This morning my husband and I sat down before a notary and signed some papers. Those papers have been in my possession for 8 months. Prior to that, it took me about two years to ask my RE’s office to send them to me. These papers officially ended our “journey infertility” and closed the door on having future children.
When we went through IVF the first time, we were blessed to be left with several embryos for storage. We utilized these to have our second child and even still had a couple left over. This put us in an interesting place as a couple… facing the decision we didn’t anticipate having to make when we were only focused on our end goal of conception.
We had many conversations as to what would be the best decision for us. None of them were the perfect answer – the reasons are complex and personal. I am not going to get into the political and personal discussion of what we decided and why. I am aware that pretty much everyone in the world has/will have an opinion on what the “right” decision is to have made. I will tell you that we had four choices.
- Try to conceive again via another frozen embryo transfer
- Discard the embryos
- Donate the embryos to another couple
- Donate the embryos to research
I would be lying if I said there was a clear front runner for us. Deciding what to do has never been an easy conversation and even now I am conflicted about the outcomes of every single one of our options. External factors were an unavoidable piece of the equation. When the average person is trying to decide if their family is complete, they either decide to actively try, to no longer try to conceive or to throw caution to the wind and see what happens. When you are faced with infertility, there is so much more at play. You have to come up with the money, give yourself over to blood work, doctor’s appointments, tests and procedures. You have to wrap your head around something so much bigger emotionally than simply throwing out the birth control. Some of these things are a matter of commitment, some are beyond your control and capability. Time, finances and age eventually led us to the place where we were content with our family of four and took #1 off the table. But, we still had a very difficult decision to make.
I will be frank… making this decision has sucked. It has been on my mind for literally, years. Signing those papers was as hard as I imagined it would be. I am in mourning. I mourn what could have been. I question whether the decision we made was the right one. I also know that it was.
Of all the things I talk about with regards to my infertility journey, this is the hardest for me. I am committed to doing so though, because I believe there should be less shame and more transparency about this subject. I also don’t want to sugar coat the process. The whole thing sucked. I am grateful for my two daughters, but the road to get them was HARD and UNFAIR. The last few years and the angst around this decision have been HARD and UNFAIR. Would I do it all over again? Of course. Would I make the same decision on those papers we signed this morning? I guess only time will tell about regret.
As I write this, I am already bracing myself for all of the opinions I am sure will come. The judgement hurts. However, this is part of my journey. The journey that I did not ask for, but that made me a mom.