Family grateful for IVF program at UI Center for Advanced Reproductive Care

Corrine and Bill Otting enjoying family time
Corrine and Bill Otting enjoying family time with sons Easton and Eli.

Corinne and Bill Otting figured it was only a matter of time.

For years, the Peosta, Iowa, couple had been trying to get pregnant. Corinne had undergone numerous tests and procedures at medical centers in Dubuque and Wisconsin, but none of these efforts proved successful.

“We never lost hope that we’d start a family someday,” Corinne says, “but there were times where we wondered if it really would happen.”

In early 2011, Corinne and Bill contacted Bill’s aunt, who works as a nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, about their options. She put them in touch with nurse Michelle Maifeld and the medical specialists at the UI Center for Advanced Reproductive Care. Established in 1987, the center is home to Iowa’s first in vitro fertilization (IVF) program, which has successfully led to more than 4,100 births.

In March 2011, Corinne and Bill met with Maifeld, UI obstetrician Eyup Duran, MD, and other members of the IVF team.

Eyup Duran, MD in the clinic
Eyup Duran, MD
They learned more about the IVF process and timeframe and both took part in preliminary tests and evaluations.

Corinne also learned she had a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance that interferes with a woman’s ability to ovulate regularly. Ovulation is the process that occurs in a menstrual cycle when hormones trigger the ovaries to release an egg, which travels down the fallopian tube where it can come in contact with sperm and become fertilized. PCOS disrupts ovulation, making the opportunity for getting pregnant unlikely.

“Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common cause of infertility, and many women don’t know they have PCOS until they try getting pregnant,” Duran says. “The good news is that with the right treatment, women with PCOS can indeed get pregnant.”

“Coming to the University of Iowa was the first time we were told about (PCOS),” Corinne says.

“For Corinne, previous fertility treatments were unsuccessful, so they chose the University of Iowa for IVF treatment,” Duran says.

The UI team prescribed medications to help stimulate ovulation so that Corinne could produce mature eggs for fertilization. She returned to the UI Center for Advanced Reproductive Care for follow-up care. The retrieval of Corinne’s eggs went smoothly, as did the IVF process of combining eggs and sperm in the lab to create embryos. The embryos were allowed to grow in the lab for a few days, and two were transferred back to Corinne’s uterus. Her remaining embryos were cryopreserved—frozen and stored at sub-zero temperatures—for potential future use.

In May 2011, the Ottings received news that Corinne’s pregnancy test was positive. Years of patience and persistence had paid off: Corinne and Bill were going to have a baby.

In early January 2012, their son, Easton, was born.

Sixteen months later, in May 2013, the Ottings welcomed Eli, another baby boy to the family. Eli was born via a process known as a frozen embryo transfer (FET), which used a preserved embryo from the previous fresh IVF cycle.

Today, Corinne and Bill have two healthy, growing boys, and the couple remains grateful for the care they received.

“Everyone was so accommodating,” Corinne says. “The doctors and nurses are experts at what they do, which made us feel comfortable and made the transition back home very easy. We knew we were in good hands.”

The UI Center for Advanced Reproductive Care is nationally recognized for its above-average success rates and its single-embryo transfer program that allows women to conceive one baby at a time. Although twins and triplets are appealing to some couples, singleton pregnancy is the safest pregnancy for mother and baby, and this can be achieved through single-embryo transfer and a strong cryopreservation program.

Other services available at the center include:

  • Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis—the removal of a single cell from an embryo and testing for inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy
  • Pre-implantation genetic screening—the removal of one or more cells from an IVF embryo and testing for a normal number of chromosomes (23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46)
  • Use of donor eggs, embryos, and gestational carriers
  • Fertility preservation (storing or “banking” of eggs or embryos) for women, including those who have been diagnosed with cancer and are awaiting cancer treatment

— David Pedersen
Winter 2016

Peosta, Iowa