Alexandria area couple chosen for the Gift of Hope IVF Grant 2021
Meagan and Christopher Cogdill, of Dry Prong, Louisiana, received the Gift of Hope IVF Grant 2021. The award gives them the chance to build their family through a free in vitro fertilization cycle from Fertility Answers.
Meagan has always been strong in her faith. So when she and her husband Christopher decided to stop fertility treatments in December of 2020, she knew God was leading her down this path for a reason. It had been an emotional journey so far and after several failed attempts at pregnancy they felt like they were nowhere closer to becoming the family they had always wanted. “We started questioning if we were really doing the right thing,” says Meagan. Taking a break to pray about what they were going through would help them refocus on what was important and see where God would lead them.
Married for five years, Meagan and Chris both grew up north of Alexandria in close-knit families. They stayed close to their roots as they began their married life and careers together, settling in Dry Prong where Chris was raised. Meagan is a second-grade teacher at Pollock Elementary School and Chris teaches welding at Central Louisiana Technical Community College in Winnfield.
Since she was a little girl, Meagan dreamed of becoming a mother and has always felt like she was put on this earth to raise children. She has longed for the day when she can give her child unconditional love and mold the life of that tiny human. It’s one of the reasons why she became a teacher. “When I think about my parents never experiencing having a grandchild since I am an only child, it breaks my heart,” says Meagan.
She and Chris began trying to have a child several years ago, but when 2019 rolled around and they still weren’t pregnant they knew something was wrong and made an appointment with her gynecologist. Her doctor found that her progesterone levels were low, so started her on Clomid to see if that would help. But after several rounds of Clomid and timed intercourse with no pregnancy, she just knew there was something more to their situation. Their doctor ordered a semen analysis for Chris. When the test results revealed Chris has azoospermia, or few motile sperm in the semen, they were completely devastated.
Male factor infertility is the culprit in up to a third of all infertility cases
At this point their gynecologist referred Meagan and Chris to Dr. John Storment at Fertility Answers. With Chris’s diagnosis of azoospermia, they were also referred to Dr. Eric Laborde, a New Orleans urologist who specializes in male infertility. He told them of a surgical procedure called testicular sperm extraction, or TESE, that could be done to extract sperm, but it was still possible that they would get no viable sperm from it. Additionally, if they opted to do this procedure it would also require them to do in vitro fertilization. For Meagan and Chris, TESE was an expensive procedure with no guarantee of results, and then adding IVF on top of it, they knew they couldn’t afford it all.
Meagan and Christopher again prayed over their decision and decided to try to get pregnant instead through inseminations. Over a six month period they tried four intrauterine inseminations (IUI), all of which failed. Compared to more aggressive assisted reproduction techniques, like in vitro fertilization, IUIs unfortunately have a low success rate, typically only about 15%. It was time to move on to more aggressive treatment, Dr. Storment told them, and it is here that Meagan and Chris decided to step back from the whole process.
On teachers’ salaries, at this point they could not afford to do more treatment. And the disappointment was more than they could handle.. “We still feel in our hearts that God will allow us to become parents one day and are trusting Him during this process,” says Meagan. “Things have not always been easy for us, but we know that through this process we will become stronger from it and will be able to witness to others who are going through similar situations.”
Small signs encouraged them to apply for the Gift of Hope IVF Grant 2021
“I’m not a superstitious person,” says Meagan. “But when we took a break from fertility treatments, I just felt that God was sending us signs that would lead us to where we needed to be.” Over their break, she met a stranger who told her she had gone through IVF and now had a child, not even knowing Meagan’s own situation at the time. She told her about her own journey with IVF and that anything was possible and not to lose hope. “I was amazed at how God works putting people together when we need it the most,” says Meagan. “Her story touched my heart in such a way that made me hopeful we would one day also have a child.”
And then one of the nurses from Fertility Answers called not long after the first of the year to check in with them. She mentioned the Gift of Hope IVF Grant 2021 and strongly encouraged them to apply. The rest is history! “We are so excited for this opportunity and are so grateful to Fertility Answers and the Gift of Hope for selecting us and are praying that we can finally find success.”