EP1: IVF Facts vs Myths

“You are a mother. That is a choice you get to make, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, especially that a-hole living in your head.”

Motherhood is an identity, and you have the power to choose your identity.

In the babymaking journey, it’s so common for women to get caught up in unrealistic expectations about the IVF process, or to fall prey to common myths. Let me tell you, I have heard it all. It can be easy to get discouraged when this process doesn’t go as planned, and people are hitting you in the face with the BS they truly believe is fact. One of the best ways to combat this is to dispell the inaccuracies and be prepared with the truth.

“When doctors say it’s a numbers game, it’s extremely beneficial to the doctor who can’t figure it out. It’s nature and science. If anyone tells you it’s a numbers game, that just means they don’t know what the f*** they are doing and they’re just going to keep guessing with your money, time, and embryos.” - Tasha Blasi (9:12 - 10:15)

Let’s take some time to talk through the most common myths that I have had the “pleasure” of hearing over the years:

Myth - IVF works the first or second time.

Truth - I wish this was always the case. If you were like me, I knew that I was going to do IVF one time and have an abundance of viable embryos that I could pop in every time I wanted a kid, until my house was full. As you probably know, I had to complete ten rounds. Ten. There are so many different variables that come into play when trying to get or stay pregnant. While it may happen for you the first or second time, so often this is not the case.

Myth - All labs are created equal.

Truth - We can be so quick to assume that a lab is a lab, and the lab techs are basically robots, but they aren’t. There are so many variables in labs that can affect the viability of your embryo and the success of your pregnancy. Embryologists are humans. Fallible, finite humans. Saying that all embryologists are equal is like saying all doctors are equal. Also, it’s important not to get sucked into the “fame” of certain clinics. There are clinics who have established a reputation but have not stayed current with ever-advancing technology. They are no longer achieving the results, but they are still claiming their renown, and taking your money.

Myth - It’s a numbers game.

Truth - If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me about a doctor that told them to, “just keep trying,” I could cover your next round of IVF. Of course, they tell you to just keep trying, you are paying them!

Myth - There’s nothing you can do on your end to help an egg retrieval or transfer.

Truth -  When I ask women what their doctor has suggested they do to help with the retrieval process, 95% of them say, “nothing.” Spoiler alert: There are so many factors, so. many. factors. that you can influence to increase your chances of getting and staying pregnant.

Myth - You need an egg donor.

Truth - As mentioned before, there are so many variables that affect this process. Just because one doctor can’t figure it out, doesn’t mean that your own eggs aren’t viable. I wish doctors would just be honest when they aren’t successful, and refer. Doctors will keep working with you as long as you are paying. When you move on to donor eggs, they get to start over with a new revenue source.

Your eggs might not be the problem.

Myth - My stress is keeping me from getting pregnant.

Truth - Stress doesn’t help us and it doesn’t feel good, and we totally need to get rid of it. Yes, stress affects our mental and physical health. However, stress is not a major variable in the success or failure of IVF.

“Figure out how stress is showing up physically and emotionally. Not so much to help you get pregnant, but to help you get through this process, through this pregnancy, and especially through motherhood with your sanity intact.”  (18:26 - 18:56)

Myth - You should never do a fresh, day 3 transfer.

Truth -  Some women just can’t get to day 5. If you have eliminated all other variables, and you are unable to get to day five, consider stopping at day 3.

Myth - There is no evidence that you need to check for different tests.

Truth - Your first transfer is very much trial and error. There are so many variables that could be in play. However, after that first transfer, I recommend asking your doctor which tests they would recommend after a third failed attempt. Often, in the first few rounds, doctors are comfortable with the numbers game and will discourage additional tests without evidence to suggest their necessity. However, it can be so helpful to rule out as many variables as possible, as soon as possible. I would rather understand the risks and have every variable moved out of the way before moving forward with that extremely precious embryo.

“I want the doctors in the clinics to start treating those embryos as precious as they really are.” - Tasha Blasi (24:21 - 24:44)

Myth - Maybe you weren’t meant to be a mom.

Truth - Don’t let anyone, especially that a-hole in your head, convince you that you weren’t meant to be a mother! Being a mom is an identity, and you get to choose that identity. I know what it feels like to have that aching desire deep in my heart and to just “know” that I was meant to be a mother.

You don’t get to choose when you become a mom, but you do get to choose to keep moving forward, clearing every variable out of the way until that precious little one is nestled in your arms. Don’t stop fighting, mama.

How to get involved
If you would like more information about Tasha Blasi and the incredible work she does with The FU Project, please visit her website.

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