Infertility & An Unlikely Predicament

Lauren's Story Part II

Some of you may remember reading my story this time last year. I talked about our journey with infertility and how it led to the eventual birth of our son, Walt. I have since completed another round of IVF and we are now blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Tilly. This post will be much different from my last discussing my personal thoughts on a controversial topic within IVF. I am fully aware that some reading this may have different thoughts, feelings, or beliefs than I do on the subject matter. My intentions are not to sway anyone one way or the other. I would like to simply provide a perspective on a difficult topic that is not usually in the forefront when discussing infertility and treatment options such as IVF.

If you’re lucky enough to have success with In vitro fertilization, and also lucky enough to have multiple eggs progress to day 5, the blastocyst stage, then you may end up with a heavy decision to make. We had tried for years for a child, and now we find ourselves having to make a decision of when to close the door on our remaining embryos. The decision means so much more to us now that we have children that have come directly from that same group of embryos. I understand how lucky we are to have had such success with IVF, and I also understand that not all embryo transfers are successful; but it breaks my heart to think that we would not be giving the ones we have left a chance at life.

We knew going into this process that we may be faced with this kind of decision, but honestly did not truly think about the reality of it because at the time, we just wanted a child of our own so desperately. When we started the IVF process, we had to sign a form stating our intentions with any remaining embryos at the end of the process. There were 4 options that we could pick from. The options were essentially to have them thawed and disposed of, donate them to science, donate them to the clinic for further testing, or donate them to a couple/person with fertility issues. We thought no brainer, we will donate the remaining embryos to a couple/person trying to start a family. I am not aware of other options, if any, that may be presented when the time to make the decision actually comes, these are just the options that were given to us up front.

While it is much easier to sit on the other side of things and say that giving back is always the right thing to do; since we have had our children, our thoughts have changed on the matter. We are having a really hard time giving up something that we have created together, especially now, knowing what the embryos can become. They feel very sacred to us. They are literal parts of both of us. Like many parents, our children are our absolute world. It makes all the options extremely difficult for us to sift through.

Discussing the option of donating the embryos to couple/individual trying to start a family further, I would like to start by saying I am a big proponent for adoption. In a way, it would be us giving up our embryos for adoption if this is the route we decide to take. There are thousands of wonderful people looking to grow and care for a child. But, there have been so many thoughts go through our head since we originally made the decision to select this option. We have talked about a child searching for us later in life wanting to meet his/her biological parents. What if they find us and they had an abusive childhood, lost a parent, had a bad accident that left them disabled, or anything else tragic that can happen and does happen to many people? How do you then cope with not having been there to protect them or to help them through it? What If they aren’t safe? What if they are homeless, hungry, or hurt? So many horrible thoughts have gone through my head thinking about this. On the flip side, what if they had a great life or have had opportunities that we would have never been able to give them? Even so, I have been unable to wrap my head around any of this. I have yet to determine if this fear is out of love, lack of control, selfishness, or all of the above. I would like to say its solely out of immense love; but I am only human, and I am sure there are bits of the other two hidden within that love.

Diving a little deeper into the options of donating the embryos to science or the clinic, also leaves us with uneasy feelings. We both work in the medical field and are fully aware that without science, studies, and testing, medical advancements are almost impossible. Thinking aloud, we brought the embryos into the world through medicine and science, so why is it so hard to let them go back into that same world. The answer to this question, for me, is entangled in my religious beliefs and just the fact that, as I said earlier, I know what these embryos can grow into making it so challenging to say good bye.

There is a lot to be said about the difficult decisions people must make on a daily basis, and such is the case when it comes to infertility as well. My perspective is just one of many pertaining to such a specific topic, but I wanted to share, yet another, complex scenario that may present itself when facing infertility and treatment. I know that some may find our thought process to be completely selfish while some may be able to intimately relate. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, I don’t feel that there is an overall right or wrong option, but it is definitely one decision that weighs heavy on our hearts.

~Lauren

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