Growing a family is typically an exciting time for most couples. When Sasha and I decided to begin our journey to motherhood, we knew we wanted to do Reciprocal IVF. We used Sasha’s eggs and I carried. We were one of the lucky few, who fell pregnant on their first transfer and I gave birth to our son. 

When he was one, we decided to try for a sibling. I went for checks at the clinic and everything looked healthy. Sasha and I decided we would attempt a non-medicatedIUI protocol. Two weeks later, “Not Pregnant” flashed across the screen on our home pregnancy test. This attempt had failed. We decided to try another IUI protocol, but this time we opted for a medicated cycle. “Not pregnant” flashed across the screen again. Knowing we only had one more vial of sperm from our retired donor and that we had one more embryo from Sasha’s original egg retrieval, we decided to move forward with a frozen embryo transfer, using our final embryo. Finally, we were given the green light.

Having fertility coverage through insurance is both a blessing and a curse. Advocating for yourself and educating yourself is a must when going through fertility treatments. It’s exhausting when insurance providers are only able to read from a script. Our green light turned into a cancelled cycle. I spent months working with my benefits department at work and with our insurance provider, to help them to understand IVF and the processes one must go through. The requirements for certain processes to be covered had to be explained, because otherwise it was pointless to offer any coverage at all. We finally had the green light from insurance, for the coverage we needed to move forward with our frozen embryo transfer. 

“Pregnant”,flashed across our home pregnancy test! Words we were so excited to see! It had taken us three years to get to this point. At 5 weeks I began to spot.Immediately my mind started racing and I began to think the worst. Our fertility clinic scheduled us for an early ultrasound, where we were able to see our tiny baby and their tiny heart flicker. We were released from the fertility clinic to our OBGYN for care. We decided to announce our pregnancy early, because we wanted to enjoy every moment. Fast forward to October 2020. I was 12 weeks pregnant, when I was told there was no heartbeat. We had lost our second son. My body had experienced what we would later learn to be called aMissed Miscarriage. I later give birth at home, after being prescribed what was labelled as an “abortion pill.” We had our son cremated and decided to take some time to mourn, before ultimately deciding our next steps.  

We were at a crossroads. As the donor we were using was no longer donating and had no extra vials left, we needed to understand what our best chances were. We decided to move forward with IVF, this time using my eggs. We were given the green light, once my cycle started. 9 embryos! We were elated. At Sasha’s egg retrieval we were left with only two embryos, we now had 9! We proceeded with a frozen embryo transfer, with the same doctor who had helped us to conceive both of our sons. We were met with our first failed frozen embryo transfer. We were stunned and not prepared for failure.  We discussed having our embryos tested, however, insurance would not cover this cost and we did not have the funds to cover this either. We decided to push forward with another transfer, even though there was no reason why it had failed previously. Again, failure. I began to feel like I was on a conveyor belt and we knew it was time to switch providers. 

A few months later, we secured our new provider and were on the path to what we felt, at the time, would provide answers. More blood tests, more ultrasounds, and another green light for a frozen embryo transfer. Our doctor reviewed our previous protocols and helped us test a more natural FET, with less medication.

TWO PINK LINES APPEARED! However, just as soon as we saw them, we also watched them disappear. We later learned what chemical pregnancies were. Our doctor suggested running a full panel of blood tests, which would look at genetics and test for some immune issues. All of my tests came back normal, except for one.We found out that my body does not 100% process folic acid and I would need to change from a typical prenatal to a special medication. We were given the green light for another protocol, this time with new medication to help process folate and a slight change in the type of medication for FET. We were allowed to transfer TWO embryos! 

TWO PINK LINES! We were pregnant again. I watched as the line progressed on our home pregnancy tests and then I watched as we lost the pregnancy again. What the actual hell? Knowing that you can get pregnant, but you can’t stay pregnant, is one of the most confusing, painful, frustrating and exhausting feelings I’ve ever dealt with. I kept thinking that his is something my body has done before- this is what it is made to do. Yet my body was failing me and I had no control over any of it.

They suggested a mock transfer, I had to take the meds and do the shots, but instead of a transfer, they would do a biopsy. We decided to go for it, but when the day of the mock arrived, we were met with a bill due, before treatment, of$2,000.00 and a notice that nothing was going through insurance. Who has$2,000.00 just lying around, especially while having gone through infertility treatments for 5 years? We left the office that day feeling deflated, frustrated at the amount of medications and shots I had taken, all for a failed treatment plan, angry that no one had told us about the cost.

While we tried to save the funds for the tests, we were notified that, additional vials of our donor were available, by a donor siblings’ parents. We began the process of a vial transfer, only to be hit with the fact that the clinic did not support this and we would need to come up with $4,000.00 if we wanted to purchase the vials. Again, another reason for our hopes to quickly be taken away, due to the cost of IVF.  

After dealing with a tragic loss in June of 2022, we took time out to process, before deciding to try one more time this year to conceive. We secretly transferred two more embryos from our original nine, during the Thanksgiving season. We were praying this transfer was our time, praying we could announce a win for our family, praying this transfer would work, to avoid dealing with the now increased costs from our clinic. We were looking for any signs from the universe that this was OUR TIME.

TWO PINK LINES! I knew better than to get excited, yet I counted to work out the time when we would be due. I shared the excitement with a few close friends, I made plans for a Christmas announcement. I looked up exciting gender reveal announcements, that our now 6-year-old son could help with. I watched those two pink lines get darker, then, at exactly 4 weeks pregnant, those lines started to slip away, AGAIN. This one hit the hardest. Dealing with loss is not easy, but a loss during the holidays is sometimes unbearable. “Why don’t you askSanta for a brother or sister?” our son’s barber asked, as I sat there bleeding from our loss. Why are these normal statements in our world?

We’re currently waiting to meet with a reproductive immunologist for a second opinion, waiting for Sasha’s cycle to begin, so that we can proceed with another egg retrieval and saving funds to test our remaining two embryos. We are also actively exploring what adoption would look like on our journey.

SecondaryUnexplained Infertility robs you of the life you once imagined you would have and makes you question what is wrong with you. It makes you numb and resentful to those around you, who, so effortlessly, seem to have what you must work so hard for. 

I’ve written about our journey, in the hopes that others feel seen and know that they’re not alone. We all have a different path and are met with different challenges, but the ‘Trying to Conceive’ community is huge and they are there when you don’t know where to go next.

Sasha andI are extremely blessed, and our journey’s not done yet.

Follow Morgan and Sasha’s story via their Instagram channel.