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Why Traveling to Chattanooga for In Vitro Fertilization Was Worth It

One couple’s struggle to find a nearby doctor who was a good fit for them – and finding a home at TRM an hour and a half away.

After trying to get pregnant for a few months without success, Jennifer suspected that something wasn’t quite right. A resident of Knoxville, she made an appointment to see her nearby OB/GYN to discuss her situation.

in vitro fertilization | Tennessee Reproductive Medicine | couple traveling in car

“I just had this sense that I wanted to get things checked,” Jennifer recalls (for the sake of this story, her name has been changed). “I had turned 30 at that point. During my visit, my OB/GYN recommended I see a fertility specialist.”

This marked the start of a search for a local fertility doctor with whom the couple felt comfortable. As they saw a handful of doctors throughout the Knoxville region, Jennifer was prescribed Clomid (a drug that helps women ovulate), received numerous rounds of injectable drugs and underwent intrauterine insemination (IUI). No treatment led to a successful pregnancy, and they struggled to develop rapport and trust with the doctors they saw.

As time went on, it was becoming clear that in vitro fertilization (IVF) would likely be the couple’s best shot at parenthood. After one final visit to a Knoxville clinic to discuss in vitro fertilization left the couple feeling uneasy, they began to research options outside of the city.

Jennifer recalls, “I was scared and I remember thinking, How on earth are we going to make this happen with having to travel somewhere? We got some literature on Nashville and Atlanta options. Then we came across a blog from TRM called “The Patient I Failed” and we were really impressed. I thought, Chattanooga is only an hour and a half away.”

I-75 to in vitro fertilization

Jennifer and her husband booked a consultation with Dr. Rink Murray, made the 90-minute southbound journey down I-75, and left the appointment feeling optimistic and encouraged.

“I could tell he had reviewed our medical history and treatment up to that point,” Jennifer recalls. “He got out a notebook and was sketching things out. He spent a long time with us and he really tailored the discussion to our level of knowledge at that point in our journey. I also appreciated that he shared that he’d been through the journey of infertility himself. That was helpful.”

Within two months of their first visit, Jennifer and her husband began in vitro fertilization treatment at TRM. The first cycle yielded three embryos, but did not result in pregnancy. At that point, they looked into TRM’s IVF Guarantee Program.

“The thing that was great about the guarantee – other than the financial benefit – is that it kind of lays out this course of action, this pathway,” Jennifer explains. “Having that long-term plan was so helpful. When treatment fails, you go to this dark place of grieving, but you know there’s a plan when you’re ready. My husband and I didn’t have to discuss or rehash anything. We knew what was next.”

Bumps in the road

On the second round of in vitro fertilization, the team at TRM made some adjustments to the stimulation cycle to help Jennifer produce a higher number of eggs. This in turn yielded more embryos, allowing the couple to undergo a transfer and freeze the remaining embryos. The first transfer failed, but the second ­– using frozen embryos – was a success. Jennifer was pregnant. Unfortunately, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 10 weeks.

Jennifer and her husband made the familiar drive, though a difficult one this time, to Chattanooga for a dilation and curettage procedure following the pregnancy loss.

“You don’t ever want to think about miscarriage when you’re going in and so optimistic,” Jennifer explains. “Dr. Scotchie was there at the hospital that day along with Dr. Murray and they were both so compassionate. That definitely solidified that this was the best place to be to go through all aspects of this process.”

Following the procedure, Jennifer had to wait a couple of months before another transfer could be attempted. Her blood was carefully monitored to ensure that her body had fully recovered from the pregnancy loss.

Then, after another transfer, they received the happy news. Jennifer was pregnant – with twins!

A clear path

After a healthy and uneventful pregnancy, Jennifer and her husband welcomed two beautiful babies into the world. Jennifer says the feelings of exhaustion and stress that accompany raising twins are far outweighed by gratitude.

“Even if they’re going crazy and making a huge mess, I’m so thankful,” she says. “I’m a different person because of all of this. I’m a different mother than I would have been. And I’m at peace.”

Reflecting on the experience, Jennifer says the miles and time spent traveling were well worth it in the end.

“Fertility treatment is a stressful thing to go through as a couple,” she explains. “The guarantee took a piece of that stress out of the way. Ninety miles is not that long to go when you think about what the end result is. I would have gone many miles farther.”