Two kids after failed vasectomy reversal: The Carro family’s story
Jessica Lovell, a former Las Vegas news anchor and reporter, was 35 when she married 43-year-old Tony, who runs a legal services company and was already the father of two pre-teens. When they decided to have kids together, Tony underwent surgery to reverse a prior vasectomy, and for a year, they tried to conceive naturally. But by the time Jessica turned 37, she still wasn’t pregnant.
Overcoming a failed vasectomy reversal
Jessica’s obgyn told her that her best chance to become a biological mom was a visit to our Las Vegas fertility center and Bruce Shapiro, M.D., who he described as “a fertility genius.” Jessica first attended a free seminar at our fertility center, then made an appointment to get to the bottom of the couple’s inability to conceive.
Fertility tests ordered by Dr. Shapiro quickly revealed sperm quantity and quality issues related to the failed vasectomy reversal, as well as the fact that Jessica had a blocked fallopian tube and age-related egg quality issues. Dr. Shapiro’s solution: IVF with frozen embryo transfer.
“We were surprised to learn we had one bum tube, egg quality issues and not enough sperm,” Jessica says. “We had just figured we were going to be able to have kids when we were ready. We never thought it would be an issue. Infertility wasn’t something I ever thought I’d come across. We weren’t thinking we would ever have to go into the IVF world. It just wasn’t on our radar.”
That spring, Jessica began taking fertility medications for the first of three nearly back-to-back egg retrievals, with a goal of producing as many eggs as possible. After each IVF cycle, in March, April and June, her eggs were fertilized by Tony’s sperm, and the resulting 15 embryos were frozen, giving Jessica’s body time to recover before embryo transfer.
“Frozen transfer made a lot of sense when Dr. Shapiro explained it,” she says. “You go through all this medication to do the retrieval, then you’re asking your body to get back in the mode of accepting transfer right away. It’s better to wait a month or two and then start over, making sure that your body is ready to take the embryos in. It worked for me.”
Ultimately, two embryos survived the thaw and growth stages, and both were transferred. One became Jessica and Tony’s first child together, daughter Sunnye Lucille.
Repeat IVF after failed vasectomy reversal
Soon, the Carros decided to try again. This time, the day before egg retrieval, Tony got cold feet. The idea of a fourth child suddenly became overwhelming. When Jessica came into the office upset and uncertain about what to do, Dr. Shapiro offered to retrieve Jessica’s eggs and freeze them until the couple was ready, and even offered to let them pay for the retrieval when they were ready to move ahead.
“It was such a tough, emotionally charged time for us, and Dr. Shapiro knew it,” she says. “What he did for us just shows what kind of person he is.”
Four months later, Tony was back on board, and the couple decided to move forward with fertilizing Jessica’s frozen eggs. This time, they got three embryos, yet sadly, genetic testing showed that they would not be able to survive.
When Jessica was 40, the couple decided to try one more time to make their dream of another child come true. This time, only one egg was retrieved.
“We thought there was no way that one egg would make it all the way through the process of fertilization, genetic testing, freezing, thawing, transfer and implantation, but it sure did,” Jessica says. “I had really accepted that there was no way we were going to have another baby. When they called the day of transfer to say the embryo was ready to go, I couldn’t believe it.”
That embryo is now the Carros’ son, Dominic David, born when Jessica was 41.
“I always tell people who are experiencing infertility not to get discouraged, because it really only takes one good egg,” she says. “Embrace the process and science behind this journey. It may not be what you planned, but enjoy and have faith in this path, regardless of the outcome.”
An emotional journey
During her experience at our Las Vegas fertility center, Jessica came to count on the IVF staff to answer questions, provide moral support, explain how to give injections, and even answer her middle-of-the-night texts when she feared she was having a miscarriage.
“I felt so needy, but the girls at the office always reassured me that everything was fine and it would be OK,” she says. “They were busy, but they always knew exactly where I was in my process without having to pull my chart. They knew me. I felt so good about that.”
Though infertility and IVF weren’t easy for the Carros, they came out the other side stronger than they were before.
“It puts a lot of strain on your finances and your marriage,” she says. “You see the pictures of me and my family, and you think that we had this perfect, ideal situation. To get there, it was not pretty. It was not fairy tale stuff. I want people to know that sometimes it’s rough, but keep fighting on. I did two transfers and got two healthy babies. It’s never lost on me how lucky we have been.”
To learn more about options for having children after a failed vasectomy reversal, contact our Las Vegas fertility center.