Seeds of Success: The Martin Family
Coming from a big family, Devona Martin never even considered infertility an issue. So when she and her husband at the time were having difficulty conceiving, they didn’t visit a specialist until Devona’s primary care doctor recommended RADfertility.
Seventeen years ago, RADfertility was located in the Christiana Medical Center on Stanton Christiana Road in Newark. RADfertility had been open for two years and its founder, Dr. Barbara McGuirk, was the only practicing doctor.
Devona said she remembered her first appointment well. It was a tiny office, and she was just 22 years old.
“She sat with me and went over a lot of information. She shared with me a lot of information that I never knew,” Devona said. “And she assured me that she would do the best she could to help me through my process and to better explain what the issue could be.”
“She assured me that she would do the best she could to help me through my process and to better explain what the issue could be.“
Finding The Issue
As part of the couples’ initial work-up, Dr. McGuirk tested Devona’s fallopian tubes with a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). During an HSG test, a dye is injected into the uterine cavity and the results are monitored through x-ray. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, the dye won’t reach the abdominal cavity. “I remember Dr. McGuirk was the one that did the procedure, and that is when she found out I had blocked tubes,” Devona said.
At the same time, Dr. McGuirk also referred Devona’s husband to a urologist, where he discovered he had a low sperm count. Devona and her husband tried several intrauterine insemination cycles without success. It was then that they decided to consider other options.
During that time, RADfertility was in the process of moving to an office in Pike Creek at Brownstone Plaza. Dr. Ronald Feinberg, a colleague of Dr. McGuirk’s from the University of Pennsylvania, had also just joined RADfertility and was developing an IVF program for the practice.
Dr. McGuirk said that because of her age, Devona and her husband were great candidates for IVF. “I was only 22 at the time so my chances of getting pregnant were much higher than someone coming to her at 30 or 40,” Devona said. “We both felt very confident that it would work for me.”
Dr. McGuirk introduced Devona and her husband to Dr. Feinberg, who explained how the IVF process works, and their likelihood of success with the procedure. “I told him I was up for the challenge,” Devona said.
Moving To IVF
“I want to say that I was probably one of the first few people who had done IVF at RADfertility, “ Devona said. “There were maybe two or three of us. I know I was definitely one of the first with the blastocyst transfer.”
Dr. Feinberg transferred three embryos for Devona’s first IVF cycle. The amount of embryos may seem high today, but the average number of embryos transferred during an IVF cycle in 1997 was 3.7, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). At the time, transferring three blastocyst embryos meant RADfertility was at the cutting edge of assisted reproductive technology.
Devona remembered receiving the news at work that she was pregnant after her first transfer. However, after taking a blood test, she found her human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels were dropping. Her transfer had only resulted in a chemical pregnancy. She said the news left she and her husband devastated. “That was the worst news that I could have ever received,” she said.
However, they weren’t ready to give up yet. “I stayed positive and they said, ‘We want to try it again,’” Devona said. “My husband and I discussed that we had more than enough embryos to do that, so that’s what we did.”
Dr. Feinberg transferred another three embryos, and the couple hoped for the best. “The second transfer did work, and I can remember that phone call,” Devona said. “I got the phone call again at work. I went to go get the blood work, and the levels went up quickly.
“I was pregnant, and I was the happiest person in the entire world.”
Devona Martin’s son Zavia.
Looking Back At The Journey
Devona said the most difficult part of the IVF process was waiting and believing that she would eventually become pregnant and be a parent. “I knew I was in good hands, but believing it and dealing with infertility is gut-wrenching,” she said. “You want to say, ‘Why me—why did this happen to me?’”
She said it was especially difficult because she and her husband both had factors contributing to their infertility. “I felt like it was a curse, and we were never going to have children. So just coming out of that mindset that I was not going to be a mother one day,” Devona said. “I think that was the hardest thing.”
The easiest part of the couples’ journey was not having to worry about choosing the right fertility doctor. She said that even though RADfertility was in its earliest stages, she was sure Dr. McGuirk could help her.
“If it could happen, she was the one that was going to make it happen,” Devona said. ”She made me feel very confident that we were going to be in it altogether and attack the issue. Her staff was going to do everything it took to make sure it was successful.”
“She made me feel very confident that we were going to be in it altogether and attack the issue. Her staff was going to do everything it took to make sure it was successful.“
An Ideal Place
Devona’s son, Zavia, is 16 now. “My son is an amazing kid. He plays piano, drums, guitar, bass guitar,” Devona said. “He is an extremely gifted child and is able to do things that most children can’t do. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be his mother.”
One piece of advice Devona has for those seeking an answer to their fertility challenges is to remain patient. “Your expectations may not always be when you want them and how you want them,” she said. “Have patience, and believe that no matter the outcome, you are in good hands.
“If you are looking for hope and answers to your infertility needs, RADfertility would be the ideal place,” she said. “I wouldn’t recommend any other place to go to.”
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"I feel so lucky to have found RADfertility. I tried two other clinics before I expanded my search and found RADfertility. I drive an hour each way to go to them but I don’t regret a thing. They are so caring and so professional. Every time I message them they respond quickly. Every time I see them they have a friendly smile and warm welcome. They explain everything so well and I never feel lost in the process as I did elsewhere. They also took the time to figure out what was wrong. Other clinics threw up their hands, said 'I don’t know' and pushed me to try IVF."
"Dr. Feinberg and the entire staff at RADfertility are absolutely amazing. The receptionists, coordinators, nurses, and lab staff are compassionate, caring, and straight forward. I’ve had a 12-year infertility journey and I’ve tried other clinics but RADfertility was the only one I felt at ease with. They answered any questions that I had and were there any time I needed them. My coordinator, Amy, was the absolute best and always had my back. Dr. Feinberg’s dedication to his patients is incredible. You are not just a number there, you are a person with individualized needs and care."
"My journey with RADfertility and Dr. McGuirk started when my husband and I were trying to conceive and were having difficulty. We went to RADfertility, where we met Dr. McGuirk. I always say she changed my life and 'fixed' me. Dr. McGuirk is always learning more about endometriosis and how to help her patients. She’s brilliant and truly cares for you! I’m eternally grateful to her and everyone at RADfertility for their unwavering support, love, and care."
"Every step of our journey was tailored to us. We were treated so respectfully. Every detail was clearly explained and we felt so comfortable. Rhonda Wright was a Godsend and inspiring. I highly recommend this place! I cried when my weekly appointments were done and I 'graduated.'"
"The staff and doctors are amazing. It will feel like home every time you walk in the door. They gifted us with our miracle baby and we couldn’t be happier. I will always recommend RADfertility above all others!"
"RADfertility's staff has heart and provided me with exceptional health care. I knew I was in good hands and felt like we were in this together. The doctors and nursing staff always answered all of my questions and provided thorough information about all of my options. I am so fortunate and appreciative of the care that I received at RADfertility. They go above and beyond."
"I cannot begin to explain how wonderful RADfertility is. We were frustrated with trying to start a family and it not working for us. The entire team of doctors and nurses made us feel comfortable and hopeful that we would be parents. We experienced so many ups and downs but we never felt like we were on our IVF journey alone, we had our RADfertility team every step of the way. If you're looking for a supportive team on the IVF journey, look no further. RADfertility is the absolute best."
"Dr. Schillings always kept us informed and never gave up on us. She always explained our options and risks with each procedure. She called us personally when there were any issues or sensitive subjects to cover. Dr. Schillings was the first doctor that had answers for us and wanted to help us have our miracle baby!"
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