At age 39, Joni had a wakeup call and began feeling, as society describes, that “her biological clock was ticking.” She had been so focused on her career for the past 15 years that she suddenly found herself faced with that defining moment: did she want children?
YES!! Yes, she did! She quickly scheduled herself for a full fertility workup at one of the leading fertility clinics in the country. Joni discovered that her hormones were that of a woman in her early 30s, however, she was encouraged to go straight to IVF due to the maturity of her eggs.
Unfortunately, Joni did not have coverage for IVF and since she was going into this as a single mother by choice, she opted to start with intrauterine insemination (IUI). She purchased seven vials of a donor but was convinced it was going to take on the first try. Sadly, seven cycles and 12 months later, that was not the case. Joni’s heart was crushed, but she knew she was not ready to give up. The leading fertility clinic costs were becoming too expensive for her, therefore, she found an amazing, more affordable clinic in another state and decided to move forward with IVF there.
Her first cycle was promising, again for her age, and she produced double the amount of eggs the doctors had anticipated. However, she only ended up with four embryos that made it to Day 5 and were sent off to testing. All four embryos came back abnormal. Now at the age of 43, the doctor was encouraged by how many eggs she produced and OK’ed another cycle. Five months later, Joni tried another IVF cycle, however this retrieval resulted in a disappointing egg count: less than half as many eggs, compared with her first cycle. This cycle resulted in two embryos and again, they were abnormal.
After a hard conversation with her doctor, they both came to the conclusion that another cycle would likely end in the same results and would only be considered if she had donor eggs or donor embryos lined up. Due to finances and the depression that she found herself in, Joni had to make the ultimate difficult decision to end her journey at that time and focus on getting healthy.
Joni continues to struggle with finding ways to get past the regret of not trying IVF right away. She did not have the education at the time that she probably needed to help guide her. Yes, Joni still longs to be a mom, but she also craves being part of something bigger when it comes to fertility awareness. She is seeking ways to help other woman emotionally and financially in her similar situation and encouraging others to speak up and share their story. She prays that by sharing her story, she will be able to help other women not feel alone in this process or who are finding themselves with similar results as herself.
Joni F., Colorado
Image Credit: Attached (photo credit: Cedar House Photography – note this was a special session I did after 7 failed IUIs and 2 IVFs – the 6 flowers each represent an embryo.)