Tiny Addison is only 12 weeks old, but it’s clear that she is the center of life in this Georgia household. The tiny red-haired infant looks just like her mother, Melissa, but has the red hair of her grandmother.
For Melissa and her partner, Melanie, adjusting to life with a little one has been a joy.
“It’s been a little hectic and crazy,” Melissa says with a laugh, “but it’s been completely worth it. Just seeing how quickly she is growing and changing has been so awesome.”
It took a four-year journey through fertility treatment to reach this point. The pair had been together more than a decade when Melissa decided that she wanted to become a mother.
“It had always been in the back of my mind,” she says. “When I turned 30, I really started to think about it.”
Melanie gave her whole-hearted support. “There is no greater joy than having your own child,” says Melanie, who has a grown son. “I think everyone who wants to experience parenthood should have the opportunity to do so.”
The two set about finding a doctor who could help them achieve their dream. They found Dr. Edouard Servy at the Servy Massey Fertility Institute.
“Dr. Servy came highly recommended,” Melissa says. “He suggested a reputable sperm bank, and then we started looking for the right donor.”
The process, Melissa says, was a little bit like looking through a catalog. “They listed everything from hair color to the educational background of each donor.”
Most importantly, the sperm bank provided the detailed medical history of each donor, along with the medical history of his parents and grandparents.
The sperm bank also offered something called an “ID Option.” The donor could select whether or not the child could contact him when he or she turned 18. The donor that Melissa and Melanie chose selected “yes” to this option.
“This gives Addi the right when she turns 18 to find out who her father is,” Melanie says. “That was important to us.”
After the sperm donor was selected, Melissa had an IUI (intrauterine insemination), a process that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus to facilitate fertilization. Then she waited to see if she was pregnant.
Unfortunately, the IUI didn’t work. Disappointed, Melissa underwent a second IUI. Once again, she found out that she was not pregnant.
At this point, it was hard not to be discouraged. But Melissa was determined to keep trying.
Since IUI was not working, Dr. Servy suggested Melissa pursue IVF. In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When the IVF procedure is successful, the embryo is transferred to the uterus.
It is not a simple process, nor is it inexpensive, but IVF is very effective. Melissa decided to try it.
Fertility medications were prescribed to Melissa to control the timing of the egg ripening and to increase the chance of collecting multiple eggs during her cycle.
Finally, her eggs were retrieved, mixed with the donor sperm in the lab, and the resulting embryo transferred to Melissa’s womb. She waited with high hopes.
Sadly, those hopes were dashed. After the IVF attempt failed, Melissa returned to Dr. Servy, who did further examination. He found that Melissa had endometriosis. Relieved to have a diagnosis, Melissa had a procedure to remove it, and then took some time off to recover physically and emotionally.
“It was heartbreaking to see Melissa so disappointed,” Melanie recalls. “We had thought it would be so easy for her to get pregnant because she was so young, but it was more involved than that.”
But after some time away from the process, Melissa decided to give IVF one more try. She approached the process with a positive attitude.
This time, she got the news she had been longing to hear. After four long years of fertility treatment, Melissa was finally pregnant!
Little Addison eventually arrived, much anticipated and much loved.
“Yes, there were times when I thought about giving up,” Melissa says. “I got so many no’s before we got that one yes. But we just kept trying.”
She has some advice for those considering IVF or other fertility treatment. “Do your research and find the best doctor,” she says. “Dr. Servy and his staff became like family to us.”
Timing is also important. “Be careful not to start fertility treatment when you have other stressors at the same time,” she advises. “Going through fertility treatment is stressful enough.”
All those years of trying fade away, though, at the sight of little Addison. When Melissa holds her daughter in her arms, she knows it was all worthwhile.
For more info, see www.ivfga.com