How one couple’s long distance fertility journey took them from Minnesota to Tennessee for their best chances of getting pregnant
For Kari and Ryan who live in Minnesota, the journey to parenthood began with the realization that they needed assistance beyond ‘near me’ Google searches. Kari shares, “It was about a three-year process before we found TRM [Tennessee Reproductive Medicine].”
Their quest started with visits to Kari’s OB/GYN and various attempts to induce ovulation. After exhausting local options, their provider suggested seeking specialized help, setting them on a path to find the right clinic.
“I called around to different clinics in our area to try to get a feel for them or set up consultations. And I wasn’t really getting a very warm response. And then the cost was significantly high just to be able to talk to somebody,” Kari says.
Despite being located just 45 minutes away from the renowned Mayo Clinic, Kari and Ryan decided to expand their search to find the best fit for them. Eventually, their research led them to TRM and the couple were impressed with the clinic’s success rates, reputation and its proximity to Kari’s family. “Reading about Dr. Scotchie and Dr. Murray and how they started their clinic … it was all very appealing.”
The first infertility consultation: a lasting impression
The decision to go the distance (about 500 miles) for TRM wasn’t made lightly. The couple felt a connection and confidence that propelled them to take the plunge, even though it meant traveling for their dream of becoming parents. The couple went to their initial consultation with Dr. Jessica Scotchie with optimism but also caution. This was soon replaced with hope and confidence.
After meeting with them, Dr. Scotchie tailored a treatment plan specifically to address their unique needs and provided reassurance that their dream of parenthood was attainable. Ryan expressed his gratitude for this approach, emphasizing that previous doctors had been quick to dismiss their chances of success. With TRM’s expertise behind them, the duo knew they had found the right clinic for them to move forward confidently.
Navigating couple infertility & TRM’s plan for the best chances of getting pregnant
Once Kari and Ryan decided to proceed with TRM, they underwent an in vitro fertilization (IVF) round. The couple had already been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and sperm motility issues. When both partners are experiencing infertility, it is often referred to as “couple infertility” or “male and female factor infertility.” This indicates that both individuals are facing challenges in achieving a pregnancy.
Given this, Kari and Ryan opted for preimplantation genetic testing on their embryos to increase their ultimate chances of a successful pregnancy and birth. Testing showed had seven genetically normal embryos (out of an initial 12).
The couple experienced other surprises along the way, particularly in witnessing the technology and care provided by the embryologists. Kari praised the clinic’s transparency, saying “The way the embryologist communicated directly about the embryos … it was pretty cool. I appreciated the frequent updates because I’m someone who can have a lot of questions.”
TRM’s personal touch was “pretty cool” and calming
The high level of communication and personal touch extended throughout the entire team, from the nurses and embryologists to both doctors. “The teamwork and communication they have was pretty impressive. And [despite primarily being Dr. Scotchie’s patient] never once did I feel like Dr. Murray didn’t know who I was, my specific protocol, or my latest test results. The team at TRM really cared about us and that came through every step of the way.”
Ryan also points out a unique aspect of undergoing treatment in Tennessee, “It kind of puts you in a vacation mode.” Ironically, the change of environment, combined with TRM’s supportive team, helped alleviate the stress of their situation.
Following the embryo transfer, Kari and Ryan eagerly awaited the news of their chance of getting pregnant. Their cautious optimism soon turned into sheer joy when the pregnancy test showed a faint line. Despite their initial disbelief, subsequent ultrasounds confirmed their dream had come true – they were going to be parents. It was a moment Kari describes as “surreal” after waiting for so long. And little did they know that Colton, their subsequent bundle of joy, would bring even more happiness into their lives.
Reflections on going the long-distance fertility treatment route
Kari and Ryan acknowledge the rollercoaster of emotions experienced throughout their fertility journey. “I remember looking at the success stories and pictures of the babies and wondering, could this be us? Are these real people? Did this really happen?” Kari says.
Now on the flip side of their fertility journey, Kari and Ryan find joy in being one of those success stories. “But [for those reading] just know that it can be this, this can work for you. Have that hope.”