Friday, March 10, 2006

The unfairness of infertility

I know that this is a probably much different type of post than you all are used to seeing from me, but it's something that's been on my mind quite a bit lately and I just want to vent about it.

How on earth does God decide who is fertile and who is infertile? I just don't get it and it seems so unfair.

Right now there are two wonderful ladies on my TTC board who are battling infertility. I'm going to try to sum up what they have gone through, but keep in mind that I have only been on this board since September 2004, so I don't know them as well as some of the others might. I hope I quote their stories appropriately.

One of them, S, finally got pregnant by in-vitro fertilization after trying to conceive for almost six years and delivered a beautiful baby boy who is now three or four. In the last six months, she has gone through in-vitro another three times. The first two cycles failed.

The other, H, conceived twins on her third cycle of in-vitro fertilization using donor eggs. She has suffered two miscarriages; one before and one after.

Both S and H underwent their final cycles of in-vitro on February 28, 2005, with frozen embryos playing the torturous waiting game of having blood drawn for beta tests to see if the frozen embryos implanted and if they are nestling in for the long haul. Because of the outrageous financial burden of going through in-vitro numerous times, this will be their last attempt.

The reason why I have this on my mind is because I have been thinking so much lately about the differences between when I got pregnant with McKenna and what these two girls are doing now.

Me:

P and I decided we were ready to try to have a baby.
I charted my temperatures and monitored my fertility signs.
We did our thing on the appropriate days.
I waited patiently for two weeks.
I tested as soon as I thought I might have some human growth hormone in my system.
After it was positive, I went to the doctor to confirm it and have a beta drawn twice. My first beta was 1508, and after 48 hours, it doubled to 3608.
I went in at seven weeks for an ultrasound to confirm the heartbeat.

Total cost to me: $19.99 for pregnancy tests and $25.00 for a copayment.

Them:

Their husbands and they decided they were ready to try whatever it took to get pregnant again.
They called and made arrangements for the embryos to be transported to them.
They took injections and pills to ready their bodies for the transfers.
They showed up and the embryos were placed in their uteri with basically what sounds like turkey basters.
They were sent home with instructions to rest, not lift, and think positive.
At six days past transfer, they start going in for bloodwork to get their betas, and then went back at eight days and ten days. H went from 30 to 48 to 70; S went from 15 to 18 to 42.6.

Total cost to them: THOUSANDS and thousands of dollars with no guarantee.

I don't and will never understand why it is so easy for some people to get pregnant and so damn HARD for others. I will never understand why teenage crack prostitutes can get pregnant by just looking at a member of the opposite sex but these two wonderful women who want another baby or babies SO BADLY can't have it and have to go to such lengths to even have a chance.

These girls aren't out of the woods yet, but their doctors are very concerned because the beta numbers are supposed to double every 48 hours and as you can see, their numbers aren't quite doing that. They are going to have more bloodwork done next week.

Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers, and hug your kids every chance you get.

12 Comments:

Blogger Sharon said...

I of course have no answers to the questions you posed. Instead, I have the same questions. And I ask myself often. A good friend of mine tried for years and years and years to become pregnant, and after suffering 5 miscarriages was finally doing very well. She fell down the stairs outside her apartment the day after Christmas and lost the baby that would have been born in April. And I don't know if the doctors (and her husband) will allow her to try again. And it just isn't fair. It was so easy for me, and I don't understand why it continues to be so hard for other women. Not fair. ((((Hugs)))))

5:11 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I am going through the same thing right now. I am 27. THought it would be as easy for me as your process, only to find that I have no working ovaries. But I don't have the $25,000 to do the IVF, and don't want to take a loan for that money to do it. So, I am going on regular HRT in hopes of a miracle. As my mom says, it is 10% medicine, 90% miracle. I wish I knew why DH and I had to go through this extremely difficult challenge, except to say that I know it is so that I can help others like me. But it still seems grossly unfair that the most ill-prepared people in the world can just pop out babies that they can't afford to care for whenever they want.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

Just to add the inverse - why is it people who don't want children have to do everything in the world NOT to have them.

I would give anything to be able to swap reproductive systems with friends who desperately want, but can't seem to be able to have kids.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

It's very sad, I agree with everything you said!

7:09 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I don't understand either.

I've been blog surfing and your post just caught at me and I wanted to add a comment, even though I'm not sure what I have to say.

I got pregnant when I was told I wasn't even ovulating. Why was that so easy and it is so impossible for other, wonderful people who would be such fantastic parents. I don't know either.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Stitchie Kiwi said...

I'm another easy peasy person - five children, easy pregnancies, easy births, easy babies. I have learnt not to feel guilty but really appreciate the blessing that I've been blessed with - because that is what it is. I really really feel for those people that struggle, and in the past have let it get me down, and wondered like you what it's such an unfair world. But I think those of us who DO have it "easy" should appreciate it for the blessing that it is - does that make sense?

Enjoy every minute of your little girl, she is a sweetie :)

2:06 AM  
Blogger Stasha said...

Beautifully said. I definitely appreciate my kids. I get pregnant easy but walk through death to deliver (Try C-sections when you're allergic to anesthetics- no I can't go vaginal because of some pelvic deformations).
I do wish I could help others that want to be parents and can't. I do my best to support organizations that promote adoptions.

11:29 PM  
Blogger natty68 said...

That was a fantastic post hon, and one that I have asked myself many many times. I have had 14 miscarriages, with another possible one having occured recently, and at 38 it really does look like this is the end.

I look at the people in my area that seem to be able to produce like rabbits and think why cant I do that. There's even a girl on a forum I visit who is only 18, doesnt have a job, etc, on benefits and has fallen pregnant, and she's moaning about being sick with it..gods how I wish I could say to her "shut up, and be bloody greatful - there are some that cant have kids"

By the way do you have the url of the ttc board - I think I need some moral support from likewise people.

*Hugs*

12:41 PM  
Blogger Mindy said...

Wouldn't it be great if those of us who don't want children could just wish our fertility (well, I assume I'm fertile, anyway -- not testing that) on those who are either infertile or having a hard time? It really doesn't seem right that some people can have kids and they they mistreat them horribly, while so many want to have even just one child to cherish.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

There is a flip side to this. I couldn't get pregnant because my XDH was sterile. Shortly after we found this out, a friend of ours, who already had two children was unexpectedly pregnant and constantly talking about how she didn't want another child and why didn't the birth control work blah blah blah. This is someone who knew about all of our struggles.

At the time, I had so much anger toward her - one because I would give a limb to have what she didn't want. Second, because she chose to complain about it to me knowing how I felt.

It took me a couple of months, but I finally realized that the fact that she was pregnant and didn't want to be was no more painful than my desire to have DH's kids and not be able to. It's the same pain and hardship - just from different sides of the fence.

I'm now 35, divorced, and in a relationship that I'm not sure about. I've finally accepted that I will never be a Mom. DBF has offered, if we marry someday, but honestly, i just don't want to get back on that rollercoaster again.

The women you talk about are **voluntarily** living thorugh hell. I do feel badly for them, and understand their pain, but there comes a time when the stress, drugs, injections, miscarriages, etc are seriously affecting their quality of life and deadening them to the possibilities of helping out kids who desperately want parents and don't have them.

I hope this doesn't sound insenstivie, because I don't mean it to be, but my advice to these women would be to move on and spend their $$ on adopting instead of paying doctors who can offer nothing more than easily-breakable promises. A child who needs parents is just as lovable and needy as a child that you give birth to.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Life's just not fair - I'm in the group that only has to be looked at to get pregnant (even at my age - I'm 44!). My sister and her husband went through numerous invitro treatments for a couple of years TTC. I would gladly have been a surrogate for them.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Holly,

I understand that planning your life around scheduling Doctors appointments, injections, intrusive tests and painful surgeries doesn't exactly offer the best quality of life but to say that the women that struggle through infertility are "voluntarily" living through hell is taking it a step too far. I didn't volunteer to be infertile. I didn't sign up for this crap. I have just as much a right to have a child as anyone else and would do anything in my power/financial means to do so and if that means taking meds and having surgery to have a child then those are the cards I have been dealt. It is not as easy as you suggest to just stop pursuing infertility treatment as I am sure you know having been through this process yourself. Not everyone can just stop and say ok I'll adopt a child instead. While it is true that there are many children in need of good homes, adopting a child is NOTHING like having a child of your own. Some women such as myself have a very strong deeply rooted desire to have a biological child. Adoption is also expensive and doesn't always result in a happy ending. Placements fall through as parents change their minds, there are waiting lists years long and there are also numerous legal issues involved. One does not just go out and adopt a child in need. If you can find an agency where I can be placed with a needy child asap without having to go through another show of disappointments and horrors I'd love to hear about it. While adoption is the right decision for some, for others it is another long and exhausting journey. I understand what you mean in that no one has to undergo fertility treatment and that quality of life would be better without all of this infertility nonsense but how can you stop trying when there is hope?

9:33 AM  

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