Patrice and Yolanda Compton-Hamilton of Irvington, New Jersey, have been together for over 15 years after meeting at a pride party. When it came to thinking about their road to family, they came across The Valley Hospital Fertility Center at a Rainbow Wedding Expo, an exposition for LGBTQ+ welcoming wedding businesses.
“We met Joan, the manager of the Fertility Center, at Valley’s booth at the expo and she was so pleasant and encouraging. We really appreciated seeing Valley there because it let us know Valley Health System was an inclusive center for all people on all roads of life,” said Yolanda.
After this introduction to the center, the couple had their first consultation in 2016 but did not start on their journey until July 2020. During the six-year process, Yolanda underwent two full blood test panels to check for infectious disease, while Patrice had two egg retrievals (where eggs are removed from the ovaries to allow fertilization outside of the body), and four embryo transfers (where an embryo is placed into the uterus with the intent to establish a pregnancy). These tests, in addition to the associated blood work and follow-up appointments, were conducted by fertility specialist Dehan Chen, MD.
“I was scared to go through my fertility journey. After some setbacks, I remember one of the nurses said to me that I still had time. I just cried because I had never heard that before,” said Patrice, who is now 40. “It was so freeing to hear that and made it easier to let go and trust the process.”
After Patrice’s first in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was unsuccessful, she took some time off and did research to improve her next cycle. Together with Dr. Chen, she worked to identify supplements to take that would help to improve her egg quality. Six months later, she started medication for her second IVF retrieval cycle.
“I genuinely appreciate the level of care I received at Valley’s Fertility Center. I am a plus-sized woman, and Valley worked with me and let me know what obstacles we might face along the way, but always treated me like they believed it would happen for me,” said Patrice. “And it did.”
“I found out I was pregnant while I was at work and Yolanda was working from home. I called her on FaceTime, and we looked at the bloodwork together. I screamed and started crying and Yolanda knew what that meant so she started crying too. We just thanked our God and told each other how much we loved each other,” said Patrice. “It was so hard to finish my workday without shouting, ‘I’m pregnant!’”
“I felt like the entire team was on the journey with us and I remember how happy everyone was – from Dr. Chen to the nurses to the billing staff – when we found out I was finally pregnant. It was bittersweet when I had to leave the Fertility Center and graduate to my obstetrics physician,” said Patrice.
Patrice recounts a good pregnancy experience. Her water broke prematurely at a little over 30 weeks gestation. Three days later, she gave birth to their daughter, Judah, on November 30, 2022, at 11:44 a.m.
“I would recommend The Valley Hospital Fertility Center to anyone who is struggling or has to take a different path to conceive. The level of service from the moment you walk in the door is impeccable. They understand the business they're in and that people and families are already coming through the door feeling scared, frustrated, excited, vulnerable, and even embarrassed. They work with you through all of those feelings while also providing top-notch medical care,” said Patrice. “I can’t thank the team enough for helping one of my biggest dreams come true. Judah is worth every single effort it took to get her here.”
For more information about The Valley Hospital Fertility Center, please visit ValleyHealth.com/Fertility.