Advanced Reproductive Age: Elizabeth’s Story [JOURNEY]

July 16, 2018

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Today’s journey story is about a woman named Elizabeth. She is a 40-year-old clinical psychologist who enjoys conversing in Spanish, traveling with her fiance, and walking her dog. When she was 37, Elizabeth decided to freeze her eggs for future use. Unfortunately, the results weren’t great, so she switched REs and did another retrieval cycle to freeze more — and responded much better this time. About a year later, she and her fiance started trying to conceive on their own. She became pregnant but miscarried at 6 weeks. Her RE suggested using her frozen eggs in an IVF cycle. However, not many thawed correctly, and none of the resulting embryos made it to Day 5. Join us to hear how Elizabeth has since had an additional miscarriage, done two more IVF cycles, selected an egg donor, and just learned she’s unexpectedly pregnant — and what that means for her journey.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Elizabeth was driven, passionate, a motivated go-getter, career-focused, a risk-taker, and an adventurer
  • How she met her fiance 21 years ago in college and kept in touch as close friends
  • As a couple, they are good friends and a good team with the same goofy sense of humor, same core values, and enjoy the same activities
  • Elizabeth didn’t want to be a mom for a long time because she was so career-focused—that all changed when she got a dog!
  • She decided she wanted a child with or without a partner, so she chose to freeze her eggs so she could have flexibility and become a mother whenever she wanted
  • How her desire for children led her to leave NYC and seek a more family-friendly job at the VA
  • In 2015, she went to a local fertility center to retrieve and freeze eggs and got only 6 mature eggs. She then went to a different clinic for another retrieval and got 14 eggs to freeze
  • In 2016, she started trying to conceive with her fiance but she had back problems that required major medications that disrupted her menstrual cycle
  • How she got pregnant but miscarried at 6 weeks and got no answers
  • They tried again with no success and then saw an RE who recommended IVF
  • Only 6 of the 20 frozen eggs thawed correctly and even with the freshly retrieved eggs, there were no viable embryos
  • Elizabeth had a chemical pregnancy on her own 2 months later and then another IVF and another
  • There was one mosaic embryo from both cycles and the rest were abnormal
  • An egg donor was recommended and Elizabeth asked a friend to do it, but she couldn’t due to medical reasons
  • How Elizabeth went to a Jewish agency to find an egg donor who began testing right away—about the same time Elizabeth found out she was pregnant naturally
  • Now, she is 9-½ weeks pregnant and has been diagnosed with autoimmune disorders
  • The fantasy she had about combining a fresh cycle with her previously frozen eggs
  • How and why she chose each of her fertility clinics
  • How chronic pain has affected her fertility in many ways; since she couldn’t function without a lot of medications, she had fears around being able to carry a pregnancy
  • How she regained hope by not giving up, having perseverance, and setting goals
  • How she and her fiance have remained a team and bonded even closer through the ups and downs
  • A positive moment when they went to NYC for 10 days for egg retrieval, shared some great experiences, and Elizabeth was asked to write an article about the IVF experience
  • How she balanced work and treatment with understanding bosses and coworkers who were very understanding
  • How her relationship with her fiance has made them a lot wiser as they’ve dealt with all the “what ifs” of infertility
  • How relationships with friends and family have become closer with those of similar experiences and how Elizabeth has had to separate from some
  • Next for Elizabeth is to pursue the donor route for eggs they can use in the future for additional children, as they try to see this pregnancy through to a healthy baby

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