At age 18, Teri had been placed on birth control pills to regulate heavy periods and prevent the growth of uterine polyps. She periodically mentioned to my OB/GYNs throughout the years that at some point, she did want to get pregnant. She was given NO information regarding fertility.
Teri divorced her first husband at age 29 after she discovered that he didn’t want children, specifically caring for them.
Teri then met her current husband when she was 30; he 39 and had 2 teenage daughters (read child support payments + looming college payments). She wanted to be secure in their relationship and become more economically stable before trying for a baby.
Then, the economic downturn of 2008 happened. Teri’s income plummeted, her health insurance premiums skyrocketed, making prenatal care nearly impossible to pay for. At some point, Teri began to panic that she was 39 and that she knew that was rather old to conceive, but did not know it was impossible.
Her current OB/GYN said that she needed to be trying naturally for 6 months before he would send her to a specialist. She had an HMO, and trusted him. When the time came to go to a specialist, Teri was 40. Her HMO required certain tests to be completed before she could see a RE. After months of waiting to schedule doctor appointments, waiting to do the tests, then get results, she found out they were useless because they were performed at the wrong times of the month. The clock was ticking for Teri and her husband.
The REs that Teri talked to essentially said 40 is “the cliff” and her chances were 1-10% of conceiving even with the most advanced and aggressive forms of assisted fertility options. She spent the next 3 years undergoing the 4 mostly-insurance-covered IVF treatments with no pregnancies. Each time she needed tests done, it took a month or two to schedule and she felt like doctors didn’t seem to care that time was running out.
Teri cried and begged to get appointments made sooner than a month or so out, to little avail. Test results were not sent to doctors, causing delays, to the point where she had to physically go pick them up at one doctor’s office and hand carry them to another.
Her current husband has 2 grown children, and did not want to use a donor egg or adopt. At 43, that, coupled with the devastating new reality that she would never conceive, birth and raise a child, was something that Teri never, ever imagined in my darkest nightmares.
“No one can explain the level of agony I experienced, the rollercoaster of emotions, then deep despair and hopelessness I felt at my complete and utter failure, and to some extent still feel almost daily.”
Teri S., IL