Infertility and IVF are finally beginning to gain some attention in the media; as more and more celebrities own their stories of conceiving their families through IVF and/or surrogacy and The Today Show portraying a couple throughout the entire process of consultation, injections and pregnancy. I am proud that the veil of silenced shame is beginning to lift, however I can’t help but be frustrated by the continued invalidated and left out parts of our IVF stories and the constant hopeful, and yet misleading, message being delivered. So I am practicing my bravery and I have come up with 41 things often left out of our courageous stories.
39 Things the Media Silences About IVF
1. It only works about 30% of the time.
2. It’s expensive, very expensive. And most insurance policies do not cover it.
3. It’s painful; injections, vaginal ultrasounds with stimulated ovaries and swollen follicles, hot flashes, weight gain.
4. It’s a great way to make sex the least romantic and spontaneous part of your relationship.
5. Guys, get ready to go in a cup in a cold, sterile room all alone and possibly without any reading material and all the good sites blocked by hospital.
6. A baby isn’t the only way to find wholeness and happiness.
7. You can meet some amazing women through the online support groups, message boards and blogs.
8. It ONLY works 30% of the time.
9. It doesn’t always end with a baby.
10. Sometimes it ends with two.
11. Or three.
12. Or eight.
13. Or none.
14. There are couples it is never going to work for.
15. It’s painful; the Clomid crazy train and it’s beyond up and down roller coaster mood swings.
16. If you collect a $1 from every person who has a child that says, ‘You just have to …’, you’ll be able to afford another round of IVF.***
17. It’s okay to stop.
18. It’s even okay to stop before you get the baby.
19. It’s healthy and healing to talk about it; to talk about all sides of it and all the possibilities and outcomes.
20. You will have to ask and answer some of the heaviest and most difficult ethical questions of your life with limited resources and on a time crunch, sometimes revealing differing opinions between you and your partner.***
21. You may feel time crunch pressure to start the next round as “your eggs are dying by the second”.
22. The message of “just keep trying, it will work” feels invalidating, unrealistic, shaming and denying to many of our realities.
23. It’s SUPER expensive.
24. You may have to make emotionally and financially life altering decisions immediately after you just lost a dream (embryo, baby) and are actively grieving.
25. You or your spouse may discover you have a phobia to needles and are quite the fainter.
26. You may never feel panic quite like the panic you feel when you realize that your last chance didn’t work.***
27. That breath stealing, throw up panic and sadness. And yet, it can also come with a sense of bittersweet freedom of at least knowing something and having an answer. Even though it was not the something we so wished and hoped for.
28. You will wait, a lot. In waiting rooms for procedures, for appointments and consults, and therefore find the funniest and weirdest things on YouTube to help pass the time and lighten the suffocating pressure of the process.
29. You will endure the wait of the tortuous and infamous two week wait, probably several times.
30. You will feel invisible and alone, even though I promise with all of my everything that you are not.
31. You will experience moments of unadulterated belly laughter.
32. You will experience moments of sheer terror.
34. And you will have moments of jubilant soul completion joy…
35. You will be forever changed because of the journey.
36. Your marriage or relationship will also be forever changed; made stronger or completely ripped apart.***
37. It might work.
38. It might not work.
39. It’s okay to stop.
40. It’s okay to keep going.
41. You will eventually find and conceive your chosen family.
42. Every family looks different, and yet, is complete just the same.
43. Either way you’ll need to choose change and recovery, and do the work to be okay.
44. Because it will be okay.
45. Because, it is worth it, baby or not.
What would you add to the list?
**After some much appreciated feedback and my own consideration, I changed the original title of 39 Things the Media Silences About IVF to the current title in hopes of more exposure and education. Always growing, always learning, always ever upward.**
***Thank you to Shana for her addition of #19, Valerie for her addition of #24, Jenna for her addition of #36 and Colleen for her addition of #20***