They dreamed of a big family together but after three years of trying, Gina and her husband, Tyler, decided to see a fertility specialist. The news was scary and sobering after Tyler suffered a job layoff. With a smile, the doctor recommended donor eggs and IVF straight away. The diagnosis included scary words like “Stage 4 endometriosis,” “poor egg quality,” “DNA fragmentation in sperm,” and “a possible miscarriage risk marker: MTHFR.” However, the hardest part was the cost because even if they sold both cars and all possessions, it was still more than they could afford. This meant IVF was not in the budget, nor would it be for years to come unless something changed.

Tyler and Gina each handled this news the best way they could, but both needed to process it. Could they be childless? The answer was no, so Tyler took all the overtime he could. Tyler was working 60 hours of the night shift while Gina spent hours in online support groups as well as searching medical journals reading clinical studies, finding IVF giveaways, and searching for anything available to help pay for IVF.

In an online infertility support group for women 30+ years old, Gina found out about IVF abroad. This opened a wealth of information on IVF cycles in Mexico, Spain, Israel, Czech Republic and more. After finding an IVF travel agent, the travel agent helped schedule the testing and a plan was made, while all pre-IVF testing was done in the United States. A Skype consult with the clinic and a tiny deposit later, they were finalized for IVF abroad.

And so, a trip across the ocean they took. The adventure was exciting, but the hope of an affordable way to do IVF was all they needed. A month later, their IVF procedure was scheduled and two months later they were in Prague, walking the zoo, sightseeing and going through an IVF cycle. They spent two weeks in another country exploring while having nurses check her ovaries every two days until the egg retrieval. Gina’s retrieval produced 12 eggs! News came via an emailed photo of the embryos, but with each passing day, a few would stop growing. After four days, only two embryos remained, and one was not great. They transferred both embryos anyway. Early the next morning, they flew home PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise)!

Apparently it only takes one good egg, and they hope to take their daughter back to Prague someday.

A few years later, they tried IVF again but did not produce any good embryos and were financially broke. Gina took a job as a part-time barista and earned 100% insurance coverage for IVF #3… she lets everyone know how that wonderful insurance gave them a second child.

The next chapter for Tyler, Gina and family? They are moving to Illinois where infertility insurance is mandated and HOPE to try for child #3 in IVF #4. You are not alone, and everyone has a story.

Gina F., Wisconsin

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