Recurrent Loss, DOR & Autoimmune Disease: Mary’s Story [SUCCESS]

April 8, 2019

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Mary. She is a 38-year-old surrogacy agency owner who enjoys yoga, running, and spending time with family. After about eight months of trying to conceive, she was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. At only 34, she was shocked to learn her AMH was 0.39 and advised to begin IVF immediately. Their first retrieval resulted in two genetically normal embryos. Unfortunately, while her first transfer took, the pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. A hysteroscopy shortly thereafter found fibroids, which her doctor removed. Her second retrieval resulted in only one genetically normal embryo. Her second frozen transfer failed, and while the third took, it also ended in a miscarriage. They sought the counsel of a reproductive immunologist, who recommended surrogacy. Join us to hear how Mary went through two more retrievals, a spontaneous pregnancy and miscarriage, and ultimately had twins via a gestational carrier.

Episode Sponsor:

Fertility Centers of Illinois

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Mary was a positive, outgoing, adventurous, and fun go-getter
  • How she met her husband at Lake Tahoe when she was preparing to run a marathon, and he was a Navy fighter pilot
  • As a couple, they balance each other out and make a good team
  • How Mary always loved being with children but knew it was essential to have a strong marriage relationship to model for her future children
  • When they started trying but had no success, Mary knew something was wrong and saw her Ob
  • She saw a reproductive endocrinologist who wanted to help and went above and beyond in every way
  • How she learned that she had diminished ovarian reserve and that IVF would be her best chance to conceive
  • On the first round, she had three eggs retrieved, but only two were genetically normal
  • After the transfer, she was pregnant, but her numbers didn’t double as they should have, and she had an early miscarriage
  • At the second IVF, 14 eggs were retrieved, but only one embryo was normal; it was transferred with no success
  • They transferred the last embryo, and she became pregnant, but the ultrasound showed no heartbeat
  • When the doctor mentioned the possibility of surrogacy, Mary was shocked
  • Why she saw a reproductive immunologist to figure out her autoimmune issues
  • How she worked with an agency in Idaho because surrogacy was too expensive in CA
  • They did an IVF cycle to get embryos, but only got one—which became her son
  • After complications, they did another IVF and got three good embryos; they froze two, and the other became her daughter
  • While they prepped for the transfer, Mary took a pregnancy test and found she was pregnant naturally, but she miscarried on the morning of the transfer
  • The surrogate became pregnant, and the ultrasound showed two heartbeats; her son and daughter were born in April 2016
  • The first sign that Mary knew medical help would be needed to conceive, when “things didn’t feel right”
  • The first impression of the RE: it was a family office that was welcoming, and she felt seen, heard, and cared about
  • Why Mary started a surrogacy agency with her surrogate, who has become like a sister to her
  • How Mary was able to induce lactation and breastfeed her babies and how she helps intended mothers through her agency today
  • Tips for communicating with a gestational carrier: “Lay everything out and be completely honest and open with what you want your journey to look like to experience the pregnancy as vicariously as you can.”
  • How they felt when they finally received a diagnosis
  • The lowest point, when they lost their daughter at 10 weeks
  • A positive moment, when her husband used “call signs” to name their son and daughter when they were still embryos
  • How they balanced work and treatments, being open with people and having to drive three hours each way to the clinic
  • Their financial plan, and how they used savings and sold a boat to pay for IVF
  • Navigating infertility while being in the military
  • How her relationship with her husband only grew stronger and more supportive of each other, and how they “became better people in becoming parents”
  • Relationships with friends and families changed some, as there were some who didn’t want to think about or hear about infertility
  • Mary’s advice for advocating for yourself: “Ask questions if something doesn’t feel right and seek support.”
  • How infertility changed Mary: “It brought me to exactly where I’m supposed to be, This journey and sharing my story make me feel alive, especially when I can fulfill my purpose in helping others.”
  • Mary’s advice to her past self: “Let go of control. You’ll wear yourself down. Let the path unfold as it should.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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