It was late 2015 when I started thinking seriously about single parenthood by choice and artificial insemination. When I started working with a reproductive endocrinologist in early 2019, everything looked good and we thought this would be easy. Then I started with IUIs, and it was not easy. After many months of IUIs, my doctor said she thought I had a diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) and would need IVF. I was stunned. I didn’t know much about IVF at that point, but I knew it was a lot more intensive and a lot more expensive. I took some time off to regroup, and then started back, determined to try everything possible. If I didn’t, I knew I would always ask myself, what if?
In my first retrieval, I got 5 eggs, 2 were mature and fertilized, and 1 made it to blastocyst. Even though I knew about the DOR, I was still very disappointed to get so few eggs. I decided to do a second retrieval, thinking even if I could get just one more, I’d have a good chance of success. In my second retrieval, I got 9 eggs, 8 were mature, 4 fertilized, and none survived. That was the hardest week of my treatments. To anyone else, they were a group of cells, but to me they were my babies. I took off work and went to the beach. It was off-season, so it was calm and quiet. The first morning I got up in the dark and sat on the beach wrapped in a blanket to watch the sun rise over the ocean. I needed to be reminded that there is a God; that He is good; and that somehow this would all be alright, even if I didn’t know what “alright” would be. I spent the next 4 days walking for miles up and down the shoreline. One day I saw monarch butterflies on the beach. I’ve been going to this beach town for decades and don’t ever remember seeing butterflies. It felt like a sign that yes, everything would really be alright.
I got back home more resolved and determined than ever. A good friend—my IVF guardian angel—who was also going through fertility treatments and had gotten pregnant told me about the ReceptivaDx test. Her test was negative, but she said she felt like it was a good way to find out before transferring if there could be any problems. I met with one of the practice’s doctors—ironically, my doctor was on maternity leave—and told him I wanted to test everything that could have any impact on my transfer, first of which was the ReceptivaDx test. Initially he said he didn’t want me to fall down a rabbit hole of testing. I didn’t accept that answer. By the end of the conversation, I was getting everything I wanted—full “pregnancy loss” blood work panel, blood test for natural killer cells, and the ReceptivaDx test.
The ReceptivaDx results? Positive. I had mixed emotions; on one hand, it was disappointing. But on the other hand, I felt like I had the answer to the question. Between the DOR and the issues with my endometrium that the ReceptivaDx test brought to light, there was barely a fighting chance for those IUIs to work. I started a two-month treatment of depot Lupron plus letrozole. Those two months of essentially being in menopause were not easy—hot flashes are no joke!—but I kept reminding myself what it was for. Then came the transfer day for my one little embryo. And, miracle of miracles, it stuck! As I write this, I am 17 weeks, 5 days pregnant with my son. At every ultrasound he’s wriggling around, waving those arms, kicking those legs—and I love him for it. I love him for being strong, I love him for hanging on, I love him for being as stubborn and determined as I am.
I 100% believe that if it were not for the Receptiva test, I would not have this miracle growing within me. I am so glad that I advocated to have the test done before transferring the one embryo I had, and I really wish this test would just be part of the tests that all fertility patients have before even starting IVF. If there is any piece of advice I would give to other people dealing with infertility, it would be to advocate for yourself. There’s a fine line between trusting the doctors will do what is right and telling them what you want. And before you transfer and take a risk of your embryo not implanting, I highly recommend you tell them you want this test. It might make all the difference—I know it did for me.
– Alyssa C.