Katherine's Infertility Journey
Katherine's Infertility Journey
What is infertility?
Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive after one year or longer of trying. So, what causes infertility? There are many conditions that can cause infertility such as PCOS and Endometriosis, however, male factor infertility and unexplained infertility are quite common factors as well.
Unfortunately, beauty and hygiene products can also be hormone disrupters that interfere with a couple’s ability to conceive. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility and many turn to fertility treatments such as medicated timed cycles, IUI and IVF. IUI is one of the most common procedures for infertility but it only has a success rate of 13%-15% if you are 35 or younger.
My sweet baby boy was brought into this world through IVF. We are a malefactor family due to Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Males with CF have a 98% chance of being infertile due to a missing or sealed vas deferens.
IVF would be our only option to have a biological child. In April of 2020, I called the fertility clinic to get some information and find out what we would need to do in order to get things started as my insurance covered IVF, which is incredibly rare. Most couples spend $20,000-$30,000 a cycle out of pocket.
The clinic had me come in for testing and due to my husband having CF we would have to schedule bloodwork and eventually surgery to extract the sperm. After my husband’s surgery, they would start me on birth control in order to control my cycle.
Once they were ready for us to begin the cycle, I would begin ovarian stimulation, which is called “stims”, in order to make my follicles grow. Stims are injectable medications that help your follicles grow and mature in order for them to collect as many mature eggs (follicles) as possible.
I would go in for monitoring appointments every other day. These monitoring appointments consisted of bloodwork and ultrasounds to see the growth of the follicles, count them, and see if the medications needed to be adjusted. Once the follicles reach the appropriate size, they would have me “trigger”.
The trigger shot is just a shot that would make you ovulate at a certain time in order for them to retrieve the mature eggs. Once they retrieved the eggs, they would inject the sperm directly into the egg for them to fertilize which is a special procedure called ICSI. We got a call the next day telling us how many fertilized eggs we had.
We got a call on day 3 to tell us how many embryos were still growing and again on day 5 to tell us how many had reached the final stage. In our first full cycle, we ended up with one embryo out of 37 mature eggs. We were devastated by the news of only having one embryo as it was not a guarantee it would work and if it did not, we would have to do another full egg retrieval cycle.
We scheduled a transfer a month later for a frozen embryo transfer, some clinics do a fresh transfer instead of frozen. I would start more pills and more injectable medications prior to the transfer. After the transfer, I would continue the medications and 14 days later go back in for bloodwork to see if we were pregnant.
Our transfer did work the first time but sadly ended in a loss not long after. This meant we would have to start another full cycle. A few months after the loss of our first transfer we began the second cycle. This time we ended up with 3 embryos! We did another frozen embryo transfer and this time it worked and resulted in a full-term pregnancy.
I continued to take medications until 12 weeks of pregnancy before moving to a standard OB for the remainder of my pregnancy. In order to have one full-term pregnancy, I had Over 170 shots, around 3714 pills, 2 Egg Retrievals, 2 Embryo transfers, and 1 miscarriage.
All of this to say, if you plan to ask someone when they are going to have kids, when will baby #2 become, etc. Please think twice and remember this. It doesn’t come easy for everyone and I am one of the lucky ones.
Many women have suffered recurrent loss, multiple failed transfers, and sometimes even failed egg retrievals due to lack of eggs or lack of fertilization, and sometimes embryos will not make it all the way to day 5.
If you have ANY questions about infertility or IVF comment and ask. I will check back on this post and help answer any questions anyone may have.