Well maybe rotten eggs are a bit too harsh. My eggs, and we’re not talking about the ones from chickens either, are only “aged” and not actually rotten! After trying for a couple of years without too much success, I only discovered this issue when I visited a fertility clinic earlier this year.
The Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART) process is a bit like a game of Monopoly: sometimes when you’re two-thirds of the way around the board, you have to pick up the Chance card that says, “Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not collect 200.” Wham! All that progress is down the tubes (excuse the pun) and your wallet is the worse for wear too.
There are no guarantees
When undergoing fertility treatment, the first thing you will be told is that there are no guarantees that IVF or ICSI or GIFT or ZIFT (or actually whichever technique you are undergoing) will be successful. Yet, when presented with a success rate of 80% and the payment of large sums of money, you really do begin to believe that “dammit, this just can’t fail”.
Well it can. In our case, we were in that unlucky 20% of couples where it did actually fail. After six months of running backwards and forwards to the fertility clinic at a drop of a hat, an op to fix the scarring in my uterus thanks to the D&C I had after my previous miscarriage, a truckload of blood tests, hormone pills, stabbing myself with hormone injections morning and night for a period of two weeks, harvesting my eggs, ICSI and PGS, I faced the lonely 10-day wait for the blood test that would show if the implantation was successful.
The odds were seemingly stacked in our favour with all the right conditions in place and a healthy, genetically normal embryo (the only one out of seven) being implanted. Yet, this is where science leaves the guarantees at the door. While it can control a myriad of factors, whether the embryo actually implants or not is something that just can’t be manipulated.
This last step of the cycle is the part fraught with the most risk and, in my own humble experience, is something most doctors and specialists downplay to various degrees.
An interesting article on livescience.com sheds some light on why some embryos implant successfully while others don’t.
Our little male embryo and my womb just didn’t make the right chemical connections and sadly, I miscarried. We were again left distraught, poorer, more desperate … and basically back at square one since we had no more healthy embryos.
So, I am here asking for forgiveness: after spewing forth much enthusiasm and positivity in my last blog entry, this post is the polar opposite.
I do take consolation in that, for woman like me, these negative feelings of self-loathing and misery are apparently perfectly natural. With hope, sometimes we need to face and conquer its evil twin: despair.
If you are in the same boat, I offer these words of encouragement: you are not alone. Every woman and couple undergoing fertility treatment experiences almost the same thing. The journey of trying to fall pregnant when you suffer from infertility complications is a path I don’t wish on anyone. Yet, despite being emotionally taxing, it does offer hope to many couples that wouldn’t be able to do this on their own.
I love this visual representation of the fertility path. If ART was a board game, it would look a lot like this: