My personal experience with infertility started off slow, much the same way as most couples. I fell in love and got married, expecting the family part to be step three. When one year of trying turned into two I knew something was wrong, and now 10 years later I am still dealing with it.
To someone who has never faced it, the struggles of infertility are impossible to explain completely. You can’t put the loss and feeling of hopelessness into words. It’s like being given half of your dream, but just half. You don’t get the other half yet, you might have it someday but even if you do everything right, in the end it is out of your hands.
If I was to sum up our experiences with infertility, it would look something like this. We got married in 2000 and started trying to get pregnant right away. Two years went by and we had our first success, only to miscarry at 12 weeks along. Another two years came and went, another pregnancy, and another miscarriage; this one at 8 weeks. By this time I was expecting for the next pregnancy to come after another two years, but it never did. It has been about six years since then.
It wasn’t until recently that we gave up on getting pregnant naturally without the aid of science, and began the monotonous testing process. I can’t even remember how many times I have been poked by needles, but I have the bruises to prove it. For someone with deep veins that they never find on the first shot, it’s extremely painful.
In March 2008 we had our first visit with an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) which was the best and worst moment of our infertile history thus far. After seeing an RE for the first time, I felt a complicated mix of emotions from hope to failure. After several tests and procedures, we discovered my husband suffers from severe male infertility with low counts and volume. So low in fact we were told we have a 1% chance of conceiving on our own.
Once you find out the probability the next step is obvious; what now? For us the only chance we have is to do IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization), a procedure that costs an average of $20,000 each cycle and it typically not covered by medical insurance. I am one of the unlucky ones with zero infertility coverage from my insurance company, so these costs will be out of pocket. Imagine paying $20,000 for just one shot at getting pregnant in this economy! It is terrifying.
Today we are stuck in limbo. We are unable to get pregnant on our own, and are in the midst of saving thousands of dollars for our last hope at a family. Adoption is an option for us, but again it is incredibly expensive and you can sit on a waiting list for years without ever getting picked by a birth mother. Even with all the money in the world, we may never get a baby via IVF procedure or adoption.
At 29, I should just be starting to think about kids but since I got married young we started this entire horrifying process a long time ago. Lucky for me, I know about the infertility now before I hit an advanced maternal age where it would be even that much harder for a successful pregnancy. If I was to give advice to someone just starting out on the road to conceiving their miracle baby, it would be to see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you don’t suspect anything is wrong with you or your partner, get tested! You never know what could be going on, and getting help now could make a huge difference.
For those of you suffering from infertility, my heart goes out to you. I know firsthand the heartache that goes along with it, and I can’t begin to express my regrets that you have to suffer from this unfair disease.