Think of six couples you know. Odds are, at least one of those couples will have trouble getting pregnant. Sometimes, if there is an identifiable problem, fertility treatments can help. And sometimes, when there is no identifiable problem, treatments don’t help. And the disappointments keep coming. Some couples try for years, spending upwards of $100,000 on drugs, IUI, and/or IVF and battling the brutal rollercoaster of emotions–anxiety, hope, despair–that accompany each exhausting treatment cycle.
Sometimes the persistence pays off. More often, it doesn’t.
Henry David Thoreau said, “The cost of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” I thought about this as we discussed adopting rather than undergoing month after month of stressful fertility treatments when in my heart I felt they would be unsuccessful. Thinking about needles, appointments, drugs and pregnancy tests made me feel miserable and anxious, as did giving up running and strength training (and red wine) and all the other things I love that may or may not affect my chances of conceiving. After trying for months and months with acupuncture and herbs, (and not preventing pregnancy for years) we tried two rounds of fertility drugs. I was obsessive and preoccupied with each step, distracted at work, irritable or teary at home and became severely depressed for a few days every month when I’d discover we weren’t pregnant. I was scared to exercise. I was no fun to be around. It was no way to live; I was exchanging too much life.