One Last Shot: Jon & Kristie’s Southeastern Story

Sometimes one last shot at a dream is all you have. And sometimes that’s enough. Jon and Kristie Weaver are living proof.

Jon and Kristie’s romance started years ago amid the sun and the sand. “Jon and I met at a sand volleyball game at a friend’s house in 2009. He played. I watched,” Kristie shares. 

Their relationship blossomed from there. Eventually, it led to wedding bells. Both Jon and Kristie longed to expand their joy by adding children to their home. So they became concerned after a year of trying to get pregnant with no success. “Our diagnosis was unexplained infertility,” Kristie says. “ I was 37 at the time, which made me ‘advanced maternal age’, I soon found out.“  

They weren’t sure exactly what to do next, but they knew where to go to look for answers. “We were referred to Dr. Jeffrey Keenan for a fibroid removal in 2016.  It only made sense to return to Southeastern Fertility when we struggled to get pregnant,” Jon and Kristie say. “After several cycles of IVF with Southeastern Fertility, we ended up getting pregnant using our last frozen embryo.  We found out at nine weeks that the embryo split and we were having twins!”

Indeed, that’s just what happened. A few months later, Kristie gave birth to Jones and Jackson. “They are the most amazing twins in the world.  They love to eat, laugh, listen to music, and play,” Jon and Kristie say. “They light up every room they enter and have filled everyone’s heart to the top with love and laughter.”

It sure wasn’t an easy road to get to Jones and Jackson, but Jon and Kristie are glad they hung on during their sometimes white-knuckle ride. Having the Southeastern Fertility team by their side lightened their anxiety during the most intense stretches. “Dr. Keenan, the nurses and the rest of the staff mean the world to us! I truly feel like we are family,” Kristie says. “I always had a hand to hold if my husband had to work, a shoulder to cry on if things didn’t go as planned, and words of encouragement when I needed it the most.  If they weren’t here I probably wouldn’t have my boys, and I would be missing out on all of the wonderful relationships I made during the whole experience.”

If this had been a baseball game, you could say the Weavers were down to their last strike with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. And then- a dramatic home run! It’s the kind of Cinderella story we at Southeastern Fertility can’t believe we get to be a part of. And yet, we’re mindful that we’re not ultimately the ones in charge of it all. Jon and Kristie agree, summing it up this way: “We cannot say enough nice things about our experience at Southeastern Fertility. The knowledge, skill, and expertise combined with the love, empathy, and encouragement of the staff made us feel like we were right where God wanted us.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Hollywood & Battling Infertility

Real life isn’t like the movies very often, and it’s important to make peace with that when pursuing fertility treatment. How will you respond if the hoped-for Hollywood ending doesn’t work out?

More from Southeastern Fertility’s Lynda McCollum and Mark Mellinger (plus, scroll to the 8-minute mark for what Lynda loves most about this work, and why she once wanted to be a truck driver!) below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Mini-Stim IVF, NC IVF: Factors to Weigh

Stimulated Cycle IVF seems to dominate the list of potential options when couples are undergoing fertility treatment. Certainly that can be a good and fruitful option for many, and we’re happy to offer it at Southeastern Fertility.

But it’s not the only IVF option out there. Southeastern Fertility also offers the choices of Natural Cycle IVF and Mini-Stim IVF. So why might these be more attractive options for some patients? Below are four possible reasons:

  • Simple. There’s no need for the large amount of medications involved in Stimulated Cycle IVF. This is a relief to many couples, who dread that part of the process.
  • Affordable. A round of Natural Cycle or Mini-Stim IVF will cost considerably less than a round of traditional IVF (roughly a third to roughly half the price). Check out the price comparison by viewing this chart.
  • Life-altering. The potential to achieve life-altering results -adding a child to your family through pregnancy!- is the end goal of pursuing these lesser-known options, just as it is when you pursue Stimulated Cycle IVF.
  • Ethical. IVF can present couples with ethical dilemmas, such as the difficult situation of having unused embryos remaining when their family-building is complete. Far fewer embryos are created with these alternative forms of IVF, helping patients avoid this potential ethical conflict.

Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon and IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum unpack all this below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Oooh, That Smell…

Sometimes, when it comes to your pursuit of parenthood, things just stink! We’re here to listen, and help you potentially find an answer. More from Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum and a special guest star skunk in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility” below.

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Everybody Has a Story

Everybody’s story matters! That’s why it’s so important to talk to your children, whether they were conceived using fertility treatment or not, about how they entered this world. Plus, lots of guest stars -including Baby Yoda- in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility” below.

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Is it Okay to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Many Southeastern Fertility patients have been asking if it’s okay to get the COVID-19 vaccine when pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Below is a statement addressing this question from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), along with corresponding thoughts from the medical team at Southeastern Fertility:

Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John David Gordon and Clinic Nurse Kaylee Zalewski offer more insight below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.”

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

When it comes to a scheduled embryo transfer cycle, sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold ‘em. Heartbreaking and frustrating as it can be, there are sometimes good reasons to put the brakes on a cycle. Doing so does not mean all hope is lost. It likely just means the timing isn’t right at a particular juncture, and your hopes of achieving pregnancy have a better chance of becoming realized down the road during a rescheduled cycle.

Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John David Gordon and IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum explain below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.” P.S.- Don’t miss Dr. Gordon’s excellent (-?) Yoda impression near the end!

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Blinded by the Light(s)?

It’s the time of year when many of you are unearthing the Christmas decorations and lights from the attic or garage. As Dr. John David Gordon can attest, what follows is often a frustrating experience. Invariably you seem to find a strand of lights that no longer works, right?

So what lessons does this hold for your infertility journey? For starters, Dr. Gordon could’ve saved himself a lot of frustration on the light strand if he would’ve stepped back and taken a broader view of the situation. (It took a suggestion from his daughter to get him to do this.) He was blinded by the lights, so to speak.

This can happen with fertility treatment, too. Couples can develop a one-track mindset, investing all their hopes in one approach. On the other hand, some can become so frustrated that they just scrap all treatment. Neither of these extremes constitutes the sort of balanced view that often leads to success in conquering infertility.

Dr. Gordon goes into more detail with IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum below in this edition of our Internet show “Talk Fertility.” They also discuss an important lesson to be gleaned from the historic news about Molly Everette Gibson, the 27-year-old frozen embryo who successfully came to birth through the work of our nonprofit partners at the National Embryo Donation Center. We’re thrilled for Molly, big sister Emma, and parents Ben and Tina!

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Dr. Gordon’s Thanksgiving List

What does a leading fertility expert have to be thankful for as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday?

For Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. John David Gordon, Co-Director of Southeastern Fertility, five things come to mind now that he has his first complete year in Knoxville under his belt.

Some of the items on the list: Faith, family, staff and the successes of those who have battled infertility (many for a long time) and finally achieved pregnancy with the help of Southeastern Fertility. 2020 even brought about the births of Southeastern Fertility’s first two Natural Cycle IVF babies. NC IVF is still a relatively new service at the practice. It and Mini-Stim IVF are two options that arrived along with Dr. Gordon last year.

Check out the video below as Dr. Gordon and IVF Coordinator Lynda McCollum work their way through the list of blessings. By the way, we’ll add that there’s something we’re thankful for: Dr. G’s good humor! You’ll notice a Blues Brothers-style hat and shades appearing on him intermittently, and you can chalk that up to a settings error on the smart phone used to shoot this; an error that wasn’t picked up by the staff until it was too late. Thanks for rolling with the punches, Dr. G!

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.

Farragut Press Touts Role of Southeastern Fertility, Dr. John Gordon in Historic Birth

Our hometown newspaper, the Farragut Press, recently reported on the role of Southeastern Fertility in the historic 1,000th embryo adoption birth facilitated by our nonprofit partners at the National Embryo Donation Center. The NEDC is the first embryo adoption program in the world to surpass the 1,000-birth milestone.

Southeastern Fertility Co-Director Dr. John David Gordon had the honor of performing the transfer that resulted in the birth of Emmie Sue to proud parents Josh and Ashley Brookhart.

You can check out the article by clicking this link. We’ve also included the text of the article, which sheds good light on why Dr. Gordon moved to Knoxville to join Dr. Keenan at Southeastern Fertility, verbatim below:

Farragut’s own National Embryo Donation Center has become the first embryo adoption program in the world to reach the milestone of 1,000 births.

When Emmie Sue Brookhart, “adopted” as a frozen embryo, was born healthy Sunday, Oct. 18, in Davenport, Iowa, to parents Josh and Ashley Brookhart, she became the 1,000 birth facilitated through NEDC.

NEDC physician Dr. John David Gordon performed the successful frozen embryo transfer through the NEDC’s medical partner, Southeastern Fertility, earlier this year.

“I am just so happy to have been part of Josh and Ashley’s journey,” said Gordon, who joined the practice in 2019, partnering with Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, NEDC president and medical director. “Every single one of those 1,000 babies has their own unique story, and these successes are a result of the amazing team effort put forth by the NEDC.

“Embryo adoption is a fantastic option for many couples that struggle with the issues inherent in assisted reproduction. Since joining the team at Southeastern Fertility, I have an even greater appreciation for the outstanding work done by the NEDC to coordinate the embryo adoption process.”

“Starting and running the NEDC, in addition to an academic and clinical medical practice, has been a huge amount of work, but I would do it all over again without hesitation,” said Keenan, who brought Gordon on board to help with the SF workload. “I would have never predicted, 20 years ago, that the NEDC would turn into the largest, most experienced and most successful embryo adoption clinic in the world.

The NEDC opened in West Knoxville in 2003, forming as a direct result of a vision cast by Christian Medical & Dental Associations CEO Dr. David Stevens, who saw the need for a high-quality, scientifically and ethically sound way to honor the dignity of the human embryo.

Since then, the faith-based organization has gained distinction as a leading comprehensive non-profit embryo adoption program whose purpose is to protect the lives and dignity of frozen embryos that would not be used by their genetic parents and to help other couples build the families they have longed for via donated embryos.

Embryos have been donated to the NEDC from all 50 states, and couples have traveled to Knox County from all over the United States, as well as some foreign countries, for their embryo transfers.

Gordon’s start here

It was for these very reasons that Gordon, a third-generation physician, agreed to partner with Keenan in 2019.

He said as his reproductive endocrinology career unfolded, “Moral dilemmas came up regarding fertilizing embryos and what to do with them afterward,” Gordon said. “It became hard to wrestle with,” especially as he learned there are currently more than one million frozen embryos with unknown futures.

“When my patients ended up with too many eggs, there was the situation left with what should be done with them,” he added. “Do you continue freezing them? Destroy them? That was a huge dilemma for me.”

Already praying about the situation, meeting Keenan helped Gordon see what his next professional step needed to be.

While Gordon readily admits, “I don’t like change. My daughter even said to me that I hate to even change toothpaste brands,” he, his wife, Allison, and Susannah — their youngest of four children — moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Farragut last year.

To schedule your free 15-minute telemedicine consult with Co-Director Dr. John Gordon, call 865-777-0088 or click here. To learn more about Southeastern Fertility, including our mission, values and team, click here. To learn more about IVF with Southeastern Fertility, click here.