Coming to terms with age-related infertility
Nicole was 41 when she and her husband, Ajay, decided to try for a baby. After a year of trying with no success, she started to worry. She met with her OB/GYN. The doctor confirmed that the couple needed to see a fertility doctor and explained that time was not on their side.
That was obviously not what the couple wanted to hear. Nicole wanted to hear that her body was still working like a 24-year-old’s. She wanted to hear that all the stories about celebrities having babies in their 40’s and 50’s meant she had more time to conceive. Nicole felt that her dream of becoming pregnant was withering away and fear began to set in.
According to Nicole, “I had to see a fertility expert. That meant something was wrong with me. That meant embarrassment and shame. However, my journey veered from that imagined reality.”
Finding hope at the first appointment with Texas Fertility Center
From the first appointment with Dr. Anthony Propst at Texas Fertility Center (TFC), Nicole started feeling more comfortable. The couple did tons of research and asked lots of questions to make sure they chose the right path to pregnancy.
Overcoming infertility ended up involving multiple stages for the couple. Nicole first had surgery to remove a fibroid that may have been contributing to her infertility. The couple then underwent a round of in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, it failed because they couldn’t produce any healthy embryos. The couple was advised that further rounds would probably not be successful, so it was time to start thinking of alternatives.
“I was devastated. That was the death knell to my having a biological child. It was the end of my father’s genetic line because I was the only one in my family interested in having children. I mourned. I became angry. I cried. Then, I accepted. I wanted a child,” Nicole recalls.
Welcoming a baby with help from donor eggs
The couple decided to move forward with donor eggs. According to Nicole, “We went to an egg bank. My husband and I chose our top three donors separately. When we compared our choices, the same person was our first pick.”
They moved forward with the paperwork and all the steps of the egg donation process. It was an emotional roller coaster that was filled with uncertainty, but they got two healthy embryos. “Two tries to change our lives,” Nicole explains.
The first donor egg cycle was a success and a little girl named Maya joined the couple. “No words can describe the joy of meeting her, of experiencing motherhood and fatherhood. The journey included a lot of fear, doubt, anxiousness, physical discomfort and tears. However, it also included joy, hope, laughter, wonder and satisfaction. The journey was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but I would do it again without thinking twice,” Nicole gushes.
According to Nicole, “Maya is our everything and she is with us in part due to the determination, skill, encouragement and support of the TFC staff. She would not exist without them and my husband and I will forever be thankful.”
The importance of advocating for other hopeful parents
According to Nicole, “Infertility intensifies the whole ‘getting pregnant’ experience. Families that don’t experience infertility find themselves facing many fears and unknowns when they first get pregnant. Adding on the complications of infertility increases the complexity, intensifies the emotions and creates physical hardship above and beyond the normal pregnancy journey.”
Nicole believes that everyone should have access to the fertility treatments they need to grow their families. She and her husband have good jobs with big IT companies with benefits that helped cover some of the costs. Otherwise, they would be facing much more debt.
“Many times, finances either prevent couples from moving forward with treatment or create such a large debt that there is extreme stress and hardship during what should be a joyful time. If that headache could be removed, that’s one less thing to worry about during a stressful situation,” Nicole explains. That’s why infertility advocacy is so important to her.