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Helping a young mom solve a fertility mystery

Five years of negative pregnancy tests nearly dashed a couple’s hopes. Then they met Dr. Mullin.

Dark haired woman in orange shorts holds a smiling baby boy in a blue shirt
Scophia calls her infant son, Logan, her “miracle baby.”

When you’re forced to navigate a world you never knew existed, sometimes you end up with a family you didn’t know you needed.

In spring of 2014, Scophia Fuentes of Seaford, NY, and her husband, Jose, a New York City police officer, were ready to give their 1-year-old daughter, Samirah, a sibling.

“I knew nothing about infertility,” Scophia said. “My husband and I were in our early 20s, and we never thought it would be an issue to have another baby.” But after four years of trying, Samirah was still an only child.

Young dark-haired girl in white dress holds baby boy in blue shirt and white shorts on her lap.
Scophia yearned to give her daughter, Samirah, a sibling to love.

“I was so young, I felt broken,” Scophia said. Looking back, the now 28-year-old always felt like there was something wrong with her.

Scophia eventually tried intrauterine insemination (IUI), where healthy sperm are placed directly into the uterus to facilitate conception. After six months without results, Scophia’s doctor had no definitive answers, offering only the halfhearted suggestion that weight loss might help. Scophia dutifully altered her diet and shed 20 pounds. Nothing changed.

A friend’s suggestion that Scophia might want to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) brought her to Northwell Health, where she met fertility specialist Christine Mullin, MD. The doctor studied her records carefully and ordered blood tests, telling Scophia she’d do an ultrasound so they could see what was going on.

Something was going on. There was a reason Scophia wasn’t getting pregnant: She had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormone imbalance that can prevent normal ovulation.

Gratified to have at least one answer, Scophia started the IVF process, which required injecting herself with hormones to prepare her body for egg retrieval. Adhering to the injection schedule was a challenge for a woman afraid of needles. Jose tried to help, but working overnights meant he wasn’t always available. “It was such an emotional roller coaster for me,” Scophia explained. “Having a baby had become our obsession. Our whole life revolved around the medication, making sure I was taking it correctly and on time.”

When the time came for injections of progesterone that had to go into her buttocks, she knew she simply couldn’t do it alone. That’s where the fertility team from Northwell stepped in.

Ironically, Scophia had been hired in Dr. Mullin’s office as a secretary after her IVF process had begun. The nurses in the office suggested altering her injection schedule so that they could help her in the morning at work. At first Scophia was uncomfortable—these were her co-workers, after all—but they were so welcoming and warm, like a family, that she was put at ease from the start. “They didn’t have to come into work early to help me, but they did. They were so kind to me and so much a part of my process from the very beginning.” One nurse, she said, went above and beyond to make sure a medication that insurance had rendered hard to procure was delivered straight to her house—at 11:30 at night. “Dr. Mullin got me on the phone to make sure I took the medication the right way. At 11:30.”

Scophia remembers a particularly hilarious moment during the company’s holiday party, where she found herself in the bathroom, fancy dress off, while the nurses helped her with yet another injection. “These are the types of nurses we have—in it 100%. They made my experience a thousand times better.”

Out of 27 retrieved eggs, seven were fertilized, resulting in four healthy, viable embryos. Scophia couldn’t believe it when Dr. Mullin asked if she wanted to know the sex. “It was like a movie! I didn’t even know you could find that out.” She selected the embryo to implant, and two weeks later, her test was positive. Scophia and Jose’s son, Logan, was born in October 2018.

“When they do the transfer and inject the embryo, it looks literally like a shooting star,” Scophia said. “Logan is my star. My miracle baby.”

Woman in orange shorts and man in blue shirt with baby boy in nursery.
Scophia and her husband, Jose, enjoy every moment with their “shooting star” Logan.

Her miracle would not have been possible without Dr. Mullin and her team. “The whole care team is so amazing,” Scophia said. “I see this every day at work, how they treat their patients. IVF is so hard for the people who go through it. They need so much compassion and patience to help them. Dr. Mullin has it. And the nurses have it, too.”

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