Laura and Dylan

I was diagnosed with infertility at the age of 14. Or at least that's how it felt. After a year of endless appointments, and dozens of tests later I had my first surgery. I was told I had two uteruses, and something called endometriosis that destroyed my right fallopian tube. I was at an age where I had never even heard of endometriosis, but I quickly understood that this news would change my life forever. My gynecologist told me that it might be more difficult for me to conceive, or that I might be at a higher risk of miscarriage. I grew to feel ashamed of my body. I felt like a failure. I lived in fear that I might never be able to conceive or deliver a child of my own. It was immediately devastating when I was told at 28 that my tube was blocked and my only hope for conception was IVF. My next feeling was relief. At least I finally knew for sure. At least I could finally move forward with a plan of action.

My husband Dylan and I spent thousands of dollars on tests and surgeries to find out from our reproductive endocrinologist that my tube wasn't actually blocked, and that I had a uterine septum instead of a uterine didelphys. My septum has since been removed and I now have one healthy, (basically) normal uterus. We also found out that my husband's morphology count is very low. It became even more clear that what we really needed was IVF (even with 1 healthy tube). We still tried hormone pills and IUI, but nothing worked.

In June of 2021 we were awarded a grant through the Hope for Fertility Foundation. I'm a teacher and Dylan had just graduated from a 4 year graduate program. What little extra money we had was already going to fertility costs and it just wasn't enough to cover IVF. It felt like an absolute miracle after applying to dozens of grants, and never receiving one. In July of 2021 we did our egg retrieval! After PGT testing we ended up with 5 healthy embryos! I began daily fertility yoga and weekly acupuncture, but our first two embryo transfers over the next few months were not successful. We were devastated and confused. In November 2021 I had an ERA performed, as well as biopsies to test for endometriosis and endometritis. All results came back as normal. I felt even more frustrated. Given my history, I still underwent 60 days of endometriosis treatment and 14 days of endometritis treatment that went straight into one final embryo transfer in January 2022. We had finally run out of all the money we had raised and been awarded, and put all our hopes into this one last transfer. My RE also put me on an immune regimen that included HCG boosters, an intralipid infusion, and Lovenox shots. I felt like I had done absolutely everything in my power, and I hoped it would be enough. On January 28, 2022 we found out that I was pregnant. My first positive pregnancy test ever. After a difficult pregnancy filled with constant nausea, anemia, carpal tunnel, and preeclampsia, our Penelope June Masterson Taylor was born on September 17th, 2022 at 37 weeks via c-section. She was 6 lb 8 oz, 20 in long, and fully the result of the miracles of modern medicine. We are so in love and still can't believe that we're lucky enough to be her parents.

The journey to get to this point has been an absolute rollercoaster. It's traumatic, devastating, and totally unfair. I'm grateful that we never gave up, even though there were dozens of times where we wondered if we should. We would not be where we are today without the generosity of donors through our Hope for Fertility grant, and friends, and family. The only thing that has made the road easier is knowing how loved and supported we are by those around us. We're grateful to share our story, and hope that one day fertility treatments will be affordable and available to everyone.