After nine frozen oocytes, five rounds of anesthesia, two miscarriages, forty-five blood tests and ultrasounds, sixty-some hormone injections, countless acupuncture needles, endless prescriptions, thousands of dollars, one consultation with a shaman, more belly fat than I’m used to, and many angry nights cursing at the gods—I still have no baby.
While this painful reality resonates deeply in my heart, and certainly in my womb, and as odd as it might be to say the following, I honestly believe the process of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has made me a better person.
For those unaware, IVF is a medical procedure (explained in full detail here by The National Institute of Health) in which an egg is fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body. That’s the literal definition. However, when you happen to be the subject of such a procedure, it’s hard not to feel like a colossal science project.
Couples resort to IVF for all kinds of reasons, including but not limited to endometriosis, uterine problems, issues with the fallopian tubes, ovulation problems, antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs, and unexplained infertility. In my case, I just happened to meet my husband later in life and we started trying in my early forties, which puts me in the age group whose IVF success rates are on the lower end of the scale.
This doesn’t mean it will be impossible for me to have a baby—it just means that as a late bloomer, I’m playing a long game, a numbers game, one that requires not only my physical resilience, but also as I am learning, and perhaps more so, my inner warrior.
Why In Vitro Fertilization has made me a better person
1. It Humbled Me
As a woman in my twenties and thirties, I walked around with a certain blend of invincibility and assuredness, a bravado that precluded me from seeing certain realities about myself at a later age. Today, I have a more profound respect for the details and truths of my biology, and regardless of what happens in the course of my family planning, I carry and look to this newfound deference as guidance.