Having a baby did not come easy for me and my husband. We spent years in and out of procedures that all had the small promise of parenthood one day. Fail after fail, we finally turned to one of our last options, IVF. When we made the decision to move forward I felt a strange sense of calm. I had spent years in limbo of unknown, but suddenly I got this feeling that even if it didn’t work, I was right where I was always supposed to be.
Four years and two IVF procedures later, we now have two beautiful children that were conceived outside of me and transferred back in to grow into the human beings they are today. With one boy and one girl; our family is as complete as I once had dreamed. Today though, there are new emotions that have surfaced about asking the question…what now?
With so much time, money, blood, sweat, and tears poured into IVF and ultimately two healthy children, we are now faced with the choice of what to do with the three remaining embryos we currently have frozen. For couples like us who have been lucky enough to have completed their family through this process, it comes down to five different options when making the decision on what to do with the surplus embryos. We can choose between continuing to pay for frozen storage indefinitely, disposing of the three embryos, transferring the embryos ‘compassionately’ at a time in my cycle I am least likely to get pregnant, donating to another couple or donating to research. (If you are in a similar place and need more information on these options, you can read more here).
Barbara Collura, President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association shared in a 2017 Elle online article, “This is one of the unintended consequences of IVF that doesn’t get a lot of attention…this is a huge challenge, and there is frankly not enough being done to help.”
It would seem in the flurry of the desire to create a family, we skipped the step of deciding what our plan was going to be for any remaining embryos. The truth is, I never dreamed that there would be an end where we would come full circle and be faced with making this choice. While I feel just as uncertain about this decision as I did when we finally decided to try IVF, I also feel the same sense of calm I felt then. I know I am right where I need to be as we begin to write our final chapter of our infertility story.
Erin is a working mom of two, Derek (2014) and Maya (2018). She has always been a ‘south of the river’ girl growing up in Eagan, marrying her high school sweetheart Chris, then returning after college to take up roots in Apple Valley. The road to parenthood had many bumps and Erin is a proud infertility and post-partum mood disorder survivor. She knows the power of a strong network of women can be the saving grace to make it through the curve balls motherhood can throw. She strives to be there for the women in her life when it is needed most.