Why I Am So Scared of IVF

I’ve had a few people comment on how IVF really isn’t that bad and it might be worth considering doing IVF to use my eggs should we choose to use a gestational carrier.

I greatly appreciated these comments because they got me thinking, what is it about IVF that has me so scared? Is it the procedures? Is it the medications?

While here’s what a weekend of self-reflection has produced

I am not afraid of needles. Never have been and presumably never will be. The idea of giving myself needles seems a bit odd, but I’m sure I’d get over it. Actually, I think the needles would actually bother Mr. MPB more than they would me.

I am not afraid of the countless monitoring appointments. Through 5 miscarriages I have proven that I can handle being at daily medical appointment. Heck, I did it while working full time, so I’m sure I can do it now that I’m sort of self-employed and fully dictate my schedule.

I am not afraid of the emotional roller coaster that is trying to get my body to produce multiple follicles. I am positive that this would suck, but I am equally positive that I can do it with Mr. MPB at my side.

So, what is it that I’m really afraid of? What is really bugging me about the idea of undergoing IVF to harvest my eggs to use with a gestational carrier?

First, I am never walking back into my local fertility clinic. Our doctor there simply wasn’t a good fit for us, and in the end we don’t trust him. In reality though, this is pretty easy to overcome as we could go elsewhere for the treatment and procedure.

One of my biggest fears is potential of another miscarriage using my eggs. Honestly, I cannot bear the thought of being responsible for the death of another little baby. I know, rationally, my eggs are not our problem, my uterus is. But, that nagging doubt, that what if, would kill me. A large part of why we stopped trying is that I couldn’t take knowing that I created a baby that was destined to die, and using my eggs would open my heart back up to that potential. I would rather have no genetic link, and remove myself completely from the equation then take the risk. (That said, I’m still afraid of knowing my baby is dying inside someone else if we were to use donor eggs or a donor embryo. I am afraid of the mental health implications for me and Mr. MPB if we faced another loss).

I am afraid of losing me. I came really close to losing my essence, and my spark through all of our losses. In fact, looking back I think I came closer then I think I ever realized at the time. The potential mental health implications of losing another baby are so great, that it scares me. I know I am not perfect, but I generally like who I am, and I would like to continue to have my spark.

Before our losses I had a decent relationship with my body. Yes, like almost every women out there, I could have afforded to shed a few pounds, but it was nothing that worried me. I was active enough, ate healthy and generally okay with my body. RPL destroyed my physical connection to my body, heck I began to see my womb as a place where babies go to die, not a place of life. I think the fact that I wasn’t allowed to do much physical exercise for nearly two years only exacerbated my negative view of my body. But today, today I am getting back to a healthier place. I am exercising regularly. After lifting weights for nearly 3 months, I am physically stronger, and visibly strong too. My fat is turning into back into muscle. My body is returning to the one that I once knew. I still struggling with seeing my body as a baby killer, but I am working on that, and hoping that one day I will accept that for what it is. I am very afraid that the physical implications of IVF will destroy all the healthy gains I’ve made. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am today, and I really don’t want to be sidelined again and restarting the process again.

I know often people say to push through fear, and not let fear make your decisions for you. But, in this circumstance, I think the risks are simply too great for us at this point in time. Maybe one day, while I’m still in my ideal reproductive years, I may feel different. But as of today, I just can’t. I would rather stop now, while I still have some semblance of me left. So, for once, I am putting my needs above all else and saying no, and I have the full support of Mr. MPB in this decision.

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62 Comments on “Why I Am So Scared of IVF

  1. Yep, its not “IVF” so to speak, thats scary. Its the idea of once again miscarrying. And in turn, despising your body for it. I am not afraid of IVF either, its my body doing what it has always done each time Ive been pregnant that I fear. My thoughts are with u. Its not easy. 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I honestly could have written this post myself today – I’ve just been having exactly the same conversation with my mother about all of this. Even though we’re seeing a specialist and having treatment for RPL, there’s never any guarantee that it will work, so we might lose more babies as we go along, which terrifies me. I really don’t blame you at all for the choice you’ve made, you have to keep ‘you’ at the end of the day, and I totally understand is RPL takes that away from you. Thanks for sharing this post xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for understanding why I’m so scared of IVF. Really, it has nothing to do with IVF, it simply has to do with being scared of another pregnancy and losing myself in the IVF process. I hate that you do understand, but I am so thankful we have found each other!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like I could have written this, too. I’ve been ‘ivfing’ fir the last three years and we started off with a no sperm problem that over time evolved into a DOR/age/unexplained situation. And we only got to where we are, using donated embryos , after IVF losses.

    Like you I definitely lost my spark. I went to a dark place. I started off liking myself and my body and then put on 25 lbs, couldn’t be active, and all this stuff I thought I had dealt with from the past came back. As a survivor of sexual assault, all my shame got resurrected and centred around me being a bad person, to explain why everything was happening. It was all unconscious – which is why it took me so long to figure it all out.

    Losing your spark, feeling like your body is the cause of things, whew… I so relate. I remember thinking I would put up with anything to get pregnant and now I think nothing should get between you and you, not even ttc, esp if it means damaging your core.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing all of this and relating so well to what I am going through. It is so hard to navigate these waters, and to deal with all the emotions surrounding the relationships we now have with our bodies. And, trying to navigate this without our spark is nearly impossible.
      At the end of the day, no matter which route we choose (donor embroys for you, adoption for us), if we lose ourselves we have nothing. So, I completely agree with you, nothing should get between you and you on this path. In fact, it’s pretty critical that we learn this lesson, I wish I did much earlier in this journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said. I’m so sorry for all your loss. I couldn’t imagine your pain. High five for the health gains. It is ridiculously hard to keep up a semi healthy body though all this. I’m struggling so much in this area. I feel like I’m constantly going from muscle to flabby back to muscle. It never ending cycle during IF.

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  5. All of this makes sense to me. There’s a fine line between making decisions based on fear and knowing yourself, and this is clearly a case of you knowing yourself. After reading what you wrote above, it still does seem like adoption is the best route for you, as it’s the only way that you can be sure you’ll get a live baby in the end. I’m sorry that you even need to make these hard decision.

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    • Thank you so much for understanding. I think you are right, this is a case of knowing ourselves and knowing what we can handle right now. And, as you say, right now it seems like adoption is our best route forward for us. Thank you again!

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  6. Your fears are totally understandable, especially as you’re rebuilding yourself, it doesn’t seem right to go backwards to a place that you most fear. I’m glad you took the weekend to work through some of your feelings, and found some clarity.

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  7. It all comes back to what you’ve been saying about adoption — you need to make the decision that is best for your family. Good for you for letting people’s well-meaning comments help you think through the issues and pros and cons, but in the end, nobody can make these heart-wrenching decisions except you. (Nobody should *have* to make these heart-wrenching decisions, but that’s a different discussion!) A big part of that has to be your mental health — as promising as each of these paths is, you’re doing the right thing to think about how the various failure modes would affect your mental health and your self-image. You’re absolutely right to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

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    • Thank you so much for this! You are right, at the end of the day all any of us can do is make the best decision for ourselves. And only we know what that is. For us, the fear of another loss and the consequences on our mental health is currently one of our biggest concerns. So, we need to move forward in a way that respects this. Thank you again!

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  8. You need to do what’s best for you through this and I’m so glad that you take the time to reflect and figure things out instead of jumping into what you may feel others think you should do.

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  9. You are so strong and wise for putting your needs first. Like you said, it is easy to get lost in all of this. I haven’t even posted about this yet, but I had my fourth miscarriage this weekend and am ready to be done trying. I’ve lost too much of myself through this journey and I want to become the happy, healthy girl I was a few years ago. Sending you love and strength!

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    • My heart broke reading this, I am so sorry. I am at a loss for words, I simply cannot believe that you are going through yet another loss. Sending you strength and hoping we both find a way to rediscover our once healthy, happy selves. Love to you my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The most salient part for me was this:

    “I am afraid of losing me.”

    I am, as well, dear one ❤

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  11. Yes! All of this. We did some IVF but limited our “tries” because I knew there was only a finite amount of loss I could handle. It was a good decision for us to move on from medical intervention.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing you understanding! I think it is so important for all of us in IF/RPL land to know our limits and recognize when it is time to move on.

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      • FYI I appreciate that you respond to each comment. Keeps me commenting and coming back. 🙂

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      • Thanks Rae! I love this feedback! I always comment, because I so appreciate it when anyone takes the time to stop by and comment in the first place!
        I read the comments on my phone all day long, and then I try really hard to respond within a day or two of each post – I hate falling more behind then that. 🙂

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  12. “I am afraid of losing me. I came really close to losing my essence, and my spark through all of our losses.” Yes.. I totally get this. Looking back, I realize how far I had fallen. This is why I needed such a long break. Many question why we took so long off, but I didn’t want to completely lose me. I understand your fear with IVF, with your own eggs.. I’m also grateful you took the time to write about this.

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    • I admire your decision to take such a long break when you did. Honestly, I think this break will help you weather the hard days because you are more physically and mentally prepared for it.
      Wishing you the best!

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  13. I’m glad you took the time to really consider your feelings about this. Thank you, as always, for your honest and heartfelt posts. ❤

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  14. No matter how you look at it, IVF = another pregnancy (even if it’s a surrogate) and you are rightfully terrified by pregnancy at this point. How could you not be? I think there are two kinds of fear–the kind that holds you back, and the kind that keeps you safe. In this case, it’s not really holding you back because you have another avenue to pursue, so that means it’s doing its job and keeping you safe. You have to respect that kind of fear.

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    • This is such a beautiful comment, thank you Molly. I think you are right, this fear is keeping me safe, and protecting my heart and body from more hurt and pain. And right now, that’s what I need.

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  15. I am so with you on taking care of yourself first. I too feel the same fear to go through another try. Above all. We need our sanity and health first.

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  16. I think for you miscarrying would be a huge fear – yes you can get pregnant but it is holding the pregnancy that is the problem. IVF is fucking hard. You need to mentally be ready. I think for me the hardest thing of IVF is that there is sill no guarantee of a take home baby – you still have to get through that.

    Hon, whatever you choose to do you just have to make sure it is the best fit for you and the mister. I am so sorry that you are still conflicted. Hugs.

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    • You are so right Chon, and I appreciate that you are speaking from a place of knowledge and respect for the uncertainties of IVF. And, these uncertainties are why we simply cannot go there right now.
      Thank you for understanding and sharing.

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  17. You need to do what’s best for you, both physically and mentally. If you know that right now it’s not right for you, there’s nothing wrong with that. I do like, though, that you’re not completely closing yourself off to the idea in the future. We don’t know what life will bring us, and at least you aren’t completely cutting yourself off forever and creating possible regrets in the future. 🙂

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    • Thank you Amy. You know, it’s so true about not knowing what the future will hold! If someone asked me 3 years ago where life would be, I could not have predicted a single possible thing that is actually occurring. If I’ve learned anything from this, it’s clear to me that somehow we need to reserve space in our lives and hearts for the unknown and unexpected.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I can totally relate to this. Undergoing IVF and a gestational carrier was an option for us as well as our RPL was also do to my faulty uterus. We also had a family member very seriously offer to carry our baby. But in the end I knew it wasn’t the right choice for us. It probably would have been cheaper than adoption but it just wasn’t right.

    In the end I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that my daughter was always supposed to be mine. I couldn’t carry her or give her my genetics, but she was always meant for me. A lot of people can’t imagine raising ‘someone else’s’ child. But those people don’t realize that those children become yours the second they are put into your arms. I was worried I wouldn’t bond with my daughter because she is a different race than us, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The second I heard her cry she had my heart and soul.

    Good for you for knowing what is best for you and your family. People may question it but at the end of the day the only opinions that matter are that of you and your husband. Adoption is a blessing. Embrace it.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing you understanding and decisions. It is always so nice to hear from someone who has walked such a similar path, and come out smiling at the end!
      You are able to offer me such a wonderful perspective and a great reminder as to why we chose adoption. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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  19. Tears! I completely get this and understand everything you wrote about. You hit the nail on the head! I’m so sorry that you’ve experienced this heartache and my heart and prayers go out to you.

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    • I am so sorry that you understand this and get it so well. I think for those of us who have gone through so many losses, just the thought of going through another one can be traumatizing. Love to you.

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  20. It doesn’t sound like you’re afraid. It sounds like you’ve weighed all options and made an informed decision on what’s best for you and your body and your future family. High Five!!!

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    • I love your perspective – high five back at you! You are right, this really is about knowing myself well enough to know what I can and cannot handle right now and what that means to our family.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I feel as though your fears and reasons for not moving forward with IVF and a GC are completely acceptable and I would think you were odd if you didn’t have those hesitations. RPL definitely makes you consider removing your genetics from the table completely. We don’t trust our bodies and part of our bodies are our seemingly “crappy” eggs too. I told my husband that if we are to lose anymore, I would be done trying for a genetically “ours” kiddo. I’m not willing to risk losing myself in the process of grief and loss. These are tough decisions but I think you are processing them perfectly. HUGS XO

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your understanding Mrs. Brooks! It’s hard to contemplate the reality of not being able to have a biological child, and it seems so unfair that anyone has to think about all of this.
      I’m so happy that you happy ending is just about here! 🙂

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  22. Pingback: What Are We Going To Do? | My Perfect Breakdown

  23. Pingback: Infertility & Adoption Blogging | My Perfect Breakdown

  24. The perspective that IVF isn’t that bad left me shaking my head, as someone who went through five myself over the course of a year. Getting through the drugs and procedures is doable, but it takes a major piece from you if you have to do it multiple times. And, as you articulate well, it’s the underrated potential emotional and mental health ramifications that we all should be aware of and concerned about.

    Sounds to me like you not only know, but also feel, where your limits are. In my experience, there is nothing more important to adhere to in life. I can relate on the level that my husband and I cannot open ourselves to any more trauma and loss and for us this even includes adoption – a failed placement or setting up a nursery that doesn’t get used would kill us at this point and we know it (we’re in our forties and thus have a lower chance of getting chosen, and in general, much less time).

    I know there are many platitudes out there on fear, but fear can have its own intelligence, especially if it is based on rational facts (such as potential losses from the IVF process, for example). Seems to me you are letting common sense drive your decisions most of all.

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    • Thank you so much for this wonderfully understanding comment Sarah!
      Clearly I have never been through IVF, and so I can only speculate on how hard the emotional side of it is, and you really helped reinforce that I/we am making the right decision for me/us.
      I also really appreciate your thoughts that “fear can have its own intelligence, especially if it is based on rational facts” – this is just brilliant!

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  25. wow !! i cant believe i found this blog/article , My journey is little different , i havent tried IVF yet and never want to . sound little crazy but i feel everyone is different . for me i wanted pregnancy to happen naturally . We have a severe Male factor infertility and we tried so many IUI though our doctor wasnt willing to , and after so many failed IUI(2 with Injections) I lost confidence in myself . I Dont know why i am very much scarred of taking those drugs (did take for 2 IUI though but it was a hard decision ) . Looking at other women journey of IVF and their pain of failure i feel i made good decision but still some time question myself is its a good decision ? We have decided if it has to happen let it be natural miracle or else we are up for Adoption. please share your thoughts and sorry what IF/RPL stand for?

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    • I missed this comment in my spam folder, so sorry for the delay in response.
      First, thanks for commenting and reading! Honestly, it’s so hard to know what to do sometimes with all this infertility stuff. There really are no right or wrong answers and definitely no text book to give you the best answer. I am a strong advocate for doing whatever is best for you and your partner. And, I also think the best decision for you and your partner may change with time. Anyways, wishing you the absolute best as you navigate all of this.
      IF = Infertility.
      RPL = recurrent pregnancy loss or sometimes repeat pregnancy loss. Technically means 3 consecutive miscarriages/loss.

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