Buy 2 or more items and get FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. with code FREESHIP at checkout!
 Anonymous IVF Story for Male Factor Infertility featured on top infertility online community, The Slice of Sun

☀️ CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET TO HELP WOMEN WITH INFERTILITY! A portion of every single sale will go to an incredible woman experiencing infertility. They make the BEST gifts for women experiencing infertility to remind them they are loved OR to wear to your own appointments while working hard to grow your family to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you. You are incredible, sister!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

I’ll start with the end of the story: as I write this there is a precious 8-week-old baby boy napping in his crib. When I think about all the different struggles that I’ve had and what my story actually is, there are so many parts that felt impossible, or like the struggle wouldn’t be worth the result. After the fact, I now put my baby to bed every night telling him that struggle was part of his story and that we are grateful for the miracle that he is. I would do it again if I had to, even now that I know how hard it was.

When did I know I needed to see a fertility specialist:

My husband and I tried to get pregnant off and on for a little under a year. They say they don’t really treat for infertility before a year of trying, but after not getting pregnant after a few months I just felt like something was wrong. I had 2-week long periods so I decided to see my OB. She gave me Clomid and our strategy was to rule things out by doing the tests from least expensive to most expensive. I had blood work done to check my hormones and an inexpensive ultrasound. Around the same time my husband was tested. Even though I was so sure that I had an issue, they recommended both being tested, especially because male factor infertility is so easy to test for.

I was about to board a flight when I got a call from my husband. He got his test results back and they couldn’t find any sperm. He dropped that bomb on me and I spent the next three hours openly crying on an airplane. All I knew (which wasn’t correct, but I didn’t actually know at the time) was that I could never have children, something that I had wanted for a very long time. At the time we were not in a position to pursue any further treatment. My husband was in school and I was working to support us.

It was about eight months before we could see a fertility specialist. I spent that eight months talking myself out of ever wanting children. Fast forward eight very emotional months, I got a new job and my husband also got a job, and what can only be described as a miracle both of our jobs had insurance plans that covered infertility. I recognize that is rare and it was the only way that we could afford our treatment. We visited a fertility clinic and got down to business. It was explained that male factor infertility is much easier to manage than female factor infertility. There was more testing and I also had to complete a series of tests to make sure we had all the information that we needed. I got an additional ultrasound and blood work. These were tests that were too expensive for me to do before I had insurance coverage and they are also cheaper to do at the fertility clinic than through an OBGYN. Everything checked out and we got the go ahead to start IVF.

  • Take class on administering medication
  • Schedule appointments - my clinic had daily appointments that consisted of blood work and ultrasounds
  • Get medication plan from nurses
  • Order medications
  • Find sperm donor

What was called IVF day one for us was me going in for the initial blood work and ultrasound. Then a nurse called with the results and gave me my medication dosages. This happened every day for about two weeks. It was exhausting. I was working full time, so I would go into an appointment at seven to be at work at eight and towards the end of the process was too exhausted to do anything by the time I got home. This lasted for the two weeks and I would give myself shots in the morning and evenings.

The day before my egg retrieval my husband had to go in for surgery. Unfortunately, in his surgery they were unable to find any sperm. This was a lot to process the day before egg retrieval, but was especially hard on my husband. He was not feeling well from surgery and I had to leave early the next morning for my retrieval. At egg retrieval they harvested 18 eggs, I was SO excited about this number. It broke down like this for us:

  • 18 eggs retrieved
  • 13 eggs mature
  • 12 eggs fertilized
  • 4 embryos sent for PGS testing (This is to the best of my knowledge, I can’t remember for sure)
  • 1 embryo came back as “normal”

 Anonymous IVF Story for Male Factor Infertility featured on top infertility online community, The Slice of Sun

This news was simultaneously exciting and heartbreaking. We knew that even with one embryo that didn’t mean that we would end up with a child, there would still be a lot of uncertainty. I was also very surprised, I thought with 18 egg retrieved I would for sure have at least six embryos to choose from. After meeting with my doctor they discovered egg health issues that caused the lack of healthy embryos. It was hard to hear because I now felt more responsible when I was already doing everything I could. We had always said that we would only do one round of IVF, but having that one healthy embryo gave us the hope that we needed to try again. So after a lot of discussion we went for round two. This time with additional medications to help with egg health.

The second round of IVF was just like the first with more shots. During this round of IVF I had several dosage changes. While it was happening it made me feel like something was going wrong, but it was just adjustments to get my body to react the way they needed it to, and there were no issues. The results were (close to, I don’t remember exactly, after the second round of IVF I was so exhausted that I couldn’t keep track of things anymore):

  • 14 eggs retrieved – I was so sad and upset when I found out they only got 14 eggs, it felt like a failure since they retrieved 18 the first time around
  • 10 eggs mature
  • 9 eggs fertilized
  • 7 embryos sent for PGS testing
  • 3 embryos came back as “normal”

 Anonymous IVF Story for Male Factor Infertility featured on top infertility online community, The Slice of Sun

**What I learned the hard way:
Every aspect of IVF is difficult to measure. I was devastated about how my second round of IVF went, but when all was said and done the results were much better than the first round. I was so excited, this meant that I was going to be pregnant. I couldn’t wait! We had a follow-up appointment with our doctor and in my mind I was going to be pregnant starting the next month! I had been waiting so long for this. Turns out they do additional screening before they transfer and it had to be on a certain day of my cycle, so I wouldn’t become pregnant on my next cycle. It felt rough, but I could wait one more month.

When I had the testing done, they found a polyp in my uterus that would need to be removed. I scheduled my surgery for ASAP. I couldn’t wait any longer. After my surgery I had to wait for some time (I think 1-2 months) for my uterus to heal before the transfer, but I was ready to go right after that. But then the embryo lab was closed for cleaning so I had to wait another month for transfer. I had already waited SO long and it felt like all the longest scenarios kept popping up for me. In retrospect, I’m glad I waited for a little longer because my body had been through so much that some extra healing was good for my body and mind. I looked up
what my due date would be once I got my transfer date and it was my birthday. When I found that out it felt like this was how it was supposed to be all along.
Transfer felt like a big reward for all the work I had done. Every part of it felt so special. We got a picture of our embryo, the one little guy that had given us so much hope from the beginning. We got to share the excitement with friends and family and then wait. It was what felt like forever, but we finally got the call about two weeks later that we were pregnant.

What I learned:

IVF is hard to quantify. Even though I was discouraged about my 2nd round of IVF, we had better results from that round, so I learned to try not to be discouraged/sad/anxious unless I actually had to be.
Waiting is hard. There was more waiting involved in IVF that I had anticipated or that was even communicated to me. At every stage there was more waiting than what I wanted, but in the end, it was what best prepared my body to get the baby that I had wanted.

***I highly recommend PGS testing. This is only my opinion and my experience, but doing PGS testing save me from transferring several embryos that could never result in a pregnancy, it was also how my doctor discovered I had an egg quality issue that had gone undetected with all the other tests I had done. I thought I was completely healthy and didn’t want to pay the extra money, but turns out it saved me a lot of heartbreak in the long run.

Things that helped:

I was very open about IVF with people at work and my friends and family and I received a lot of support from them. Some of the things they did that felt especially supportive are:

Brought meals over after procedures
Drove me to procedures when my husband couldn’t drive
Sent me an unexpected care package with items specific to me, a friend sent a
shirt she had made, a kind note and an adult coloring book - at that time it
was just the thing I needed to feel loved, supported and a little cheered up
Bought me a blanket to keep me warm and cozy after transfer
Made me a custom pouch to make it easier to travel with my shots
My sister stayed with us during transfer and cooked and cleaned for us. It was
nice on transfer day to only have to focus on how special the day was and not
worry about day to day things

I built my own personal support group from women that I met at my clinic. There is an unspoken rule that people don’t talk to each other, but I broke that rule and ended up with some really great and supportive friends. It’s ok to talk to people in the waiting room. Information from a counselor that helped me was that me and my husband were in different stages of grief because I (and most women) had started grieving before my husband, so there was some understanding that had to come on my part, but once I figured that out we were better able to support each other.

How we chose a sperm donor:

This wasn’t something we were prepared for so it was really hard. We got a recommendation for a sperm bank from our clinic and researched our different options. When actually choosing a donor, this was our process:

We chose the things that were most important to us
Option for open donation (ability to meet/know the donor)
Similar physical traits to my husband, hair/eye color and skin tone
Medical history
Other considerations
We read profiles to find personality traits that we liked
Tried to determine if this is the type of person we’d introduce our child to
Found someone who had similar interests to us

☀️ CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BEST SOCKS ON THE PLANET TO HELP WOMEN WITH INFERTILITY! A portion of every single sale will go to an incredible woman experiencing infertility. They make the BEST gifts for women experiencing infertility to remind them they are loved OR to wear to your own appointments while working hard to grow your family to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you. You are incredible, sister!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

To read Michelle Lee's PCOS story, click HERE

 

0 comments

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published