Widow, 33, Pregnant After Using Late Husband’s Frozen Sperm for IVF

  • Lauren McGregor has been documenting her unlikely pregnancy journey on Instagram.
  • After her husband died of a brain tumor in 2020, she used his frozen sperm to conceive a child, who is due to arrive this year.
  • Lauren recently shared her story with Andrea Syrtash on the podcast “Pregnantish.”

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Lauren McGregor knew she would be a single mom eventually. She just hoped her husband Chris would be able to meet their child before he died of brain cancer.

McGregor’s husband’s diagnosis came early in their relationship, Lauren, 33, told Andrea Syrtash on the podcast, “Pregnantish,” but the couple always dreamed of expanding their family if they had the time.

They started to get serious about conceiving at the end of 2019, but by then, Chris’ illness had progressed to a point where they decided they had to start the sperm freezing process before he started chemotherapy. The pandemic, looming on the horizon, soon hit, disrupting his care.

Lauren ultimately used Chris’ sperm to conceive with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) nine months after he died in 2020. The process is naturally lonely in ways, McGregor told Syrtash, but in many respects she feels like her husband is with her. “He wanted me to very much live for him,” McGregor said.

Lauren and her late husband always wanted to have children

McGregor and Chris had known each other since childhood, and they reconnected after his mom died in 2012, she said on the podcast.

Chris had a son from a previous relationship when he and McGregor got together, she said. The new couple talked about having children of their own someday, but they put their plans on pause when Chris was diagnosed with a brain tumor at the end of 2013.

The topic of children came up again in 2017, when Chris was due to start chemotherapy and had the option of freezing his sperm. Chemotherapy can damage male fertility, and although McGregor said Chris’ sperm “came back four times stronger” after treatment, she was glad they banked some just in case.

“It was something that we never ever thought we would need,” McGregor told Syrtash on the podcast. “But I’m ever so thankful that we did bank it when we did, because it’s put me in the position I’m in today.”

The couple discussed the possibility that the child would grow up without Chris, and they even chose names together for the “little person that I’m creating for both of us,” which McGregor said she plans to keep.

She started IVF as soon as she was allowed

McGregor said the clinic had her wait nine months after Chris died before starting IVF. She became pregnant after the first cycle.

She said she waited to tell her 18-year-old stepson once she was 12 weeks pregnant and in the “safe zone.”

“I didn’t want to put the pressure of another loss in his life, or the pressure of him being worried about what journey I was going on,” she said on the podcast.

When she told him about his sibling in utero, McGregor said her stepson “shed a few tears” and thanked her for giving him a piece of his dad back.

“It was a dream of ours to expand our family, and I suppose for some people, their road of grief is different,” McGregor said on the podcast. 

“But it was something that I was never not going to do,” she said later in the episode. “I was never not going to have Chris’s child.”

As she enters her third trimester, McGregor plans to document the rest of her pregnancy and labor on Instagram @lifeafterdeath_withivf. You can hear the rest of her story on Friday’s episode of “Pregnantish” with Andrea Syrtash.