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There was a time when I thought I would never want children. Now, I can’t imagine a life without the two beautiful boys I had in my 40′s.
When I was younger, I didn’t expect to need help conceiving. I started trying at 28, but after a year nothing had happened. My husband and I went for all of the necessary testing and I was finally diagnosed as having “unexplained infertility”.
Getting pregnant was a “crap shoot”
Our fertility specialist, who was an OB, suggested Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Since we didn’t know the cause of our infertility, we figured it was a crap-shoot as to what would finally bring us a baby!
While our first IUI was a success, it turned out to be a blighted ovum—a fertilized egg that implants but never turns into a baby. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe the feeling I felt when I received the news!
We tried again…and again…and again. We must have blown through eight or nine more IUIs before I realized that I was turning 31 soon. At this point the OB suggested we go for an IVF consultation with a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
The doctor told me my eggs were shot
After the consult, we decided we would proceed with an IVF. We were, like most newbie IVF’ers, positive it would work the first time! Well, it didn’t. The second attempt was a bust as well. This is when the doctor unceremoniously told me that my eggs were shot, and that I had to use donor eggs.
I just couldn’t fathom not using my own eggs, not seeing some part of me, or my family, in this wee little face. We decided to go to another RE, and two IVFs later I received the same news at the age of 33, though this time it was with a bit more compassion.
Suddenly I was labeled “Advanced Maternal Age”
That’s when I made some life changes. I took a few months off from cycling just to wrap my head around everything that had transpired.
I rearranged my life, got a new job in a different field, and tried a few more IUIs just in case there happened to be that one stray good egg in there! But I was about to turn 36 years old—and labeled as “advanced maternal age” (AMA).
To give birth to another child, I would have to accept and embrace the changes my body had gone through, and decide the best and most acceptable course of action. I was now filled with a new and exciting sense of hope!
Our egg donor even looked like me
We began our search online, and met with several donor agency coordinators. It was a difficult search, and finally we came upon a wonderful woman who seemed to fulfill everything we were looking for in a donor. She even looked a bit like me and had a similar background!
After the legalities, we started a cycle. She and I both followed every instruction from the clinic, and 3 months later, the phone rang, I nearly fell off my chair! It was the doctor with some wonderful news…I was pregnant!
I think I held my breath the entire nine months until my little baby came out healthy and beautiful! And I was 3 months into my 41st year!
We wanted a sibling, but needed a new donor
But it wasn’t over yet. Three years later we decided to try for a sibling. We had a few frozen embryos left from the last cycle, and two had survived the thaw, so we had them transferred. Unfortunately they did not implant.
Worse, our first donor was now unavailable. It took a couple of years, and two more donors who failed the criteria, before we found the perfect donor who had passed all of her screening tests. With greatest fortune we conceived our second child when I was 49. He was born just 3 months shy of my 50th birthday!
Being “AMA” made me a better mom
It’s funny, but despite a fertility journey lasting more than two decades, I can’t imagine anything I would do differently! It took all of those experiences to become the mom that I am today!
I am so filled with love for my beautiful family—calm, collected, and fulfilled. For me, being “AMA” is just what I needed!
Notes for this blog:
Karen Zakarian was a full-time Mammographer in California for 11 years until 2011, when she decided to become a full-time SAHM.
She’s a member and supporter of AChildAfter40.com (http://www NULL.achildafter40 NULL.com). Click here for joining info on our online forums or local groups.
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
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