After completing his specialty fellowship in Boston, David Diaz, MD, became passionate about research in the physiology of human reproduction and was recruited in California to start up an embryology laboratory treating patients struggling with infertility. Under his leadership, West Coast Fertility was founded while the new research team concentrated on "reversing the biological clock" for women unable to have children. The lab fertilized eggs from young female donors with sperm from the older woman's husband then replaced the fertilized eggs to the older woman's prepared womb.
In 1992 Mary Shearing, age 52 and husband Don age 31, arrived at Dr. Diaz's office requesting the experimental technique of using egg donation for older women. Not exactly a "typical rocking chair grandma," she was a body builder, model, competitive water skier; the epitome of fitness and confidence. Her children by a first marriage were the same age as Don! After numerous tests and approval from the ethics committee, Diaz got the green light to treat Mary with donor eggs. Two weeks later the couple got the news they were pregnant with twins!
Controversy soon followed since Mary, now age 53, was considered to be the nation's oldest woman to carry twins! The Orange County Register newspaper ran numerous front page and feature stories about such an unlikely celebrity. A media frenzy ensued as the case received world wide publicity followed by multiple guest spots on TV talk shows. Mary soon became the poster child for women over 40 wishing to be mothers. Twin daughters Amy and Kelly were born in 1993 and recently one twin has delivered her own baby conceived "the old fashioned way."
26 years later, the Shearing story continues to hold fascination and was just featured on the Sunday front page of the Orange County Register which initially reported her case in 1993! Meanwhile, David's fascination with reproduction continues to push the frontiers and improving the odds that children born through IVF are healthier by diagnosing serious illnesses in the laboratory. According to Diaz, "holding the babies and meeting the children conceived in our laboratory is the BEST part of my profession."