Monday, July 06, 2009

(In)Fertility Update - Part 2 - The Options

Ah...so the update continues. This time I'll try to focus more on the options we've been told we have as it's pretty relevant to what we are experiencing in terms of Part 1 & Part 3. If you haven't read part 1 yet, start there...

Part 1 - The Results


Our options to expand our family are actually still pretty numerous. The challenge is to deal with the feasability of the options we have available. They pretty much fall into the three categories below: No more children, Biological Children, Adoptive children.


No More Children

This is probably the obvious option for many. We can choose to not have any more children. Essentially we can do nothing and leave it to chance, which, according to our doctor means a 0% chance of having more biological children. Of course, we've had our son under these conditions which can be taken two ways...he's 1 in a bombillion which even further reduces the chance of us having another or it's happened once so it can happen again. Either way you look at it the chances our slim.


Advantages:

  • No more costs associated with additional children
  • Additional chance to have "miracle" children
  • Focus on Logan and raising him, he's a cool kid
  • No worries about how to expand our family...decide against it and move on
  • We'll be empty nesters more quickly and then can focus on being a couple sooner (ok...I'm stretching here)

Disadvantages:

  • Our son won't have any siblings...will be an only child (If anyone spends any time with him they know that this bums him out. Even at 2. He talks about his "brother" on a daily basis, referring to different people each time...sometimes it's his cousins, sometimes it's his friend Chance, sometimes it's superman or spiderman or batman. Sometimes it's a mysterious person named Charlie or Benjamin. Plus, he desperately needs someone besides mommy and daddy to play with him.)
  • Certainly not what we had planned or wanted (we'll get into that in Part 3 I think)
  • I'll be done child-bearing...no more pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding, nurturing an infant, etc. No more chance to stay home with my children.

An additional consideration with "no more children" is that even that choice comes with strange costs. We would either have to re-begin birth control or "ensure" sterility to have some sort of peace with that choice. Of course that peace takes away the ability to have a surprise. If we don't, I have to monitor my fertility daily for the rest of my fertile life due to my medication, which would be a constant reminder of our infertility. Forever. Or at least until menopause.

Biological Children

If we want to have more biological children again good ol' doc believes there is a 0 chance. Now, some would say "yes, but you have one so that chance has to be more than 0". It really depends on how you look at it. I believe it is possible whether or not we had one already because Christ is all powerful. Logan is proof of that. Statistically though, Logan was a crazy percentage and already took up that "chance". Who knows. "Scientifically" our options to have biological children are:

IVF: In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF-ICSI)

The doctor believes this is a good option for us. I had a very good pregnancy before and for all purposes appear to be a good womb. He believes we'd be successful with this route.

Advantages:

  • We'd have another biological child
  • Multiples (50% chance for twins, possible triplets or quadruplets)
  • I'd get to go through pregnancy and childbirth (!!!) again
  • I'd get to breastfeed again
  • I could potentially stay home with my baby(ies) (see disadvantages below)
  • We'd get to go through the process of raising our child from pre-birth and participate in all the stages of their life

Disadvantages:

  • $14K per attempt
  • 65% success rate per attempt
  • Lots of medication and intervention on our bodies
  • Higher chance for high-risk birth (may not experience natural childbirth???)
  • We don't have that cash and don't believe in using credit...so, we change our minds about credit or wait until we save the cash (about a year, maybe?), which means by the time we have a child our son would be almost 5. Not what we'd wanted.
  • Either way, because of the cost of this attempt it would delay my ability to stay home. Which means for most considerations, I still wouldn't get the chance to stay home afterall
  • That would likely be our last attempt so we'd get what we'd get (successful or not, one child or more)
  • That's a lot of money...

Increase Density + IUI+Sperm Wash

The dr. and my own research suggest this isn't very likely but with the further testing we'll see if we can increase sperm density. Again, we'd have to increase it to at least 5000% of what it currently is just to maybe qualify and have a shot.

Advantages:

  • Cheaper ($500-$5000 per cycle, depending on a few options/needs)
  • Better chance than we currently have! :)
  • It would be nice to be able to get sperm count to that level anyway and if hormones or something else can do it...great
  • 30% chance of multiples

Disadvantages:

  • It's still expensive
  • Success rate only about 25%
  • I'm not ready to count on this being an option yet. There's too much at stake for my sanity
  • Involves lots of doctors visits, monitoring, and probably injectibles

Adoption

Adoption is certainly an option for us! That being said, there are the normal considerations when deciding to adopt including the several types of adoption and choices to be made about it. I'll lump advantages and disadvantages together, but understanding that we would be considering international, domestic infant, foster-to-adopt, older child, and embryo adoptions at this point.

Advantages:

  • We could expand our family either with individual or sibling group adoptions
  • There is the potential to go through the pregnancy process as well (embryo)
  • There is the potential to adopt a baby and go through a similar process of raising a baby as if we'd given birth to him/her
  • THere are SO many options in terms of how to increase our family, what our family would "look like", the speed at which we increased our family. Lots of opportunities.
  • Giving a child/family a forever family
  • We both have adoption benefits through work which would cover some of the costs
  • If the costs were lower, we may be able to work it out for me to stay home
  • Quicker option than any of the others to expand our family

Disadvantages:

  • Not having a biological sibling for our son...he is really awesome and I'd love for him to have a biological sibling even if we did adopt
  • Adjusting to being adoptive parents and an adoptive family
  • All of the choices that would have to be made...so much to think about...so complicated
  • Still takes a while, particularly if we were going to want to have a caucasian baby with specific characteristics
  • Not knowing how well past experiences would impact our son, nor how expanding our family in that way would impact him
  • Not knowing whether we'd be able to integrate other children into our family and have them feel as loved as Logan is.
  • Can be very expensive (domestic infant & international can be 25-40K), with the exception of foster-to-adopt (and even then, depending on the circumstances) can be just as expensive as IVF
  • Will our family accept our adopted children?
  • The process to become eligible to adopt is difficult. Being that J is in the career he is makes it more complicated due to weapons in the home, our family schedule, my working (now), and also the consideration of the children's stories and how they might be impacted by their previous experience with police officers.
  • The process would likely to take at least a year.
  • Would still have to process the "not having bio children" aspect as with having no children

Oh...I could go on and on. Essentially it all boils down to these basic factors:

  • Nothing will be easy
  • Nothing will be guaranteed from here on out
  • We are forced to mourn what we thought was mostly a given regarding childbearing
  • Nothing will be inexpensive
  • All options have difficult decisions involved
  • No options support me staying at home with my baby(ies)
  • No options really support us having the child spacing we'd hoped for (except, maybe adoption, which would be more expensive because at this point we'd think we'd want Logan to be the oldest, which would mean we'd be looking at younger child/infant adoption)

I completely know that in our current circumstances it isn't clear partially because we don't know what God has in store and there is no way for us to see all of the benefits and disadvantages for any of the options. We don't know what doors will be opened for us or which will be closed. There are SO many options to consider and choose from that in itself is a problem. I write these things down partially to get them out of my (our) head and partly to get them out in cyberspace to see other perspectives some of you might have.

One note of caution...although we REALLY would like comments on this particularly if you've had an experience that would contribute advantages or disadvantages we haven't thought of, we'd appreciate a little bit of grace in terms of what we're going through at this point because we fully know we may have made something here seem worse than it really is or was in your experience. Judgements on what we've put into the advantage or disadvantage categories probably won't be helpful. (ex., "Why don't you think you could love an adopted kid like you love Logan? Wouldn't you treat them the same?" etc.) We're trying to be as honest as possible to ourselves to go into any option as best prepared as we can which means we need to be honest about our preconceptions about things...we didn't plan this and all of these thought processes are new to us. And, with the exception of the L family, we don't know anyone personally who has gone through most of these scenarios. No one. I'll get into that in Part 3.

6 comments:

Molly said...

If you would like any details about how we made our decisions, please contact me. It's not an easy choice to make and I'm sorry that you're experiencing it. I'm praying for clarity and peace for you as you seek God's direction.

Jessica Newman said...

So sorry I can't help seeing as i haven't had to go through infertility or any of these options. Wow - it is truly overwhelming...we'll be praying for y'all in your decisions. Thanks for being so honest and forthright about your struggles...if there is anything i can ever do - even small - i would love to help.

Flakymn said...

P.S. I also wanted to link to a few of my personal blogs that I wrote concerning biological and adopted children. I do feel like I can make a fair assessment of this because I've got both. :) Here are the links:

http://flakymn.blogspot.com/2009/02/adoption-biological.html

http://flakymn.blogspot.com/2009/04/bonding.html

Mandi said...

Know that I'm praying for you and your sweet family. Thanks for sharing. <3

Raina said...

I don't have any good advice, but I just want you to know that I will support you and pray for you guys in whatever decision you make. And you're always welcome to call me to talk, vent, or cry if you need to.

Monkey Momma said...

Marie, N and I are praying for God to make His will clear to you. We know firsthand how hard this decision can be. We decided to pursue new options outside of adoption (because that was our ONLY option at the time) simply because they were presented to us as possibilities we'd never considered before. To be honest, I don't remember feeling a peace that we were doing the "right" thing, but we felt a HUGE peace that God's will would take place no matter our decision. We RESTED in that.

We love you!

A