Dani and Matt

Family Stories

Dani and Matt


When Dani (pictured to the right) was seven weeks old, she began having difficulty breathing and was rushed to the hospital. Upon arrival, a team of doctors and nurses immediately started working on Dani who was in complete cardiac collapse. Dani spent three and a half weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit fighting for her life. After being put on a ventilator and feeding tube, her body started responding and slowly showed signs of improvement. Dani was sent home with her parents not knowing what her future would hold. Dani endured countless doctor appointments, tests, and life-long mediations. She was a fighter and continued to defy odds and become stronger. She had no physical restrictions and did all she could do to remain active in her adolescent years. She always hoped she would be strong enough to carry a child one day.

Dani and Matt met during their sophomore year at Iowa State University. Their relationship continued to flourish and Matt was right by Dani’s side when she learned from her doctor that her heart would not be strong enough to support a pregnancy, despite the many obstacles her body had overcome over the years. It was heartbreaking news, especially since Matt and Dani both very much wanted children.

Matt and Dani got married in September of 2020. Even COVID, a last minute venue change and downsizing their guest list twice, couldn’t stop their future together from officially starting. A few months after the wedding, Dani’s cardiologist recommended genetic testing. The results showed that she is a carrier of the MYH7 gene; a gene very commonly associated with heart disease and likely the cause of her collapse as a baby. They learned that this gene could be passed on to a child, so it was something to consider when family planning. Dani was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist where she learned of pre-genetic testing, which would ensure the MYH7 gene is not passed on to a future child. They are so grateful for the Chicago Coalition of Family Building and are excited to start their journey to parenthood.

Dani and Matt are recipients of a donated pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT-M) cycle from Natera

When we found out that the next step was IVF, we thought our dreams were shattered