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Reality award

I’ve been nominated for the Reality Blog Award courtesy of  madoqua. If you haven’t visited his blog yet, please take a moment and check it out. Wonderful stories about the places he’s visited with some amazing photographs. He almost always includes a little tidbit of inside information which makes me feel like I’m right there along for the ride.

Some samples of his work…

http://madoqua.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/sunrise.jpghttp://madoqua.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/giraffe.jpg

A big thanks to madoqua for  the Reality Award nomination. I am truly honored.

There are a lot of misconceptions infertile’s are facing. And part of the reason they continue to exist is the lack of a dialogue about infertility. Because it’s so painful for us. To be looked at as less than a man or woman because we’re unable to have a child.  Suffering ridiculous suggestions by others, knowing you’ve done things 10 times more ridiculous hoping for parenthood. Dealing with our own demons every time someone announces a pregnancy. All the while being subjected to questions on why we’re still childless. We hide our infertility to protect ourselves. And that’s okay. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for staying in the shadows.

But this is why these misconceptions continue. Before I found out I was infertile, I associated the IVF procedure as something celebrities and rich people did to have children. Never considered it could be one of my neighbors.  I remember thinking how sad two married college professors chose never to have children. Never occurred to me that maybe they couldn’t.

Our stories need to be heard so others might understand. In order for Infertility Awareness to occur, there must be a discussion. Before one side can listen, the other must speak.

That is my hope for this blog. If I can keep this blog interesting for those not dealing with infertility, maybe something good can be accomplished. If I can reach those still in the shadows and support them in their journey, then this is all worth it.

We are your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends and maybe even your family…and we suffer in silence.

——————-

Onto the questions.

If you could change something what would you change?

It’s still wishing I enjoyed exercise.

If you could relive one day, when would it be?

The last time I visited my paternal Grandmother so I could remember her. I was a small child when she passed away. I remember my mother trying to explain to me what death was and that she died…but I don’t remember her.

What’s one thing that really scares you?

Idiots, they’re everywhere…even the mirror!

What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it?

Duh? As far as will I be able to complete it…I just don’t know. More interested in moving on with life while keeping my options open. And supporting others during their struggle.

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

Still would be my RE to grant us a free cycle of IVF.

———–

I would like to nominate the following bloggers for this award.

http://1suburbanchic.wordpress.com/
For her ability to reflect on her own viewpoint reminds me to keep an open mind. It’s okay to have an opinion, but it’s healthy to challenge yourself and listen to others.

http://diannegray.wordpress.com/
For reminding me I still have other dreams to strive for.  That dreams are achieved through hard work. I wish nothing but the best on her dream of being a full time writer.

http://scrambled-eggs.org/
For her magic ability to make me laugh and cry at the same time. Her candid posts touching on her own insecurities, fears, joys and heartbreak are always worth reading.

http://www.theonehandman.co.uk/
For being candid and open about his own infertility journey. He gives an inside look into the adoption process in the U.K. Exposing how adoption is not as simple as going to “Kids R Us” and picking one out. All the while finding the humor to be had along the way.

http://infertileginger.wordpress.com/
The reality is we have men and women serving our country that protect our freedoms, liberties and families. Yet if they suffer from infertility, there is no assistance to help them attempt a family of their own. Her letter to the First Lady is a reminder of the fight ahead of us against the concept that IVF is an “elective procedure.” I’d like to take this time to thank both Mr. and Mrs Ginger for their service to our country. As well as all the men, women and their families in the military. Thank you!

© copyright 2011-2012

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Is IVF destructive?

The decision to attempt IVF is not an easy one to make. For most it is a financial gamble on a dream that will take years to recover from. But this is nothing compared to emotional struggle a couple will face when IVF is their last option for a biological child.  Moral, ethical and religious questions weigh heavily on the minds of any couple facing IVF.

There is a disturbing need by some to connect embryonic losses during IVF with the concept of destroying a life through an abortion. Regardless of your view on abortion, not all losses during the IVF process are cases of destroying life.

Even more insulting is the assumption couples attempting IVF are blasé about these losses; we only care about the take home baby. Nothing could be further from the truth. When my Wife and I heard 9 mature eggs were harvested, realistically I thought 5 would grow after being fertilized. Reading the statistics from other IVF couples, I knew 5 was a reasonable number, even if still optimistic. The fact is our Reproductive Endocrinologist, the Embryologist, the nurses, techs, my Wife and I were all HOPING every one of the 9 eggs fertilized would result in a viable embryo.

If a farmer plants 15 corn seeds, and only 6 grow into stalks of corn, we don’t say the farmer “destroyed” 9 plants do we? Why do some feel the need to label these losses as destroying or killing innocent life when everyone involved was doing everything they could avoid it? Clinics don’t transfer multiple embryos hoping all but one survives, it’s simply the odds the doctor’s are dealing with. Most clinics are responsible about the number of embryos transferred into the womb, a few aren’t. We can’t let the case of Octomom tarnish and warp how IVF is viewed to those not dealing with infertility.

To be honest, my biggest fear during the IVF process wasn’t ending up empty handed. My biggest fear was facing the need for selective reduction.  A situation our clinic tries very hard to avoid. Holding clinics responsible for relying too often on selective reduction is certainly a cause I could get behind. However, transferring two embryos into a womb that both split isn’t a situation any doctor could have predicted. Selective reduction would be needed for the life of the mother and to avoid risking the lives of all the children.

There is one aspect to IVF that is sadly destructive. The discarding of frozen embryos.  Our clinic provided us with the option of what to do with our remaining frozen embryos should we decide to stop having children. To discard or donate for embryonic adoption? There should be more literature provided discussing the benefits of choosing donation to help other infertile couples. An option all clinics should provide to their patients.

I’m not defending the IVF process against all the ethical questions against it. It disturbs me to think how this process could be abused to select designer babies with the right eye and hair color. Or when I hear about it being used for gender selection.

The limited destructive aspect of the IVF process can be reduced through education and holding clinics responsible to keep the number of selective reductions needed as low as possible. But we must fight against the idea that all embryonic losses are destroying life. The majority of losses are because they didn’t survive when everyone involved were hoping they would.

IVF is overcoming an obstacle preventing a couple from conceiving. That’s all. We don’t withhold glasses from those with poor eyesight because they see the way God intended. Nor do we condemn those with a genetic disorders and prevent them from treatments. We treat children suffering leukemia, cyanotic heart defects causing “Blue Babies”, those with cleft pallets, all natural conditions we have overcome using science.

Unlike embryonic stem cell research, none of the embryos created during the IVF process were done so with the intent of being destroyed. The IVF process is about creating life.

With only about a 20% success rate for a couple trying naturally to conceive, the success rate of IVF is much higher. But we have statistics we can point to regarding the losses during IVF. We just don’t know why a fertile couple only has a 20% chance of getting pregnant. While a large number of them are cases of the egg not actually fertilizing…we just don’t know how many did fertilize and didn’t implant like we do with IVF.

I understand the choice of attempting IVF is a difficult one. But don’t let anyone tell you it is against God’s will. If God were that against IVF, wouldn’t its success rate be zero?

Unsuccessful vs. Failure

I know I’ve mention this before, but I feel this concept deserves a closer inspection. It bothers me when I see the words “failed IVF” used. In my eyes our IVF attempt was unsuccessful, not a failure. Being unsuccessful and failing may seem like the same thing, but I think the difference is huge.

Consider a student in college dealing with a test coming up. This student plays football and needs an “A” on the test in order to participate in this weekends game. Foregoing the idea he could cheat, which I would view a failure for cheating his education over a sporting event, most would view him playing in the game this weekend as a success or failure outcome. I do not. I see three outcomes: successful, unsuccessful and failure.

Successful is obvious, but what is the difference between unsuccessful and failure? The difference is how the student prepared for the test. If he avoided parties and spent his free time studying for this test, the fact he doesn’t get an “A” I would view unsuccessful. However, if the student blows off studying to party with his friends, only to cram 2 hours before the test, I would view a grade lower than an “A” a failure. See the difference?

We did everything the doctor’s asked us to do to the best of our ability. Why should we consider the fact we fell short of our goal a failure? We didn’t smoke crack during the process. We didn’t skip injections because we grew tired of them. We didn’t go bungee jumping during the two week wait. If we had, I’d have no problem calling our IVF attempt a failure. But we didn’t.

That’s why I use the term “unsuccessful IVF” to describe our outcome.  What do you think?

© copyright 2011-2012