Having experienced periods of infertility, miscarriages, and finally the birth of her son, patient and infertility coach Ivori Lipscomb-Warren is partnering with Johns Hopkins to help other women who are struggling with fertility issues.
Through a $5000 gift over the next five years, the Warren Foundation will be supporting a lecture series at Hopkins targeted at patients and will focus on building families after loss, including fertility treatments and other options for those who have experienced reoccurring loss.
“We didn’t realize how much we wanted a baby until we became pregnant and lost. Our world was shattered,” says Lipscomb-Warren, who runs the foundation with her husband, Kevin.
After experiencing her first miscarriage at the age of 40, Lipscomb-Warren sought help from an infertility specialist who worked with her through two treatments. But she found that those doctors were pessimistic that she would ever have a successful pregnancy due to her age and weight. Lipscomb-Warren decided she wanted a second opinion. “I was willing to go via plane, train, automobile to wherever we needed to go,” says Lipscomb-Warren, a Harford County, Maryland resident. “As an educator by trade, I did some homework and found Hopkins.”
Soon, she noticed something different amongst her doctors at Hopkins — optimism. Altogether, Lipscomb-Warren underwent nine cycles of IVF at the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics. One of those cycles led to a pregnancy that again resulted in miscarriage. Despite this setback, her doctor, Mindy Christianson, MD, encouraged her to try again. “When women hit continuous roadblocks, it’s so important to have somebody who is optimistic when we can’t be,” Lipscomb-Warren says.
Lipscomb-Warren says she trusted that her doctors had her best interests at heart, even when conversations were challenging. Lipscomb-Warren would need surgery, but her doctors gave her hope.
While a patient at Johns Hopkins Infertility Center, Lipscomb-Warren also saw Chantel Cross, MD, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, who played an intricate role in her fertility journey. When Lipscomb-Warren learned she was pregnant in December 2019, she knew she wanted to stay with Hopkins for the duration of her pregnancy and delivery. She started to see Jeanne Steinbronn Sheffield, MD, the director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
Despite complications late in her pregnancy, the Warren family welcomed baby Ian on August 3, 2020.
“My doctors listened to me. They could have said it was because of my age or weight or that this is just what happens in a high-risk pregnancy. But they actually listened to me,” Lipscomb-Warren says. “They saved not just my life, but my son’s life.”
During her infertility journey, Lipscomb-Warren built a team to care for every aspect of her health — including a therapist. “I wanted a therapist who had expertise in infertility and loss,” she says. “It was really important that she could understand exactly what I was going through.”
On average, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Despite being such a common occurrence, Lipscomb-Warren did not see many people talking about it when it happened to her. Her experience with the care she received at Hopkins, along with her background in psychology, led Lipscomb-Warren to want to help women purposefully design lives they love and feel less isolated through this experience through one-on-one coaching. She and her husband founded Loving Our Angel — an arm of the Warren Foundation — to promote infertility and infant loss awareness, and to help women along their own infertility journeys by providing resources and events like the annual Women of Strength Luncheon during Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month in October. Additionally, every spring, the Warrens speak to Hopkins medical students about their infertility journey and best practices to support their patients. Now, they are excited to further support the Fertility Center with the lecture series.
“When experiencing pregnancy loss, it is so easy to question your purpose,” says Lipscomb-Warren. “After endless rounds of IVF, I think I finally found mine — to share my journey and provide hope for others who are trying and keep failing. I am forever grateful to the Johns Hopkins Fertility Center for helping us welcome our son Ian into the world last year. Know you are not alone, and Hopkins is here for you.”
Topics: Friends of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Promote and Protect Health