Jun 16, 2023

Sharing The Future Family Experience - Antonett

Meet Antonett, a Future Family member from Hayward, California. Antonett underwent 3 IUIs and 3 IVF cycles and is now mom to a beautiful little girl. Her journey is full of patience, determination and grit.

Hi Antonett, tell us a little about your story.

Antonett:  I started my loan with Future Family in April 2022. By the time I had gotten introduced to Future Family, I had already been doing the IVF treatment rodeo for nearly two years. I'm lucky to work for an employer that actually covers fertility treatments up to a certain dollar amount, which was the caveat I ran into when I started with Future Family.

I had already done three rounds of IUI, and those failed. We started to investigate why. My doctor did not want to not wait as I was 33-34ish, and pushed me to bank embryos before I turned 35.  I was at that critical age where I had a higher chance of success..

So we moved on to the banking embryo stage, and we decided to go forward with IVF. My insurance covered all of the IUI and my first two rounds of IVF, but I ended up needing three rounds in the end. But by the time I was finished with my second round, there was a caveat with my insurance, where they would not cover back-to-back rounds of IVF.

Why was that the case?

Antonett: I did my first round of IVF, and I ended up with one genetically normal embryo. I wanted to do another cycle to bank at least one more before doing a transfer. I tried to submit a pre-approval through my insurance at that time, and they said ‘No, we're not going to approve the second cycle because you have a viable embryo to transfer. So you have to transfer that one. And if that one fails, then we cover the second round.’ Which is kind of annoying. My doctor and I were not happy about it, but we had to do it this way so I would not have to pay out of pocket. We also thought ‘what if this embryo works out and you do get pregnant, you do have this baby.’ I was okay with only one kid anyway, so let's just try it then we can revisit. So we did the transfer in October 2021 after I had completed my first round of IVF, and it worked. But unfortunately, I lost the pregnancy very early on.

So it was pretty devastating to have to do everything all over again. It really was frustrating. If I would have just listened to the doctor's advice and paid for that 2nd cycle out of pocket, then I wouldn’t have had to go back to the drawing board and do the whole thing all over again.

What did you do next?

Antonett:  I gave my body about a month to heal.  Then at the end of February 2022 my doctor said, ‘if you're mentally ready, we can do this all over again.’ So I did a second round of IVF from February to March 2022 that again yielded one genetically normal embryo. So knowing what I had just gone through, I wasn't going to try to go through a transfer again. If something were to go wrong, then I’d have to go back to the drawing board yet again. That's when I started with Future Family, knowing that my insurance was not going to cover that third round of IVF, and I didn’t have the cash on hand to do another round of IVF without any type of financial help. I didn't really want to ask my family for help because I wasn't very open or forthcoming about doing IVF or any fertility treatment in the first place.

Luckily my clinic, Kindbody San Francisco, already had a partnership with Future Family. That was actually really clutch. It was like, ‘Okay, I want to do this thing, and I already know my insurance is not going to cover it, but I don't want to be inefficient about it.  I'm being told if I do this before a certain age, then I have a much higher chance of success.’

What attracted you to your fertility clinic?

Antonett: Kindbody offered fertility assessments without having to be referred to by your doctor, and they worked with my insurance. This allowed me to understand where I was [with my reproductive health], if there was potentially anything wrong. You don't know these things until you go and ask, and my regular doctor was not even willing to do that until I had tried to get pregnant for a year.

I've not had the best experience with OB care. I found it very invasive. I found a lot of doctors don't ask to do procedures on you, they just do them and hope that you're going to tolerate the discomfort. With Kindbody, it was a very different experience. My doctor there always asked for my consent before doing anything. She asked for permission to do things.

With Kindbody,  I just got a very good feeling at the start of the whole process, especially after seeing my  scans and finding out more about my body. Afterwards, the doctor told me to get dressed, we sat down, and she explained her initial findings, what she saw, and what my options could be.

And it was a good thing that I kept going to them because they ended up discovering, over the two years of treatment, that I actually would not have gotten pregnant without any assistance at all.

What did they discover?

Antonett:  It turned out I had blockages in my right fallopian tube - residual inflammation and scarring from a ruptured appendix, which wasn't officially diagnosed until after I had done the first round of IVF where I lost the embryo. It was when they had me do more detailed testing that they found it. It was also inflamed and leaking poisonous fluid back into my uterus. So that's why I hadn't been able to get pregnant.

What a journey you’ve been through...

Antonett: Right?! Everything that I learned about my body during that two-year process, that I literally would have never known if I hadn’t gone to this clinic to begin with and gotten all the testing done. If I had listened to my OB who said ‘try for a year and come back to us’ I would have wasted an entire year of my life.

In this case, trusting your own gut was the right choice. How did you like your experience with Future Family?

Antonett: it was really easy to set up and get approved. And then I talked to Darin. It was nice to talk to him and then be set up with a fertility coach.

Your Fertility Coach Katie?

Antonett: Yes, she would check up on me after all of my appointments. Because she's a nurse I would tell her all of the measurements from my appointments and how things were progressing. It was nice to be able to get to that fine level of detail versus if I was talking to a counselor with no medical background.

What made you decide on a fertility loan?

Antonett: I asked my friend, who got her mortgage through a credit union, if they did smaller loans than mortgages. And it just seemed like I would have to do a lot of work to figure out financing this procedure. Whereas if I went with Future Family who my clinic worked with,  it was just all going to be done for me. And at the time, I'd already gone through two rounds of IVF; I didn't want to do a third, but I had to. It was the last thing I wanted to think about–having to seek out a personal loan and compare interest rates and do all of this stuff versus ‘okay, well the clinic already works with this company, and they break down your loan into smaller payments that you can definitely afford.’

How was your experience with Future Family?

Antonett:  It was really good. The fertility coaching - just being able to email Katie back and forth about every single appointment, how everything went. And the third round of IVF is what ended up leading to my daughter. That third round of IVF, it was like a perfect storm. Because by then, I had a brand new doctor. She looked at what had been done previously and she changed up a lot of stuff in my protocol actually. Completely new, fresh set of eyes looking at the problem. She ended up doing my fallopian tube removal, to remove the blocked tube.

And then my third round of IVF was super successful. I ended up getting three embryos that were genetically normal and excellent quality. And then one of those excellent embryos ended up being transferred in August of that year. That’s my daughter!

How often did you utilize your Future Family Fertility Coach, Katie?

Antonett:  I would give her an update after every appointment, every other day until the egg retrieval. Then I let her know about my surgery and gave her updates. After the egg retrieval, updates were a little more sparse, but I would let her know about how I was recovering from my surgery and the plans going forward.

And then at the transfer stage, I started utilizing her a lot more. Because after the transfer, you have to wait 10 days before you find out if you’re pregnant. I was just really paranoid because with the first transfer I felt every symptom in the book. So I was thinking  ‘Oh, I'm feeling odd. This must mean it's working.’ Then how it ended was pretty tragic. So then with the second transfer, it was the complete opposite – it happened and then I felt nothing. I just didn't feel any different. It was so weird. I'm like, ‘Oh man, this didn't work.’ Then, I would email Katie with all of my concerns and my anxieties about how I was pretty sure that this transfer didn't work and how I'm going to move forward and everything. Then my clinic called me up after 10 days and said, ‘Hey, here's your level. You are pregnant.’ I said, ‘you're joking. I don't feel anything’ They said, ‘No. Your level is very high. You are definitely pregnant.’ I went in for a follow up blood test 3 days later, and they told me that my number had tripled!

Up until I graduated from Katie's care and from my clinic, I was messaging Katie every two days because every time I felt something new, I'd be like, ‘is this normal?’ Especially when you're so early in your pregnancy. People don't talk about it that early with others, when you're like five, six weeks pregnant. Some people don't even know that they're pregnant at five or six weeks, but when you're a fertility patient, you're told you're pregnant before you realize you're pregnant.

What else did you enjoy about Future Family?

Antonett: The loan itself and the payments and how it is broken down for me. For people who have to pay for multiple rounds of IVF out of pocket, it's definitely making it so much more accessible. Because you have to pay essentially another car payment for another five years, maybe a little bit more, which is financially more feasible than coughing up $16,000-$20,000 all at once or sticking that on your credit card.

Which is still cheaper than making payments on your credit card

Antonett: Yeah for sure. Because you either have to pay off that entire balance by the due date or you're stuck with a way higher interest rate.

What did you learn about yourself throughout this process?

Antonett:  Throughout this whole process I've learned way more about my own anatomy. And if anything, it makes me a little mad that when you're going through the US education system they do not teach people more about reproduction.

I've learned so much about reproduction, how it works, and all the ins and outs of it. I had to learn all of that while going through this process versus learning it in school.

What advice would you give to people going through the same or similar process?

Antonett:  Definitely not to give up. For a lot of people that go through fertility treatments, it's not just like you're going to do one procedure and then BAM! It worked for you. It really is something that you just have to stick with, and it can be a long process.

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