These last couple of weeks have been spent doing great amounts of research by both myself and my husband. I am happy to report that there are multiple options for us for growing our family, but it seems that none of these options are perfect and this decision is not going to be an easy one. It has lead my husband Blake and I to many difficult conversations and arguments as well as countless hours scouring the web for information and stories about each option.
As I prepare for an appointment with our doctor on Monday, I began writing down the options that we have and the questions I have, as well as some of the pros and cons of each. As I do this, I cant help but feel that this is not ideal. I never thought we would be at this point where we would have to make such hard decisions. When you start trying to grow your family, you never jump to the thoughts of using surrogates, adopting or doing IVF. But, now that we have done many cycles of medication and now a cycle of IVF that failed, we are at a turning point and we need to decide how we will proceed.
Here is a list of our options and some of my thoughts/feelings/questions about each. If you are someone who is also making a similar decision, I hope hearing my thoughts may help you in your decision. Please don’t judge me for my feelings and thoughts. These are real things that I have been processing for days and it has been difficult. So, by sharing I am not looking for judgment, but if you have any thoughts or useful information please feel free to share. Also, these items are not listed in any specific order. Just the order that they appear on my piece of scratch paper that I’ll be bringing to our doctor appointment.
Do we do another cycle of IVF? Would there be a change in my medication protocol? Why did our embryos degrade? In our situation, since implantation occurred but the pregnancy did not progress is the problem our genetic combination, egg quality, sperm quality, or my body’s ability to carry a baby?
IVF is expensive and our insurance doesn’t cover. So, we would need to figure out a plan financially to pursue IVF again. Also, IVF was very physically and emotionally stressful. A significant break would need to happen before we could/would attempt this again. Dealing with a failed cycle and knowing that the next cycle could also fail gives me a great amount of anxiety.
With IVF, we would be able to have a child that contains our genetic make up and would be by blood “our” child.
Depending on the cause of failure for IVF, this may or may not be an option. If our IVF failed due to our genetic combination, likely surrogacy would not be a better option than doing IVF again. There are different types of surrogacy, some where the procedure would be similar to IVF and the surrogate would carry the baby rather than me or it can also be like an intrauterine insemination where my husband’s sperm would be combined with the surrogates egg. This would be a way to get around the genetic combination issue (if that’s the issue), but it may cause for some awkward feelings if a child is genetically my husband Blake’s, but not my genetics. I am not sure that I would be okay with this option, but it is an option that is out there. I would need to do a little more research on surrogacy using the surrogate’s eggs before this would be an option for me.
With surrogacy, would you chose a surrogate that is a family member or a friend or a stranger? Of course, there would need to be a lawyer to help keep this from getting messy.
Surrogacy would most likely cost just as much as IVF and probably more. If you used person that you do not already know as a surrogate, my research has shown that this can be very expensive. Covering their medical bills plus compensation for being a surrogate would end up being very expensive. And don’t forget that you would also have legal fees to pay as well.
This option could lead to a child that contains our genetic make up, if it is determined that my body is unable to carry a baby.
Couples that have went though IVF and have left over frozen embryos that they don’t plan to use can donate them so they can be used by others.
I think we would be most interested in having an anonymous donor and by the donor being anonymous, you would never meet them and there would be no legal fees because you are getting an embryo that was donated for use. You would however receive medical information about the couple and a physical description. I believe genetic testing is also done on the embryos.
What is the wait time to receive a donated embryo? What information are you given exactly about the embryo? Do you get all of that donor’s embryos or just the number that you choose (so if they have 10 embryos would you get all of them or could you say that you only wanted 5?) What would the cost of keeping those additional embryos frozen be?
With this option, our child would not be ours “genetically” but, if I am deemed healthy enough to carry a baby, I could have the opportunity to be pregnant and give birth to our child.
If we receive multiple embryos, there is a possibility that if we have multiple children, they would all have the same genetics. I think that it’s kind of neat to think that they would be brothers and sisters by blood.
What would be my medication protocol if we did a frozen embryo transfer with donor embryos? It would be less than a full IVF cycle, but I’d like to know what types of things would need to be done to carry a donor embryo.
Using donor embryos would be a similar cost to doing a frozen embryo transfer, which is much less than a full IVF cycle.
There are many different means of growing your family through adoption. There are also many children out there that are in need of a “good home.” Loving and helping a child in need, to me, would be the best part of adopting.
With adoption, similar to using donor embryos, the child would not be genetically ours.
I also would not get to be pregnant and carry a child, which also means I would have no control over what the birth mother puts into her body throughout her pregnancy.
Adoption can be very expensive. I think if this was the option that we chose, we would want to adopt an infant and that process would cost more than a cycle of IVF.
I don’t plan to pursue this option, but it is an option none the less. We could stop trying for a child and just be content as a family of 2.
As you can see, there are multiple options for us. I am hoping that Monday’s appointment will give us some answers and more insight. The more information and insight that we can get, the better.
Many couples have been faced with similar decisions, have used the above options and were blessed with children. I have no doubt that whichever choice we chose, we will also receive a miracle one day. No matter how that miracle comes to us, we will be over the moon excited and will love them with all our hearts.
Image credit here.