Infertility journey leads to joy
Ben and Phoebe Carpenter have big hearts and a lot of love to share. Both originally from California, they had to travel halfway around the world to meet on a medical mission trip in Nigeria. Phoebe was serving as a nurse and Ben was along to document the trip through videography and photography.
"Unfortunately—or happily—I got a skin infection at the beginning of the trip which required me to receive a series of daily injections... in the butt," says Ben. "Phoebe was the only nurse who volunteered to give me the shots. From that moment, we clicked."
Ben and Phoebe married in 2012 and a year later decided they were ready to have a child.
In 2014 the Carpenters had their first successful pregnancy, which sadly ended in a miscarriage at 11 weeks. After continuing to try for over another year without success, they met with Dr. Mark Bidwell at Kettering Reproductive Medicine for a fertility consultation.
"Dr. Bidwell recommended we begin with a fertility evaluation to better understand our chances of naturally conceiving," says Ben. "He explained upfront the differences between some common treatment options—specifically intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF)."
IUI is a simple, relatively inexpensive, office procedure where concentrated sperm from a partner or donor is placed in the upper uterus using a small plastic tube. The process is completed during a monitored cycle with the use of ovulation drugs to best ensure optimal timing of conception.
IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs simultaneously, surgically retrieving all mature eggs from the ovaries in a brief office procedure under an anesthetic, and fertilizing the eggs with sperm from the partner or donor in a lab. Three to five days after fertilization, embryos are transferred to the uterus.
"We knew several people who had tried IUI and were unsure if we should jump straight to IVF," says Ben. "Our test results came back without any concerns and with this knowledge, Dr. Bidwell recommended we try IUI since it is a more cost-effective and less invasive procedure."
In March 2016, after three years of trying to conceive, Ben and Phoebe moved forward with the IUI process. It was successful on the first attempt.
Ben and Phoebe's son was born in December 2016 and the Carpenters now have a child of their own to care for and photograph.
"Being a parent is amazing," says Ben. "We are still learning, and although there are late nights and hard moments, when your baby smiles at you and locks eyes, nothing else matters."