Melissa and her wife went through fertility treatment to have two children.
What I Learned From Fertility Treatment
person found Melissa's experience helpful.
As two married lesbians, my wife and I knew that we wanted a family. Unsure of the path to parenthood, we started by becoming foster parents for the Department of Children and Families. While this was a wonderful experience, the children we were trying to adopt were returned to their families. Unable to pursue another pre-adoptive experience, we began using donor sperm to try and get pregnant.
We tried to get pregnant for 12 months. We would order the donor sperm in the mail through a cryogenic center, and the sperm would arrive at our physician’s office. My wife got inseminated 12 times this way, and nothing worked throughout the year.
We were referred to the only fertility clinic in our area; it was our only choice unless we wanted to travel several hours.
After meeting with the fertility specialist, we signed up for classes to learn how to mix medications and administer the shots that my wife needed in order to prepare for an egg retrieval. The medication used helps the mother produce more eggs than normal, which will then be retrieved under general anesthesia.
After six weeks of preparation for the egg retrieval, my wife was ready. To prepare for an egg retrieval, my wife would suggest making sure that important tasks are taken care of for the week. Plan to have a couple of days off after the retrieval if possible. Try to remember that this is a strenuous process, and be gentle with each other.
After three days, we learned that 11 embryos were created. Overjoyed, we waited two extra days so that the embryos turned into blastocysts. These are considered stronger, healthier embryos, and we didn’t want to take any chances.
My wife got pregnant with one of these 11 embryos, but that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage after three months. We learned of the miscarriage after my wife had fallen, and an emergency ultrasound was done at our local hospital.
We waited a year after the miscarriage to consider fertility treatment again. We knew it was important to take our time to let my wife heal from the trauma of having a miscarriage.
We began a new egg retrieval process, this time using a different donor sperm. We chose a donor based on my physical attributes, but the process is different for everyone. A quick Internet search will show you what cryogenic banks are available for you. This time, my wife made 11 embryos, one of which resulted in a healthy pregnancy.
Throughout the pregnancy, my wife and I were asked many questions. We weren’t a traditional couple seeking fertility treatment, and people were curious of the process for two women. Both of us were open about our experience because we believe that sharing our journey will help other couples trying to reach their dream of having a family one day.
Once our daughter was born, we quickly forgot all of the shots, ultrasounds, medications, and egg retrievals. We were in love from the start, and we both knew that all of the hard work and heartache was worth it.
Right before our daughter turned 2, we thought about a sibling for her. My wife began fertility treatment again with the same determination as the first time. Although an egg retrieval successfully created eight embryos, my wife needed a break after two transfers didn’t work. With two embryos left, we asked that they be cryogenically preserved for a future date.
Six months passed, and my wife decided that she couldn’t take the thought of trying to get pregnant again. She had just turned 40, and the idea of being pregnant at 40 scared her. I told her that I was comfortable with her decision, but that it would have to be up to her to call the lab and have the two embryos destroyed.
A few weeks later we were back at the fertility lab. My wife had been unable to discard the embryos, and after the process of thawing took place, one embryo was left. The doctor transferred the embryo, and we left knowing that we had tried our best to create a sibling for our daughter.
My wife had three embryos transferred several times because of her age, but none of these took. But that one frozen, not very healthy looking embryo held on, and we got the happiest news two weeks later. My wife was pregnant with our second child.
Our journey to parenthood was long. From our first foster child entering our home to the birth of our first daughter, the time period was 12 years. We are now the proud parents of two beautiful daughters, and if we took anything out of our experience, it was this: Fertility treatment is worth all the stress, failures, money and medications, because in the end, your dreams may come true.