WASHINGTON: Shady Grove Fertility, the nation's largest fertility center, with 25 locations across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., as well as a brand new state-of-the-art laboratory, surgery center, and office in Santiago, Chile, is celebrating a significant practice milestone, with 50,000 babies born since the center first opened its doors in 1991.
"We have reached a beautiful milestone for our patients. I feel excited, joyful, exhilarated, and yet humbled to think about all of the people we have helped. I think about all my partners and associates and staff and all of the wonderful work they have done and continue to do. I think about all of the referring physicians who trust us to take care of their patients. I think, especially, about all of our patients who have placed their care in our hands and have referred their friends and family to us for help," recalls Arthur Sagoskin, M.D., co-founder of Shady Grove Fertility, when asked about the humble beginnings of Shady Grove Fertility with three physicians and one Rockville, MD location and the fervent determination yet consummate humility behind its 26 years of continuous growth.
If you seek to discover the truth behind the growth of Shady Grove Fertility, one might expect the founders to say they had planned for this all along. However, that's contrary to the truth. The mission of Shady Grove Fertility, as co-founder Michael J. Levy, M.D., describes it, has been to always do what's in the best interest of the patients. It's the Golden Rule of the practice.
"It is a wonderful challenge to reflect on the reality that in the 26 years of practice at Shady Grove Fertility we have helped bring over 50,000 babies into the world. I do not think that this is best understood by the staggering reality that every baby, child, and young adult would fill a large sports stadium, 100 elementary schools, 25 high schools, or a large university. It is best understood by thinking about one recent patient. When we first saw her she was feeling overwhelmed and depressed by 5 years of infertility. When she returned to proudly show us her baby her demeanor was transformed to one of pure joy. Her mother wrote to thank us for both her grandchild and for helping 'get her daughter back.' If we reflect on that baby, her parents, and grandparents we begin to realize what doing this 50,000 times really means," shares Dr. Levy.
Behind Shady Grove Fertility's ability to help tens of thousands of people realize their dream of a family, at the heart of it, is providing uncompromising service, creating better access to care by making treatment more affordable, and establishing an integrated patient-centric care model that takes into consideration the medical, emotional, and financial needs of each patient throughout their journey to parenthood.
"Back in 1991, Michael and I developed a mission statement and have never deviated from it. We committed then and there to provide optimal care for our patients and always go beyond expectations, to provide optimal care for our staff, and to be fiscally responsible. Our decisions, whether clinical or financial, are always based on what's best for the patient. This principle pervades our lives. We never imagined the growth of our practice would reach these heights back then, but we surrounded ourselves with phenomenal, compassionate, innovative people who became a part of our culture," adds Dr. Sagoskin.
Speaking of finances, SGF realizes the cost of infertility can often be a barrier and has therefore made part of its core mission making access to care more affordable. In 1992, after a tearful admission by a patient in Dr. Levy's office who was contemplating a difficult decision—to pay for another round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or save the money for adoption—both high reward but potentially costly endeavors, it was then that Dr. Levy created the practice's flagship Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, a program designed to give patients a more affordable option. While the idea was initially considered controversial at the time, as it was the first to pair patient success with a financial program, it quickly came to earn the respect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and is frequently emulated by other centers around the world. The program guarantees a baby or a full refund, and today, nearly 20,000 patients have participated in SGF's Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, and more than 82 percent take home a baby.
The success of SGF's clinical protocols and treatments comes from years of refining and continuous innovation, an incredibly high attention to detail, and vast experience that comes from the number of patients who trust SGF with their care.
"The excitement of seeing that positive pregnancy test and listening to the reaction of patients when hearing the news is beyond description. Then, the joy of watching the heartbeat on the ultrasound, seeing the patient's reaction, and being able to hug that patient and offer my congratulations, it's beyond description," adds Dr. Sagoskin.
Shady Grove Fertility's compassionate care is among the reasons 96 percent of patients say they would recommend SGF to a friend or family member, and the reason why more than 2,000 OB/GYNs, primary care providers, internal medicine specialists, and urologists refer their patients to SGF each year. This year alone, SGF will host nearly 250 events designed for the medical community, mainly OB/GYNs, and close to 120 free events designed to educate patients.
At Shady Grove Fertility, doing what's best for the patient doesn't just mean for the patients of today or even the patients that find their way to one of SGF's many locations, it's about all future patients who will learn they need assistance in order to have a baby. SGF's practice leaders, physicians, and team members create opportunities whether it's through fundraising or testifying before Congress to not only increase access to care but also raise awareness and give a voice to the many who suffer in silence.
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