Skip to main content

Our Response to the Alabama IVF Ruling

«  View All Posts

Male Infertility /

Overcoming Obstacles to Meet Our Miracle Baby | Kristen & Jeff's Story

One couple's journey through infertility and how they battled PCOS and male factor fertility challenges to become parents.

September 15th, 2023 | 6 min. read

By Sierra Dehmler


When hopeful parents Kristen and Jeff began trying to conceive, they never expected the journey would involve a team of doctors and fertility treatment. This is their story.

In this article:

Meet Kristen & Jeff

After their paths crossed on a dating app, Kristen (a special education teacher) and Jeff (an IT professional) fell in love. "From our very first date, I knew I wanted to marry him," Kristen remembers. As soon as they got married, they both knew that they wanted to start a family. 

For more than two years, the couple tried to conceive, hoping their dream of becoming parents would come true. Unfortunately, they had no luck. Kristen was already aware that she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but wondered if there might also be a male fertility issue at play. 

Taking the Next Step

"Our fertility journey was a struggle," Kristen says. "Seeing that negative pregnancy test each month was extremely hard." That's when they made the decision to seek help from a fertility specialist. "One of my best friends told me about Illume Fertility and how wonderful it was," she recalls. "Right after we talked, I called and made an appointment."

A Complicated Fertility Journey

After becoming patients at Illume, Kristen and Jeff began fertility testing and consulted with their doctor to plot a path forward together. 

Though they knew that Kristen's PCOS diagnosis would likely make it harder for her to get pregnant, they soon discovered an additional obstacle through the male fertility testing process: slow-moving sperm.

The combination of these two factors led them to their next step - fertility treatment


Will fertility treatment work for us?

Kristen and Jeff began with one medicated cycle and two cycles of intrauterine insemination (IUI) which were all unsuccessful. They then moved on to in vitro fertilization (IVF), which finally brought the news they'd been hoping for - they were pregnant!

Their miracle baby, Hailee James, was born August 14, 2022, and the new parents say they've never been happier. "Illume made our dreams come true," Kristen adds. 

What They Learned

What surprised them the most was how complex the family-building process was and how many ultrasounds and tests needed to happen before beginning treatment, says Kristen. "I didn’t realize until I was going through fertility treatments how much goes into having a baby."

The couple are grateful to have been surrounded by a network of cheerleaders throughout their journey. "The amount of support Illume gives is amazing," Kristen says. "They are there for you, to support you and lift you up - and sometimes, you see them more than your own family and friends!"

The Emotional Impact of Infertility 

As any fertility warrior knows, going through the fertility treatment process (and infertility itself) is exceptionally difficult because of all of the ups and downs and unknowns. Finding ways to take back control and find support on this journey can make a world of difference.

"What helped us get through it and not give up was the support system we had from Illume, and from our families and friends," Kristen shares. "They cheered us on and were always there for us when we needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to."

Kristen's Tips for Fertility Warriors

Though their road to parenthood was far from easy, it taught them a lot, Kristen admits. Here are a few key pieces of advice she has for others struggling with fertility challenges:

  • Be patient with yourself
  • Ask lots of questions 
  • Don't give up, even when you feel defeated
  • Lean on those who surround you and lift you up
  • Put yourself first throughout the process
  • Eliminate all negative things around you

In addition to Kristen's general tips above, she also shares what personally helped her get through the pain and heartache of her fertility journey. While each person's needs will be different, the following actions may help you in the same way they helped Kristen.

Take Control of PCOS

No crazy diets, no conflicting advice - just expert guidance from PCOS professionals on nutrition, exercise, and fertility.

Download Now

Document the Process

While going through fertility treatment, Kristen chose to document the process. "This really helped me through the tough times," she says. "I wanted to show people what it's like to go through fertility treatments and that it is okay to share the hard times as well as the good times."

Engage With the Fertility Community

Throughout her journey, Kristen also felt a strong desire to connect with other fertility warriors - knowing how impactful it can be to hear from those who understand the complexity of it all.

"I was part of fertility support groups on Facebook, and would read people's questions and answers," Kristen says. "I also leaned on my friends who had gone through fertility treatments and asked them so many questions."

Embrace Distractions

When it all feels like too much, don't be afraid to 'check out' for a bit: "Going out with friends and hanging out with family can also help to get your mind off of the hard times that you and your partner are going through," says Kristen. 

Find Your Cheerleaders

Kristen offers some encouraging words to others struggling with treatment: "I know it may be tough right now, but don't give up," she says. "And try not hold in your feelings throughout this process - share how you are feeling with family and friends." 

As Kristen and Jeff learned - no one should go through this journey alone. 


What's next for their family?

Kristen and Jeff recently celebrated Hailee's first birthday and are thoroughly enjoying parenthood. "We love watching Hailee James grow and explore," Kristen says. "She is always doing something new, and brings a smile to our faces every day." 

After so many years of waiting, wishing, and hoping, parenthood has been a dream come true for the couple. They are now looking towards the future and can't wait to add to their crew.

"We are starting the process again to have baby number two and give Hailee James a sibling," Kristen shares. "We are so excited to expand our family!"

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