Today, we're sharing the journey of one intended mom's journey through infertility. She describes her struggle to overcome the many obstacles and set backs, but also her eventual victory - she is now pregnant with twins!
Two to five percent.
That was the chance I was given from my reproductive endocrinologist to be able to conceive using my own eggs. I can't tell you how it felt to receive that phone call. I was in shock and devastated. I saw all the things I had dreamed about - birthday parties, holidays, weddings - vanish into thin air.
My husband and I had just sat down with the MD that morning and everything from tests and surgical procedures had gone well with no giant red flag. But that morning my labs were drawn to check my FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) level. My diagnosis was diminished ovarian reserve.
We decided to try IVF, knowing the odds were not in our favor. We had gotten pregnant on our own almost a year prior but I miscarried at 12 weeks. We had thought that since I conceived the first time we would have no issues. This, of course, was not the case. The IVF cycle only produced one fertilized egg and no pregnancy.
How could this be? I thought we had done all the right things. We waited until we were financially ready and in a good position to start our family, and now we were not able to. I felt like a failure. I saw everyone around me pregnant or already with children. I did not attend baby showers or kids’ birthday parties because I knew someone would ask (like they always do) when are you having children?
Infertility is a diagnosis that, in my opinion, is worse than other health issues. Why? Because there is very little treatment for it and it such a private matter to struggle with. Men may want to hide things in fear that people will think it is "his" malfunction. Women are usually more open with their struggles. Some women, not knowing what to say, will pacify you and say things like "it will happen when you least expect it" or "it only takes one.” There is very little recognition about infertility issues.
After the first IVF cycle failed, I realized I could keep beating my head against the wall, continue with increased dosages of medications and spend more money, or I could try something different. I began to research egg donor programs and eventually talked with my husband about using donor eggs. He is one of those secretive guys who doesn't want anyone to know anything about our issues. I told him that the child would genetically be half him and half the donor, but I would still be able to carry the child/children. To my surprise, he said yes. The year had been hell for us and if there was any chance we could conceive a baby (even if it wasn't genetically mine) he was for it. He just wanted us to be “normal” again. For a year, it felt that my whole life was about going to doctors, injecting medications, and taking tests that never yielded the result I wanted.
When we did decide that by using donor eggs we could drastically increase our chances of a baby, we had no idea where to turn. We discussed using a donor with our RE, who did have a donor program. But when they gave us a book of profiles, there were only 5 - none of whom I felt I had a connection with or who looked like me. I scouted out a few the RE recommended donor agencies and I was not happy. There are so many places with horrible reviews, and I even saw potential lawsuits against others.
And then, I found one company without any negative reviews and that had been in business for years. So I called ConceiveAbilities and spoke with Alicia. I cannot tell you how great it was to talk with or receive an email from someone available during the weekend or at night - I felt like the staff always went above and beyond to make me feel less anxious about the process.
I used their online database, which had a lot of women who looked like "normal" people and not someone using their modeling head shots. I wanted the impossible someone who looked like me, who was smart, and just a good person. A little hard to actually feel these qualities through the computer screen! We found a donor who shared similar characteristics like hair color, eye color and height. She has a college degree, which was important to me. We saw pictures not just of her but also of her family, which gave us an inside glimpse into how she was raised and her family life.
And this is where ConceiveAbilities works their magic. They were actually very informed about the donor I found, and advised me that yes, she would be a great match. I can't say enough about my egg donor. I wanted to feel a connection with the person who would play such an important part of my life, This was very important, even if it is anonymous. I sent a card for her, and our case manager Kristin said, “that’s funny - your donor mailed us a card to send to you!” She even sent a card after her procedure. I could not have had this connection to my donor - which I think made this whole process so much more personal -- if it was not for ConceiveAbilities. It is a lot of money to spend, and you are putting it into the hands of someone you will never meet, but ConceiveAbilities helped me find my dream donor. I am currently pregnant with twins.
Infertility is a nightmare that can take everything out of you physically, emotionally and financially. I am so happy that even though I may not have taken the path that I had originally intended, I am now back to my normal life and my dreams have come true. None of this would not be possible without my donor and ConceiveAbilities.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.