A New Conception: Finding Answers at RSC

Dr. Wachs was able to quickly identify the reason that Sarah and her husband were having trouble starting a family.

conception | mother with newborn Charlie and toddler Harold | Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area
Sarah and her firstborn son, Harold, were all smiles meeting Charlie on the day he was born.

Five years before they saw Dr. Deborah Wachs for an evaluation, Sarah and her husband had been trying to start a family. When she first reported difficulty getting pregnant, Sarah’s primary care doctor suggested she cut back on running (too much exercise can sometimes lower chances of conception) and track ovulation. But a year of faithfully following that advice didn’t do the trick.

Next, Sarah brought her fertility concerns to her OB/GYN. She was prescribed Clomid, an oral medication that helps women ovulate by stimulating the follicles on the ovaries.

“My body reacted very aggressively to that,” Sarah explains. “It caused six follicles to grow, but I still didn’t ovulate. At that point my OB/GYN referred us to RSC because she had been a resident when Dr. Wachs was a medical student.”


The root cause

From the day that they met Dr. Wachs, the couple was put at ease, confident they were in capable, caring hands.

“Her approach was exactly what we were looking for,” Sarah recalls. “She was so empathetic but she clearly knows what she’s doing. We both really trusted her judgement. She was going to figure out how to be successful with us. And that was very comforting. It was like, This lady is not gonna stop. She’s gonna help us with this.”

After a thorough evaluation of Sarah and her husband, Dr. Wachs identified the root cause of their struggles with conception. A blood test revealed that Sarah’s body wasn’t producing an adequate amount of luteinizing hormone (LH), the surge of which acts as the “trigger” that releases an egg from the ovarian follicle.

It wasn’t long before they had a plan. Sarah received a timed LH injection each month that increased the chances for ovulation and conception.


From conception to completion of a family

conception | smiling newborn baby boy Charlie | Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area
The family of three became four with the addition of Charlie in 2017.

After failing to get pregnant on the first injection-aided cycle, Sarah conceived the second time around. The couple unfortunately suffered a miscarriage. A few months later, they returned to RSC for continued treatment. Two more rounds of injections once again led to pregnancy. Nine months later, baby Harold was born.

Although Sarah and her husband were fortunate to not have to pursue more advanced treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or surgery, they took comfort in the fact that they were in good hands should such measures be needed.

“During one of the cycles, I had to drive all the way up to a different facility where Dr. Wachs was working during the weekend,” Sarah recalls. “I remember she was in surgical scrubs. That moment was a nice realization that she could do every part of this if need be. She wouldn’t need to hand us off to another doctor. We definitely always felt that we were in the best hands.”

After a couple years spent savoring the joys and challenges of new parenthood, Sarah and her husband wished to try for one more child. They went back to RSC without a second thought.

“The second time felt a little crazy,” Sarah says with a smile. “… trying to have a baby with a child under 3 at home. But it felt less loaded in a way because we knew we could do it.”

Sure enough, another round of timed LH injections led to a healthy pregnancy and birth. Baby Charlie arrived in 2017, rounding out the family the couple had always planned for.

“Even before my husband and I got married, we envisioned ourselves as a family of four and we’re there now,” Sarah says. “Our older son really loves the baby and they share a room now. It’s just so fun to see them together.”


Advice for those seeking answers and treatment

When asked what advice she’d give to others who are just beginning fertility treatment or considering it, Sarah says reaching out for emotional support and accepting all outcomes is paramount.

“It’s really lonely while it’s not working out,” she explains. “Make sure you take advantage of your support network. Sometimes you’d be surprised who has also been through this, because a lot of people don’t talk about it.

“And know that you’ll be okay if it doesn’t work,” she continues. “I think you have to have that mindset going in. We knew that we would be okay no matter what. This was just something that we were trying that we really wanted, and thankfully it worked out.”