Success story 3

Fertility Seminars

Since our wedding in 2004, my wife and I had wanted children. But this wish didn’t come true for two years. We gradually realized that something must be wrong even though close acquaintances of ours told us that we just needed to “practice” a bit longer and that it was absolutely normal sometimes. Perhaps my wife just wasn’t ready yet or was under undue stress. Everything would work out during our next vacation, the same thing had happened to them. The only problem was that we didn’t have that much annual leave so we couldn’t go on vacation all the time and in any event, NOTHING happened.

So, we consulted various fertility clinics and underwent thorough physical examinations. I had to put up with having several spermiograms done. My wife underwent gynecological examinations, punctures and testing for patency of her tubes. The outcome: Everything was normal!

OK, so why didn’t things work out? Sometimes they just don’t. And sometimes, fertility clinics can give a helping hand.

And that’s how our story started. To begin with it was “harmless”, meaning we had to have sex on the ovulation dates, which sounds like fun to men. Rest assured: it is no fun at all! But there is just as little eroticism in it for women as well. The same procedure was called for once my wife had been treated with hormones which were supposed to make absolutely sure that eggs were available in the ovaries at ovulation. But without success! Why?  “Well, that’s the way life is, sometimes”.

The next step involved artificial insemination, which means helping Mother Nature a bit more. And again: No pregnancy! Why? “No idea!”

At this point, we began preparing for IVF treatment. The higher the pressure to succeed, the greater was the stress. Such fertility treatment isn’t inexpensive and if one spouse is covered by a private health insurance plan and the other by a statutory one, you also need to argue with the insurance companies. The first attempt at the fertility clinic appeared so sterile and impersonal that my wife discontinued the treatment. Is anyone surprised that the first round was unsuccessful?   

We needed a longer break. No more talk about kids and fertility clinics, we just needed to get back to our everyday, normal life again. And please let’s not drive ourselves completely nuts!!! 

When the time was ripe and a good friend of ours told us about another fertility clinic, we decided to try our luck once more. So the whole procedure started anew …

This time, we felt that we were in good hands.

And yet, still no success. Even after the third treatment with in vitro fertilization there was no implantation of the embryo. All treatment cycles covered by statutory health insurance had been used up. End of discussion. We’d be a family without children. Perhaps we could adopt a child? Those thoughts were on our minds. 

What remained was the question WHY were we infertile? That question had never been answered up to that point. During the final consultation after the third IVF treatment the attending physician mentioned that my wife had developed only very few eggs despite the high-dose hormones and that her reservoir of eggs was gradually running low. The point in time when this happens is different from one women to another and it was happening exceptionally early in my wife’s case. He used the expression “burnt out”, which definitely sounded nasty not only to my wife…   

“The only remaining option is an egg donation”, said the physician more or less in passing. But we’d had enough! We didn’t want to hear anything about having babies anymore. So we took a longer break. Remember to take a deep breath now and then. Enjoy life, even without children. Don’t lose sight of your spouse; after all, a relationship is more than sperms and egg cells.

But the idea that an “egg donation” might be an option was at the back of our minds and we started looking for information on the Internet, just like you or else you wouldn’t be reading this text right now!

But all of that is done abroad, in a foreign country. It’s really expensive!! The success rate of this type of treatment is nothing but statistics! And you also need to “reconcile your conscience” with an egg donation. Would it be my child? Would a “foreign body” be growing inside me? Where does the egg come from?  

All of these important questions were floating around in our minds. So, consider the other option: adoption. We started looking into adoption as well. My wife couldn’t really imagine raising a kid that wasn’t her “own”. It wouldn’t have been so hard on me, because I’d already gained some experience with adoptions in my family. So, after giving it much thought, we got in touch with the Department of Youth and Family Services and asked for counseling.  

But at the same time, the idea of using donated eggs became a priority once again:

What if we asked ourselves in ten or twenty years’ time, why didn’t we even try? Just this one time? What were we afraid of? Spending some time in a foreign country?  The foreign language itself? The costs? What about emotional or ethical issues? Would I be depriving another woman of the chance of having a baby? Would I find myself in the hands of a quack? Where do the donor eggs come from?

All of these questions are perfectly legitimate BUT one can answer them oneself or find someone to answer them. So, here we go again, another appointment at the fertility clinic with the physician whom we trusted by now. He was able to answer some of the questions. Especially regarding the individual steps involved in this treatment. He could even recommend a fertility clinic in St. Petersburg, because he had cooperated with that clinic various times and he knew Dr. Zaytseff personally.

There are other questions that one needs to discuss as a couple and figure out the right answer all by oneself. At the time, a report about egg donations had been aired on German television, which was meant to show that such treatments with donated eggs are morally wrong and reprehensible! Again, one of those cases were others believe they should be doing the thinking for us, but such a decision is a very personal matter which depends on the respective circumstances and after all,  NOBODY is forced to follow that route. Ultimately, it’s your own call whether German law protects or prevents life. What’s for sure is that these laws aren’t made by women who need an egg or desperately want to have a baby. Shouldn’t it be up to them to decide what’s right or wrong? But defining what a politically mature citizen actually should be and whether our state wants us to be politically mature, would be going too far in this context.

So, it’s your decision! Just like it was ours at that time…
And we decided that we wanted an egg donation.

After all, we had already enlisted other people’s assistance before, when trying to create life. My wife needed “jumpstarting” and the baby would be our own flesh and blood afterwards.  

The “booster cable” was available in St. Petersburg and so the adventure began. We also got tremendous support from the infertility clinic here in Germany since they cooperated in the treatment. 

I won’t describe the treatment as such because you’ll find lots of detailed information in the relevant sections of this website. My report is only about us…

Our first stay in St. Petersburg in the summer of 2009: Initial consultation and first encounter.

Everything was so exciting. My wife and I had never traveled to a country so far east. VISAS, passports and people speaking Russian … everything was new to us! I was really very nervous and admired my wife who kept her cool and was very self-assured. I’d always considered that my part!!

The city is just great! Lots of historic monuments and a couple of surprising things we didn’t quite understand. We arrived on a Sunday and the streets were crowded?! Everyone seemed to be out and about. Only later did we discover the reason: The military parade had been on that very day and Madonna had given a concert on Palace Square the same evening!! Nobody had told us about that beforehand…

In the morning, our first meeting with Dr. Zaytseff was very pleasant. We didn’t have any trouble communicating because she speaks German fluently. She had lots of time and answered every single question we had. We were a little nervous, but felt very comfortable.

Since we decided to go ahead with the treatment, we discussed all the necessary details regarding the next and decisive visit to St. Petersburg and the hospital in Germany was notified. From then on, we received a copy of every e-mail message exchanged between the attending physicians in St. Petersburg and Germany. We were actively involved in the treatment and were no longer just patients who were being treated.  

Just two months later, we returned to St. Petersburg for 10 days for the actual donation.

The city already felt familiar, we knew how to get to the hotel from the airport. We had chosen a different hotel this time with more competitive rates and a better location. And we wanted to get some sightseeing done; going to places we hadn’t managed to visit during those first 3 days in summer. We were at the clinic with Mrs. Zaytseff only three times. Everything was very relaxed and we had plenty of time to ourselves. Which man has the privilege of remembering the exact time of conception for sure? I was fortunate, because we were allowed to bring my sperm from hotel. So, my wife and I had the chance to be part of the conception process…

The following days were the hardest. After our return from Russia we had to wait. Everyone who has ever had to wait knows how trying such a situation can be. You can’t do anything; you just have to let things run their course. That also holds true for egg donations. The guys should have mentioned that in their report on TV! We tried to keep ourselves distracted as best we could, and then we got the call from the infertility center.

Good rnd_news! Success!
I simply cannot describe how we felt, it’s beyond words and worlds apart from what they show on RTL!

In June 2010 our healthy twins were born. Today, they smile at us and are discovering the world. And we are happy parents: mom and dad!

We made the effort and were rewarded twofold.  Double the reward!!  

If we hadn’t tried, we might have a foster child now or there’d just be the two of us. Neither of the two alternatives is bad, but events unfolded as they did.

Granted, we did need help. Help from Dr. Olga Zaytseff, from the physicians in Germany, from an anonymous egg donor, from God or chance or whatever you want to call it.

Thank you all!