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For Andrea and Mark Rivas, the road to becoming parents was a long and bumpy one. Although they knew even before they got married that they wanted a big family, but it didn’t happen like they planned. After trying on their own to get pregnant for several years using timed intercourse and over the counter ovulation predictor kits, Andrea and Mark decided to see a fertility doctor. They chose Shady Grove Fertility Center near Washington DC, and in August of 2010, after previously suffering a miscarriage, they started on timed intercourse combined with Clomid. The very first treatment cycle gave them a positive pregnancy test, but it was a chemical pregnancy, and they found no success there. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here
The couple then moved on to trying IVF, hopeful that this time things would fall into place. Shady Grove, their fertility clinic, is the largest provider of infertility treatment in the USA. At their first IVF transfer, the couple chose to transfer only one of their five embryos, and unfortunately, the cycle ended in a negative pregnancy test. That was in April of 2011. By June of 2011, Mark and Andrea decided to this time try to transfer both embryos. That did the trick! Andrea was finally pregnant- with twins! On February 1, 2012, Andrea gave birth to Avery Leigh and Connor Michael!
While browsing the web, Andrea began to visit Shady Grove’s Facebook page, and immediately connected with Sandi Palmisano. The two ladies only lived about 20 minutes apart, and even were patients of the same doctor at Shady Grove! Eventually, both couples met for dinner, and a friendship was born! It was so great for Sandi and Andrea both to have someone else who was going through the same things and someone to really talk to who would understand! Eventually, the Palmisanos became godparents to Andrea and Mark’s twins. But that isn’t all.
When Andrea was 8 months pregnant, Sandi mentioned that she was on her fourth failed IVF cycle, and her doctor said she might need a gestational surrogate to ever become a mom. Andrea blurted out
“I will do it for you!”
And she meant it. In the spring of 2012, after the Rivera’s twins had arrived safely, the two couples moved forward with their big plans. The first cycle ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks, and the second cycle ended with a negative pregnancy test, but the third cycle was the charm, and Andrea was again pregnant, with a boy and a girl. This time, they belonged to the Palmisanos.
Sandi was the only person in the operating room with Andrea when the babies were delivered via planned c-section, and she says it was a beautiful moment. She says that she was not compensated at all to carry twins for the Palmisanos, and she did it out of love. The two couples appeared on The Today Show in December to share their amazing story. What does Dr. Jeanne O’Brein, the couples’ fertility specialist, have to say about her very special patients?
“Wanting to have a baby is hardwired into our DNA and when that doesn’t happen naturally, it can have a devastating affect on a woman, man and couple,”
“I have seen family members who offer to help by donating egg, sperm or by carrying the baby. What is so compelling about this story is that they were strangers until they became virtual friends through the Shady Grove Fertility Facebook page. The friendship that began online was further developed offline. Over time, these women became like sisters and Andrea’s generosity toward her ‘sister’ was inspiring, to say the least. I feel privileged to be a part of their story and am very happy both of these wonderful couples were able to become parents.”
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