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Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

True Infertility Success Stories: Coping with our "Journey"

Michael and Angelique Cave were diagnosed with unexplained infertility, a common diagnosis for the millions of couples who suffer from infertility. So began the journey that would take them on a series of emotional ups and downs for the next seven and a half years.

“I found a lot of people don’t like the word ‘journey.’ It [the journey] can sometimes only be a year. But it could be the most difficult year of a man or woman’s life,” Michael explained.

The Caves started their treatment at another clinic and Michael describes his orientation to the world of infertility.

“I just remember sitting in that conference room watching a presentation. And all those people, different types of couples, reminded us of just how of how much of a problem infertility is for folks.”

 

One of the things Michael noticed first was some of the husbands didn’t appear to want to be there. He speculated it was because it was embarrassing and humiliating.

“When you do ‘graduate’ to the IUI and IVF, the man has to provide a semen sample. It’s really embarrassing to walk in there with a brown paper bag. Everybody knows why you’re there. And then the nurse yells out, ‘Oh, do you have your semen sample?’ You just want out of there as fast as possible!”

Michael wrote and sang a song to celebrate this awkward rite of passage, much to the entertainment of Dr. Kolb and the staff.

https://youtu.be/wKII11uNoOQ

 

The Caves started their journey into the world of assistive reproductive technologies with Clomid and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). When these proved unsuccessful, they decided to try IVF. Angelique described her feelings after their first couple of rounds of IVF.

“After the first couple of failures, you just become numb and you don’t expect much. Michael pretty much took over the planning and coordinating doctors and medications. I pretty much checked out and said ‘tell me when to show up, tell me what medications I need, and I’ll do that part.’ But I couldn’t get invested. It was too hard to keep losing pregnancies.”

Michael recognized that Angelique needed him to take over. “When success escapes you by way of failures, it’s kind of like an emotional teeter-totter for couples,” he explained. “One person has got to be up and be strong for the other person while the other person is down. And you can’t both be down at the same time and the same kind of down. We found ourselves, over the course of all the attempts, picking each other back up.”

After five failed IVF cycles using Angelique’s eggs, the couple decided to pursue an egg donor. Angelique describes how she came to the decision.

“With age, your egg quality gradually and naturally declines. I started fertility treatment when I was 31, and met Dr. Kolb at age 38. When we went to his infertility seminar and I saw the statistics up there for successful IVF cycles for my age with your own eggs and the success rates for egg donors, I thought, ‘why do I keep doing this to myself?’ It wasn’t a matter of wanting my own biological child with my husband. While that would have been nice, the reality of the situation was I wanted a healthy baby.”

The decision to pursue an egg donor paid off for the Caves, and in more ways than one. Their final round of IVF with donor eggs was successful. The Caves used GSMoms’ egg donor program to select an egg donor. They now have three healthy triplets as a result.

“She carried not one, but three beautiful, healthy babies, and she made it look easy, even though we know it better,” said Michael proudly.  It’s just incredible, especially when we weren’t even sure if she could carry a pregnancy at all. Now she’s got her reward for all of her efforts and sacrifices—triplets. What a blessing!”

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