This is the season of miracles, and no greater one exists than the miracle of life. Fox 5 profiles two families that welcome beautiful babies who arrived thanks to recent breakthroughs in fertility technology.
Manpreet Sangari and Sarbdeep Mokha named their daughter Zoya. It means "gift from God." The couple wanted to start a family but tried for six months with no results. Manpreet found out she had polycystic ovaries. Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. With the diagnosis, the couple would need help if they wanted a family. They went to Neway Fertility on the Upper East Side and met with Dr. Jesse Hade.
The couple tried artificial insemination, but it didn't work. The next course of action was in vitro fertilization, or IVF, one of the most common infertility procedures.
With IVF, the ovaries are stimulated through medication to produce multiple eggs. 14 days into the woman's cycle, a small needle goes into the ovary and draws out fluid with mature eggs. Next, the egg is inseminated by injecting sperm inside and doctors culture the embryo in a lab over five days. Then an appropriate number of embryos are transferred back to the uterus through a small tube where it is left to implant and hopefully form a pregnancy.
Manpreet said she was pregnant with twins, but the pregnancy didn't go well and she lost them at five months and three days.
They were distraught but determined to try again. Dr. Hade said he was doing a study with in-vitro maturation, or IVM, a relatively new procedure that requires less medication. Immature eggs are collected from the ovary and then matured in a laboratory.
Manpreet tried it. After 32 weeks, she and Sarbdeep could breathe: success.
They're not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 12 percent of women of childbearing age receive infertility services.
Dr. Richard Scott, the clinical and scientific director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, is an internationally known infertility specialist. He helped develop "comprehensive chromosomal screening," which allows experts to evaluate an embryo and see if it's genetically normal before being implanted. He said the clinic counts chromosomes and tells prospective parents if the embryo has a good chance of reaching birth.
Meet baby Kennedy, the daughter of Sarah and Jay Cortese. The two came to RMA of New Jersey with the hopes of giving their son a brother or sister. They had no trouble conceiving Colton but had multiple miscarriages trying for their second.
The couple met with Dr. Thomas Molinaro, a physician at RMA of New Jersey. He said Sarah's eggs were "acting older" than she was. Dr. Molinario said after Sarah went through IVF, the clinic tested the embryos to find the healthiest ones.
Sarah opted for what's called a single embryo transfer. The first transfer failed, but with the second try came Kennedy.
Approaching infertility may seem daunting so you'll want to know the right questions to ask. How available will your doctor be? What are the pregnancy and delivery rates? Also, try to find out about any financial programs that may be offered to you. RMA of New Jersey has all of that available to patients.
Patients can spend anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000 on treatments. Barbara Collura, the president and CEO of RESOLVE, a national infertility association based in Virginia, said that getting insurance coverage can be tough. More than half of those who have health insurance have plans that exclude IVF coverage.
Only six states have insurance coverage for IVF: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, and New Jersey. New York does not.
Corey Whelan of Path to Parenthood said that under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are not mandated to cover infertility. People who live in states that have a mandate before may still be covered. Your employer can offer benefits or decide to not offer benefits even if a state mandate in place.
Financial help is a must but emotional support is just as important. After the stress of the unknown and numerous doctors' appointments, living proof of success through a big smile and wave.
CDC: fertility clinic success rates
Insurance coverage for infertility treatments (state by state)
American Society for Reproductive Medicine: reproductive facts
Extended interview with Barbara Collura of RESOLVE