Since starting our infertility process, I can’t even count how many times people have asked questions about LITERALLY everything. From getting diagnosed, to why we had to do IUI/ IVF based on our diagnosis, and beyond. That alone is part of the reason I even started This is Ours in the first place. I was asking a variety of questions myself, trying to understand this whole process. Let alone, outsiders that are only hearing what I am telling them about the process. So here are a few of our most asked questions.
Wouldn’t it just have been better and increased your odds of getting pregnant if you just did IVF first instead of doing the IUI’s?
Yes, it would have. The only thing was if we started right away with IVF, we would have had to pay approximately upwards to $18,000 out of pocket. We just couldn’t justify spending that much out of pocket for something that we could have at a much lower price if we just waited a year approximately for the OHIP funded version and can pay less than $5,000. The other option would have been to go on the wait list and not pursue IUI’s in the meanwhile but we both just felt we couldn’t wait that long without doing anything. Or odds of conceiving naturally are so low that I didn’t want to just twiddle my thumbs in the mean time. So essentially yes, IVF right away ideally would have been a better option but we really didn’t want to put that much money away for IVF when we could wait. With IVF, there is always a chance you might not have a successful IVF cycle (where you might not have any embryos) so we really wanted to be conscious of our money in case it doesn’t work out. Also people get pregnant ALL the time off of IUI’s so it wasn’t like we didn’t have a chance at that. It just so happened that it didn’t work for us.
If you don’t end up having enough embryos, will you do another egg retrieval/ IVF cycle?
This is so hard to answer and I think its something that has two parts of the equation to consider. It comes down to this 1) if we manage to have a successful pregnancy and I get to experience pregnancy and birth and 2) it all depends on how we feel about it at the time. It’s so hard to predict what we are feeling. But I would love to be able to experience pregnancy and birth, so I think if we had one kid from our first IVF, I think we would likely not do another cycle.
Does infertility affect Robbie as much as it does you?
I would say yes. I think I am more connected to the issue but I know that it hurts Robbie too. There have been times (for example, family day at Robbie’s work, important holidays) where it’s been hard because all he wants is a baby to share these life experiences with. I think that any partner obviously wants to do everything in there ability to take away all the pain their partner experiences. So that aspect is really hard too for Robbie.
Why don’t you use a surrogate?
Two reasons. First, there is no reason to think I wouldn’t be able to have a successful pregnancy and be able to carry a baby healthily to term. Secondly, we just don’t care about having biological children that much that we would consider doing an IVF cycle and getting someone to carry for us.
Are you guys open to adoption?
Yes, yes, and yes! We talk about adoption a lot but like I said, I really just want the opportunity to be pregnant just once and with my diagnosis, our best chance of doing that is now instead of postponing it for years only then realizing I don’t have the egg quality to go forward with IVF. But it definitely is something we talk about quite often and are open to explore in the future.
Have you guys ever heard of embryo adoption, and is that something you guys ever consider?
Yes! I actually have a good friend that went down that route and its quite an amazing process! For us though, unless we can’t create embryos through IVF, we probably wouldn’t do embryo adoption if we could just use our own embryos. But nothing is ever off the table in the world of infertility!
Would you do PGS (pre-genetic testing) on your embryos? And find out your gender of the embryo earlier?
PGS is a testing that they do on your embryos to see if they are genetically abnormal or not. When they do this testing they can also find out the gender of the embryo, even though your embryo might only be 3 or 5 days old. When you do PGS testing you have do to FETs (frozen embryo transfer) which means that after you do your IVF cycle you have to wait typically at least 3 months before you can transfer that embryo (aka have the opportunity to get pregnant). It also costs approximately $1000/embryo to get tested. Robbie and I have talked about it and we probably won’t do it, only because we don’t anticipate to have a lot of embryos after our IVF cycle and we would want to give each embryo a chance. When we do get pregnant, we want the pregnancy to be as normal as possible so we don’t mind waiting until about half way through to find out the gender.
Would you be happy with twins and ever possibly transfer two embryos?
I would love twins! With the funded IVF, I’m only able to transfer one embryo at a time. But even without, we probably would only ever transfer one anyways.
Would you do an IUI again if IVF doesn’t work?
Probably not. It just was a lot on the body for such a low success rate and if IVF doesn’t work, we probably would pursue other options before doing another IUI again.
How many embryos are you expecting with IVF?
With IVF the whole point is to grow as many mature eggs as possible and fertilize as many (aka have success introducing egg and sperm). Any leftover “embryos” will be cryopreservation (frozen) for future babies down the line. Our doctor never told us any numbers exactly of how many she expects us to have but to expect less than more. I’m hoping for at least 3-4 embryos, which would be ideal as not all embryos will lead to a successful pregnancy and it feels a little ambitious.
What’s the hardest part about infertility?
Learning to be patient and realizing that our journey is much longer than the average couple who conceives within months. It’s so challenging for months to pass by and you have delays on why you can’t to an IUI this month. Another thing that was hard for me was having people discredit my lifestyle just because I’m not able to get pregnant. I remember someone saying once “if you eat so healthy than how come you still can’t get pregnant? I had three kids and never ate healthy so obviously what you are doing isn’t working.” Just learning to let comments like that go and realizing that no matter how healthy you are, it might not get me pregnant but it’s still what’s best for my body.
When you do get pregnant, do you want to completely forget about your infertility struggles?
Never. Part of our life is this journey now and it’s taught us how to love harder, how to comfort each other. We’ve laughed but we’ve also had our inconsolable cries. It’s part of our life story. We have fought so hard to have a family and I want to always be able to share with our future kids how hard we fought for them and how much we already loved them, long before they were even conceived.
Any words of advice for peopling just starting to try with the knowledge of knowing I possibly might have problems conceiving?
Have fun and don’t stress about it until you have to! Take notice of your body and when you ovulate, but put down the OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) those few first months. IF anything is wrong, you’ll have to wait a year of active trying before you can get a referral to a fertility clinic if you are under the age of 25. Don’t go into it thinking you’ll have problems. If you have some reason as to why doctors might medically think you might have a harder time conceiving, don’t get too fixated on it – you just never know what might happen. I know people that were expected to have problems who conceived without ease. Try to enjoy it at the beginning. There’s plenty of time to worry later on. Just limit your drinking and if you (or your partner smoke) I would recommend stopping sooner than later, just as a precaution.
What has infertility taught you?
That my marriage to Robbie is the most important thing and that if we can’t ever have kids biologically that it’s not the end of everything. It’s taught me that although my body doesn’t work as it should, I’m not broken or less worthy of a family. It’s taught me to have a voice and gave me the ability to relate to so many women and men that are going through this. For me, infertility has made me realize how resilient I am. That no matter what, I will do whatever it takes to have a family.
How many kids do you and Robbie want?
This answer varies depending on which one of us you ask. But in an ideal world of us being blessed with an overabundance of fertility, my dream would be 4-5. However with our infertility, its more financially feasible to have 3-4. I’ve just always wanted a big family and all the chaos. Robbie however would prefer 2-3, but who knows. Sadly finances are a limiting factor for us. We wouldn’t want to create debt having a family that we aren’t able to provide for those kids so that they can’t afford to do all their extra activities. So it all depends really.
Has Acupuncture really been that amazing? Would you recommend it?
Yes! I probably will be an Acupunture goer for life. Anytime I have a problem, I can pretty well guarantee that Acupunture is going to be my first stop.
Not infertility related but just curious. Do you already have baby names picked out?
Of course. We have names picked out long before we even started trying. We’d like to keep them secret for now and who even knows if we’ll use them or change our minds.
If you adopted, would you adopt a new born or a slightly older kid?
So hard to say but if we adopted we would of course love to adopt a newborn or ideally a kid under the age of 5. But it’s nearly impossible to adopt a newborn and it’s not unheard of to be waiting for 8 years or longer. So if we adopted we wouldn’t care if it was necessarily a newborn or slightly older, but every increase in age brings about new situations to consider so it would require a lot of thinking about if we ever did go that route.
Thanks to everyone for asking all these questions. Ask away.
As always, I’m always available to talk if you ever need someone to confide it.