Our Fertility Journey: A Patient Testimonial
Infertility is something that is as common as it is taboo to discuss, especially among men. As our society has evolved to be more open, honest and tolerant about personal challenges, I’ve been heartened to see that more and more of my friends have been willing to talk, privately or openly, about their fertility journeys.
And when they have, I have been open about the fact that all three of our children have been IVF babies. IVF has been a big part of our lives over the past six years, as have been regular visits to the fertility clinic, complicated (and often, unsuccessful) conversations with insurance companies, and more hormone injections than my wife would care to count.
It’s critical to recognize that when a couple experiences infertility, they experience it as a couple. It’s not her fault, or his fault, or anyone’s fault. My wife and I are lucky to be alive in an era where this sort of miraculous obstetric science is possible. Not much more than a century ago, a c-section was a death sentence for a woman, but today, my wife had her third “scheduled c” safely performed by a wonderful team of talented doctors. And over the last few decades, the medical community has advanced IVF, with success rates continuing to climb as the science is refined. If anyone is looking for a recommendation for a reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee is a sniper.
That said, it’s important to note that IVF is neither a walk in the park, nor a viable solution for everyone. My wife and I are among the lucky ones: one retrieval cycle, four transfer attempts, three babies, and 100% our own genetic material. There are others that have gone through far more than we; from sperm, egg or embryo donation to surrogacy or adoption. And while many of those stories have happy endings (such as that of our dear friend whose twin daughters were delivered via surrogate last year), many continue in frustration, disappointment, loneliness and grief. My heart goes out to them, truly and deeply.
So all of this is to say, infertility is all around us, it’s more common than you might think, and I encourage you all to be kind, compassionate and thoughtful when the topic comes up. Chances are that someone very close to you has experienced it. It can be a dark tunnel, but for those that are able to successfully persevere, there is a bright light at the end of it.
And here is proof of that light: our daughter was born earlier today.
My wife and I have made the decision that our family is now complete and we will be donating our remaining embryos to research, in hopes that others like us will benefit from the continued evolution of the field.
If you are someone that is in the midst of an infertility experience. Do what you can to stay strong, and try to remember that there is always hope, even if it may, at times, seem out of reach.
When I look at my family, I feel fortunate and grateful. And when I reflect back on our family’s journey, one of my favorite quotes, by Theodor Herzl, comes to mind:
“If you will it, it is no dream.”
Welcome to the world, baby girl.