Our irrational hope

Before I had children, I used to puzzle over women going through fertility treatments. I would read about people who had gone into bankruptcy to pay for in vitro fertilization or had delivered premature babies who would need years of special medical care. I felt bad for them, but I knew that in their situation, I would behave differently — rationally.

Now that I am a parent, I know that it’s nearly impossible to be rational about things related to my child. Witness the hundreds of dollars we have spent on handmade, environmentally friendly wooden blocks. Witness the underwear on my head.

Anything for a laugh

I met with the fertility doctor this morning, and he ran through the options that we have left. We can continue with old-fashioned efforts, which for a couple with unexplained infertility have about a one percent chance of success. We can try fertility drugs and intrauterine insemination, which have a success rate of less than 10 percent but cost only a few hundred dollars. Or we can try in vitro fertilization, which has a 45 percent success rate and costs $15,000. We have also been referred to a respected adoption agency, and infant adoption would cost $40,000.

Even a rational person wouldn’t see an easy answer in those numbers. The IVF comes with a hidden cost as well. Under the best of circumstances, I will be frantic during the next pregnancy. Frantic is probably too delicate a word. I will have fried synapses popping out of my brain. But to have $15,000 riding on the outcome as well? I can’t fathom it.

When I look at Eleanor though, well, what wouldn’t I do for her?

We’re deciding which path to take, but we will be bringing home a baby somehow. For now, we’re pouring our strength and money into a figment. You might call that irrationality. Or if you know how it feels to love someone unconditionally, you might call it hope.

5 thoughts on “Our irrational hope

  1. For what my opinion is worth, I have several friends who have had successful pregnancies result from IUI. One of my good friends adopted her son as an infant and they are in the process of adopting again, though this time they will be doing a CPS adoption so their children will be older. All of these women are very open with their struggles and experiences, so if you’d like to talk to someone, I’d be happy to put you in touch with them. Good luck.

  2. Thanks, Andrea. We have friends (and friends of friends) who have been through most of these experiences as well. I hadn’t heard of anyone with a successful IUI before this though.

  3. My next door neighbor just had twins that were conceived through IUI (it was their 3rd or maybe 4th round) and one of Lisa’s best friends conceived on her 2nd round. I know I am not the one going through it, but I’d chose hope every time. I think you’re so brave to put your struggles out there for everyone to share. I honestly don’t know if I would be that couragous.

  4. another option you might consider is a shared-risk program, where you get your money back if you don’t conceive after X number of tries.

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