DOR & Male Factor Infertility: Erin’s Story [SUCCESS]

December 17, 2018

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Erin. She is a 32-year-old NICU nurse who enjoys reading and listening to podcasts. When she was 16, she was diagnosed with PCOS. So, even as a teenager, she knew she might need help building her family. Once she and her husband began trying to conceive, she attempted to track her cycles, but that was difficult because they were irregular. Eventually, she made an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist. Her tests showed that the PCOS diagnosis was incorrect. Instead, she had diminished ovarian reserve. Her husband was also diagnosed with low sperm count and morphology. They were told IVF with ICSI was their only option. After some time spent in denial and then with a therapist, she started a new job with infertility insurance coverage and switched REs. Their first IVF cycle was not successful, and she was ready to talk about donor eggs. However, her husband was not. Join us to hear how some protocol changes made Erin’s second IVF cycle a success, resulting in a healthy baby boy.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Erin was much more fun, laid back, and enjoyed life more
  • How she met her husband through an internet dating site, then they talked on the phone; after they met, “the rest is history”
  • As a couple, they are opposites in many ways, but good partners, as his strengths are her weaknesses, and vice versa
  • Erin always enjoyed kids and pictured babies being in her future
  • How her desire for kids impacted decisions about jobs and schedules
  • In high school, she had problems, was diagnosed with PCOS, and knew she might have trouble having kids later
  • When they married in 2012, they both knew they wanted to have kids
  • They started trying in 2014 as Erin tracked her cycles, but they weren’t regular
  • She saw an RE in 2016, had tests done, and the results showed no PCOS, but DOR, low sperm count and low morphology
  • Her doctor said IVF with ICSI was their only hope, but they knew they couldn’t afford it
  • They took a break and lived in denial for awhile
  • When her brother and sister-in-law announced their pregnancy, Erin was really sad for a few days and didn’t get much support from family
  • How she found help from a therapist who specialized in infertility
  • Why she started looking for a job across the border from WI in IL—to get insurance coverage for fertility treatments
  • In February 2017, she started a job in IL with good insurance coverage and they prepped for IVF with a different RE in the same clinic (he was supposed to be the best!)
  • She had a hysteroscopy and polyp removal before IVF
  • She had difficulty with the stim medications and only got two eggs—and the cycle was not successful
  • Why Erin considered using donor eggs, started infertility acupuncture, and began taking CoQ10 and DHEA
  • They prepped for another IVF: retrieved 6 eggs and did a fresh transfer of a single embryo
  • Her very first positive pregnancy test and their son, born in July 2018—and four frozen embryos!
  • Why she went straight to an RE in the beginning
  • Erin’s initial impression of the RE and the clinic: she has only good things to say
  • Why she was very naive about what her early PCOS diagnosis meant
  • How being a NICU nurse affected her infertility journey
  • The conversation with her RE about transferring one vs. two embryos
  • How her husband felt about his diagnosis
  • The lowest point, after the first failed IVF cycle, and how Erin felt angry and defeated
  • A positive moment, on transfer day, when they were full of hope
  • How their schedules and appointments worked out as they balanced work and treatment
  • The very good insurance coverage with her new job, but they still had out-of-pocket costs
  • How the relationship with her husband became difficult as they had to learn to work with each other on their different coping styles
  • How they received support from the friends and family they were open with about going through IVF
  • Erin’s advice about advocating for yourself: “Know about your diagnosis and treatments. You’re in charge, so do your research and keep open lines of communication with your doctor.”
  • How infertility changed Erin: “I’m more empathetic to anyone’s personal struggle.”
  • What Erin would do differently: “I would try to relax and enjoy the journey more. I was too anxious and infertility took over my life.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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