I do get asked a lot of the same questions so I’ve decided to answer the most frequently asked ones here.
- Have you tried natural therapies?
Not really. The problem with the ‘natural’ therapies is that while they may possibly help with ovulation for me, they aren’t going to lessen the seminal volume Matthew has, nor are they going to fix the sperm and egg simply not fertilizing. The other issue we have with natural therapies is that they typically have not been actually tested for effectiveness or safety, and we really don’t want to rely on anecdotal evidence for something like this.
- Have you tried (insert amazing cure all pill/shot/juice/herb/etc here)?
See above answer. (also, these almost never work and are often dangerous, just no)
- What medications are you on?
This changes from cycle to cycle depending on how my hormones are doing. Typically I am on a follicle stimulation injectable medication of some kind such as Follistim or Gonal-F as well as a follicle stimulation pill. I also do a ovulation triggering injection and sometimes have to use a ovulation prevention medication such as Cetrotide to prevent early ovulation. Most cycles I also end up using a progesterone suppository to help support a possible pregnancy.
- What is causing your infertility?
Our infertility is actually 3 fold. I do not ovulate regularly. This has been attributed to high prolactin, though I do technically fall under the diagnostic guidelines for PCOS (this may have changed since having the girls, but we don’t know). Matthew also has a fertility issue in that he has a high seminal volume. What this basically means is that while his sperm count is fine the volume of the fluid that the sperm is in lowers the concentration enough to effectively lower his sperm count to levels that are not high enough. We also have a fertilization issue, where basically my eggs and Matthew’s sperm are not compatible for some reason so they will not combine and fertilize.
- Have you tried not trying?
I’m not even sure what that means to be honest. But from what they are probably trying to ask, no we have not tried just letting things go and get pregnant that way. With the fertilization issue we have short of medical or divine intervention we will not get pregnant. Basically when they went to fertilize the eggs for our IVF they put 19 eggs in a petri dish with a few million sperm and nothing fertilized. This indicates that they simply will not. So the whole just stop trying or just relax it will happen thing doesn’t work.
- Where are you going for treatment?
We are seeing Dr. Mark Amols at New Direction Fertility.
- Have you looked into a surrogate?
A little, yes. Basically it boils down to it would be really expensive. Even asking a good friend or family member, it would still be very expensive. Our insurance actually does cover our medications for the procedures, however it would not cover medications for a surrogate so we would have to pay for all of that as well as the procedure which would come close to doubling our costs. We also would then run into the problem that technically surrogacy is not really legal in Arizona. The contracts are not considered valid so if the surrogate were to change her mind we would have zero legal protections. Surrogacy in Arizona is looked at as simply a private adoption so all of the costs (lawyers, contracts, etc) that go with that would be added on to the procedure and medication costs as well as all of the risks that go along with private adoption are also involved.
- Are you going to have more kids?
Short answer, we are not planning to. Long answer, we have only ever discussed having 2 kids so we don’t really plan on having more. Even if we had wanted more kids, we have hit our max coverage for the fertility coverage with our insurance (yes including prescription coverage) so it would all be out of pocket and we simply can’t afford to go through it again.
- Are you sure they’re not identical? (Always the follow up: But they’re both girls!)
Yes, we are sure they aren’t identical. I get this question slightly less now that the girls are older, but I still get it. The girls are fraternal twins. What this means is they came from two separate embryos (two eggs and two sperm). How do we know for sure they came from two embryos? We transferred two, it’s rather definitive. As for that follow up, them both being girls means nothing. They just happen to be sisters who share a birthday.
If more things come up I will add them to this. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, I honestly have no issues with discussing any of our fertility issues with anyone.