PCOS & Male Factor Infertility: Deena’s Story [JOURNEY]

June 18, 2018

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Today’s journey story is about a woman named Deena. She is a 35-year-old nurse who enjoys traveling, reading, and exploring with her husband. After nearly a year of trying to conceive, Deena went to her regular OB/GYN for testing and was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. Following a cancelled IUI cycle and another unsuccessful one, they moved on to IVF. During her first retrieval cycle, three embryos became day 5 blasts, but only one was PGS normal. They transferred that embryo several months later, and while it did implant, she had a missed miscarriage. Deena’s second retrieval cycle looked more promising with four embryos becoming day 5 blasts, but none were PGS normal. Join us to hear how she has since switched clinics — and what’s coming up next in her journey.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Deena describes herself as happy, resilient, anxious, judgmental and critical of herself, and a typical type-A personality
  • How she met her husband 10 years ago when she was in grad school. They met online and had their first date at a coffee shop—the same one at which he proposed to her 3 years later!
  • As a couple, they make a good team, balancing each other out and being anxious about different things
  • Deena always wanted to be a mom and her natural caring side led her into nursing
  • Why she thought a nursing career would be a good schedule for a mother
  • They have tried to conceive for about 3 years now, and Deena always had the feeling that she would have trouble getting pregnant
  • In March 2016, she saw her Ob and was sent to an RE
  • A few months later, the first and second IUI’s were not successful, and they followed with the first IVF in Janauary 2017
  • Only one PGS-normal embryo resulted and was implanted in May. Growth and heartbeat were normal via ultrasound and then miscarriage happened between 7-8 weeks
  • More testing followed, and another IVF cycle, which resulted in no genetically normal embryos
  • The lowest point for Deena happened with this devastating news, and her husband got a new job at the same time, which offered wonderful insurance coverage that enabled them to go to Fertility Centers of Illinois
  • At FCI, they began testing and are now prepping for a third IVF cycle this August
  • Back to Deena’s first RE appointment at the first clinic–which just wasn’t a good fit, Deena liked the doctor, but felt the nurses seemed disorganized and had problems communicating
  • Even as a nurse, Deena felt “out of my element” with the infertility journey and reproductive healthcare
  • Deena has celiac disease, which is well-managed, but infertility made her feel like her whole body was “out of whack and revolting against” her
  • What Deena wishes she had known about PGS testing was that a PGS-normal embryo does NOT always mean a successful live birth
  • How Deena dealt with expectations about conceiving vs. the reality that has taken place
  • The diagnosis at the first clinic was PCOS, but it took several months to figure it out
  • The current RE at the new clinic doesn’t suspect PCOS, but is testing for endometriosis or an altered immune issue
  • How Deena lost hope in January after the failed cycle with no normal embryos
  • How she is moving forward with therapy, acupuncture, and the new clinic
  • A fond memory of the saddest day ever, when she had a D & C and the team of women in the OR rallied around her to encourage and support her
  • How they have balanced work, treatments, and loss–and how flexible work schedules are key!
  • The difference in their former insurance coverage with specific limitations and the new coverage that is national coverage and includes PGS testing
  • How she and her husband have become closer, kinder, and more compassionate with each other
  • How relationships with friends and family have become better in some ways and more challenging in others
  • Why advocating for herself has been a real struggle, partly because she has been in denial about her journey and partly because she has been overwhelmed
  • The next steps for Deena are endometrial biopsies in July and IVF in August


Thanks for listening!