Christina and Louis Gorini of Little Silver were in shock and disbelief when they learned that Louis had been diagnosed with male infertility. Despite their doctor’s diagnosis they decided to keep on trying on their own to start a family.
“In 50 percent of heterosexual couples who experience infertility, there is an abnormality involving the male partner,” said Dr. Phillip J. Cheng, a urologist with RMA Men’s Health in Basking Ridge. “In 20 percent of cases, there is solely an issue with the male partner.”
Dr. Cheng said he knows this diagnosis can be hard for many men to process.
“Some men have difficulties with the diagnosis of infertility, particularly in cases where there are low numbers of sperm or no sperm found in the semen,” he said. “It’s really important for my patients to feel comfortable in the clinic. For most of them, it’s their first time seeing a urologist, and a lot of them have a lot of anxiety about what their visit will be like. I deal with sensitive issues on a daily basis, so I’ve learned how to approach these topics with empathy, respect and a little humor to break the ice.”
After trying on their own didn’t work, Christina and Louis turned to IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) to try and get pregnant.
“On December 25, 2016, we went in for our egg retrieval,” Christina said. “We got 18 eggs, which at the time felt amazing. From there until January 1st our numbers dwindled to three embryos that we could transfer or genetically test. Due to our numbers being so low, our embryos not looking so great and the fact that we had to pay for IVF out of pocket we decided to do genetic testing to try to maximize our chances of a viable pregnancy.”
Genetic testing, sometimes referred to as Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy or “PGT-A,” plays a vital role in IVF when determining the quality of an embryo, said Dr. Emily K. Osman, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist with RMA Network’s Marlton location.
“Before an embryo is transferred during IVF, genetic testing checks for embryos that are abnormal and may fail to implant, resulting in a negative pregnancy or miscarriage,” she said. “This is important because as a woman ages, the likelihood of developing abnormal embryos increases from 25 percent at age 30, to around 60 percent for women at age 40.”
“Genetic testing ensures a genetically normal embryo is selected for transfer, which maximizes your chances of a safe, successful live birth after IVF,” she explained.
After the Gorini’s did genetic testing the couple ended up with only one viable embryo. “We were crushed but still hopeful,” Christina said.
In April of that year, after taking a break from the fertility process, they went to RMA to do the embryo transfer. “For the next 10 days we prayed and dreamed of what life would be like, and also prepared ourselves for the worst,” she said. “On April 24th after an early morning blood draw, we got the call that we were pregnant.”
On December 19, 2017, their daughter Grayson Lena Gorini was born.
“Today we have a three-year-old little girl, the light of our life,” said Christina. “She is witty, smart, and loving. And we are forever grateful for RMA, their guidance, their dedication to science, service, safety and genetic testing. Genetic testing allowed us to have details about our embryo that we could not get just from an image.”
Dr. Osman said that genetic testing is currently an add-on that patients can choose during IVF and that RMA has invested in proving the safety and accuracy of our genetic testing platforms. “We’ve conducted several large studies with hundreds of patients all over New Jersey to verify that our testing is highly accurate and safe,” she said.
For any couples who are struggling to get pregnant (after one year of regular unprotected intercourse or six months if the female partner is 35 or older), Dr. Cheng said it is important for the male partner to get a semen analysis. “There are some red flags that should push the male partner to be evaluated by a fertility specialist as soon as possible,” he explained. “Anyone with a history of undescended testicle(s), testicular torsion, infections of the testicle, chemotherapy or radiation, testosterone replacement medication or anabolic steroids, prior surgeries or trauma to the groin/scrotum/testicles, or an inability to get an erection or ejaculate.”
Dr. Osman said that RMA is pioneering new advancements to treat infertility and she is hopeful for couples on the same journey as Christina and Louis.
“I am so excited that single embryo transfers or ‘SET’ are becoming the norm for the fertility field,” Dr. Osman said. “SET, pioneered by RMA, places one genetically normal embryo at a time, as opposed to placing multiple embryos. With SET advancements, we are having safer and healthier pregnancies, both for mom and baby.”
RMA New Jersey is comprised of 10 clinics across the state, giving hopeful parents in New Jersey and surrounding areas convenient access to the most advanced fertility care available.
The clinics–located in Basking Ridge, Eatontown, Englewood, Freehold, Marlton, Morristown, Princeton, Somerset, Springfield and West Orange–offer a full range of fertility services, including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), and third party reproductive services, and our modern facilities are equipped with advanced diagnostic and treatment capabilities.