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Two-time liver transplant recipient expecting first child this Mother’s Day after years battling fertility issues

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Abragail Leacock and her husband, Shimori, are celebrating the miracle of life this Mother’s Day.

32-year-old Leacock has been through it all. She’s had two liver transplants – one at the age of one, and the second at the age of 13 – and a seizure disorder. Her medical history is long, and so is her story of the struggle they’ve had with infertility.

“It’s stressful but at the end of the day it’s a blessing,” said Leacock. “Because we did have the opportunity to be able to go through the treatment. Some people out there can’t go through the treatment because it’s so expensive. So it’s actually a blessing.”

For ten years, Leacock and her husband have been on a fertility journey. She found Fertility Center of the Carolinas through Prisma Health about three years ago. While her struggle with her medical diagnoses is unique to her story, her difficulty getting pregnant is not.

“It’s very common, actually,” said Dr. Lisa Green with Fertility Center of the Carolinas. “And as a society, we’re delaying childbearing, so we’re having mothers that are for the first time thinking about building their family at later ages.”

Dr. Green, who is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, has been Leacock’s physician for three years. Dr. Green said it’s common for women struggling with infertility to think that they’re alone. But, according to the CDC, 6% of married women are unable to get pregnant after a year of trying and 12% have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Dr. Green encourages women to seek help from a fertility specialist if it’s becoming clear that something isn’t working.

“Stay focused, stay supported, stay on that goal, stay on that journey,” Dr. Green said. " You can do this. You are not alone.”

But now – Leacock has every reason to celebrate. They found out they were pregnant with their first child recently, after a successful embryo transfer with in vitro fertilization.

Meanwhile, Leacock said she’s keeping the gender a surprise for now. She goes in for her checkup next week to see exactly how many weeks along she is right now, but her doctors have said she’s through her first trimester. If you are in a season of waiting this Mother’s Day – Leacock encourages you not to give up.

“Life is an up and down hill. Just have to stay positive. If you stay positive it can get you anywhere,” Leacock said.

Dr. Green encourages women who are struggling with fertility issues to seek a specialist opinion. She said they can guide next steps, help set goals and create a plan for couples hoping to conceive.

You can find more information about Fertility Center of the Carolinas here.

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