the reasons why not

The fact is that if my husband and I want to continue to pursue a medical solution to our infertility, IVF with ICSI is the first, last, and only stop on the train.  Our RE feels strongly that IUI is not a good option for us:

  • Either my husband’s sperm is in a lot better shape than the last SA showed, in which case we should be able to conceive naturally in the next few months with no fibroids in the way, or…
  • The SA was accurate, in which case IUI wouldn’t help the sperm penetrate the egg.

So it’s all the eggs in one basket, so to speak, if we want to proceed.

There are lots of reasons why I don’t want to do this, and only some of them are insane.  The first reasons below are not the most important–they are the easiest to explain and talk about.  The last reasons are not the least important–they are the murkiest and craziest.


I’ve said before that IVF is out of reach for us financially.  I am grateful for my health insurance, which covered my myomectomy, but it won’t cover any infertility treatments at all.  The $14,000 that our clinic estimates for one cycle would have to come from somewhere, and that represents more than half of our combined annual income at this point.*  If we decided that IVF was something we needed to do, we could maybe have one try at it with some significant financial help from my mother and possibly a bank loan through our clinic’s financial office.  Or if we were really determined we could put it on a credit card and pay it off for the rest of our lives.

I guess the point is that if we are going to be financially responsible at all, we cannot afford this; but if we were to decide that one shot at IVF was worth being in debt for the rest of forever, we could probably do it.

There would be a lot riding on that one shot.  Which brings me to my next set of reasons.


As is evidenced by my entire blogging oeuvre, I am a fucking basket case.**

I have watched so many of you go through this process through your blogs, and it’s a hugely intense experience that I just don’t think I would be able to take.  I don’t think my husband fully understands that it’s not just the retrieval and the transfer.  How will my body handle the injections?  How many follicles will there be?  How many eggs will we retrieve?  Will any of them fertilize?  Will any of those become transferrable embryos?  Will any of them make it to blast?  How many will we transfer?  Will there be any to freeze? And what will we do with the frozen embryos if our cycle is successful?  If it’s not?

I don’t even want to talk about the 2ww.

Every single one of those steps is a Moment Of Truth.  I don’t think I can jump from Important Milestone to Important Milestone like that on a daily basis.

And then what if it fails?

If we were to do this, we would really only have one shot.  It feels like gambling with our entire lives, and I have a hard time even imagining that there could be a baby at the end of the process.  Which brings me to my last set of reasons.


This last one is hard to admit, though I think it has been waiting to bubble up to the surface for a while.

Deep down in my soul I don’t think I believe any longer that I am capable of being pregnant.  Somewhere along the way I have lost hope.  What the fuck would be the point of IVF if I don’t even really believe it can work?

I know that this is insane.  I know that sans fibroids, there is no reason to believe there is anything physically wrong with me.

And yet.

*I am a little nervous to put that number out there because I’m afraid that it will make some people think that at that income level we have no business being parents–but lots of families make it on less, we live in a place with a relatively low cost of living, and there is a difference between being able to support a child and having $14,000 to shell out before he/she is even born.  Some people like to talk about birth expenses as an analogue to IVF costs, but the fact is that the birth expenses will be covered by insurance, while the IVF costs will not.  We can afford our hospital copays.

**Which, again, makes me wonder what, exactly, it is that I think qualifies me to be a parent in the first place.


17 responses to “the reasons why not

  1. All these reasons make complete sense, even the irrational ones.

    I think we all lose hope to some extent. In fact, it very quickly becomes impossible to imagine anything ever working. But I suppose there’s probably a continuum of hopelessness, from the really hopeless, to the hopeless as a way of protecting your heart, but secretly hopeful. I tended to move back and forth a lot. I have no idea how I would have felt about my prospects if the financial issue had been a serious one for us. I think it colors everything else. (Which is not to say the emotional one is not separate and major, too.)

    I really hope the SA was just a fluke so that you’ll still have options on the table. But there are plenty of couples who stop at this point and say okay, let’s move on. I secretly hope that this is not the path you guys take, because I think you CAN get pregnant and bring a beautiful baby into the world, but all of these choices are hard, and it ultimately comes down to the one that’s right for you.

  2. I wrestled a lot this summer with the risk and fear of going forward. There are always good arguments to try (in our case, it was try egg donation), but inside of me, I had a similar list to yours about why we shouldn’t go ahead. I had to sit with it for quite a while before I thought that the risk of not trying was greater than the risk of trying. In the end, what made up my mind was that I knew I would regret it in 10 years if I turned down the offer of eggs. How will you feel like in 10 years if you don’t go ahead with IVF? (I am asking this in the most neutral of tones. I don’t know your answer, but I just wanted to pose the question).

    I guess for you it’s a bit trickier than for me. You ovulate and you are now fibroid-free. It’s unclear whether your DH’s sperm are intact, but you may be able to repeat the test or consult a urologist to find out more. And then there is donor sperm. But that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I can appreciate what’s stopping you from going ahead. I’ve wrestled so much with similar questions. At the end of the day, you need to figure these things out for yourself and with your husband. The fertility clinic is not going anywhere. They can wait. What’s most important is you and your process towards motherhood.

  3. Hey there, you do NOT have to do IVF if you don’t want to and I understand your reasons. I felt the exact same way about donor egg. No way did I want to do it for practical or emotional reasons and that was how it was. No offense to those who’ve done it; just not right for me. I did not mind IVF so much and fortunately got pregnant that way with my own eggs.

    I too agree with thinking into the future ten years from now–will you have regrets you didn’t do it if you don’t get pregnant naturally? Hard to say, but do think it over. It isn’t a bad process at all but I certainly understand your concerns.

    Best wishes in whatever you decide.

  4. All valid points for sure.

    And anyone who says you have no business being parents based on your income is a fool. There is a big difference between having to hand over $14000 in one lump sum compared to bits here and there to support a child. And lets face it there are many rich dickheads who procreate and are useless parents so the finances do not dictate what type of parent you will be.

    I dont think IVF is for everyone and I completely respect your decision if you decide to not go down this route. The only thing I will say is that you need to make peace with it. Say it proudly from the rooftops and don’t feel guilty about not wanting to do IVF. It’s your right to choose and you don’t need to give anyone your reasons for making this decision. It’s not thier business, it’s yours (and your DH’s) entirely. So as long as you are both happy with it then thats all that matters.

    I get the feeling that although you are anti IVF, you also aren’t at peace with not doing IVF (if that makes sense). So I have to echo what JS says above about wondering if you will have regrets in 5 years time if you haven’t been able to concieve naturally?

    Maybe for now you can just take one step at a time. Concentrate on ttc naturally because I seriously don’t think you need to consider ivf just yet anyway. Now that you’ve evicted the fibroid there is so many reasons why you won’t even need IVF.

    Anyway, I just want you to be happy and I kind of think that IVF seems like this big scary ogre that you probably won’t even need to consider (because you’ll get pg natually) so don’t let it consume you just yet.

    xxx hugs

  5. Whatever reasons you have, they are valid. IVF is a big, expensive, emotional gamble and it is important to be emotionally and physically prepared. The money piece is the only point I would argue. I know it is expensive to live these days but I firmly believe you do need a lot of money to raise a happy, healthy well-adjusted child. I know the stress that a lack of money can cause but ultimately it is only money.
    No matter your choice you have support from me!!

  6. I think those reasons all make sense, and I hope that putting them out there has made you feel more confident in why you are not doing this. You also have time to think about it, there is no need to rush into it right now, especially as neither of your issues are age-related.

  7. All the previous commenters have expressed the thoughts I have. . . . all your reasons are valid, both the rational and “irrational” ones.

    Ultimately, the only ones who have to be OK with your choice are you and your husband. So take whatever time you need and do whatever you need to do to be OK with your choice, whatever it is.

  8. All your reasons are understandable and valid.
    Take your time. I wouldn’t want to do IVF now, partly because I don’t think I would handle the emotional stress very well (on top of a number of other things that should be temporary) — but I do think that I’d regret not having tried in the long term, so if we’re still childless in about a year I will give it serious consideration. Maybe your perspective — or your husband’s — will change over time, too. I hope you’ll find a way you both can be ok with.

  9. Bear in mind that the women writing blogs are (mostly) the ones pursuing aggressive treatment options. The blog/forum population is biased, as it almost equals fertility problems = aggressive medical intervention, when in fact there are MANY women who are trying more or less naturally and never resort to IVF, only that we don’t keep blogs because our ‘adventure’ is not so interesting. If you decide to pass on it, you won’t be alone.

  10. I know the financial aspect can be scary, but not making a lot of money does not mean you’re not qualified to be parents! Babies (and kids) don’t have to have an extensive wardrobe (or even all brand-new, as there are so many gently-used clothing stores now), tons of toys, and all that expensive baby furniture. My parents had their first child in a tiny little apartment when my dad was in law school and my mom was a SAHM – my older sister slept in a drawer (not even kidding – they used a deep dresser drawer for the first few months of her life, I think until she started crawling out of it), my mom used a laundry basket as a playpen before she started walking, and she breastfed (much cheaper than formula), and she was well-loved and cared for. Babies don’t need material possessions, just to be clean, safe, stimulated, and loved. It always makes me angry when people say that someone doesn’t deserve to have children because they don’t make enough money, because if that’s the case then none of the six of us would have been born!
    I’m one of those that isn’t really convinced that IVF is right for everyone. I know that for me, the financial risk of paying out a lot of money for a treatment that may not work doesn’t make any sense. I would rather pay for an adoption, where I know that we would end up parents. But that’s just how I feel, and is not necessarily what is right for someone else. If Hubby was adamant about IVF, then maybe I’d have a different view, but he’s not and would prefer adoption than aggressive treatments as well.
    These decisions are never easy, though, and I hope you and your husband can figure out which is the right path for both of you.

  11. I deeply empathize with so much you wrote…

    I won’t say yay or nay to IVF because honestly I haven’t made my mind up about it either, but, if I was to give myself advice I would say to step outside the box. Look at yourself, your situation, and what you ultimately want – for me that’s a baby WITH my sanity and health intact – and the different ways to to get it. Haven’t quite figured out how to get there yet… but for all of us there are some options. They may not be the ones you want, but they’re options nonetheless. And they’re just possibilities. You don’t have to do any of them – don’t worry about getting tied down to one until you’re ready.

    In the meantime, be good to yourself and do something to remind you that life is still good (great, hopefully!) and it exists outside of TTC.

  12. Successful IVF is a bit hit and miss. My partner and I have been trying for a long time, still with no success. Anyway we still haven’t given up hope.

  13. Eek, no hope? You are going to get me all in a froth trying to bring you back to this side of the fence.

    I am annoyingly hopeful lately. I got low before I arrived here. Once I went through it (you know the saying: through it and not around it) I had my sense of direction back. Perhaps you are in the same place.

    Step back and pursue that baby the old fashioned way. ART will wait for you. It is about the only thing dependable it does for us.

  14. Ginger and Lime, Please forgive me if I have hurt you with my comment on your previous post. I did not mean to offend you.

    And with that let me come to the next part of this comment. I think your irrational one is not least important, it seems to be the driver of all other reasons.

    Losing hope? Ask me about it…I have been on a see-saw all these years…almost multiple personalities resided on me. One part of me stayed gloomy, the other chirped that there is a rainbow…as the years passed, and if you have read my blog, I was losing hope of ever ever ever having children minus assistance. In fact, if my never-ending thesis had ended on time, I would have travelled to a certain Big City to take my next shot at something that was a repeat of IVFw/ICSI. So, this destiny I am living with right now, is right out of the blue for me.

    I understand the financial part well. I and Birdman earn well, but there is zero insurance. I had some amount of hospitalization covered and my laparoscopy claims were denied. I understood that unless we kept our jobs, there would be no more financing options available for us. Birdman and I have already spent enough money on the treatment that could have covered three complete pregnancy care/delivery and such charges.

    Today I can still see the hole in my bank balance, but the steady income has ensured it does not get too big.

    And you are correct about the emotional aspect. Women who cycle continuously need a honest salute really. I tracked my ovulation by ‘purchasing’ ovulation study ultrasounds…just crunching the numbers all the time made my life full of idiocy of some sort.

    All your reasons are valid. I think you should try naturally for a little while. It will bring back some sanity in your life.

  15. P.S. I did not take my IVF failure well. And I can vouch for the extent of numbness it brought in me for almost six months.

  16. First, let me say that I think your reasons are understandable and valid. Most of the reasons you listed above are those I cited as reasons why I really couldn’t consider IVF seriously. Though my case was much different than yours in that it really wasn’t indicated in the first place.

    Also, just knowing how much energy is sucked from my soul for every hurdle in a naturally-achieved pregnancy, I simply can’t fathom multiplying those hurdles. You have around 10 hurdles before you even reach the first ultrasound with IVF. What. A. Nightmare.

    I know you are struggling with standing behind your gut feeling. And it is definitely muddied by your husband’s desires which certainly must be considered. But like you said, it’ll shake out in the end and you can flip flop a million times in the meantime. ‘Cause you just get to!

  17. Pingback: empty | ginger and lime

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