A woman has welcomed a child for the first time at the age of 50 after years of infertility.
Susie Troxler, a psychologist in High Point, North Carolina, welcomed her daughter, Lily Antonia Troxler, on Sept. 29, 2021, after over 10 years of trying to get pregnant.
Susie and her husband, Tony Troxler, 61, will celebrate their first Thanksgiving this year as parents.
“It’s really, really, really surreal,” Susie said of welcoming a daughter at age 50.
“I’d been unmarried, I’d been a wife and now the idea of being a mommy, it still hasn’t sunk in I don’t think.”
The Troxlers had tried to have a baby since marrying 13 years ago, but were never able to naturally conceive.
Susie said that for both she and her husband, seeking fertility help was not something they considered, simply because they did not know what options existed. She said:
“When we got married, we just assumed we’d get pregnant, and then it didn’t happen.
“But we’re both very old-school, and when we grew up, nobody even talked about or discussed IVF [in-vitro fertilization]. It wasn’t even a thing.”
That changed around three years ago, when Susie went in for her annual exam with her new OBGYN at Cone Health, a North Carolina-based health care network where Tony had recently been hired in the security department. Susie recalled:
“At the end of the appointment, she asked me a question nobody else had ever asked me: ‘Is there anything else, any concerns or questions?
“Because she asked it, I mentioned that we hadn’t gotten pregnant, and she said, ‘OK, we can work on that.'”
The OBGYN, Dr. Carolyn Harraway-Smith, Cone Health’s chief medical officer for women’s health, referred her immediately to a fertility specialist. Harraway-Smith said:
“Typically, if someone was younger and had a longer period of time to conceive, I would start the work-up for infertility.
“Because of her age, I knew we had a short window, so I referred her to a reproductive endocrinologist.”
The reproductive endocrinologist diagnosed Susie with fibroids. Susie underwent surgery in January 2019 to remove the fibroids, but was told she and her husband would still not be able to get pregnant naturally, both because of her age and because of health complications on her husband’s side.
The Troxlers underwent several rounds of IVF, but after not being able to produce a viable embryo, they turned to egg donation.
Susie underwent the first embryo transfer in late 2019, but it did not take. Several months later, in spring 2020, the coronavirus pandemic emerged in the United States and put their plans for a family on hold for nearly one year due to pandemic restrictions.
In February, the Troxlers decided to try their last viable embryo, a frozen embryo, which they considered to be their last chance.
Several weeks later, they learned Susie was pregnant.
“I don’t even have words for it,” she said of her reaction to the pregnancy.
“It was amazing and surreal,” Tony said of learning he would be a first-time dad.
Susie had what she described as a “pretty uneventful” pregnancy with mild pregnancy symptoms and no major medical complications.
She underwent a planned C-section on Sept. 29, that was led by Harraway-Smith, whom the Troxlers credit with starting the process that led them to becoming parents.