It took us almost three years to get pregnant with our daughter Madison. Three years of shots, fertility treatments, tears, IVF, IUI, miscarriages, heartbreak, and finally, success. I realize that even after all that, I am one of the lucky ones. More often than I would like, families don’t see success and struggle through infertility year after year. Again, we were lucky. But now, on the heels of my daughter’s first birthday, I am left with more decisions, two more decisions to be exact. I have two embryos left from my last IVF cycle, and I do not want any more children.
So now what? Um, ya, your guess is as good as mine. It feels selfish to think about, so to all the families struggling through infertility I see you and feel the pain you are feeling. But right now, they are sitting in a very expensive ice box. I pay the bill and cringe a little, but there are so many emotions around these embryos. The way I see it, there are four options. Donate them to a deserving family, donate them to science, keep paying for them to sit there or destroy them. Right now, none of these feels right.
First, I worked hard for them. As I previously mentioned, there was a lot of heartbreak throughout our infertility journey. So, it was exciting that we were able to retrieve not one but three embryos to show for it. I only had one embryo during our first round of IVF, which ended in a miscarriage, so to have three was a miracle.
Second, I feel lucky to be able to keep them safe. I read an article about a Ukrainian doctor that is stayed behind with limited staff and resources to protect frozen embryos in his practice. His patients have fled the country or are staying in bomb shelters and yet, he is risking it all to try and keep these embryos viable. I can’t imagine what he, and the few staff he has left, are going through. And more than anything, I understand and applaud what he is doing. I know how lucky we are to have a safe home for our embryos.
Third, they were expensive. We did several rounds of IUI, multiple tests, some serious medications, and two rounds of IVF…all out of pocket. If you aren’t familiar with fertility treatments, let me tell you it isn’t cheap. I’ve heard of families taking second jobs, refinancing homes, and so much more to pay for these treatments and subsequent losses as well. So sadly, that’s a factor in our decision of what to do next with our two peanuts.
Finally, they are real, and they are a piece of us, my husband and I. How do I let that go? These embryos are something I worked so hard for, something we are protecting at all costs, and now I have to decide their fate? That’s not a decision I take lightly, that’s for sure.
So, I ask again, now what? I think I know deep down what we will decide, but it still doesn’t make it any easier. Life has thrown us some curve balls, that is for sure, but I consider this decision daily. Trust me, I know how blessed we are, but as I said before, that only complicates things. So, we move forward, discuss, and decide what’s best for our family. Either way, these are two of the most significant decisions of my life.