Episode 158: The Long Road to Building a Family
Seven years ago, Michelle Meyer and her husband, Alex, had no idea what was in store for them and their dreams of starting a family. Those years were filled with multiple diagnoses (from male factor infertility, Hashimoto thyroiditis, and endometriosis), fertility treatments (IUI, medicated cycles, and IVF), and a mix of emotions from failed transfers and miscarriages.
In this episode, Michelle shares the journey they’ve been on, the impact of Wayfair’s family building benefit through Progyny, and how she feels optimistic on what lies ahead.
Guest: Michelle Meyer, Senior Recruiter at Wayfair, and Progyny Member
Host: Dan Bulger, Progyny
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility. Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some highlights from this episode:
The High Expense of Fertility Treatments
5:16 – 7:05
Michelle Meyer: Even before going into a fertility clinic, my husband and I were having these conversations on what we would do if we had to do IVF. I don’t think we could afford it. I mean, we didn’t have that big of a savings. So that’s always a difficult conversation to have. But both of us want kids so bad. So, when it came down to that being the next step, we had to figure out how to make it happen. Neither myself nor my husband had infertility coverage through our work. And so, after we had the conversation with our doctor on what the costs look like, we dipped into our savings. So that covered our first initial egg retrieval round. And then we had to take out a personal loan, which we’re still paying off. And then I mean, throughout the whole process, we maxed out two credit cards. And then before our fourth egg retrieval, which was at the end of 2021, we were completely out of funds. And my sister actually started a GoFundMe for us. And that allowed us to have our fourth egg retrievals. And then, at that point, we were $75K to $85k out of pocket, obviously, still paying off all of the debt we had around it.
Dan Bulger: I wish I could say that it’s wildly unusual to spend so much out of pocket for fertility treatment. But sadly, this is a story I’ve heard before.
A New Diagnosis
24:49 – 25:51
Dan Bulger: At this point, they needed a break. Who wouldn’t? They had done five retrieval rounds and five transfers. I think it’s important to know that they took this break, as it’s important to know that it’s okay to take a break. Mental and physical health are extremely important. Earlier on, they had a receptivity test. And Michelle thought it was to test for endometriosis with the previous clinic. But this doctor wasn’t able to find those test results.
Michelle Meyer: I went back through my files, and I couldn’t find them. And I went back to my old doctor and clinic, where I found out I had actually not been tested for endometriosis – I had been tested for something else completely.
Dan Bulger: I can’t imagine how frustrating that was. But it did lead to a new test. She did this test again with her new doctor, this time searching for endometriosis. And while these tests aren’t perfect, it came back as positive for endometriosis. With a new diagnosis in hand, they moved ahead again with a different protocol.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the past ten plus years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he has interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility and the producer behind the Progyny YouTube Channel which features interviews with dozens of the nation’s leading fertility specialists. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Michelle and her husband have been trying to start a family for the past seven years and have had infertility treatments for five of them. They started fertility treatments because they thought it was due to male factor infertility, however they were then diagnosed with unexplained infertility after their second egg retrieval. Over the last five years, they have endured four IUIs, six egg retrievals, six transfers, two miscarriages, and a sedated hysteroscopy to remove a polyp. Through this, Michelle was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, a MTHFR gene mutation, and may have endometriosis. She had a positive Receptiva test in late 2022 that may have been the key to her unexplained infertility and treated it with 2 months of Lupron Depot. Their 6th transfer in Jan 2023 stuck and they are almost 20 weeks pregnant (and hoping it stays that way).
The Meyers have been through a lot but they’re not ready to give up and have their own child. They have found ways to make this journey financially possible and they’re thankful to have Progyny benefits through Michelle’s employer. The Meyers reside in Los Angeles, CA. They love spending time with their family, friends, their pup, being outdoors and traveling. Michelle loves capturing memories on her camera and volunteering.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Breath Before the Plunge
Track: End of All Things
Artist: Doctor Turtle
Track: Wherever I Lay My Hat That’s My Wife
Track: Family Tree
Track: No-End Ave
Artist: Josh Woodward
Track: Under the Stairs
Artist: Kai Engel
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Small Steps
Track: Sad Marimba