Rumman’s Story: A voice for her community

Rumman’s Story: A voice for her community
Patient Story

Did you know that 1 in 8 couples have used infertility services (medication to stimulate ovulation, infertility testing, surgery, intrauterine insemination, assisted reproductive therapies, and more) in their lifetime? Infertility can affect friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, and often can make people feel like they are alone. Let’s help change the narrative and focus on what we as a community can do to help create positive change, break stigmas, and support our loved ones.

Since I was young, I thought I might
find it difficult to get pregnant. 

I didn’t get my period until I was almost 16, and when it arrived, it would often be irregular (in fact, I would often go months without one). I initially reached out to a doctor for help when I was in my 20s to find out what might be happening with my body and I was given hormonal birth control pills to help regulate my periods.

I got married at 29, and it was at that time that my husband and I started thinking about having a family. I stopped taking my birth control pills while we tried to conceive, but, my periods were still very irregular. I didn’t want to try to conceive for a year or two and not be successful as I wanted to have multiple children, so I decided to look for additional resources to help me to understand my fertility.

My husband and I began using ovulation kits and other fertility monitoring tools, but we still couldn’t get pregnant, so we spoke to a fertility specialist who recommended IUI or intrauterine insemination. We tried IUI two or three times, but unfortunately, it wasn’t successful. We saw another doctor and he suggested we start with IVF.

I read online about how the daily shots and different medications needed for IVF might make me bloated or have bad mood swings, but I was lucky, and I didn’t feel any different from usual when I started the injections. I was happy to go through the process if it meant we would have a baby in the end.

“I tried to be very open-minded and
optimistic about the whole situation.”

Once we had the egg retrieval, waiting for results was nerve-wracking! Especially waiting to see how many embryos they’d managed to obtain. I wasn’t familiar with genetic testing in the IVF world until we started. When I found out you could screen your embryos for their likelihood of successful pregnancy and even specific hereditary conditions if you needed to, I found it interesting.

“We chose to have PGT testing to find out more about our embryos and to be able to make a better decision with all the information possible, especially about the risks of transferring each embryo.”

From our PGT-A results, we knew that there were five embryos and one was aneuploid.  At this point, I started imagining my life with four children in it!

When it was time to choose which embryo to transfer, we picked one of the euploid embryos. After we got confirmation of the transfer date, things started to get exciting! I was nervous about the transfer not being successful and us feeling disappointed.

We went in for the transfer and it was a quick procedure. I was awake for the whole process, and I even went to work after! For the next week or two, I kept thinking, “I could be pregnant!”

I was told to wait two weeks to take a blood test to confirm if the embryo transfer had implanted, but I couldn’t wait, and I took a pregnancy test about a week after the transfer. The result? Positive! I knew it was too early to tell for sure and waited for the appointment (which confirmed a positive pregnancy) before telling my husband! He was so delighted, and it solidified the decision that IVF was the right thing for us.

This is how we became parents to Isa (2.5), and our second son, Ibrahim, (who is now five months!) in November 2021.

One thing I want to do by sharing my story is to help my community as a Pakistani Muslim, as I think there is a bit of a stigma attached to finding it difficult to have children. Culturally we don’t have children until married, and premarital sex is taboo. So sometimes, when someone has been married, and it has been several years without being able to get pregnant, it isn’t discussed that there could be something wrong with the couple’s fertility.

I want people not to feel ashamed or guilty if they need help to have children and want them to know that they don’t need to keep it a secret. IVF helped my family, and I became more vocal about my experiences. Just through private conversations, people I had known for a long time would thank me for bringing it up and share that they also had issues with conceiving naturally.

“Many people are going through this too, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to have help to have a baby. If the baby is healthy and happy, it doesn’t matter how they get here”.
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