IVF Couple Gets the Biggest Surprise of a Lifetime — on Live TV!

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

On September 24, Jessica Menkhausen and her fiance, Derek Manion, became the first couple to undergo an IVF procedure on live television. 17 days later, the couple discovered they’re pregnant with their first child!

During Jessica’s IVF implantation, NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman harvested eggs from her ovaries at St. Luke’s Hospital in Missouri. Viewers tuning into the Today show listened as Snyderman said the eggs would be transported to a laboratory where they would be injected with Derek’s sperm to start the fertilization process. Three days later, the “good embryos” were transferred back to Jessica’s uterus. But why on live TV?

Jessica told Today that she wanted to share her fertility treatment journey to “enlighten other women who are having the same challenges,” as well as herself. “It’s also a form of self-enlightenment — sharing my story is helping me deal with some of my own fears, by courageously facing them head on.” She shared that her fertility issues started long before she and Derek made the decision to try IVF.

In her teens, Jessica said that she experienced “excruciating” period pains. In her twenties, she suffered through two ectopic pregnancies. “It took years to get over,” she told the television. But it wasn’t until she met Dr. Silber, her doctor, that she had hope.

Before teaming up with Today, Jessica and Derek had agreed to put their wedding on hold to pay for the procedure, which can cost near $17,000 per cycle. “Despite the roller coaster,” Jessica said, “I know the first time I hear our baby cry, it will be well worth everything we have gone through.” Prior to today’s announcement, they were hoping that their first round of IVF would be successful; they’d used up all their savings to pay for the procedure.

“I want to be positive,” Jessica said, “and I think we’re going to have twins and they’re going to have red hair and blue eyes. That’s what we have to keep thinking.” For Jessica and Derek, all those positive thoughts have paid off! The engaged pair are pregnant with their first child!

Earlier this week, the couple received a call from their doctor confirming that the IVF had worked. After hearing the happy news, Jessica told reporters that she plans to show her children the TV segment to show them just how much mom and dad wanted them. (How sweet is that?!)

So, what happens next? Jessica says it’s time to pack-in her fast food eating days. “I know that the next three months are a very critical time period for the pregnancy, so no more fast food for me.” And we’ve got some good news, mama: if you’re in a jam there are plenty of healthy, alternative fast food options that will give you and baby the nutrients you need!

“Ultimately were are praying for a safe pregnancy and healthy babies. This whole process has been an amazing journey for both of us.” Oh mama, looks like the journey is just beginning!

Would you ever undergo IVF on television?

Plus, more from The Bump:

IVF 101: What You Need to Know

Fertility Treatment Basics

Weird Fertility Terms Decoded