Jo­hanna Kohnen

Ex­pe­ri­ences with ICSI: In­ter­view with Me­lanie & Mark 

The in­ter­view was con­ducted by Jo­hanna Kohnen

A child­hood love that even­tually be­came a re­la­ti­onship after years of friendship: That was the love-story of Me­lanie (33) and Mark (34). From the be­gin­ning, children were a great de­sire of their he­arts. However, they both wanted to focus on school, trai­ning, stu­dies and jobs first.

When they pro­posed, they also made the joint de­cision that Me­lanie would stop ta­king birth con­trol pills in order to fi­nally tackle the dream of ha­ving her own child. Un­for­tu­n­a­tely, as with many other cou­ples, it didn’t go as ea­sily as they had ori­gi­nally hoped for. Five years passed until Me­lanie be­came pregnant for the first time in their last ICSI at­tempt.

Me­lanie kindly agreed to share her per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences on her way to a ful­filled wish for a child with others who may also wish for children.

When and why did you have the idea to go to a fer­ti­lity clinic?

“After en­ding birth con­trol, it quickly be­came clear that so­me­thing was wrong with me. I only got my pe­riod once after the ab­or­tion. After a long time wai­ting, not­hing hap­pened for months. Un­for­tu­n­a­tely, my gynae­co­lo­gist at that time didn’t take my worries as se­riously as I would have liked. He tried to re­as­sure me that it could take some time after ta­king the pill for the na­tural cycle to settle down again. There were no ab­nor­ma­li­ties on the ul­tra­sound either. But my gut fee­ling told me that so­me­thing was wrong.

I de­cided to change my doctor to get ano­ther opi­nion. The new doctor, much to my de­light, dealt with my con­cerns more in­ten­si­vely and quickly dia­gnosed me with PCO syn­drome. At the same time, my hus­band was sent to a uro­lo­gist, where we also re­ceived sobe­ring re­sults: The re­sults of the sper­mio­gram were not good: OAT3 (Oligo-Astheno-Te­ra­to­zoo­spermia Syn­drome with se­ve­rity grade 3) and thus very poor to no chances of get­ting pregnant na­tu­rally. So we de­cided to go to a fer­ti­lity clinic.”

What was your dia­gnosis and what tre­at­ments were car­ried out?

“My hus­band was dia­gnosed with OAT3. In my case, in ad­di­tion to PCO syn­drome (which is ac­com­pa­nied by an in­cre­ased number of male hor­mones), I was also found to be mis­sing some KIR genes. My im­mune system is so highly de­ve­loped that it de­fends itself against any for­eign body, in­clu­ding an em­bryo with for­eign cells (from my hus­band) and re­jects it. In ad­di­tion to the ICSI’s that had al­ready taken place 2 times plus 4 cryo at­tempts, we were ad­vised to take fur­ther me­di­ca­tion in ad­vance of the third and last at­tempt. Not only did I take me­di­ca­tion for sti­mu­la­tion, but also cor­ti­sone, Ome­gaVen in­fu­sions and Gra­no­cyte.”

How did you or­ga­nize the whole thing fi­nan­cially? Did the he­alth insurance cover part of it, did you save or take out a loan?

“Our he­alth insurance co­vered 50% of the pure ICSI costs. However, we had to pay for the ad­di­tional me­di­ca­tions, such as Ome­gaVen and Gra­no­cyte com­ple­tely by our­selves. To be able to af­ford it, we had to spend some of our sa­vings.”

The topic of wan­ting children is not yet as pre­sent for some cou­ples as it is for others. With the op­ti­mistic wish of ha­ving children tog­e­ther, un­for­tu­n­a­tely the disap­point­ment when a pregnancy does not happen na­tu­rally will happen right away. De­s­pite in­cre­ased psy­cho­lo­gical stress, great pres­sure, anger and disap­point­ment, it is im­portant to stick tog­e­ther as a couple and sup­port each other. In this dif­fi­cult si­tua­tion, it can help to in­clude your partner in your emo­tional world through open com­mu­ni­ca­tion and to allow help.

Did you in­volve your so­cial en­vi­ron­ment (friends, fa­mily) and what role did they play du­ring the pro­cess? To what extent were you able and wil­ling to be open about the issue?

“At first we didn’t tell an­yone about our tre­at­ment. For one thing, it was simply un­com­for­table for us. Who likes to admit that he/she is not able to con­ceive a child na­tu­rally? Mo­reover, the topic of wan­ting a child is still a taboo sub­ject, yes. And alt­hough it is wrong to think this way, we also did not let an­yone in on the si­tua­tion at first. We didn’t feel we could tell an­yone — which, in re­tro­spect, is just as naive as thin­king ever­ything would work out right away.

But as the years go by and things don’t pro­gress, you can’t avoid the ty­pical ques­tion, “When is the first baby co­ming?” You get igno­rantly “trig­gered” by others, get un­wanted ad­vice that de­fi­ni­tely doesn’t help and end up in a spiral that you can’t ea­sily get out of. “Ex­cuses”, smi­ling and wa­ving… all this not only gets to you, but it is also an­noying. So at some point we ex­p­lained to the close fa­mily. But we re­ceived ra­ther less sup­port — neither fi­nan­cially nor emo­tio­nally. You could tell that this topic was an un­plea­sant one for the fa­mily.”

What gave you strength?

“Yoga and sports helped me espe­cially du­ring the last at­tempt. Dis­trac­tion is the be-all and end-all, but un­for­tu­n­a­tely also ex­tre­mely dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment. You should take en­ough time for yourself, but at the same time don’t leave out the mo­ments as a couple.”

What 3 things would you tell other cou­ples who want to have children?

1) Be pa­tient!
It can be a long road with dif­fe­rent chal­lenges and new paths to follow.

2) Ques­tions, ques­tions and more ques­tions!
Just ques­tion ever­ything with your doc­tors. Ask them ques­tions, no matter how “stupid” they may seem. Sug­gest tre­at­ment op­tions and get opi­nions from dif­fe­rent doc­tors. So­me­times you should also in­sist on tests, tre­at­ments or si­milar things.

3) Never give up hope. Your mi­racle is also awai­ting for you!

Would you go down this road again, for ex­ample for a sib­ling?

“Since we now know what the pro­blem was and we now hope that it won’t take as long as it did with our first child, we are cur­r­ently on the way to child 2.0. We have just had a cryo­test, which was also po­si­tive at first, but un­for­tu­n­a­tely ended in a mis­car­riage.”

About Fer­tilly

At Fer­tilly, we have made it our mis­sion to ac­com­pany cou­ples (ho­mo­se­xual and he­te­ro­se­xual) and sin­gles on the way to ful­fil­ling their child wish. In doing so, it is im­portant to us to create trans­pa­rency in the area of fer­ti­lity ser­vices, to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and know­ledge on the to­pics of pregnancy and fer­ti­lity and to help you to find the most sui­table Fer­ti­lity Center. Through coope­ra­tion with first-class Fer­ti­lity Cen­tres and cli­nics in Eu­rope, en­qui­ries about Fer­tilly are given pre­fe­ren­tial tre­at­ment. This means that our pa­ti­ents avoid the usually long wai­ting times and get ap­point­ments more quickly.

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion about Fer­ti­lity Cen­ters, suc­cess rates and prices, please con­tact us using this ques­ti­onn­aire. We will ad­vise you free of charge and wi­thout any ob­li­ga­tion.

  • An­swer the first ques­tions in the on­line form in order to book an ap­point­ment. This way we can better ad­dress your needs du­ring the con­ver­sa­tion.

  • We will find the best con­tact person for your in­di­vi­dual needs. Sche­dule 20 mi­nutes for the con­sul­ta­tion.

  • We will in­tro­duce you to the right fer­ti­lity clinic from our net­work, make an ap­point­ment and ac­com­pany you until your wish for a child is ful­filled.

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