MTV features Buffalo Grove teacher, wife on fertility reality show
BY RONNIE WACHTER firstname.lastname@example.org August 8, 2013 8:46PM
Kurt and Jenna Kutska hold their newborn, Justin. The new parents are adjusting to life after appearing on MTV's True Life's "I'm Desperate to Have a Baby." | Photo submitted
Updated: September 10, 2013 6:25AM
Kurt and Jenna Kutska were in the middle of a year-and-a-half struggle to conceive, so a camera crew documenting the process didn’t make their ordeal any easier.
The Buffalo Grove High School teacher and his wife were filmed for MTV’s True Life reality show during several visits to a Chicago fertility clinic.
“People who haven’t had to go that route don’t know what goes into it,” said Kurt Kutska, who is now back at home in Wheeling with his wife and newborn son, Justin James.
Those who watched the “I’m Desperate for a Baby” show, which aired July 28, were able to learn about fertility struggles, but Kurt said he and his wife learned more about themselves and their marriage.
Restarting their lives as a family, Kurt is a couple of weeks away from returning to work as a special education teacher at Buffalo Grove High School, where he also coaches the football team’s defensive line.He is not sure what will await him at the start of practices; normally quiet and reserved, he said he had to open up quite a bit of his privacy, on a show his kids check out.
“All the football players watched it,” he said. “I’ don’t know what to expect.”
Kurt, 34, and Jenna, 28, never expected to have any problems with pregnancy, especially because they started trying shortly after their wedding.
“We wanted to have a family right away,” Jenna said. “We’d rather have it happen quick. We’d had friends who’d had issues getting pregnant, and we saw the struggle and how hard it was. Because we were starting so young, I didn’t think we’d have an issue.”
But after two years went by with no results, the Kutskas contacted Dr. Angie Beltsos at the Fertility Centers of Illinois, where it was discovered that Jenna suffered from endometriosis, a condition that blocked her fallopian tubes.
“I kept telling myself it’s going to happen, it’s OK,” Jenna said. “And it just wasn’t happening. All I ever wanted out of life was to have a baby.”
Hearing Beltsos’ diagnosis was a challenge.
“I think I cried for two and a half weeks straight,” Jenna said.
Unbeknownst to the Kutskas, the center had been contacted by the True Life producers, who were looking to document a couple’s struggle with infertility.
“Jenna and Kurt are so easy to be with,” said Beltsos, explaining why they were good candidates for the television special.
Jenna, who described herself as “an open book,” liked the idea right away. Kurt had reservations.
“I’m more private,” he explained.
They came to an agreement, though: If they shared their story, maybe they could shed light on an extremely delicate, fearsome and misunderstood plight.
The producers chose the Kutskas, and months of filming and retakes followed. They had to walk through a door three or four times until the camera crew got the background light balanced. Sometimes they had to repeat conversations because of microphone issues. But the producers never directed any action, never fed them lines or baited them.
“We didn’t realize how intense it was going to be,” Jenna said.
Those cameras captured plenty of delicate moments, including Jenna’s surgery to remove a fallopian tube. Kurt had to supply doctors a number of sperm samples while crews captured the scene from the other side of the door.
“It was surreal,” he said of his reality TV experience.
But it was also effective. Using in vitro fertilization, the Kutskas conceived a baby in October.
On July 18, Jenna gave birth to a 7-pound, 8-ounce, 20-inch boy. When the show aired 10 days later, they were flooded with calls, texts and emails from family, friends and acquaintances who had never spoken much about their own infertility struggles.
“People came out of the woodwork,” Jenna said, and Kurt discovered that one of his former players had been conceived in vitro.
Everyone involved said they were pleased with the show’s final product.
“They did an excellent job of bringing the story together, from start to finish,” Beltsos said. “I was proud to be a part.”
And though the Kutskas might have complications in future attempts, a natural conception remains a possibility. One way or another, Jenna and Kurt are planning to add to the family.
“Now I’m like ‘OK, when are we having our next baby?’” Jenna said while looking down at her newborn. “To give you a brother or sister, or two.”
Justin burps at that prospect.