Chet and Anita Hazlewood tried to have a child for five long years. “It’s been a winding journey for us,” says Anita. That seems like an understatement.
The trial of infertility left Chet and Anita exhausted in every possible sense. Following a number of initial diagnostic tests, they both underwent surgeries, hoping the operations might enable them to overcome their roadblocks to conceiving the child they so desperately desired. In spite of additional treatments, including a cycle with an IUI (intrauterine insemination), nothing they tried yielded success. Disappointment became such a common occurrence that Chet and Anita began to feel hopeless. “It’s a reminder every month,” says Chet. “Me, as a man, to not be able to get my wife pregnant is discouraging.”
Where to turn next? They considered adoption and even served as foster parents, an experience they recall as both rewarding and heartbreaking. Stepping in and helping children in troubled situations gave Chet and Anita a sense of fulfillment, yet the goal of the foster care system is always to reconnect a child with his or her family of origin if possible. The Hazlewoods were emotionally drained and still without any children of their own.
Chet and Anita knew there were still other options they could try, like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but nothing seemed to fit their comfort level. “I knew IVF could be incredibly expensive and figured that was money we could put toward adoption,” says Anita. “I also didn’t like the idea of having a bunch of embryos that were waiting on us for years. Morally, I knew I would struggle with that.”
One factor the Hazlewoods had going for them? They’re both very good researchers. One evening Chet was online looking for something — anything — that would give them hope, and followed a link to Southeastern Fertility in West Knoxville. The practice and its Co-Director, Dr. John David Gordon — who just moved to Knoxville in 2019 after two decades of successful practice in the Washington D.C. area — were offering something new to Knoxville: Natural Cycle IVF.
Natural Cycle IVF (NC IVF) was exactly what they were looking for, and it seemed to address many of Chet and Anita’s concerns regarding IVF. NC IVF involves retrieving the single egg produced in a normal reproductive cycle and then fertilizing that one egg and transferring that single embryo, so they wouldn’t be left with the moral dilemma of having embryos remaining. And though the odds of conceiving are lower than with Stimulated Cycle IVF, NC IVF is also about a third of the cost. Plus, it gives women a way of doing IVF without the weeks of dreaded injectable medications that accompany traditional IVF.
Chet and Anita scheduled a visit at Southeastern Fertility to meet with Dr. Gordon, anticipating they just might have found their answer. “After the consultation with Dr. Gordon, we walked away very encouraged to maybe have some hope,” says Chet.
“I liked that it was one embryo and one egg. I liked that it was more or less drug-free; that it wasn’t weeks and weeks of shots,” says Anita.
Most of all, they liked the results! Chet and Anita got pregnant on their first try with Natural Cycle IVF at Southeastern Fertility. They’ll be welcoming their first child in just a few weeks. “It’s such a blessing to know that we’ll have one of our own. We see God’s perfect timing in all of it,” says Anita. “We’re so grateful.”
“It was so incredibly encouraging because our family knew what we were going through, so they were completely delighted to hear our news,” says Chet. “It’s been a long journey and we’re just so excited, especially having gone through failed adoptions and foster care, where there’s always an unknown. You never know what’s going to happen. We’ve just talked about how this isn’t a child we have to report to the state every couple weeks.” (That said, Chet and Anita are still very open to getting involved with foster care again someday.)
Reflecting back on their experience, Chet and Anita feel blessed to have done their homework and discovered the option of Natural Cycle IVF, offered exclusively in Knoxville by Southeastern Fertility. As Anita puts it, “It felt like an answer to prayer that we didn’t know existed.”
The Hazlewoods also feel like they’ve gained an ally and friend in Dr. Gordon. “East Tennessee has gained such a huge asset with Dr. Gordon moving here. He is such a caring and warm person. I feel like he’s a very good teacher,” says Anita. “Dr. Gordon wanted to hear our story. He explained things very clearly.”
What a privilege for Dr. Gordon and the staff of Southeastern Fertility to enter into a story that’s finally on track for such a happy ending.
To find out more from Southeastern Fertility visit their website or their location in West Knoxville.