When Jassier González-Medel was a young girl growing up in Chile, he didn’t feel quite right in his body.
Years later, after his family had moved to New Jersey and he was going through puberty, he would sneak away and play dress up when no one was watching, putting on male clothing and drawing a beard meticulously on his face. He began dating women, and, while he still identified as a female, Jassier didn’t feel comfortable in his own skin.
Then, in 2013, when Jassier was out one night in Philadelphia, he met a woman who helped change that.
Her name was Jamie, and she loved to salsa dance. She had never been in a relationship with a woman before, but she didn’t care – something about Jassier, who was born Carolina, was irresistible. Jamie encouraged Jassier to present himself any way he wanted, as long as it made him happy. The two began dating, and soon, talking about a family.
“We talked about having children and how we would do it,” Jassier said recently. “While I had looked into this before, this was a totally new world for Jamie, who didn’t even know it could be possible for two women to have a child.”
Soon, talk turned into research, and research turned into an appointment with Dr. Jackie Gutmann at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia. It was at that appointment, in 2015, that Dr. Gutmann laid out a plan to achieve what Jassier and Jamie came for: a family.
Dr. Gutmann advised that the couple could use a method to fertilize Jassier’s eggs to create embryos, and that Jamie could carry one of those embryos to term, helping the couple have a child biologically related to them both.
Optimistic about the plan, the couple married in 2016. And while it was a special day, something was still missing for Jassier.
“I was doing the most important thing in my life in the wrong gender,” he remembered.
Months later, after Jassier confided in Jamie that he wished he could live life as man, she encouraged him to follow his heart.
“I don’t care if you’re a cat or a dog,” Jassier remembers Jamie telling him, “whatever you want to be, whatever you want to do, I’m here for you.”
Moments later, an emotional Jassier told Jamie he would begin his transition – but something very important had to happen before.
Jassier and Jamie returned to RMA of Philadelphia to start their family last November, and this time met with Dr. Castelbaum. Along with RMA of Philadelphia’s third party nursing team, consisting of Dana Tillotson and Marianne Kearney, Dr. Castelbaum put into action Dr. Gutmann’s initial plan.
By June of this year, Jassier had undergone an egg retrieval procedure with Dr. Castelbaum that saw him retrieve 31 eggs. Of those, more than 20 embryos were created and ten embryos underwent Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) to test for genetic abnormalities. Nine embryos came back healthy.
Relieved at the news, Jassier, who had a mastectomy in March, immediately continued his transition. Although it was an exciting time, it was also difficult: Jamie’s first embryo transfer last July ended in a chemical pregnancy – where the pregnancy is lost before the first heartbeat – and the couple had to try a second transfer.
In September, Dr. Castelbaum transferred a male embryo into Jamie’s uterus, and today, she is nine weeks pregnant. Jamie has morning sickness, Jassier is working on the baby’s room, and the couple couldn’t be happier.
“We are ecstatic,” Jassier said. “We are so grateful to Dr. Castelbaum and the entire RMA of Philadelphia family for helping us get here.”
“The difference with RMA is that they are people first, and doctors second. No matter how you identify, they treat you just the same – like family.”
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