My husband and I first met at a wedding many years back. We fell in love and got married in India in 2004, and had our first baby boy in 2006. He looked beautiful, healthy and normal, but at four months old, he still couldn’t lift his head on his own. We visited all of our doctors to find an answer. At six months old, our son was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA Type 1).
SMA is a genetic disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. Due to a loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and area of the brain connected to the spinal cord, muscle atrophy occurs, inhibiting activities such as crawling, head movement, sitting up, and walking. SMA is the most common cause of genetic infant death, and there is still no cure.
We had never heard of SMA before, and were devastated. We experienced hell emotionally for the next many months knowing the prognosis. In 2007 at 11 months, just two weeks shy of his first birthday, our son passed away. We were never the same after that.
In early 2009, I conceived but had an early miscarriage. In early 2010, I again conceived, but the baby was diagnosed with SMA at 14 weeks and I had to terminate the pregnancy. That was another tough blow in our life. We needed a couple of years to heal before trying again.
In 2012, we tried IVF without success. Discouraged but determined to have a family, we then decided to visit Dr. Beltsos at Fertility Centers of Illinois. On the first couple visits, we felt comfortable with her approach and I decided to go through the whole process again.
Though it was a tough treatment, it went well thanks to Dr. Beltsos, our nurse Sabrina Lovell, and the FCI staff. We had our embryos tested through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a state-of-the-art procedure used in conjunction with IVF to select embryos free of chromosomal abnormalities and specific genetic disorders, for transfer to the uterus.
In February 2014, we did an embryo transfer with a healthy embryo. We are very excited to have a baby due in November 2014. Thank you FCI! We definitely recommend FCI to anyone who wants to have a healthy family.