It wasn’t long into our relationship than Amanda and I decided that we would like the opportunity to have children. Given our situation, we knew right away that we should be directed to a fertility clinic. On our first meeting with Dr. Kashyap, she was so wonderful at discussing all of the different options that were available to couples in our situation.
Unfortunately however, all of the fertility screening tests revealed Amanda’s 34 year old body, had all the findings of someone in their mid 40s. “Low ovarian reserve” Dr. Kashyap explained, “AMH of 0.24” (which apparently is extremely low). How could this be? We had no idea fertility would be an issue. In our situation, it didn’t take us years of trying to get to this point. But our dreams seemed almost crushed at the news. Dr. Kashyap had reassured us that science had come a long way. Five years ago, Amanda’s odds would have been so unfavourable, that even offering IVF was rarely considered. What was the answer? We try, we try NOW, and we jump into battle with our arms swinging, heading straight to IVF.
At every corner there seemed to be less than enthusiastic news: “only three eggs seem to be developing”, “we were only able to retrieve two eggs”, “only one egg fertilized”. Each stage brought new emotions, and an increasing amount of doubt, for me. Somehow through it all, Amanda’s confidence never wavered, and neither did Dr. Kashyap’s. She reassured us constantly, “all you need is one”. And in the end, she was right. Despite all odds being against us, some nine months later, our son Isaac was born. All you need is one!
Not long after Isaac’s first birthday, we wanted to expand our family. It was my turn, with all normal tests, normal counts, normal everything, we thought this round would be easy. Given our limited supply of donor sperm, and wanting our children to be from the same donor, we elected to again try IVF, as that would be a more sure fire way to reach our goal. Things seemed easy; we were amazed to see 20+ eggs and thought we would be set for any future pregnancies, and of those, 17 were retrieved.
Unfortunately, only 8 of these 17 fertilized, and only 3 made it to blastocyst stage. Although our numbers seemed to be dwindling with every stage, we still had three, and “all you need is one”. One natural cycle and two programmed cycles later, three negative pregnancy tests had me bewildered. I wasn’t the one with fertility problems, I am supposed to be “normal”, am I “broken?” Somehow these emotions were just too much for me to handle. So I again passed the stick back to Amanda for a try at our second child.
We have now had five separate IVF cycles through Genesis. After two “failures”, one of mine, and one of Amanda’s, our fourth cycle has brought us two more beautiful humans into our lives, Aiden and Ariana. And although it might seem crazy, I always had the desire to create a life of my own. And I am happy to say at this moment, we have a handsome and smart 3 year old boy, our beautiful 14 month old twins, and I am currently pregnant from cycle 5, for the final addition to our family. We may be crazy heading towards having four children under 4, but it’s our crazy battle, and we couldn’t be happier.
Everyone’s fertility journey is different emotionally; for the one receiving the needles, or giving the needles. For the people in the cheering section, and for those who have no idea what you are going through behind closed doors. Whether you have struggled with fertility for years, or if you are in a relationship where natural conception is not possible, every battle is different. One thing I will say, is every morning upon arrival for blood work and ultrasound, during our now five different cycles of IVF, we knew that every woman and man in that waiting room was fighting their own battle. And in a way, we were comrades waging the war in creating human life.