Former Rexburg locals grateful to be pregnant after COVID-19 throws them a twist

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Adam and Marlena Millis’s adoption pictures. | Courtesy Marlena Millis

REXBURG — After eight years of trying to get pregnant, former Rexburg locals had no idea that COVID-19 forcing fertility clinics to shut down would be a blessing in disguise.

Adam and Marlena Millis currently live in Utah, but they met when attending school at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Shortly after getting married in 2012, they decided it was time to start trying for kids.

But certain health factors such as Marlena only having one ovary and having stage four (severe) endometriosis, where tissue grows outside the uterus, made it difficult for the couple to conceive.

“It’s not an easy thing and it definitely takes a toll,” thirty-year-old Marlena told “(There were) many tearful nights with my husband, feeling like I was the worst wife because I couldn’t have kids and that’s the one thing that women are supposed to be able to do.”

After two failed adoptions, countless infertility treatments and the expensive cost of In Vitro Fertilization, the Millis’ decided to try a cheaper, but still about $10,000 option to hopefully get pregnant — an embryo donation.

Marlena said people who have gone through IVF can donate their extra embryos back to the clinic for other people so they don’t have to do the full IVF process.

Last fall, they heard they were to be the recipients of donated embryos. They planned to start the treatments in April, but right before starting, Marlena said the clinics shut down due to COVID-19.

“We finally had a timetable of when we’re actually going to get this done and then it came crashing down,” Adam said. “She was crushed. I was crushed. We were like, well maybe we aren’t supposed to have kids. We’ve had our lives on hold for the last eight years trying (and) not being able to do much because all our money and effort has been going into having kids.”

But about a month and a half after the clinic they were going to shut down, to Marlena’s surprise, she found out she was pregnant. And she had gotten pregnant, naturally.

“I immediately called my husband and I told him, ‘Babe, there’s two lines.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘On the test I just took, there’s two lines.’ And he said, ‘Wait, really? You’re pregnant?’”

The Millis’s baby announcement. | Courtesy Marlena Millis

Thanks to some steps Marlena was already taking to prepare for the implantation, such as getting off the birth control that helped with her endometriosis, Adam said that played a role in her getting pregnant.

He said it’s a miracle she got pregnant around the same time she would have gotten the embryos implanted.

“COVID didn’t mess up the timeframe. It actually helped because if she went through with the implantation, she would have been on all these drugs that would suppress any of her own eggs from going anywhere,” he said. “Even though we would’ve loved the baby anyways (doing the embryo donation), this way it’s my wife and I’s DNA.”

Looking back on the past eight years, Marlena said infertility is something that needs to be talked about more because it affects so many people.

Her experience taught her to have faith despite obstacle after obstacle.

“We make plans and Heavenly Father takes care of the rest,” Marlena said. “Timing is everything.”

Marlena is 14 weeks along. Baby Millis is due in January.

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