Some women have an easy time getting pregnant, but for others, like Renata Cardelli of North Barrington, it was a struggle.
But thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF), along with prayer and perseverance, Renata and her husband Glen have two beautiful daughters.
“I just feel like it was God’s plan, why I needed to go through what I went through,” Renata says.
IVF, or the transfer of fertilized eggs into a woman’s uterus, is the most common form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). In fact, every year more than 1 percent of all infants born in the U.S. are conceived using ART, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“People used to be so embarrassed about having a hard time becoming pregnant,” says Dr. Susan Davies—who has not worked with the Cardellis, but is a founder and co-owner of North Shore Fertility in Skokie. “Now it’s becoming so much more socially acceptable to get help.”
The Cardellis married in 1991 and tried having children right away. Renata is now 47, but was only 26 when she started trying to conceive.
Over the next few years, Renata had two miscarriages and two ectopic pregnancies, which required four surgeries in 13 months. “You thought there was life, but then it’s snatched from you,” Renata says.
It was at this point that Renata’s physician suggested IVF. The treatment does carry some risks, Davies says, including bleeding, pain and increased odds of having multiples. “But overall, in vitro is very safe and very effective,” Davies says.
When Renata had IVF, her insurance didn’t cover it and it cost about $2,500 a month. “But how can you put a price tag on having a family?” Renata says.
Davies says, on average, it takes four cycles of IVF for a woman to become pregnant. After three cycles of IVF, Renata was finally “with child.” “I was so scared,” she says. “I was afraid I was going to miscarry.”
But she didn’t miscarry. Renata gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Jacqueline, who is now 14 years old.
The couple waited awhile before they tried having another child, and they turned to IVF again for help. Three cycles later, Jillian was born. She is now 11 years old.
While Glen and Renata know that IVF is what helped them have a family, Renata also believes in the power of prayer. “I realize what a gift our girls are,” she says.
If IVF isn’t right for you, using an egg donor is another option. Learn about what Graceful Conception in Lake Forest can offer.