Maci and Alex’s Journey with Lean PCOS: Navigating the Challenges of Fertility
Over the past three and a half years, Maci and Alex’s dreams of starting a family has led them on a challenging journey through the world of fertility treatments. It also led the couple to the discovery of Maci’s diagnosis of Lean Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Maci’s struggle to conceive eventually brought them to Fertility Answers, where they embarked on a path to find answers and hope.
Children have always been a part of their lives
As long as she can remember, Maci’s life has always revolved around children. She grew up helping her mother at her in-home daycare and babysitting for family and friends while in school. Today, she works in a local obstetrics and gynecology office, seeing pregnant women and their babies on a daily basis. “Unlike most people, work is not my escape from the stress of infertility,” says Maci. “While I absolutely love my job, it is a constant reminder every day that I have yet to experience the joy of just holding that precious gift in my arms.”
Alex, too, works with children daily as the owner of a tumbling studio in the Lafayette area. He coaches hundreds of students every week from four years old through college in tumbling and cheerleading. In the 10-plus years he has been a coach, he has molded many of his students to be accomplished and successful young adults, something he is especially proud of. “Seeing how he cares for all the children he meets, I cannot even imagine how much love he would have for his own,” says Maci.
A lean PCOS diagnosis lead to treatment challenges
Prior to seeing Dr. Storment, Maci and Alex tried for a year and a half to have children on their own. They eventually sought medical guidance from Maci’s primary OB/Gyn that included testing on both partners, with normal results. Maci’s OB/Gyn prescribed clomid, a medication to stimulate ovulation, but it yielded no positive results. Ultimately, Maci went through four unsuccessful ovulation induction cycles and an intrauterine insemination, all to no avail. Frustrated, they were ready to try more aggressive treatment. Her OB/Gyn referred her to Dr. John Storment at Fertility Answers to help find answers.
At Fertility Answers, Maci underwent further examinations to delve deeper into the potential causes of her infertility. One crucial test was the measurement of her Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) levels, which were found to be abnormally elevated. This pointed towards a variant of PCOS, known as lean PCOS which affects about 25% of patients with the syndrome and presents distinct characteristics. Unlike overweight PCOS patients, lean PCOS individuals often maintain a healthy weight.
Irregular periods and ovulation are a common hallmark of all variations of PCOS, so Dr. Storment devised a treatment plan combining ovulation induction with intrauterine inseminations (IUI) to increase Maci’s chances of conceiving. Over three ovulation induction and IUI cycles, Maci was given letrozole and gonadotropins to stimulate ovulation, followed by IUI to introduce sperm directly into her uterus. Unfortunately, she did not get pregnant.
With ovulation induction and IUI yielding no success, the couple faced the next logical step in their fertility journey – in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF provides a comprehensive understanding of egg and sperm health, as well as embryo development, making it a valuable diagnostic tool for cases like Maci’s. Fortunately, patients with PCOS tend to require lower doses of ovulation-stimulating medications, leading to the production of healthy mature eggs.
IVF grant provides hope for a future family
IVF was financially out of reach for the young couple. Already they had spent so much out of pocket on fertility treatments, all not covered by their insurance. Trying to find the words to describe their difficult and heartbreaking experience isn’t easy for them. “No one prepares you for this kind of failure in life,” says Maci.
Maci and Alex’s journey through lean PCOS highlights the complexities of fertility challenges. Despite the initial setbacks, they found solace in the care and guidance from their team at Fertility Answers, who helped them navigate the uncertainties of their treatment. “This journey will make sense one day,” says Maci. “God has a plan for all of us. I can only hope his plan for us includes becoming parents.”
With the hope of IVF on the horizon through receiving the Gift of Hope grant, Maci and Alex remain optimistic about the possibility of realizing their dreams of starting a family. “This grant is so beautiful. It is heartwarming to know we will be able to take the financial aspect out of the equation and do fertility treatments without all of that added stress.”