1 in 6 stories

Wendy and Ryan

Wendy and Ryan

At the end of 2005 my husband, Ryan, and I decided the time had come for us to expand our family. Sure, money was tight but we were getting old and figured there was no time like the present. So we went to our doctor to get all the dos and don’ts for making a healthy baby (yay to no kitty litter, boo to no beer) and started doing the things you do. Our doctor had said that it would likely take up to 7 or 8 months, so we weren’t too concerned when nothing happened for a while. As the months went by we worked a bit harder at it, predicting ovulation and scheduling ‘meetings’. Still nothing.

After a year we decided to go chat with our doctor. Often doctors want to wait two years before doing tests but because of our age she ordered tests right away.

In December 2006 we got the news. Ry has no sperm. Not a low count, none. Zero, Zip. Nadda. “Your tests were fine Wendy”. Ummm… great but I’m pretty sure sperm + egg = baby. Miss any one component and it doesn’t work. So, we had a diagnosis. We were infertile. But, hey, at least we knew why. We were referred to a local fertility clinic. We didn’t have to wait too long, just a few months (they prioritize and older people often get in sooner - tickticktick). We met with a doctor who is a specialist in male infertility. A quick exam determined that there were no apparent blockages and since Ry has all the signs of a healthy level of testosterone (man hair!) the most likely cause was a genetic anomaly called a microdeletion, where a small part of the Y chromosome is missing. We had the option of genetic analysis to confirm, but since it was pretty much the only thing that would cause the problem, so we didn’t really see the point of spending the money or the time. Now the doctor is a smart man. He knows his stuff. And, I think he tried to be gentle, but basically, we were told our options and that we didn’t have to decide right away. Uh huh. You think we want a little time for this to sink in? Up till this point, we had held onto the slim hope that the problem would be something correctable. Sorry, please try again.

We had three options. They could biopsy Ry’s testicle (oops sorry, forgot the ooky medical warning) and see if they could find some little sperm-ettes. It’s possible that the sperm production process starts but doesn’t finish and sometimes the partly formed sperm can be used for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) through a process called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). With ICSI, a single sperm is injected directly into an egg. This is really, really expensive (more than $10,000 per try), but was our only chance of having a child who was genetically related to both of us. The second option was Donor Insemination (DI). Pretty much what is sounds like. In this case the child would be genetically related to me but obviously not to Ry. Our final option was adoption.

Ry wanted to rule out IVF ICSI almost right away. You see, if we had a boy, he would have the same problem as Ry. But our son would grow up knowing he was infertile. Knowing how hard this had been for us, Ry didn’t think that was fair. And I’d be lying if I said the cost wasn’t a factor. It was. But it wasn’t the most important factor. There was also the nasty fertility drugs that I would have to take. All things considered, IVF ICSI wasn’t for us.

We decided to try DI. There were a few reasons for this. The most important one, I think, was that we would have control over the prenatal care of our child. And I admit, I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted to experience that.

We sometimes joke that we bought Miss K on-line. Well, we bought some of the raw materials anyway. After a few more tests on me confirmed that I was basically healthy and fertile, we went shopping through some on-line catalogs. I kid you not. We knew that we wanted a donor who was similar to Ry, but more important we wanted someone creative and smart with a healthy family history. We quickly discovered that the donor would be taller than Ry (5’6”), since all the donors were tall. We made a list of 4 donors we were comfortable with and called and placed our order. Our first choice was sold out. I’ve never been so glad that I got my second choice. The choice that made Miss K is the best choice ever! (give me a sec, I’m getting chocked up).

In July of 2007 we had our first “treatment”. I’ll skip the details of the process involved because it would need an “ooky medical” warning… A couple of weeks later we found out that the first try was unsuccessful.

On August 1st, we had our second insemination. On August 17th, we got a positive pregnancy test. I had gone through in my head what I would say to Ry, how I would tell him. It would be this grand memorable moment. But I was speechless. I just walked up to him and stuck the little pee-stick in front of him. He looked at it and, in true guy fashion, said “Are you sure”. Ummm… you’re looking at the same pee-stick I am…

We couldn’t tell anyone at this point. We were scared. After so many disappointments, you’re afraid to be happy. We had shared our infertility with our families and with only 4 very close friends. It took a while to be able to share the results…

The pregnancy went as pregnancies should (much vomiting, worry and fear) and on April 15, 2008, Miss K came into our lives.

I asked Ry a few months ago if he would change things. If we could have a child that was genetically both of ours, would he?

Well, we wouldn’t change a thing. Miss K is the baby we wanted. She’s perfect.

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