Hi! My name is Allie and my wife Alicia and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl in July of 2020. We have been married since September of 2017 and started our fertility journey pretty much immediately after getting married.
We both knew that we would like to try to have biological children, however, Alicia does not have any desire to carry a child. I have always been interested (and excited) to carry a child so we knew that we would try to do IUI and RIVF.
We began by choosing a donor through Fairfax Cryobank, which was one of the banks recommended by our specialist. At first, we started looking based on similar physical characteristics but once we really got into it, we chose the donor based on his intangible attributes such as kindness and his love for his family.
Shortly after we chose the donor, we started the process with our fertility specialist. We are a military family (Alicia is active duty Army) so it was important that we saw someone who not only was LGBT+ friendly, but military friendly (meaning they could be flexible with us). We landed with one super local to us.
In the meantime, we had to see a therapist due to the use of donor sperm and prepare financially. Amazingly, if you are a military family, a lot of clinics and pharmacies offer generous military discounts! So be sure to ask!
We proceeded with an egg retrieval for Alicia in the beginning of 2018 with the hopes of freezing embryos for later use (she was reaching the magic 35). As much of an emotional rollercoaster that process was- delays, tons of shots and expensive medications, and a lot of anticipation and anxiousness- we ended up with two beautiful 5- day blastocysts that are now in the freezer waiting their turn to be transferred!
After a move to Virginia and a move back to Pennsylvania (Yay military) we decided to start the process of IUI in June of 2019. The fertility specialist ran bloodwork, did a “glitter test” (hysterosalpingogram) to check if my Fallopian tubes were clear, and did some physical exams and ultrasounds. I also had been tracking my ovulation for many months prior to the start of this process. My cycles were very long and I knew I ovulated at two different times in my cycle depending on which ovary I ovulated from. I HIGHLY recommend using the testing strips and doing this before you attempt IUI. The doctors are experts, but it’s helpful to know your normal so you can advocate for yourself during the process!
Finally in September, we decided to proceed with our first attempt. Due to the length of my cycles (33-38 days long) we went ahead with a medicated cycle. They prescribed me Letrozole and the ovulation trigger shot. It wasn’t necessary but I stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine this entire cycle and limited my exercise (I am a runner so I cut my miles from 35+ per week to about 20-25 miles). Once my follicles were near the size necessary for ovulation, I was going into the office almost every day for monitoring. At cycle day 21, the doctor was starting to think that perhaps the egg was in fact a cyst because the growth had slowed and I wasn’t yet showing signs of ovulation so late in my cycle. To be safe, the doctor had me come in two days later just to check (I knew I have previously ovulated as late as cycle day 25). The day before my appointment, I took an ovulation test and it read positive! Sure enough after my appointment they called to schedule the IUI for the next morning! They said I’m definitely ovulating but could take the trigger shot just in case. I did anyway. After an exciting appointment, it was the dreaded two week wait. I couldn’t test too soon because I had taken the trigger shot which could give me a false positive pregnancy test.
After 11 days of waiting and a mysterious and unusual emotional outburst on my part (haha), I needed to test. Sure enough it was positive! I was reserved about feeling excited and telling Alicia because I knew it could potentially still be picking up the trigger shot that had HCG in it but as the tests got stronger (it would fade if it was the shot), I knew! The results were confirmed with the blood test at the fertility specialist. We were so elated and felt so incredibly fortunate.
I loved being pregnant but after a bumpy ride with a condition called SUA (single umbilical artery) and the uncertainty and scariness of the start of the pandemic, we were ready to meet our little one in July.
She came July 3rd, 2020 at a perfect and healthy 8lbs 10oz.
We hope to use Alicia’s embryos sometime in late 2021 or early 2022 depending on the status of the pandemic as we are moving abroad this Spring and will have to fly back for treatment.
Everyone’s journey is so unique and special. I hope that sharing part of our journey can help give hope and reassurance to other couples who want to start a family!