MADISON, Wis. - Kelly and Patrick McGrath have always wanted that picture-perfect family - a dream made difficult by the fact the couple couldn't conceive naturally.
"We had talked about wanting kids for a long time," Kelly says. "My husband always wanted a baseball team and so did I. I wanted a lot of kids."
Doctors had previously told the couple they had a less than 1 percent chance of getting pregnant, though they tried countless surgeries and other procedures to defy the odds. None of them ultimately worked.
"We definitely felt like there was a hole in our lives," Kelly says.
The McGraths made the decision to visit UW Health Generations, a fertility clinic, to research other options. It's there that the couple learned about the single embryo transfer process.
The process is similar to its more common counterpart, multiple embryo transfers - but less dangerous than that procedure, which often results in twins, triplets or even quadruplets.
"We get multiple eggs from a woman, we fertilize all those eggs and create many embryos, then what we do is grow them in a lab and select the very best ones for transfers," says Dr. Jeff Jones, lab director at UW Health Generations.
Essentially, that means the McGraths - and other families - can use just one embryo at a time to get pregnant, while freezing other viable embryos for use in the future.
The process worked for Kelly - out of 19 eggs harvested, four were fertilized into embryos. After years of failing methods, Kelly became pregnant with her firstborn, Ashley.
"She was a true miracle baby," Kelly says.
The couple that could never get pregnant found themselves with a wall of baby pictures - and that wall kept growing, thanks to her three other frozen embryos. Two years after Ashley was born, along came Sean.
And the McGraths can still add on, up to two more children with the embryos stored at Generations - which they plan to do.
"Patrick told me the other day he wants one more," laughs Kelly.
Their story is a reminder to parents still trying that there's always hope to fulfill that big picture dream.
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