On the popular show Friends, the characters of Monica and Chandler struggled with fertility issues. Like many real-life couples, the fictitious friends-turned-spouses tried to figure out where their problem with conceiving may lay. Is it the man's sperm? Is there something amiss in the woman's reproductive organs?
"Actually it's both of us," Chandler learns. "Apparently, my sperm has low motility, and you have an inhospitable environment." Monica questions this, to which Chandler responds, "It means my guys won't get off their Barcaloungers, and you have a uterus that is prepared to kill the ones that do."
Like those imaginary Friends, Courteney Cox-Arquette, the actress who portrayed Monica, and her husband, actor David Arquette, may have shared some laughs throughout their journey toward parenthood. But it was a journey filled with emotion, loss, pain, and perseverance.
"I get pregnant pretty easily," Cox-Arquette told People magazine, "but I have a hard time keeping them." Multiple miscarriages challenged the couple, but they bounced back again and again to try again.
When couples deal with infertility, sometimes the root problem is hard to detect. Doctors and fertility specialists will explore 4 possibilities: Is there a sperm problem? Is there an ovulation problem? Are the sperm and egg able to unite? Can the embryo implant and be sustained in the uterus?
The fourth possibility seemed to be to blame for Cox-Arquette's infertility. Cox-Arquette asserts that her difficulties originated from her body's overactive immune response to a fetus and causing miscarriages. The proteins thought to cause this reaction are called antiphospholipid antibodies. They are often present in the bodies of people with autoimmune disorders, like lupus, but they also exist in approximately 2% of the normal population. Some women take medications in order to suppress the immune response cells and allow an embryo to safely grow in the uterus.
As Cox-Arquette's 40th birthday approached, the couple decided to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF). "It's a fact that after a certain age you have less of a chance," Cox-Arquette has said. The couple also tried preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a test that checks embryonic cells for genetic abnormalities.
Monica and Chandler eventually decided to adopt. That's where truth strayed from fiction. After years of miscarriages and fertility treatments, Cox-Arquette and her husband, actor David Arquette, finally welcomed their daughter, Coco Riley Arquette, into the world on June 13, 2004.
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