Finding Hope After 7 Years
Henry (a pilot) and Ingrid (a flight attendant) exchanged ?I dos? last Dec. 6, 1997. This couple?s stable careers make them ideal parents-to-be, with adequate resources to raise kids. But after seven years of trying to conceive naturally, Henry and Ingrid got tired of waiting. They immediately consulted friends who knew of modern ways to help them have kids.
Since acknowledging the problem, Ingrid and Henry sought medical help right away. The couple both underwent several infertility treatments; taking oral medications and artificial insemination (AI) yet still with no positive results.
Ingrid had two major operations: laparoscopy (a surgical procedure to remove several ovarian cysts and to further evaluate the condition of her reproductive system) and one to remove her right ovary & fallopian tube. ?Actually, the AI was too much effort, time and expense for me already. We knew that IVF was the last resort for us.?
Last year, her doctor advised her to seek treatment in Singapore because of the presence of good In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) labs. ?But I didn?t proceed to Singapore. We did all the tests here in Manila. When I was ready to leave, the secretary in the Singapore lab told me I needed to have an immunization for Rubella virus which meant that I should not get pregnant within three months after the immunization since it was a live vaccine and could cause serious abnormalities to the baby. I didn?t want to wait anymore. I eventually told them that I?ll just try it here in Manila,? Ingrid narrated.
It was during that time also that a friend of hers suggested an IVF center called Victory A.R.T. Laboratory at Medical Plaza in Makati.
Considering the previous treatments, Dr. Novero (their attending IVF specialist) first checked the couple?s blood tests for hepatitis A, B and HIV; and also for tissue cross-match. Earlier tests revealed that Henry and Ingrid have near-identical blood compositions. In simple medical explanation, Ingrid?s white blood cells and genes are too strong to combine with Henry?s. When the egg and sperm meet, Ingrid?s body destroys the embryos because it recognizes the union as infection.
Right after this clinical finding, her immunologist Dra. Lara Aleta conducted leukocyte immune therapy or LIT on the couple. They extracted blood from Henry where they separated the white cells from the red blood cells. Henry?s white blood cells were injected to Ingrid?s. This will allow Ingrid?s immune system to be accustomed to Henry?s white blood cells. This procedure will eventually benefit the fertilization process and hopefully produce a viable outcome. LIT was done for three sessions, separate from the actual IVF process. Before proceeding to IVF, the couple underwent another AI to help yield reproduction. But it failed. So the doctors eventually conducted IVF. ?From LIT to IVF, the whole procedure took six months,? Ingrid said.
Ingrid and Henry were briefed by Tracy Ong (Victory A.R.T. Laboratory?s resident embryologist) on IVF, as well as expectations and other preparations before the actual procedure. ?Tracy was always around. If you need to talk to her, you can call her. She?s like a friend. She?s not here only for business but to really help us out in this process,? Ingrid said.
Victory A.R.T. Laboratory, with regard to the case of Ingrid and Henry and other couples as well, always treats its patients with utmost confidentiality and privacy. The lab?s fertility experts, embryologists and staff maintain a high level of professionalism when handling fertility cases. Also, they are highly trained abroad on the latest fertility techniques that make them highly qualified to attend to couples. This is in line with the lab?s continuing commitment to help couples achieve their goal of having their own babies.
During the course of the treatments, Ingrid and Henry (being born-again Christians) did not waver in their faith and trust. They both strongly believed that everything happens for a reason and that God dictates the right time for these things. ?In fact, even before we started with IVF, we already knew in our minds and in our hearts that the doctors and science can only do so much. It?s only God who can tell that this time you?ll be successful,? Ingrid said.
In retrospect, Ingrid described how difficult it was for them to handle the problem. They were both frustrated at the fact that they couldn?t conceive naturally after years of trying. Depression was another emotion they both hurdled especially after finding out that the treatments they underwent failed to produce results.
Another factor the couple faced was that they both belonged to a close-knit family. Regular family occasions like Christmas, New Year, birthdays and anniversaries would make them both realize over and over again that something is still missing in their own family.
After several months of anticipation, Ingrid became pregnant and finaly gave birth to twin girls last March. Henry also happily recounted: ?Actually, before I was really pressured, especially among my peers. But I was not totally hopeless. And after two weeks and the result was positive, I was boastful about it already!?
It was a slow realization for Ingrid because of the longer time that it took for them to finally conceive. ?My ultra-sound is every two weeks. So every time I get the pictures, I place them on top of my desk beside my bed so they are the first ones that I will see in the morning? During the 5th month, I would really feel them kicking inside? When I?m inside my room, I would always talk to them. I would take Henry?s hand and let him feel the girls? kicks. Our joy and happiness right now is really indescribable.?
Henry and Ingrid only have good words for Victory A.R.T. Lab. Its capabilities are really at par with other IVF labs abroad?or even better. That?s why for fertility concerns, couples need not go overseas for treatment as long as Victory A.R.T. Lab is around.
So for other couples who are faced with the same problem, Ingrid and Henry have this to say: ?We would tell them not to waste time; and not to lose hope. And if they undergo the same process, they should always remember that whatever happens, God is still in control and his timing is always the best.?
* Victory A.R.T. Laboratory is located at Deck 1 Medical Plaza Makati, Amorsolo cor. De la Rosa Sts. Legaspi Village, Makati City. For more information on IVF, interested parties may contact 884-2290 to 92 or email email@example.com. All inquiries will be treated with utmost confidentiality.
About the Author: Mia is a senior copywriter at a public relations agency in the Philippines for 6 years now. She graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) with a degree in AB Journalism. Mia is a voracious reader and sells dogs on the side.