REPRODUCTIVE CENTER Ex-patients gather with their children
Canfield quintuplets were conceived with help from The Reproductive Center.
By KATIE LIBECCO
BOARDMAN -- More than 500 former patients attended The Reproductive Center's 10th annual Baby Reunion at Mr. Anthony's to celebrate more than 1,000 babies.
"This is very, very rewarding," Dr. Robert Collins said as he posed with a child of a former patient. "It's great to see how kids develop and to see everyone again."
Dr. Collins was continuously surrounded by former patients with their children, thanking him and sharing success stories at the reunion Sunday.
The event was geared to families, with the children being entertained by characters such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Daffy Duck, Batman and Robin. There also was a magician and face painting.
"The parents of these children have made friends throughout the years, through the reunions and meeting at the center," Dr. Collins said. "It's really a good thing for them."
Tony and Leslie Hudock of Canfield brought their quintuplets, three girls and two boys, to the affair. They were conceived through help from The Reproductive Center.
"Dr. Collins is like family. He's fulfilled a lot of lives. Not a day goes by that we don't think of him," Tony Hudock said. "Their center is very professional, but at the same time, they consider your feelings. There's a closeness involved there."
Juliette Steffensen, who will be 2 next month, was dressed all in pink with pigtails in her hair while she played in a side room of Mr. Anthony's with her mother, former patient Jennifer Steffensen.
"Dr. Collins is wonderful. I had Juliette after just a year in treatment," Jennifer Steffensen said. "I wanted to have her as naturally as possible, and Dr. Collins supported that. That's what makes him great. He looks at the individual and what their beliefs are."
Steffensen had Juliette at 41 and considers herself lucky to have had her daughter.
Childless for 24 years
Bob and Mary Kohut share a similar success story. After being married for 24 years without children, they started seeing Dr. Collins.
After treatments at the center, they were able to have their daughter, Mara, who is now 8.
"The Reproductive Center is wonderful; their staff is amazing," Mary Kohut said. Her husband added, "Dr. Collins is a saint."
"There are other centers in the Valley, but we're different because we are the only full-service reproductive center," Dr. Collins said. "Out patients don't have to drive to Cleveland or Pittsburgh for anything, we can do it all here. It's especially nice with our bad winters."
The Reproductive Center, on Sahara Trail in Boardman, provides treatment for men and women, including ovulation induction, infertility evaluations, in-vitro fertilization and egg donation.
Linda Sardich of Champion brought her 8-month-old girl, Jeannie. She said that having The Reproductive Center close was beneficial to her after having considered other centers in Akron and Cleveland.
"I tried [to conceive] for seven years, but Dr. Collins told me not to give up hope," Sardich said. "They are really caring people. It's hard going through that, but they were so helpful."