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How Far Would You Go?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

The months and weeks leading up to our embryo transfer in September, we didn’t talk about it with anyone but our parents. Next to actually being pregnant, it’s one of the hardest secrets to keep from those closest to you—I was noticeably absent from the Jewish holidays this year, and other occasions that took place around that time. But we decided it was easier to remain mum.

We’ve made our struggles very public, obviously, but we deliberately kept a lot of the details private this time. After already experiencing a lot of letdowns with this, we didn’t want to keep putting our loved ones through the roller coaster we were on. Ironically, writing about it in a blog is easier than talking about it—I can control what I write but not necessarily what I say in the moment. Like anyone going through something tough, I had good days and bad days. I had days when I was cautiously optimistic about our chances of conceiving again, and would gladly talk about everything I’d been through—and days when our fertile future looked bleak. I’m sure the hormones didn’t help that.

We’d gone months without discussing it with our friends and family so people stopped asking after a while. But we have a three-year-old and I’m 38—people naturally started to wonder. Even strangers would ask me when we were planning to have more children, which never bothered me. (I had canned responses for that one—"We're trying!") I’d started to develop a very pragmatic point of view on all this. It made it easier to cope—if I do A, B could happen. Or C. If not, we’ll try D. Then move onto E and F.

This may be difficult for some people to understand, but this process is much harder if you spend too much energy worrying about the what-ifs. What if I get sick from the medications? What if I can’t get pregnant? Getting sick was unpleasant and a very unfortunate side effect of the drugs, which don’t affect everyone that way, but it wasn’t going to stop me from continuing to try to have another baby. I knew each time I headed into another cycle that it would probably make feel like crap, but what’s more important in the long run? A handful of sick days, or a sibling for my son? I also knew there was no guarantee of it working, but I was not going to let my fear of failure get in the way of my dreams. I’ve always worked hard for what I want—that’s just life.

Assisted reproductive technology, or IVF, is not for everyone. If you’re unsure about wanting a child, this is not a road I’d suggest going down. But we—my husband and I, equally—were never unsure about wanting more children. We never wavered on that for a second. As difficult as all this was, it was pretty much a no-brainer for us. It didn’t feel like a choice.

Someone asked me recently how far I was willing to go to have another baby—I wasn’t sure how to answer the question. It's hard to say now that I'm pregnant. Adoption? Surrogacy? On some level I’d considered every option in my head, or on my computer. After conceiving my son so easily, I never imagined I'd need any help. But I did what I had to do, and I couldn't be happier. 

Whether or not you've gone through infertility, or had trouble trying to conceive, did you ever consider how far you'd go to have a child? Has anyone ever judged you for your fertility choices? I know there are a lot of opposing views on this, consider this a safe place to share your comments (kindly please).

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