Please stop telling us to “just do IVF”

14 Jun

It is astounding to me the number of people who feel comfortable giving us advice regarding our fertility.  Absolutely astounding.  People who have no idea what we are going through, but who have read an article in the newspaper or who have a friend who has a friend think that they know enough to solve our problems…as though they can suggest something that the billion and one doctors who have access to my medical records and years of schooling and experience haven’t thought of themselves.



One of the most annoying things people say to us is “well you can always just do IVF.”  It’s frustrating on various levels, and in an attempt to get people to stop flippantly suggesting IVF, I’d like to explain some things about it and why it is most likely never going to be an option for us (and this is not to dis anyone who has tried/successfully had a baby through IVF).


1.  It took me 3 years to even decide I was comfortable taking medicine to mess with my brain/hormone levels.  I still have nightmares sometimes that we’re going to get pregnant and the baby is going to have 3 arms or be missing eyes or I’m going to wake up with massive tumors in my body as a result of all the drugs.  The things I’ve taken have so far been proven safe, but who knows what might be discovered in another 20 years?!?  IVF involves A LOT of medications and “procedures.”  If I was scared to use medications, I’d have to get over it real quick if we were to go this route…


2.  IVF is expensive.  We’re talking $10-12k a cycle.  This is money paid with no guarantee of a baby.  In fact, many cycles end in a BFN (big fat negative).  I’m not really sure that amount of money can be justified.  Seems unconscionable to me to PAY to have a child anyway (which is ALSO one of my major issues with adoption, FYI).  I’m having a very hard time reconciling that there are starving people in the world but we can possibly save up 10k to throw at a possibility of a baby.  10k could feed a lot of hungry people…and may or may not result in a baby (33% of IVF procedures end in a healthy pregnancy–this is, in my opinion, not very good odds).



3.  IVF is time consuming.  There is a ridiculous amount of monitoring that must be done–ultrasounds and bloodwork.  There are multiple daily injections.  Here’s a good generic overview of all that IVF entails.  I think many people are under the false assumption that they just take some eggs, take some sperm and boom.  I’m not sure if people understand what it takes to get those eggs and then get the embryo back into a woman’s body.  “Test tube baby” (which is actually a misnomer anyway and really shows how little is known about IVF in the mainstream), shoot it up in you and you’re all set.  That’s not at all the case.  An IVF cycle requires many weeks of medications, tests and doctor’s visits.


4.  IVF is emotionally difficult.  All of this is.  This may be the most frustrating part of infertility–the lack of understanding and empathy from people who haven’t experienced it.  Even people who say they get it, who tell you they’re sorry–they turn around the next minute and say something insensitive that cuts to the core and makes you cry the minute you are alone.  You get hopped up on hormones that create what can best be described as PMS on steroids, you’re unsure of how it all will end, and your life becomes consumed with doctor’s visits and tests (which in our case always end in a negative manner).  “Just relax” and “forget about it” are ridiculous–you are reminded every time you have to take a different medication, have blood drawn, an internal ultrasound done.  I can’t forget about this–every day, I think about it.



5.  IVF requires eggs.  This is perhaps the most important reason, the one that trumps all the others: Eggs are the whole problem in our case.  My body, thus far, has not responded to a single medication designed to make me ovulate.  Without eggs, there is no IVF.  And before someone suggests using donor eggs, please understand that adds thousands of dollars to the cost and also means carrying someone else’s baby.  And you can tell me that it will be “mine” or “ours,” but the truth is that in my head right now, that baby would be someone else’s, on loan to me.  And it’s very easy to say I would feel differently as you hold your own children created by “natural” means.


I guess my point is that none of these are “easy” decisions to make, and flippantly suggesting IVF makes it seem like they are.  I realize the suggestion comes from people who often don’t know–and the passive Shme would say that’s ok, don’t feel bad about it.  But the assertive Shme says if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should probably just shut your mouth.  And really even if you DO know, you should probably not give unsolicited advice.  Truth is, all we really need people to say is “wow that really sucks. Sorry you’re going through it. Let me know if I can help.” I don’t write about our issues to get medical advice–that’s why I go to the doctor.  Mostly I write because I want people to understand where we’re coming from, why we make the choices we make and to prevent unnecessarily rude/hurtful commentary.


While IVF seems like a great solution to people who are not “in the know,” it is not for everyone.  It’s not that easy.  Nothing about this is.  So if you don’t know, please don’t tell us.  If we don’t ask for it, please don’t give advice.  As always, what we need is your love, your willingness to listen to us talk (but only when we want to–no prodding, please), your understanding when we are going through a tough time and don’t want to hang (particularly if you have children), your thoughts and prayers.  We have a doctor, we do our own research, and we talk (a lot) about what to do, what is right for US.  The decision of whether or not to try IVF is ours and it’s very complicated.  The decision of how to proceed with our treatment is OURS.  Just because we’re choosing a path you disagree with does not mean we are wrong or we want a baby any less.  It means we are deciding what is right for us as a family, using the combined knowledge that we and our doctors have….


2 Responses to “Please stop telling us to “just do IVF””

  1. sheisonarun June 14, 2014 at 2:38 am #

    I think the reason why people suggest IVF is because it seems easiest oh just get the egg the sperm create the baby & put it back. It sounded simple to me until I researched & learned about it. No advice from me, just positive thoughts & prayers that what ever you want to do works for you all.

    • shmeruns June 14, 2014 at 2:51 am #

      Agreed…people think it’s a simple process or that it’s no big deal. “If you really wanted a baby, you’d just do it.” As though it’s a guarantee or something. It’s a comment made out of ignorance and I wanted to get the word out that it IS a big deal/not an easy thing to go through.

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