Carrot member spotlight: Fatima Shahzad, a Carrot employee's journey through recurrent pregnancy loss and IVF

Fatima Shahzad joined Carrot in August 2022 as a Senior Customer Success Manager while in the middle of her fertility journey. After unsuccessful rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF, Fatima and her husband, Dylan, were determined to reach their family-forming goals. Fatima shared with us how working at Carrot and receiving inclusive and comprehensive support from the Carrot Care Team has helped her navigate her family-forming journey.

What was your fertility journey like before joining Carrot?

Three years ago, my husband Dylan and I found out I was pregnant — just a few weeks before the pandemic. In the depths of quarantine and on Dylan's birthday, I found out I had a miscarriage. This would be my first of three pregnancy losses in our family-forming journey. I later went through three rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and four rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF). My first two rounds of IVF were unsuccessful, and I ultimately decided to switch clinics. At this new clinic, my third and fourth cycles of IVF resulted in normal, preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) embryos.

What inspired you to join Carrot as an employee?

Infertility and family forming can be hard enough. Not having the right resources, clinical guidance, or financial support can make the experience even more challenging — if not impossible. Because of my deeply personal experience with this journey, I knew I had to be part of a mission-driven company that directly helps people grow their families and support them on their unique journeys. Beyond helping people have successful outcomes, I think Carrot's additional resources are indispensable. From the financial support to unlimited chats with medical professionals like emotional support experts, this type of inclusive and comprehensive support throughout a person’s entire journey can make a significant impact by removing obstacles and alleviating any additional burdens.

How did joining Carrot impact your journey?

Although I live in a location with state-mandated infertility coverage, a caveat to my health plan was that if the fertility treatments produced even one embryo, I would have to use that embryo to try for a pregnancy before going onto another round of IVF. However, the clinical recommendation for someone who would like to have two live births is to have 4-5 PGT-A embryos. By my third round of IVF, right before I started at Carrot, I only had two embryos — both from the same cycle. Because of my diagnoses of diminished ovarian reserve and recurrent pregnancy loss, trying to get pregnant could be complicated. If I did get pregnant with one embryo, I might need to wait up to two years to start another round of IVF. Only then could I go through another embryo-banking cycle to try to attain the recommended 4-5 embryos for two live births.

I had decided that I was mentally and physically prepared and determined to pursue my fourth round of IVF, so I could take as much control as possible to have the family that I wanted. Still, a nearly $30,000 out-of-pocket bill for an additional round of IVF made it a very difficult decision to pursue.

This is when Carrot came into the picture. About two weeks after I started at Carrot in August, I started my fourth cycle of IVF with my Carrot funds. Because of this support, I was able to take control of my future. I am so happy to share that my fourth cycle of IVF was my most successful, resulting in 4 PGT-A embryos. I’m now pregnant and have more embryos that we could use in the future. Because of Carrot, I am excited and hopeful that I can continue to grow my family.

What was your experience connecting with Carrot’s Care Team?

The Carrot Experts that I chatted with were knowledgeable, respectful, and compassionate. They provided support and shared resources that I might need, but since I was already on my fourth cycle of IVF, the Care Team tailored their recommendations because they knew I was already aware of my next steps. However, they did share additional resources that I didn’t know were available through the Carrot benefit, including unlimited chats with emotional support experts.

Is there anything you would have had to do differently if you didn’t have Carrot?

I'm not sure I would have pursued my fourth cycle of IVF if it wasn’t for Carrot. I believe things could have been very different for me and my husband and we might be in a less hopeful place than we are now. With a lot of hope stemming from my 4th successful cycle of IVF, I did an embryo transfer in late December 2022 and we are now so excited to be expecting a baby girl in August — finally.

If you want to learn more about bringing inclusive fertility benefits to your employees, get in touch with us.
If you’re a Carrot member, sign in to your Carrot account to take the next step in your journey.

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