Male Factor Infertility & Diminished Ovarian Reserve: Sara’s Story [SUCCESS]

May 4, 2020

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Sara. She is a 30-year-old registered nurse who enjoys walking her dogs, staying active, and gardening. Sara’s OB/GYN did some limited fertility testing on her and her husband. Everything came back fine, except her husband’s semen analysis showed low count, low motility, and low morphology. They were referred to Fertility Centers of Illinois. After starting vitamins and supplements, her husband’s count got better but only slightly. They proceeded with several unsuccessful IUIs with Clomid and Letrozole. Even on the medication, she was only producing 1 or 2 follicles each time. So, they decided to move on to IVF. Her retrieval resulted in 18 eggs, 17 of which fertilized, and 3 became Day 6 embryos. Due to the fragmented, poor quality eggs, she was officially diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. Unfortunately, her first frozen transfer failed. Join us to hear how Sara had one more frozen transfer, which resulted in their daughter.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Sara was fun-loving and felt free
  • How she met her husband through friends
  • As a couple, they are easygoing, stress-free, and complementary in their personalities
  • How Sara always knew she wanted to be a mom
  • How they bought a house and vehicles with kids in mind, along with Sara’s career choice
  • When Sara went off birth control, she had regular periods, used OPKs, and kept researching ways to increase her chances of pregnancy
  • When she saw her Ob-gyn and tests were done, the results showed low sperm count, low motility, and low morphology
  • They were referred to FCI, where further tests were done, and her husband started supplements and a few lifestyle changes
  • How Sara was put on Clomid, and her husband’s numbers improved, so they were hopeful for the first IUI—but it failed
  • A second IUI happened soon after, with a higher Clomid dosage
  • As her husband’s sperm count improved, another IUI took place, but it was unsuccessful
  • Because of weird reactions to Clomid, Sara’s doctor switched her to Letrozole, and they were very hopeful with two good embryos and an improved sperm count—but still no success
  • How they met with their doctor to discuss their next steps; IVF seemed to be the next option, and many clues pointed to an egg quality issue
  • They did a freeze-all cycle and ended up with three Day 6 embryos, even though Sara had hoped for a better result
  • The many fragmented embryos confirmed Sara’s suspicion of poor egg quality
  • Next was a medicated FET cycle, and they were very hopeful–and heartbroken when the beta test was negative
  • How Sara was scared of going through another heartbreak, so she dove into yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to make sure she never felt that level of defeat again
  • Ready to try again, Sara advocated to her doctor for a natural cycle, and he agreed
  • The transfer was done by Dr. Allison Rodgers; Sara stayed present and calm, and the beta was positive
  • Hearing the heartbeat of her baby was Sara’s happiest moment ever; after a smooth pregnancy, her daughter was born last August
  • Sara’s first impression of the fertility clinic was that it was quiet, cold, and unfriendly; over time, she developed a good relationship with the nurse and felt comfortable there
  • What Sara’s infertility journey was like with her high expectations as a nurse
  • The weird side effects she experienced from Clomid, and how they still linger
  • How learning to advocate for herself helped Sara on her journey
  • The rationale behind doing a natural FET cycle because Sara thought her body could do what it needed to do if given a chance
  • Why and how Sara gave herself all those shots
  • How Sara and her husband felt about their diagnoses
  • The lowest point for Sara was after the first failed transfer because she convinced herself that it would work; she recovered by using positive self-talk, yoga, and meditation
  • A positive moment was when she started her stims and felt like she had a little bit of control, and hearing her baby’s heartbeat for the first time
  • How Sara balanced her work and treatment as a nurse
  • How her relationship with her husband didn’t change since they are a strong couple anyway
  • How their families were supportive through the journey because they were open with them and kept them updated
  • Sara’s tips for advocating for yourself include doing research and writing down questions to ask your doctor at each appointment
  • How infertility changed Sara: “Infertility has made me more humble. It’s taught me to be patient. I’ve learned to step back and be appreciative of what I have. Nothing is guaranteed in this life.”
  • Sara’s advice to her past self: “Be patient. Don’t be so triggered by everything surrounding the infertility journey. Infertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are all hard things to go through. It’s a marathon journey.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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