Written by Liz Kazungu Emerson
The words my first RE said to me forever changed my world. After 6 months of trying naturally, 6 months of trying using the Billings Method, and 5 failed IUI’s, we were very excited and ready to finally do IVF as a final treatment on our path to a baby. The exact words delivered ever so gently with care and consideration were, “IVF has a 97 percent chance of failure for your diagnosis.” They then suggested Donor Egg to ensure success. With insurance only covering the cost of one cycle, fear of not having success with my own genetic child coupled with confusion as to what just happened, we walked out of the clinic with lots of questions, realizations, hard truths, and regrets. It felt overwhelming and we were crushed!
It was then that my husband and I began to do intensive research. You would think I was a medical school student as I read books, articles and watched videos over and over again in an effort to learn about IVF as a treatment. We wanted to educate ourselves on IVF since it was new to us. It was then that we found out that IVF is offered in 4 types. Discovering this information saved our dreams of having our own Genetic baby at age 45.
Of the 4 IVF types, Conventional IVF which is the most common is a great blessing, but it was not for me. With age-related infertility, I barely had enough eggs mature for the 3-egg minimum needed to retrieve. In fact after one attempt of it, we spent over 5k in medications alone only to have one egg mature and then the cycle reverted to another IUI that also failed. However, it only takes one egg and Mini IVF was an option that catered to my diagnosis. Finally, there was hope we could try for a baby.
To understand Mini IVF, I signed up for a free webinar offered monthly by the Life IVF Center. To get the treatment I needed, I had to travel from Atlanta to LA, Orange County to a city called Irvine where the clinic is located. My husband and I joked that Orange County is where dreams come true and where women can have the world. I found the Miracle Baby Doctor, Frank Yelian. I remember looking at the baby wall at the reception with all the babies successfully conceived at his clinic and wondered if one day my baby could be on that wall. Could I have it all? Had I waited too long? Did my pursuit of a career and the American dream as an immigrant, take over my life? Something about that wall gave me strength and I was full of Hope.
When my husband and I consulted with him that day I was in tears. I told him amidst my fear and emotional pain, that in pursuit of my career and the American dream, I lost the dream of a child because I waited too long. It was as if I had finally accepted my fate and was desperate. Dr. Frank Yelian looked at me and said, “I will help you conceive a child and with your own eggs, let us try.” Right at that moment I was filled with hope, belief, and promise. I knew it was not a guarantee, but I was happy I could at least try. I returned home the next day and changed to his clinic.
And so the journey began. The data from the clinic showed that I would need multiple cycles of Mini IVF to see my chance through. I needed to be patient. With age-related infertility, the eggs retrieved if any, tend to not be viable, hence there is proven multiple cycle failure as one works to get to that golden egg. To increase my chances, we did embryo banking in an attempt to try to get multiple embryos that we could eventually test and then implant. After 12 Cycles of IVF and 3 transfer attempts, I conceived my own genetic child. Our miracle baby boy was born this May 2022 when I was 45 years old. He is the joy of our life!
IVF is a journey of faith and hope. It is not a guarantee, however, we try because of the dream of parenthood. Resilience, patience, advocacy, and education are critical in this journey and were the factors that we believe led to our success.