IVF Babble

What do you do when the end is in sight?

By TTC Warrior Amber Boniface

What do you do when the end is in sight? I know already the answer to this is “I don’t know”.

Over the ten years I have been trying to make babies this isn’t the kind of article that I ever really felt like I wanted to read. I always felt like I would never get to the point of giving up and would never have to confront this question. I always thought the funds and energy and hope were non exhaustive… they would never run out. And so actually, writing about this really comes as a shock to me.

Maybe now because I do see the end in sight writing this will help me work out a plan on how to deal with whatever comes next.

We are currently prepping for my 23rd cycle

After ten years, 23 embryos and 7 miscarriages we are down to what looks to be the last 2 embryos. We are of course incredibly blessed to have our little boy (born after 11 tries and 4 miscarriages) but given everything that has come before who knows if the odds are really in our favour.

For anyone who has secondary infertility or even like me, what I like to call, continuous infertility, the decision to stop trying is very different than when you contemplate this without a child. In so many ways I feel like it is even harder now to make that choice. I want to keep trying because I want it it for my son. I grew up with two sisters and having siblings to share my life with is the greatest gift. I want him to have that family around him as he grows and ages and ultimately when as parents we are no longer here. Also – this time around I know what I am missing. The experience of being a parent for the last 5 years has been truly wonderful and selfishly I want to do that again. The other factor for anyone in this scenario is the fact you know your body can do it. I did it once (and unlike someone who didn’t struggle before) I know that it should work because we have covered literally every base… multiple times over. So stubbornly, I don’t want to give up because on paper, there is no reason why it shouldn’t happen again.

It was important for me to write this before we were at a point of actually having to decide to stop. This is because I can more rationally give some of the reasons I feel are important to weigh up when trying to make this decision. I don’t claim to be the guru on this and everyone must make their own minds up in their circumstances. But for me, these are some of the points we will be considering and this might be helpful for anyone else at this impass.

The physical toll is much more noticeable now 

I have been doing this for a long time. And I would say for 99% of the time the actual physical logistics of ALL the things that go into cycle after cycle were always the least of my worries. And when I say ALL, I mean not just the injecting and the side effects (and I am lucky these have always been mild to non existent) but I mean the admin; the prescription logistics, the time for appointments, the continually reoccurring paperwork admin and routine blood tests that always seem to need to be updated. The fertility treatment world is one big admin headache and a full time job in itself. Now more than ever before, I find myself just fed up with every single piece of it.

The stats are just not in my favour anymore

I have always got frustrated by the media’s portrayal that women can just have IVF at a later age and things can all be rosy. That trying for a baby over 40 is nothing to really worry about. But the fact is success rates DO decrease. This is just nature and we can’t do anything about it. If you want to use your own eggs it is a point to consider. That alongside your AMH. I am lucky to have a high AMH but this doesn’t guarantee success over 40. And now I am at this point I have to consider if all the effort and money is really sensible. When you have tried so many times and not succeeded and you put this next to the sheer scientific fact that success rates are lower I am left at a point of wondering if it is really worth wasting anymore time, emotions and money on something that just can’t be

The money….

There really isn’t a never ending pot. Regardless of whether it could still work, there comes a point where you have to weigh up if you can financially afford to just keep throwing money at it. Even if you can afford it, there are undoubtedly many many other things in life that money could be spent on. Cost of living crisis and mortgage rates aside, we have a little boy who, if nothing else, we could be saving that cash for his future.

My last point is a minor one – it isn’t something I really worry about yet but for some it might be important – the age gap between number 1 and potentially number 2 is getting bigger all the time

As a grown up this won’t matter and I know. This the other side of the coin is the older my son gets the easier and more free life becomes. I never found the little baby stage overly restrictive. I was always just so happy to be “in it” – being a mum and living that life that there were few negatives. However, as time goes on I can more clearly see that going back to have a small baby presents new hurdles again. And if number 2 isn’t meant to be why not just embrace the next stage of parenting?

And that brings me to my final point… why not just embrace the next stage of parenting

I have been focusing on creating a family for over ten years. Every Single Day for ten years I have wondered about when something will happen – will I be pregnant – when is the next cycle etc etc. It requires a massive amount of bandwidth and takes up a lot of space in my mind. Maybe now I just need to be even more grateful for what I have and put all my energy into that.

One final thing I want to say for anyone going through the fight for number 2…

Just because you focus so much on this doesn’t mean you don’t love what you already have more than anything else in the world. And when anyone says “at least you have your son/daughter”…. Just give them a little nod. There is no real answer for this. (Except maybe asking them if they can imagine life without their number 2 or 3 or even 4). Because anyone in this scenario KNOWS how incredibly lucky they are and they love their children in a way that many people just couldn’t possible understand.

If you would like to follow Amber Boniface you can find her on instagram, at @amberboniface

What do you do when the end is in sight? IVF Babble





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