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Seeds of Success: The Kotch-Jester Family

Stacy and Steff Kotch-Jester wanted a baby, just not with IVF. After unsuccessfully using donor sperm at home, the couple decided they needed help from a reproductive specialist.

They found Reproductive Associates of Delaware (RAD) after some friends who were former RAD patients recommended they schedule an appointment. They met with Dr. George Kovalevsky, and he suggested Stacy undergo a few initial tests to ensure there wasn’t a medical reason for her being unable to conceive. 

“It was actually a good thing, because Dr. Kovalevsky found some issues with Stacy,” Steff said.

Scheduling For Surgery

Dr. Kovalevsky scheduled Stacy for hysteroscopy surgery at the Delaware Outpatient Surgical Center (DOCS) to remove polyps from Stacy’s uterus. After surgery, the couple then moved forward with a series of intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments.

“I was actually successful on the first try, but at 8 weeks, we discovered I had a blighted ovum,” Stacy said.

A blighted ovum occurs when an embryo attaches to the uterine wall, but does not develop. Dr. Kovalevsky believed the blighted ovum happened by chance and recommended Stacy undergo several more IUIs, which were ultimately unsuccessful. The couple then met with Dr. Kovalevsky to discuss their next step.

“He recommended doing laparoscopic surgery to see if there was anything else, and that was when they discovered that I had severe endometriosis,” Stacy said.

Since Dr. Kovalevsky and Dr. Barbara McGuirk weren’t expecting to find endometriosis, the surgery lasted 3 hours. Stacy’s fallopian tubes were significantly damaged from the severe endometriosis.

“Dr. Kovalevsky was so kind,” Steff said. “He came out to the waiting room and explained everything to me.”

Steff Kotch-Jester

“Dr. Kovalevsky was so kind. He came out to the waiting room and explained everything to me.”

Despite the endometriosis diagnosis and spending significant time in surgery, Stacy and Steff said they found a silver lining.

“This is going to sound funny, but we actually loved having surgery at DOCS,” Stacy said. “It was a very relaxing atmosphere. And having endometriosis actually turned out to be a good thing, since my insurance then covered IVF,” Stacy said.

Moving To IVF

Although Stacy and Steff decided that they would never do IVF, they said their feelings changed after meeting the staff at RAD.

“Nobody talked us into it. We just felt so comfortable under Dr. Kovalevsky’s care that we were willing to explore all the options,” Steff said. “Everybody took the time to really explain the IVF process to us, and to answer all of our questions. We both felt extremely comfortable.”

After recovering from surgery, Stacy underwent an egg retrieval. Dr. Kovalevsky performed a fresh transfer, and Stacy became pregnant with their son Jameson on the first try. However, Stacy and Steff had a few scares along the way. The first happened when Stacy was 8 weeks pregnant.

“It was a Sunday afternoon and we were watching Elena Delle Donne and University of Delaware basketball. I went to the bathroom and there were blood clots,” Stacy recalled. “I came home and I thought for sure we lost him. We called Dr. Kovalevsky, and he was so calm.”

“He told us to relax and explained that it didn’t necessarily mean that it was a loss of a pregnancy—it could just be bleeding, which is common,” Steff said.

Stacy went into the office the next day, and the clinicians detected Jameson’s heartbeat—their baby was fine, just as Dr. Kovalevsky had predicted.

At 12 weeks, the couple learned Jameson might have another issue. Dr. Kovalevsky referred Stacy and Steff to the Delaware Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine so the couple could get a clearer diagnosis.

They found their baby had omphalocele, an abdominal wall defect where some of the internal organs can potentially grow outside the body.

Omphalocele can sometimes come with additional complications, such as an underlying genetic disorder or a cardiac defect. However, Jameson’s omphalocele was a fluke of nature: he was born without any additional complications and will have surgery to correct his omphalocele when he is older.

Stacy and Steff live with their son Jameson in Barrington, New Jersey.

Reflecting On RAD

Above all, Stacy and Steff said staying positive was the most important aspect of their journey.

“You have to stay positive. As soon as we got down and out, it just doesn’t work,” Stacy said. “You have to be positive the whole way through and you have to be patient.”

“IVF might not be right for everybody, but RAD gives everybody the opportunity to explore all of his or her options,” Steff added.

Stacy Kotch-Jester

“You have to stay positive. As soon as we got down and out, it just doesn’t work. You have to be positive the whole way through and you have to be patient.”

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"Dr. Neithardt was amazing. She explained in great detail all the options we had and put us at ease about the entire process. Everyone has been amazing and I have absolutely no complaints. Today I am 17 weeks pregnant and we only have Dr. Neithardt and her wonderful team at RAD to thank."

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Anonymous On FertilityIQ


"Dr. McGuirk is a very holistic doctor. She doesn’t just treat the fertility issues. She also points out personal health ideas (juicing, whole 30) to help heal/treat the whole patient. She is honest and open. Be open minded and trust in her process. This is a marathon, not a sprint! Dr. McGuirk will be with you the whole way."

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"I will never be able to put into words how thankful we are for RAD. Rhonda was there every step of the way as we were going through the process. Everyone was so welcoming and patient as we asked questions. We were blessed with a daughter, who is now three. I have already recommended and will continue to recommend RAD to people who need help growing their family!"

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