After I did my first #kcmctakeovertuesday, I was asked so many questions about our journey to becoming parents and starting a family as a same-sex couple. I wanted to share our story for those who didn’t feel like they could ask, those who are simply curious, and those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community to hopefully help with questions they might have.
How it all started
Kylie and I met in 2014. We dated for nine months before Kylie asked me to marry her. We picked out rings together, but she wanted to be in charge of the actual proposal. I just told her not to take forever. We knew pretty earlier on that we were going to get married and that kids were definitely something we both wanted. We had no idea when they would happen or how.
We got married on October 9, 2015 in Parkville, Missouri. Our wedding was extra special because in June 2015, the Supreme Court officially made the decision that same-sex couples could legally get married. Originally, we were planning on having a ceremony and reception in Missouri and then traveling to Illinois to make it legal. We were in tears the day we woke up and realized that in a few short months we could legally marry in our hometown with our family and friends watching.
Our journey begins
Fast forward a few months and we were both ready to start our family. While we knew it was going to cost quite a bit and that it might take a little longer than most couples, we had no idea the road ahead of us.
We asked around and researched so many different fertility clinics in the area. We wanted a clinic that had proven success, but also somewhere that we knew was going to treat us like any other couple. After a few weeks, we decided to make a call to Midwest Reproductive Center (MRC) in Olathe, Kansas. We knew heterosexual friends who had success with this clinic as well as a same sex couple, so we scheduled our first office visit and figure out what all this baby-making business was about.
We walked out of that first visit after paying $350 to sit in an office for 30 minutes for a fertility nurse practitioner to show us a video and explain the first steps in creating our family, which was to find a sperm bank (they gave us a few suggestions) and to call them when my next period started since I would be carrying our child — more on that in a bit. It was recommended that we start with IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination). The price for that specific procedure was about $4,000. Again, we knew it was going to cost, but we had no idea how much.
As far as who was going to carry our children, for us, it was a pretty quick decision.
Kylie had always envisioned her life with kids, but she always had adoption in her mind. She never saw herself physically carrying the child. As for me, I wanted to be pregnant, couldn’t wait to wear maternity clothes, and now having had one child, I would be pregnant again and again. Kylie did say that she wasn’t going to make the final decision on NOT carrying any of our children until after Oliver was here. I don’t think it had been an hour after he was born and she confirmed that I could go ahead and plan on carrying all of our future kids.
Starting a family
We went home and started online dating for sperm. Really, that’s exactly what it was. We chose hair color, eye color, height, education, athletic ability, family history, etc. We were able to pay more, of course, for more and more information. Though we went with the basics, at checkout, the bill was $3,200.
Again, we knew it was going to be costly. Before this we had gone to our bank and opened a credit card for this specific reason. We purchased the sperm and had it sent to MRC and waited for that next period to start.
We hadn’t told any family that we were starting the process because we wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible. In February of 2016, we went in for a first check after my period came. It was a visit every two to three days type of thing. We went, they checked, they decided if more medication was needed or if we were good to go. Once we got the go ahead, I went in for a trigger shot to release the egg, and the next day was insemination day.
We did this four times… with a negative a pregnancy test every time. I know this isn’t uncommon, but no matter what you are never prepared to spend that much money, invest that much hope, and get no results. So, we had some decisions to make. We could order more sperm and try IUI again or we could look into IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) We decided that even though IVF was even more expensive, that it would be most cost effective because the odds were higher and we could potentially create our family all in one procedure.
A slight detour
We made yet another $350 office visit to go over the procedure and cost for IVF. Leaving that visit, I remember crying because we had already spent $7,550, plus gas and time off work, on four rounds of IUI and had nothing to show for it. How were we EVER going to save up $16,000 more dollars for IVF?! Not to mention that we had charged the first rounds, so we were going to be paying that back for a while.
We took a few months off, got back to normal activities, went on vacation with my in-laws, and decided not to think about starting a family for a while because ultimately we needed a good chunk of money and it doesn’t grow on trees.
Unfortunately, my wife’s grandmother passed around during all of this. After her death, we were graciously given some money by my in-laws. During dinner when my in-laws gave us this gift of Grandma Max’s passing, we cried. Kylie and I knew immediately what we were going to spend that money on.
What we’d been waiting for
Next period started, and we called MRC up to tell them we were ready to go! September 2016, we started our round of meds and checks and got the go ahead for retrieval in October. We retrieved 18 eggs and 15 matured, which is an amazing number.
As easy as it may sound, this was not a simple process. We had to wait a little longer because I had a polyp on my uterus that needed to come out, so we did that in November and on December 22, 2016, we went in for our embryo transfer!
We transferred two grade AA embryos and Oliver started to grow. We found out on January 1, 2017 and told our families about seven weeks along because we couldn’t hold it in any longer. August 15, 2017 our little-embryo-that-could was born and made all the money, driving, doctors appointments, and waiting 100% worth it.
Oliver is now three, and we are wanting to grow our family. We have thirteen frozen embryos ready to go, but again, money. The next round will be about $5,000 with an additional $5,000 for my wife to adopt her own children. I won’t even go into that right now!
If you are going through infertility or know you will need to use a fertility clinic due to your family’s circumstances, don’t be afraid to reach out to me! I would love to talk, answer any questions that I can, or just be there to support you on your journey.
Featured image photo by Freeland Photography