We are TJ and Megan from Harriman, TN. We are high school sweethearts and are both middle school teachers. Shortly after getting married in 2015 we began trying to expand our family. We knew that it might take us a little longer to conceive than most due to Megan being diagnosed with PCOS in her early teens. After a year of nothing but negative pregnancy tests we reached out to our doctors. Megan was diagnosed with infertility as a result of PCOS and started medication to help ovulation while TJ had some testing done. TJ’s test results showed that we were dealing with male factor infertility as well and the medicated cycles were brought to a jarring halt. Even after a repair surgery, we were told IVF was our best option of getting pregnant.
Our insurance covered the cost of getting diagnosed with infertility, but would not cover the medications and procedures needed to treat it. We knew it would take us years to save enough for a single round of IVF so we began looking for other ways to grow our family. This is when we discovered embryo adoption. Sometimes after an individual/couple undergo IVF they have embryos remaining even after their family is complete and they can choose to donate those embryos to another family. The more Megan began researching Embryo Adoption the more she felt in her heart that it was the path God wanted us to take. We purchased a profile on an embryo matching website and began reaching out to families considering donating their embryos. After a few weeks we got a message back.
This couple had a single embryo remaining and after communicating back and forth for a few weeks they asked if we would like to adopt it. Of course, we accepted! A few months later we transferred the embryo and for the first time ever, Megan started getting positive pregnancy tests. Unfortunately, the embryo stopped growing and we had a chemical miscarriage.
Even after this heartbreak, we knew Embryo Adoption was still the path we wanted to walk down so we posted our profile on an Embryo Adoption/Donation Support Group’s page. After only a week, a couple who had 16 remaining embryos, reached out to us. We got to know each other for a few weeks before they offered us four of the embryos. Once again, we gratefully accepted. Two months later we transferred the first embryo of that group and we were pregnant again!
Pregnancy went smoothly until the last trimester. Megan’s blood cell counts were extremely high and the baby’s growth started to drastically slow. Megan was sent to a hematologist for blood tests. The hematologist believed that the high cell counts were just Megan’s body’s reaction to pregnancy and they would go back to normal after delivery, but wanted to run some genetic tests anyways. A week later, we got a call saying that the test results were back and they wanted us to come in and speak with an oncologist. The genetic testing showed a mutation of the JAK 2+ gene which likely meant the high cell counts were a result of a type of blood cancers called Myeloproliferative Neoplasms.
Two months later our beautiful Carter was born. She is now a healthy and happy toddler who brings indescribable joy to our family. Shortly after her delivery, Megan had a bone marrow biopsy done and was officially diagnosed with an MPN called Essential Thrombocythemia and started a low dose chemo. After expressing our desires to transfer our remaining embryos Megan’s doctors began working on a plan to make another pregnancy not only possible but safe for both baby and mom. The only pregnancy safe medication for ET is a drug called Pegasys. Pegasys is extremely expensive; our insurance denied our claim as well as the appeals. It looked like our dreams of having a large family were over. God came through in a mighty way and Megan was accepted into a program that allowed her to receive the medication free of charge.
While all of this was going on we conceived naturally three times but unfortunately all three were chemical pregnancies. After many, many specialist appointments we were finally cleared to transfer another embryo. We had our third embryo transfer in January of this year. It worked and we were finally pregnant again. The pregnancy was going mostly smooth until our 9-week appointment when we were told our sweet baby’s heart had stopped beating.
We still have two embryos waiting on us, but we can not transfer them yet due to the cost. Over the past four years we have done countless fundraisers, worked second jobs, and are now listing our house in order to pay for our embryo adoptions, transfers, and pregnancy safe medication. We advocate because we hope to be the last family in Tennessee that has to give up so much in order to get the medical treatment they deserve
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