Fountain Valley fertility clinic’s wellness coach pregnant 5 years after freezing eggs thereSep 5, 2019
Five years ago, at age 39, Elaine Wang went through a painful breakup with her longtime boyfriend. Compounding her anguish, Wang recalled, was the ticking of her “biological time clock.”
“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted children,” Wang said recently. “Here I was, completely single and on the cusp of not being able to get pregnant.”
The Torrance resident decided to investigate a rather drastic safety net: banked eggs. Wang’s research led her to David Diaz, founder of the West Coast Fertility Centers based at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital.
Sure enough, those frozen eggs would prove a blessing.
After marrying two years ago, Wang found she could not conceive the old-fashioned way. Now she is expecting twin daughters – products of their mother’s foresight.
But that’s just part of the new beginning.
Back when Wang first sought his medical counsel, Diaz realized she could offer her own expertise in return.
As a wellness coach, Wang, a professional dance choreographer, teaches relaxation techniques through movement, yoga, breathing and meditation.
Impressed with her credentials, Diaz hired her part time to work her magic in his clinic.
Wang meets with patients before what Diaz calls the three most challenging steps of in vitro fertilization: the initial office visit; the harvesting of eggs; and the transfer of fertilized eggs to the woman’s body.
“It is mentally, emotionally, physically and financially taxing,” Wang said about IVF, which can cost as much as $17,000. “You are investing everything, and the results are not even guaranteed.”
Stress can build with each try, Diaz said: “It goes from, ‘We want to have a baby’ to, ‘We HAVE to have a baby!”
Wang plays relaxing music while taking patients through yoga and breathing exercises. “By the time they come to me, they are practically in a trance,” Diaz said.
In his 30 years as an IVF doctor, Diaz has facilitated the eventual births of 4,500 babies, he estimates. Over that time, he has seen a steady increase in single women who, like Wang, choose to freeze eggs while pursuing careers and relationships.
Girls are born with a finite number of ova, starting in the millions and dropping to 300,000 by adolescence. Throughout adulthood, the body continues to shed eggs expeditiously – ever diminishing the chance of a successful pregnancy, Diaz said.
With a bachelor’s degree in dance from UCLA and a master’s from NYU, Wang spent the first part of her career teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District. One of her proudest achievements, she said, was her role in creating a program that integrates core subjects into dance – for instance, by expressing geometrical shapes in poses.
Now Wang mostly works as a stress-management consultant for corporate clients.
At the fertility clinic, Wang easily relates to patients – and they to her.
“I share with them how nervous I was when I first came here,” she said. “It was just me, going through this alone. Afterward, I felt released into the world without a clear plan. Now what? Am I going to be a single parent?”
By second dates, she told men about the frozen eggs and her desire for children. “I was pretty assertive about it,” Wang said. “I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.”
Her ultimate Mr. Right, stock trader Angelo Malixi, initially was surprised by such boldness. “But he managed to come around,” Wang said with a laugh.
And now the two, both 45, are only a few weeks away from doubling their family.
“I went from being patient to colleague to patient again,” Wang said about her path to pregnancy. “It’s been an amazing journey.”