Chasing Motherhood, Defining Mum

Recognising the odds were stacked against us…

Throughout our infertility journey I was completely emotion-led, to the point where all rational thinking went out of the window. Anything that gave us a possibility, however small and expensive it might be, I’d want to try it without a second thought. Matt on the other hand was much more rational, and it was his direct questioning of our consultant after cycle number four that made me stop and actually consider the facts and more scientific probabilities.

As fertility struggles are filled with emotion, having transparency about your chances is SO important! Although there will always be an element of subjectivity and opinion (as so many variables are at play), by having some trusted opinions you should be able to get a feel for how likely your chances might be. Whilst it doesn’t (and you shouldn’t) remove emotion, what it does give is a chance for you to apply some rational thinking to your decision making.

When Matt actually questioned our consultant more specifically on our odds of conceiving with my eggs, it was definitely a turning point which provided more focus for discussion. My instant response when I heard that we had a 5% chance of a baby with my eggs was to focus on it still being possible – the blind hope was taking over, clouding my rational thinking. What I didn’t consider was the flipside – the 95% chance that it wouldn’t work. How would you feel putting £6,000 of your hard-earned money on an outside 20/1 shot?

Having previously shied away from having in-depth discussions about donor eggs, I then asked about potential success rates if we were to change direction. I was amazed to be told that it would give us closer to a 50% chance of success.

So, we had a choice. I finally started to think more rationally – we could keep going with my eggs but only have the potential of success 1 in 20 times, or a conceivable 1 in 2 chance with donor eggs (literally).

Using this information, I was then able to let my emotions creep back in. Thinking about these odds, I just knew I didn’t have it in me to try another 20 times in the vain hope that we might find that one golden egg. Emotionally exhausted and completely drained by the previous failed IVF cycles, I was also acutely aware that when I did actually conceive I hadn’t made it past 8 weeks of pregnancy, an experience I wasn’t sure I could go through again. On top of this was the huge financial burden that came hand-in-hand with continuing to play such low odds, something that was pivotal to the potential future we wanted to be able to give our children – our future family. Consumed by my infertility, I knew my life was effectively ‘on hold’ with my deep, primal desire to become a Mum growing each day – something had to change. Now I knew that by using a donor egg we potentially had a 1 in 2 chance of becoming parents it suddenly made the prospect appear more real. It felt achievable and within reach for the first time since my diagnosis, a feeling that lifted me significantly and I actually started to feel excited. It seems that knowing my odds was actually played a big role in reconciling my thoughts allowing us to make a much more considered decision.

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