My wife (Maria) and I have been married for almost 5 years and we thought it was about time to start our family. Throughout our relationship we always said we wanted to have kids and wanted to have a child without CF. Maria and I never thought we would have trouble conceiving as I was fertile and we assumed everything was fine with her. (Side note, I was tested to see if I was fertile around the age of 18. Yes, I am fertile! I am one of the lucky 3% who are fertile....so NO needles for me :)
So before we went on this journey we wanted to have my wife tested to see if she was a CF gene carrier. Maria is half caucasian and half asian and my CF Dr. believed that she would not be a CF gene carrier because of this genetic makeup. We wanted to be sure that she was not a carrier before we proceeded with our dream. Thanks to Ronnie Sharpe we found the best possible lab for Maria to be tested for carrier status. She had her blood drawn and sent to Ambry Genetics where they sequenced her for over 1,000 CF genes. After about a month the blood test revealed that she was in fact a CF gene carrier. The gene that she does carry is very rare and my Dr. had never seen this. Believe it or not this gene was linked to her asian ancestry. Who would have thought!!!
This news was very shocking to us. We still wanted to have our own biological child and wanted to insure that he/she would not have CF. In order to do this we would have to use Pre Genetic Implantation Diagnosis with IVF. PGD is genetically screening an embryo before it is implanted via IVF. The embryo has a single cell removed at Day 3 and sent to Chicago. In order to accomplish this we had to setup a probe at the lab in Chicago. Maria and I had a blood sample sent to the lab as well as her parents cheek swab. From this a probe was created to test the embryos against to rule out which embryos would have full blown CF and which ones would be only CF carriers. We of course would only implant the CF carriers.
Maria then had another test performed to see if she was fertile. The insurance company required this before we began IVF. Her test results showed that she had a blocked fallopian tube. Talk about another slap in the face. If there was any good to come out of this is that now the insurance company was going to pay for the IVF and PGD as she was now considered infertile. A month later she had laparscopic surgery to remove the blocked fallopian tube and half of an ovary. She also had a small metal clamp placed on her other fallopian tube. You truly are a WARRIOR babe!
Now we are finally ready to begin the IVF process with 1.5 ovaries. With 1.5 ovaries it could make the IVF and PGD process difficult because we would be needing as many eggs as possible. The first round of IVF we had 4 embryo's who were carriers of CF :) This is really unbelievable as we have read stories that some people who go through the PGD process are lucky to have 1 embryo to implant. We implanted 2 of these embryos and had the other 2 frozen. Unfortunately, this round of IVF ended in a chemical pregnancy. This was probably the most stressful thing that we had ever encountered. On the brighter side though this meant my wife was able to get pregnant :)
We waited a month after the first round of IVF to start round 2. Round 2 was a little different as not all the embryo's survived to day 3 in order to have a single cell sent to Chicago. A total of 3 little embryo's made it to day 3 and of these 3 two of them were CF carriers and the other was full blown CF. This was amazing news! The 2 CF carrier embryos were implanted and of the two one of them stuck!!!!! :)
We could not be more excited that our dream was coming true!!!! We know that we our having a GIRL and we cannot wait to meet her!!! (Due Date October 23) Dad got to pick out the name so she will be called Alayna Marie :)
When you feel that you have the whole deck of cards stacked against you, you can still beat it. Our journey is like no other and through this journey it has brought my wife and I even closer!!!
Maria you are my true inspiration everyday :) To go through this you have shown me that anything is possible and to never give up hope! Thank you God for giving me this wonderful person in my life!!!!!