Jean Paul, born March 2016
Louisiana Couple Uses PGD to Have Healthy Children
After two years of trying for a child, my husband Brent and I got only seven hours to be with our baby Braxton Michael, born in August 2012, before he received his angel wings. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis, or PGD, gave us hope for our future children.
While I was pregnant, we learned the devastating news that Braxton suffered from a lethal form of osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease. Following the loss of Braxton, Brent and I learned that we are both carriers of this disease and any future children we would conceive together would have a one in four chance of it.
After learning this, my husband and I knew in our hearts we did not want another sweet child to suffer in the way Braxton did. We both knew we had to find a way to protect our future babies, and that Braxton would pave the way for that to happen. As much as we wanted children, we could not in good conscience “roll the dice” having another baby. Determined to honor the legacy of Braxton, we set out on a quest to find a way to have a healthy baby. Our doctor recommended Dr. John Storment at Fertility Answers and we began a year long journey exploring our options in light of the lethal disease we carried in our DNA.
We were excited to learn that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis testing was available to test our embryos for the disease through in vitro fertilization. Oddly enough, the DNA marker for the unique sequence of brittle bone disease that we carried had not yet been mapped, but Dr. Storment worked tirelessly finding a geneticist who helped determine the specific sequence so that PGD could be used to test our embryos.
We were so anxious starting our in vitro cycle worried that it would not work after all the time and money we had already invested. When the PGD tests results came back with three viable embryos that did not carry the gene that causes osteogenesis imperfecta we were beyond excited. These three tiny embryos would provide us with the chance to build a family free of the disease that had taken Braxton from us. We transferred two of these embryos in June 2013 and we were so relieved when I became pregnant for our first miracle, Leighton Rose, now 2 years old.
We froze the one remaining embryo, our only real chance of having another child, and last summer we transferred that one too, for our second miracle, Jean Paul born in March 2016.
If we thought our faith was strong before our journey with Braxton, it is beyond strong now. Faith, hope and love is what got us through it all, and is what still carries us through each day now. In our hearts we truly believe that Braxton sacrificed everything in order to protect his sister and brother. Looking back at it all, we are amazed at how finding Dr. Storment fell into place for us. Not only did he help us grow our family, he supported us along the entire process. Even when a lab would say “No, I am sorry medicine is just not at that point yet,” he would not give up. He promised to keep trying and I promised him I would never give up on my family.
Every day is still a struggle with missing our first born son, but even with the rare diagnosis and the odds stacked against us our dreams did come true. Leighton and Jean Paul will always have a connection with their brother even though he is not with us here today. We will always be a party of five, even though we carry one of us in our hearts. And not a day goes by that Brent and I don’t take anything for granted, because we truly know how it can be gone in an instant. So even when the days are long and all I can hear is screaming and crying kids, the house is a wreck and I don’t know when I will get sleep…those are the days I look up and say “Thank you, these are the moments I prayed for.”