March 2010

Becoming a Dad - March 2010 - Connections - Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Matthew Gregory and daughter Annika.

Becoming a Dad

At 27-years-old, Matthew Gregory knew that cystic fibrosis could prevent him from becoming a father. But he never dwelled on it — or even gave it much thought — until he met his girlfriend, Amanda.

As their relationship grew, Matthew and Amanda started to dream of having a child together. After a lot of soul searching, and discussions with Matthew’s doctors about what it would take for them to conceive, the couple decided to do whatever they could to become parents. Today, Matthew and Amanda cherish every day with their daughter, Annika, who is five months old.

The Journey Begins

“We put a lot of thought and effort into this decision,” said Matthew. For most couples, the decision to have a baby would simply mean letting nature take its course. But for Matthew and Amanda, conceiving a child would require a lengthy process, with no guarantees.

The first step for the couple was to meet with Matthew’s CF care team for advice.

“First and foremost, we had many discussions with my doctors, weighing the pros and cons to ensure that we could make an informed decision. We also did a lot of research on in vitro fertilization (IVF). We wanted to be sure we knew the risks and didn’t leap without looking,” said Matthew.

Many couples go through IVF multiple times before becoming pregnant. Fortunately, Matthew and Amanda only had to go through the process once. After the IVF implantation, and about 10 home pregnancy tests, the couple finally saw that bold blue line announcing the presence of their child.

“It was a nerve-wracking week to be sure. We wanted to have a child so badly. But I would have done this a billion times if I had to,” said Matthew.

Becoming a Dad - March 2010 - Connections - Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Matthew and Amanda were able to
have daughter Annika through IVF.
What’s In a Name?

For this miracle baby, the new parents knew they needed a special name. Annika said it all. In Hebrew, her name means grace or favour. Her two middle names, Moira and Kimberly, honor Matthew’s CF doctor, Moira Aitken, M.D. and Amanda’s mother.

Matthew and Amanda credit both women for providing the information and support they needed to begin this journey and the strength to weather the ups and downs.

The Facts about Fertility and CF

  • Nearly 98 percent of men with CF will need medical assistance to father a child.
  • For men with CF, the vas deferens is usually malformed, blocked with mucus or absent.
  • Malformed, blocked or missing vas deferens means that sperm cannot pass.
  • Even though the testes make sperm and intercourse is normal, the semen contains no sperm, so it cannot cause pregnancy.

In Vitro Fertilization

  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) — Sperm is removed from the testes and combined with one or more eggs from the woman. The fertilized eggs are then implanted.
  • Some men with CF can father children through IVF.
  • Many couples go through IVF multiple times before becoming pregnant.

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