NAPLES — Julie and Alfredo Sararo are happy to hear the sounds of their 3-month old twins in the wee hours of the morning.
They get up at 4 a.m. to feed Cassius and Rocco, miracle babies to the Naples couple who battled infertility for nearly two years — with a lot of heartache — until she got pregnant with the twins. They were born at NCH North Naples Hospital on Jan. 15.
“Be determined and just have faith,” Julie Sararo, 30, said, offering advice to other couples undergoing fertility treatment.
The couple is grateful to infertility specialist, Craig Sweet, M.D., who recommended in vitro fertilization. Sweet’s patients come from as far north as Sarasota and as far south as Naples and Marco Island to his practice, Specialists in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery in Fort Myers.
Sweet will be featured in an independent television series, “The Fertility Chase,” which is on the Women’s Entertainment cable network; it began with National Infertility Awareness Week, April 24 to May 1.
Sweet’s segment, scheduled to air Saturday, will be about embryo donation, something he says is very personal and difficult for some people to discuss. The segment will feature another couple, Walter and Amy Costello, of Sanibel, who also went through in vitro fertilization, implanted two embryos and are saving four more to try for future children.
Julie Sararo and her husband have two more frozen embryos they plan to use in the future. “I can’t wait to see the program,” Sararo said. “I’m so glad he’s getting publicity. He has one of the best success rates. He researches what is best for you and your family.”
Sararo has a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes problems with ovulation or other issues. After one miscarriage and no luck with artificial insemination, Sararo got pregnant with in vitro fertilization, where the eggs and sperm are fertilized outside the womb.
Sweet is frustrated that frozen embryos are abandoned when they can be donated to other couples or donated for research. His practice has a no-destroy policy and he talks to couples about their options, which is the focus of his segment in the television program
““It is not an easy decision for some people and we try to make it as easy as possible,” he said. “If they donate to a needy couple, I will write off the storage fee.”
Some patients come from other states for donated embryos; some patients come from overseas for donated eggs.
An estimated 500,000 embryos are currently frozen in the United States.
“We have 140 abandoned embryos in our practice alone,” Sweet said. “It is a passionate area for the practice. Hopefully we will get them donated. We’ve got people on a waiting list.”
Connect with health-care reporter Liz Freeman at www.naplesnews.com/staff/liz_freeman