I get this question asked to me more than I thought I would.
First I’d like to note that I am not someone who believes that if I don’t have a biological child my life will be over or somehow incomplete. We feel called to be parents and believe that there are many paths to parenthood. Our child or children have already been chosen for us it is now just a matter of coming together and if four rounds of IVF do not work than we will move on to adoption.
The decision making in the beginning was easy. Clomid seemed pretty benign, even the IUI didn’t seem like that big of a deal. IVF was a whole other matter. That took extra thought and lots of prayer. I did a lot of research on the subject, especially from a Christian perspective. Some of the factors used to reach our final conclusion
1) I did have a legitimate physical need that requires IVF. According to the doctors at least, I have no working tubes (I also don’t ovulate on my own) therefore there is no way for the sperm and egg to meet. Now I do believe that God could overcome this flaw and that doctors aren’t always 100% correct, but the decision was to go with the best information we have available and conclude that the best option is to extract my eggs directly out of my ovaries allow the embryos to grow and then implant them where they need to be.
2) I believe the reason that many Christians oppose IVF is because the common misconception is that you end up with tons of little frozen babies that never get used and may even need to be eventually destroyed. After a thorough amount of research I discovered that in fact you are fortunate just to end up with embryos at the end of the process and especially fortunate to end up with any to freeze. My first cycle I ended up with four embryos, two transplanted and two to freeze for a frozen transfer. The second cycle I ended up with only two and none to freeze. Even if we did get pregnant it would be great to have a few to freeze so that we could try again for siblings.
3) What about multiples? Yes the rate of multiple births has risen since the start of fertility treatments but having more than twins is rare and I wouldn’t mind having twins. I also go to an especially conservative fertility center where the rules are if you are under thirty-five they will not transfer more than two embryos at a time. They even do one embryo transfers on women who have already had a successful round of IVF. Of course this hasn’t stopped the many jokes as we continue on this journey. Our friends have already named our reality show “Sarah, Shan and the Clan” and my husband has already vowed that if we end up with 5 or 6 he’ll be handing them out after church like puppies.
4) I currently have a great job that offers fantastic benefits. My insurance was willing to cover four “fresh” cycles of IVF and as many frozen transfers as we have embryos. My medication insurance also covers almost all of the costly fertility drugs. This is an amazing blessing and also an uncommon one. No matter how it happens once we do become parents the plan has always been for me to leave work and become a stay-at-home mom. This means we will have to switch to my husband’s benefits that aren’t quite as amazing. Being able to do IVF without the financial burden was an incredible opportunity and a resource I felt needed to be exhausted if anything just to bring some closure if it ends up not working out the way we’d like it to.
5) Finally I felt a very strong calling from God to go forth through this journey of IVF no matter what the outcome. From the very beginning James 1:2-4 has been on my heart and I meditate on it daily.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that it is the testing of your faith that develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I will say that this trial has tested my faith A LOT and is consistently developing my perseverance. My one hope is that at the end, no matter the outcome I will be more mature and complete.