Perseverance and PCOS: Isabel’s Story

PCOS Awareness Month 2021

“It takes a lot of bravery to ask for help, especially when you can’t get pregnant. It takes even more when you’re struggling with a diagnosis of PCOS.” 

After trying to get pregnant naturally and seeing multiple OB/GYNs, Isabel and her husband Adam and met with Conceptions CEO and Medical Director, Mark Bush, MD, FACOG, FACS, for an infertility consult and confirmation of a PCOS diagnosis. “We finally made our minds up and I just ripped the band-aid off and called to make a new patient appointment. I pulled over on the highway overpass coming home from work and called in tears. I don’t remember the name of who I talked to, but when I mentioned PCOS, she put me at ease.”

PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal imbalance very prevalent in women in their reproductive years. A build-up of androgens and prolonged or infrequent menstrual periods are indicators of a possible PCOS diagnosis where the ovaries develop small numerous follicles which impede natural fertility. Unfortunately, the exact cause of PCOS is highly patient-dependent. Weight loss may reduce the effects but not always. In fact, over-exercising could also have a negative impact on fertility too.

“We had our plan – buy a house, get a dog, and have a family. We’d been married for about 3 years and after a year of trying naturally, we knew we needed help. I suspected PCOS but my first OB/GYN wouldn’t test for it. That was very frustrating. I switched to a new OB/GYN who immediately referred us to Conceptions for more PCOS testing and an infertility consultation.”

With a diagnosis in hand, Isabel and her husband spent a fair amount of time researching PCOS on websites and social pages but found the information rigid and often unsupportive. “I understand the anxiety and frustration about PCOS and infertility but the place that gave me the confidence to move forward was Conceptions, from the front desk person to Dr. Bush.”

“Dr. Bush never made us feel like PCOS was something we did. From the very first consult, he focused on workable solutions for us. When I asked about going gluten-free or dairy-free he said, do what makes you feel good, and we’ll deal with the rest.”

After a couple of unsuccessful IUI cycles, Isabel and her husband Adam moved on to IVF after considering adoption. “After stepping back from care to regroup for a while we spoke to a friend about adoption or IVF. They said don’t give up just yet and we went back to Dr. Bush to start our first IVF cycle in May of 2019.” After an initial IVF retrieval, Isabel and her husband had 8 embryos with 6 euploid or chromosomally normal embryos as tested using PGT-A. She also joined a support group that helped her put both PCOS and infertility treatments into perspective “I remember the group moderator saying that this was a “we” problem and not a “me” problem. That was helpful to hear.”

Isabel’s husband Adam understood he needed to play an important part in the treatment process too, ‘I took the vitamins Dr. Bush prescribed, made a few lifestyle adjustments, and committed to giving Isabel all the shots through the process. It was a lot for her, and I wanted to do everything I could to make it easier.”

“Isabel and Adam are a wonderful couple” shared Dr. Bush. “They dealt with the challenges inherent to PCOS with perseverance and grace.  IVF protocols in patients with PCOS need to be effective in treating the metabolic, egg health and uterine implantation factors unique to this diagnosis.”

Isabel and her husband have two happy babies at home (and sleeping well, we might add), born several weeks ago. “Sometimes you need to be your own advocate. I wish I’d seen my new OB/GYN sooner about PCOS. But in the end, it’s been all worth it. We’re so grateful to everyone at Conceptions for making our dreams come true.”

September is PCOS Awareness Month. Visit https://pcosawarenessmonth.org/ for more information and support.

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