As Kayla Baanders drove home from her job as a history teacher at Blue Springs High School, her phone rang. It was a familiar voice delivering unfamiliar news – Kayla was pregnant.
The journey to parenthood started in 2015 for Kayla and her husband, Ian. After 2 years of trying to conceive, they turned to the fertility specialists at The University of Kansas Health System.
"We researched fertility experts and found The University of Kansas Health System has a great reputation, and it's close to our home," she says.
Working with the experts
The couple met with advanced reproductive medicine specialist Michael Lydic, MD. "We take on medically challenging cases as well as more straightforward ones," he says. "As an academic medical center, we also have a wide network of specialists for unique medical problems that might arise during a patient's treatment."
Once testing was complete, they received a diagnosis. "It was 'unexplained infertility,'" says Kayla. "That was very frustrating for us because there was no apparent reason we couldn't have a baby."
Infertility is a common problem that affects about 1 in 10 couples in the United States, including the Baanders.
Dr. Lydic suggested intrauterine insemination (IUI) as the first treatment. IUI is a relatively simple procedure that involves transferring specially washed semen directly into the uterus. After two attempts, it was time to discuss in vitro fertilization (IVF). Kayla says she appreciated the way staff members walked them through the process, making sure they understood exactly what to expect.
"They weren't pushing a procedure on us," she says. "They really took their time to get to know us and explain everything in detail. We had an individual plan as we started each new treatment. We knew they were there with us every step of the way."
They really took their time to get to know us and explain everything in detail. We had an individual plan as we started each new treatment. We knew they were there with us every step of the way. – Kayla Baanders
High success rates with a personal approach
The health system performs the most IVF procedures in Overland Park, Kansas City and the entire state of Kansas, with pregnancy rates well above the national average. As a teacher by nature, Dr. Lydic says he strives to help patients understand their problem and his thought process as he treats them.
"I want my patients to see that I care about their success," he says. "Aside from trying to make them comfortable with the process, I base my treatment on standards of care and evidence-based medicine. Sometimes I won't have all the answers, but I do at least hope my patients can see I'm trying to help them the way I would want to be helped."
When the good news finally came, the couple returned to the clinic for a sonogram. "It was so fun to see how excited everyone was for us," says Kayla. "It's a very personal journey and our team was right along with us for the tears and the happiness."
A long journey
Dr. Lydic agrees the journey through infertility is challenging. "It's often difficult for some to seek help and follow through because it is such a private and emotionally charged process," he says. "But the Baanders sought help from a trained specialist in a timely way, asking questions and objectively considering all their options. They were a joy to have as patients."
Kayla realized it was going to be difficult to leave her friends on the fertility team who had treated her so well. After all, they'd grown close by seeing each other every other week for months. But the Baanders once again found themselves in good hands with Sarah Baldassaro, MD, who would work with the couple throughout their pregnancy and delivery.
"Dr. Baldassaro has been phenomenal, as well," says Kayla. "I'd tell other couples not to be overwhelmed or afraid to ask for help. Infertility is a challenge many couples don't want to discuss. But finding the right physician and team makes all the difference."