Think about making the impossible choice of deciding between motherhood or staying with the husband you love. That’s exactly the fork in the road my fertility journey led me to. An often overlooked fact about infertility is the immense toll it may take on your relationship with your partner or spouse. Years of failure, unanswered questions, tremendous physical stress, and significant financial output can create an indelible strain on an otherwise healthy union, and result in one person deciding they’ve reached their limit before the other.
Not as romantic as expected
We began our journey naive to these future minefields, and “romanced” by the idea of conceiving naturally, despite my husband’s vasectomy after two children from his prior marriage. Fast forward through a reversal surgery, invasive testing, 5 unsuccessful IVF cycles at 2 different clinics, and close to six-figures in out-of-pocket expenses in three years, and we were exhausted.
Dealing with loss
The best day was during our second IVF cycle when we got the call that our pregnancy test was positive. We were “euphoric”, but it was only temporal. 10 days later my levels dropped, resulting in a “chemical” pregnancy. The loss felt anything but; very material and devastating.
Decided to divorce
From that point, I felt my husband was never very “engaged” in the process, despite that our three additional cycles with a different center. It was only after repeated questions and follow-ups with our RE that we were directed to sperm DNA fragmentation testing, which revealed that 70% of my husband’s sperm was abnormal. Our best option was a TESE procedure for him before another cycle. I wish we had known this after cycle 2. At this point, my husband admitted he “was done” and asked if I could live child free. After much soul searching and therapy, both individually and as a couple, my answer was no.
Chose to be Single Mother by Choice (SMC)
I was 39 and separating and was conscious of not making any knee jerk decisions, but also aware that my fertility window was closing. I decided to freeze my eggs to give myself time to mourn the end of my my marriage and carefully decide what’s next. Serendipitously, my egg retrieval fell on Mother’s Day. I took a year for self-care and exploration of different options, and landed on becoming a single mom by choice. I found a great donor, thawed my eggs, and transferred 2 blastocysts resulting in one beautiful baby girl! A horrible, five-year roller coaster came to the best possible end.