Seven. This is #mystory. I have had seven rounds of fertility treatments in the last two years. I miscarried my first pregnancy at seven weeks. My husband and I have spent more than $70,000 on fertility treatments. I’ve lost seventeen embryos.

I consider myself an incredibly determined person. I am a perfectionist. I believe if I put my mind to something, I can achieve anything. My husband and I got married, bought a house and renovated it, and after two years we were ready to start a family. I was not prepared for the struggle that was to come. No matter how much I “put my mind to it,” I could not control my ability to have a child.

After our miscarriage in April 2018, we eventually sought the help of our doctor. She referred us to our first reproductive endocrinologist, and we tried three unsuccessful rounds of IUI. I had a hysteroscopy and laparoscopy, and the doctor found silent, mild endometriosis, along with a couple fibroids and polyps. Recovery from that procedure was painful, but I had the resolve to continue fighting.

We were one year into our journey when we moved on to IVF. In our doctor’s words, “we looked perfect on paper and should get pregnant fast.” Well, that didn’t happen. Across three rounds of IVF, we did not have one embryo make it to blastocyst.

It’s time to consider donor eggs.” It felt like the wind was knocked out of me. Was it that I was “different” from everyone else I knew… everyone that could have a full genetic child with their partner? Or was it the thought of losing my genetic contribution – the chance to see my green eyes in my child? Would I feel like an illegitimate parent to this child? I had many thoughts, and through many conversations with loved ones – and the help of a therapist – I was able to silence the doubt and move forward on our donor egg journey.

I had my first transfer last week with one of our perfect embryos; our seventh round of fertility treatment. I can tell you, it does get better. Every day I appreciate our donor, and I no longer think about what I am losing. I know that what I am gaining eclipses losing my genetics. My beta test is in three days, but I had a positive pregnancy test today. I can breathe again, and the world seems brighter. I am emerging from this storm, with scars and war stories, but I wear my infertility badge of honor with pride.

I share #mystory because I know there are women and men struggling with infertility who may not have the same support system that my husband and I have. I want to normalize the conversation so that people can understand how to support others. I won’t stop fighting for more access to reproductive health services once my rainbow baby comes. Thank you for reading my story, and know I am sending everyone in the throes of infertility my most positive wishes for a happy ending.

Melissa F., New Jersey