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IVF ruined my life – I sold my house and spent $165,000 on six rounds of accidents and miscarriages

Vaseline 3 months ago

Katie Abdou

Katie Abdou

A heartbroken woman has said she is giving up parenthood and turning her life upside down, spending an estimated $165,000 on in vitro fertilization.

“It feels like the death of a dream,” said Katie Abdou, 37, who feels doctors have given her false hope. “IVF has ruined my life.”

Now the grieving mother-to-be is sharing her story in the hope that other women struggling with IVF won’t feel alone – and is urging the medical community to provide more support for single and gay people looking to start a family.

Abdou said she always planned to be a mother, regardless of whether or not there was a viable father in her life.

“I was never interested in a relationship, but I always wanted children,” the food broker from Plymouth, Massachusetts told the South West News Service.

Without a partner in her life, Abdou initially looked at foster care and adoption, but found those routes to be both expensive, baffling and ethically questionable. “It felt bad to buy someone else’s child because they couldn’t afford it,” she said.

So in March 2020, she began her search for a donor father through an online registry with the intention of giving intracervical insemination (ICI) a try at home.

After five failed attempts to conceive via ICI, including three early miscarriages, an X-ray revealed that her fallopian tubes were ‘blocked’ and IVF would be her best and only option.

Abdou's longest pregnancy lasted just 17 weeks.  Katie Abdou / SWNSAbdou's longest pregnancy lasted just 17 weeks.  Katie Abdou / SWNS

Abdou’s longest pregnancy lasted just 17 weeks. Katie Abdou / SWNS

The cost of one round of IVF can range from $10,000 to $25,000 depending on the various medications, fees, procedures and consultations required for success.

Some insurance companies cover some or all of the costs of fertility treatment, but not Abdou’s. She was forced to sell her house and move in with her parents to get the nod for IVF.

After making $100,000 from selling her home, she found a clinic with affordable prices in Albany, NY.

She went for her first egg retrieval in November 2021 and produced three embryos. However, two of these did not last, while the last suffered a miscarriage within the first five weeks.

Abdou said she was ready to “give up” at the time, but persevered when her “best friend” Chris, 37, offered to help her get pregnant.

An ultrasound scan of her son showed that the child had no heartbeat.  Katie Abdou / SWNSAn ultrasound scan of her son showed that the child had no heartbeat.  Katie Abdou / SWNS

An ultrasound scan of her son showed that the child had no heartbeat. Katie Abdou / SWNS

Using Chris’ sperm, she went for another round and became pregnant with one of the two embryos they created, and in November 2022, she discovered she was pregnant.

“I was very excited, but still very cautious,” said Abdou, who stayed with the child long enough to learn the baby’s gender. She was pregnant with a boy. “I had the nursery completely ready. I planned the baby shower.”

Unfortunately, her 17-week ultrasound revealed that her son had no heartbeat and she needed surgery to remove the fetus.

“He was gone,” she said. “It was terrible,” Abdou reinforced the memory of her only son with a ring she wears made of her son’s ashes, and with a tattoo of his little feet on her shoulder.

Abdou made a ring from the ashes of her only son, which she wears every day in his honor.  Katie Abdou / SWNSAbdou made a ring from the ashes of her only son, which she wears every day in his honor.  Katie Abdou / SWNS

Abdou made a ring from the ashes of her only son, which she wears every day in his honor. Katie Abdou / SWNS

Abdou has a tattoo of her unborn son's tiny footprints on her shoulder.  Katie Abdou / SWNSAbdou has a tattoo of her unborn son's tiny footprints on her shoulder.  Katie Abdou / SWNS

Abdou has a tattoo of her unborn son’s tiny footprints on her shoulder. Katie Abdou / SWNS

No one was willing to give up Abdou, including her doctors who insisted that she had to be healthy and fertile enough for a successful pregnancy. “Every time I tried it (IVF), I hoped it would work,” she said.

After a failed attempt to transfer a leftover embryo from her second round – which was unsuccessful – and a third failed egg retrieval in April 2023, Abdou underwent surgery to remove polyps from her uterus. Then she learned she was suffering from chronic inflammation of the uterine lining, or endometritis – which was likely causing her fertility problems, doctors said.

Abdou was given antibiotics to treat her diseased uterus – and a glimmer of renewed hope that her fourth round would be a success. She also started taking growth hormones and dabbling in platelet-rich plasma (PRP), an experimental treatment that extracts healthy blood from individual platelets and injects them back into the uterus.

It was not an easy process. “I had blackouts. I gained 50 pounds,” she claimed. “I used to be a confident person. I went from a size 10 to a size 22.”

Abdou emerged from her next round in October 2023 with two viable eggs. Then, one night shortly after the transfer, she woke up in excruciating pain. Her ovary had exploded and surgery would be required to ‘glue’ it together.

Abdou used an arsenal of medications to increase her chances of becoming pregnant during IVF treatments.  Katie Abdou / SWNSAbdou used an arsenal of medications to increase her chances of becoming pregnant during IVF treatments.  Katie Abdou / SWNS

Abdou used an arsenal of medications to increase her chances of becoming pregnant during IVF treatments. Katie Abdou / SWNS

“I lost three pints of blood,” she said.

After doctors assured her ovary had healed ‘perfectly’, Abdou had her fifth egg retrieval in January this year – to no avail.

She had enough medicine left for one last attempt and did so in February, returning with five fertilized eggs.

“I was very happy,” she said, and finally thought, “This is going to work.”

Of the five embryos, only one was transferred, the remaining eggs did not survive. On March 28, she discussed the devastating news that the pregnancy had not lasted.

“I felt like a broken person,” she said. “It changed me.”

Despite her heartbreaking journey, Abdou continues to support those embarking on their own IVF journey, although she wishes other potential parents could be more aware of the myriad complications before emptying their bank accounts.

“I think there needs to be more support for single and queer people,” she said. “I would like more information about IVF to be available.”