Global News anchor and husband open up about their fertility issues
SASKATOON – It affects more couples than you would imagine, perhaps even a colleague at work. One in every six Canadian couples experience infertility and Global News anchor Julie Mintenko and her husband Kelly were one of them.
The broadcaster knew it could take up to a year, even two, to get pregnant but never expected the long, agonizing journey ahead when the couple was finally ready to start a family.
“He was born on Labour Day at 12:40 a.m. and his full name is Keaton Charles Robert Mintenko,” said Julie as she rocked Keaton to sleep in his nursery.
Born via emergency c-section because he was 100 per cent breech, Keaton arrived a few days early, bringing the couple joy in every single way, like they knew the birth of their very own baby always would.
He is everything they’ve ever wanted and more, after the Mintenkos say they endured a very difficult and emotional journey that started five years ago.
“We just kinda let things happen as they happened and then nothing really happened.”
The couple was told they had a two per cent chance of conceiving on their own. So at the advice of her medical professionals, Julie started a fertility treatment known as Intrauterine insemination (IUI) to facilitate fertilization, combined with fertility drugs.
“I’d basically have to be in the bathroom, lock the door at work and get this all set up,” said Julie.
“Inject myself with the needle and then go do the show.”
Between newscasts, Julie said she would go home and shed a few tears, hoping each time they went through the treatments they would receive good news.
“The first time that it didn’t work it was like we were hit by a truck. Both of us really thought it had worked and seeing, not only feeling, the disappointment and heartbreak yourself but seeing it on your partner’s face is a really hard thing to cope with.”
As one of Global’s anchors, Mintenko is the familiar, friendly face viewers would tune into but once the lights dimmed and cameras were off, only close family and friends knew of the couple’s very painful, very private struggle to have a baby.
“All you do is try to support each other through it and I think we did pretty good at that but we definitely had some really rough days where both of us were pretty upset.”
The toughest part for Julie’s husband, Kelly, was not knowing what was wrong and knowing how bad his wife wanted a child.
“Is it something we’re doing? Maybe it’s just not meant to be, it was tough seeing somebody you love struggle that much,” said Kelly.
“You’re so helpless because you’re trying to do everything you can do.”
Kelly said if someone had said to climb your roof once a day as a surefire way of getting pregnant, they would have.
Julie underwent a surgical procedure for Endometriosis, a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus that is often a painful disorder. Three more unsuccessful attempts at getting pregnant with the assistance of fertility treatments, the couple decided to take a break and that’s when it happened.
“We were pregnant.”
The couple had beat all the odds and welcomed their son into the world less than a month ago.
“It was just an incredible experience,” said Kelly. “Obviously, people sit there and probably have the mindset that it might just be easier to give up but the end result is worth all the trials and tribulations.”
According to Infertility Awareness Association of Canada, an estimated 47 per cent of Canadians will be touched by infertility in some way, whether it’s family, friends or their own experience, but very few couples speak about their struggles.
“I hope that by talking about it maybe if there is a woman out there that is going through the same thing with her partner, I can make her feel a little more encouraged to keep going and not give up,” said Julie.
IUI is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the Fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization.
© 2015 Shaw Media