Research study helps to create a new family
For Sarah H., it was a research study that made all the difference. In fact, she credits the study–and the skilled doctors at University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine–for making her a soon-to-be mother.
Sarah and her husband, Chris, had been trying to conceive for more than three years, but had come up empty handed. Finally, she decided to see a doctor. “We looked around at various clinics,” Sarah says. “I felt that Dr. Schlaff at University of Colorado was the first one who really listened to us.”
Sarah had what is often termed “unexplained infertility,” which means there was no obvious reason that she should not be able to conceive. Initial testing had revealed no substantial problems.
The timing of Sarah’s visit to University of Colorado was fortunate. Research hospitals, such as University of Colorado, often conduct medical studies. Advanced Reproductive Medicine was just about to begin a study on women with unexplained infertility.
“Dr. Schlaff said that we were good candidates, and suggested we participate,” Sarah says. “Most of our treatment costs in the study would be taken care of, and it could help increase my chances of becoming pregnant.”
The AMIGOS (Assessment of Multiple Intrauterine Gestations from Ovarian Stimulation) study would compare three different drugs–clomiphene citrate, Letrozole, and gonadotropin–as treatment for unexplained infertility.
While Sarah waited for the study to begin, she had further testing. She learned that she had stage one endometriosis, which means that endometrial tissue had been found in areas outside of the uterus. In some cases, this can cause pain during menstruation and even infertility. Though stage one endometriosis is minimal, Sarah decided to have surgery to remove it while she waited for the study to begin.
After a few months of recovery, the study began. Sarah was given one of the three medications, but didn’t know which one.
“When I started the medications, I could feel that I was on something,” says Sarah. “I was a little more emotional, but I didn’t feel out of it or icky. I felt like my reproductive system was very busy.”
Sarah then received an HCG injection to make her ovulate, and then she was inseminated with her husband’s sperm during a procedure called an IUI (intrauterine insemination).
Then, all she had to do was wait. “I stayed positive throughout the experience, and that helped,” Sarah says. “It’s so easy to be discouraged when you don’t get pregnant for so many years.”
Two weeks later, Sarah took a home pregnancy test. “It worked! I was pregnant,” she says.
Now, Sarah and her husband are awaiting the birth of their little boy. “I felt very blessed that I came across the right doctor and that I was able to participate in an infertility study,” she says. “I can’t wait to be a mom.”