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No Sperm, No Embryos: Where We Go From Here

The Next Step on Our Fertility Journey
This post is pretty hard to write. It feels like we’re back to square one, and in a lot of ways, we are. But this post is also exciting to write.

I was devastated when my last IVF cycle got canceled because my body hadn’t responded to the fertility meds. It was upsetting on its own, but it was an even greater disappointment because my wife and I had decided it would be our last try here in New York.

You see, back in August, my wife moved to Massachusetts to open the new CrossFit Martha’s Vineyard; she’s been living there ever since. The plan was for me to stay behind for a little bit to get pregnant. We had frozen embryos left for a few FET cycles. My job covered the fertility treatments. It seemed to make sense. I would join my wife when I was pregnant.

When the FETs were unsuccessful, we spoke it over in great depth and decided to try one more fresh IVF cycle, but that would be it. Living apart was stressful. And lonely. We were both being strong and looking at the bigger picture: a family. But the strain was beginning to get to us both, so we decided “one more try,” and then I’d move out there.

Our “one more try” proved to be a disaster. My IVF cycle got canceled. We had hardly enough sperm (less than one vial) for an IUI, and since my body was only producing one egg, we made a last-ditch effort at getting pregnant via insemination — even though our doctor told us the chances were pathetically slim (not his words).

I didn’t share the news of our insemination. I knew that success was practically impossible, and sharing “I’m not pregnant. Again,” wears on you each time. The disappointment is tough enough. Spreading disappointment to others in your corner is even worse.

But: I’m not pregnant. Again.

So, here we are. No sperm, no embryos. Where do we go from here?

Well, for starters, I gave my two-week notice at my job yesterday because I’ve accepted a new job on Martha’s Vineyard that I’ll begin the week before Thanksgiving — so that’s super exciting! This also means that I’ll finally be living with my wife again — and that’s SUPER exciting.

And we are far from being done with our fertility journey.

We’ll need to find more sperm. We’re not totally sure how we’re going to handle that this go-round. There are no more vials of our previous donor available (the cryobank we use has very strict restrictions on how many vials can be donated by any single donor; this reduces the number of offspring). This also means we will never have a child who is the sibling to the twins we lost. That hurts.

We’ll begin the search for a sperm donor again. It’s not an easy search. Choosing a donor is a serious decision. We might even consider using a known donor, but so far, neither of us can agree on who we’d even want to ask.

From here, we might also consider using Sara, my wife, to carry. Or maybe I’d carry her eggs. Things are clearly not working with my body, and since we have the option of using another female body, it’s certainly worth considering. But, truth be told, I’m not sure I’m ready to throw in the towel on myself just yet.

This journey has been a long, tough, and bumpy road so far. We’ve survived 4 failed FETs, a failed IVF cycle, a failed IUI, a hysteroscopy, the hysterosalpingograms, the sonohysterograms, the countless transvaginal ultrasounds, the endless blood work – and the loss of our twins at 17 weeks. Any one of those things on their own involves so many layers of emotions, procedures, drugs, needles, suppositories, pills, restless nights of hormome side effects. It’s a miracle any woman goes through it.

But we do what we must. And I’ll go through all of it again when we acquire more sperm.

So… where do we go from here?

Onward.

Always onward.

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Read more of Aela’s writing on Babble and at Two Moms Make a Right

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More From Aela on Babble:
10 Things I Learned About Life When My Twins Died

 

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