My name is Erin, and my wife, Tori, and I have decided to do reciprocal IVF. Tori wants to carry one of my remaining embryos, which means she will be bringing Madelyn and Dylan’s (the twins I lost) brother or sister into the world. Talk about the greatest gift that anyone could ever give me.
Several years ago I had two egg retrievals; one helped another family and also afforded me the financial ability to create my own embryos. At the time, I couldn’t afford infertility treatment and my medical insurance wouldn’t cover anything. LGBT couples often have a more challenging time getting coverage, even with a diagnosis. It took me a year of fighting with the insurance company to prove that I suffered from stage 3 endometriosis and PCOS. After endless lab work, ultrasounds, medications, appointments, procedures, and a failed IVF cycle, I finally became pregnant.
Sadly, Madelyn and Dylan are no longer here, but there are siblings waiting to be born. Tori made the decision that she wants to carry and bond with this baby, and she wants to feel him/her kick inside of her. My wife wants to experience this pregnancy and be able to give me back such a special piece of what I lost. She decided that this was such a beautiful way for us both to contribute to this child coming into the world. This child will be just as much hers as they are mine. I created these embryos, but she will give this baby life. Tori will also create embryos one day, and I will be the one to return this gift. This is a way for us both to connect with our children and also experience the pregnancies we long for. Tori has experienced much heartache along the way as well, but I have no doubt that through her journey, she will accomplish her goals of creating embryos AND bringing one of our children into the world.
I struggled with the idea of reciprocal IVF initially. After the loss of Dylan and Madelyn, I felt as though my body had failed me. I was robbed of the bonding experience through my pregnancy that I should have had; robbed of watching them both grow up. I was angry with myself and God for allowing me to finally become pregnant, but then not being able to carry out my pregnancy to term. I felt like if we did reciprocal IVF, people might question my ability to carry a pregnancy which in turn, makes me feel like less of a mother.
Tori tells me all of the time that I can do this. My past experience doesn’t define what will be in the future. I can carry a healthy baby and give him/her life. She has continued to support and love me on a journey that isn’t easy for any couple facing infertility. It’s a journey, but I am SO glad that we are on it together.
So, to us, reciprocal IVF means that my wife will carry the most beautiful, precious part of me and one day, I will carry one of her embryos – the most beautiful, precious part of her. TOGETHER, we will raise these miracle babies and they will have two mothers who love them more than anything in the world.
By educating others about our personal experiences, #WeCanALL make a difference and teach one another that family building isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. There are many ways to build a family.
WeCanALL embrace our loved ones who are struggling to conceive. #WeCanAll be mindful of their journeys and recognize that everyone’s road to parenthood looks different, but it is special and beautifully unique.
Erin E., NJ
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