Low AMH & Azoospermia: Tara’s Story [SUCCESS]

October 29, 2018

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Tara. She is a 33-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep who enjoys family time, working out, and playing sports with her husband. Three months after she went off the pill, her period still had not returned. So, both Tara and her husband saw a reproductive endocrinologist for fertility workups. They were devastated to learn that she had low AMH and her husband had azoospermia. Following an unsuccessful procedure in an attempt to retrieve sperm from her husband, they decided to move forward with IVF using donor sperm. Their first cycle was unsuccessful but left them with two frozen embryos. Knowing they wanted to have more than one child, they headed straight into another retrieval cycle. Join us to hear how Tara suffered a miscarriage and went through several more retrieval cycles before finally becoming pregnant with her daughter.

Update: Tara’s husband sought out second opinion. A new analysis found 1 million sperm! It’s very rare for something like this to happen, but it looks like their journey is not over yet. They likely will begin another cycle with her husband’s sperm rather than a donor.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Tara was hard-working, with a type-A personality; she loved to be social, upbeat, and positive
  • How she met her husband at a Chicago Bears tailgate party on her birthday–and the connection was immediate
  • As a couple, they are best friends and equal each other out in many ways
  • How Tara always wanted to be a mom, even imagining what she wanted her kids to be named
  • How the desire for kids impacted decisions about finishing school
  • How her wallet being stolen (with birth control pills inside) led to “trying, but not trying”
  • With Tara’s job, she met with doctors all the time, so she mentioned that she had never gotten her period back and Dr. Rodgers recommended testing
  • Test results showed low AMH for her, but they were blown away when a semen analysis showed azoospermia (zero sperm)
  • The urologist had no answers but attributed the azoospermia to an unexplained genetic issue
  • The only option was to have surgery to try to extract sperm, but that was unsuccessful
  • Dr. Rodgers said their only options were donor sperm or adoption, and Tara’s husband agreed to donor sperm, because he didn’t want to stop Tara from experiencing pregnancy
  • In November 2016, with the first IVF, they transferred one embryo and froze two, but it was unsuccessful
  • With the next cycle, they got 19 eggs, but only one viable embryo–which took!
  • An ultrasound showed a missed miscarriage and a D & C the next day showed a genetic abnormality
  • After a hysteroscopy to remove scar tissue, the next cycle was cancelled, so they took a vacation and some time to regroup
  • In June 2017, there was another cycle with two embryos transferred–but no success
  • The 5th IVF yielded 8 eggs, 4 embryos, 2 transferred, and one was successful!
  • They were ecstatic, but cautiously optimistic about the pregnancy
  • At 34.5 weeks, the baby was breech and a C-section was scheduled; their daughter was born April 10, 2018
  • Tara’s recommendation to others about seeing a regular Ob vs. seeing an RE in the beginning
  • The first impression of the RE: “Dr. Rodgers was always upbeat, positive, and confident that we WOULD be parents someday.”
  • The difficult process of choosing a sperm donor, looking for someone with similar features as her husband and with a decent medical history (they used the same donor for all cycles)
  • The impact on her and her husband in having to accept what they couldn’t control and using a sperm donor
  • The physical and emotional impact of going through 5 fresh cycles
  • The crushing blow of finding out about her low AMH and his azoospermia
  • The lowest point: going to the Ob with the first pregnancy and seeing no heartbeat
  • A positive moment: finding out they were pregnant the 2nd time
  • How Tara balanced work and treatments, having a flexible work schedule and having multiple locations of Fertility Centers of Illinois
  • Their insurance coverage: out-of-pocket costs were required, but the rest was 100% covered, up to four cycles each year
  • How infertility affected Tara’s relationship with her husband and made them grow closer
  • How Tara received big support from her mom, but had to distance herself from some friends
  • How infertility changed Tara: “It’s made me more empathetic. I feel more for those struggling with infertility, and I have so much gratefulness and appreciation for our baby girl.”
  • Tara’s advice to herself back then: “Be more patient and listen to the doctor. Trust the process and be prepared for the journey.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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