Martha Keyes: I got pregnant thanks to IVF. Here’s my story

When we receive success stories from our clients it warms our hearts knowing that people who really want to become pregnant get exactly that. Our jobs feel worthwhile. This success story from Martha is a taste of an American couple’s experience with IVF treatment at the Prague Fertility Center, which ultimately led to them getting pregnant. We appreciate Martha and Brandon for sharing this with us, and wish them a lifetime of joyful parenting! We are happy to share the short version of Martha’s story with the readers of Fertilitypedia blog. For the original post by Martha click here.

Getting on a crossroad

After 28 months of trying to start our family, thousands of dollars, four failed IUIs, and developing ovarian cysts from our most recent IUI medication, my partner Brandon and I were at a crossroads. The doctor recommended that we do a couple more IUIs with injectables where I had to give myself injections to stimulate more follicles and eggs to grow. That meant a few thousand more dollars. And with each IUI, our chance of getting pregnant would be about 15%. We didn’t like those odds.

It was just a comment section under a local news article

We decided we would start saving our money for IVF, but knowing that one single cycle would run us anywhere from $12,000­$20,000 dollars, we were looking at a long road of saving, with no guarantees of pregnancy. I came across the option of IVF in Prague in an unexpected way ­ reading the comments in a local news article about infertility. I’m so grateful I read the comments section that day! That same week, I had lunch with a friend who is also experiencing infertility. She lives in Europe and mentioned how much cheaper IVF and other fertility treatments are there. I wanted to know how legitimate these clinics were, how much it would cost, and how much time we’d have to spend in the country.

Three for one

It turned out we could do three cycles in Prague for less than the cost of one cycle in Utah. Two weeks later and I was emailing with Eva in Prague. She explained the protocol and asked us when we were thinking of starting. That got the cogs turning in my head. Brandon had mentioned to me that he felt we should be devoting all of our resources to starting our family rather than some of our other financial goals. I joked, “You know, we could be really crazy and do it this next cycle.”

Twenty small miracles

Next, I was looking at flights and calendars. We were suddenly looking at leaving in 10­12 days. It was happening. This required twenty small miracles. I lost loads of sleep stressing out over all the little things that had to fall into place, or else, I imagined, it would all fall apart. One by one, things did fall into place, including my general health check­up. I had to show Prague Fertility Center (PFC) that I was in good enough health to undergo IVF. We arrived on Wednesday. The next morning we headed to the clinic, just east of the city center. I had no clue what to expect. It was really nice and modern inside, an interesting combination of sterile and in­style.

When we met Eva and Martina

We got to meet Eva very soon after our arrival. She is the nicest! We really came to love Eva. She helped us understand the process of IVF, the timeline, and then she took us to meet Dr. Martina, who is awesome! I love her and am so happy that we were able to work with her. I hadn’t felt enthusiastic about my doctors in the U.S. Dr. Martina and Eva were all the things I needed, especially coming to a foreign country for such an important procedure. We found out that 85% of the patients at PFC are international patients, coming from anywhere and everywhere in the world. I had an ultrasound, and Dr. Martina explained everything to me about the lining of my uterus, my follicle sizes, my uterus shape. That is what I wanted in my doctors ­ to treat me like I’m smart enough to understand, and who realize that I want to understand.

After, we took advantage of the opportunity to explore the beautiful city. We both fell in love with Prague!

That wonderful news

At Saturday morning’s appointment, Dr. Martina said she felt confident that IVF would work for me, even though I don’t have as many eggs as I should at my age. She thought that the two cycle plan we purchased would work for us. After the procedure I took it easy, hanging out in my hotel room, watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and eating. Pastries are a weakness for me, which means Europe is a big, fat weakness for me! The next morning Eva let me know that all four eggs had fertilized! Yay! That was wonderful news! I went and talked with the embryologist right away. She was a very nice Czech woman with very good English. All four embryos had developed normally and were perfect, she said. We picked one at random. They used an ultrasound to guide the transfer. Dr. Martina was, as ever, bright, smiling, and informative. She said my uterus looked great and that everything had gone smoothly. Then she used the ultrasound to show me exactly where my embryo was ­ and took a picture for me 🙂

When things don’t go according to the plan

In my opinion, the wait for results the hardest part of IVF. The day I went in for blood work to check my hCG levels (the pregnancy hormone), I was a mess. I got the blood work done and found out a few hours later that my hCG level was less than 1 ­ a big, fat negative. The cycle had failed. That same morning, my brother and sister­in­law welcomed twin babies into the world. I cried a lot that day. But Brandon and I didn’t wallow long in our misery.

IVF adventure with a happy ending

The second trip to Prague was for a Frozen Embryo Transfer. The three remaining embryos from March had been frozen. Once again the embryologist spoke in glowing terms of our embryos and agreed with our decision to transfer two. The two embryos both survived the thawing perfectly. After the transfer I got another ultrasound to show me where they had been placed. I left the clinic and spent the next 5 days seeing Prague at a leisurely pace.

A week after my return we got our first positive pregnancy test! That’s a story for another day, though. I had a wonderful experience with Prague Fertility Centre, and I would recommend it to almost anyone up for an IVF adventure!

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