When we started trying to conceive, I
was sure it would go quickly. My period was exactly
28 days and never late, even when I was under a lot
of pressure. So, the first month we tried, I was already
peeking around in baby stores and thinking what clothes
we'd buy if it was a boy and what ribbons we'd put in
her hair if it was a girl. I even set my eye on a specific
crib that I liked. I got my period exactly on the 28th
day that month. And the next month. And the month after.
I asked my regular doctor how long we should "try"
before I start to worry and he said to wait a year.
We waited a year. Nothing happened. I never even bought
a pregnancy test -- I never had to, my period always
came on time.
When a year had passed, I made an appointment for a
gynecologist. He sent me for blood tests on the 3rd
day of my cycle (which for me just meant another lost
cycle) and everything was fine. When I went back to
him with the results, he gave me a slip for my husband
-- a sperm
analysis. My husband chuckled a bit, but agreed
to do it. When we got the results, even without any
sort of medical knowledge, we knew it was bad. The motility
was zero. Zilch -- nothing moving. The sperm count was
very low too -- 3 million per cc. Our doctor said that
the results "don't look so great" and told
us to repeat the test in a few weeks, after 3 days of
abstinence. In the second test, there were a few sperm
in motion, but it wasn't forward motion and it didn't
look too promising. The count had gone up to 4 million.
They investigated the problem -- checking for varicocele,
blocked ducts, hormone problems, etc. Our doctor decided
to try hormone therapy (FSH) even though they didn't
discover a problem. A few months later, when my husband
repeated the test, there was no real improvement.
Our doctor said it was useless for us to try IUI
and sent us straight to IVF
with ICSI (intracytoplasmic
sperm injection -- where they inject the sperm straight
into the ovum). We were told that even with no motile
sperm, there was a good chance of pregnancy.
I went through a total of 7 IVF cycles. In some they
aspirated only 2 eggs and in one particularly successful
cycle, they aspirated 5. Each time they raised the dosage
of medicines they gave me, until they felt that I was
in danger of hyperstimulation. In only 3 cycles were
there even embryos to transfer.
Before the last treatment, my husband and I had already
made the decision that it would be the last. That if
it didn't succeed, we weren't going to try again. The
danger to my physical and emotional health was too great.
I was pretty sure that with a decision like this we
would succeed. But when I went for that last pregnancy
test, I was already bleeding and I understood that once
again the treatment had failed.
The same day we got the results of our last treatment,
my husband got an offer to transfer to the United States
(from Israel). It was a good offer at a good time --
it set us into a spin and got us thinking about things
other than our recently failed treatment. Less than
two weeks later, we were on our way overseas, to a new
I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time (I
still didn't have a work permit) and quickly my dream
of having a baby resurfaced. And intensified. In the
past we had considered donor
sperm, but being far away from home made the idea
seem less frightening. We went to a private clinic and
told them our history. They told us that they would
match the blood type with my husband, so that from a
simple blood test it would be impossible to know that
the child wasn't his biologically. In terms of features,
they would match the body build, eye color, skin color
and hair color as best they could. We had walked into
the clinic thinking it was all theoretical. We walked
out with an appointment for insemination the following
week. Two weeks passed and for the first time since
I was 14, my period was late. The home pregnancy test
was positive. I was pregnant.
I was scared. I knew that my husband and I both wanted
a baby, but how would he feel knowing the baby wasn't
his? When he came home from work, we sat together. We
cuddled, we cried, we drank champagne... The next day,
my husband bought me a book about pregnancy with early
pictures of embryos. We looked at the pictures together.
My husband was with me at every test and every doctor's
visit. We took childbirth classes together and found
it to be an amazingly rewarding experience. By the time
we were nearing the birth, I realized: it's our baby.
When our son was born, we both cried. We sent pictures
home and everyone told us how much he looked like...
Our baby is almost a year old now and we are planning
another. The clinic saved sperm for us so that our children
will be a full-biological siblings.
Update - Nov 21, 2005:
Our 2nd IUI was successful and we are expecting a little
girl in January 2006!
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4 launching campaign to encourage sperm donors –
can you help? - anyone involved
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