My husband and I married in 2005 when I was 32 years old. We are both mental health workers and had spent most of our 20’s in graduate school and building our careers. We met in 2002 at the same mental health care facility serving children and adolescents. We knew we wanted children and began trying soon after we married. Although we were unsuccessful, my primary care physician said I was still young and not to worry, so I didn’t. By the time I was 34 and was still not pregnant, my gynecologist suggested consulting Shady Grove Fertility.
WRONG TIMING… OR NOT?
I’m not sure I ever believed I was “infertile”. I naively believed my husband and I just weren’t getting the timing right. Even having undergone multiple rounds of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) starting in 2008, none of which worked, I convinced myself it would happen eventually.
Fertility treatment was not easy. Not the procedures. Not the “negative” test results. Not the medication injections. Not the mental anguish. Not the expense. Not the dealing with insensitive insurance companies. I feel as though no matter how much you think you know in the moment, when looking back, I wish I had asked more questions and been more aggressive early on. I can’t even remember the number of IUI cycles I went through with the help of expensive medications that never resulted in a pregnancy. Sometimes I think if I only had tried In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) from the start, I may have succeeded earlier on.
In 2010, my husband and I decided to try IVF. However, after updating our testing, I found myself sitting across from Dr. Sagoskin as he explained the results indicated that I was menopausal. We were in shock. I was only 37 years old. I suppose this was the official moment I “discovered” I had infertility. It took almost a year to accept.
After our meeting with Dr. Sagoskin, I sought out a second opinion at another fertility center in our area. There didn’t seem to be much they could do for me. To say the least I was angry, angry with the doctor for delivering the news and angry with myself for not being more aggressive sooner. I simply did not want to believe I could not have my own child. I was grieving and in denial.
We returned to Shady Grove Fertility and spent the next several months working with Patricia Sachs, one of the social workers. Patricia gave my husband and me the empathy, time, information, and support we needed. This allowed me to feel heard and respected as an individual with a unique experience. It helped my husband and I come to terms with my diagnosis and grieve and guided us through the process of deciding what our next steps would be and if we would pursue donor egg treatment or not.
TRYING DONOR EGG TREATMENT
By the end of 2010, we made the decision to attempt pregnancy through donor egg. We attended several support groups throughout the process, which made every difficult step a little easier and less lonely. The donor support groups at SGF, recommended by Patricia, played a significant role in alleviating our fears and anxieties about moving forward with donor IVF treatment. It helped with everything from deciding to move forward, to the donor selection process, and through the complexities of the actual procedure cycle (syncing with the donor, etc.).
The process began in January 2011 with our selection of a donor and then ended on December 8, 2011 with the birth of our healthy, wonderful, amazing son, Nicholas! We couldn’t be happier, enjoying every moment of parenthood. I’m thrilled to have experienced being able to bring a life into this world, to call myself a “mom”, and to stare each day into the loving eyes of our little miracle.
MY ADVICE TO OTHER PATIENTS
I have talked with many friends who have had trouble conceiving since our experience. It’s amazing how many couples share the same challenges; it’s sad that fertility treatment, especially treatment involving donor eggs, still remain “taboo.” I tell those I speak with not to be ashamed, to ask questions, to research all their options, and to take advantage of the support services available to them.