How do you tell your parents and friends that you’re infertile, carriers of the same genetic disease and that you’re going through IVF? The answer: you don’t…at first.
Infertility in itself is difficult to deal with and adding IVF with Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to that makes it even more emotionally and financially stressful. Telling our family and friends was at first not an option. Early on in the process it was explained to us that in order to do PGD testing, to test our embryos for CF, we would need to have our families tested. My mom and my sister had been in the loop every step of the way and were not only understanding but wanted to help in any way they could. We didn’t want to burden Mike’s family with this stress and hadn’t told them anything about our trying to conceive. They don’t live close to us and I was adamant on telling them in person so we drove 4 hours to see them and tell them. This was the first emotional conversation we had to have outside of each other and it was tough.
It’s not quite like “Oh hey, did you guys see the Sox game last night? BTW, did we mention we are infertile and need you to pay a few hundred dollars to spit into a cup so we can determine which one of you passed this along to us? K, thanks.”
Fortunately they were extremely understanding and willing to do whatever we needed them to. What we were asking of them could have gone against their morals or beliefs. Asking someone to do testing to reveal who is a carrier of a genetic disease isn’t the easiest question and we realized they had the right to say they didn’t want to be tested. Mike and I feel so blessed that both of our families are incredibly supportive in so many ways and we wouldn’t have been able to get through this without them.
We had been going to doctors for a few months and felt that letting our friends “in” on the secret wasn’t necessary. We thought we would do one cycle and get pregnant. No one would have to know. There is en element of shame when dealing with the reality that you can’t naturally make a baby. This is the next step in life and we can’t take it. Along with the shame comes the added stress of thinking that people will pity you or treat you differently once they know. Most of our close friends have babies or were pregnant and we didn’t want them to feel bad for us or act differently around us. We are and will always be happy for everyone who is able to conceive regardless of what our parental status is. That being said of course it’s difficult to see our friends starting their families, but we know we will get there.
I told a few close girl friends. Some who I knew would be there for me and some who have gone through their own issues with infertility. We started this blog privately and invited the few people who knew to view it to stay updated through the medication process and doctors appointments. When the first cycle ended we were happy we hadn’t told many people. Family and friends read the blog and knew what the outcome was and were supportive in their own ways. The decision to do another cycle came with a lot of new emotions, the main one being “f*#k it”. We had a small following on Instagram and talking to people who were going through the same process was so cathartic. Our friends on Instagram and their experiences really pushed us to do another cycle so we made our blog public. If it helps one couple while they are going through IVF then it’s worth people knowing.
We decided to tell friends as situations presented themselves. For example, we aren’t drinking alcohol during this cycle and at first we were avoiding social situations where alcohol was present. Um HELLO! It’s summer and who wants to be anti-social and stay inside all summer? Not this chick. So we started telling our friends in small groups while hanging out. Everyone was obviously supportive and understanding and I’m happy to report there was no peer pressure. 🙂 This is all very new to us and I’m sure a time will come when we regret telling people but C’est la vie.
1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system and is more common than I could have ever imagined. So many couples struggle with the idea of starting a family and I hope you will Resolve to Know More.