IVF journey showcases power of humor and support

Ashley and Orry (left and right above) began trying to get pregnant pretty much on day one after getting married. Ashley admits that she hates surprises, so while they started off casually pursuing a family, it soon morphed into more: fertility tracking apps, timed intercourse and regular pregnancy tests.

After a year, they decided to seek help from a fertility specialist.

Researching their options, they quickly narrowed down their list to Carolina Conceptions, despite the practice’s Raleigh office being more than two hours away from the Wilmington couple. (Carolina Conceptions now has a Wilmington location.)

Step-by-step process through male factor infertility

“We heard great things about Carolina Conceptions,” said Ashley. Seeing online reviews and meeting the doctors in person only confirmed the couple’s resolve that the commute was worth the effort. “I feel like people always say they treat you like family, but in this case it’s true.”

After an initial consultation and fertility testing, Ashley and Orry learned that low sperm counts would mean that they would need in vitro fertilization (IVF).

“IVF can be scary,” Ashley recalled. “But I’m so thankful for Carolina Conception’s step-by-step process. When you have your first appointment, the doctors sit you down and guide you through: you don’t have to think about it anymore.”


Both the male and female partners trying to conceive should undergo testing

Learn more about male factor infertility

Tackling IVF process and IVF drugs together

Infertility is an emotional struggle for many couples, naturally. Though it can be a source of conflict, it can also bring them closer while struggling with their individual feelings and roles in the journey to parenthood.

Ashley and Orry purposefully worked together, finding a way, often with humor, to involve each other more fully in the process.

Ashley Dickard poses with her lucky transfer socks for in vitro fertilization (IVF) at Carolina Conceptions | Raleigh, NC

Orry, for example, took on the role of medication maestro, taking a class to learn about how to prepare and inject all the necessary fertility medications. This alleviated some of Ashley’s stress while also helping Orry feel more involved in the process.

Orry helps wife Ashley Dickard with IVF injections to overcome male factor infertility | Carolina Conceptions | Raleigh, NC

Joyful ending to male factor infertility journey

After undergoing a round of IVF, the couple basked in their sense of “pregnant until proven otherwise.” Even so, the wait for official news was hard.

Fortunately, the wait proved fruitful and the couple learned they were pregnant with a baby boy.

“I feel really lucky that we got to see the exact moment of my son’s conception on screen,” said Ashley of viewing the embryo transfer to her uterus on a monitor. “That wouldn’t have been possible if we were able to get pregnant naturally.”

In fact, the couple has three frozen embryos remaining and is considering trying for a sibling next year – at Carolina Conception’s new Wilmington office, of course.

Positive pregnancy tests after overcoming male factor infertility with IVF at Carolina Conceptions | Raleigh, NC

Ashley’s observations about infertility stigma

While the couple’s journey proved a happy one, Ashley couldn’t help but reflect on how that isn’t always the case.

“A lot of people struggle with infertility, and talking about it makes other people feel like they aren’t abnormal. Sharing success stories, even failures, gives you hope too. Though mine worked on the first try, it was still painful and hard, so I hope that people talk about it more,” she said.

Orry and Ashley, flashing a peace sign, are all smiles in matching T-shirts after beating male factor infertility | Carolina Conceptions | Raleigh, NC
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