Positive Results
Couples dealing with infertility turn to Shady Grove Fertility for effective treatment tailored to their unique circumstances
by Sharon A. Shaw

For more than two decades, Shady Grove Fertility has been providing superior patient care in the field of reproductive medicine. The founders’ goal was and remains rather simple: to provide cutting-edge fertility care in an environment that supports patients’ needs, emotionally and financially. With highly experienced staff and the latest technologies, Shady Grove Fertility takes a relationship-based approach to ensure a positive experience for every patient.

“The key is one of empowering patients to make the decision that’s best for them,” says Isaac E. Sasson, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG. A graduate of Yale Medical School with subspecialty training in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Sasson is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. “Having a baby is a choice. It’s elective, and for infertile couples there are more options today than ever. For this reason, education is so important. Patients should understand their alternatives, balancing costs, success and risk as part of their decision.”

Understanding the Alternatives
The first visit to Shady Grove Fertility is one of conversation and familiarization. Dr. Sasson explains, “Infertility can have many causes and the diagnostic process is key and much can be learned from individuals’ medical history.” Over the course of one menstrual period, women undergo a thorough examination, including an ultrasound of her uterus and blood tests to evaluate her egg quality and ovarian reserve. This is followed by an X-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes. A sperm analysis is also done on the male, thereby completing the diagnostic process.

Based on the results, treatment options and recommendations are discussed. “While I will share recommendations, it is always the patient’s choice as to treatment,” Dr. Sasson says. “One needs to make the right decision for them, and I will only step in if safety is a concern.” Treatment options may be compared by cost, success rate and risks. It is something that shouldn’t be entered into without a certain amount of personal reflection—one of time and emotional well-being.

As medicine has evolved over the years, many “low tech” alternatives have grown in popularity as first steps in fertility treatment. One such procedure is intrauterine insemination (IUI) in which a concentrated amount of sperm is placed directly into the uterus through a catheter to help increase the natural fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The minimally invasive, painless procedure is done in office and takes a couple of minutes without anesthesia. The chance of pregnancy per month of ovulation depends on the age of the woman and any age-related decrease is due primarily to a decline in the quality of the eggs within the ovaries.

Shady Grove Fertility performs more than 5,000 such procedures each year, according to Dr. Sasson. “Patients are able to achieve a pregnancy with less intensive therapies, and approximately 25 percent of the pregnancies conceived by our patients are achieved with IUI,” he says.

However, certain cases require more advanced treatment, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), a procedure often recommended for individuals with fallopian-tube damage, endometriosis, anovulation or age-related and unexplained infertility. It is also a treatment if there are male infertility factors, such as abnormal sperm. IVF has a higher success rate but is countered with greater cost. “It is so important for patients to understand all their options,” Dr. Sasson says.

A third option is donor egg treatment, specifically effective in treating for infertility caused by decreased ovarian function. For women in their late 30s and 40s who are unable to conceive using their own eggs, this alternative offers the highest pregnancy and delivery rates of any fertility treatment and still allows for a woman to carry a child. Because the cost is generally not covered by insurance and may be cost prohibitive, Shady Grove Fertility introduced the Shared Donor Egg Program in which patients may keep all of the eggs from a donor or share the eggs with one or two other recipients. To improve success rates, all recipients use a specific medication protocol designed to prepare their uterine lining.

“In the end, age will predict the outcome,” says Dr. Sasson. “Early diagnosis is critical—even if it begins with a simple conversation.”

Beyond the Treatment
When faced with decisions about fertility treatment, the cost and lack of insurance coverage can add an even greater emotional stress for couples longing to have a child. The founders of Shady Grove Fertility have felt from the start that this should be far less of a factor, further empowering choice with its innovative Shared Risk 100% Refund Guarantee.

“The Shared Risk 100% Refund Guarantee for IVF and Donor Egg was created to provide couples with high quality medical treatment without an overemphasis of cost versus chances of success,” Dr. Sasson explains. “IVF can often involve multiple treatment cycles and overwhelming financial costs. With our Shared Risk program, our fee is earned only when the patient takes home a baby.”

This is hardly the only unique program at Shady Grove Fertility. Today, women are delaying pregnancy for any number of reasons—career, education, travel or simply finding the right partner—but age is a predominant factor in the quality of a woman’s eggs and the likelihood of conception. Other conditions can include premature menopause, cancer or lupus. Yet whatever the cause, diminished egg quality significantly affects one’s ability to conceive.

Egg freezing is intended to stop the biological clock, so the Egg Freezing Program at Shady Grove Fertility empowers a woman to lock in her current fertility potential for future use when the circumstances and timing are right for her. When a woman uses her frozen eggs in the future, even if a number of years have passed, pregnancy rate, miscarriage incidents and genetic abnormalities will be based on the age of the woman when the eggs were frozen, not her age when she uses them.

“Fertility treatment can often take an emotional toll,” says Dr. Sasson. “Of all the advice and recommendations I offer to patients, most important is for couples not to let it get in the way of their relationship.”

Today, Shady Grove Fertility is proud to have a reputation of excellence, and the more than 30,000 babies having been born as a result of treatment. The philosophy at Shady Grove Fertility has always been to tailor patients’ treatment in terms to their specific diagnosis and circumstances, balancing the best possible chance of success with the simplest and most cost-effective approach.

Shady Grove Fertility

Two Locations
555 City Ave., Suite 1170
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

945 Chesterbrook Blvd.
Chesterbrook, PA 19087

Photograph by Jody Robinson