From the beginning of our marriage Michael and I have been wanting to start our family right away. We started trying to grow our family immediately thinking it would happen with no problems, and quickly realized that the vision of starting our family was not going to happen the way we planned. We have gone through several rounds of fertility treatments including IUI’s (Intrauterine Insemination) and one round of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization).
For the past two years our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) has deemed us with what they call "unexplained infertility". This pretty much means, they couldn't find anything wrong with us and all of our parts were from what they could see- in working order. They put T.J. through the ringer of multiple tests and lab work and she checked out clear. Michael had multiple sperm analysis, and again everything checked out good. Our RE was pretty optimistic that IVF was our next step and that we had a great chance of having a successful pregnancy.
Fast forward to June 2018, we did IVF for the first time. We were successful in retrieving 6 eggs from T.J. and 4 of those eggs made it to fertilization with some help from Michael's awesome swimmers! Once fertilization occurs the egg + sperm = embryos. The goal is to get the embryos to make it to Day 5 where they turn into Blastocysts and can be transferred back into T.J..
This is where trouble started to arise. Unfortunately, none of our embryos made it past Day 3. It was pretty crushing, because they were so close but just couldn't quite get to where they needed to be.
IVF Take Two
After maxing out our lifetime deductible on the first round of IVF, we decided to seek a new fertility specialist since everything from here on out would be paid for out of pocket. This decision has been truly encouraging and has restored hope that we can make a baby!
Our new doctor has changed up everything for Michael and me, we're on a new diet and are taking so many supplements. At first we didn't know if the change in diet and all the pills were being done in vain, but we have proof that it's working---one of T.J.'s lab results doubled! Her AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) levels went from 0.4 to 0.89, which may not seem like a lot, but it's all the difference in the IVF world. It moved her from the low range to almost normal range. Can we get a Woo Hoo for that?!
Next our doctor wanted to test Michael's sperm DNA fragmentation, which is something new for us. They said they just wanted to cover all their bases, since IVF round 1 did not take. It was a blessing that they did because we found out that we have 'fair to poor DNA integrity'. On one side, we were sad to hear this, but on the bright side we were elated that we were finally getting some insight into why we couldn't get pregnant.
Michael was referred to a male fertility specialist, who said our DNA fragmentation problem was fixable! And by fixable, we mean by TESA (testicular sperm extraction) surely not for the faint of heart. Michael will have to have surgery the day of our egg retrieval to get the sperm straight from the source. The doctor said this will essentially deliver us healthy un-fragmented sperm.
We plan to start the Operation Baby Carter- IVF Take 2 at the end of October and the whole procedure takes roughly 2-3 months to get to egg retrieval day.
This includes doctor appointments, medications, egg retrieval, genetic testing of embryos
How You Can Help:
Prayers, lots and lots of prayers.
Sharing this page- spread the word to your friends and family
~~~Thank you for taking the time to read our story and partake in this journey with us. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support in making our baby dreams come true.
All our love,
Michael and T.J. Carter
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