Zola is only four years old, but the young lady already knows her “birth story.”
“She understands that Dr. Surrey put her in my belly (via in vitro fertilization), according to her proud mom, Traci Kodeck, of Towson, Maryland.
Of course, Zola’s birth story doesn’t begin to cover Traci’s long and difficult path to motherhood. When she was nearly 39 and had not yet found a man she wanted to share her life and have a baby with, Traci decided to have a child on her own.
After trying intrauterine insemination (IUI) nine times, resulting in several miscarriages, Traci knew genetic testing was her best chance to have the baby she always dreamed of.
Miscarriage is often the result of genetic abnormalities. The Colorado Center of Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) pioneered a technique that screens all 23 pairs of chromosomes in an embryo known as comprehensive chromosomal screening (CCS). Then, only the healthy embryos with the correct number of chromosomes are transferred via IVF. Through this technique, women have lower rates of miscarriage and higher rates of healthy pregnancies.
Traci’s first clinic didn’t offer CCS and a second local clinic she tried left her feeling “uncomfortable with their process.” She then turned online to an Single Mothers by Choice Support group for advice. “I saw the Single Mothers’ recommendations and CCRM’s statistics related to IVF with CCS,” she said. “Although it was over a thousand miles away, I knew CCRM was the right clinic for me.”
After CCS testing at CCRM, Traci was left with one healthy embryo, which was created by combining her egg with sperm donated by a friend she had met in the Peace Corps. This single embryo was her last shot at having a baby, and it worked! “The whole, arduous process taught me how important the embryologist is to your ultimate success,” Traci said. “A unique aspect of CCRM is that they have such skilled lab professionals.”
She said she’s especially happy that a new CCRM Network clinic is opening soon in Tysons Corner, Virginia, so that women seeking infertility care in her area no longer have to fly to CCRM’s flagship clinic in Colorado.
“Even though my fertility journey is over, I’m still very invested in this area,” said Traci. “Through genetic screening, CCRM determined which of my embryos were viable, so I’m an advocate for the availability of that procedure. I’m also an advocate for single women who chose to have a baby, because that was my situation when I started the fertility process.”
Today, Traci is no longer a single mother. She is raising her little girl with the first person to ever hold Zola, her OB/GYN. Traci and Rob became a couple about a year-and-a-half after Zola’s birth, having gotten to know each other better through work channels.
Even though she now has a partner, Traci is still active with the Single Mothers by Choice support group. “While I didn’t have a husband or partner supporting me, I did have many people I knew (and many through the Single Mothers by Choice group online that I had never met in person) who were ready to help when needed. I strive to return this gift by supporting single women who want children and struggle with infertility.”