Recurrent Loss & Male Factor Infertility: Leigh’s Story [SUCCESS]

April 1, 2019

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Leigh. She is a 40-year-old economic development professional who enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with friends. Only four months after they began trying to conceive, she became pregnant. Unfortunately, their first ultrasound revealed an empty sac, and she was told to prepare for a miscarriage. Five months later, she became pregnant again. This time there was a yolk sac, but she miscarried shortly thereafter. Seven months after that, she received her third positive pregnancy test but again miscarried. At this point, she was referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. However, he was retiring and thus only able to offer a brief consultation. In between taking some time off, she would have two additional miscarriages. Now three years into their journey, they returned to a fertility clinic and went through several unsuccessful timed intercourse and IUI cycles. Join us to hear how Leigh ultimately became pregnant with her daughter using frozen donor eggs.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Leigh was carefree, easygoing, social, and ambitious
  • How she met her husband in a bar, through mutual friends, but thought he “wasn’t good husband material” because he was a few years younger than her
  • As a couple, they balance and complement each other and feel “like puzzle pieces that fit together with strengths and weaknesses.”
  • It was only after marriage that she was able to explore the idea of motherhood
  • How they made financial plans for parenthood by cutting back on spending and travel
  • They started trying, got pregnant quickly, but were told to expect a miscarriage soon because the sac was empty
  • They changed doctors and tried again, had an early ultrasound that showed more problems, and had another miscarriage
  • After a saline sonogram and chromosomal testing that showed no red flags, Leigh became pregnant again but also miscarried at about 9 weeks
  • They took a break and saw an RE who was retiring, but he met them for a consultation and some recommendations
  • They tried again and got the 4th positive pregnancy test, but it was a chemical pregnancy
  • They took more time off, specifically for Leigh to focus on her health and mental well-being
  • Next, they had another positive pregnancy test and their 5th miscarriage at 7 weeks; they were devastated, thought they were finished trying, and figured that no RE could help them
  • How an incredible chance meeting led to a doctor who thought he could help them conceive
  • At the first consultation, the doctor gave them hope and did tests that revealed diminished ovarian reserve, an immune disorder, male factor issues, advanced maternal age, and egg quality concerns
  • The next steps were to try three timed intercourse cycles and three IUI cycles—none of which were successful
  • The doctor recommended IVF with her eggs, egg donation, or a gestational carrier with an egg donor
  • They pursued donor egg IVF and purchased 6 eggs, all of which fertilized
  • They transferred two embryos and received a positive pregnancy test
  • On December 7, 2017, Leigh gave birth to their daughter, who was six weeks early
  • What it was like to have no early warning signs of trouble and why Leigh began with her Ob-gyn
  • The first impression of the RE: “very personalized and unique care from amazing and precious people.”
  • Choosing an egg donor, and why curly hair was important
  • Why they chose frozen eggs over fresh
  • How and when they plan to share their child’s background and make it part of her life
  • How a successful pregnancy is different for someone who has suffered recurrent loss, mainly because of the guilt and anxiety
  • How Leigh felt during her successful pregnancy
  • Leigh’s tips for managing emotions: “Go to therapy if you need to; it’s a wonderful tool.”
  • The lowest point: the 5th miscarriage, when they thought they had done everything they could
  • A positive moment: how Leigh developed a sense of perspective and appreciation for priorities and understanding how little in life she can really control
  • Handling the finances: they used low-interest credit, Leigh’s mom did fundraising, they hosted a garage sale, and some family members helped
  • How they balanced work and treatments since they both work in small offices that are very supportive of families
  • How infertility changed Leigh: “Infertility is part of me now. It’s who I am. I’m happy to share my story with anyone else who is struggling.”
  • Leigh’s advice to her past self: “Don’t ever give up.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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