This post was updated on May 20th, 2019
My Failed Embryo Transfer
The roller coaster analogy doesn’t cut-it for me anymore. Trying to conceive really is more like a boxing match. We grit our teeth and with all the determination of little Peekay from Bryce Courtney’s the Power of One, we step into the ring to do battle with our dreaded opponent infertility. And infertility is a tough, nasty, and even dirty at times bruiser who can be WAY tougher than many of us anticipate, especially when we set-out so optimistically in our first few months of trying. I know because I have under-estimated him before.
If you’re like me, and you’ve been through more than a few rounds, you’ll know that the punches only get harder while your body seemingly gets softer as the boxing-match continues.
Right now I’m face-down on the mat with infertility standing over me menacingly. He thinks he’s already won after this latest failed IVF attempt, and boy do I feel like throwing in the towel. I had about a 70% chance of success this time because I transferred a frozen embryo that had been genetically tested. 70%! That’s the same as 100% isn’t it when you’re setting your expectations? Couldn’t I have gotten at least 70% pregnant!
I know I can be a bit nerdy and talk a lot about calculating IVF success rates but all or nothing really makes a mockery out of IVF success rate percentages doesn’t it? So what if 70% of women like me would have gotten pregnant under the same circumstances, I’m obviously one of the 30% who didn’t so regardless of the fact that I had a “high success rate” I still came away with the same results as someone with low odds would have.
This is the flip-side of the miracle-story that everyone loves to publish – especially when it’s someone famous. While women with incredibly low chances of success can miraculously fall pregnant be it naturally or through assisted reproductive technology, the opposite is also true – that a 34 year old woman, with PGD tested embryos, and a “great looking” uterine lining can spend her week 4 with painful cramps and a heavy period. Here’s a headline for you that you’ll never see published in any of your standard media outlets: “Woman with high IVF success rates fails to fall pregnant again”.
How do you all cope with these relentless beatings? The pain of my four years of suffering in many ways makes me amazed that so many of us can tolerate it. PCOS, two miscarriages, 6 rounds of oral ovulation medication, an ovulation induction cycle, two cycles of IVF and now this failed embryo transfer. Rationally I know my problems are insignificant on a global scale when I see what’s going on in Syria, or I read about some of the domestic violence that occurs in my own local community seemingly daily, but failing to fall pregnant this time feels as awful as my miscarriages, and I don’t like it one bit.
And now that I’ve had my sulk, deep down, I know I’m not done yet. Neither is my husband and I know he’s in my corner with a cold sponge, and some instructions on how we need to get back out there and show infertility what we’re made of. Picking ourselves up, and dusting ourselves off is all we’ve got right?
These sorts of challenges in life are when we find the grit we think only braver people possess.
So forget the ups and downs of the roller coaster, because those are what you ride when you go to a fun-park and there ain’t too much fun to be had when you’re failing to fulfil your simple dream of becoming a parent. Roller coasters are safe, and we know no harm will come of us, but in the real world of “trying” there’s a good chance you’ll sock a few right on the chin before finally punching your way through to a beautiful baby (how’s that for a weird metaphor?) Maybe “Fight Club” might be a better analogy still since the first rule of Fight Club, is we don’t talk about Fight Club right?
Well I’m talking about Fight Club, because I want all of us in it to team up to take our infertility on together. You cheer me on, and I’ll do the same for you. This is my Fight Blog, and I call you all to my standard. Tell me you’re going to keep trying and I will too.
Since 2010, Kym Campbell has used evidence-based diet and lifestyle interventions to manage her PCOS. After getting her symptoms under control and falling pregnant naturally, Kym now advocates for dietary change as part of any PCOS treatment plan. Combining rigorous science and clinical advice with a pragmatic approach to habit change, Kym is on a mission to show other women how to take back control of their health and fertility. Read more about Kym and her team here.