Infertility impacts one in seven couples in the United States. That includes Marissa Turner. She has waited a decade to become a mom.
“We started trying to get pregnant when I was 28. We’d been married five or six years,” she said. “We thought we’re ready for kids, and it doesn’t come, it doesn’t happen,” she said.
Turner and her husband were shocked. Doctors explained the issue. “The combination of the endometriosis and the scar tissue from my ruptured appendix,” she said. The couple then turned to in vitro fertilization. “We never thought we would even do IVF, but we wanted children and that was the way we thought we needed to do it. So, we did everything we could.”
She endured several rounds of IVF, traveling to Nashville and Birmingham for appointments. “It’s such a stressful time and then you add in all those hormones,” Turner said. “And then, after the third round, our doctors in Birmingham didn’t think it was going to work. So we started talking about different options.”
For comfort, the couple expanded their fur family, adopting two dogs. Turner also turned to close friends. “I was fortunate. I had two good friends,” Turner said. “One went through IVF successfully. She would call me after every doctor’s appointment and ask how it went.” Turner also avoided baby showers to protect herself.
“I just couldn’t do it,” she said. “I’ll still buy you a baby gift, but no, I just couldn’t do it anymore. Most of my friends understood.” Turner didn’t log into social media on holidays, especially Mother’s Day. “Even though it’s dark times, you have to find the positive, and you have to set parameters, and you have to know your limits,” she said.
Turner’s struggle even led to a career change. “When the last round of IVF didn't work, it seemed this was an opportunity for me to change careers and go to P.A. [physician assistant] school,” she said. Oddly enough, Turner was led to gynecological care. “I’m happy to take care of women who are pregnant,” she said. “And for me, that might have been my final stage of healing.”
Turner has not given up on being a mom. “We still very much want to have a family, so we started the adoption process.” Turner and her husband chose a company called American Adoptions. “We have good friends that have used that company and adopted successfully twice.”
They created a video about themselves for potential birth parents to watch. “We became ‘live’ or what’s called ‘active’ in September 2015,” Turner explained. “And that just means birth mothers can see our profile and potentially choose us.”
The company also works with adoptive parents to find the perfect match for the baby. “We can literally get a baby from anywhere in the U.S. You set up if you want [a] boy or girl,” Tanner explained. “You set up what age you are willing to take, if you’re willing to take multiples.” Like IVF, adoption is expensive. “Probably anywhere between $30,000 to $60,000,” Turner said.
It’s a price she is willing to pay for motherhood. For now, Turner is holding out hope. “Cautiously optimistic is what I like to call it,” she said.
Infertility resources online:
Infertility treatment quiz: https://www.sartcorsonline.com/Predictor/Patient
Infertility etiquette: http://www.resolve.org/support/for-family--friends/infertility-etiquette.html
Infertility causes, treatment, etc.: http://reproductivefacts.org/
Causes of female infertility: http://www.nashvillefertility.com/infertility-causes/causes-of-female-infertility/
Causes of male infertility: http://www.nashvillefertility.com/infertility-causes/causes-male-infertility/
National Embryo Donation Center: https://www.embryodonation.org/