Infertile patients cannot afford to wait for treatment while their eggs get older.
Dr. Sherman Silber, Infertility Center of St. Louis, is offering free video consultations for patients who need to plan now for their treatment while stay-at-home orders are in place. He is talking to and evaluating patients in their home to comply with social distancing measures.
Dr. Silber is discovering that patients actually prefer this method of telemedicine consultation over the conventional office visit. Patients have conveyed that “it is so much more convenient and less stressful” to have a free telemedicine personal consultation than to take a day off from work to travel to the doctor’s office and sit with other nervous patients in the waiting room.
The COVID-19 pandemic is thus changing much of the way we will do things in the future, and for the better. “Our patients are surprisingly much happier with this approach. Of course, at some point we need to perform hands on treatment. But with this new manner of seeing patients, we can come to the right diagnosis and treatment plan for most patients more efficiently, quickly, and painlessly, with no loss of personal one-on-one communication.” This is a very welcome new era of telemedicine that has been forced on us by the current difficult times.
Savannah Guthrie: Last month during our Born Today series you may remember we introduced you to Jessica Menkhausen and her fiancée Derek Manion. They let us go on their journey with them as they underwent IVF live on our air.
Well, NBC’s chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman is here to give us an update on how they’re doing. Nancy, good morning.
Nancy Snyderman: Good morning, Savannah. Our cameras were there when Jessica underwent In Vitro Fertilization; in this case something called ICSI. Since then we have been following this pair, and this morning we have chosen to take it one step further and they’re going to share the results with us.
Jessica Menkhausen: I want to be positive, and I think we’re going to have twins. And I think they’re going to have red hair and blue eyes. [laughing]
Nancy Snyderman: After struggling with fertility issues for nearly a decade, 33-year-old Jessica Menkhausen and her fiancée Derek Manion are excited about the possibility of starting a family.
Jessica Menkhausen: Hopefully these children know one day how much we wanted them.
Dr. Silber: That’s really the moment of conception.
Nancy Snyderman: That moment, a first on live television, fertilization, via IVF. [from previous broadcast] This is now a fertilized egg.
Dr. Sherman Silber, a fertility expert, performed the procedure.
Dr. Silber: I want to have enough frozen embryos that we can be guaranteed that she’s going to get pregnant.
Nancy Snyderman: Back at the hospital three days later, the anxious couple learned how many of Jessica’s fertilized eggs had grown into viable embryos.
Dr. Silber: So this one is not so equal sized.
That is gorgeous! That is an eight-cell embryo. That is a baby right there.
Nancy Snyderman: Dr. Silber chooses two good embryos for transfer into Jessica’s uterus, and then shares the news.
Dr. Silber: Okay, so we did really, really well. This is for your baby album. These are the two embryos.
Nancy Snyderman: Jessica remains awake and watches with Derek as Dr. Silber gently places the embryos.
Dr. Silber: And, uhh, those are your babies.
Nancy Snyderman: It will take 10 days to find out if Jessica is pregnant.
Jessica Menkhausen: I think I’m just going to keep our positive thoughts.
Dr. Silber: This is the big, unknown period of what is happening inside her uterus. I recommend that they try to relax.
Jessica Menkhausen: Worrying is not going to change what’s going to happen.
Nancy Snyderman: [phone rings] Ten days later, the results are in.
Dr. Silber: Well guess what. You’re pregnancy test is positive … you’re pregnant.
Jessica Menkhausen: That’s amazing! [laughing] We got a baby in there.
Savannah Guthrie: Jessica and Derek are with us this morning along with Nancy. Okay Jessica and Derek you’re making us cry. How did you feel when you got that phone call?
Jessica Menkhausen: You know I just had the feeling wash over me again. Just so ecstatic. So overwhelmed with joy. We feel so blessed to have met Dr. Silber and so blessed to have the results that we have.
Derek Manion: Thank God for that. It was overwhelming.
Nancy Snyderman: Guys, I know … this is Nancy talking … I know that you don’t know yet whether it’s one or two, but take us in to what Dr. Silber has said is going to happen to you over the next couple of weeks.
Jessica Menkhausen: So in the next few weeks we’ll do an ultrasound. By that time we’ll be able to hear the baby or babies’ heartbeats and hopefully see one or two fetuses in the womb. So we’re really excited about that. We’re really looking forward to that.
Savannah Guthrie: Jessica this is so intimate. There we were right at the moment of this IVF. Why did you guys feel it was important to share this story?
Jessica Menkhausen: You know I feel like there are a lot of other women out there with the same problems or possibly the same issues as we have, or couples, as we have. I hope that in telling our story it will inspire other couples to take that next step and to find out what their options are.
Also it has helped us. Not carrying around this secret but sharing it with everyone and getting the support and prayers of all of our co-workers and family and friends. It’s really been a blessing to us.
Savannah Guthrie: Well Jessica and Derek, we are rooting for you and your new baby or babies. And thank you for sharing this journey.
Nancy Snyderman: We’ll be following you the whole way so don’t get rid of us yet.
Savannah Guthrie: Nancy as I turn to you, she had two embryos implanted. That’s not always what doctors do.
Nancy Snyderman: No. So she had 17 fertilized. They transferred two of them – ones that looked really good. And the really great thing about the science is you can see really see which ones have taken, and which one give her the best chance of success.
We’re going to be with her the whole way.
Savannah Guthrie: We can offer our prayers. She’ll have the prayers of the country with her.
DNancy Snyderman: Remember she still has quite a few healthy fertilized eggs sitting there, so she has multiples to go back to.
Savannah Guthrie: Well it’s an interesting story. Thank you for helping us tell it.