When my partner Teri and I began trying to bring a child into our lives we knew we had a couple of hurdles to jump, but we were possitive there would be a baby soon. We are a lesbian couple, so we were missing one very important part of the process and I am 42 years old..... a little on the late side of things. We started at home, nice and quietly, receiving our frozen "sample" at our apartment door. We did that for ten months. No baby. I was a bit surprised as I had done so much to get ready; changed my diet, cleaned my body of everything questionable (ie: caffiene), yoga, accupuncture and chinese fertility herbs.
Summer came and went and we took a little break, moved into a lovely little house with a great garden and started a new job. Time to get back to business. This time we decided to seek some help from a fertility clinic. We met with the Doc, had lots of tests and looked at my uterus. We got a thumbs up to continue using interuteral insemination. This is basically doing what we were doing, but way, way more accurate. We tried this three times. My fertility Doc approached us again with the idea of fertility drugs. After a long discussion with my partner I decided to give them a try. The next three tries were full of hormone driven ups and downs, wishfull thinking and crying fits and no baby.
Boy, was I feeling the clock ticking. My partner and I had a big heart-to-heart and decided we would do just about anything to bring a child into our lives. So, we went to chat with the Doc. This time we looked at all the possiblilities out there and my chances of conceiving at my age. When she told us that my maximum chance of conception with the mega fertility shots was 8-10%, we knew it was time for a game change. We talked about adoption. Wow, expensive and what a long and intense process. We talked about IVF. Wow, expensive and the amount of drugs I take is overwhelming and it still leaves us with only a 25% chance of conception. Then our Doc started talking about a special program their clinic offers called Donor Embryo IVF. Our chances of successful conception and birth just zoomed to a huge 85%. Wow, awesome! Teri and looked at each other and just smiled, this was resonating with both of us.
Let me break this down. When a healthy couple goes through Invitro Fertilization they usually harvest about 8 eggs, fertilize them and then freeze them. Then the mom-to-be has the embryos implanted and hopes for a possitive pregnancy. Often, young healthy moms-to-be will get pregnant on the first or second cycle, leaving several frozen embryos behind. There are three choices: donate these to science, thaw and let them die, or give them to a donor embryo program like the one our fertility clinic offers. This is all amazing to me and after all the research my partner and I had done over the last couple of years it was shocking we didnt know about this. But, all in good time is a lesson I have learned.
Teri and I have qualified for the program. I am getting all my prior testing done and we are ready to start. And here is the best part. We are now looking at an 85% chance of conception.
Why are we crowdfunding?
We need to come up with $8000.00 in two months. We have been trying to get pregnant completely out of pocket and have spent a LOT of money, we just don't have this kind of cash. So, we are reaching out and hoping you will all come be part of this wonderful miracle with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Sincerly, Kristin and Teri
We recently had our big meeting with the Doctor who will do our donor embryo transfer. We got lots of information and we would like to share it with you. First, we meet with Stephanie, the donor program director. She walked us through the adoption part of our process. Yes, adoption. We will be following most of the protocol of a child adoption. We will see a lawyer to draw up paperwork and a counselor to make sure we will be fit parents. When it is time for the embryo transfer, Stephanie will pick five candidates for us to choose from. She will provide basic information about their health, looks and features, education and hobbies.
Next, we met with Rachelle. She is the RN who is monitoring the whole process. She has been helping me work through the list of pre-cycle "to dos"; blood tests, uterus tests, breast exam, counseling and legal stuff. Rachelle explained how the next several months will go. I thought I had done all my research and knew pretty much what she was going to tell us. But every day is full of surprises on this journey and I was about to get my next challenge. Something I was really excited about with the donor embryo IVF was that they often use the women's natural cycle, then do the transfer. There are often injections of progesterone after that for several weeks to help the body move into pregnancy more easily. So, when Rachelle began to describe the pre-transfer cycle I would be beginning I got really sad. It goes like this: Birth control pill for a month, this will stop my natural cycle. Lupron injections for a month, this will bring me into ovulation, regulate my hormones and thicken my uterus lining. Half way through this dose I will also begin estrogen and continue that through the end of the second month; getting my uterus cozy for the embryo. During all of this I will have several blood tests and ultrasounds to see how everything is going. Correlating to the ultrasound results, I will begin the progesterone about five days prior to the embryo transfer. Then, finally, on transfer day we will be sent the five adoptive candidates and pick one. The lab will thaw this embryo and get it ready; a 5 day old embryo. Into my uterus it goes and I get to lie in bed for a couple days while the little blastocyst gets comfy. Then every two weeks for about 8 weeks we will get an ultrasound to check growth. At this point I am free to go to my own doctor and continue with a healthy pregnancy. PHEW!!!! So when I say I was sad about this, don't get me wrong. I am over the top to know that this baby is coming!!! I am bummed to have to take all these meds. Those of you who know me, know what this means for me. It is very hard to wrap my brain around it. But, I have an amazing partner. Teri and I talked it through and she helped me get to the other side of it....the side with a healthy, happy baby in my arms. I am trusting in this process. I chose to trust it. So, we are using it as a catalyst to get ourselves in prime condition. We want to keep our bodies as clean and in shape as possible while moving forward towards pregnancy.
We then met with Dr. Shahine. She is wonderful and I feel comfortable with her. I told her my concerns about the medicated cycle and she was very respectful. She explained that using the medicated process was the best way to get the highest percentage rate of pregnancy. They are better able to monitor my cycle and get much more consistent results with my hormones and uterus lining. We really feel good about all of this and very confident we will have the best possible odds of bringing this baby into our lives.
So, as for our crowd funding, we will be starting the meds in a couple of weeks at a cost of almost all of our savings...$2000. Then we will need to give Northwest Fertility a check for the full amount of the program before the first ultrasound in about five weeks.....an additional $7000. We are so grateful for this funding site and all who have donated. You are amazing and you are already part of our child’s story. Any donation is greatly appreciated. Thank you all.
We are moving forward quickly. Of course, it can never really be fast enough for me. If you know me, you know what I mean. I am on my third week of the cycle meds, the pill and Synthroid. I had thought that they were only having a minor effect on me, but I’m not sure now. I seem to be very tired and moody. Teri says its good practice for pregnancy hormones.
We had some wonderful fun this week when we got to choose our adopted embryo. We received about 10 different sets of “providers”. This is what the clinic calls the egg and sperm donors that make up the embryos they have frozen in their lab. So, we poured over each provider and with very little info to go on, we picked our top three. We decided that the info that meant the most to us was ages and health. We picked the youngest egg and sperm providers first, and then weeded out the health history of parents and grandparents. Then we chose physical features that would most resemble us; light complexion, blue eyes, wavy hair, etc. We sent our decisions back to the clinic and they sent us their version of adoption papers to sign and voila, somewhere in Pacific Northwest Fertilities freezers is our beautiful opportunity just waiting to become part of our lives. It is an amazing thing, kind of weird, but mostly just unbelievably cool.
Next step for me is to begin the injections of Lupron, a fertility drug. In about three weeks I will begin the estrogen injections and in about a month the transfer will take place. In the meantime we are continuing to put together the financial part of the puzzle. We are about half way there. We are forever grateful to the wonderful friends and family who have made this dream come true and we have all the faith in the world that we will have the money we need when it is time.