Episode 134: LGBTQ+ Family Building: Two Moms Squad
June is Pride Month and with all the different paths to parenthood available for LGBTQ+ couples and individuals, it’s a great time to elevate these voices within the community.
In today’s episode, we meet Heather and Jess Camarillo, a same-sex couple from California who struggled to start their family and documented the process on their Instagram.
While the couple wasn’t surprised they needed to go through fertility treatment, a diagnosis of diminished ovarian reserve left them in shock. Hear how Heather and Jessica navigated multiple rounds of IVF, embryo adoption, and the impact of having Progyny through Heather’s employer, LinkedIn. The Camarillo’s are currently writing a book about their journey to parenthood and trying for baby number two.
Guest: Heather & Jess Camarillo, Progyny members
Host: Crystal Cid, Progyny
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
4:23 – 7:01
Heather Camarillo: I always wanted kids. I’m an only child and don’t come from a very big family, so I always wanted kids and a really big family ever since I was a child.
Jessica Camarillo: I can’t say I thought about it much as a child. But later in life, I always saw myself with children and after getting married, I’ve always thought about it.
Heather Camarillo: We always knew we needed some type of fertility treatment, being two women trying to have a baby. It was never a shock to us that we had to do something like IVF. The shock, however, was how hard it would be. My OBGYN took my fertility markers and we found out they were low, so we went to a fertility doctor. She went into more details, diagnosed me with diminished ovarian reserve, and like I said, we always knew we would have to do IUI or IVF, but now we learned that I also had an actual fertility problem.
Coverage Through Progyny
9:21 – 10:51
Crystal Cid: Heather works for LinkedIn, and LinkedIn offers fertility coverage to their employees through Progyny.
Heather Camarillo: It was so smooth. Our PCA talked directly to our fertility clinic and set everything up, got everything authorized, while we kind of sat back and let it happen. All of it was covered for us and we didn’t have to worry about an of that. It was already such a stressful time so having that was amazing. With Progyny, it took so much stress off.
15:31 – 19:59
Jessica Camarillo: I was in the same headspace as Heather when the IVF didn’t work, but was trying to stay hopeful and started thinking about a different way of starting a family. At that point, we started talking about possibly using donor eggs and taking things from here.
Heather Camarillo: Someone on Instagram told us about a Facebook group that specialized in LGBTQ+ embryo adoption and I joined. We met a couple from Spain who had an extra embryo and started talking on Facebook. We had a Skype call, and it went really well, but we hung up afterwards with no decision being made. Then, they called us back, not even a minute later, and said, “we want to give you our embryos”. We just started crying!
As a Patient Care Advocate, Crystal works directly with members by providing guidance and support and assisting with client specific questions around their Progyny coverage. She studied Psychology at St. John’s University, where she happily discovered genetic testing/counseling as one of her passions. Her background includes working as a patient liaison at a fertility clinic in NYC as well as a certified patient navigator for a non-profit. Crystal is from Union City, NJ.
Heather and Jessica have been together for 12 years and married for five. They live in Camarillo, CA with their one-year-old son, Bowie. They started their IVF journey in 2018 and because of Progyny they were able to explore different paths to parenthood which ultimately led them to embryo adoption. They’re now hoping for baby number two!