Former 'Bachelor' star Astrid Loch says second round of IVF gave her 'instant PTSD'
"As soon as I went back into that clinic, I'm like, 'Oh yeah, this is terrible.'"
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Nearly one in six Canadians will face fertility issues on their journey to becoming parents — a struggle former "Bachelor" stars Astrid Loch and Kevin Wendt know all too well.
The couple, who met on season five of "Bachelor in Paradise" in 2018, are expecting their second child. However, their road to parenthood hasn't be easy.
The reality TV alums welcomed son August "Auggie" Wendt in November 2021 following a nearly year-long journey of fertility treatments.
To become pregnant with August, Loch, 32, first went through two rounds of IUI — a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman's uterus close to the fallopian tubes — which ended in an ectopic pregnancy.
"That's really when I think the roller coaster [of emotions] set in," Loch tells Yahoo Canada.
Because the chances of having another ectopic pregnancy increase if you've had one before, the couple moved to IVF — a medical procedure whereby an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body and then transferred to the uterus.
"Even once you decide I'm doing IVF, it's not really linear," Loch says. "It's a lot of ups and downs."
The couple, who live in Burlington, Ont., couldn't access fertility treatment coverage in the province as Loch, who is American, had only just applied for residency. Her husband, Kevin Wendt, 39, is Canadian.
Ontario is one of seven provinces to offer some form of fertility treatment coverage. The province funds one IVF cycle for women up to age 42 and unlimited IUI cycles.
Other provinces, including Quebec, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, offer various forms of financial help for people needing fertility treatments.
Following their privately-funded IVF cycle, the couple became pregnant. "We were lucky," she says. Loch carried to term, and August was born in November 2021.
When it came time to try for their second, the couple returned to the fertility clinic, an experience Loch describes as giving her "instant PTSD."
"The first day of going back into the fertility clinic, you just get flooded with every emotion you felt the first time around," she tells Yahoo Canada.
"Once you're pregnant and your kids are born, you almost forget everything that happened because you're so excited and hyper-focused on having your kid home with you," she says. "As soon as I went back into that clinic, I'm like, 'Oh yeah, this is terrible.'"
The couple had two frozen embryos left from their first pregnancy, meaning Loch could avoid another retrieval.
As with their first pregnancy, their first IVF cycle was a success. "I realized that I'm really lucky in that because a lot of times that doesn't happen," she says.
Part of that luck, Loch admits, is being able to afford two privately-funded rounds of IVF — a financial reality shared by few.
In Ontario, one round of IVF costs roughly $11,000. IUI is funded for Ontario residents. Depending on where you live in the country, IVF typically costs $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle.
While Ontario covers the first round of IVF, Loch describes it as a "waiting game" that can take up to a year to get approved.
"A lot of people struggle with that," she says, because "you want to wait, you want to have that cycle be funded, but once you're in the fertility clinic, you've probably been trying for at least a year. So you're just anxious to start your family."
Her experience with infertility and IVF led Loch to join the Fertility Friends Foundation, a Canadian charity providing educational resources and financial support for families going through fertility treatments.
"Even though we struggled to conceive our kids, we were still really fortunate because we didn't have to think twice about whether we were able to afford it," she says. "A lot of people aren't in those same shoes."
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