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After eight years of trying to conceive on their own, a couple gets pregnant within three months of enrolling in an infertility trial at Carolinas HealthCare System’s CMC Women’s Institute.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Baby (Maybe)

Tasha Wygal, a cosmetologist, and Caleb Wygal, an author and entrepreneur, got married in 2002. “It was literally love at first sight,” says Caleb. “When I saw her I said to myself, ‘that’s the girl I’m going to marry.’ I didn’t quite get her number that night, but I did the next week, and eight months later we were married.”

The Wygals originally started thinking about starting a family in 2009 after they found out Caleb’s younger brother and his wife were expecting their first child. They had hoped to have children who would be close in age. When traditional conception methods didn’t work, they decided to seek out a fertility expert’s opinion. The couple was referred to Rebecca S. Usadi, MD, an associate director of reproductive endocrinology.

MOXI is a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that examines whether mildly infertile males who take a twice daily dose of antioxidants in pill form will experience a boost in fertility. In a double blind placebo trial, some of the participants are given the treatment, others are given fake treatment (placebo), and neither the researchers nor the participants know which is which until the study ends. The hope of the trial is that the antioxidants will prove to improve sperm quality, resulting in higher fertilization rates and improved embryo development.

The study is also looking to see if the antioxidants can improve the quality of the sperm, which would allow for couples with unexplained infertility to use less intensive therapies to get pregnant. Another upside of the MOXI trial is a cost savings on expensive infertility treatments. The trial covers the cost of three clomiphene (medication used to treat infertility) and intrauterine insemination (a fertility treatment) cycles for qualifying couples.

“It sounded like a win-win, and our best chance at having a child,” says Caleb.

Couple becomes pregnant after enrolling in MOXI trial at Carolinas HealthCare System.

The Wygals (Caleb and Tasha, second from right) with (from left) Kathleen Bratschi, a clinical nurse, Kathy Ramsey, MOXI study coordinator and Dr. Rebecca Usadi, all with the Carolinas Medical Center Women’s Institute.

Just a few weeks into the trial, Tasha had a feeling she that she might be pregnant. Her period was few days late, and she had serious heartburn.

“Seeing as how I may have been taking the real MOXI and not the placebo, I just hoped that it might have done the trick.”

Then, a visit with Dr. Usadi confirmed what they suspected – Tasha was indeed pregnant. The couple was ecstatic, apprehensive and nervous all at once.

Caleb’s advice to other couples facing similar circumstances: “Hang in there and keep trying! Yes, it can be discouraging, but try to look at the positives throughout the process. It took nearly eight years for us, but with the right team of people, you can do it, too.”

More About MOXI

CMC Women’s Institute is one of eight sites across the country participating in the MOXI Trial, and is the only place in Charlotte to offer couples this opportunity. The trial is led by the NIH Reproductive Medicine Network and is expected to last two to three years.

The MOXI Trial is open to certain couples with unexplained infertility. To qualify, women must be between 18 and 35 years old, have regular menstrual cycles and open fallopian tubes. Qualifying couples also need to have mildly decreased sperm parameters.

“Mild male factor infertility is so common. If this trial is successful, there may be a very simple, inexpensive intervention that can help couples conceive naturally,” says Dr. Usadi.

Just recently, a second couple enrolled in the trial confirmed that they are pregnant.

To learn more about MOXI, call 704-355-2949 or send an email to Kathleen.ramsey@carolinashealthcare.org.