Jon & Steph M. are from Illinois and have dealt with infertility from the beginning of their marriage. They lost their “honeymoon” baby at seven weeks which sent Steph into a deep depression and later that year, they tried to have another one. It was uncertain if there was an actual pregnancy because Steph’s body started to go haywire.

In January 2013, she had her last cycle and started to have hot flashes, among other symptoms. Seven months down the road after many tests and many doctors, Steph was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure caused by having Premutation Fragile-x. It caused her body to go into menopause early and they told her she was probably going through menopause since she was in her early twenties and just never knew it. Stephanie had lost all her eggs and doctors told her it was not possible for her to have babies of her own. It was a lot of information to soak in and it took four years and more doctors to help her body stabilize so she could be healthier.

During that time, Jon and Steph tried applying for foster care but because they were ultimately interested in adopting, they were told it would not be a good fit since that was not the point of fostering. They investigated different adoption agencies, but none fit their budget. They had an opportunity to adopt an eight-month old in 2016 and it did not work out in the end. The grandparents of the child wanted to help and ultimately decided to keep the baby, leaving Jon and Steph devastated. They knew they had to find a way to move on from that, but that situation made them realize adoption would not work out for them because having to give a baby back after having hope made their hearts drop.

In December 2018, they decided to use Jon’s work insurance that covered $10,000 in infertility treatments one time. They chose embryo donation, which meant the baby would be donated to the couple, but grow inside Stephanie. In January of 2019, they successfully transferred the embryo and a few weeks later, tests revealed she was pregnant! They got to see the heartbeat, but when it came time to hear the heartbeat, it was gone. She had to have the baby removed at seven weeks. They have had many losses over their entire marriage and knew it was time to move on, since they had utilized all of their resources.

They learned life is never what you expect, and you must make things work with what is handed to you. They have joy from nine biological nieces & nephews, plus six of their friends’ children. They have pursued different careers and chose traveling to be their way of life, along with beloved family and friends. Stephanie has always talked about her infertility comfortably because she wants any woman struggling with infertility to know she is not alone.

Steph. M

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