One Couple’s Incredible Struggle to Have Children

After 5 years, 11 IVF cycles, and two attempts with a surrogate, here is what they learned.
Content Warning: Infertility, Surrogacy, Miscarriage
When Hazel and Vimal fell in love, they immediately bonded over their desire for children.
“From day 1 we talked about having children, from when we first started dating. Now when I look back I’m like, really, you thought you would get pregnant on the day of, you know, the wedding.” - Hazel
They did everything they were supposed to trying to get pregnant. She tracked ovulation, he got a semen analysis, and results looked normal.
“She had to go through a battery of tests, just to see what might be going on with her fertility, where as for me it was just a simple semen analysis.” - Vimal
They started trying IVF, but still nothing worked.
They went to see a new fertility specialist Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh. She advised them that they would likely need a gestational carrier due to problems with Hazel’s uterus.
“To me, surrogacy was so hard to reach, because we spent so much money already on this journey, and I couldn’t imagine spending more money, but at the same time I couldn’t imagine not having kids.” - Hazel
They tried IVF again with a surrogate, but she experienced an early miscarriage.
“Everything should have been fine. We had the best uterus, the best eggs, and the best embryos, so it’s more like by process of elimination, could it be me? And I was open to, let’s just get this checked out.” – Vimal
Dr. Aimee suggested they try a new advanced sperm quality test, the Episona Sperm Test.
“I think that in general fertility care is biased toward the female. Reproductive health is women’s health. Now it’s very well understood that it’s not just about sperm contributing DNA, but how that DNA is contributing to making the embryo.” – Dr. Alan Horsager, Episona CEO
The test uncovered problems in Vimal’s sperm DNA which they had previously missed. Dr. Aimee adjusted treatment for one more cycle.
“I was fascinated by the results. I had no idea that there could even be a test like this that could help me make decisions for patients when they were going through IVF. And change the treatment.” - Dr. Aimee
The day came when Hazel got the phone call she had been waiting for.
They were going to have twins.
“I have held babies before, but they all belonged to someone else. So, I would hand them back and feel a little sad, but whatever. But this one was my little girl, and there was a little boy that was also ours.” –Vimal
“It is so amazing that after so many years, finally this dream came true. It’s just something that I thought would never happen... it’s just so surreal.” –Hazel
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