When we got married, everyone assumed a baby would be soon to follow. We wanted a baby, and planned to have one. We had no reason to believe that it wouldn't.
We were cautious. As Jen was a recent immigrant and couldn't hold legal employment, we weren't prepared add to our family until she had a job with benefits. Also, at that time, we were living with Chris's parents, and we didn't want an infant until we had a place of our own
We officially started trying for a baby in June of 2016. At first it was with the typical joy of a couple who are in love and excited for their next step. Jen, in her typical analytic thought process began charting and testing and planning. She read all the books and websites on Trying to Conceive (TTC).
She was so sure that this was all going to be easy that she built a pregnancy blog so that she could share her pregnancy with her family that was so far away. We were ready.
But despite our best efforts, we weren't pregnant within 6 months. 80% of couples in their early 30s conceive within the first 6 months. Something wasn't working.
Jen went to the doctor and was told that we had to be trying for 12 straight cycles before we could be referred to an infertility clinic. 85% of couples our age conceive in the first 12 months.
So we waited, and she went in at the end of our twelfth cycle. The rules had changed. For couples 34 and younger, we now had to wait 24 months (90% success rate), but if we were 35 or older, we could go in at 12 months. We were both 34 and a half.
After a lengthy discussion, Jen convinced our doctor that, because the waiting list at the clinic was more than 6 months long, we would meet their criteria by the time our appointment rolled around. He finally agreed, and we had our first fertility clinic appointment in February of 2018.
At first, the doctor put us through a battery of tests.
Skip this paragraph if you'd like to avoid TMI:
At this point, he did some additional tests and determined that Chris has something called "Retrograde ejaculation" where the little flap that keeps sperm from going up into his bladder doesn't work properly. He told us that Sudafed has been known to help this condition.
Given his observations, the doctor wanted us to "try for 6 more months on your own" with his additional advice.
It was at this point that Jen turned her hopeful pregnancy/baby blog into a diary about infertility. She didn't share the blog with anyone, but she wanted to be able to write about her struggles and the struggles of those around her. She joined an infertility group on Facebook and another on Reddit for support. At this point, we didn't know how to tell everyone that we had been trying for 22 months and that nothing had worked, so we didn't.
In October of 2018, we had our first fertility treatment. We underwent Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) where they take Chris's sperm and put it inside Jen's uterus and hope they find an egg.
The first IUI didn't succeed, and Jen developed a cyst on her ovary that meant we couldn't proceed with the next cycle. The clinic closed for the December Holidays, so we had our second IUI in January and our third in February. If you want to read details about the procedures, it's all on Jen's blog.
Statistically, if you're going to conceive with IUI, you'll do it in the first 3 cycles. After 3 cycles, your chances drop exponentially. So shortly after our third attempt, Jen spoke to our clinician about our options.
At this point, our doctor has moved us into the "unexplained infertility" category. In his opinion, we have combated all of the "reasons" we couldn't conceive and have still not gotten pregnant. There are hundreds of reasons why this could be, but not many can be proven.
Therefore, our doctor recommended that we do the following:
One more round of IUI with injectable drugs to make Jen produce 4-5 eggs instead of the 2-3 that her oral hormones have produced.
We then need to determine whether we are going to move to In vitro fertilization (IVF). Which is what this fundraiser is all about.
IVF is much more intense than IUI, has higher success rates, and is also much more costly. Where our IUI treatments are $500 for oral medications and $1000 for injectable medications, IVF runs $7000 for a round, not including medications.
We're very lucky. Our clinic has a special deal when you agree to do 3 treatments, when needed. This option is to increase odds without unnecessarily increasing the chance of higher rate multiples (triplets, etc.). With this option, we could do 3 treatments for $19,500 (≈$13,000 USD), which is still less than 1 treatment is in the United States. When you include the medications, the cost rises by about $1000 per round.
So we're turning to our friends and family. It's not we want to do, but we have to see if this is an option for us. If we don't raise the money, then we'll know it isn't meant to be.
• This campaign isn't in my currency and I don't want to pay conversion fees.
That's fine. If you wish to contribute, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make arrangements for contributions through PayPal or Interac e-transfer (Canada). If we receive contributions like this, we'll make an update regarding the contribution and lower the campaign's goal to reflect the new total.
• Have you tried....
I don't know what you're asking, but if it's on the internet and doesn't seem to hurt, I promise we've tried it. From acupuncture to prayer to pineapple to positions, we've tried it.
• Have you had...tested?
Yes, our doctor tested all the things. Thrice.
• Why don't you just adopt?
The short answer is "It isn't right for our family."
The long answer is written in a blog article here .
• Why ask to fund three rounds?
Because we can get the discount with three rounds.
• Don't Canadians have free medical?
No. Canadians have covered basic medical expenses. Because this is a "non-essential" specialist, it isn't part of our medical insurance. However, we can see that this is subsidized. From research, Jen has found that IUI in the U.S. starts at $1,000 and IVF starts at $20,000.
Here, it's $500 and $7,000.
• Is any of this covered by insurance?
Yes and no. So far, our extended medical has covered all of our medications. Jen's company has a lifestyle fund that can be used for fertility treatments. However, it's a maximum of $6,000 per year, and we've already used a good amount of this year's. We could also use some next year.
• What happens if you don't raise all of this money?
That depends on how much we do raise. If we're close, we can see what we can add in. If we're not, we'll look into returning what we can, minus platform costs.
• What if you get pregnant with only one or two treatments? What happens to the rest of the money?
We'll be thrilled if this only takes one treatment. But we do understand how the extra money could be perceived. We promise that any money raised through this platform will go to raising our child(ren) to the best of our abilities. That means we might be able to buy nursery furniture a little more easily or offset Jen's maternity leave pay decrease.
• What if you raise more money than you ask for?
If you are so amazingly generous, we'll take the left over amount and ask our fertility clinic to place it into another couple's account anonymously. We'd like to share the joy.
• What if God/the universe is just telling you to not have a child?
That's possible. And if you believe that, please just don't contribute.