, pain, tears, fear and pretty much every other emotion I had experienced to that point (and more). But throughout the process, Dr. Sharara and Jo were steady guides to Steph and me and they kept us on track and moving forward. We were of course apprehensive and pessimistic, especially after having tried twice without success and knowing because of a couple of issues that Dr. Sharara found in his overly thorough approach that our chances weren’t great. Nonetheless we continued.

Anyone who has ever been a patient of Dr. Sharara knows just how thorough he is, and in my humble opinion, this is one of (there are so many) the reasons why he is so successful. He checked everything and conducted test after test, some of which were not the most pleasant. And while I was not happy about having to undergo the tests at the time, I was very appreciative of his approach after the fact because through this process, he identified a number of issues that he then worked to resolve, thereby making my chances the very best they could be.

A couple of moments stand out to me that I hope by discussing may help someone get through similar situations. The first involved the process (at the time) for genetic embryo testing. To make a long story short, an issue with the airline resulted in my specimen not making it to the testing facility in time for us to have the results which we needed to decide which embryo(s) to implant. We had to make a decision right there in the office that next day as far as how to proceed and each route came with pros and cons. We decided we did not want to proceed without knowing the results of the testing which meant we had to freeze the embryos and of course alter my very carefully calculated schedule. To say we were upset would be an understatement. I remember leaving the office that day and I am so glad Steph was with me because I couldn’t even talk to anyone at the front in order to check out. I just walked out. I sat in the car crying and remember realizing just how difficult and unpredictable the IVF process is. As it turns out, we made the right choice in waiting — but more on that later.

The second moment came a little further in the process when we were waiting on the results of genetic testing of a couple additional embryos. At that point we knew we had one good embryo but of course, we were hoping for as many as possible to maximize our chances. I remember being hopeful, which is why I think it hit me so hard when we received the results from Jo that none of the embryos passed the testing. I had an appointment shortly after receiving those results and remember unexpectedly breaking down when Dr. Sharara walked in the room. But in typical fashion, Dr. Sharara handled what would have been an embarrassing, devastating situation with such incredible grace and confidence. As I have told him before, I will remember the next moment in that room for the rest of my life. He calmly looked at Jo and the other Nurse who were about to come into the room and asked them to step out for a moment. He then gave me a big hug, looked me in the eye and said so calmly but convincingly “we are going to get you pregnant.” Now, I knew nothing in this process was guaranteed, but for some reason when he said that I genuinely believed him and all at once, felt better. It is that calm, compassionate confidence that makes Dr. Sharara so special.

There were of course a lot of other bumps in the road considering I have gone through the IVF process twice, but those are the most memorable. Both times I had one good embryo at the end and both times, we were blessed with the greatest gift ever — two beautiful babies. As I write this, I am holding and snuggling our son who was just born a couple of months ago. We hope he will be very close when he grows up with his sister who is a little over a year and a half and very much a toddler! We have our hands full at the moment but wouldn’t change our situation for the world!

It is because of Dr. Sharara, Jo and the rest of the team at VCRM that we are living our dream. It is a dream I didn’t even know I had until meeting Dr. Sharara, but he helped me realize it over time. This is one of the many things for which I am grateful to him. In addition, as a direct result of Dr. Sharara and Jo, I have overcome my white coat syndrome and now feel like I can take on anything!

After going through IVF twice with Dr. Sharara, Jo and the rest of the team at VCRM we consider them family. We have grown so close to them that we stay in touch to this day. We send them cards and pictures of our kids, and we rushed in to their office as soon as we could after both of our kids were born. We have formed a special bond with them that will continue as our kids grow and we look forward to continuing to stay in touch.

I would highly recommend VCRM to anyone looking for the best chances to conceive. I would and have recommended VCRM to some of my closest friends and will continue to do so. I truly believe if it is possible, he will make you successful. We will be eternally grateful to the VCRM team!”

Like Us on Facebook