IVF: The Journey To Pregnancy

When I tell some people I did IVF they don’t know what it is at first. Which surprises me because it’s so common.  But then when I clarify by saying its proper name, In Vitro Fertilization, they’re like “oooooh … duhh”. But the majority of people know exactly what IVF stands for. Most often they have tons of questions for me because they know someone else going through it or have considered it themselves.

According to NBC News, at least a million babies have been born in the U.S. using lab-assisted techniques.  The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology has only been collecting information from member clinics since 1985 so the number could be higher than that. However, the first American IVF baby was born in the U.S. in 1981 and the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born in Britain in 1978.

Reports show that younger women have a better success rate when they undergo IVF. They have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Advanced age women (35 and older) are at risk for not only female infertility, but also for pregnancy loss, fetal anomalies, still birth and other complications. So it is important to do your own research before seeing a doctor and ask lots of questions.

Infertility is also not just an older woman’s issue or a woman issue at that. There are women in their twenties and early thirties who are finding it difficult to conceive as well. Furthermore, male infertility, due to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both can also be the reason you and your partner are having difficulties. It is important that you and your partner get examined to pin point your     infertility issue. It could be an easy fix or not. Sure IVF helps a lot of people but it’s not always the answer for some. Everyone’s situation is different.

Can the process be a bit overwhelming? Yes. Was I jumping up and down about doing it. No. Did I want to really try to have a child naturally? Of course. Unfortunately, our circumstances didn’t afford us a lot to time to be trying to conceive the old school way. We were older and trying to get it in was sometimes next to impossible between my husbands schedule, my cycle or what ever else was going on. But it all just didn’t seem to line up as much as we had hoped.  You only have one day people!  And timing has to be on point. We were losing at this.

Honestly, trying to plan sex when you’re ovulating is work. You are so focused on trying to conceive at the right time then just enjoying the moment. It can become a bit of a hassle, nerve wrecking and exhausting. My husband and I would look at each other sometimes and be like, ready… set… lets GO … to SLEEP. LOL.

As a woman over 40, studies show the older you are the less “normal” eggs you have in supply. While everyone is different, statistics have proved that it can be harder to conceive over 40 because of poor egg quantity and quality.  So you are fighting with time and trying to get a good egg to meet up with the sperm and make the miracle happen. And remember it doesn’t matter how fit you are or how young you look on the outside, the age of your eggs is the age of your eggs. Your fertility starts to decline after 35.

I have to say, even though I was older and understood the statistics out there I remained positive. Whether I conceived naturally or through IVF, me and our baby were going to be good to go. I got the memo but there was no pity party over here. I held in my heart that God was in control and that my outcome would be exactly how it was already planned out to be. I was healthy, my antral follicle count was good, my husband’s swimmers were in great supply and we didn’t want to waste any more time trying to bring lil boo boo into the world. So after talking it over and discussing our options with our doctor, we decided that IVF was the best plan of action for us.

In our decision to move forward we choose to go through genetic testing as well, to make sure we didn’t have any traits that would affect the baby or me getting pregnant. We also did comprehensive chromosome screening to ensure that the embryo(s) we transferred were healthy. We wanted to decrease our chances of experiencing a possible miscarriage or other health problems. Through it all we remained optimistic.

In addition to researching options, statistics and other’s personal experiences there was also the cost. Treatments, depending on whether you are getting a fresh or frozen embryo transfer can run you anywhere between $3,000 and $12,000 a cycle. And that’s not even including your medications. That information made me think once, twice, three times … a baby??? Thankfully, we have amazing insurance. We felt confident that our miracle would happen in one cycle. Please God and Thank You.

Once I got through all of that, then the process of having to inject myself with medications brought on a whole other set of concerns. I don’t even watch the phlebotomist insert the needle when I’m getting blood drawn. Now I have to insert a needle into myself? So again, Lord, can we just have this baby naturally?  This doesn’t seem like a sit-chee-ation for ya girl. But when it did not happen as soon as we wanted to naturally, I understood that this was my journey for a purpose.

Sometimes we feel like we aren’t strong enough to handle certain situations so we decide to move in another direction that seems more comfortable for us. But God was like NOPE! This is the plan Homie. I knew at that moment that this journey was bigger than me. So I took a deep breath and accepted that this was how we were going to conceive our child.

I’ll be posting more stories on my IVF journey, tips and other information each week. Until then, check out Five Things You Can Do To Support your friend or family member during their IVF journey.