In this blog series, I interview women and couples who’ve experienced infertility, turned to fertility treatments to help grow their families, and made it out on the other side with a baby or pregnancy. My goal is to help inspire and give hope to people going through similar situations and to spread awareness to those who may not understand all the emotions and intricate steps that fertility treatments entail. Today’s interview is with Kelli and Megan who had success with a donor sperm IVF cycle. Kelli is currently X weeks pregnant after trying to conceive for 4 years. Click here for list of acronyms and slang definitions that may pop up in the interview.
Due to the sensitive nature of these extremely candid and honest interviews, there is a zero tolerance policy in place for any comments I find rude, hurtful, or inappropriate and they will be deleted immediately. Thank you for having an open mind and understanding!
Tell us about yourself and your partner:
So, my name is Kelli and I’m the redhead; Although, currently, my hair is an array of colors that I’m hoping to fix very soon. I’m also the one carrying this little baby 😉 Again, this job of mine is keeping me from doing, well, anything else. I’m 29-years-old and living in the home that Megan and I bought in Van Nuys, CA. For the past decade I’ve worked in production and as of now I’m a Post Production Supervisor on a Comedy Central show, as well as various other side projects (I hear having a baby is expensive). Ha. I really love television. I know it’s a bad hobby, but I also know it’s the reason I’m good at my job ;). Other than that, I like reading, writing, having friends come over to hang out, play in the pool, eat Megan’s food (she’s a GREAT cook) and shop. I love to shop, but I also love money so the two conflict at times.
Megan is 28-years old, resides in the same home (makes our marriage convenient ha) and she’s a costumer on MTV’s ‘Teen Wolf’. She is really great at a lot of things, but a few of her hobbies are cooking (thank god)! She hopes to one day make a career of it, but for now she gets to play around and use me as her test subject. I thoroughly enjoy this 😉 She also really like taking pictures, hiking, entertaining for friends and family, and cleaning. Okay, well maybe it’s not a hobby, but she does do a great job ha.
We have three dogs at this time, although our oldest (who I’ve had for 10 years) was just diagnosed with lymphoma on the same day I found out we were pregnant. She’s an awesome little chihuahua who acts nothing like a chihuahua. In fact, she’s the best dog ever, despite her names being Hades. Along with her we have another chihuahua, Felon and a pitbull, Compton. All three are females. We got Felon in Watts, CA and Compton in, you guessed it….Compton, CA.
Tell us about your TTC journey: How long have you been trying? What types of treatments did you do?
Megan and I have been together for 9 years and married for 2 on September 14th, 2015. Pretty much our entire 20’s have been spent with one another. For the past 4 years, we have been trying to conceive. Initially, we tried to do IUI’s with a friend of ours from Northern California (where I grew up). This was a pain because any time I was ovulating, we would have to fly him down over night and just hope the timing was right. Obviously, it never was. After three times with that, we put it on hold for a bit seeing as it was financially, emotionally, and physically draining. After about a year, we decided to go ahead and give it another go. This time, we looked into donor sperm from a facility (after not being able to find anyone else, or nearby, that would be willing to donate). We found a clinic (PRS in Pasadena), which is a lesbian owned sperm bank. Here we tried to do it at home with the donor sperm and didn’t succeed. The next time around we tried an IUI with the same donor sperm…didn’t succeed. After all this, I thought it might be a good idea to look into IVF seeing as our money was essentially being wasted on a very little chance. Figured it would be smarter to spend more money upfront and increase the odds. This is when Megan and I decided to go to a seminar about IVF at HRC Fertility in pasadena.
At HRC, the seminar was super informative and made us think that IVF could definitely be the solution we were looking for. Plus, I loved the doctor who was speaking because he seemed super excited about IVF and the entire process. Anyone who loves what they do, is going to be better than someone who isn’t enthusiastic. We thought about it for about a month and made our initial appointment. From that point on, everything over really fast. I started birth control within two weeks after my blood test cleared me to do so, I got started on Vitamin D (because I was low) and soon after the shots began (you can check out some videos I made at youtube.com/c/lesmakeababy ). We then had the retrieval on June 23rd, 2015 (Exactly one month before my 29th birthday). The two 6AA blastocysts were implanted on June 28th, 2015 and now I am 9 weeks pregnant and saw our baby move for the first time today 🙂
Were either of you given a diagnosis that would make TTC hard to accomplish?
Neither of us had a diagnosis that would make TTC hard. In fact, while going through IVF, I was told I had a great uterus, my egg count was great (9 out of 10 embryos made it to blasts) and all around, I’m a great candidate. So, the reason for many years of infertility is unknown at this point.
Were any of your treatments or medications covered by health insurance?
Unfortunately, Megan and I are both freelance and therefore, do not have health insurance. Nothing was covered and although we got a loan, we also had to pay quite a bit out of pocket. This was one of the hardest things to come to terms with: having to spend all of our money to create a child (children) and leaving us with no money left to actually raise the child (children) ha.
What was the hardest part of lesbian family planning for you?
Honestly, the fact that there is no easy way to get pregnant was a constant struggle for us. When I was younger, I dreamed of being a mother. And even when I realized I was a lesbian, that dream never died nor did reality really hit me. I figured, ‘hey, I still have a uterus, it won’t be too hard’, but that was not the case. I think the hardest thing was actually trying to find sperm. The idea of spending $600-$700 each time we wanted to get a vial and attempt to get pregnant (prior to IVF), that was a huge financial blow. Along with that you had to go to a doctor’s visit first (again, no insurance) to register at the clinic where you got the sperm and then you had to read through these long profiles and determine who would potentially father your child. The idea of picking someone out of a book and not being able to meet them, get to know who they really are, what their family was like, etc. was difficult to comprehend. In fact, this is why we went with friends first, but again, we only found one willing donor and he lived too far from us for that to be a realistic option. Once we were able to narrow down the donor, the pieces starting falling into place. Not easily, but together none the less.
What’s something positive you’ve learned throughout this entire experience?
Megan and I are going to be the best parents because we’ve already done so much for our child (children). Going through this process was incredibly difficult but we stuck together and are still as strong as we’ve ever been. When we met each other, she was 20-years-old and I was 21-years-old and all we wanted to do was hang out with friends and enjoy our life. Today, we’re 28/29-years-old and pregnant with our first child. This experience, more than anything, has made me appreciate the fact that I am lucky enough to be married to the love of my life and our child is going to be just as lucky to call her “mom”.
Where did you turn for positivity and inspiration during your darkest moments?
I think we both turned to each other as well as friends/family. You really need to talk to anyone you can when you’re going through this or you’ll go crazy ha. But mostly, we kept each other sane. In fact, I’m usually the optimistic one, but in this situation because pretty pessimistic. Megan, usually pessimistic, was able to keep me going and realize that all hope was not lost.
What advice would you give to someone about to go through a donor sperm IUI or IVF cycle?
My advice would be to make sure that you do it right. Go to the doctor and discuss your plan with them. Make sure that you start monitoring your cycles at least a few months before your first attempt (with IUI) because you won’t want to waste money and not get the timing right. It’s crucial with frozen sperm (which only lives for up to 24-hours unlike fresh sperm, which can live for anywhere from 3-5 days) and having an ultrasound done to make sure you’re ovulating is a great idea. For IVF, just realize that the money you spend may stress you out, but the end result could very well be exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t let the financial aspects get in the way of enjoying this experience.
What’s something you wish people knew about infertility?
For us, I’d like them to know that being a lesbian is technically a fertility issue. So many people have said how I don’t have infertility, but yet, everything I have had to do to conceive is exactly what heterosexual women who are infertile must go through. According to doctors, lesbianism is a fertility issue. This was our ONLY choice. There was no easy option to try out first, this was it.