Sarah and Kevin Shockley of Waukesha, Wis. have struggled with infertility for years, and had planned to begin a second round of IVF treatment this week. Now, like everything else, it’s been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the story of how that has affected Sarah and Kevin, a dental hygienist and fourth-grade teacher, respectively, as told by Sarah to Yahoo Lifestyle, which has edited the interview for brevity. Follow her journey on Instagram.
We’ve been trying to get pregnant since our wedding day, which was in 2016. Looking back, we were kind of naïve. We both come from big families and we thought we would be pregnant within a few short months. That didn't happen.
We tried naturally for a full year before we realized that we needed help. But sadly, we discovered that my husband had testicular cancer. So he had surgery and radiation treatment. It was around the same time that I became pregnant — but it was short-lived, because I had a miscarriage.
After my husband went through radiation, the doctors suggested waiting a full year to start trying again. He froze some of his sperm — that was one of the recommendations, because after treatment or after surgery and after going through radiation, they're not totally sure how sperm quality is going to be.
My doctor then gave us a referral to the fertility specialist. Considering my husband's history with testicular cancer, we assumed that he was the reason why we weren't able to conceive. However, my doctor diagnosed me with PCOS, and told me that I don't ovulate — a major reason why we haven't been able to have a baby. The two options we had were to start with IUI, which is artificial insemination, or move on to IVF. We started with the IUIs because it was cheaper and quicker. We did that twice, but neither worked. We also tried IVF but our two embryos had missing chromosomes, so they weren't going to survive.
We were supposed to get started with an IVF cycle today, but because of the coronavirus, we decided to cancel it. If I started the injections and a government prohibited us from leaving home, I would have to stop mid-cycle. Postponing it was really heartbreaking.
We were so hopeful going into 2020. But now, with the coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t look like our year.
[I started an Instagram account] to shed light on infertility and help others. But it’s also helped me cope with the emotional toll of infertility. And helped me feel less alone. Many of the conversations that I’ve had are with people who are going through the same experience. It's been very supportive.
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