Over 400 families gathered at the new Museum of Springfield History last month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) program at Baystate Medical Center. In two decades, more than 2,000 births have been made possible for area parents through IVF and other reproductive technologies available at Baystate.
Baystate Reproductive Medicine, the only full-service fertility program in western Massachusetts, has helped thousands of couples to become parents over the past 20 years, including Robert and Donna Benard of Southampton, whose 2-year-old daughter, Lauren, is one of those “miracles.”
“It was great being able to celebrate alongside the doctors, nurses and staff who helped us to create our family. To be able to share the day with so many other families who have experienced the same miracle was incredible,” said Benard.
“We know only too well that there is much hard work, time and effort placed in choosing, matching and preparing donors, and we are thankful for the superior quality of the Egg Donor Program….it exceeded everything we ever imagined, and staff at Baystate Reproductive Medicine will always hold a very special place in our lives and hearts,” she added.
Dr. Halina Wiczyk of Baystate Reproductive Medicine initiated the program two decades ago. “It was a totally exhilarating experience to see all these happy and grateful people together in one room,” she said. Dr. Kelly Lynch now oversees the program as medical director, while Dr. Wiczyk continues to see patients.
Infertility problems are diagnosed in 1 in 10 American couples. More than six million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility every year and one million seek treatment.
Beth Labbe of Hatfield wrote a thank-you letter to staff to commemorate the event, held appropriately on the eve of Mother’s Day. “It would absolutely be impossible for women and their families to truly succeed in the IVF journey if it were not for the doctors and their supportive staff. You are why Baystate Reproductive Medicine is at the top,” she wrote. “I have experienced other IVF facilities and they cannot compare to what you provide emotionally,” added Labbe, whose 19-month-old son, Ryan, kept her busy at the museum.
Dawn Duncan, RN, nurse coordinator for Baystate Reproductive Medicine, has been with the program since its founding. “You make a difference in people’s lives and give them hope during their emotional journey,” said Duncan. “It was a very powerful experience seeing these families, many of whom at one time had little hope of having children,” she added.
Twenty years after its founding, Baystate Reproductive Medicine has significantly increased its success rates, types of procedures offered, number of procedures performed, and the expertise of its physicians, nurses, and reproductive biologists.
Indeed, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) identified Baystate Reproductive Medicine in 2009 as the program with the highest IVF success rates in Massachusetts for women under 35. SART is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to the practice of assisted reproductive technology in the United States.
According to SART, clinics routinely performing IVF procedures totaling 120 IVF cycles or more a year are more proficient and experienced than clinics performing fewer cycles. Baystate Reproductive Medicine performs over 450 IVF cycles per year.
Baystate Reproductive Medicine is also a national leader in giving prospective parents who are using IVF greater control over the outcomes of that process, and enhancing the safety of their eventual pregnancies, by using a process called single-embryo transfer (SET). Standard IVF, the most prevalent IVF practice in the U.S., ,transfers multiple embryos to maximize a woman’s chances of pregnancy, which can result in multiple births. Single-embryo transfer, meanwhile, brings a significant chance of successful implantation using only one embryo, which eliminates any chance of multiple births for families who don’t want that outcome.
Among the state-of-the-art fertility services offered at Baystate Reproductive Medicine – located at 3300 Main St. in Springfield – are infertility treatments including ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), assisted hatching, a donor egg program, and gestational carrier services. BRM also offers reproductive surgery for patients.
To schedule an appointment, or for more information, call 413-794-7045 or visit the Reproductive Medicine website.