After 18 months of trying to conceive, Melissa Meehan and her husband Matt, of Swampscott, turned to NSMC reproductive endocrinologist Mitchell Rein, M.D., for help. At that time NSMC's Reproductive Medicine Program was a satellite of the Brigham and Women's Hospital Center for Reproductive Medicine, considered by physicians and patients alike to be one of the nation's finest programs for infertility treatment. Dr. Rein has since joined a collaborative practice with Massachusetts General Hospital, where he and his colleagues provide reproductive endocrinology care at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers.
Dr. Rein started Meehan started on a standard course of treatment, which included injections to help Melissa induce ovulation and intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which sperm is inserted directly into the uterus as ovulation occurs, increasing the likelihood of conception. Melissa reported to the NSMC Women's Center every few days during this two week period.
When IUI failed, they turned to in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Again, Melissa had to give herself injections to stimulate ovulation. When she was ready to ovulate, she traveled to Brigham and Women's Hospital to have her eggs retrieved surgically. The eggs were then combined with her husband's sperm in the lab where they fertilized and divided. After several days, the fertilized eggs were returned to her uterus in the hope that a healthy embryo would implant itself and develop into a pregnancy. She conceived on her second attempt and in May 2006, gave birth to a healthy daughter, Kira, at the NSMC Birthplace at Salem Hospital.
For Meehan, that combination of personalized care and ease of access made all the difference. "The year of fertility treatments was pretty emotional," she admits. "But the thoughtful care I received at NSMC allowed me to keep believing that someday, I would be a mom."