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Shana Michelle Perman, MS/PA-C ’05

August 28, 2017

Physician Assistant, Shady Grove Fertility, Washington, D.C., Columbia, Maryland

[as told to Jennifer Schaffer Leone]

Professional headshot photograph of Shana Michelle Perman, MS/PA-C ’05“When I started my job as a physician assistant at Shady Grove Fertility, I was 13 weeks pregnant with my son. I was blissful, nervous, nauseated and ever cognizant of my growing baby bump. The truth is, it is somewhat awkward to be pregnant when you work in the field of infertility. When I first meet patients, many have endured countless negative pregnancy tests, miscarriages or failed treatment cycles. Many are struggling with feelings of isolation, battling their biological clocks, believing that they arrived late to the fertility party or that they were forced into infertility for reasons beyond their control. Some are single women, same-sex couples, couples with cancer or genetic abnormalities. The last person they want to meet is a healthcare provider whose round belly represents that which seems unreachable. . . . But, like my patients, I personally have a profound understanding of the crazy human experience that is fertility treatment. Professionally, I have in-depth knowledge about what actually happens in a fertility practice to make it work—from the office to the embryology lab, to all the amazing staff behind the scenes who help make each patient’s journey come to life. I am part of the one in eight [couples]—or more than seven million people—affected by infertility. . . . My husband and I faced various unexpected struggles in our journey to build a family, but finally met success (twice) with IVF. IVF was life-altering for us; it made us parents and it led me to change professional specialties—from neonatal intensive care to infertility. I love being part of a collaborative healthcare team that provides personalized medical care to those facing infertility. Daily, I perform baseline ultrasound monitoring, early OB ultrasounds, intrauterine inseminations and mock embryo transfers, among other services. I counsel and care for patients. I share my story with my patients, offering hope and possibility. Modern medicine has made possible treatments to help most people achieve their goal of parenthood.”