Our journey to start a family began like many . I started tracking my cycles, cleaned up our lifestyle, and enjoyed the excitement. Anyone who reaches the 12-month mark of trying with no success, knows that feeling. That feeling of the excitement fading and the anxiety setting in.

As many women do, I assumed it must be a problem with me. I sought the help of my OBGYN who tested all of my hormones and did a pelvic ultrasound. Everything was totally normal and healthy. I was even told that I had a “uterus that infertile women would kill for,” which was reassuring, but didn’t provide any answers as to why we weren’t getting pregnant.

We then turned the focus onto my husband. We began with an at-home mail-in semen analysis. A few days later we got an email that said: No sperm were found. Azoospermia. We panicked, wondering if it was a mistake or that maybe something went wrong with the testing. How can there be NONE? My OBGYN ordered a second test. Again, azoospermia. And a third: azoospermia. We were told the best case scenario to build our family would be biological children via IVF-ICSI if sperm were still present, and that was a big if. If not, then we would need to talk about donor sperm, donor embryo, or adoption. In an instant I went from thinking that IVF was the worst thing that could happen on our conception journey, to praying that IVF with our own biological embryo was still even an option.

We were referred to a urologist and waited two grueling weeks for the appointment. We really struggled to have conversations around the “what if’s” but tried to stay as positive as we could. We reassured one another that we were meant to be parents one way or another. Some of the best words of wisdom we received in that time was: a family is still a family, even with two people in it.

We made it to the urology appointment and to our surprise, the doctor knew exactly what the problem was within 30 seconds of a physical exam. The urologist diagnosed my husband with Congenital Bilateral Absence of Vas Deferens, caused by a Cystic Fibrosis gene mutation. He was born without vas deferens, meaning there was no way for the sperm to get out. After some hormone testing, the urologist felt confident that my husband’s “factory was still working” and that we should have no problem moving forward with IVF-ICSI. Our dream of having biological children is still a possibility.

Which brings us to today- gearing up to begin our first IVF cycle in just a few weeks. Whenever I find myself frustrated that I am a healthy woman having to go through IVF, I try to remind myself that I am the perfect pair to my husband. While CBAVD is a heartbreaking diagnosis, my body is as prepared for this journey as it can be. #WhatIwantYoutoKnow is that this is our journey through MFI, together.

Loren H.