This is Infertility is a bi-weekly podcast where we fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give you a new perspective on what it’s really like to go through a family building journey. Each episode dives into the emotional, physical, and financial burdens carried by those who experience infertility on their path to parenthood. Be it IVF, IUI, egg freezing, surrogacy, adoption, etc., the path is never the same and it can be long, painful, and lonely. It’s our mission to give those struggling a platform to be heard, a community connection, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the 1 in 6 who, for many reasons, struggle with infertility.
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This is Infertility

Episode 186: Experiencing the Unexpected: Sarah’s IVF Journey

Today’s episode is a story of trial and error. Sarah Freese was not expecting to have difficulty conceiving until she discontinued her birth control and found that her menstrual cycle didn’t return. She was suddenly thrusted into a new world, one filled with new medical terms, fertility doctors, and a treatment plan that came with a high price tag.

Sarah then discovered her employer, LinkedIn, offered coverage for fertility treatment through Progyny. This meant she didn’t need to make cost-based decisions and instead was able to pursue treatment that would result in the best possible outcome. Join us for this episode to hear how Sarah navigated her family building journey, the highs and lows that came with it, and how through trial and error, she found a path that worked.

Guest: Sarah Freese, Principal Customer Success Manager at LinkedIn, Infertility Advocate, and Progyny Member

Host: Lissa Kline, Progyny

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility. Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at

This episode is also a video! Watch it here:

Experiencing the unexpected

02:08 – 04:04

Sarah Freese: My doctors always said when you go off your birth control, then your cycle will come back, and you kind of go from there. And my cycle never came back. We were just waiting and waiting. And it never came back. I went to go see my OBGYN to do some fertility testing. And they basically couldn’t figure out what was going on.

Lissa Kline: The rule of thumb for those under 35 years of age is to try to conceive for about a year before seeking the help of a fertility doctor. And for those 35 and older to seek help after trying for six months. But in this case, there’s a very good reason to assume that trying at home wouldn’t work. Sarah wasn’t ovulating. And if you aren’t ovulating, you won’t become pregnant from sex. She saw a fertility doctor and was diagnosed with PCOS.

Trial and error

05:19 – 09:37

Sarah Freese: My husband and I made the decision to go straight to IVF, it has the highest chance of success, we were able to do what we wanted to do, and that’s what’s so great about Progyny is that we could make that decision based on what was best for us. We went forward with our first frozen embryo transfer. I don’t think there was any doubt in my mind that it would work. I’m so excited to do the frozen embryo transfer. We ended up transferring at the end of March 2021. I just remember the nurse calling me and telling me that it was negative. You’re just so devastated because your hopes and dreams and everything just die in that one phone call, and it just takes the time to grieve.

We decided for the next one that we’re still going to do a frozen embryo transfer. But the protocol that we were going to use was a modified stimulated protocol. Using the FSH meds to grow your follicles, and then do a trigger shot and use your natural hormones. So, using your natural progesterone and your natural estrogen to then force your body to ovulate and then transfer, you know, X number of days later with your genetically normal embryo. And so, we did that, and then we went in for our third transfer, we did get pregnant. And so here we are, we’re so excited, it was a really strong number. And I went in for my beta number two, and the numbers aren’t doubling, I think we had like a 30% increase. Ultimately, it wasn’t a viable pregnancy.

The life changing moment

11:29 – 15:09

Lissa Kline: This journey had been far more difficult than she had ever imagined, but she knew she still needed to move forward. And at this time, she and her doctor discussed a very different plan.

Sarah Freese: It made sense to do another egg retrieval with the potential if possible, doing a fresh transfer, knowing that my body seems to respond better to the retrieval medications.

It’s always good news when the doctor calls. And he was obviously so excited. My husband and I, we just, you know, we start crying, we hugged each other, just like the sheer excitement and emotion. 2022 was probably the best year because we did a retrieval. We got pregnant, we carried the pregnancy successfully. Everyone was healthy, I was healthy. The baby was healthy. And then he joined us here in October. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you LinkedIn because it just, it’s life changing.

Lissa Kline


Lissa Kline
LCSW, Senior Vice President, Provider and Member Services at Progyny

Lissa oversees the Patient Care Advocates and the Provider Relations Team. She worked at Columbia University Medical Center for several years in the division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Involved in Patient Services and the Donor Egg Program, she loved working with patients while they underwent fertility treatment. Lissa graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University. 

Sarah Freese


Sarah Freese
Principal Customer Success Manager at LinkedIn, Infertility Advocate, and Progyny Member

Sarah is located in Chicago, IL. Sarah and her husband never imagined starting their family would be so difficult as well as emotionally draining. They went through a year and a half of IVF treatment before finally becoming pregnant and welcoming their miracle rainbow baby on October 1, 2022. Her goal in sharing more of her story is to normalize the conversation around infertility and all of the ups and downs that come with the IVF. Trying to grow your family is not a straightforward path and it is through podcasts, support groups, research, and other #IVFWarriors, that Sarah learned so much about IVF which ultimately helped her to be able to advocate for herself along the way. While they finally achieved their dream of starting a family, infertility is not something that ever leaves you and she wants others to know that they are not alone on this journey.