Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Infertility and Me

My husband and I went and saw our doctor after we discovered we weren't conceiving easily.  After some tests, we were thrilled to learn we qualified for free in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, because yup, the tests confirmed it wasn't going to be easy for us.  Of course we weren't all thrilled, because inevitable disappointment came with that revelation too -- comparing the new proposed method of conception to the usual more common and much more fun alternative does that.

Emphasising the positives went a long way during this time.  For starters, we weren't going to have to pay for this miraculous aid!  My heart aches for hopeful parents who have to save money to go through what we did.  Further, what a blessing to learn so early we would benefit from a fertility clinic's help! (This still didn't make it fun news.) I was 24 when we turned up at the fertility clinic's door - how many women have had 5 years marriage by 24 to establish what we had?  Yes, I married young.  Yes, I think my LDS upbringing has a lot to do with it.

As I read through trends and statistics relating to the procedures I was about to dive into, it was reassuring to know that I belonged to the age group with the highest success rate on every table and graph. We took our place on a waiting list and counted the months until it was our turn to be a part of the wonderful world of science labs and our DNA hangin' out in them.

Unfortunately when our turn came, there were complications.  My ovaries hyper-stimulated -- instead of a pair of walnut-sized organs they became angry grapefruits.   When they had settled down and the process could resume, we were left with fewer embryos than everyone had been expecting from someone so young.  When the first successfully thawed embryo was implanted in the hopes of a successful pregnancy, we knew we didn't have many more shots at this thing.

It didn't take.

A month later, we were surprised to learn I was pregnant without IVF, against proven bad odds, and I went to term!  This happened two more times...and we were gobsmacked each time.

I wish there is some cure I could share, or even an old wives tale I could spin for those who'll give anything a go to feel like they're doing something (and I get it), but all I've got is: prayers and patience, prayers and patience.  I'm sorry if this is your burden to bear. 

In the course of treatment, I read a fair amount of scientific literature.  In my study, I came upon the concept that many IVF babies will inherit the genetic mutations that caused their mother or father's infertility.  It was a fine-print warning hidden in the paragraphs of a thick booklet given to those undergoing treatment.  I read thick booklets...and I think about them.  These were ramifications I hadn't heard being discussed!  These were ramifications which left unchecked and proven true to the extreme, would have very serious consequences!  Because many are delaying having children, IVF is becoming more and more common to assist with infertility...and IVF is passing on infertility!   This knowledge steeped inside me.

Although IVF treatment was unsuccessful for us in producing a child, it was through IVF that the Gen2K story began in embryo. 

I hope it is not our future.