You may have grown up dreaming about the day when you will have children. It is a deep primal need, and being unable
to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term can be devastating. When you have to cope with a failed procedure, and think over the probability that you may never be pregnant again, you may be feeling really sad, discouraged, angry and frustrated at the fact that you did the best that you could but hit another brick wall.
It may get to a stage where you become uncertain about how to proceed. To you it may not make sense to put more money into a procedure with no guaranteed outcome. You would wonder how it will feel if you do this one more time and fail again?
You may even ask yourself, perhaps you should cut your losses and proceed with adoption, but you so deeply want to raise a child of your own, one that you give birth to and you may always wonder if you could have been successful on your second try.
As mentioned earlier, if fertility treatments don’t succeed as you had hoped, you may feel extremely disappointed, angry, vulnerable, and desperate to try any intervention that offers a glimmer of hope.
You may find yourself, after every failed intervention, undergoing treatments that become increasingly physically invasive and emotionally debilitating. If there’s always something more that you can do, it becomes a situation where you don’t even have control over when is enough.
There are other pressures to cope with. The pressure from partners, family, friends, and colleagues to pursue more technically and socially complex treatments is there to consider.
Starting fertility treatments actually begins with needing fertility treatments. As a couple, you are considered infertile if you’ve been having unprotected sex for a year (six months if you’re 35 or older) without conceiving.
Since egg quality diminishes over time, you may be recommended to get treatment earlier if you’re in the 35-plus age group. If you have very irregular periods or have already been diagnosed with a fertility problem, you will need treatment as soon as or before they even start trying.
Despite a few years of unexplained infertility, there are couples that will conceive with no treatment at all, particularly if they are younger.
Then there are couples that can be offered standard treatments, such as fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The main point here is that if you’re diagnosed as infertile, chances are you can still have a baby.
The first stop on the fertility treatment journey is often oral medications and if the oral meds don’t work after usually three to six cycles or you’re diagnosed with a condition that needs a stronger treatment; your doctor might put you on injectable medication.
If these still fail, you might move on to medical procedures, sperm, egg or embryo donation, then surrogacy and probably adoption.
This seemingly never-ending journey may lead into a spiritual and ethical path that forces you to make quick rather than well-thought-out decisions concerning hormone therapy, IVF, donor egg, sperm and embryos, surrogacy, adoption, and living child-free.
Despite all these, you need to move forward.
If treatments are unsuccessful, you tend to face difficult decisions whether you should continue trying, or seek other options. For many, adoption provides another path to having children.
The challenges of living child-free aren’t always easy, and there are definitely still ups and downs. But the downs are helped tremendously by realizing there is much more to life.
As you decide on the next step, give yourself permission to be uncertain and cautious, change your mind, and grieve.
Figuring out how to move forward may be hard, but what is clear is that you will eventually find a way to live with the pain and disappointment of infertility and move on.
MD/CEO Nordica Fertility