Running out of Options (Part 1)

So if you read my post a couple weeks ago, you read how we’ve been out of treatment for almost a year. (And also that I love Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, but I digress…) I’ve been having a little radio silence, but figured I’d shed a little light on what’s been going on in our infertility world in the past year.

Our injectable cycles were crazy- time/ energy/ emotion consuming, dangerous since I was on the edge of hyperstimulation, painful since my ovaries were the size of oranges (they’re usually the size of a walnut), expensive and devastating to get that negative result after putting so much into it.

We met with my doctor a few times to discuss our next options. He said we could try injectables another time or two if we wanted or- if nothing else- we could retry some of the previous medications. However my doctor told us he thinks IVF would be our best option and that’s the next step he would do if he were us. He told us since we are both young and healthy, he could estimate 80% success rate. 80%?!? That is crazy!! We asked about price (about $12,000 to $15,000 which is less than HALF the cost for international adoption, FYI.) We discussed the process and asked him a lot of questions.

He shared with us the normal IVF process- they overstimulate the ovaries to make a lot of eggs (using approximately double the amount of injectable medicine as previously) then surgically retrieve the eggs. They hope to get 10-15 but often women with PCOS have more (on the insane previous injectable rounds, I was having about 40+ of various sizes.) After that they get a sample from the husband, take out the effective stuff and let the two integral baby making parts hang out together in a petri dish. (I apologize for being intentionally vague– there’s already TMI in this post, so hopefully you can figure it out.)

At that point there are fertilized eggs or- Ta Da!! – embryos! They wait a few days and watch the embryos grow to a certain stage. Through this, the woman is given injectable drugs to ready her uterus for possible implantation. The doctors choose the heartiest 1-2 embryos and transfer them to the uterus. Then it’s wait and see if the embryo will implant (pregnancy.)

So, Bryan and I had to decide if this was something we felt ethically okay with. We spent months thinking, talking and praying. Throughout our conversations the biggest thing we were uncomfortable with was the number of embryos doctors create. They make as many as possible because not all embryos make it. When we discussed this with our doctor, he gave us the option of fertilizing less eggs, but then there’s a chance you wouldn’t have very many (or any) viable embryos to transfer. We figured that option could be a waste of time and money to overstimulate, have surgery to remove eggs and then have no viable embryos to transfer. Our doctor said this is definitely an option for us to have them do a certain number, but there’s just too much up to chance because you don’t know if all of them or none of them will make it!!

So, if you have extra embryos there are a choices. You can freeze them and transfer them if your first IVF cycle doesn’t achieve pregnancy or to try to have children later! However if you still have embryos after this, there are four main options:
1. Destroy them.
2. Donate them to research.
3. Freeze them indefinitely (the non- decision)
4. Donate them to another couple.

Ultimately we decided IVF wasn’t for us. I’m not saying this isn’t right for ANYBODY but it was definitely not right for us.

When we walked out of the office after exhaustively discussing the IVF process, my husband said “We should look into those donated embryos.”

“Are you serious?!?” I asked, “Because I would totally be for that…”

To be continued…


About jackielopina

Follower of Jesus, Pastor's Wife, Cookie Baker.
This entry was posted in Embryo Adoption, Infertility and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Running out of Options (Part 1)

  1. Chrissy K says:

    1.) I miss you!
    2.) I meant to comment on your last blog because I don’t think I knew the extent of what you were going through the last couple of years and wanted you to know that I think you are AMAZING and in my prayers. You both are going to be great parents someday -that child is going to be so so loved and blessed! It sucks that you have to go through all this to get there but I know God will bless you for that and see you through this period.
    3.) Thank you for providing me with a deeper understanding of what families facing infertility issues go through. Hope you and all the HMGrowers are well!

    • jackielopina says:

      Hi Hi Hi!!! I miss you too! CONGRATS on your new marriage! YAY! We should totally get together and go to Rick’s sometime:) Thanks so much for your encouragement and your prayers. We appreciate them so much! Hope you’re doing well friend!

  2. Andrea says:

    Cannot wait to hear this story unfold…although I have heard some of it in person:) Love to you friend!

  3. love the intentionally vague explanation of the IVF process :) lots of people (myself included) are a little hazy about the details involved!

  4. Kate Titus says:

    “not saying this isn’t right for ANYBODY”…
    Not that you need to get into it here, but I would be interested in a clarification of when you think IVF would be okay, not because I would argue with you but because I’m pretty ignorant. :) If there’s a chance any of the embryos would be killed, isn’t it always wrong?

    p.s. I love you and I can’t wait to read the rest of this.

    • jackielopina says:

      Embryos are only destroyed when the couple is done with IVF and decides that is heir next step. Due to the process many couples can (and do) use all the embryos to their full potential of life and some people don’t even make enough to have enough viable embryos at all! Here is an example IVF process where they have no remaining embryos: Make 10 good eggs Fertilize 10 Only 6 “take” and grow to the embryo stage that is good to transfer Transfer 2, freeze the remaining 4 Don’t get pregnant, so transfer 2 more and get pregnant The remaining 2 would be frozen and if you wanted to try for another child a couple years later you could transfer those remaining 2. In that circumstance, the couple used all the embryos to their fullest potential so there aren’t any remaining embryos. That’s just an example and obviously you have no guarantee what will happen at each stage. Fo us, it was just too risky to take those chances.

      • Kate Titus says:

        Interesting, thanks. Wondering about the ethics of frozen embryos, like if you never use them or donate them. Little frozen people not being killed but not being allowed to grow up. Hmm. Never really thought about that.

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