‘Grateful and blessed family’ credits IVF team

The Rich family

“From time to time, I hear a story of a couple who were able to have a baby because of the work of Dr. Van Voorhis,” says Elizabeth Rich. “Every time, it takes me back to our story and I feel so grateful.”

Elizabeth and Joe Rich, of Ottumwa, Iowa, first connected with Brad Van Voorhis, MD, and his team just over 10 years ago to discuss their potential for in vitro fertilization

The couple began their journey to becoming parents a bit later in life, Elizabeth says. They were aware of the possible risks with pregnancy at Elizabeth’s age and decided to consult their primary care physician for guidance. In order to create the safest and healthiest pregnancy possible for both mother and baby, their doctor recommended they see Van Voorhis at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. 

At the time of their referral, they had been trying for a baby for only a few months, and the IVF process seemed a bit daunting, Elizabeth says. “At times I felt nervous but reminded myself that the team is a group of scientists, trained to see what I do not understand. I put my complete trust in them. All of the staff either had an answer to your question or they went to the ends of the earth to find it for you.”

IVF success rate higher than national average

At their first consultation at the clinic, Elizabeth and Joe were deemed good candidates for the IVF program and were introduced to the process. They knew there would be a lot of important medical information to absorb, but they didn’t allow the science to distract them from the miracle that became possible through IVF and the team at UI Hospitals & Clinics. “The doctors truly cared for us and our family,” Elizabeth says. “Dr. Van Voorhis may be a scientist, but I made it my mission to make him laugh.”

Van Voorhis has been serving patients at UI Hospitals & Clinics for 28 years and has been directing the only IVF program in eastern Iowa—one of only two such programs in the state—since 2003.

“People seek us because we provide outstanding outcomes, and our success is historically much higher than the national average (by about 10 percent),” Van Voorhis says. “Our reputation is strong and continues to build off our revolutionary treatment and care.”

In addition to the IVF program’s profound medical innovations, they work with families to keep the cost of treatment down as well as provide financing options for their patients. Van Voorhis says this enables a wide variety of people to come into the program for assistance in building a family. This, too, impressed Elizabeth and Joe, and reassured them that this was an attainable option for their family. Elizabeth says that she is forever grateful for the opportunities the IVF program offered. 

“Financially and emotionally, he saved us,” Elizabeth says. “We were always able to reach out to the clinic for comprehensive care. Nothing was too little or too much to ask.”

Van Voorhis’ unique care strategy also sets his clinic apart. He collaborates with all members of his team, which includes experienced physicians, lab staff, sonographers, and many other specialists, in order to design an educated and individualized approach to each family’s needs.

“Communication, individual care, and the desire for knowledge from all aspects of our team contribute to our success,” Van Voorhis says. 

Weekly team meetings focus on ideas and solutions for each individual case, and serve as a constant reminder of the individual impact that the team has on these families’ lives. 

“I am thankful for and value all of my patients throughout the years, no matter the result,” Van Voorhis says. “We do our absolute best for them to provide safe, outstanding outcomes.”

William and Nicholas enter the world

Eleven months after visiting Van Voorhis’ clinic for the first time, the Rich family welcomed their son William (now 10). “He is a child who is wise beyond his years, the guardian or our hearts and a born thinker,” Elizabeth says. Four years later, through the same IVF process, they added Nicholas (now 6) to their family. “He is tenacious, smart, and oh so fun.” 

Elizabeth says she is proud to express her experience with others who share similar circumstances. “For us, there was no sadness in our decision to do IVF. We are proud to say this is how our children came into the world.” 

At the end of their journey, Elizabeth says that she and Van Voorhis were good friends, and he would always be someone she could seek guidance from in all aspects of care. From phone conversations that lasted long after the clinic was closed for the night, to helping friends find the right care for their families because of Van Voorhis and his team, Elizabeth says that they were cared for every step of the way.

“To the team at the University of Iowa, thank you for the gifts you gave us. Our story at your clinic still draws a smile. It was an adventure for a young couple that I’m glad we had.”