The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc

Krissy's Story: Endometriosis, Donor Embryos, Eggs, & the Czech Republic

As a young woman I learned about fertility with a surprise pregnancy at twenty-three. My first pregnancy experience came when I had unprotected sex on day 10 of my cycle, after coming off birth control pills. The condom we used failed and I became pregnant. My pregnancy was complication-free. We planned to have a second child but ultimately our relationship ended.  

I did not worry about conceiving another child because my first pregnancy was easy to conceive and carry. I was in no hurry waiting for “Mr. Right” so together we could expand our family.

“Mr. Right” was nowhere on the horizon but my desire for a second child continued.  When my son was 12, I became a Foster Mom.  I decided to consider having another child and spent two years planning. I saved leave from my job, paid off all my student loans and lost thirty pounds.  

I was 38 when I began to try again and thought it would be “a piece of cake” easy because I was so fertile earlier at 23.   

After three months of trying without any positive pregnancy results I went to see a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility doctor).  

My doctor ran tests over about a 3 month period. She found that my ovarian reserve was sufficient which was good news. However, she also found a partially blocked fallopian tube. .  I scheduled surgery because I did not want to risk an ectopic pregnancy.

The doctor found two great tubes in surgery but a whole lot of endometriosis on my ovaries.   She used cauterization instead of excising the endometriosis. She advised that I had between 3-6 months before the endometriosis came back and to begin medicated IUI cycles immediately.  

I tried three cycles with 3 negatives pregnancy tests.  I stopped going to traditional doctors and switched to alternative medicine.  I researched and cut out articles on anything anyone had ever said could cause fertility issues. I ceased using caffeine, dairy, wheat, soy and started regularly going both to the chiropractor and acupuncturist.  Still no positive pregnancy resulted.

Then I learned about embryo adoption.   I returned to the fertility doctor asking to start the process, not knowing that finding embryos was another battle. With traditional embryo adoption, one can “adopt” the embryos remaining once donor couple completed an IVF cycle or completed her family.   Finding donated embryos was difficult.  Many people were not willing to donate embryos to a single mother. I discovered Reprofit in Czech Republic. The clinic procedures included donor egg, donor sperm and embryo transfers at a low cost and with few requirements.    On June 14, 2015, I transferred one blastocyst embryo and on February 25, my Evelyn was born. I was 42 when she was born and once again blessed with an uneventful pregnancy.

[Note from INCIID: we caution anyone seeking services outside of the United States to consider carefully and research the facility before making the decision to use services]



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Barbara's Story: The journey was a long one

From a blog post Oct 2015
My dearest Leon, the Journey for you was a long one and a short one all at the same time. This journal I’m writing is a little different than the one I wrote for the Penguins, the embryo we adopted, and the triplets because you are the child that we get to hold in our arms every day and love on you and kiss you every day. I cannot picture any other child in our life and any other child to call us Momma and Dada.  However, it was quite the journey to get you.  Dada and I first talked about adoption when we were engaged.  We talked about how we wanted someday to adopt as part of our family-building process.
Dada and I were married in 2007. We hoped to start a family right away. However, it took us almost eight years of marriage for you to make us finally a Momma and Dada. In 2010 we started to talk about domestic adoption but the cost seemed to put that process out of reach. In 2012 doctors told us we would be unable to conceive.We explored about donation and decided to try that pathway to becoming parents. The cost was less.  Eight embryos transferred never resulting in a take-home baby. After our second failed embryo transfer we decided to start looking into domestic adoption  At that time we still had one embryo left and still wanted to move forward with that transfer while continuing to pursue private domestic adoption.
           In January 2014 we started a home study, asking friends and family to write reference letters, getting a letter from our doctor saying we are in good health and so on. In March 2014 we had our home visit with the social worker. Our home study was completed in April of 2014 and it was time to make fliers and try to get the word out that we were looking to adopt. We also held a few fundraisers to help with the cost of domestic adoption. 
            Dada and I spend one weekend in June driving all over Washington and Oregon posting flyers saying we were looking too adopt.  We made up business cards to pass out and put up with our flyers and we mailed flyers to friends and family in other states to put up where they lived. We made a blog page and a Facebook page. We wrote letters to Women’s Shelters, lawyers and gynecologists. We sent letters to any place we could think of to let people know that we are looking to adopt. We were not able to raise much money and received no responses.  We were also trying to move forward with our last embryo transfer but my doctor in Seattle was not letting us move forward at the time.
While waiting I bcame pregnant with triplets but miscarried all three at 8 weeks. Then three weeks after the miscarriage, our lawyer in Seattle called and said that there was a baby girl that was born that morning and the parents were looking to place her up for adoption. Our lawyer asked if we wanted our profile to be shown and we said yes. Then the next day our lawyer called and told us they picked another couple.
A month later, our lawyer called saying another baby girl was born that morning and did we want our profile shown: we told him yes. That baby was born early and had to stay in the hospital for a while, and it took her birth parents a week to decide to parent her.  Around the same time we got a call from someone that saw our Facebook page. She said she was pregnant with twins lived in North Carolina. She told us they wanted an open adoption. With living so far away we did not know how that would work having an open adoption so we said no. I found out later from a Facebook group that the North Carolina birth mom was a scam, and never even was pregnant. We also had two other people try to scam us
            In January 2015 I was getting ready for our last embryo transfer.  I had to get my body ready for transfer. On January 15, 2015 the same day as one of my RE appointments, a special little boy named Leon was born.  While we getting ready for the transfer we also got a call from our lawyer that there was a 16 year old expectant mother that was due the beginning of March was looking to place her  baby for adoption and he was wondering if we wanted our profile shown we said yes. Even though we were weeks from doing our embryo transfer we thought we would try for both. So on January 29th we went to Seattle for our embryo transfer.  We found out that the embryo never made it through the freezing process and when it thawed it was no longer viable. 
The next day we got a call from our lawyer and found out the expectant mother that was due in March and picked a family with another agency. Then a few weeks later we found out that our home study was only good for a year and was 2 months from expiring. So Dada and I had some thinking to do of what we wanted to about our home study.
            On March 9th, our social worker who had been working with us for 2 years now and knew us well called me. She told me she had a friend with an adoption agency in Missouri and her friend was looking to share couples profiles to some birth parents of a 2 month old.  Leon, that little baby was you. She also asked if we want the agency info to e-mail our profile. We thought since the agency was willing to show our profile without signing with them beforehand we had nothing to lose. Our profile was shown the next day on Tuesday the 10th and Wednesday the 11th we get a call from the agency saying that the birth parents liked our profile and want to meet us and only us. Our social worker asked how fast we could get to Missouri from Washington State. As soon as I got off the phone I called Dada's School. We met at the agency the next day, then they put you in the car we had rented and we followed them to the mall. The four of us hung out at the mall with you for 4 hours. Your biological mom and I even picked out an outfit for you.
            Later that night your birth parents called us up and we went out to dinner and a movie while you stayed with your grandmother.. It was good night but I was tired and had trouble staying awake during the move. Dada and I wanted to give your birth family one last full day with you before you came to be with us. That Sunday night we texted Liz at the adoption agency and she text your birth parents to see if we were still on for the next day to sign parental right termination papers. On Monday, March 16th, we get a text from your birth mom 25 minutes from signing saying that your birth dad could not sign and want to find a way to still parent. Our hearts were breaking at the news. We had already fallen in love with you so much. But not only were are hearts breaking for us, we were also sad  for you because we know with all our hearts that we could give you a better life than what you your birth parents could give you. I was not mad at them; we could not be because we know that having to place a child up for adoption has to be one of life's most difficult decisions.
Hours after being told that your birth parents would not sign the papers, your birth mom called and told us they were on their way to the lawyer office and asked if we could come back and get you.
We showed up at the adoption agency before your parents came with you. They had to meet with their lawyer and had schedule to meet with the agency afterward. We waited for them to be done with their meeting and signed papers with our lawyer while we waited because the lawyer shared an office with the adoption agency. That night your birth parents came to our hotel and brought your clothes and some other things to take home with us.  
            The next morning you had your 2 month checkup at your pediatrician in Missouri and your birth mom met us there. The appointment was made way before adoption plan was in place.  Then on Wednesday the 18 of March we went to court to be able to become your legal guardians. The gal at the agency thought that since our FBI finger prints were over a year old we needed to redo them so we could get clearance to move you out of Missouri. So Dada and I went to a place that we could do it electronically and have results and clearance within hours. We got Dada's prints back right way. However, mine where a different story as they had been throughout this whole adoption process: my prints came back unreadable. So we had to do them again and do them a third time too. Because we knew that they would be a problem, we keep calling the company to see if we needed to do them again. We did the prints three times and all three came back and the company even ran them a fourth time and they still came back unreadable.  So we went to  the State portal office and they told us all they could do was try to get me in to do a background check by using my name but that it would take 8 weeks. We were told that we could not leave the state with you until we could get my FBI background check to go through. Missouri said that they were ok with the fact my background check was 13 month old but they are afraid that Washington was not going to be ok with it. Not knowing what else to do, we e-mailed our lawyer in Washington to see if he could be of any help. He told us that Washington had a rule that the finger prints need to no more than 18 month old so we were good. Because of my fighting with my finger prints, we stayed in your birth city until Friday the 20th . That night we drove to St. Louis thinking that we would just return the rental car and stay in a hotel in St. Louis until we were told we could take you out of Missouri. However, it turned out that I had some friends from back in college who live in St. Louis and saw on Facebook that we were in Missouri, so they offered to let us stay with them, so we kept the car and stayed at their place so we did not have to pay for a hotel.
            Then on Friday March 27th we go the call that we had clearance to leave the state with you. However, we had a hiccup: the Missouri Child Division had been called when you where one month old. We did not know what it was about, just that there was a concern about you.  After you had been placed with us, they went back to the house to check up on you without knowing that you had been place with us and that we had court papers for you. So we had to drive you back to your birth city so they could see you in person and see your court papers. After we cleared stuff up with Child Division, we took you to Cincinnati, Ohio to meet Cousin Drew and Aunt Megan. We stayed at Drew’s Nana's house and you used Drew’s crib at her house. Because of the extra four hour drive back to your birth city, we did not get to Cincinnati until one am Cincinnati time. We end up staying and hang out with Uncle David, Aunt Megan, Cousin Drew and Drew’s nana until Thursday March 31st because that when the cost of airplane tickets had gone down. You cried the whole flight home to Seattle. That was the only time you have ever thrown such a fit. We end up getting into Seattle really late the night of the 31st. Aunt Tracy picked us up from the airport in our car and we took her home. We were going to drive straight home that night but the pass was closed and no one we know had a crib for you to sleep in so we had to get a hotel that night. The next morning when we woke up the pass was open so we were able to get on the road and take you home to our house. So Mr. Leon, of all days to bring you home, we got you home and April 1st : April Fool’s day.
We had to wait 6 month to be able to finalize your adoption. We had to meet with our social worker for three post placement visits. She wrote report for the courts in Missouri to see and knew that you were doing great in our house. In that first six months, we had Meet and Greet parties for people to meet you and everyone one fall in love with you.  We face time a few time with your birth parents and you and  Momma even got to fly to South Carolina so you could meet your 5 cousins and your Aunt Karie and Uncle Steve in August. You fell in love with their cat Dixi.  After we got back from South Carolina, our lawyer in Missouri called and told me that Dada and I needed to sign papers and get them notarize so we could finalized your adoption out of court. We chose to finalize out of court so that we could stay in Washington. The judge had to wait for you to be in our house for 6 month before he could sign off on your finalization. On September 18th, 2015 while you were napping in your crib, Dada was at work teaching high school and the daycare kids where in the house happily playing, Momma got a e-mail form our lawyer that your adoption was finalized and that you legally had our last name.  
            Leon, Dad and I love you with all our hearts and we are so lucky that you are our son and that you are forever ours.


Tag for Stories From The Heart section

NIAW 2016, Sara's Story: The path takes you where you were always meant to be

I never fully believed stuff like this, back Then. Sure, it sounded good. But Now... Now I know how true it is. The path takes you where you were always meant to be. In this moment tonight. Rocking baby boy. He's just finished a bottle after waking up crying. He shouldn't be hungry yet, but he spent all evening crawling and pulling up and smiling a gummy grin of pride. So that left no time for much milk. So I hold his 21 pound, solid frame firmly in my arms. Like I've said before, he just fits. As he sucks the last few drops of his bottle, his eyes close. His head twitches and nods back and forth, cradled in the crook of my arm. He's got one hand by his face and the other casually folded behind his head. He's taking slow, deep breaths. He's 7 months, wearing 12 month pjs, and his tone little belly sticks out between the shirt and pants. His head nods and twitches some more. His hair is getting lighter. And thicker. It sticks up more on the left side than the right, no matter what I do to it. His skin is soft. His lips are perfectly rounded and at rest. Until he starts "sucking his fake paci". If I had him Then, would I notice each detail? Would I appreciate him as much? I'm certain the answer is "NO"!  If things happened the way I hoped so many times, I wouldn't be here. Now. 

I wouldn't cherish and savor each day with him. The way I am tonight. The way I have done each day since the day in early August when I first saw his little face.  I wouldn't have endured the amount of pain I did, that whittled me to my very core. That revealed my anxiety disorder. I would be a neurotic, impatient, frustrated mom were I made a mom Then. I'm treated Now. I feel like I can handle anything.  I wouldn't have the relationships I have Now. My sisters in embryo adoption. Fellow recipients. My son's special genetic mom. (And genetic extended family- he's not an only child after all). I hated waiting. I hated the suffering. The sacrifice. The running on a hampster wheel that never seemed to result in anything positive.  I'm here Now. I'm where I'm supposed to be. 


So how did we get to Now? What was the Then all about? My husband and I decided to not have biological children together to avoid passing a hereditary neuromuscular disorder. We tried donor sperm with 3 IUIs- no luck. We became certified foster parents. It wasn’t a feasible plan with the way our local foster care office handled referrals. We applied for waiting children through the foster care system with no response. We then sought domestic infant adoption. Because, you know, as everyone says, “Why don’t you ‘just adopt’”? We were on a waiting list of nearly 50 families when only 7 placements were made in a year. Our profile was shown once but the mom never placed. We applied for private adoption situations. Nothing panned out.

My husband says he could have kept waiting. But I was losing hope. I was desperately grasping to anything I could. I researched day and night. Other agencies. Private networking.and then I discovered embryo adoption. It’s not legally “adoption”, but in our situation, that feels like the correct language. And one of the most well-known embryo adoption clinics in the entire nation was mere hours from our house.

So we dove in. We transferred. Negative. We transferred. A devastating miscarriage. Our money was gone. Our strength was nearly gone. All 7 of our embryos we initially adopted were gone. We rematched. One final chance. This was it. It had to work.

We transferred two beautiful blastocysts (five day old embryos) on a Wednesday. I started feeling queasy on Saturday. I got a positive home test on Sunday, two beautiful pink lines. Due to Thanksgiving, I had to wait til Friday for the nervewracking beta news. Yep! Very pregnant, if there is such a thing. Pregnancy after a miscarriage was very difficult. I hated ultrasounds, even the one where I heard his heartbeat the first time and the one where I found out his sex. I had a stubborn SCH (subchorionic hematoma- common in FET pregnancies) that caused ongoing panic.I muddled through pregnancy, trying to stay in one piece.

Four years after we began the journey to be parents, lots of tears and money and shots later, they placed a nearly 9 pound, perfect baby boy on my chest. He lifted his little head and peered into my eyes. Everything I went through melted away. He was here. He is mine. He has healed me. Those years were dark. I would hate to relive them. But it was worth it. He is worth it.


To read more about my journey, including my very open relationship with my son’s gracious and wonderful genetic family, please check out my blog- Although we live across the country, we’ve met up 5 times in 8 months. We’ve stayed at each others' houses and met each others' extended family. It’s been a beautiful dance to develop a relationship with the family we owe ours to.



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