One of the things I wanted to talk about was our renovation plans. We were very excited, last week, to get some sketches from the architect, and we are busily trying to decide between options and work out a few refinements. Hurrah! How awfully thrilling.

At the same time, this process has brought up, once again, the issue of our future plans, including family size. Which brings me to one of the other, rather lengthier things I want to talk about.

We still have those eight embryos left, you see. Originally, we were going to watch them fail transfer them later this year, then reassess depending on what happened. Way back when, before all this started, we were both keen to have two kids, with maybe more, providing it seemed to be going alright. As of a couple of months ago, we were unsure if we'd even try very hard a second time around. Now we're thinking two, with any luck, but what are we going to do about those embryos? Neither of us have really made up our minds, but Mr Bea was assuming we'd donate them.

"Well apparently we can make our own now," he said. Uh, yeeeeaaaaahhh....

I'll gloss over the myriad issues of third party reproduction, such as donor anonymity laws and genetic heritage, or the psychological feelings of the donor towards any ensuing offspring etc etc - not because these things aren't important, but because by the time you'd read through to the last "h" of "yeeeeaaaaahhh" you'd already listed them all off in your mind, as if by rote. Or in fact by rote.

Thing is, they're not the only issues I have. Most of those embryos are from a batch affected by OHSS, and so far their fellows have provided us with the joy of multiple chemical pregnancies and a miscarriage. Hardly something I want to inflict on an infertile couple who has endured many years on a waiting list for donor embryos and who-knows-what-else beforehand. If they were good quality, I might consider it harder. As it stands... well I guess I'd assumed we would transfer them at a later date and then see what happened.

"That just seems strange," Mr Bea said, shaking his head. "Why would we go back to IVF after having a natural pregnancy?"

Well, because we want to get pregnant again but we're still infertile, perhaps. Having conceived naturally doesn't mean your fertility is safe forevermore, less so in our case, where our problems are long-documented and our current luck is almost certainly the exception, rather than the rule. Especially given it still took us over a year to conceive this time around. (It's not as if we rushed out for contraception the moment the now-over-two-year-old Prata Baby was born.) And then there's the fact that we have, you know, all these embryos left and we're going to need to make some sort of decision about them, one way or another, and one option involves another round of treatment or two.

"I just... I guess I just thought this meant we could put all that behind us," he admitted, finally. "Because, you know, it sort of sucked."

Oh. So. That I understand.

And whilst I feel that donating embryos is a somewhat poor strategy for putting infertility behind you - even rubbish embryos might turn into fully-grown people, after all - I can sympathise with wanting it to be all done, already, and I suppose the knowledge that we've managed it on our own did seem a bit like a ticket out, no matter what the future holds.

None of this has to be resolved now. Nobody's doing anything other than continuing to pay storage fees for a good while yet. But I guess the architect's sketches have forced us to re-imagine our possible paths through the next five to ten years', knowing, as we know now, that there is a statistically good chance of a second child, plus eight embryos left in the freezer, and it's just... it's just strange, is all. Strange and unexpected.


Jess said...

I would say just using them at some point is the cleanest answer. They work, they don't work, but the worst that can really happen is that they "work" and end in miscarriage or some variation.

Rachel Inbar said...

I'll probably get flamed, but I don't really see a problem with 'abandoning' them if you choose not to transfer them. Having done so and feeling not a tiny itsy-bitsy-bit of guilt about it, even nearly 9 years later, I can tell you that I'd have had far more issues with donating them then with just letting them thaw in their straws at some point.

As we well know, very few embryos actually turn into babies. I think in total I had 19 or so transferred and I have 3 kids from that. And I was considered to have beat the odds...

There are other things that people do with 'excess' embryos, like transferring them at the wrong time of the month, knowing that the chance they'll implant are minimal. And there's also donating them for research (as opposed to to possibly become babies).

Basically, you have choices beyond transferring and donating...

Sheila said...

It's tough be faced with the dilemma of what to do with your extra embryos, espeically after enduring years of infertility treatments. I placed my 12 remaining embryos for adoption with another couple. I blog about it at I too had OHSS and I had 3 children and our Adopting Mom is pregnant with one. You never know which ones will make it and there are many couples that would adopt your embryos, even if they don't think they'll become pregnant. It's all part of the infertility journey. I think we all going into it knowing that. I wish you the best as you continue your journey!


MrsSpock said...

I feel fortunate that we never made it to IVF, and therefore when Mr S says, "I never want to do IF treatments again" and I say "I don't think it would be wise to ever be pregnant again.", it is an easier decision.

I have heard of couples transferring them at the wrong time of a cycle due to religious beliefs, and though I don't think we could stomach donating our embryos, I think we could stomach just not using them.

No Minimom said...

With the preface that everyone has to do what's right for their family, if I were in your shoes, I'd be leaning towards Rachel's comment (no flaming here!). It seems wrong to say that I'd rather the embryos were donated to science than donated to an infertile couple, but it's true. I don't think I could live with the thought that there's a child in the world that's half mine. But I could live with the though that my embryos were being used to come up with cures for horrid diseases and possible saving many lives.

Bea said...

Sheila: Yes, I've heard adoption is an option in some places. Unfortunately not available to us. But I encourage other couples to consider the option if it is available to them.

It's the same with donation to science/research. The situation may change in the future for either of these, of course, but the last I heard this was not an option here.

So our three options are anonymous donation where the recipient is selected for us off a years-long waiting list (I think we get to know if a child is born or not, and I imagine a child could track us down at 18+ one way or another), use them ourselves, or discard them entirely. Although we haven't decided entirely, we were more inclined towards one or other of the first two (depending on which of us you ask).

Oh - a "sympathetic transfer" (at the wrong time of cycle) could also be done, but I tend to think of that as being exactly the same as discarding the embryos entirely. I can't for the life of me see why I'd go to the trouble and expense of doing that when I can let them thaw for free and without having any blood tests or other procedures. To be perfectly blunt, I never really understood the concept. (There, now I've redirected the flaming for you!) I have, of course, no problem with other couples taking this road, if it makes more sense to them than it does to me.


Anonymous said...

It is such a difficult decision to make. Part of me is glad we don't have embryos just sitting there so we don't have to make any choices. But that means an entirely fresh cycle.

Vee said...

It's certainly is a tough decision to make. I think I have one embryo left I am still waiting for the storage fee bill, which is why I say "think" I know I certainly wouldn't do a transfer but I am not sure what else I would do either. I suppose you have a bit of time to think about it or maybe not if you need to lock down on the house plans. I hope the two of you come to some agreemn

Lut C. said...

Ooh, I know, an embryo raffle! I'd take a ticket, I'd take 10.
Too bad the law won't allow it. ;-)

Not having to go back to ART, I understand that wish. I have no way of deluding myself that would work for us. Your situation is quite different. That said, rationally I think you're right - infertility is not behind you.

In your shoes, I'd want to pay that storage fee, buy some time.
About the sketches, no idea though.

Betty M said...

Catching up late after the holidays.

Back when I had frozen embryos our options were between useing them, letting them die and donating to research. I went for using first and then research if there were any spare once we had finished. Turned out that most arrested post thaw do we used them up with one FET. In reality I might have kept on paying storage fees to avoid a decision if we were in your shoes.

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