Since Noah and I have been in the process of documenting our journey and exploring how different modern families are created, we've had the opportunity to interview many different people who built their families in different ways. It was enlightening for me to speak to these individuals/couples during our process, because it constantly reminded me that where there is a will, there's a way, you may just need to get creative. One thing I noticed is that different people had different approaches to ART, and as we are editing footage and looking back at these interviews and at our own path, I'm starting to better understand that there are different ways to approach ART.
I know people who set out to do IVF until it worked. Statistically, I believe IVF takes about three rounds to be successful. I read that somewhere but I can't quote it. Basically, striking gold on the first try isn't necessarily the norm, but after trying different protocols and getting the right cocktail of meds etc. many people do have success. These people decide to stay the course and learn something from each round. It's a good but often expensive strategy, (though some clinics offer package deals, which could be worth the investment for many people). I sometimes wonder if Noah and I just kept trying to find my "one good egg," if we would have eventually been successful. After our first IVF wasn't successful, we decided to try something different. We weighed our chances with my DOR diagnosis with the physical, emotional and financial cost of doing several more rounds and decided we couldn't afford to stay the course hoping something would work. I vividly remember our doc saying something like If we had won the lottery and the process wasn't so physically and emotionally hard, he'd advise us to do IVF again, but given our circumstances, he too thought we should move on.
I wasn't really ready to have the donor egg conversation at that stage of the game, and I was angry that our finances were a big deciding factor in how we were going to get our baby. It didn't seem fair. None of it did. But we found a way to emotionally process the situation and gather enough dough to move to a donor egg round with my sis. When that didn't work we were truly broken. Our doc recommended a proven anonymous egg donor, but we 1) couldn't really afford it and 2) I was afraid of doing the same thing. Though an anonymous donor wouldn't really have been the same as using my sister's eggs, I was afraid that maybe I couldn't carry. Though Noah always got glowing sperm reports, he was also a common factor--maybe there were issues there we didn't fully understand. It just didn't feel right to me. And then we found Momo, our adopted embryo. It was something different.
How each person/couple approaches their journey to parenthood in the world of ART is a very individual and unique experience. There is no right or wrong. Some people stay the course, some people try something different each time, some people stay the course until the feel ready to try something different, some people decided to ultimately live child-free or adopt. Some people take a break and get pregnant naturally-- there are so many possibilities. What's most important is weighing your options, and knowing what you and your partner are comfortable with. It's sitting with the facts of your situation and remembering that those facts aren't always written in stone. There is still a lot of mystery around reproduction. It isn't always an exact science. It's deciding what your body, your mind, your relationship and your bank account can handle, and moving forward in a way that feels right.
When Momo is finally born (gulp), I know I will probably say what most people we have interviewed for our documentary have said, that they couldn't imagine it happening any other way or having any other child than the one they ended up with. I never thought I'd be P with an adopted child. But I do feel like Momo is supposed to be in this world and is very much our baby. All the what-ifs don't really matter anymore.
Wishing anyone having to adapt and make difficult decisions all the love and strength in the world.