Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our IVF Journey, Part II – Infertility, Disease and PGD IVF

As we approach my son’s second birthday, I thought I would share the journey that led to his birth. For the first part of our journey, read Our IVF Journey, Part I – The Two Zees, Infertility and IUIs.

Here is Part II, which covers our continued infertility issues, genetic disease and PGD IVF.

After the three clomid cycles and two failed IUI cycles, we were frustrated and fearful that we may never be able to have a child. Our ob/gyn referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to consider the next logical step, which in our case was invitro fertilization (IVF).

However, there was one item we had to get clarity on before moving forward to IVF.

Disorders, disease and other single gene defects
In our case, our journey took a brief detour because we had one hurdle we needed to get past before continuing on to IVF. We had known for years that my husband was at-risk for a genetic disease, but moving on to IVF meant it was probably time to be tested. To protect my husband and our family, I won’t mention the specific disease by name, but it has devastating if not terminal effects.

We couldn’t help but ask God why we weren’t getting pregnant even after the IUIs. In the back of our minds was the possibility that Tall Man had inherited the gene. So, we prayed and the answer we received was that it was time to put the baby making on hold and get tested for this disease.

God’s plan was better than our plan and looking back, we can know see His mercy that he didn’t allow us to get pregnant on our own so the gene would not be passed on to our children.

Within months we were face-to-face with a genetic counselor who would read the results which would change our lives forever. The test came back positive. We knew how we would have to move forward.

Having this new information regarding the genetic disease was bittersweet. Yes, this meant my husband would eventually suffer this fate, but it didn’t mean my children would have to.

With a fairly new procedure called, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), my husband and I could go through the IVF process and use PGD to detect whether embryos had the defective gene or not. Our insurance did not cover the IVF procedure nor the PGD procedure. This was our only hope for a baby.

PGD IVF is an option for couples who face single-gene defects like cystic fibrosis, tay-sachs, sickle cell anemia and huntington’s disease. It is also used for recurrent miscarriage.

I will describe our entire PGD IVF process (needles and all) in my next post.

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