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The Fundamental Science of Infertility

By WidePathGirl ~

My infertility journey began two years after giving birth to my first child. When I got pregnant with my oldest daughter my husband and I thought we must be super fertile, she was conceived after only one month of trying! We were sure we'd have our dreamed of 2 children before I was 35 right on time, as planned. Boy did we get that wrong!

Unbeknownst to us, I was actually born with what is called a "septic uterus". This is a deformity where your normally pear shaped uterus is instead shaped like a heart, with the top sort of bending or sagging down and covered with a thick ridge of tissue that no embryo can successfully implant into. Getting pregnant right off the bat like that was a lucky one off thing. She just happened to find the one spot inside my uterus that would work.

Fast forward a few years, two devastating miscarriages later we still didn't know what was wrong. We had no idea why it wasn't working this time and I felt I was being punished. (by god of course, I must have sinned big time by marrying an atheist!) And of course I got lots of "helpful" advice from my christian friends and family and co workers. In regards to my miscarriages I was told that god had a "plan" and it would happen when it was supposed to and that there must have been something "wrong" with the babies, and god took care of it, hence I should just put my trust in him and be patient. Bullshit. I was unbelievably angry and felt cheated out of something I desperately wanted. And I didn't appreciate "god" getting to decide that my children apparently weren't worthy to live.

So my husband and I decided to start infertility treatments, a long, expensive, torturous road. I learned quickly that some people (read "christians" here") apparently did not approve of this. When I would mention my treatments they'd get a pinched look on their faces, a frozen smile and would look sideways, away from me. I couldn't imagine what the problem was so I Googled it of course! Apparently the "problem" was that if you are infertile you need to look to god and pray, be patient, be accepting. Perhaps adopt, perhaps wait for a miraculous pregnancy (like Mary???) but never, never, never, ever, ever, ever seek fertility treatments!

The "reasoning" (and I really use this word lightly!) is that if you get pregnant with more than one embryo you might be tempted to use abortion (selective reduction) and that of course is a sin! Or, perhaps you will freeze your embryos and end up not using them, which to some people is still abortion. And worse yet you are messing with god's plan, you are not doing things naturally so you must be sinning.

Never mind that my body was not functioning as it should, that I had lost two babies, not because they were "defective" but because my uterus was wonky and I needed it fixed! By a religious person's point of view it's not okay for me to fix my uterus but it is okay to have say, liposuction or a knee replacement?

Fast forward again, and after many horrible tests, procedures, shots that we had to do ourselves, I finally found an amazing doctor who examined me and immediately somehow knew what the problem was. (no one else had looked close enough to realize it was not a hormonal problem but a physical deformity) He did a 3D ultrasound which confirmed my uterine septum, performed a simple surgery to fix the problem and then we waited for me to heal.

It's not okay for me to fix my uterus but it is okay to have say, liposuction or a knee replacement? I had 16 frozen embryos from an unsuccessful Interuterine Insemination (I had overstimulated from my meds and was popping eggs out everywhere!) Upon the thawing process 8 embryos survived, while only 3 embryos turned out to viable, the others died. Okay, so here is where I am of course a huge sinner, since I froze these embryos and they died. Never mind that they may or may not have died inside of me had they been there naturally, to a fundamentalist christian that doesn't matter. I'm still the evil person who is messing with nature!

We were delighted of course and next came the implanting, my doctor implanted all 3 embryos due to my age and medical history so I would have the biggest chance of at least one taking. We knew there was a risk of multiples but after all we'd been through we were willing to take the chance. That's what FC don't get, they discount your agony of losing a baby and having to go through infertility, often for years and call you a sinner simply because you are willing to do whatever it takes to get at least one live baby!

Well....guess what? All 3 embryos took! Talk about a shock and quite a bit of dismay. Had I been religious, my attitude should have been "oh wonderful, we will have all 3 babies and the lord will take care of everything, even if all 3 die or are born with problems it's okay because this is what god wants!"!!!!! We couldn't take that chance. The doctor told us the odds, they were not in our favor. The odds of losing one, two or even three were huge, especially since I was only 2 months out of my uterine surgery. I could not bear the thought of losing another baby, I felt like it would literally kill me. Now I have to explain. When I say "lose" I mean to go further into the pregnancy and lose one to either miscarriage or premature birth. I felt an extreme responsibility to all 3 babies, but also to our oldest daughter and my husband. I don't want to get into a debate about abortion, but this is what we were facing. I am beyond grateful that we had the right to decide what was best for our family and our situation, and I didn't give a crap what the church might think.

So we did go ahead and elect for the selective reduction of one embryo. Sure I was sad but I was desperately clinging to the hope that the other two or at least one of them would survive. And it was not an easy choice or decision, it will be with me always. None of my relatives aside from my mother know that we had to sacrifice that one embryo to save the others. So yeah I'm a sinner, but 8 months later I gave birth to the most beautiful, healthy twins you have ever laid eyes on. Not thanks to god, but thanks to science!

I have had to hear some comments from people when they hear we used IVF to have our babes. One enlightened douchebag even told me that my children were bound to be "mental" and have "defects" because they were conceived in an "unnatural" way that went against god. Seriously.

I know that many other couples out there are dealing with these issues which is why I wanted to share my story. There is some wonderful science out there that is allowing people to realize their dream of parenthood, without the help of a "god" that doesn't exist. I hope my story has helped you in some and wish you all luck!