A Fertility Doctor’s Struggle With (Her Own) Infertility

I am a 41-year-old woman with a one-year-old child. She is my first child. Her birth was not my first time in a delivery room, though. I’m an Ob-Gyn who had been in hundreds of delivery rooms before I was checked in under my own name. I’m also a fertility specialist who helped hundreds of other women get pregnant before I admitted that I was a specialist who needed a specialist.

Even fertility doctors can have a hard time conceiving. No matter how much help we give other people, like all human beings, sometimes we have to ask for help too.

Consider also that I was doing everything “right.” Sure I was in my late thirties when my partner and I started trying to have a baby. But I also felt young, and I am a healthy woman who exercises, eats well and takes care of myself. It should have been easy, right? Not so much. After many months of trying, we realized that it wasn’t happening.

It became harder to be around happy moms with their beautiful kids. That was something my clients often expressed when they first visited me, and here I was, having similar thoughts.

If they could do it, why not me? So I gave myself the advice I’ve given countless friends in similar situations: go see a specialist.
My doctor told me what I had told so many women: getting pregnant at age 39 can be tricky. And even though I already knew that as a fact, coming from my doctor, it still made me feel better.

Sometimes women who come to see me are shocked to learn how difficult it can sometimes be to get pregnant in their late and sometimes mid-thirties. This is in part because the media too often highlights celebrities who get pregnant in their 40’s and50’s which lets us draw the incorrect conclusion that this is the norm. What is not advertised though is that women conceiving in their late 40’s and 50’s usually conceive with the eggs of younger women rather than their own.

There are many reasons to see a fertility specialist.

Some women want to conceive faster than they are able to do so on their own. Some women have their potential pregnancies can be tested before conception in order to increase the chance that they will give birth to a healthy baby.

Some women want to use donor sperm to conceive either because they are in a same-sex relationship, because their husbands are unable to donate, or because they want to be single moms.

A young and healthy woman who wants kids “one day” may consider visiting a fertility specialist to check on the status of her eggs now. If you have a good and healthy egg supply then you may feel comfortable waiting and seeing.

On the other hand, if you are running out of eggs faster than would be predicted based on your age, you may want to make a decision earlier. A fertility specialist can help figure this out using blood tests and ultrasound.

Technology today also gives you choices your mother and grandmother never had. For instance, you may want to freeze your eggs. This would allow you to use those eggs one day in the future if you happened to have trouble conceiving down the road.

For me, deciding after a very emotionally difficult period of time to take some of my own medicine was the best thing I ever did. I saw a specialist and was treated for infertility. After a few bumps in the road, I gave birth a year ago to a little baby girl who has brought more joy to my life than I could have ever imagined was possible. I often thank her for coming into this world and making me a mommy.

So, should women eat healthily and stay fit and decrease their stress?? Absolutely! That will only increase the chance that a woman’s body will be able to house a happy, healthy and growing baby one day. But sometimes we just need some expert, outside help.

Embryo Adoption = Success for Dr. Potter Patient


When Laura returned to Dr. Daniel Potter to help her get pregnant a second time, she had every reason to be confident. After all, Dr. Potter was responsible for her successful pregnancy with her first child.

Unfortunately, after three unsuccessful treatments, blood tests revealed that Lara’s FSH levels–which control the production of healthy and mature eggs–were so low that her eggs were no longer viable.

Lara remembers that Dr. Potter sat her down in the office to break the news. “He offered me tea, and was very nice. He’s always nice, no matter what. He went over the tests in non-medical terms, and I asked him a thousand questions. That’s one of the great things about Dr. Potter; he will tell you what’s going on in plain language that anyone can understand.”

Lara and her husband eventually decided to pursue embryo adoption and, with IVF, Lara became pregnant and gave her son a little sister!

According to Lara, it wasn’t just Dr. Potter who made her experience so great, but the entire staff that made her feel important and cared for as a patient. She also liked how informative and reassuring the team was during ultrasounds.

“Everyone at HRC is kind, friendly and available to patients. Whenever I called, someone either got back to me in a timely manner or would leave me a message in the morning, apologizing for not getting back to me right away.

“When it came to procedures, everything was explained step by step and all of my questions were answered.”

Laura knows firsthand the difficulties of infertility and the importance of being comfortable with your doctor and staff. She and her husband found that comfort with HRC and Dr. Potter.

Why I Would Recommend HRC Fertility to a Friend

Rosemary and Andre were referred to HRC Fertility’s fertility specialists by her OB when they were having difficulty conceiving on their own.

The couple attended one Dr. Bradford Kolb’s free informational meetings, and decided to proceed with treatment and Dr. Kolb. Rosemary and Andre ended up doing three rounds of IVF, and are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, Elise.

When asked what she liked best about treatment, Rosemary had this to say:

“From start to finish, everyone from the front desk, to the surgery center, to Dr. Kolb, to my nurse coordinators–and especially Debbie, with whom I had the most contact–were supportive. Everybody there was so kind and so encouraging.”

One of the things Rosemary liked best was Dr. Kolb’s positive attitude, especially when her first cycle ended in miscarriage and her second didn’t result in any viable eggs.

“When my husband wasn’t able to be at the appointment, he was very supportive and encouraging, so I had a lot of trust and faith in him,” she said. “Both Dr. Kolb and Debbie were hopeful about the next time  so I had to believe in that.”

Dr. Kolb had a great analogy about a bowl of eggs that helped Rosemary stay positive about her treatment. He described a woman in her 20s having a bowl of eggs with which to get pregnant. Because Rosemary had only one ovary and one fallopian tube, her bowl of eggs was smaller, but not empty.

Dr. Kolb kept reminding Rosemary that it was just a matter of finding a good egg–which they did on her third cycle. Though she and her husband were elated, she began bleeding heavily at 8-1/2 weeks and was worried about a miscarriage.

The morning of her appointment, Dr. Kolb was taking longer than anticipated in the surgery center. The front desk staff recognized Rosemary’s anxiety and did what they could to help her stay informed during her wait.

The good news was she wasn’t miscarrying and was instead suffering a subchorionic hematoma, a common cause of bleeding in early pregnancy.

“The whole staff was so excited for me,” said Rosemary, who added that she would definitely recommend HRC to other couples who need infertility treatment. “It was just a really…. I don’t know…. I’m not going to go as far as saying it was a family, but it was definitely a sense of community, of everyone rooting for all the patients there.

“I really did appreciate and enjoy every step of the way. Everyone was so kind and so understanding, so sympathetic and empathetic. It really was a great experience.”