Wilkinson: Assisted Reproduction

Jun 14, 2017

My husband celebrated his own first Father's Day after welcoming our son three years ago. By this time next year, he'll have double the pleasure on his big day since I’m now pregnant with a little girl.

Our long stalled dreams of becoming a family became reality because of Dartmouth Hitchcock's Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Program. When their doors closed recently, so too, did doors close on many men and women hoping to become parents

After six years of struggling to conceive, and unsuccessfully trying alternative methods, we finally began the daunting, unromantic, invasive process that is Assisted Reproductive Technology. This includes anything from fertility medication to In Vitro Fertilization, to surrogacy, and we had to do the complete IVF process twice. But both times worked, making us an infertility success story.

It’s said that Dartmouth’s shutdown of the clinic is because of staffing issues, even though it was still a moneymaking endeavor for the hospital, and there remains a big pool of folks who need or will need their services. I know at least five people who were in various stages of getting help from the clinic who’ve spoken openly about their struggles, even though there’s still an unfortunate stigma around infertility.

Like most things in this universe, our bodies are miracles of both art and science. Adjusting medicines, testing levels or hormones, blood draws and basic counsel are some of the reasons one might visit DH's clinic many times a week, sometimes daily. Once, I went four times in one day – partly because of the aforementioned staffing issues and the resulting lack of communication.

From my house to Dartmouth Hitchcock is a 40 minute trip and I can’t imagine having to drive any farther. A couple of days a week I work in the Lebanon area, so I was able to have some of my visits coincide with already being nearby. But mostly, I was at the beck and call of my body's timing and that off the staff. Driving to Burlington or Exeter or Massachusetts would have been out of the question.

I think of those who were in the middle of - or hoping to begin - the process of assisted reproduction and hope they can still find a way make their dreams of having children a reality.

My husband and I did, and now we’ve happily adjusted to our new roles as Mom and Dad.