Skip to main content

Our Response to the Alabama IVF Ruling

«  View All Posts

Pregnancy Loss /
Twins /

A Twin Pregnancy After Years of Loss & Infertility | Kate & Mike's Story

After four heartbreaking years of infertility, pregnancy loss, and countless treatment cycles, a couple shares how they finally became parents.

April 26th, 2024 | 9 min. read

By Sierra Dehmler

Recent research shows that 42% of U.S. adults have utilized fertility treatment or know someone who has. But even with the increasing prevalence of treatments like IVF, some still struggle for years to conceive. In this story, one couple opens up about their difficult journey.

In this article:

Editor's Note: We are so grateful to Kate & Mike for being willing to share their story with us in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. To learn what RESOLVE and other organizations are doing to protect access to fertility and family-building care across the United States, please visit their website.

Meet Kate & Mike

On their very first date, Kate and her now-husband Mike talked about their mutual desire to have a "big team" and embrace the chaos and joy of a larger family.

"Both of us wanted kids, and we weren't tip toeing around it since we met at age 29," she says. "After our second date, I told my mom I met my husband - she told me to pump the brakes but I ignored her and went full pedal to the metal, knowing we were meant for each other."

What they didn't know was how long it would take them to realize their dream. Seven years later, they are ready to share the story of everything it has taken to expand their family. 

A Difficult Start

After six months of unsuccessfully trying to conceive on their own, the couple realized it might be time to seek help from a fertility specialist. They made an appointment at a fertility clinic and began the process.

Their fertility doctor started Kate on Clomid, a medication that treats irregular or absent ovulation among people trying to get pregnant. After four months on Clomid with no positive pregnancy test, they decided to move on to the next step: intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatment.

This time, Kate did conceive, but that happiness was short-lived, as it ended up being a biochemical pregnancy. The couple knew it was time to try in vitro fertilization (IVF)

The IVF Roller Coaster 

Kate and her husband began the IVF process and tried to remain optimistic. After undergoing an egg retrieval, they had three embryo transfers - none of which resulted in pregnancy. The couple was devastated. 

"I had every uterine procedure and test under the sun, and none of them worked," Kate says. "Our doctor at the time recommended further genetic testing, and that's how we found out that we shared a very rare gene for hearing loss."

The couple were told that their baby would be severely hearing impaired. This was difficult news to process, but they still carried hope.

Kate prepared for another egg retrieval and had yet another embryo transfer - her fourth. "We got pregnant, but lost the pregnancy just two weeks later," Kate shares.

Navigating Recurrent Loss

Why do between 1-5% of women experience recurrent pregnancy loss? Illume's Dr. Josh Hurwitz breaks down what we know - and what we don't.

Learn More

Choosing to Switch Fertility Clinics

"We spent two years of our almost four-year fertility journey at this other clinic," Kate says. "And we always felt unheard, like we were a nuisance to the other practice." Feeling defeated and unsupported, the couple eventually decided to find a new fertility clinic.

They had gotten multiple recommendations to see the doctors at Illume Fertility during their time at the previous clinic, but felt they had invested so much time and effort there that it was hard to imagine starting over, Kate admits. They eventually decided to switch clinics, hoping a new team and a different approach would help them succeed.

"After we switched to Illume, we underwent many more procedures," Kate recalls. She had another egg retrieval, and after sending their embryos out for preimplantation genetic testing (PGT), were told that none of their embryos were affected with the gene for hearing loss. The couple were elated.

They moved forward with another embryo transfer and soon after, found out they were pregnant - again. "We found out we were pregnant on a Friday and told our family the happy news," Kate says. "But three days later, we lost the baby."

The news was crushing, and it was difficult to process this third loss. 

Exploring Other Paths to Parenthood

After an unsuccessful sixth embryo transfer, they realized it might be time to look into other options, and felt drawn to surrogacy and adoption.

"We decided on surrogacy after completing an adoption home study and working with an agency," Kate shares. "We also found out that surrogacy and adoption were actually very similar in cost." The couple shifted their perspective, trying to reimagine the family they were so excited to build together.

Four months later, Kate and Mike's doctor (Dr. Laura Meyer) called them. "She told us she really believed that we could be successful with a moderately 'natural' IVF cycle," Kate says. "And she was right!"

What is natural IVF? A type of in vitro fertilization that uses little to no medication and is timed to the menstrual cycle. During treatment, ultrasounds and blood work are used to monitor the developing follicle. The resulting egg is retrieved and mixed with sperm, and the fertilized embryo is then transferred back into the uterus.


A New Beginning

The couple followed Dr. Meyer's guidance, undergoing their ninth embryo transfer. They were shocked when they got the news that they weren't just pregnant, but in fact pregnant with twins

"We never thought we were going to be here," Kate admits. "At first, it was, 'You can't conceive.' Then it was, 'Your baby will have a disability.' Then it was, 'You can't carry a pregnancy.'"

Like most couples who have had a long, difficult fertility journey, Kate and Mike were cautiously optimistic, yet very anxious that they would again lose this pregnancy. "When we actually got pregnant, we were so scared - every movement, every symptom, every day," she says.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

When they went in for blood work at Illume and Kate's hCG levels came back high, the couple was surprised. Then, her hCG stopped rising how it was supposed to, and Kate became incredibly sick (with what she describes as almost flu-like symptoms that included terrible nausea and total body fatigue).

She also experienced bleeding for the first few weeks of pregnancy.

With all of these symptoms, "I thought something was wrong with the pregnancy, not that it could be twins," Kate recalls. "We went from wanting a huge family to thinking we never would, then accepting we would have a child with a disability, to thinking we couldn't have any children at all."

They say finding out they were expecting twins was overwhelming in the best way possible. 

Welcoming Their Twins

In January 2024, Kate and Mike finally realized their dream of becoming parents.

Twins Dominic and Gia arrived, adorable and healthy, turning their quiet home into a beautifully full one overnight. As they've settled in to new parenthood with multiples, the couple is grateful and amazed to finally be holding babies in their arms. 

"For the first time in four years, we just want to be," Kate shares. "We want to take in every sweet morning waking up with our babies, every ear to ear smile, and every big full stretch with newborn grunts."

"If IVF taught us anything, it's that you never know what's next," she says. "But when you have a strong foundation, you and your partner can conquer anything."

Explore Embryo Testing

For hopeful parents with genetic concerns, preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) can be a life-changing tool. A genetic counselor explains why.

Learn More

Unpacking Infertility: What They Learned

After so many cycles of IVF, Kate and Mike have learned a few difficult, but important lessons:

1. IVF doesn't always work.

"IVF is not a guarantee of success," Kate says. "We always were told to 'Just do IVF,' but we learned that even with IVF, your journey will not be cookie-cutter perfect."

2. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

This path to parenthood can be a long one, Kate says, and she wishes that someone had told her that timelines really do not matter. (And those timelines will frequently change, so you have to be flexible and adapt on the fly.)

3. Relinquish control.

"Don't get so caught up about when your egg retrieval will be, what day your transfer is on, when you think you'll be pregnant," Kate advises. "Don't go down the road daydreaming and planning too far in advance, before things are certain." 

4. It may not be perfect, but it's your journey.

"Remember: all of this is meant to get you to the same end goal," Kate says. "And you can get there as long as you are persistent and patient." 

5. Document the process.

While being a fertility patient can be overwhelming and time-consuming, Kate suggests trying to document the journey. "When you reach the other side, it's that such sweeter, when you look back and realize how badass you were," she says.


The Hardest Part

In addition to the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of infertility, seeing the world carry on without you is incredibly difficult, Kate says. "Watching other peoples' lives go on, seeing people celebrating while we were was heartbreaking."

"The pregnancy announcements and baby showers were, of course, the worst," she adds. "After our last miscarriage, both my best friend and sister-in-law both announced they were pregnant."

With the extreme hormonal fluctuations caused by IVF meds, your brain really changes, Kate says. "You often feel completely out of control."

Changing the Conversation

The reason Kate and Mike have chosen to be transparent about their difficult journey is to help others still trying to become parents know that they aren't alone. "Too many people suffer and struggle in silence," Kate says. "Many of these people may have already lost hope, and we want to be there to help them through."

As they soak up these early months with Dominic and Gia, the new parents can't believe they've actually made it - but feel grateful to finally be on 'the other side' of infertility.

Sierra Dehmler

Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.

More Fertility Resources