89Days to go
Marissa&Ian Stroup is organizing this fundraiser.
What is it? A fundraiser for Ian and Marissa’s infertility journey toward parenthood
How does it work? “Buy” a puzzle piece (or pieces) at $10 each and leave a comment with the name(s) you would like to be written on the back of them.
As many of you know, Ian and Marissa met on the brink of a global pandemic and have been struggling with the aftereffects of COVID on Marissa’s health for over 2 years now. Marissa finally got an appointment for autonomic testing at the University of Utah after being on the wait list for over a year and looks forward to possibly finding more ways to improve her everyday function with POTS.
Control over POTS symptoms continues to be a roller coaster but finally, after almost 2 years without gainful employment, Marissa settled back into working life at a slower paced job. Because of this and their continuing contribution to a modest emergency savings, they were finally comfortable enough to start a family. When Marissa’s OB/GYN said the words “due to your age” she should report any problems getting pregnant before the one-year mark, it stung a little, but they were just grateful to have a responsive medical team. Fast forward several months with no luck, Marissa and Ian began down the road of testing and doctor’s appointments to make sure there wasn’t anything preventing a natural conception. They eventually found themselves at an infertility clinic where they were told that they had a 2% chance of conceiving naturally and their only option was IVF. After further testing they got more devastating news. Due to unforeseen medical issues, one of them is unable to contribute biologically to conception. Ian and Marissa will now have to use a donor in order to become pregnant.
Ian and Marissa have both always looked forward to having children and raising a family. Their hearts and minds are 100% ready for the incredible journey that is parenthood. Unfortunately, neither of their jobs offer insurance that will cover any form of infertility treatment. Savings are already going toward the tests and appointments and personal loans have an incredibly high interest rate. “Due to her age” it is recommended that Ian and Marissa begin the process of using assistive reproductive technology (ART) to conceive sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, the cost of donor gametes, fertility treatments and everything that comes with it leaves their dream of being parents just out of reach.
How you can help
We have kept the beginning of this journey relatively private as it has been heartbreaking for the both of us but it has become obvious that we cannot do this on our own. Knowing our financial limitations, we have come up with a creative way for people to be involved in our journey while also helping to lessen the financial burden so that we CAN start a family. We have purchased a puzzle and are going to “sell” pieces of the puzzle to anyone who would like to be a part of this journey. Puzzle pieces will be $10 each. You can buy however many pieces you want, or simply donate toward our financial goal. Everyone who purchases a puzzle piece will have their name written on the back of that piece. You can purchase as many pieces as you like! Once all of the pieces have been purchased, we will put the puzzle together and hang it in our house, ideally the future nursery! The back of the puzzle with everyone’s names and well wishes on it will be a constant reminder of everyone who helped us achieve our dream of having children of our own.
Thank you, everyone for the support, prayers, and well wishes!!!
Ian and Marissa
Half way there!
Wow, we are just so blessed to have so many amazing friends and family come out to support us on this journey to parenthood! We have raised half of our goal and sold about 40% of our puzzle pieces. The money we have raised so far has helped us break even on what we have spent already AND almost enough to pay for donor gametes. Before everything is a go, we must have an educational consult with a reproductive psychologist to learn more about the intricacies of raising a donor conceived child, for our child’s wellbeing and our own navigation of this uncharted territory. Last step will be one more procedure for Marissa to be sure her uterus is in tip top shape to carry a baby to term. It is our hope that everything is in good shape and we can move forward with our current treatment plan which is a fraction of the price of the alternative.
Thank you again for all your incredible generosity and overall support/prayers/good vibes. It really means the world to us!
Marissa had her last test done to see if she was ready to go for donor conception and passed with flying colors! After a couple weeks of really working through our emotions regarding our infertility, we are both ecstatic and so ready for this next chapter. We are still so in awe and grateful for all of the donations we have received. We are hoping to reach our goal and be ready to go by April. If you know anyone who may be interested in \\\\"buying\\\\" a puzzle piece, please share our link!
As always, eternal thanks to EVERYONE for their support, whether it be financial or otherwise. We feel the love <3
Hi friends and followers of our journey!
Everyone has been so generous with their support we figured an update was due. So far we have had 2 failed cycles. We are obviously a little discouraged but also know that it is common to require multiple tries per pregnancy. We may not share much in our journey anymore/lately, but we know we have an amazing support system in all of you and that is what matters most! To help catch up on costs we will be doing some car detailing so if you live close, be sure to hit us up for a quote!
Once again, we thank you SO much for your love and support!
Ian and Marissa
Birthday month update
It is officially well into my birthday month, and I thought I would take this opportunity to raise more awareness and post an update on our infertility journey. Just a reminder that infertility is NOT uncommon, and you all probably know one or several couples who have struggled in one way or another. If you can\'t think of anyone, it is because people don\'t talk about it. It is as if there is shame and fear around anyone knowing that your body isn\'t quite doing what it should. (warning, SUPER long post)
Anyway, Ian and I set off on our conception journey 4 months ago. We had grieved the loss of having children with both of our genetics, chosen a sperm donor who fulfilled our desires in personality, genetics, and overall sense of a good person, and were ready to get started. No one really knows what the journey entails (especially the part BEFORE people resort to IVF) unless they, or someone close to them, has been through it. I know this for sure because my mother was an OBGYN and is learning it all right along with us.
After all the consults and tests and procedures to get an infertility diagnosis/be deemed physically and biologically able to carry a child, comes the actual process of insemination. This process is called IUI (intrauterine insemination). This is the path Ian and I have chosen to start as it is significantly less expensive (initially) and far less invasive than IVF. This consists of being on medication during the beginning of your cycle, going in for multiple ultrasounds to count and measure your follicles (each mature follicle on your ovary has/releases an egg), and then, when deemed ready, injecting with a \"trigger\" shot to force ovulation. This shot is a shock of hormones to the body and comes with some interesting side effects to say the least. After the trigger, you go in for your IUI/baby making. The process of trying to create life is extremely unromantic, sterile, scientific, and with someone other than my husband not only in the room but doing the actual inseminating! Luckily, Ian and I have always been in good spirits and are very comfortable in the medical setting. (our whole care team is AMAZING) THEN is the dreaded two week wait. Two weeks of acting and behaving like you are pregnant. 2 weeks of health tips and trick to \"get you pregnant\" and \"make it stick\" Two weeks of nerves and anticipation of either a positive or negative test.
Our first two cycles failed and the two weeks turned into disappointment and anticipation of my period so we could start again. Cycle day 1, schedule a baseline ultrasound! Start meds day 3. Follicle ultrasound day 12 and repeat! Each cycle a roller coaster where you don\'t have time to catch your breath after a steep decline before you are already making your way up for another. After multiple alterations to medication doses and med schedules, our third cycle felt different. My follicles and uterine lining looked amazing right at the follicle ultrasound. When we went in for the IUI, our provider told us my cervix was open which was a great sign of ovulation and timing. We took selfies on the table and joked about how \"the guy didn\'t even have the balls to show up so Ian could kick his ass\" (which we do every time). It was the easiest two week wait I\'ve ever had because I just KNEW I was pregnant.
Ian\'s dad was in town but would be leaving a couple days before our test day. We took a chance and tested 2 days early. I was right! I saw that tiny faint line on the pee stick and couldn\'t have been more excited! We had planned to have lunch together with my parents that afternoon, so Ian and I rushed to Hobby Lobby, got \"grandparent gifts\" and put them together disguised as early Father\'s Day presents. On our way home we made a quick stop at the lab to get the routine bloodwork. I got everything on video. Ian\'s reaction to the faint positive, our parents\' reaction to the news, everything.
That afternoon I was awoken from my nap by a phone call from our clinic. They said \"your HCG was a little lower than we\'d like but it is still early so come back in 2 days for repeat bloodwork.\" You never want to hear a sentence like that from a medical provider, but I was assured that they still see people have healthy pregnancies with these numbers…sometimes. That next day and a half was longer than any two week wait I had ever endured. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I took comfort in the very obvious changes happening to my body, telling myself that it proves that I AM pregnant. Well…that reassurance didn\'t last long. Long story short, my numbers were not increasing like they were supposed to and we did not have a viable pregnancy. Before our two week wait was up, within 48 hoours, we both found out we were pregnant AND that it wasn\'t going to last.
They call it a chemical pregnancy. There was basically just enough of a conception to cause an elevation in HCG but not much else. We never saw it, named it, or even fully processed that we had been pregnant in the first place. The miscarriage happened almost identical to how a period happens. It happened when I would have only been 2 days late. It happened so quickly that I may have never known what happened had I not been so closely monitored by a fertility clinic. But it did happen.
You may think this is the end where I sum things up, and if you have made it this far, I commend you for your ability focus long enough to read this! BUT it doesn\'t end there. The day the miscarriage started they counted it just like a period and we started the process all over again. Baseline ultrasound looked good, med doses stayed the same only this time we were adding gonal-f shots to increase follicle number and size. These shots are incredibly painful going in and made me sick as a dog! but I had told myself it was good and that THIS would be our month because my body knew how to get pregnant and now we had a plan in place to keep it pregnant! Three ultrasounds and multiple extra shots later, the doctors, MA\'s, and NP\'s are stumped as to why my body isn\'t responding like everyone else\'s does to the shots. It made plenty of follicles but none of them grew to mature size. We got this news on the first day of my birthday month. The day I had estimated we would be doing our 4th IUI with our 4th and final vial of donor sperm ($1,000 a pop to get more). Which brings us to today, mid way through an abandoned cycle that had already cost us way more than any of the other three due to so many shots and extra ultrasounds, being told our doctor recommends we meet for follow-up consult to \"discuss treatment options.\" I, obviously, had hopes of being pregnant for my birthday but things just don\'t happen how you hope.
This long and rambley story is the journey BEFORE discussing other options. BEFORE having to consider taking out a $30,000 loan for IVF which will undoubtedly be more difficult, invasive, and still without any promise of it actually working. I knew NOTHING about this process until I was actually in it. They call it the cheaper and less invasive option but we are here after 3 and a half rounds feeling beat up, stuck, and still bleeding money since every time we walk in those the doors it costs us over $200 at minimum.
We LOVE our providers who have been guiding us through this entire process. We feel love from them every time we visit and every time they hate to give us bad news. We are truly blessed to have had such an amazing experience with our clinic in such a difficult time. We are also extremely grateful to our places of work for providing safe places for us to be open and honest when needing to make last minute appointments.
Here is my birthday ask. If you ever find yourself in a position to make a difference in policy changes, insurance coverage options, etc. please bring awareness to the very real need for coverage and support in infertility. Also, please consider sharing our story and our fundraiser link with anyone you think might be inclined to donate or offer ideas for financial assistance/sponsorship/etc. It is a very real thing that some families START their lives as parents in tens of thousands of dollars of debt JUST to have been able to get there in the first place. This post was probably more for me than anything else. I haven\'t gotten a chance to sit down and process through everything we have gone through in the past year, much less these last few months. If you ever find yourself in a situation like ours or similar and feel like no one understands, please reach out! I get it, we get it. We are here for you
A new plan
If you have read our initial fundraiser, you will probably notice that our donation goal has grown exponentially. We had a follow-up consult with our doctor this week and had to make some hard decisions about our path to parenthood/treatment options. Because donor sperm are so expensive and we have basically been bleeding money every month paying for IUI's out of pocket, we decided that the right path for us would be to use the last vial of sperm we have for IVF which has a ~65% success rate per transfer versus 10-15% per IUI. It is not an easy decision and we definitely do not have it all planned out, but our desire to be parents is strong and we know that with all of the love and support we have in our lives, anything is possible. please consider donating, sharing, or entering us for a giveaway on this website.
|Katelynn Logston||$15.00||August 08, 2023|
|Lindsay Bonzer||$50.00||July 07, 2023|
|Sylvia Bonzer||$150.00||July 07, 2023|
|Holly Silveira||$10.00||April 04, 2023|
|Anonymous||$500.00||April 02, 2023|
|Julie Montamat||$100.00||April 01, 2023|
|Antonea Payan||$20.00||March 29, 2023|
|Andi Wilkins||$50.00||March 29, 2023|
|Pamela Starry||$100.00||March 25, 2023|
|Umily Hoang||$50.00||March 13, 2023|
|Debbie Hart||$50.00||March 02, 2023|
|Katherine Howard||$20.00||February 26, 2023|
|Katherine Howard||$10.00||February 26, 2023|
|Jennifer Walls||$20.00||February 26, 2023|
|Marsha Stroup||$250.00||February 15, 2023|
|Kristin Long||$50.00||February 10, 2023|
|Charles Brixey||$50.00||February 10, 2023|
|Lauren Bonzer||$50.00||January 31, 2023|
|Erica Hubbard||$20.00||January 30, 2023|
|Anonymous||$10.00||January 29, 2023|
|Melissa Parkvold||$50.00||January 29, 2023|
|Riley Tudbury||$20.00||January 29, 2023|
|Renee Montamat||$50.00||January 29, 2023|
|Isabel Hubbard||$20.00||January 29, 2023|
|Anonymous||$100.00||January 28, 2023|
|Anonymous||$100.00||January 28, 2023|
|Jerica Stacey||$50.00||January 27, 2023|
|April Johnson-Beery||$50.00||January 26, 2023|
|Amanda Kahoe||$100.00||January 26, 2023|
|Renee Miller||$50.00||January 25, 2023|
|Chris Baird||$100.00||January 25, 2023|
|Kennette McWilliams||$40.00||January 25, 2023|
|Anonymous||$20.00||January 24, 2023|
|Deidrah Sturman||$100.00||January 24, 2023|
|Maria Soto||$30.00||January 24, 2023|
|Meredith Buchanan||$50.00||January 24, 2023|
|Brenda Stroup||$50.00||January 22, 2023|
|Laura Griswold||$50.00||January 22, 2023|
|Geisen Doris||$500.00||January 22, 2023|
|Keith Stroup||$2,500.00||January 21, 2023|