This is IVF… An Opportunity.

Aug 24, 2021 | Fertility Stories, This is IVF...

Words byLaura Spencer @journeysinfertility 

My partner and I had gotten married and moved across the country before we started trying. We were ready (more or less!)

We tried. Then tried some more. Then it was too many months.

We needed help. We started to get testing. I have PCOS which I didn’t know before trying, even though my periods were irregular.

I didn’t want to be part of the infertility community (nobody does!!). I slowly wrapped my head around our new reality. And yes, it was ours and not just mine to tackle. My partner and me as a pair.

We were quick to find out we have a sperm issue.  My partner was referred to a urologist. It was taking months before it finally became apparent, we were referred accidentally to a pediatric urologist!

So we were finally seen by a fertility doctor, and confirmed we need IVF or donor sperm for next options.

Meanwhile, testing was starting to indicate I do have PCOS and may complicate the donor route.

We were strongly  considering donor sperm from my brother-in-law. After researching policies in our province, federally and across provinces because he is out of province, it was likely going to be quicker to do IVF with ICSI with our own genetic makeup.

So we had that wait for a few more months before starting.

In Canada we have a publicly funded system but when you go to a fertility clinic, depending on which province you’re in, it’s usually outside the system and you need to go privately. Yes, we are in a province with no government funding for IVF or a any fertility treatment. It was going to all be out of our pockets. That was a tough pill to swallow when it was a medical reason and infertility either is medical or circumstantial.

In the lead up to and during IVF it was painful to navigate friendships, our own relationship rollercoaster and the mental strain. From the very beginning, I was very open with everyone and anyone about our infertility and what we were going through. I wasn’t on social media about it but I didn’t think of it since I wasn’t a big social media user at the time. But I wish I had been here to connect and find more Community.

What saved me was my own coaching and being coached. The power of what those

sessions did to work on my hope, navigating relationships and I’m the end for me to feel more confident in my decisions and the lack of control transformed my fertility journey.

Then it was time. I had a crazy number of follicles and in the first cycle, my estrogen was increasing up and up. Finally right before egg retrieval they cancelled the cycle and put me on blood thinners. I was devastated. I instantly thought it would never work for us and thinking of all the money down the drain and medication I administered for nothing. Then I developed OHSS. It was an awful experience but I learned so much about my body and how to navigate the bodily changes.

Finally it was time for round 2.

The medication hit me hard. I couldn’t move much quite early on and I was hormonal from day one.

The unknown was real.

I had a 3am emergency room visit with a blood clot. Luckily it didn’t impact the cycle and we proceeded to egg retrieval.

Meanwhile we made the decision to do PGT-A testing in our embryos. That meant no fresh cycle but in the end I was grateful to have a break for my body to heal.

I had even worse OHSS. I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy.

We got our results which we were very happy with and moved on to prepping for our FET.

All this while my partner Emanuel and I really strengthened our relationship while we were going through IVF. We brought in my coaching learnings and found a way to work together instead of against each other. It wasn’t always easy, but there was a shift.

We were one of those lucky ones who had success on or first try with our FET and that was also in part because of the PGT-A testing which I’m grateful we went for. I had bleeding for a few weeks throughout my first trimester which turned out to be complete placenta previa.

Long story short, we welcomed our baby to the world in July 2018.

We see IVF as an opportunity. It’s not a guarantee, and we are lucky to be one of those few.

We have embryos frozen ready for #2 and a plan to donate the rest when our family is complete, if we have any unused.

What I found throughout IVF was so much gratitude for the science and financial ability to take this chance. It’s a very hard journey, but I have zero regrets.

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