Mariya and Rado met in their native Bulgaria when they were in their mid-30s, but not long after, a new career opportunity brought Rado to Massachusetts. After a couple of years, the two were married, and Mariya joined Rado in Boston.

"We had these two years of a long-distance relationship, and it was hard for both of us” Rado recalls. “Once Mariya moved in with me in Boston we were excited to be together as a family and decided it was time to have children.”

After a year of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy, Mariya and Rado asked their primary care physician for a recommendation on fertility specialists—and they were referred to the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center and a care team led by John Petrozza, MD, chief of the Division of Reproductive Medicine and IVF at Mass General and director at the Mass General Fertility Center.

Selecting Mass General

In their own research, they kept seeing Mass General at the top of their search pages. They had also spoken with friends about their own successes with the Mass General Fertility Center.

Their experience began with a series of tests designed to inform a treatment plan. From the beginning, Mariya and Rado were very optimistic, taking each step a day at a time. They were pleased to learn the tests didn’t reveal any major concerns, although, as they suspected, their age was likely the cause of their trouble becoming pregnant. They worked with their care team, led by Dr. Petrozza and began their in vitro fertilization (IVF) journey.

Compassionate Care

At first, the IVF process felt simple. Mariya had a successful egg retrieval and transfer, and, to their delight, she was pregnant after the first round.

Unfortunately, the second ultrasound detected a problem with their embryo. Rado and Mariya were heartbroken.

"I was in shock, but I still felt hopeful,” says Mariya. “I was thinking: I’m not going to give up, I will do anything possible to have a child,”

When the second IVF cycle also resulted in pregnancy, they were happy again—but cautiously, as they recalled the pain of the previous time. Unfortunately, again, Dr. Petrozza delivered heartbreaking news, and this took an emotional toll on the couple. Rado recalls his wife’s strength during this time and her optimism despite the pain.

After experiencing their second miscarriage in just a handful of months, they took a vacation to heal and relax together before their next attempt. But when genetic testing during the third round of IVF revealed issues with the embryos and the fourth round also failed, Mariya and Rado’s attempts to stay positive became more challenging. They were very aware they were both getting older and potentially approaching the end of their chances for a successful pregnancy.

Before moving forward with a potential fifth cycle, their case was reviewed by the IVF team and even though Dr. Petrozza remained optimistic that they could have a positive result from another IVF cycle, he counselled them to also consider other options, like egg donation or adoption. They both felt his compassion as he broached the topic. He was kind and realistic and helped prepare them for the future, knowing how much they had been through.

“Mariya and Rado were a part of our Mass General Fertility Center family,” says Dr. Petrozza. “When I reviewed their case with the IVF Team at our weekly meeting after their fourth cycle, we knew that they were able to create wonderful embryos, that they could implant and create a pregnancy.  It was a no-brainer that we would continue to move forward with them with another IVF cycle and try to tweak their treatment protocol to improve their results.”

Rado remembers thinking: “When you’re growing up, you always think you would have children someday, and you take it for granted. Now we were at the point when we realized that we may not actually be able to have children.” The couple recognized the importance of healing and relaxation, so they took another break—this time, a vacation to Hawaii—before they started their fifth, and final, round of IVF.

Fifth Time Is a Charm

Mariya and Rado returned to Massachusetts in September 2019 feeling rejuvenated and filled with positive energy. They were hopeful and optimistic, though aware of the gravity surrounding this last embryo transfer. Mariya says she felt physically different this time and hoped it would mean a different outcome.

Twin babies
Mariya and Rado and their happy and healthy twin babies. 

Filled with excitement, she took a home pregnancy test. It was positive, and as it turns out the fifth time was a charm. She was pregnant with twins. They were so grateful for Dr. Petrozza’s expertise and the care they received from everyone in the Fertility Center during their five attempts.

“Mariya and Rado’s optimism and shared strength served them well throughout their experience. They invested in each other and in healing after disappointment and loss, and that approach is a helpful mindset to have on one’s fertility journey,” says Dr. Petrozza

"The truth is that if it weren’t for Dr. Petrozza and the Mass General Fertility team, we probably wouldn't have kids. We are very, very, thankful to them for giving us our dream—our two beautiful and healthy babies,” says Mariya.