A radio commercial piqued their interest in an information session about fertility options and also marked the beginning of Marisa and Steve’s journey at RAD. “I happened to be driving home from work one day and heard a radio ad that RAD was going to have a seminar at a local hotel,” Marisa said. “I told my husband about it and we decided to go.” Marisa and Steve attended the event in 2012 at the Christiana Hilton and had the opportunity to meet all of the RAD physicians along with members of every department. “I decided to go just to hear a little more,” Marisa shared, “and I was wowed by the session. Having representatives from the different departments within RAD was wonderful. From that session alone, I knew immediately I wanted to switch to RAD and I knew what doctor I wanted as well.” Steve and Marisa decided to move on from their current reproductive practice that night and they made an appointment with Dr. George Kovalevsky.
Advocacy In Action
Marisa was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in November 2011 and knew she may have trouble conceiving due to the disorder. “Prior to my diagnosis, I had never heard of PCOS and I had no idea what it was,” she said. Marisa found herself explaining PCOS to others in an effort to raise awareness, “The way that I like to explain PCOS is that it causes a woman’s hormones to be out of balance. It can affect the way you feel, the way you look, and in some cases can lead to serious health problems.”
“Many women are fighting an invisible illness, so the biggest thing that I want people to know about PCOS is that it exists at all.“
Following her diagnosis, Marisa sought support for the disorder which led to a new initiative, the Facebook Delaware PCOS Awareness Support Group. “I started the support group in the fall of 2012 after feeling alone because I didn’t understand the disease,” Marisa shared. “Even though I had support from my husband and family, I was looking for other women going through exactly what I was going through.” Her advocacy efforts didn’t stop there. Supported by wonderful family and friends, Marisa launched the 1st Annual Delaware PCOS Awareness Walk in 2013 to raise funds for organizations that had a mission close to her heart. The Glasgow Park event has grown exponentially and this year they celebrated the fourth annual walk with proceeds benefitting the PCOS Foundation and the PCOS Awareness Association.
Taking The First Step At RAD
Steve and Marisa visited RAD’s Newark office for their first appointment with Dr. Kovalevsky in June of 2013. “It was a very informative appointment and he was very thorough. I appreciated his style of speaking with us,” Marisa noted. They also appreciated Dr. Kovalevsky’s understanding when he addressed IVF as something they potentially would have to do and not necessarily a starting point.
Following their first appointment, Marisa and Steve decided to move forward with the work-up process. The work-up is part of the diagnostic treatment process at RAD and involves an initial exam and ultrasound, followed by prenatal lab work for both male and female partners. The physician uses this information to create an individualized treatment plan based on their recommendations and the patient’s goals. Dr. Kovalevsky reviewed the results from their testing with the couple and once again confirmed Marisa’s PCOS diagnosis. Marisa and Steve started their first round of treatment at RAD in November 2013 with an intrauterine insemination (IUI).
The Third Time Is The Charm
Unfortunately, after two unsuccessful IUI attempts, Marisa and Steve decided to move on to IVF in June 2014. Marisa said, “I was an ideal candidate for Step-It-Up IVF so we started with that. My body did not respond well the first time, so we tried a second time. The second round included some alterations to the medicine I was taking, but it was still unsuccessful.” Marisa also noted how important Steve’s support was through the process. “Not only did he come to almost every appointment, but he was my hand-holder and injection buddy,” Marisa stated. “Needles stress me out, but Steve is worse, and generally passes out at the sight of blood. He would prep my needles, fill the medicine, and get the alcohol wipes prepped so that I could just clean the area and inject quickly. We became a team.”
After two unsuccessful IVF attempts, Marisa and Steve remained hopeful that the third time was the charm. “It felt like a lot of failure over and over again,” Marisa said. Dr. Kovalevsky was also a source of hope during the tough times. “He always made me feel like there was some other option. Whatever it took, we were going to do something to get there.”
Marisa kept a journal of all of her thoughts and feelings throughout the treatment process. “The journal helped me in a few ways,” Marisa shared, “it helped me remember the years of treatment and also reflect on what I had been through and accomplished.” The couple started their third IVF cycle in January 2015 and were filled with joy as it went well, resulting in ten frozen embryos. Of those ten embryos, one was transferred on April 10, 2015, and two weeks later, Marisa and Steve heard the words that they had been longing to hear, ‘You are pregnant!’
Marisa and Steve’s daughter Lily was born on January 6th, 2016.
‘A Place Where a lot of my Problems Were Solved’
Marisa and Steve reflected on their time at RAD. “I tell everyone that for me, RAD is a place where a lot of my problems were solved,” Marisa shared. The couple valued the welcoming environment at RAD and that they felt like they were a part of the bigger RAD family. “I felt like they knew us, they remembered us, and were invested in us on a personal level vs. just a number in a book. RAD has been the best patient/physician relationship I have ever had.”
“When you are going through treatment, it is important to remember there will always be sunshine around the corner. Don’t give up.”
Marisa’s 4-year fertility journey with PCOS led to a happy ending, the sweetest little girl named Lily, in January 2016. And recently, Marisa and Steve became a family of 4!
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"We had a wonderful experience working with RADfertility. Our doctor was so sweet, informative and helpful with all of our questions. The front desk, it’s always nice to be greeted by a friendly smiling face."
"RAD heard my hopes, dreams, and wishes and led me toward them while holding my hand. My dream came true. I was guided to a beautiful baby girl! It took less than a year for my pregnancy to begin and it was successful. This was the best decision I ever made. Thank you, RAD!"
"From the beginning our team was determined to find a way for my husband and I to complete our family. All the RAD staff was knowledgeable and truly cared for us. We wish we could have continued with them after our baby hit 12 weeks. We thank them daily in our prayers for giving us our beautiful baby girl!"
"We will be forever grateful for the wonderful care we received at RAD! Dr. Feinberg took the time to listen and create a plan we were comfortable with. The whole team was amazing and truly care about their patients. You have exceeded our expectations. Thank you!!"
"Thanks to RADfertility, we have the most perfect addition to our family. The help and support the whole staff gave us was indescribable. We never once lost hope because of them. We will be forever grateful to each and every person we worked with during our journey."
"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."
"They are the most amazing team of doctors and care coordinators. After having started at another facility I was so happy to come to RAD. They are truly amazing, never make you feel like just a number and have empathy and compassion every step of the way. They also get the job done! Thanks RAD!"
"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."
"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!"
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
Medical Arts Pavilion 2
Newark, DE 19713
Silverside Medical Center
2700 Silverside Road, Suite 2A
Wilmington, DE 19810
Eden Hill Medical Center
200 Banning Street, Suite 240
Dover, DE 19904
Phone: (302) 602-8822
Fax: (302) 602-8832