Lawyer and mother-of-two Elizabeth Katkin charts her amazing journey through her secondary unexplained fertility in her first book, Conceivability
Part memoir, part guide, this deeply personal and informative account of her gripping journey through the global fertility industry in search of the solution to her own “unexplained infertility” exposes eye-opening information about the medical, financial, legal, scientific, emotional and ethical issues at stake.
Although conception may seem like a simple biological process, this is often hardly the case. While many would like to have children, the road toward conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy can be unexpectedly rocky and winding.
The 44-year-old never imagined her quest for children would ultimately involve seven miscarriages, eight fresh IVF cycles, two frozen IVF attempts, five natural pregnancies, four IVF pregnancies, ten doctors, six countries, two potential surrogates, nine years, and roughly $200,000.
Despite her three Ivy League degrees and wealth of resources, Elizabeth found she was woefully under-educated when it came to understanding and confronting her own difficulties having children.
Shattered by her inability to get and stay pregnant, she surprised even herself by her determination to keep trying.
After being told by four doctors she should give up, but without an explanation as to what exactly was going wrong with her body, Elizabeth decided to look for answers herself. The global investigation that followed revealed that approaches to the fertility process taken in many foreign countries are vastly different than those in the US and UK.
This journey took her to Moscow and into the AltraVita Clinic, where she met Dr Oxana.
The fertility consultant told her she was to have a homeopathic detox her body of all the hormones pumped into her during her previous unsuccessful treatments, and then come back to see her in a few months.
When she returned she was placed on a low drug protocol. This concerned Elizabeth as she had previously been told that only high doses of IVF drugs would stimulate her body enough to produce good quality eggs. Something Dr Oxana dismissed immediately and told Elizabeth that she must follow her instructions 100 per cent.
She recently told MarieClaire.com: “As it turned out, Dr. Oxana was right about everything. I followed her every instruction for a few months and, after two rounds of IVF, produced eight healthy eggs, which developed into four embryos—all for a total cost of approximately $4,000. I got pregnant, twice. One ended in another miscarriage, but one became our son, William. As Dr. Oxana told me, her skeptical American patient, at our first meeting: “It only takes one good egg. What do you want so many for?”
In Conceivability, armed with a wealth of knowledge from her years-long fertility struggle, as well as stories from other women and couples, Elizabeth bravely offers a look inside one of the most difficult, painful, rewarding, and loving journeys a woman can take.
The book, Conceivability: What I Learned Exploring the Frontiers of Fertility, is out now and available at £11.99