It’s Pride Month and we’re highlighting what it’s like to build a family as a same-sex couple. For some, the ideal scenario is you meet, fall in love, get married, pick a sperm donor, and have a baby. Ok, not every couple is out there picking a sperm donor, but if you’re a same-sex female couple, it’s a necessary step in the family–building process.
In today’s episode, we hear from Samantha and Jessica Pace, who’s journey had its own set of challenges. After 10 failed IUIs, they decided to move forward with IVF but weren’t sure how they’d be able to afford it. Fortunately, Jessica realized her employer offered the Progyny benefit and as soon as they were able to, they put their next plan into motion. But as they moved forward with IVF, COVID-19 came into the picture and complicated things even further. The Paces discuss the ups and downs of pre-motherhood, why they documented their journey on YouTube, and where they are today.
Guests: Samantha and Jessica Pace, Progyny Members
Host: Dan Bulger
You can follow along with Samantha and Jessica’s pregnancy journey via their YouTube channel, “Call Us The Paces”.
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Starting with IUI
2:41 – 6:14
Dan Bulger: There are a few options for same-sex couples, one of which being intrauterine insemination (IUI) where a donor sperm is placed inside the uterus. This is relatively inexpensive and a simpler procedure, but the success rate can be pretty low. For the Paces in early 2017, this was the best path forward.
Jessica Pace: We knew we wanted to do IUI because it was the more affordable route and even though it was straightforward, the first round didn’t work. We knew there was a chance of that, so we tried not to get too negative, and vowed to keep going.
Dan Bulger: So, they tried again. And again. And after three failed rounds of IUI, the Paces took a mental and financial breather.
Documenting Their Journey
Dan Bulger: The Paces were recording their experiences from the beginning of their journey with the intention of publishing them all on YouTube once they got a positive result.
Jessica Pace: After it wasn’t working, we thought, well we have all these videos, like what are we going to do with them?
Dan Bulger: In February of 2018, they decided to start releasing the videos and they found the response empowering.
Progyny Opens the Door for IVF
9:56 – 10:35
Jessica Pace: Thankfully, by the time we were ready for IVF, I had been working for the employer that I am currently with now, and I learned about the Progyny benefit.
Dan Bulger: Jessica’s employer offers Progyny coverage to their employees. Progyny coverage doesn’t require people to undergo any rounds of IUI before trying IVF. And Progyny coverage is available to all employees. Regardless of their relationship status – single, married, straight LGBTQ. So as soon as Jessica’s coverage kicked in, there was nothing preventing them from pursuing IVF.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. 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.
Jessica and Samantha Pace met in 2009 while in college playing basketball for UT Martin. They always remained friends, but grew into more during their senior year of college. Once they were together, they knew they’d never have to search for love anywhere else.
They’ve now been married for over three years, and have been trying to conceive since January of 2017. After diving head first into 10 cycles of IUI between the two of them, they were introduced to Progyny by their employer. Progyny gave them hope throughout their journey, and they continue to share their journey with those out there still searching for that same will to keep going.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: As I Was Saying
Track: And So Then