Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Jay’s Story [SUCCESS]

February 4, 2019

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Today’s success story is about a man named Jay. He is a 46-year-old online marketing consultant who enjoys hiking with his dogs and playing with his kids. He met his wife 10 years ago and they were married the following year when both were 37 years old. After six months of trying to conceive, they learned that each of them was suffering from age-related infertility. Jay’s sperm motility was borderline defective, and his wife was not producing a large number of eggs. After several attempts at IUI and IVF, they gave birth to their daughter in May 2012. Immediately getting to work on baby #2, Jay and his wife went through eight additional IVF cycles and suffered loss after loss at great physical risk to his wife. Finally, his wife found an international infertility agency that offered gestational surrogacy in Ukraine. Join us to hear how they moved forward with that option and, on their third attempt, successfully conceived.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Jay was a different person. He had the common hopes and goals of marriage and children, but wasn’t sure if that was the life for him until he met his wife.
  • He and his wife both lived in a small town north of San Diego, and they frequented the same areas as they walked their dogs, until they met one day, dated after a few months, and he was sure on the first date that she was “the one”
  • As a couple, they are definitely not the same as their parents; she travels a lot for work, so they share the responsibilities of housekeeping and childrearing
  • Jay never thought he wouldn’t be a father, but really wanted it more after they found the infertility issues
  • How they had to align schedules and refocus priorities to put great effort into having their kids
  • Six months after their marriage, they saw her OB/GYN, and tests showed low egg production and low sperm motility
  • They worked on IUI and IVF cycles until one worked, and their daughter was born in May 2012
  • Starting back right away, they did 8 IVF cycles, getting pregnant easily, but miscarrying near the end of the first trimester each time
  • The miscarriages began taking a physical toll on his wife, and they said ENOUGH
  • As they looked at options, they zeroed in on surrogacy, but couldn’t afford the astronomical cost in CA, especially with all that they had already spent
  • They met with an agency in Vancouver and talked surrogacy options in Ukraine, which was about 25% of the cost in the US
  • They flew to Ukraine and had the eggs fertilized, and Jay took care of the legal paperwork and met the surrogate
  • The first 2 surrogacy attempts failed, so they looked at adoption and even came to terms with the likelihood of only having one child
  • When they found out they had 3 remaining embryos in Ukraine, they decided to “give it one more shot”
  • Nine months later, their twin boys were born
  • How they afforded 8 consecutive cycles without incurring debt
  • Balancing work and treatments, taking one step at a time, and learning to be flexible
  • Their first impression of the clinic in San Diego was positive, with the doctor being kind and knowledgeable
  • How they dealt with 10+ losses and learned to mourn and grieve
  • The lowest point: right before they found out about the remaining embryos, when they thought all the effort was for nothing
  • A positive moment: the first 3 seconds when Jay met each of his children for the first time
  • What Jay and his wife had to learn in adapting, growing closer, and making this work
  • In relationships with others, they didn’t always tell others about their attempts, because they had lost so much
  • Jay’s favorite response to a common question: “We’re not playing God; we’re playing science.”
  • How they navigated having twins in Ukraine via a gestational carrier
  • Jay’s surreal and bizarre experience of knowing someone in eastern Europe was pregnant with his twins
  • The improbability of having identical twins from 3 embryos, meaning one embryo divided into two, and the others didn’t survive (a one in several billions chance)
  • How Jay was worried about the legitimacy of the process, but a DNA test was required before the twins were released to go to the US
  • How the reality compared to the expectations: “I expected it to be crazy, and what I got was double-crazy.”
  • How infertility has changed Jay: “It’s made me appreciate being a parent more. It makes me more reflective when I see my daughter and my boys sharing a laugh, because I remember what we went through to have that moment.”
  • Jay’s advice to himself back then: “Be ready for anything. Every step of the way will be down a rabbit hole and you’ll never know where you’ll end up.”

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