Mandy and Dave
I’ve always been open about just about any struggle I’ve ever gone through, but experiences with infertility need to be out there, read/heard and understood. My fiance & I are the #1in6.
Early on in our relationship, July 2012, we have known we wanted to have children. My lifelong dream has been to become a mother. We decided to wait about a year to be sure we were compatible, and then we started trying, in July 2013. I had never been with a guy who truly wanted to have kids together and was so compatible with me. When you’re in your 20s, most people don’t want kids anymore. It was one aspect that contributed to losing many relationships.
Being 34 & 39 when we started trying, we knew that we should start seeking help if it didn’t happen in six months. We started with testing him, because it would be less invasive, and I had miscarried someone else’s baby a few months before meeting him, so I was pretty sure I was still fertile at the time.
He had an orchiectomy of one testicle when he was 27 due to cancer. He didn’t receive chemotherapy and, thankfully, it has not come back since. But they did tell him he should still be fertile. At the time, he was married to someone else who didn’t want to have children. The marriage dissolved mostly amicably since then.
He was diagnosed with severe oligospermia. Since that time we were referred to our local fertility clinic. A year ago, on April 4th, 2014, they told us that IVF with ICSI was the best way to go. The first doctor, an OBGYN, gave the percentage of live birth at 60%. Later on, we were referred to the best urologist in the city, who put the percentage closer to 40%. Ouch. At $10,000+ we couldn’t afford it at the time as we couldn’t get a line of credit, and even if we could, those odds didn’t seem worth it. This is precisely the reason it should be covered as a disease, because it is. We have tried supplements and vitamins which actually seemed to bring up his count, but only a bit, well below the at least 20 million it should be, then saw a naturopath who recommended exercise, better diet, additional, more powerful supplements and vitamins, plus acupuncture. Our latest semen analysis the end of March, the day before my 36th birthday, revealed no improvement. We’ve had a few male friends genuinely offer semen donations to help us, but they have been unreliable, unavailable, or we don’t know them well enough yet.
Compounding the problem, my cycles have become wobbly. I used to have 28-30 day cycles. Now they go from 30-36 days, and it is looking like I only ovulate every second month. I’m on supplements for that, but if they didn’t work for him, they may not work for me.
In September 2014, we went to Montreal for Comiccon. Mom lived there in the late 60s & early 70s and loved it. We know why now. And, bonus, they funded up to three cycles of IVF! Maybe we could move there! Then the end of November came, and, as you may be aware, the health minister tabled a bill which would effectively end that, instead offering tax credits up to 80% depending on income, and adding sanctions, like no credits if you already have a child at all for any reason, and you can only get a credit for a second cycle after the age of 37. It is expected to pass soon.
As of this writing (early April), I’m on a short stress leave from work, and hope to get more time off because of challenges coming there, and with this and some other stressors on top of it, my blood pressure has skyrocketed (or it does during the day when I walk or get stressed out), despite thinking I had it under control with supplements. I can’t deal anymore. It’s all pretty much defeated me.
There’s a small light at the end of the tunnel. For a long time, I was (we were) not approved for a credit line, but I just was. Which means we could make an attempt for IVF+ICSI. It’s amazing how much you’ll contemplate and go through to have a genetic child. My work benefits actually cover up to $2400 lifetime each insured person, so $4800 altogether for us both.
But before we knew we might be in striking distance of an IVF+ICSI cycle, a couple contacted the local advocacy group for fertility coverage, East Coast Miracles, offering frozen donor sperm stored at the same local fertility clinic that they’d purchased. A $250 annual fee to keep it on ice is due immediately, but this means we can attempt a more cost efficient (and less invasive) fertility treatment, therapeutic donor insemination, or TDI.
Fiance is very accepting and assuring about it, saying it’s his love and guidance that will reflect him in our child. But it’s very difficult for me to process and let go of having a genetic child together.
More 1 in 6 stories
On my 25th birthday, I had a mini life crisis. I realized I wanted to have kids but had been single for a few years and doubted whether I would ever meet the right guy.
When I was sixteen, I was told I didn’t have a uterus and ovaries. When I was twenty, I was told I did have a uterus, but that I could never carry.
I am one in six, I am the face of Canadian infertility. I am also a successful fashion industry professional, part time college professor, and a devoted wife and mother.