To date I have not been overly keen on, if not in reality actually more against, IVF (for me personally, I hasten to add – this is not a moral or technically principled qualm).
As the weeks and months of TTC have merged into years, however, I think this needs reevaluating. Firstly, we now know a lot more about what we are dealing with/are up against. Secondly, we are seriously starting to run out of time (why yes, it is my birthday in a couple of weeks – how could you tell).
So, you may well ask: what were my problems with IVF in the first place?
One of my biggest fears has been the perceived risk/danger. As May only has one ovary remaining, if something goes wrong with that (ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, for example) then it really could be game over. I had/have the impression, possibly unfairly, that especially within the NHS IVF is not a well-invested-in process and therefore may lack the individual care, attention and precision to reassure me. I think I’m justified in stating that their attitude, when we did get to the first step of consideration for treatment, seemed to be a very rule-based, “same for everyone because we must be fair to everyone on very limited resources” approach. I had/have also witnessed that, while the NHS is a fantastic service for dealing with the majority of everything, it didn’t/doesn’t handle edge-cases, such as May, very well. These factors combined all played into my fears.
I think we are in a very different place now. We’ve run the NHS gamut as much as we can; therefore if we go private now it would not compromise how we may be treated on the NHS, which I’ve heard can not be overly helpful to patients who are also doing parallel private treatment (for I think perfectly understandable/reasonable overall cost effectiveness reasons). We have been saving over the last few years and combined with offers from May’s mum to help with costs plus age and other complicating factors I think private is our only realistic option now anyway. I have the impression, possibly unfounded, that a private clinic will do things absolutely on an individual basis and take care (for fear of harm to reputation – and therefore profits – if nothing else).
So that’s the rational reason; the more psychological block is about the process itself and what that means about my role in fatherhood. This is more difficult to articulate, partly because I have problems identifying and dealing with the emotions surrounding issues (see previous post), but also because it goes against my self-image of me not being a chest-beating, self-important, prowess-obsessed bloke… it’s not me making the baby. I do know enough biology to know it never would be me really anyway, but the micro-details of what happens in utero can be easily brushed over when people think about these things. There is still an overall conception (haha, sorry) of those brave ‘boys’ swimming the tough swim, healthy competition, fittest wins, etc. that provides the ‘natural way’ of these things in the minds of the world. Yes, this is a perception thing as much as anything else. To take that process out of that environment and have an artificial laboratory induced, ‘test-tube’ event – under the harsh lights of scientific judgement and evaluation – doesn’t have that same narrative or acceptable ‘normality’.
Finally, there is another psychological trope that plays into this. Over the last few years, and particularly in psychotherapy recently, I have had to get used to the idea that, as much as I try to deny it, I am a very controlling person. Those that know me may (or may not) be surprised that the gentle, unassuming, introverted soul that I am has this trait. But I can assure you that apparently (I’m still coming to terms with this) I have a strong and wilful mind that has an unfortunate (possibly sometimes unconscious) habit of using passive-aggressive techniques to influence and control. The thing is, the thing about IVF is, that it takes everything out of my control. The same is largely true for May, of course, but this post is about me, all me. Before knowing and understanding this and therefore being able to cede controls and make the choice there was a ‘thing’ at the back of my mind nagging away at this isn’t what I really want to, if not more strongly saying no!
Now we understand that and we are where we are, it’s time to make a positive choice and work for a positive outcome and say… YES!