We started this blog after being selected as the 2016 beneficiaries of the Birdies for Babies Golf Outing. The application tells the story of how we got here. Throughout you will hear from both of us as we recap the past and talk about our future as we continue our battle with infertility.
Thanks for reading.
John and Jenna Hopkins
Birdies for Babies Application
Jenna and I have been together for 13 years, married for the last 8. About 7 years ago, we decided to stop “preventing” ourselves from having kids. We figured we’d quit birth control and we’d get pregnant in a couple months. It can’t be that hard, right? After two years had come and gone with monthly disappointment, Jenna went to her OBGYN to make sure everything was in working order and to see if there was anything physically standing in the way of conceiving. Everything checked out, but they had ordered a test to have me evaluated and follow up with an Urologist. Results were inconclusive, but after another round of tests/exams it was discovered that my body does not create sperm.
Following the azoospermia diagnosis, I went through about 12 months of testosterone shots hoping that a boost in testosterone would help. In addition they looked to see if there were blockages or other causes in my body’s lack of sperm. All non-invasive attempts failed, and the only other option would be to do a testicular biopsy. The hope here was that they could find some sperm at the source and extract it from me to use for IVF; however, chances of there being any sperm in the testes, we were told, was very slim to none. Due to the intensive surgery required in addition to our insurance not covering any form of infertility treatment, we chose not to go down this option. It was at this point that I had to accept that I would never be able to produce a biological child of my own.
We still wanted to follow our dream of having children, so in early 2015 we decided we would look into other options. We attended a clinic with Sher Fertility Institute in Peoria to learn more about the options that were available to us. After listening to our options and figuring out of pocket costs, we chose to try IUI with donor sperm. We hoped and prayed that IUI would work as nothing was wrong with Jenna and that was initially a much cheaper option to go with.
We spent countless hours choosing the perfect donor and made our purchase. After three failed IUI attempts over a 4 month period we decided to take a break for a month and try one last time with our last sperm vial we had purchased. We decided to increase our chances by changing the medication that Jenna was on, even though it was at a greater cost. This posed a higher risk of multiples, but also gave us a higher percentage of conception. In the end, this last effort again did not work.
We have now arrived at our last option, being IVF with donor sperm. We have just started trying to save for the treatment, but we’re struggling to make a dent in the huge amount of money we need to save. We just recently received our quote for IVF with one cycle along with medication being in the $23K range with two cycles being around $36K. These costs are in addition to the $15-20K out of pocket for the various testing, treatments, medications, and trials we’ve already had to do. We had just paid off all of our outstanding bills only to get an additional $600 in the mail this past May. Once we pay off the last bill then we will be back to square one.
We currently live in Peoria, IL due to our jobs, but I am originally from Lockport and Jenna is from Sheridan. We met each other in college at Aurora University. We both have good jobs, a beautiful home and we generally live a nice, simple, and happy life. Due to our insurance not covering anything, coming up with the money for these treatments has been a challenge. We’ve managed so far but after four failed IUI attempts, our baby fund is exhausted to date. Our whole relationship has consisted of discussions around starting a family, what we would name our kids and how they would be raised, but at this point actually achieving that feels far out of reach. So many of our family and friends have kids and as much as I love holding their 2 week old infant or playing baseball with their toddler or taking older kids to the museum or the zoo – I really want to be able to be able to do these things with one of my own. Struggling with infertility is very daunting and often not understood by many unless you or a loved one has gone through it. If you selected us for your outing we would be forever grateful and would help support the cause in the future not only to help other couples in our situation, but to raise awareness as well. Please help us make our dreams come true.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
John & Jenna Hopkins
Learn more about Birdies for Babies at http://www.golfinvite.com/bfb