Each path to parenthood is unique. That’s why this Infertility Awareness Week, we’re putting the focus on our patient’s stories and their varied paths to building a family, with all of the ups and downs and triumphs along the way.
Evan and Marissa Weatherby were a young couple, ready to grow their family. But with a history of gynecological issues, Marissa had an instinct that she may have difficulty getting pregnant. After several months of trying without success, she knew something was wrong and took the first step on her journey to parenthood by seeking help from the experts at South Jersey Fertility Center. While meeting with a fertility expert can be intimidating, the Weatherbys’ felt confident in their care team. “It was extremely welcoming. When you go in for your first few appointments, you’re nothing but a ball of nerves. You’re depressed, you’re scared. When you start to get to know the physicians and nurses, you feel more comfortable really quickly because they truly want you to succeed, and that made a huge difference. I wasn’t a number to them. If we weren’t successful, they were grieving with us. It was exactly what we needed. We needed that family, nurturing environment.” shares Marissa.
Soon after, Marissa and Evan completed fertility testing, and awaited results that would hopefully give them an answer to their ongoing struggle. Marissa questioned what she wanted the outcome to be, “We didn’t know what we wanted our outcome to be. Did we want to be okay? Did we want to find something wrong?”
The Infertility Diagnosis
For most couples, there are three primary categories of infertility diagnosis: approximately one-third of cases are female factors, one-third male factor, and one-third a combination of both or are unexplained. Eventually, the results of the Weatherby’s testing came back and were a complete shock – Evan had an extremely rare condition known as Y- chromosome deletion, meaning he could not produce the necessary sperm for insemination. The Weatherbys’ were devastated remembering, “We had to grieve our diagnosis. Being told you cannot have children, a piece of you dies.” Marissa said.
The Path To Embryo Donation
Not wanting to wait to have a family, the couple immediately weighed what they thought were their only options: traditional adoption or insemination with donor sperm. After realizing that donor sperm was not the best route for their family, and that traditional adoption can often end in heartbreak, Marissa and Evan had a pivotal moment where they realized that a newer treatment known as donor embryo could be their solution. Using donor embryos from South Jersey Fertility Center’s bank, Marissa and Evan were able to choose their own profile, pursue a timeline that worked best for them, and allow Marissa to experience pregnancy. Marissa and Evan felt confident in their decision and were ready to move forward with treatment. “When we solidified a plan, we started to heal.” Marissa shared.
Life After Embryo Donation
After selecting a donor embryo profile, and moving forward with her frozen embryo transfer in September of 2018, Marissa found out she was pregnant! After years of struggles and heartache, the Weatherby’s welcomed their daughter, Maerynne into the world. Utilizing donor embryo once again, Marissa recently had her son, Lennox.
Throughout the ups and downs of her journey, Marissa started her blog The Infertile Journal as an outlet for her feelings, and to raise awareness about infertility. Her goal was to help others understand the situation, and not be afraid to ask her questions. She has since connected with other infertility warriors on her Instagram: marissa_weatherby.
What I Want You To Know
What you hear about most when discussing infertility is the female perspective; however, the Weatherbys’ goal is to emphasize how they worked together as a team to overcome their struggles and remained supportive of one another throughout the entire process. If Marissa could share one piece of advice, she wants couples to remember that your partner is going through it too, and don’t let it come between you. Marissa shares, “Remember why you started this journey together. If you’re finding that your relationship is suffering, work on that because it is so essential. If anything, we feel like this experience brought us closer. My husband is my rock.”
“As painful, and devastating as everything was, we wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Our kids are everything to us. While it’s chaotic and there’s very little sleep involved, it was truly worth every shot, every blood draw, every surgery, every single tear.”